And here's chapter 2 guys! Thanks for taking the time to read this, I really dig the feedback I'm getting. Again, I'm still not used to writing a Persona story and I'm learning as I go. This chapter may be a little bit of run-on sentences and such but I hope you still like it. Well, hopefully I'll get better as I keep writing, so yeah! Let's get this thing going! Let's a go!
Blank Card - Chapter 2
(Time skip - 1 Year Later)
(Scene Change - Sea of Souls)
Leaning against the golden door that he used to be the seal of, Minato gazed into the endless expanse of the Sea of Souls. It never changed, forever stagnant, the opposite of what had happened to him during the past year. Regaining a physical body, Minato forced himself to train nearly nonstop for the better part of the year. The only times he stopped was to use the restroom or sleep, he didn't need to eat as Nyx had his appetite suppressed.
Speaking of the queen of the night, she and Minato had grown rather close since they formed the contract. Nyx was always beside Minato, training with him or sleeping with him. She never let him out of her sight, expect for when he had to use to bathroom. Even now she was leaning against him while he took a few minutes to catch his breath. Tilting his head a little to get a better look at her, he had to admit that she was the complete opposite of what he had faced on that fateful night.
Instead of a being that clashed against his ideals and tried to bring an end to the world, though it really wasn't her but her avatar, she was a rather sheltered soul. She told him the truth when she said that she didn't know much of the world outside of the Sea of Souls. Whenever he took a few minutes to rest she would ask questions about the world though he could only tell her a few things, having his memories partially erased over the course of his time as the seal being the cause.
Shifting his eyes, he returned to gazing at the barren expanse of space before he felt his eyelids getting heavier. Releasing a sigh, he sometimes wished that he could return to being the seal, then he could sleep for as long as he wanted without having to wake to use the bathroom or train. Relaxing his body, he let his eyes drift fully closed before sleep took him once again. As Minato fell asleep, Nyx woke up when she felt him stirring. About to protest his actions, she quickly silenced herself as she took in his sleeping visage.
Smiling, she nuzzled him gently as his warmth filled her, she couldn't help but feel saddened. Today was their last day in the Sea of Souls, Erebus would soon be reformed by humanities negative emotions and that moment will be the key to escaping. But once they leave, she will no longer have a physical body, no longer being able to feel his touch or his warmth. She pushed those negative thoughts aside, while she couldn't feel him unless he summoned her, she would still be connected to his soul. That thought alone brought a demure smile to her face. Closing her eyes, she let herself drift back to sleep, waiting for the moment Erebus began reforming.
(Scene Change - Tatsumi Port Island: Minatodai Coed Dorms)
"Come'on Shinjiro-kun! We're going to be late if you don't hurry up!" Hamuko shouted, making the brown haired boy behind her grunt in irritation.
"I'm coming, and we're not going to be late. If anything we're going early." Shinjiro answered back, a little irritated that both Mitsuru and Hakumo demanded that he leave his beanie for the duration of their vacation.
Giggling, Hakumo stopped in her tracks as she waited for Shinjiro to catch up. Once he did, she tightened her grip on her suitcase and laced her fingers between Shinjiro's, causing the large man to tense and blush.
"W-What are you doing? We're out in the public you know." Shinjiro muttered under his breath, though he made no effort to remove his hand from hers, opting to squeeze back slightly.
Smiling sweetly at him, the two made resumed their trek to the dorm at a more sedate pace. Walking hand in hand, they were a rather odd looking couple. There were various differences between the two that have been pointed out dozens of time; Shinjiro towering over Hamuko, their personalities being stark opposites, even their tastes in food and music clashed. But they didn't mind, if anything, it made their relationship much more interesting and fun for the both of them.
Their relationship came about a year ago, after the celebration of Minato's sacrifice. Shinjiro walked Hakumo and Aigis home that night, talking with the two about the past. Soon after, Hamuko and Shinjiro began hanging out more and more and eventually Aigis asked if they were in a relationship. That was the spark that fired up their relationship, though at first Shinjiro denied all accusations of him dating her. Eventually though, mostly due in part to Akihiko and Mitsuru's pestering, he admitted that they were going out.
It wasn't just the two of them that had an experience of love after that day. A week after Hakumo and Shinjiro began officially dating, they had invited Junpei, Chidori, Akihiko and Mitsuru on a triple date of sorts. Though Mitsuru and Akihiko didn't work as they had intended, Mitsuru being rather rigid when it came to love. Akihiko and her clashed more then Hakumo and Shinjiro. Eventually, they called it off, Mitsuru and Akihiko stating that it was a conflict of interests that they couldn't work out.
Last anyone had heard Mitsuru was once again forced by the Kirijo Group into marriage interviews while Akihiko simply said love wasn't his top priority at the moment. For Fuuka and Yukari, they had started dating as well. Yukari taking Koji up on his offer and now they were much closer then before, though they weren't officially dating. Fuuka had gone on a date with a schoolmate, though things fell through when she found out that he was two-timing her and another girl. With Aigis, she simply stated that she had no desire to date any other human being.
As for Ken, he had said that there were a few girls, mostly on the student council and soccer team, that suddenly starting acting weird around him. The others just giggled and laughed before they told them that they most likely had crushes on him. Though Ken denied any feelings of love, saying that he wanted to grow up a little more before he started dating anyone. The others knew that it was really because he was a sad that Shinjiro and Hakumo were now officially a couple, though he supported their relationship.
Junpei and Chidori were still going strong, though Junpei's studies and work sometimes forced him to give up some of Chidori's "Junpei Time" as he dubbed it. But it didn't affect them much, not as much as the day that Junpei and Chidori officially adopted Koromaru into their family. To say Koromaru was happy was an understatement, Junpei said that he didn't stop running around their apartment until the morning after.
"Oh, look! It's Junpei, Chidori and Koro-chan!" Hamuko happily said, getting Shinjiro to laugh slightly as he gave a small wave to the group.
"Hey! Took you guys long enough! We were all wondering when you'd show up!" Akihiko said, getting an incredulous from Shinjiro and Hamuko.
"What! We're half an hour early!" Hakumo shouted, getting a shake of the head from Mitsuru.
"Hamuko, being early is a vital part of being a part of the Shadow Operatives remember? It's only natural that everyone is early." Mitsuru said, getting a nervous chuckle from the auburn haired girl.
"Well we're all here right! Why don't we get this vacation started!" Junpei declared, getting a light smack to the head from Chidori.
"Junpei, please don't act like such a child." Chidori said in an exasperated tone, getting the capped man to laugh nervously while the others just chuckled lightly.
"Iori's right, now that everyone is here why don't we start heading towards the train station." Mitsuru said, getting curious looks from her friends.
"Is something the matter?" She asked, a little perturbed by the stares that were directed at her.
"Oh, no! We're just a little surprised Mitsuru-senpai, we thought that you were going to have us chauffeured there." Yukari said, voicing the question that ran through the minds of everyone present.
"No, I thought it would be a nice change of pace for all of us to travel using the train. Unless you would rather travel there by car." Mitsuru said, getting shakes of the head indicating the negative.
With everything settled, the group headed towards the train station before they headed towards Inaba, happily chatting and catching up with one another. As they enjoyed the relaxing ride, due in part to the lack of other passengers, Hamuko and Aigis started up a conversation with each other concerning the sights that they were going to see in Inaba as the train stopped at another station.
Giggling, they opened their eyes and proceeded to widen them when a familiar faint blue glow caught their attention. Snapping their heads in the direction of its source, they found that it had just been vending machine was flickering. Turning back to face each other, they remained quiet before giggling louder then before.
"Hmm? What's so funny you two?" Yukari asked, getting Hamuko and Aigis to giggle louder much to her chagrin.
"Oh it's nothing Yukari-chan! Aigis and I thought we saw something familiar but it turned out to be a vending machine!" Hamuko said, her giggles turning into full blown laughter as the others looked at her a wry smile.
"Speaking of familiar things, do you think we'll see those kids at the Amagi Inn?" Junpei asked, getting a myriad of answers from everyone.
"I think so, it would be nice to see them again." Ken said, getting an affirmative bark from Koromaru as he hopped onto the seat beside him.
"It wouldn't be so bad seeing them again, I'd love to see how much stronger they've gotten. I wonder if they'll take me on in a match!" Akihiko shouted, slamming his fist into his palm as the group wryly laughed and sighed at his enthusiasm.
