Hey guys, Dom here bringing you another chapter. Whew, been a long time, eh? Sorry about that, but I've kinda been busy with stuff. Sure, A Son Forgotten and Smoldering Ember are here and more popular but if I can be honest here, I do kinda enjoy writing this story a bit more then those two. Writing something that is a bit less serious and more comedic is kinda where I'm liking life. So yeah, this chapter only took me two days to write, it was just so fun. As for the contents of this chapter, don't hate me too much but I might've rushed a few things and left some plot holes open for the future. So yeah, sorry bout that. But other then that, I decided to go off the rails and add in one of my favorite girls from the series, don't hate me if I altered her character and don't sink ships alright? Well, you came to read right? Then let's a go.
Blank Card - Chapter 6
(Scene Change - Kirishima Woods: Koropokkuru Village - Guest Home)
As the sound of the early morning birds began to fill his ears, Minato's eyes began to flutter open as his mind began going through its daily checklist of his bodily functions. Letting a yawn escape, the bluenette began to stretch only to pause when he felt a few weights upon his person. Staring down at his chest and abdomen, he saw the forms of a few of the Koropokkuru girls from yesterday, Hana having taken up residence on his chest. Blinking in a blank manner at them, he contemplated moving them but paused when he saw Hana let a content sigh and snuggle deeper into his chest. Seeing that she and her friends were at ease, especially after the event of yesterday, he decided to let them enjoy the safety and security of his person. Though, there was one being that completely objected the situation at hand.
"Well, well, well... Aren't you mister popular, Minato." Nyx quipped in a syrupy sweet tone, Minato mentally sighing when he caught the goddess' tone.
"It's fine. They were put through a pretty rough situation yesterday. Not to mention they let me into their home and shared a meal with me." Minato told her in a firm manner, the bluenette having another mental sigh when he heard her huff in return.
A bit contemplative about what to do to placate the goddess, Minato was broken from his thoughts when he felt Hana beginning to stir on his chest. Looking down, he saw her rubbing the sleep from her eyes as a yawn left her lips. Groggily looking around, she locked gazes with the bluenette she had fallen asleep on as she stared with her mental faculties slowly starting to boot up. Blinking a few times, she stared at Minato's blank face for a few more seconds before her eyes began to grow in size. Squeaking a bit in embarrassment, Hana sat up on the bluenette's chest with a crimson lit face.
"I-I'm s-sorry for intruding, M-Minato-san! B-But I f-felt that it would be a l-lot safer if I slept with you!" Hana stammered in a small and embarrassed toe, Minato simply smiling gently at her before patting her on the head.
"It's no problem. I'd probably be doing the same, especially after what happened to you all yesterday." He reassured her in an effort to ease her embarrassment, his words succeeding as she smiled shyly at him.
"Hana is so bold, I'd never be able to say that without dying of embarrassment!"
"Wow, Hana is such an adult now."
"Mguu... I should've gotten up first! Minato-kun would've pet my head too, then!"
"Whew, glad that Hana was the one who decided to get up."
"Ahh... Minato-san petting my head, it would be perfect...!"
Flinching when they heard the voices of the other Koropokkuru girls, Minato and Hana glanced at them before they all squeaked when they were finally found to be feigning their slumber. Hana tilting her head in confusion, her eyes slowly widened before steam erupted from her face, crimson coloring the poor girl's complexion. Seeing that their friend had caught on that they used her to advert the explanation as to why they were sleeping on their human savior's chest, the rest of the Koropokkuru girls quickly yelped as they hopped off Minato and sped for the door. Hana's eyes now a mix of anger, embarrassment and humiliation, she screamed as she took off after them.
"You idiots! You're all going to pay for this!" She screamed as the other Koropokkuru peeked at what was the commotion so early in the morning, quickly laughing when they saw Hana chasing after her friends with a crimson lit face.
Watching her leave the guest house, Minato shook his head with a small and amused smirk on his face. Sitting up, he stretched as he relieved his body of the knots and mild aches that plagued it. Seeing that a majority of the village had awoken due to Hana's scream and the screams of the other girls that she was chasing, the bluenette decided to make his way out of the village, seeing as he had probably overstayed his welcome. Gathering his things, he stretched one last time before heading out of the house. As he exited the building, he was mildly surprised to be greeted by the entirety of the village, the younger Koropokkuru looking up at him with teary eyes and dribbling noses.
"Y-You're going already, Minato-san?"
"But you can't go! You still haven't tasted my cooking yet!"