"Akihiko-senpai, we're on vacation. I don't think fighting should be a part of it." Fuuka chimed in, getting nods of agreement from the other girls.
"Yeah Aki. Besides, who would what to fight against a protein brained idiot like you." Shinjiro added, the two getting into another heated argument as everyone sighed.
Now much with more energy and excitement then before, the group started planning on which sights and activities they will be doing together. Of course it turned into an embarrassing situation when they discussed the room arrangements, Junpei boldly saying that Chidori and himself were going to share a room as it was "only natural for a couple in love" to do so.
Once those words left his mouth Chidori turned to him with an angry and embarrassed expression on her face along with a burning blush, demanding to know why he had put it so crudely. As Junpei tried to pacify his girlfriend, the others had no disagreements with that seeing as the two did live together.
The embarrassment came from Mitsuru who demanded that no illicit activities happen during their stay, directing it towards Shinjiro, Hamuko, Chidori and Junpei. The faces of the four burning brighter then the sun at her insinuation that they had an imitate relationship. When those words left her mouth, everyone gawked at the quartet; Yukari and Fuuka having turned away with bright red faces, Ken covering his face with his hands to hide his blush, Akihiko just turned pink and looked away awkwardly, even Mitsuru herself had a rosy color to her cheeks.
Of course, they denied having done anything of the sort, trying in a seemingly futile attempt to clear their names. But the awkward and embarrassing atmosphere left as they all started laughing together, the situation having reminded them of their youth as members of SEES. Soon, the train departed from the station and if they had remained looking at the machine, they would have seen the blue butterfly flying out from behind it as it followed the train to Inaba.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Dojima Residence)
Stopping in front of a house that read "Dojima" A silver haired young man smiled as he silently made his way into the house, slowly inserting his key before opening the door as it opened without a sound. Taking off his shoes, he stealthily made his way inside, spotting a long mane of brown hair, he smiled though it fell when he bumped into drawer in the hallway, getting the young girls attention.
"Eep!" She yelped, quickly turning around with wide eyes. Though they quickly turned excited as she moved to hug the silver haired young man who returned the gesture as she giggled at the contact.
"You're here! It's so nice to see you again Big Bro!" Nanako exclaimed, as she giggled happily as Yu laughed in return.
"Hey, I'm back! It's great to see you too Nanako. you've grown!" Yu exclaimed, hugging his cousin as she giggled at the contact.
"Nanako, is everything alright? I thought I-Oh, you're here. Welcome back!" An older man said, surprised at seeing Yu.
"Hey Uncle Dojima, sorry for coming without calling. I wanted to surprise Nanako and it looks like I did." He said, getting a nod from her.
Moving towards he uncle, they quickly exchanged a handshake before they gave the other a brief hug. Pulling away, Nanako grabbed his hand and directed him towards the table as they sat, excitedly chatting about what was going on in the few months of Yu's absence.
"Why don't we go see everyone Nanako? They're all at the Amagi Inn, they're having my return party there instead of Junes this year." Yu said getting an excited nod from Nanako.
"Can I really! Dad, is that ok?" Nanako asked, putting on her best puppy dog eyes as Dojima fell quickly as many others before him.
"I suppose so. Just stay safe alright? I know that Yu will make sure of that, but you never know." Dojima said, getting an affirmative nod from the two.
"Alright, well I need to head to the office. I have some paperwork that I need to get done. I'll see you two later tonight." Dojima said as they bid him goodbye.
Quickly moving his belongings into his room, Yu made sure that he had everything before checking with Nanako. Seeing that she was literally bouncing with energy, he just laughed good naturedly before taking her hand as they made their way towards the inn.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn)
Smiling as they spotted the Inn, Nanako quickened her pace as Yu followed suit. Stopping in front of the door, they opened it and entered as the bustling sounds of the employees and guests made it to their ears. Looking around, Yu smiled as he spotted a familiar shade of fawn colored hair. Tapping Nanako on the shoulder, he pointed at the other young man before Nanako beamed a smile at him.
"Yosuke!" Nanako called out, getting the other young man to jump slightly before he madly looked around before finally turning to face them. Once he saw their faces a bright smile lit up his face as he quickly ran over.
"Nanako! Partner!" Yosuke called out, Nanako quickly giving him a brief hug as he shared a handshake with Yu.
"It's great to see you! I hope you've been doing good! Come'on, the party's just beginning!" Yosuke said excitedly, getting Nanako to giggle as Yu smiled.
When they entered the room, a blur of copper collided with Yu as he grunted, surprised by the sudden hug.
"Senpai! I've missed you so, so much!" Rise tearfully said, tightening her hug as Yosuke laughed wryly beside them.
"Rise, don't go smothering him!" A young lady with brown hair styled in a slightly long bowl cut shouted, getting the others to agree.
"Yeah Rise-chan! I should be the first one to greet Sensei!" A blonde haired young man called out, pouting as he did.
"Now everyone. Please, don't cause such a commotion. We're in Yukiko-senpai's home, even though we're having a party we should still act like guests." A girl with long dark blue hair said, getting the attention of everyone present. Realizing their actions, they quickly turned to another young lady with black hair done up in a bun as they apologized.
"N-No! It's quite alright, they're fine Naoto! We're used to parties like this, I'll inform you guys if we're reaching a level that isn't quite allowed!" Yukiko said quickly in an attempt to lift the attention directed at her.
"It's great to see you again Senpai!" A young man with short black hair said, making his way over to Yu and greeting him with firm handshake.
"It's also great to see you too Nanako." He said, getting a hug from Nanako, making him blush slightly.
"It's great to see you too Kanji!" Nanako said before she greeted everyone else.
Soon, the greetings were finally finished before anyone started helping themselves to the food that the Inn's chefs had prepared, to the joy of the men and the irritation of the women. As the party went on, they happily chatted about the school year and the happenings that they were involved in. Though Naoto seemed to be a little more withdrawn then usual.
"Hey, is uh... Is everything alright Naoto?" Kanji asked his concern overriding the blush that would usually surface on her face.
"I'm fine Kanji-kun, don't worry about me. This week is just... It's nothing, really!" Naoto said, reassuring him that she was fine.
Though he didn't seem to buy it as he mustered up all the courage in his heart before he grabbed her wrist and led her back to the group, to her surprise. As they approached, she saw the same looks of concern on their faces, and couldn't help but feel touched that they cared so much for me. Quickly explaining that the 5th of March was the day that someone very close to her had passed away, the rest of the group nodded with understanding expressions.
A thankful smile came to her face before she excused herself, needing to go get some fresh air before she started crying at that moment. As she exited the room and entered the lobby, she was about to open the front door before it swung open, nearly hitting her in the face had she taken another step forward.
"Look at what you did you idiot! You almost hit someone with the door! Can't you be more careful for a change!" Yukari angrily scolded Junpei as he stared in shock at what he had almost done.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do that! Are you hurt anywh-" Junpei started before he froze, his eyes widening as the others stopped scolding him to see why had stopped mid-apology.
When they caught sight of Naoto they also froze, following Junpei's example of widening their eyes as Naoto started to feel a little perturbed by all of their stares. Seeing that they weren't going to respond anytime soon, Naoto was about to leave but when Junpei spoke, she stopped dead in her tracks.
"M-Minato...?" He asked, unsure and hopeful, his eyes starting to become misty as he saw Minato's face overlay Naoto's.
But quickly, the image of his best friend's face vanished and he saw the familiar face of the blue haired detective from the year before. Junpei realized his mistake and moved to apologize, but Naoto stopped him and the rest of the group when she dropped her own bombshell.
"M-Minato? As in Minato Arisato?" Naoto asked in a similarly hopeful tone, her heart ordering her detective side to collect any information that they had about her cousin.
Seeing them flinch before nodding slowly, Naoto suppressed herself some questioning them on the spot, seeing that they had bags with them. Quickly moving out of the way, she walked with them to the reception desk in an uncomfortable silence as they checked in. As they left to put their bags away, she told them that she would meet them back in the lounge in half an hour. Seeing them agree, she quickly made her way outside before she collapsed with her back against the wall.
"They know him. They know Minato-niisan..." Naoto whispered under her breath, finally having found people who seemed to have a close connection to her cousin.
Naoto stood up and braced herself, taking a series of deep breaths before she entered the inn once more. Seeing that she had time before she met with the group, she made her way back to the party. Seeing the curious looks from her friends, she quickly reassured them that everything was fine, stating that she just wanted to get some fresh air. Though they knew that she was hiding something, they opted to push down the questions that danced in their minds. Soon, Naoto once again excused herself to meet with the people from earlier.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Shadow Operative's Room)
After meeting the girl who bore a striking resemblance to Minato, the group made their way in an uncomfortable silence to their assigned rooms. Once they settled in and unpacked, they met up with each other out in the hallway, unreadable expressions on their faces. Exchanging looks with one another, they nodded before they headed back to the lobby, wondering what that young lady's connection with Minato was.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Lobby)
Once they arrived, they saw that she wasn't there. Quickly scanning the lobby, they made their way to sit near the corner of the room, away from any prying eyes as they waited for her return. While they sat in silence, their faces betrayed their inner thoughts. Akihiko had serious look on his face as his police training tried to figure out her connection with his friend. Junpei sat with Chidori holding his hand, a somber look on his face. Shinjiro was sitting beside Hamuko, holding her hand as she stared blankly into space. Aigis, Yukari, Fuuka and Mitsuru were sitting together all waiting anxiously for the blue haired girls return. Ken and Koromaru sat together, Koromaru nuzzling against the young teen's leg as Ken scratched him behind the ears.
Soon, the wait was over as they saw a head of dark blue hair making its way towards them. Stiffening up slightly, they tensed as she took a seat across from them. Finally, after a few minutes of tense silence Naoto spoke up.
"So did you know Minato?" Naoto asked, hope evident in her voice as she stared at the faces of the Shadow Operatives.
"Yeah, we did. He was a great guy, the greatest guy. He was also my best friend." Junpei said, a small smile making it to his face as Chidori squeezed his hand.
"He was a classmate of ours and a very close friend. We lived in the same dorm together." Yukari said, a fond but sad smile forming on her face.
Hearing the various words of praise and fondness that they had for her cousin, Naoto was surprised to say the least. She cousin who had always been reserved and quiet made friends who seemed to hold him in the greatest regard, the thought alone brought a bittersweet smile to her face. He wasn't as alone as she had thought, knowing that put her heart at ease. A little lost in her memories, Naoto was snapped out of her stupor when Mitsuru spoke up.
"So Naoto, what is your relation to Minato?" Mitsuru asked, getting the others to fix their attention on her, getting her to flinch and shy away slightly.
"W-Well... Minato-niisan and I were very close when we were young." Naoto began before she was interrupted by a wide eyed Hamuko.
"N-Niisan?!" Hamuko nearly shouted, standing up from her seat as everyone else flinched from her sudden outburst.
"Y-You're Minato's little sister Naoto-chan!?" Hamuko asked Naoto in a subtlety angry tone, though no one seemed to pick up on it.
"Well no... I'm his cousin but we were inseparable when we were children, I started calling him Niisan because he always took care of me like one." Naoto answered in a fond time, folding her hand together.
"O-Oh, I see." Hamuko said, sitting down after her embarrassing outburst.
"It's because we were close that I wanted to ask all of you, do you know how or why Niisan died?" Naoto asked, looking at the group with hopeful eyes.
Seeing such a look from the young woman made their hearts twist in an uncomfortable knot. Exchanging a glance between each other they nodded, knowing that Naoto could handle the truth seeing as they had seen her abilities and some of her personality during the P-1 Grand Prix the year before.
"Very well... But it's quite a long story. Do you have the time now?" Mitsuru asked, getting a negative shake of the head from Naoto.
But before she could speak, a series of voices caused the group to turn towards its source, seeing the rest of the Investigation Team making their way towards them.
"Naoto! There you are! Are you sure everything in fi-" Chie trailed off, seeing the familiar faces of the Shadow Operatives sitting with their blue haired friend.
"Well, it's been a while hasn't it." Junpei said, getting a few nods of the head from the other group.
"Mitsuru-san, I... I think they should know what happened to my Niisan as well."Naoto said, getting shocked looks from the others.
"N-N-Niisan!? You have a big brother?!" Yosuke shouted, his eyes wide as Kanji started shaking next to him.
After calming the other party down, they moved to a private room with a little help from Yukiko. Gathered around a large table, they sipped on the cups of tea in front of them before turning their attention towards the older people present.
"Naoto. You said you wanted them to know the truth about Minato as well. While I don't see any reason to refuse you, may I ask why?" Mitsuru asked, turning the spotlight to Naoto who looked at her tea.
"I'm not sure Mitsuru-san. I just think that my Niisan's death shouldn't be a mystery. I've spent 2 years trying to find out his cause of death only to turn up with dead ends and vague answers. If my Niisan died because of Shadows, I think that my friends could benefit from knowing what happened to him, no matter how little it will affect them." Naoto said, getting a slow nod from the red haired empress.
"Very well, I'll grant you your request." Mitsuru said, turning towards her friends who nodded at her.
Soon, they Shadow Operatives began their tale of Minato's life during his stay in Tatsumi Port Island. They talked briefly about his actions during his school life, befriending many people and solving many problems. Making the Investigation Team turn to Yu seeing as he had done the same things as well. Then they talked about Tartarus and the Dark Hour in more detail then they had the year before. Moving past that, they finally talked about the main point of discussion. The miracle that Minato performed that night at the top of Tartarus.
"So... He gave up his life to save the world...?" Yosuke asked, his eyes wide at the act of selflessness.
"That's right, and he did it without blinking an eye." Junpei said, looking down at his cup of tea.
"T-That's amazing... To think someone had the resolve to do something like that without any regrets." Yu said, his respect for his predecessor rising throughout the course of his story.
"After that, he managed to gather enough energy to spend one more month with us. While we had forgotten everything concerning Tartarus and the Dark Hour, he remembered every moment. During that time he acted like nothing was wrong, smiling and talking with us like nothing had happened." Akihiko said, a solemn smile making its way to his face.
"Then, on March 5th, on the day of our graduation he passed away. Aigis had been the only one who had remembered everything that had happened to him. She was the one who he spent his last moments with, and the only one to hear his goodbye." Yukari added, a little bitterness in her voice though no one could detect it.
"After that we got stuck in a place called the Abyss of Time. While we were inside of it we learned that he performed that miracle willingly and without regrets, we even managed to see him one more time before we left." Fuuka said in a sad tone.
"And that's pretty much the whole story." Shinjiro finished, squeezing Hamuko's hand as she subtly trembled, reliving the memories of her brother.
"While we're sad that he's not here with us... We know that even right now, he's watching over all of us." Hamuko said with a shaky tone, wiping away the tears from her eyes.
As the Shadow Operatives finished Minato's story, there were a few teary eyes in the room, mostly from the Operatives themselves but Naoto, Kanji, Nanako, Teddy and Rise were also teary eyed. Taking a few moments to collect themselves, Naoto finally spoke as silence started to take over.
"T-Thank you... Everyone..." Naoto managed to say, a hand over her mouth as she stifled the sobs that tried to escape.
After nearly 3 years, she had finally found out the answer to the mystery that had plagued her. Wrapping an arm around her, Kanji and Rise hugged her as she did nothing to stop them, opting to enjoy the comforting embrace of her friends. After a few moments, Naoto composed herself before beaming a small but content smile at the Operatives. Soon, the somber atmosphere shifted to a much happier one as they moved past the painful and tragic story, taking the moment to reconnect with each other.
"Haha, no way! You're natural hair color is black?" Junpei asked, dumbfounded at the truth laid before him.
"Yeah, you got a problem with that?!" Kanji shouted, still a little sensitive about his natural hair color.
"Come'on Kanji, we were just as surprised when we found out remember! When Yu came back the first time, he almost didn't recognize you!" Yosuke said, getting a round of laughter to erupt from the table.
Spending the time together, the room suddenly turned move lively when Teddie tried to hit on Chidori, getting a rather angry Junpei to bop him on the head. His first conquest failed, he moved onto Hamuko only to stop when Shinjiro gave him the scariest glare he could muster, making the poor blonde tremble under his gaze. After a failed expedition, Teddie sat beside Yosuke and Yu, who were patting him on the shoulder. Not paying attention to the time, they chatted and laughed well into the night, though Nanako and Yu left in order to avoid getting lectured by Dojima.
(Scene Change - Sea of Souls)
In the midst of sleeping, Nyx suddenly snapped her eyes opened when she felt a sudden surge of negative emotions. Reluctantly, she removed herself from Minato as she stood up to face the spiraling mass of negative emotions. A smirk coming to her face, she turned before reaching out and shaking Minato gently.