"Y-You just got here! Please stay a little longer!"
"But we haven't played everything else that we wanted to!"
The tearful pleas of the Koropokkuru children caused the bluenette's eyes to soften considerably as he knelt to ruffle their hair in a gentle manner. The action causing a few of them to openly cry, they clung onto him in an effort to keep him from leaving, the older Koropokkuru giving him warm but sad smiles as they knew that he was trying to ease the burden on the hearts of their children. After spending a few minutes comforting the children, he reassured them all that once he was finished with his mission he would return to spend some time with them all. Getting shaky nods, they all hugged him tightly and a few of the more bold girls gave him a quick peck on the cheek. Smiling once more he bid the Koropokkuru farewell as they waved and shouted at him to keep his promise, the bluenette finally heading out of the village and towards the base of the Tachigari Mountain Range.
(Scene Change - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Persona User's Room)
"So... I assume that no one else was successful in finding a trace of Minato?" Mitsuru asked after a few seconds of silence as she entered the room, getting negative shakes of the heads from her companions.
"Nothing. All Koromaru, Ken, Shinji and I found was that he had placed a few of those tracers under a couple cars." Akihiko replied as he sipped on his protein shake, furrowing his brow as he tried to piece together any and all clues that he could've missed.
"Same here, Mitsuru-san. Yukiko, Chie, Kanji and I didn't come up with anything either." Yosuke answered with an exhausted sigh, crumpling onto a chair as he tried to catch his breath.
"Sensei, Rise-chan and me didn't find anything either! I gotta say, it's beary suspicious that we can find heads or tails of that fellow!" Teddie replied as he stretched out on the floor, a pout on his face as he found the lack of clues a bit strange.
"That is true, but there is one thing that's more concerning at the moment..." Yu stated in an urgent tone as he looked towards the bluenette who hadn't moved since the search began, simply curled up as she held the pillow Minato had been using to her chest.
"Naoto, you alright...?" Kanji asked in a concerned tone, the bluenette nodding her head in a soft manner as she clutched the pillow a bit tighter.
"Ha... Well, we won't be getting anywhere with an empty stomach. Yukiko-chan, could I trouble you a bit more and ask for a meal for us all?" Yukari asked the owner of the inn, Yukiko smiling as she nodded at the older woman's words.
"That's an excellent idea, Yukari-san! I'll ask the chefs to prepare an extra delicious meal for all of us! Excuse me for a moment!" Yukiko chirped as she made her way out of the room, the others settling down as they all let a sigh leave their mouths.
"Still, how could someone leave a room with so many people? Especially when half of those people are all specially trained Anti-Shadow agents?" Chie asked in a baffled tone, the others laughing a bit wryly at her claim.
"You're tell us, Chie-chan. Even I don't have a clue how Minato pulled that off! Especially with Koro-chan here, he never lets anything slip by him without waking up." Junpei added as he had a sip of the bottle of soda in his hand, sharing it with Chidori as she took a gulp.
"Though, when you think about it, it is not quite as farfetched as being able to stop the destruction of the world. I assume that it is just one of that man's talents, being able to do the unbelievable or unimaginable. He did return after being confirmed as deceased, not to mention freeing himself from the seal that he created when he sealed Nyx." Chidori stated in a tone that held respect and awe, the others feeling a bit better when they remembered that they were trying to track down someone who had returned from the other plane.
"That's a really good point, Chidori. Minato-nii has been able to do things that most people could only do in their dreams, that's for sure." Hamuko said in a tone that was much lighter then it was before, letting her head fall onto the back of her boyfriend as she mulled over the reason why he didn't remember her.
Settling into a somewhat amiable atmosphere, the Persona Users bid their time as they awaited the lunch that Yukiko had gone to have prepared for them. The raven haired young lady returning a few moments later, she joined the rest of them as they contemplated what the objective of the bluenette was. While it was known that it was connected to the Shadow Users that they had encountered earlier, it was still a mystery what he was planning on doing. For a certain bluenette, she was devastated that he had left her without saying anything.
For Naoto, having been held her cousin's arms once again, she never wanted to leave his embrace. It was much different from the sensation that she had felt when they were children, the warmth and safety that enveloped her far exceeded anything that she had experienced in their youth. Being in his arms made her feel like nothing would ever hurt her again, that she would always be warm and safe no matter what happened. That sensation reminded and cemented the promise that she had etched into her heart all those years ago, that she indeed loved and would have him take her as his wife. For those reasons, being away from that embrace caused Naoto to feel vulnerable and afraid like she did when Minato had ordered her to run and leave him alone with Kuma those years ago.