"Minato, it's time. Quickly, you need to wake up!" Nyx said in a barely controlled, excitable tone.
His eyes fluttering awake at the sound of her voice, they soon snapped open when he felt the negative emotions gathering before him. Releasing a yawn, he braced himself before getting up and stretching. Cracking an eye open, he stared at the mass of negative emotions with an impassive eye, having dealt with it on more then one occasion.
"So, what's next?" He asked, turning to Nyx who gave him a giggle in response.
"Be just need to destroy Erebus once more before it fully forms. The moment before it reforms will give up a brief window of time to escape, using the portal that those negative emotions used. But before we do that, let's get you everything you will need for the physical world." Nyx said, snapping her fingers as Minato was shrouded in a blanket of darkness.
It soon dissipated as he stood staring at her with the same impassive expression as before, though his outfit had changed. Instead of the blazer, slacks, loafers and tie; Minato's outfit had changed considerably. He was now wearing a white shirt under a dark blue hooded jacket, the sleeves cut at the bicep. His slacks and loafers were replaced with black pants with matching sneakers in their place. Hiding a majority of his hair and eyes was a billed beanie. The most distinguishing part of his new outfit was pair of silver circumaural headphones that rested around his neck and the MP3 player that was attached to it, resting in the pocket of his jacket. Glancing towards the reflective door behind him, he turned and raised an eyebrow at Nyx who blushed at the gesture.
"W-What? Do you not like it? I think you look rather dashing, I choose that outfit myself after countless hours of mixing and matching." Nyx retorted, getting Minato to shrug in response.
"I like it. Thanks." He replied, getting Nyx to freeze in the middle of her rant and stutter out a bashful response.
"D-Don't mention it. It's the least I can do Minato. Now, let's get the rest of your supplies." Nyx said, snapping her fingers once again as a spiral of darkness appeared beside Minato.
Glancing down, he raised his eyebrow once more when a modern dark blue backpack and a briefcase appeared. Crouching down slightly, he reached for and proceeded to open both, seeing that they contained a laptop, a phone, a folder with his legal documentation, a wallet, a change of clothes and sleepwear, and roughly a three million yen.
"There! You're all set for the physical world now! Now get ready to call for me, Erebus is almost finished reforming!" Nyx chirped in a happy tone.
"Could you give me an evoker. I'm still not used to summoning a persona without one." Minato said, getting a curious look from Nyx.
"An evoker? Wouldn't you seem suspicious carrying something that appears to be a handgun?" Nyx asked, getting a shake of the head from Minato.
"If you could, if not, it's fine." Minato replied, getting a slight pout from goddess.
"Doubting me huh? I'll show you that I can make one!" Nyx said in a challenging tone as a spiral of darkness once again appeared, leaving behind a black box.
Reaching for it, Minato opened it and couldn't help but pick up the object. Heavier then the evokers he remembered using, it was a steel grey handgun in the model of a Beretta 92fs. It's grip black with "Nyx" written along the sides of the barrel in dark blue. After admiring the device for a few seconds, he turned to Nyx when she began to speak.
"I've replicated what I remember of your evoker, though I've made some changes as you can see. Now, let's get ready!" Nyx said before she moved alongside Minato.
Placing the box the evoker came from inside of his backpack before slipping it on, Minato grabbed the briefcase with his left hand as he readied his evoker with his right. Soon, the crimson eyes of Erebus became visible to Minato before he pulled the trigger, the sound of something shattering echoing as dark blue shards surrounded him, finally Nyx manifested behind him as she readied her attack.
"Night Queen." Minato said as he ran towards the semi-complete beast.
With a shout, Nyx raised her hand towards Erebus as multiple beams of crimson energy descended upon it, Erebus roaring as its form began to dissolve back into raw negative energy. Reaching the spot that Erebus was reforming at, Minato saw a black portal with black energy flowing out of it. Steeling himself, he dove into it as Nyx smiled behind him.
(Scene Change - Tatsumi Port Island: Gekkoukan High School)
In the quiet of the night, a dark portal suddenly opened above the rooftop of Gekkoukan High, a dark figure falling from it before it grunted upon hitting the ground. Slowly rising, the portal above him closed into nothingness as Minato used the railings to steady himself. Holding his head, he resisted the urge to vomit as the passage through the stream of negative emotions nearly caused him to go insane if Nyx wasn't protecting his psyche. Releasing a sigh, he slowly raised his head and looked around, a strange sense of nostalgia nipping at his senses. Glancing up at the moon, he estimated that it was probably an hour or two before midnight, judging from the position of the moon.
Making his way towards the only door in sight, he tried to open it only to find that it was locked, though he wasn't expecting it to be unlocked at this time of night. Releasing a sigh, he saw that there was only one way down and he wasn't looking forward to it. It was either climb down the side of the school or wait until morning and for someone to unlock the door. Ruling the second option out, he made it over the fence before scaling down the side using the ledges of the windows.
With little difficulty, he made his way down before he headed out of the school grounds, the nostalgia fading away as he left the area. Boarding the train and slipping on his headphones, Minato felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, as though he had done this before. Shaking those thoughts from his head, he let his thoughts drift as he started out the window
(Scene Change - Tatsumi Port Island: Iwatodai Train Station).
About half an hour of riding the train, Minato was about to get off at the Iwatodai station but stopped mid-way out of his seat. Flying beside the train, in an erratic manner, was a black moth. While a moth wouldn't have drawn much attention from anyone, this one was shrouded in a sickly black miasma. Seeing that it was flying ahead, something inside of Minato compelled him to follow it, his instincts screaming at him that it wasn't something he should let roam free. Sitting back down, Minato lost sight of the moth as it flew ahead of the stopped train. Once the train began moving, Minato wasn't able to catch sight of the black insect.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Yasoinaba Train Station)
As the train neared its stop in Inaba, his instincts once again screamed at him that the moth was somewhere here. Getting off the train, he scanned the area and saw that it was a little past midnight. Looking away from the clock, he caught sight of a sickly black miasma leaking out of the station bathroom. Narrowing his eyes, he approached the facility only to jump back when the door to the bathroom came flying open as a person stumbled out of it.
Wearing a uniform, Minato was about to see if there was something wrong with him but froze. The same miasma that shrouded the moth shrouding the security guard. As he stumbled forward, he froze, slowly lifting his face to meet Minato's. His eyes were pupil-less and his face was set into a snarl, as if he was angry at something. When he saw the blue haired young man, the guard roared as he charged at him.
Sidestepping, Minato avoided the tackle as the guard slammed into a concrete beam. Slamming face first into it, the guard groaned before he whipped around, a nasty sneer making its way to his face. What happened next made Minato's eyes widen. Floating down into the guard's hand was a black, upside down tarot card.
The sneer on his face growing, he crushed the card in his hand as black shards spiraled around him. But instead of floating above him, those shards fell to the ground and began to recompile into a black mass. Finally, a mask with a cross-like mark appeared before a Bigoted Maya formed.
"Shadow!" The guard sneered at Minato, the same way one would say "Persona".
Breaking out of his stupor, Minato quickly dodged to the side as the Shadow lunged at him with its claws poised to kill. Narrowing his eyes, he cursed himself for not asking Nyx for a weapon while they were still in the Sea of Souls. He wasn't sure he was able to summon Nyx, seeing as the Dark Hour didn't exist anymore, not to mention her presence would no doubt gather other Shadows or "Shadow users" as Minato had mentally dubbed the guard he was facing, seeing as she was the one who could bring about the Fall. Soon, the same card from earlier fell into the guards hand as he snarled at Minato.
"Ziodyne!" The guard shouted, crushing the card as the Bigoted Maya raised its hand towards Minato as a bolt of lightning raced towards him.
Dodging the bolt of lightning by rolling forward, Minato saw an opening as the Shadow seemed to be slowing down quite a bit after using that attack. Sprinting towards it, he closed in on the Maya before spinning on his foot and slamming his heel into its mask as the guard who summoned it screamed in agony, gripping his head in similar manner as Persona users when their personas take damage.
As the Maya reeled back, it vanished in a wisp of black miasma. Not wasting time, Minato raced towards the guard as he looked up, only to see Minato's fist before his world went black. Still cautious, Minato slowly dropped his guard as the miasma shrouding the guard vanished, leaving no trace that it existed at all. Soon, a groan could be heard from as he slowly opened his eyes. Sitting up, he glanced around before locking onto Minato, who tensed up as the guard rose from his seated position.
"Whoa. What happened? My head feels like my wife just trashed it with her frying pan."
The guard said, holding his head as he leaned against the concrete beam.
"Hey, are you alright?" Minato asked, slowly making his way over to the disoriented man.
"Yeah, but I can't remember anything. All I can remember is making my rounds just like usual before I blacked out. Next thing I know I'm waking up with this migraine. Do you know what happened young man?" The guard said, massaging his temples as he stared at Minato.
"Not at all. I got off the train and found you collapsed on the ground. I was about to call an ambulance but you woke up." Minato lied, the guard seeming to buy his story as he continued to massage his head.
"Ah, well thanks for helping me out. You should get going now, Inaba may be a pretty laid back town but you never know what might happen." The guard said, getting a nod from Minato before he walked out of the station, his mind racing.
"What was that... He summoned a shadow like a persona." Minato thought, trying to come up with some answer to the strange encounter that he just had.
"Minato, a Persona is only a Shadow that remains under the control of the mind that created it. This is why Persona users aren't rendered brain-dead by exposure to other Shadows. However, that doesn't explain why that man's Shadow didn't become a Persona when he was commanding it." Nyx said, also curious as to the man' strange ability.
"There's no use dwelling on it now, if one person could do that, there has to be more. There's also that miasma that was covering him. That moth had the same look to it and we lost its trail here so there's got to be a connection between the two." Minato mentally assessed, getting a mental nod of agreement from Nyx.
"We're going to be getting involved in this right? This will be a perfect opportunity to test your skills Minato, not to mention mine!" Nyx said in an excited tone, getting Minato to shake his head at her antics.
"We'll need to find out more about this and stop it before someone gets killed, that man could summon that Shadow outside of the Dark Hour, that alone is dangerous. There's no telling how many people have discovered that ability or are about to. If they wanted to, they could really do some damage." Minato thought, securing his grip on his briefcase as he made his way into the town, a foreboding sense of dread filling his stomach.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn)
After searching around for a place to stay, Minato finally found a place in the Amagi Inn. Seeing as it was rather late, he walked in expecting no one to be manning the front desk, only to be surprised by an attendant at the reception desk.
"Oh! A visitor this late?" The receptionist said in a surprised tone, jumping slightly when she caught sight of Minato.
"My apologies, but is a room available by chance? I've got arrived in Inaba and I haven't found another place to stay during my time here." Minato asked, getting the receptionist to blush a little seeing his face close up, though she couldn't see much of his hair or eyes.
"W-We do have a few room available. Do you know how long you will be staying?" She asked.
"As of right now, I don't." Minato replied, getting her to nod as she jotted his answer onto a notepad.
"Very well, as you don't know the duration of your stay here, you'll have to pay by the day. Is that fine?" She asked, getting a nod from Minato.
Nodding in return, she handed him a contract to fill out as she went into the back to fetch his room key. When she returned, she briefly scanned the paperwork before asking for his ID. After checking and matching the two, she nodded and handed him his key, a smile on her face.
"And that finishes it, enjoy your stay at the Amagi Inn!" She chirped, getting a grateful nod from Minato.
As he made his way towards his room, which the receptionist pointed out was right in front of the desk, he opened the door and made his way inside. Setting his bag and briefcase down, he released an exhausted sigh. Sitting on the futon, he let his head rest against the wall as he took off his hat, letting his hair fall freely across his face. Closing his eyes, he went over the events that happened over the course of the night.
After taking a few minutes to analyze those events, he opened his eyes and changed into his sleepwear before letting his head hit the pillow, his eyes closing once more before sleep took over.
(Time Skip - The Next Morning)
Inside of one of the largest rooms in the Amagi Inn, a group of 18 people slept strew about the room, some sleeping soundly other sleeping noisily. As the sunlight made its way through the thin paper windows of the room, a few of them groaned before turning or raising a hand to block out the light that disturbed their slumber.
"Mmm... Shinjiro-kun please turn off the sun..." Hamuko groaned, burying her face deeper into Shinjiro's chest as the larger man groggily woke up to perform the task asked of him.
As he sat up, Hamuko groaning at the loss of warmth, he froze as his eyes widened at the scene before him. It was absolute chaos. Clothes were strewn about, empty bottles laid discarded amongst the plates and bowls, and worst of all, he was wearing only his boxers. Quickly assessing the situation, he froze as a bone chilling shiver made its way up his spine. Sleeping on the opposite side of the room, with her brilliant red hair strewn about in a chaotic way, Mitsuru was only a few moments away from waking up given her stance on timeliness. If she woke up to this, none of them would be safe from an execution.
Turning towards his girlfriend, he silently shook her awake, her head bobbing madly before she grabbed him. About to yell at him, he covered her mouth with his hand, shushing her as he pointed to Mitsuru, getting Hamuko to pale as she realized the severity of the situation. Nodding to each other, they went around and woke up their friends, making sure that they avoided the hazardous areas that littered the room. Moving quickly, they were able to wake everyone with the exception of Mitsuru. A little too happy about their success, Yosuke and Junpei knocked over a chopstick as the rest of the group paled.
Almost in slow motion, they watched the utensil fall to the floor before it impacted with a thunderous thud. Freezing, they robotically turned their heads to the redhead only to sigh as she had not been disturbed by the noise.
"That was close." Shinjiro whispered before a sense of dread filled his being.
Slowly turning around, he and the rest of the group paled when they saw Mitsuru standing before them, her hair prim and proper unlike its chaotic state from just a few seconds earlier. Gazing at everyone present with an icy glare, she noticed their state of dress or lack thereof, and the temperature of the room dropped considerably.
"Care to explain why all of you are dressed so immodestly, did I not tell you beforehand that I will not tolerate illicit activities while on this vacation." Mitsuru said in an equally icy tone.
After she spoke no one dared to challenge her, opting to look away or try and make themselves as small as possible in the hopes that she would forget about them. She didn't.
"Well now, I'm sure you all know what happens now correct?" She asked, getting a number of pale faces in response.
"Good. Because it's time for your execution." She said, making her way slowly to the group as the early morning sun's light momentarily faded away.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Men's Bathhouse)
Having woken up when the sun had just crossed the horizon, Minato was alone in the bathhouse as he washed up. While not having much of an agenda for the day, he had planned to spend most of his day searching for signs of the black moth from the night before or the miasma that seemed to be connected to it. Rinsing the shampoo from his hair, he got up before moving to change into his robe, his towel never leaving his head.
Stepping out of the bathhouse, he stopped when a group of people moaning and groaning blocked his way, taking the width of the hallway. Stopping in the midst of drying his hair, he shifted his towel slightly to get a better view of them, another wave of nostalgia washing over him when he saw their faces.
After Mitsuru's execution, which only the likes of Koromaru, Ken and Aigis were spared from as they kept their clothes on, the large group of young adults trudged out of the large room, making their way towards their own rooms. But in the midst of their journey, Mitsuru had stopped them and gave them another lecture about decency and morals, emphasizing the consequences should another incident happen. While they were being lectured, a voice caused them to jump, not thinking that anyone would be awake at the time.
"Excuse me, could I pass?" He asked, getting the group to jump at the sound of his voice.
"O-Oh! My apologies! We didn't meant to block your way." Mitsuru said, quickly apologizing for holding up a fellow guest of the inn.
"Don't worry about it." Minato said, returning to drying his hair as he passed the group, leaving them in silence.
"W-Whoa, didn't think anyone else but us would be up at this hour." Yosuke said, getting a nod of agreement from the others.
"Hey... Didn't he seem sorta, familiar?" Junpei asked, getting a curious look from the others.
"No, not really. I doubt we'll see him anywhere but here." Chie said, getting a nod from a majority of the others.
"Now that you mention it, I do feel like I've met him before." Akihiko admitted, getting even more curious stares.
"I agree, I feel as though we've met before but I can't place my finger on it." Mitsuru said, getting a shocked look from the others, knowing that Mitsuru never forgot a face.
"I also feel as though I know him, but my memory banks and database holds no information or records about a male that matches his voice or build." Aigis reported, scanning through her memory banks for the fourth time.
Seeing the that Shadow Operatives all seemed to have some sense of familiarity with the unknown man, the Investigation Team nodded at each other, they would find out if that man did in fact have a connection to them as well.