"Nii-san... Why... After you came back, why..." She whimpered in a tone soft enough so only she could hear, burying her face into the pillow he had slept on hours earlier.
Tightening her grip on it, she stiffened when she felt something hidden beneath the pillowcase. Squeezing once more, she immediately sat up as she startled the others in the room by her sudden action. Ignoring them, she quickly pulled the pillow case off of his pillow before widening her eyes when an envelope fell out during the chaos. Frantically, she scrambled to open it before forcibly calming herself in order to read the letter.
"Nao-chan, by the time you're reading this then I'm already gone. I'm sorry that I left without telling you anything, or that we didn't get to spend as much time together as I would have liked to. I can't tell you where I'm going or what I'll be doing, but I promise you that I'll come back to you in one piece. I've heard from the people who call themselves my friends that you and the ones that surround you are capable people, but I could never forgive myself if any of you got hurt because of me. I know you, you're a hard headed, impulsive, curious girl who often did things just because it looked cool or fun. I know you'll be looking for me once you read this, but I can't let that happen. I care far too much about you for you to do something as reckless as following me, so promise me that you won't. You promise not to follow me and I'll promise to come back to you, alright? Remember to brush your teeth, shower, change your clothes and eat your vegetables, Nao-chan. I wanted to spend as much time as I could have with you, but I have something that I need to see all the way through. I know it's selfish but once I finish what it is that I'm doing, I promise to do anything that you ask me to. And no matter what happens, remember that I love you and I always will so please be safe. - Your Niisan, Minato P.S. I don't like the way that a few of those guys look at you. I won't approve of anyone who can't beat me to take care of you, so be sure to let them know that I'll end them if they decide to do anything to you before getting my approval."
As Naoto read the letter, more and more tears began to spill from her eyes before she snapped them shut as she finished the letter. Clutching it close to her chest, she simply shook while doing her best to not vocalize the sobs that wanted to leave her mouth. The reaction to his letter causing a surge of panic to run through her friends, they quickly moved to check on her to ensure that she was fine. Though, they got a small and teary smile in return for their worries, the bluenette showing them the letter that he had left for her. The two groups reading through the letter, they felt a whirlpool of emotion stir within them, more so the young men who had shown attraction towards Naoto as the thought of the older bluenette hunting them down caused a shiver to run the length of their spines.
"I guess Minato-kun is out taking care of those Shadow Users on his own..." Fuuka said in a soft tone as she gently rubbed her hands together, a bit saddened that he had addressed them in a distant manner in his letter.
"That's true Fuuka, but he did say in his letter that he didn't want any of us getting hurt because of him." Shinjiro added as he tried to ease the sadness that appeared on the faces of his friends, getting a grateful smile in return for his concern.
"That is true, isn't it. As expected, Minato is still the same kind and considerate person that he's always been." Mitsuru quipped in a tone that held nothing but affection and warmth, her eyes softening as she showed a small but radiant smile at his concern.
"If Minato-san is out there, I suggest that we go as well. I have confidence that we will cross paths with him if we were to follow the same set of clues that he has found. No doubt that he has not come across any major bits of information if he had a such a surprised expression while facing those Shadow Users." Aigis suggested as her friends brightened up at the suggestions, their energy running to the other group as they showed smiles on their faces as well.
"Heck, I'm game! I need to show that guy that I'm more then capable of taking care of Naoto!" Kanji shouted with enthusiasm and challenge, his vigor running through his friends as they laughed loudly at his proclamation.
"Hey! You're not the only one who has to prove himself to Naoto's brother, Kanji! I'll show him that I'm not just charming and handsome but tough too!" Teddie retorted as they butted heads, sparks flying between them as the others laughed even harder at the display.
As the tense and discouraging atmosphere had lifted, the food that Yukiko had ordered arrived. The happiness that they felt was elevated when the group saw that, quickly moving to seat themselves and discuss their plan of action for the coming investigation. While opposed at first, the Shadow Operative eventually gave into the pleas that the Investigation Team had for joining in the search, Naoto in particular having gotten on her knees and pleaded for her inclusion in the search. Though, it didn't sit well with Mitsuru, she eventually allowed the participation of the younger Persona Users, seeing as they had proven themselves more then enough times. The only problem ran with the issuing of evokers, though that was alleviated when Mitsuru reassured the younger Persona Users that she would uphold her promise of lending them to the younger group. With that, the two groups joined into one as they savored the company of each other and the dishes prepared for them.