With Minato, he quickly changed before donning his beanie, once again fixing it so that it covered a majority of his hair and eyes. Seeing that everything was in order, he grabbed his backpack before opening it and retrieving his evoker and a holster. Slipping the holster over his shirt and adjusting it so that it remained hidden, he placed his evoker inside of it before donning his blue jacket.
Checking himself in the mirror and seeing no hint of his holster of evoker he tested the system, slipping his hand to the left side of his abdomen and drawing his evoker. He repeated the action a few times before he was satisfied that it worked. Grabbing his wallet, headphones and MP3 before slipping them on, he selected a song as a small smile graced his features as the music flowed out of his headphones. Placing the MP3 player into a pocket made specifically to hold it, he made his way out of the room and into the town.
(Time Skip - A Few Hours Later)
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Lobby)
Finished with washing up and changing, the Shadow Operatives parted ways with the Investigation Team, agreeing to meet up later in the day to give them a tour of the city. Once they were finished with everything, they met up in the lobby of the inn as they planned out their plan for the day. Going over a list of popular tourist spots, which were limited, they had the framework for their plan before set off, intent on relaxing for the next two weeks.
"Is everyone in agreement with this plan? Any objections or suggestions will be taken now." Mitsuru asked, getting wry smiles from her friends as she entered her commander mode by habit.
"We're all fine with the plan Mitsuru-senpai, we're here to relax after all." Yukari said, getting a nod from Mitsuru and the others.
"I think it sounds great Mitsuru-senpai, it's a great way to start our vacation!" Fuuka chimed in, getting a smile from the redhead.
"Alright, well it seems that the girls are in agreement. Gentlemen, do you have anything to say?" Mitsuru asked, getting them to sweat and shake their heads vigorously.
"N-Not at all! We're all game! Right Akihiko-senpai! Shinjiro-senpai! Ken!" Junpei quickly said, making Chidori giggle at his flustered state.
"Yeah, whatever. We're on vacation and all." Shinjiro added in a slightly irritated tone.
"Aww, Shinjiro-kun! Are you still upset about not having your beanie? Come'on! Even Junpei hasn't complained about his hat!" Hamuko said, pouting slightly as Junpei and Akihiko snickered.
"Hamuko-chan is correct, Junpei has only complained three times about his hat since the beginning of this trip while Shinjiro has complained seven times." Chidori chimed in, making Akihiko and Junpei laugh even harder.
"Y-You got something to say?! Then say it!" Shinjiro said, a bit of pink on his cheeks.
"What? Us? We've got nothing to say Shinji!" Akihiko said while trying to reign his snickers as Junpei just started laughing.
"Tch." Shinji growled out, turning away from the two as Hamuko and the rest of the girls giggled at his behavior.
"Well, I think we should get a move on. We'll need to make the best use of our time to make this schedule work." Ken said, getting a bark of agreement from Koromaru.
"I agree, then let's begin." Mitsuru announced as they made their way out of the inn.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Junes - Food Court)
Gathered in the June food court, the members of the Investigation Team were happily chatting about their plans for the day. When Yu finally arrived, stating that Nanako had gone to play with her friends who came back for the summer, they filled him in on the situation at hand and their new case.
"So we're going to investigate that guy's connection to Mitsuru-san and the others?" Yu asked, getting nods from the other members of the team.
"I know it sounds crazy partner, but I can't help but feel something off about him too. I really can't describe the feeling I get from him." Yosuke said, getting a curious look from Yu.
"I agree with Yosuke, Sensei! I can't help but smell something bear-y suspicious about him. I don't think he's here on vacation at all!" Teddie said, getting a nod from Yu.
"I have to agree. Something about that man makes me feel a little wary, like he's dangerous. I can't quite explain it as well." Yukiko admitted, getting shocked looks from her friends.
"Dangerous?! Then why are you letting him stay are your inn?! He could be another murderer or something!" Chie said, raising her voice a little at the thought of another string of murders.
"I-I didn't mean it like that! I mean dangerous like when someone describes a dragon, something that's extremely dangerous if you want to fight it but will leave you alone if you don't disturb it." She said, getting a sigh of relief from Chie and Yosuke.
"Well I say we just go up to the guy and talk to him, ain't nothing wrong about asking him if he's done anything wrong. It'd be more suspicious if he didn't want to talk." Kanji suggested, getting a wry smile from the others at his bluntness.
"Kanji! Didn't you just hear what Yukiko-senpai said? He's dangerous, if we walk right up to him and start accusing him of being suspicious or questioning him without cause who knows what will happen!" Rise said, scolding Kanji at his rather upfront idea.
"So what do you all suggest we do? If what you're all saying about him being dangerous is true, then I don't think that a direct approach will be a very good idea. If he's really doing something behind the scenes, then he's probably doing it at night. That being said, what would or could we do? We can't summon our Persona outside of the Tv World remember." Yu said, getting the group to quiet down, remembering the limitations of their abilities.
"Damn, he's right. If he's doing something in the real world we're powerless. The best we could do is notify the police or Mitsuru-san's group about what he's doing." Yosuke said, furrowing his brow at the thought.
While her friends were busy discussing their plan of action, Naoto had remained quiet through it all. While she didn't speak up, she shared the same sentiments as the Shadow Operatives, she felt an overwhelming amount of familiarity towards that man. She didn't know why but she couldn't get rid of the feeling that she knew him and knew him for a long time. Just thinking about him caused her to feel a sense of nostalgia that she never felt unless she was at home looking through her photo album.
" Naoto? Naoto!" Kanji suddenly said, getting her to jump slightly in her seat as she looked around.
"Huh? What's wrong?" She asked, getting confused looks from her friends.
"Weren't you listening? We're going to meet up with Mitsuru-san and tell her about our plan. I think it will benefit both our groups if we join together to find out more about that person." Yu said, getting a look of surprise from Naoto.
"O-Oh! I see, that's a great plan. Power in numbers." Naoto said as her friends gave her a concerned look.
"Are you ok? You seem kind of out of it." Chie asked, worry evident on her face.
"N-No! I'm fine! Please, don't worry about me! I'm just thinking about what that person's motive could be for being so secretive." Naoto said, getting hesitant nods from them.
"Alright, then we're supposed to meet up by the shine so let's go!" Teddie enthusiastically said, getting a few wry laughs from the rest of the group.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Tatsuhime Shrine)
"Hmm... They're 10 minutes late. It's rather odd for a group that experienced to be this late." Mitsuru said, glancing at her wristwatch before scanning the area.
"Hey, don't be so strict Mitsuru. We're on vacation after all, it's fine to be a little late." Akihiko said, taking a sip of his favorite protein shake as Mitsuru shook her head.
"Akihiko, timeliness is an invaluable skill. Even if we are on vacation it is no excuse to be late." Mitsuru replied, getting a chuckle from the young man.
"Akihiko-san is right Mitsuru-san, you should relax a little more. We are on vacation, it's fine to be a little less rigid when it comes to rules and such, though I'm not saying that we should completely disregard them!" Ken said, quickly adding the last bit as Mitsuru directed a slightly icy gaze at him for suggesting they neglect the rules.
While they were waiting for the Investigation Team at the shine like they had agreed to earlier in the day, the group found different ways to pass the time. Chidori was teaching Junpei how to draw, giggling once in a while as his drawing seemed to be getting worse over time rather then better. Fuuka was laughing and chatting with Aigis and Yukari, the trio talking about the teens who tried to hit on them earlier, only to be shot down by all of them without batting an eye. Shinjiro and Hamuko were just enjoying the other's company as they watched Koromaru race around the shrine, taking in smells. Ken and Akihiko were having a friendly conversation of nutrition, Akihiko suggesting multiple types of protein and training regimen to help Ken build muscle as the teen laughed wry at his suggestions. Mitsuru was controlling the urge to check her email and work, beginning to crush the cup she held in her hand.
Just as the last strands of her self control began to snap, a myriad of footsteps caught her attention and the attention of everyone present, Stopping in the midst of their activities, they turned and smiled when they saw the faces of the Investigation Team approaching. When they finally made it, Mitsuru once again lectured them about the importance of timeliness, bringing up the fact that they were 20 minutes late, the group apologizing as their meeting had gone over the scheduled time. After things settled down, the Investigation Team decided to bite the bullet and cancel the planned tour of Inaba, opting to tell the Shadow Operatives about their plan.
"So... You want to investigate that man from this morning to find out if he's hiding anything." Akihiko said, his normally friendly look replaced with a sharp, stern one.