(Scene Change - Kirishima Outskirts: Tachigari Mountain Range - Base)
Arriving at the summit of the nearest mountain of the Tachigari Mountain Range, Minato found nothing to be out of place as he scanned the adjacent area. Though nothing seemed amiss, something put the bluenette on edge, as though static layered the area. Raising his guard, he proceeded towards a trail that was closed off due to rain damage. Hopping over the gate, he felt the tension in his body jump to levels that made him rest his hand on the evoker that Nyx created for him. Scanning the area with more scrutiny then before, he quickly moved his head to the side as a blade flew through the area his eye was located in seconds earlier.
"Minato, be careful. Something is definitely amiss." Nyx warned her partner as she felt the remnants of spiritual energy lingering in and around the area, most of it focus near the upper areas of the mountains.
"Thanks, Nyx." Minato whispered in a calm and collected tone, focusing his mind as the sounds of someone approaching reached his ears.
Turning, he saw a cloaked figure standing before him with another blade resting in their hand. Sliding his foot back slightly, Minato settled into a loose stance as he readied himself for another attack, one that indeed came. Turning his head once more, he was a bit surprised that the person attacking him had such speed at their disposal. Clearing what seemed to be three meters in a split second was indeed quick, though the bluenette could handle it given that he was well rested and free of any and all mental stresses.
Snaking his right arm around the extended arm of his opponent, locking their elbow joint and wrist along his own elbow and underarm. Securing a grip on their cloak, he pulled them towards him before slamming his knee into their abdomen with brutal force. The blow causing spittle to fly from the mouth of his assailant along with a sharp gasp of pain, he shifted his body whiling pulling the locked limb along with him. The momentum of the bluenette along with the lax body of his opponent adding to that momentum, the bluenette tossed the cloaked figure a fair distance away as he secured the knife they had been holding for his own use.
About to move towards them, Minato paused before tensing once more when he saw them begin to rise once again. Again, the bluenette was sure that if they were a normal human being they would have been unconscious from the force that his knee had applied to their diaphragm. Watching them shakily stand, he was a bit curious as to why they seemed a bit scatterbrained compared to the Shadow Hunters back in Inaba. Once the cloaked individual was standing once more Minato moved to send them back to the ground, intent on inflicting as much damage as possible. Stopping short of the figure, he threw a low hook that impacted with a soft crack sounding as it connected with the figure's ribcage. Though, the bluenette narrowed his eyes when he felt as though he had struck some sort of metal, his fist numbing a bit more compared to his knee.
The impact forcing the figure to hunch over slightly, it was sent reeling back when Minato grabbed their hood before driving his knee into their face with wicked force. The crunch of cartilage sounding, blood was sent into the air as they stumbled from the blow. The bluenette capitalizing on the recoil, he stepped in before delivering a flying knee to their chest once again, a strangled sound leaving their mouth as they hit the ground once more. Landing on his feet, Minato secured his grip on the knife he plundered before driving it into the shoulder of the downed figure, a gasp of pain leaving their mouth. Twisting it as a sharper cry sounded, he slammed his knee into their chest once more before moving his free leg on top of the free arm of the figure. If the bluenette had been surprised, then he was flabbergasted by how incompetent the person he was facing actually was.
"This is what I'm up against?" He asked no one in particular, an incredulous expression on his face as the writhing figure beneath him tried to force him off of them.
"Move anymore and you're losing this arm." Minato ordered in an arctic tone, twisting and digging the knife deeper into the shoulder of the person as a whimper left their mouth.
Taking a breath, he was about to question them when he saw something that caused an inkling of a memory to return to him. About to follow up on his promise to the downed person, he was forced off of them when they bucked him off with much more power then they had displayed earlier. A pink aura shrouding the cloaked figure, Minato had managed to roll back into a standing position before they appeared in front of him. His eyes widening, he brought his arm up to block a kick from the figure that caused him to wince slightly at the force behind it. The force of the kick dissipating though his arm, Minato secured his grip on the limb only for it to be ripped from his grasp, another kick following as he leaned back to avoid it.
The tables turning, Minato was forced on the defensive as the pink aura of the cloaked figure became brighter and denser then before, their speed and power increasing the longer the game of cat and mouse continued. Ducking under a blow that ripped through the side of a tree, Minato countered with a combination of punches and kicks, grunting a bit as he felt as the body of his opponent had become even harder. Lashing out with a lightning fast and powerful jab that stunned the cloaked figure for a second, he spun on the heel of his foot before connecting a heavy roundhouse kick to the side of their head. Again, he felt as though he was striking a person made of steel or some sort of metal, being far too heavy and hard for a normal human being. The blow causing the figure to pause and fix their hood once more, Minato shot towards their lower body before grabbing and slamming them into the ground with a double leg takedown.
Quickly moving to mount them, Minato took notice that the pink aura from earlier had vanished and with it all the tension that he had felt in the air. Cocking his fast back, he was about to rain down a number of blows onto the vulnerable face of his opponent before he froze. His fist inches from connecting with their face, his eyes widened when he saw their face. Apart from a slightly red nose with dried blood, they had a pale face, pink lips, ruby red eyes and black hair, their appearance differed from the person he had met in Inaba but the likeness between the two of them was uncanny. The person pinned beneath him resembled the young lady named Aigis, so much so that they could be mistaken for twins should one look solely at their physical characteristics.
"Aigis...?" He muttered in a confused and slightly conflicted tone, his word causing the blank faced woman's eyes to gain an inkling of emotion in them.
"Ai... Gis...?" She whispered in an impassive tone, her ruby colored eyes gaining a hint of life as she processed the words he had said.
"I... I am Yamada... I am not... I am not Aigis..." She said in a soft and mechanical tone, though there was a underlying hint of confusion and hesitation in her voice.
"Minato, I feel as though I know who this person is... As though I have seen her before, but where..." Nyx whispered in the mind of her partner, a strange sensation of familiarity when she examined the face of the woman much more closely.
"You, you said your name is Yamada?" Minato asked her in a stern tone, the woman stiffening before nodding her head in a mechanical manner.
"I am Yamada. That is what I was named when I was found." She answered in a curt manner, drawing the interest of Minato as he furrowed his brow.
"Found? When you were a child?" He asked her as she narrowed her eyes at him, Minato returning her glare with an equally frigid one.
"I am not obligated to give you any pieces of information. Especially not about my past." Yamada answered in a terse tone, her blank expression warping into an angered one as she tried to get Minato off of her.
"Tch. What did I say before." He muttered in an irritated manner, cocking his arm back he was about to strike her when she flinched as his fist neared her.
"Damn it..." Minato cursed as he found himself unable to strike the woman beneath him, the sight of her flinching and shutting her eyes akin to a child about to be struck hitting his inherently kind nature.
"Why aren't you following through with your attack? Are you not in a position of power and dominance?" She asked in a slightly relieved but equally frightened tone, Minato taking notice of the hidden fear in her voice.
"It'd be like hitting a little girl, I don't hit little girls." He replied in a slightly uneasy tone, his answer causing her to tense instantly as she snapped her eyes to glare at him.
"I am not a child!" She shouted at him in an angered tone, immediately flinching when she heard how heated she was.
"You can't be related to Aigis, I don't believe. She was a lot more calm and collected then you just were." Minato stated as Yamada had a grimace pass her face, drawing the interest of Minato as he pressed on.
"Something about the name Aigis is familiar to you, isn't it?" He asked as she snapped her eyes shut in pain, whimpering as Minato moved off of her.
Clutching her head, Yamada curled into a ball as she grit her teeth, a deep wave of pain passing through her mind. The name the man had said caused a deep sensation of warmth and familiarity to echo through her mind, something that had eluded her the past month she had been awake. Muttering the name repeatedly, more and more agony tore through her mind as she tried to recall anything that was related to the name. As she was trying to recall any memories of the name, the Demons she had contracted found their chance to free themselves and their brethren from their binds. Seeing her in pain, Minato was about to extend his hand when he felt the tension in the air amplify. Jumping back when he caught the sight of a dark mist began rolling off of the young lady laying at his feet, Minato ripped the knife he had imbedded in her shoulder along with him as he readied himself.
"Kehehe! Lucky us! Our dear contractor seems to have gotten weak, poor thing!" A cackling voice sounded as a thick miasma began to cover the area, Minato scanning the adjacent area as he felt three presences hiding in the miasma.
"That is a shame indeed! A dreadful outcome!" Another voice cackled as more and more joined it in its laughter, Minato standing his ground as he took a protective stance above the down woman.
"To think that such an advanced machine like her would be bested by a human! Such a pitiful contractor, shashasha!" A much deeper voice roared with laughter as the ground trembled beneath Minato's feet, the bluenette finally seeing the three Demons as they made their way out of the miasma.