"Y-Yeah, we all felt something off about him so I thought it'd be a good idea." Yosuke said as he tried not to flinch under the unusually sharp and serious looks of the normally friendly Operatives.
"Well,, what do you think Mitsuru? We're on vacation right, think we can afford to look into this?" Akihiko asked, turning towards their leader as she closed her eyes in thought.
"I'm not quite what we should do. While it is true that we're on our vacation, can we really let someone who an experienced group of individuals deemed as dangerous, walk around freely?" Mitsuru asked back at her team, the Operatives exchanging looks between each other.
"I think we should look into it. If he's really as dangerous as they say or think he is, we're better off taking care of it now before it gets worse." Junpei said, getting a nod of agreement from a majority of the group.
"I agree with Junpei, if something happens while we're here and we didn't do anything, I don't think I'd be able to live with myself." Hamuko admitted, the others agreeing with her reasoning.
"Alright, then I can assume that we're in agreement to look into this man?" Mitsuru asked, getting nods from both parties.
"Then as of right now, our vacation is on a temporary hold. Based on the information that we have now, we'll trail him once the sun sets. Be prepared for tonight. That is all." Mitsuru ordered, the Shadow Operatives nodding before they headed back to the dorms as the Investigation Team stood a little bewildered by her leadership.
"Whoa, Mitsuru-san really is the head of the Kirijo Group." Yukiko said, her friends nodding in agreement with her.
"Mitsuru-san is right, we need to get ready for tonight. We'll meet up at Junes before we head to the Amagi Inn alright?" Yu said, getting nods and salutes from his friends, making him laugh as little before they joined in.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Central Shopping District)
Glancing around, Minato saw that a majority of the shops that dotted the district were either closed or out of business. Walking though the quiet district, he overheard a conversation about a group of teenagers who were planning on taking down Junes or something of the sort, the women who were gossiping leaving the area before they finished. Deciding to take a seat on a bench nearby, he contemplated the possibility that the teenagers the women were talking about were going to be the next ones to unlock the ability to use their Shadows.
The guard from before didn't seem to have any insecurities or internal conflict that would explain his ability to manifest his Shadow. But then there was miasma that shrouded him, perhaps that was the catalyst that allowed his Shadow to manifest and keep its form. It certainly had the look and feeling to back up that claim. Shaking his head, he stood back up before making his way back to the inn, his next destination being Junes when midnight came around.
(Time Skip - A Few Hours Later)
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Minato's Room)
Opening his eyes, Minato checked the time and saw that it was a 11:21pm. Getting out of bed and stretching, he kneaded out the kinks in his shoulder and neck before he got dressed once again. Making sure that he had everything, he grabbed the phone that Nyx had created and checked its functions. Seeing that it had a stylus and writing app with a recorder, both audio and visual along with a high spec camera and sensitive microphone, he pocketed it, seeing as it would be invaluable to take down information. Discarding his wallet and slipping on his holster and evoker, he fixed his cap before he exited the inn.
As Minato exited the inn, the combined groups of the Investigation Team and Shadow Operatives followed after him. With Mitsuru and Yu leading the groups, they exchanged looks with each other before nodding, giving Minato a few minutes to create some distance before they followed him.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Central Shopping District)
Arriving in the shopping district, Minato stopped before the turned around, having felt that someone was following him since he left the inn. Now on guard, he turned back around before heading into a narrow alleyway, attempting to throw off whoever was tailing him.
"It appears that he's taken notice of us." Mitsuru said, furrowing her brow as the rest of the group felt a brief flash of panic.
"Damn, then he is more then he looks." Akihiko said, taking a breath to calm himself.
"If I had brought my evoker, I would have been able to following him from a distance." Fuuka said in an apologetic tone, getting Yukari and Hamuko to pat her on the back.
"It's fine Fuuka, we were on vacation remember? Mitsuru-senpai had specifically told us not to bring them." Yukari said, getting a nod from the person in question.
"I don't suppose you can summon yours outside of the Tv World?" Shinjiro asked Rise, the girl shaking her head in the negative.
"I wish we could, if we had those evoker things that you guys have we probably could." Yosuke said, feeling a little powerless at their situation.
"There's no use dwelling on it now, we need to keep following him. I think the best choice would be to split up into smaller groups to keep on his trail." Yu suggested the rest of the team agreeing to his decision.
Splitting into smaller groups composing of: Yu, Yosuke and Ken. Kanji, Naoto and Shinjiro. Teddie, Koromaru and Aigis. Junpei, Chidori and Yukiko. Chie, Akihiko and Fuuka. And finally Yukari, Rise, Hamuko and Mitsuru making up the final team. Nodding at each other, they split up and circled around the shopping district before heading into it.
Running down a fairly straight alleyway was the team composed of Yu, Yosuke and Ken.
"So what's the plan Yu-san, Yosuke-san? What do we do if we're the ones to meet that guy?" Ken asked the two young men running beside him.
"As of right now, our current goal is to catch that guy in the act of doing something. If we do get into a fight, well. We'll have to improvise." Yu said, getting a nod from Ken and a smile from Yosuke.
"That's our leader for you, always calm no matter what the situation is!" Yosuke said with pride in his voice as Yu gave him a wry smile while Ken quieted a little bit.
With Kanji, Naoto and Shinjiro, they were doing their best in the rather narrow alleyway, Shinjiro having gotten stuck at one point.
"Tch. This is a pain, once we find that guy he's going down." Shinjiro said in an agitated tone, already irritated for having his vacation interrupted.
"I'm with you on that one Shinjiro-senpai. This guys is gonna get it real good." Kanji said, cracking his knuckles as they rounded another corner.
"Let's not do anything rash. Remember, we don't know what he's capable of." Naoto chided the two, getting Shinjiro to grunt while Kanji nodded.
With Koromaru leading the pack, Teddie and Aigis dodged the maze of trash that littered the alleyway.
"Arf!" Koromaru barked out in a happy tone, his tail wagging as he traversed the alleyway.
"Koromaru-san says "We're almost there." Teddie-san. We should increase our speed in order to reach our destination faster." Aigis said, turning to the blonde lagging behind her and Koromaru.
"W-Wait! I'm not used to all this running! This is unbearable!" Teddie groaned, his legs already aching from all the running.
With Junpei, Chidori and Yukiko, they were in a relatively neat alleyway, Chidori admiring the graffiti that littered the walls.
"How interesting. The artist seems to be trying to portray their inner turmoil and expresses it as a mass of color. How beautiful." She said, admiring the work of modern art.
"Chidori-san! Now isn't the time to be admiring that! We've got to hurry!" Yukiko said as she turned around.
"Yeah, let's go Chidori!" Junpei said, picking her up in a bridal carry, much to her chagrin.
Sprinting through the alleyway, Akihiko didn't stop until he heard the pants of his two companions. Turning around, he saw that Chie had managed to keep up with him for the first few minutes but Fuuka was left far behind.
"A-Akihiko-senpai! P-Please wait! I'm not suited for physical recon remember!" Fuuka called out, panting as she tried to catch her breath.
"I-I agree! You're in much better shape then all of us! At least hold back a little!" Chie said, taking deep gulps of air.
"Alright, I'll slow down, but we need to hurry! We've gotta be the first ones there!" Akihiko said in an excited tone, making the two young ladies sweat drop.
With the last group, they had traversed through the alleyway without much trouble, Mitsuru was carrying Rise in a bridal carry much to the younger lady's chagrin.
"So what's the plan of engagement Mitsuru-senpai?" Hamuko asked, keeping her eyes forward.
"As of right now we don't have one. We need to keep ourselves as hidden as possible, if my instincts are correct, he is extremely dangerous. Without our equipment, we're in a bind." Mitsuru answered, getting a nod from the auburn haired girl.
"If that's the case I should have taken the rooftops, it would have given me a better vantage point, not to mention it would be out of sight." Yukari whispered, getting an apologetic smile from Hamuko and Mitsuru.
"Umm... Are you guys even human?" Rise asked, a little perturbed by the efficiency that the three showed for the recon mission.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Central Shopping District Center)
In the center of the shopping district, the alleyway that Minato had taken led him to a wide open area that a group of masked teens were gathered. When he stepped out into the open, they stopped what they were doing and turned to face him, drawing weapons as they did.
"W-Who the fuck are you!?" One of the teens shouted, holding onto a baseball bat as he leveled it at Minato.