"Minato, they're demons no doubt. Though, they are all beneath you in terms of power so there is no need to worry." Nyx stated in a confident and sure tone, Minato mentally preparing himself as he settled into a loose stance.
Seeing the demons before him, Minato felt the tension in his body leave in an almost comical amount of time. The first appeared like a chicken-woman of some sort, wearing a red scarf, a white blouse and a green shirt with yellow trim. Having a bird-like face and chicken-like legs, she reminded Minato of an elderly woman cosplaying. The other two were a bit fiercer in terms of appearance but still didn't give off the impression that they were dangerous. The second of the two reminded the bluenette of a worm with claws and the face of an old man. The final of the three was probably the most "Demon-like" considering what he was looking at, being like a humanoid griffon.
"Don't look very tough." He quipped in a dry tone, his expression being almost bored even with the Demons glaring at him.
"Ufufufu, that is correct my dear Minato, they are by no means any threat to you. They're all low-class Demons of different pieces of lore. The first is a Kikimora, a female spirit that appears in Slavic lore. Her face and legs are said to be like that of a bird. She appears in the dead of night to make babies cry and spin thread. It's said that those who see her or hear her spinning will meet with misfortune. In some cases, she helps with housework, but only if the wife is a hard worker. If she is lazy, the Kikimora will tickle the children in the night and make the mother suffer. Still, if you wash all the dishes in the house with a tonic brewed from ferns, you can reconcile with her." Nyx said as Minato directed his gaze towards the chicken-lady, snorting a bit with how comedic it appeared.
"Now, now, don't be so mean Minato, ufufufu! The second one is bit of an oddball as well, as it's a Waira from Japanese lore. It's a mostly unknown demon with the body of a giant cow or rhinoceros that dwells hidden in the mountains and never comes down to the flat lands. It walks along the ground as if crawling and digs up the earth with its hooked claw to eat the moles that it finds. The sex of a Waira can be determined by the color of its body: males are brown and females are red. From the coloration of this one, it's male." Nyx explained as Minato turned to look at the Waira, shaking his head as he repeated Nyx's entry on the Demon once more.
"I seriously think it looks like a caterpillar or a worm with an old man's face." He quipped in his mind as Nyx giggled in a heavenly manner, Minato sighing as he failed to see how it resembled a cow or rhino.
"As for the final Demon, it's known as a Gagyson from Hebrew legend. A low-ranking demon whose name means "spread out flat." He is thought to originally have been a Hebrew plague god. Opinions vary to Gagyson`s master, but he is commonly depicted as a servant of Orias or Ose." Nyx said as she finished her brief lesson on mythology and folklore, Minato finally facing the Demon as he raised an eyebrow at it in curiosity.
"So... We've got a chicken-lady, a worm-man and a human pigeon. Super scary." Minato said in a dry tone, staring blankly at the Demons now seething as they glared hatefully at them.
"Do you know who you're talking to, human?! You dare mock me, Gagyson!?" Gagyson roared as he sped towards the bluenette, growing more and more angered as he took in Minato's nonchalant expression.
Though, that anger vanished when he found its vision shifting into two different angles. Then the sensation of utter agony ripped through him as he hit the ground, the head of the Demon having been split in two as Minato slashed the knife the moment he was within striking range. The act done, the Demon dispersed into the same particles as the Jibakurei did when it was destroyed. Turning his body, he gazed impassively at the other two Demons who stood stunned at the quick disposal of their ally. That shock soon turned to fear when they felt an omnipotent presence emanate from the man standing before them, their instincts screaming at them to escape while they still had the chance.
Their fate was sealed, however, when Minato was already standing between the two of them, the same impassive expression on his face as he turned to the Waira. The Demon about to speak, it was silenced when Minato drove the knife in his hand into its head, ripping it cleanly through the side of its head before kicking its body away. Finished with dispatching the Demon, he sighed before spinning and slicing through the neck of the Kikimora, removing its head as the two Demons' bodies dispersed into particles as well. Scoffing in an almost bored and irritated manner, Minato stiffened when he felt the same chilling and warm sensation from before, letting a slightly anxious breath out as it passed.
"Tch, I'll probably never get used to that." He muttered in a trouble tone, not too fond of the sensation that slaying Demons gave him.
"Be it as it may, Minato, it is still strengthening your soul. I believe that you will become even stronger then you are now if you fought even just a dozen more of these low-class demons. Just imagine how much strength you could gain if you defeated a hundred or a thousand!" Nyx exclaimed with a shining tone, Minato smirking good naturedly at her energy as he moved to check on Yamada as she had stopped murmuring to herself.
With Yamada, the woman had no recollection of her past or of who she was. Her earliest memories where from a month earlier, when she was found by the Contractors and given a name. No memories, no emotion but access to a power that allowed her to stand toe to toe with a few of the more powerful members of the organization, if even for a few minutes, they recruited her. Her name given to her had little attachment to the woman, simply having chosen it in order to avoid being call "you" by those around her. But when she was ordered to dispatch this man, this strange man, she found herself questioning who and what she was.
She knew that she wasn't human, everyone who saw her body would be able to tell that at first glance. She has a golden helm-like headpiece with a red butterfly visor. Her body is as hard as steel and black as coal, though her right arm resembles a long white glove. She has a metallic "skirt" which only adds to her inorganic appearance. Everything about her screamed that she wasn't human, but she never questioned it, simply following the orders that were given to her. Aside from her eyes, skin and hair, she has no qualities that differentiate her from a machine. So why was it that when this man spoke a simple name, a single word, that she began to question her existence. Why did she see and hear images of someone who made her "heart" feel warmer and calmer?
"This is where those who are about to awaken to their power receive guidance... My sister and your friend were guests here." Her own voice echoed within her mind, a distant memory coming before quickly fading into darkness.
"Don't you remember what I said before? My place is here, on the "other side."" Another memory flashed in her mind as she tried to reach for it, finding it slip through her fingers once again.
" The Abyss of Time will soon disappear. Time will flow again, and you will return to your daily lives. Congratulations, Sister... and the rest of you, as well." Tears beginning to line her eyes as she saw a faint scene play out before her, clutching her hands close to her chest as she felt something stirring within her heart.
"Sister... You said before that you promised to protect him... If you've truly come to appreciate your ties to others... I think you can still keep that promise. Someday, when more people come to realize that, the world will stop yearning for Nyx. And that monster will be vanquished. For that day to come, your every action will be important. Isn't that another way of protecting your friend?" A blonde haired young lady resembling herself flashed in her mind, a warm smile on the woman's face as a set of tears began to well up in her eyes.
"Sister... All life shares a "sea" deep within its soul. I think... that's where I came from. Your heart is connected to that sea as well... You're truly alive now. From now on... we'll always be together. Sister... I'm coming home." Her voice echoed with nothing but warmth and happiness evident in it, Yamada unable to stop the flow of tears that were falling from her eyes as a soft sob left her mouth.
"Welcome back... Metis..." The moment she heard that name, she snapped her eyes open as she stared wide eyed into space.
"Sister..." She whispered as a fresh set of tears streamed down her face, the young lady now knowing who and what she was as the sounds of Minato approaching finally reached her.
"Don't make me regret saying this but... Are you alright?" He asked in a hesitant tone as he noticed the tears lining her face, his tone complimenting his body as he had her blade still held in a lax but ready position.
"I... I'm Metis..." Metis told him as she looked up to meet his gaze, Minato taken aback by how beautiful her eyes looked with life filling them as opposed to how they were before.
"Metis? Is that your real name?" He asked as she nodded her head softly, sniffling as she moved to wipe away the remnants of her tears.
She flinched, however, when she felt something warm brush away her tears. Flinching, she saw that it was the hand of the bluenette that was gently wiping away her tears. Confused and a bit taken back, Metis was about to comment on his actions but held her words when he saw his eyes, an inkling of a memory of the man filling her as heavy dusting of pink colored her cheeks. Having been born from her sister's intense emotions from the time he had passed, the passionate devotion and affection that she held for him was concentrated and imbued into her being. Those emotions and memories discarded from her sister's desire to return to how she was before being Metis' core being, seeing the one who was the object of her sister's world caused an enormous amount of warmth and nostalgia to fill her.
"M-Minato..." She whispered in a tone that held the upmost affection and warmth, Minato flinching greatly when he heard her tone and saw her eyes.
"How do you know my name." He asked in a harsh tone, immediately set on edge as he readied himself for anything she would do.
"O-Oh! P-Please don't worry Minato, I'm very sorry that I attacked you!" Metis exclaimed as she tried to ease the tense bluenette, succeeding in a slight sense as he loosened his stance.
"You... You don't remember anything, am I right? Of those who you affected before you became the Great Seal?" She asked in a tone that was almost child-like, Minato's guard dropping when he saw and felt no feelings of hostility from the young lady as opposed to before.