However Minato opted to remain silent, his eyes scanning them for any sign of the miasma. Not seeing any trace of it on them, he was about to turn to leave until they called out to him once more.
"Hey! Where the hell do you think you're going!? You're not leaving here awake you bastard!" A teen holding a golf club shouted, taking a step forward.
In the shadows of the alleyway, the splintered groups had finally reached the center of the alleyways. Catching sight of the man they were looking for, they were about to confront him but stopped as the group of masked teens advanced on him.
"Not talking huh? Not like it matters, you'll be out soon enough!" The baseball wielding teen shouted, swinging the wooden bat at Minato.
Side stepping, he dodged the swing as the teen stumbled forward due to the momentum of his swing. Quickly righting himself, he rushed down Minato once again, swinging like a madman as Minato evaded each of his swings.
"Stay still you asshole!" The teen shouted, slightly out of breath as Minato dodged another swing.
Quickly growing irritated at his causal dismissal of one of their members, the rest of the teens soon advanced on him, their weapons drawn. Seeing the armed group advance on the man they were following, the groups were about to take action but stopped in their tracks when he finally retaliated.
Dodging a swing from the bat one more, Minato grabbed the wrist of the teen holding it before he broke it and kicked him away. Ducking under the swing of a golf club, Minato swept his feet out from under him, kicking the teen in the when they hit the ground. Quickly getting up, he brought his arms up to block a strike from another bat before he grabbed it and spun, slamming his elbow against its wielder's face, a wet crack indicating a broken nose.
Yanking the bat out of their gasp, he used it to parry a swing from another bat before slamming the end cap into the attacker's gut. Grabbing their head, Minato brought it down as he brought up his knee, the two meeting in as another wet crack echoed out. As he released the teen, they crumpled to the ground as the rest of the group backed away, dropping their weapons as Minato turned to face them.
With the Investigation Team and Shadow Operatives, they were shocked to say the least. He had taken on a group that large without taking much damage, at least from what they saw. If he wasn't suspicious before, he was right now. After this situation ended, they would confront him and demand answers, even if they had to resort to other means. Seeing that the encounter was over, they were about to make themselves known but froze, their eyes widening as they saw something they couldn't believe.
Minato also froze when he saw the same black moth from before, but it wasn't the moth that caused him to freeze, it was the fact that the remaining teens were now covered in the black miasma that he was searching for. Taking a step back, he steadied himself when he saw a number of black cards descend into their hands before they crushed them.
"Shadow!" They shouted, as a black haze and wind suddenly surged from them.
Appearing in front of him were six shadows; a Magic Hand, a Laughing Table, a Lying Hableri, an Elegant Mother, a pair of Trance Twins, and a Rain Wheel. Soon, the teens started laughing as they threw their heads back, their shadows surrounding Minato as he tensed, narrowing his eyes at his current situation.
With the joint group, they couldn't believe their eyes. They had just summoned Shadows like someone would summon a Persona. And they did it outside of the Dark Hour and Tv World. They were broken out of their thoughts when they saw the Shadows advance upon the man they were chasing. A few of them cursing under their breath, they knew that they were powerless to help. They were without equipment, so even if they wanted to help they couldn't.
Quickly, Mitsuru turned and saw Aigis, the two meeting each other's eyes and instantly Aigis nodded. Standing up, she sprinted to the group of Shadows, stunning the teens and the Shadows as the fired at them, making them move to avoid the hail of bullets. Taking up a position next to the man they were tailing, she glanced at him and saw that he wasn't as surprised as she expected him to be, his heart rate and brain waves not changing in the slightest.
"Mabufu!" One of the teens shouted as the Magic Hand raised itself towards Aigis and Minato, a blue stream of ice shards raced towards the two.
Aigis was broken out of her thoughts when Minato shoved her out of the way, the ice shards passing harmlessly overhead. Turning, she saw that the man had protected her and but in turn, had his shoulder partially frozen. Widening her eyes, she returned her attention to the Shadows as she stood up, aiming her hands at them as she fired another volley of bullets at them. As she did this, she tried to summon Pallas Athena, only to find that she was unable to.
"Magarula!" Another of the teens shouted as the Elegant Mother raised its hand towards them as they were blasted into the air by the sudden surge of wind.
Impacting the ground with an audible thud, Aigis' motor functions were scrambled slightly as she sat back up with a little difficulty. As she did, she saw that the rest of the team approached her and the man, standing beside her as they faced the Shadows, the teens behind them howling with laughter. As the Shadows approached, the team tensed but that tension left their bodies when they saw the man stand and make his way slowly towards them.
Minato wasn't one to get angry very easily, he couldn't remember the last time he had even been upset. But something about the teens' laughter and the mocking faces of the Shadows really grinded his gears. Irritation filling his being, he reached to his side and pulled out his evoker. As he drew it and held it against his side, the entirety of the area grew silent.
"I-Is that...!" Akihiko started, his eyes wide as he saw the elegant device before him.
"I-It can't be! I'm the only one who issues evokers and only to those who I trust!" Mitsuru said, disbelief evident in her voice.
"This can't be happening." Junpei said, his eyes wide as he held Chidori close.
"It's not possible... Look, on the barrel!" Aigis shouted, her eyes wide with fear and soon tears as the others followed suit when they saw what she was talking about.
"Nyx..." Hamuko whispered, dread filling her entire being as Shinjiro held her close to his chest.
"B-But I thought Minato sealed him away!" Yosuke shouted, fear gripping his heart.
"T-This is a joke right...? There's no way this is possible... Minato-kun is still holding her back." Yukari said, her eyes wide and shaking.
"I-I can't move..." Yu said, his legs frozen in place as he realized the severity of the situation if what his instincts were screaming at him was true.
But their fears were realized when Minato brought the evoker to his head and pulled the trigger, a deafening shattering sound making their eyes ring as they cringed. When they opened their eyes, the Shadow Operatives could only feel dread and fear in their hearts, before them, once again, was the mother of the night and the bringer of the Fall.
" I am thou... Thou art I... From the sea of thy soul, I come...The moment man devoured the fruit of knowledge, he sealed his fate... Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope. I am the harbinger of the Fall, I will bring about your final judgment, and the judgment of those who call out to me. I am Nyx, mother of the night." Nyx said as she appeared behind Minato.
When Nyx was summoned, an overwhelming amount of pressure suddenly appeared, forcing the entirety of the area to fall to their knees with the exception of Minato. As Nyx leveled her gaze onto the shadows, they started panicking, attacking each other and trying to futilely escape. Raising her hand towards them, she waiting for Minato's command as he brought up his evoker to his head once again.
"Night Queen." He said, as crimson beams of energy descended upon the Shadows, disintegrating them as the teens who summoned them screamed in agony, clutching their heads.
Soon, a small crimson dome surrounded the area the Shadows had been standing before it dissipated, leaving nothing behind. Seeing that her work was done, Nyx smiled behind her mask as she faded away. Seeing that everything was settled, Minato was about to holster his evoker but sidestepped as a wave of fire passed him. Turning to its source, he froze as he saw the same black moth from before but it was behind it that had him frozen. It had a dark, featureless appearance with three eyes and bat wings. In place of hands and feet, it had pincers and resting upon its head was a gold crown.
But as soon as it appeared, it vanished, the moth with it. Sighing, he was about to leave but stopped when he heard a sob break the eerie silence. Turning, he rose an eyebrow when he saw that a few of the people he had saved earlier were openly crying as they stared at him with wide eyes.
"What? You look like you've seen a ghost or someone who just came back from the dead." He said in an impassive tone, making the tears flow a little more.
Releasing a sigh, he pulled on his headphones and turned on his music as he walked away, holstering his evoker and pulling out his phone as he inputted his findings. As he left, the Shadow Operatives supported each other as the gravity of the situation fell on them. For him to have summoned Nyx, her seal was broken, and that meant that Minato had really died. After a few minutes of letting their hearts out, they made their way back to the inn, intent on getting the man to tell them everything that he knew.
And that's that! If you're wondering, I went with everyone's epilogue look for the Investigation Team. But Naoto is based off of her look in Persona X Detective Naoto, while Nanako is based off of her long haired concept art. Sorry about that ending guys, it's a little rushed I know. I hope that you like the premise that I used, if not, I'm sorry! Again, thanks for taking the time to read this! Don't be shy to leave a review and tell me what you think! Till next time, stay awesome!