"No, I don't. I only remember Koromaru and Nao-chan. Everything else is just, blank." He answered in a soft tone as Metis' eyes softened, hesitantly moving to take a hold of the man's hand as he allowed it.
"I... I didn't have any memories either. Before I met my sister and her friends in the Abyss of Time, I really didn't have anything to call my own while I was on the "other side". Once I met them and fulfilled their wish of seeing you once again, I thought I fulfilled my purpose and was happy to be reunited with my sister. But then I woke up here, alone and without a single memory. I think that you'll find your memories too, Minato. You just need a bit of help, like the way you inadvertently helped me regain mine." Metis explained in a gentle tone as she squeezed his hand, Minato feeling a comforting and nostalgic warmth emanate from her hand as they met the gaze of each other.
Then, slowly, Metis closed her eyes as she leaned upwards. Placing a gentle and soft kiss on the lips of the blue haired man, she felt her Papillon Heart hum loudly and nearly explode as an intense amount of energy welled up inside of her. Going into Orgia Mode as a result of the intense amount of energy that she was experiencing, Metis was broken from her trance when she felt Minato part from the kiss. Blinking a bit, she stared at the face of the bluenette as a light dusting of pink colored his cheeks. Seeing that, crimson colored Metis' as she gave him a shy but radiant smile, the blue haired man's face coloring a bit more at the smile.
"Ngh..." He sounded as he diverted his gaze, unable to say anything as Metis had broken what he had assumed of her with the kiss she had stolen.
"Umm... T-That was my first, Minato... T-Thank you..." Metis told him in a loving and soft tone, taking a hold of his hand once more as she moved to lean into him to soak up more of his warmth.
"I'm going to annihilate her... She will rue the day she crossed me and took what was rightfully mine... I swear it upon my title as the Harbinger of the Fall and Mother of the Night that I will see her end..." Nyx snarled in his mind with rage unlike anything she had displayed before, Minato unable to throw a tsukkomi at her words as Metis was nuzzling into his shoulder like they were lovers.
"I'm sorry if I'm coming on a little strongly, Minato, but I love you more then you can imagine. I was born from those intense emotions of love and devotion that my sister tried to get rid of, so in essence, you're the only one besides her that I love." Metis said with an embarrassed tone, clearly ignoring that embarrassment as she continued to hold and smell the bluenette.
"Wait a second, Metis. I need to get a couple things straight here." Minato finally said as he managed to reign in his emotions, Metis following his order as stopped nuzzling him but remained attached to him.
"You said that you came from the "other side," right?" He asked as she nodded her head softly, clearly not enjoying the memory of being alone in such a place.
"If that's true... Then aren't you a Shadow?" He asked as she looked up at him with a heartrending expression, Minato immediately cursing himself to high hell for causing such an expression.
"Don't worry, Minato. I know that I'm a Shadow. I was born from my sister's rejected emotions, born from Aigis' desire to return to being a machine. I accepted that, but for some unknown reason I developed an ego and could wield Persona." She answered in a sad tone, Minato's eyes softening as he felt a connection with the young lady.
"Hey, like you said, I don't have any memories of my past either. If anything, you're more human then I am right now. You have memories of your time with Aigis and her friends, while I've only got pieces of my own memories." He told her as her eyes widened in response, though they closed partially as she leaned onto him once more.
"Thank you, Minato... That... That means a lot for you to say that..." She whispered in a thankful and loving tone, Minato nodding his head as he glanced upwards towards the clouds that idly drifted in the sky.
"Hey Metis." He asked her as she looked up at him, taking note of his troubled expression.
"Yes, Minato?" She replied as she squeezed his hand in an effort to reassure him, getting a small but thankful smile in return.
"I dismissed the others when I was in Inaba, when they told me that I was their leader and closest companion. I accepted you without as much as a second thought, mostly because I felt that we had a deeper connection then I felt with the others. Do you think I made the right choice in rejecting them when they wanted to reconnect with me?" He asked her in a tone that was full of guilt and shame, Metis squeezing his hand once more as she tried to ease his worries.
"Once you finish what it is that you're doing, I think that they will understand once you tell them everything." Metis told him with a smile on his face, getting a small one in return as they sat there in silence.
"But my question is... My do I feel like I've known you for years? Like we've been together for a lifetime?" He asked after a few more moments of silence, Metis mulling over the question as she failed to find a reasonable connection between the two of them.
"I believe I might know the answer to that question, Minato. That vixen said it herself, that she was from the "other side." While you were acting as the Great Seal, you were on that plane of existence was well. From the time she was created, shortly after your passing, she has been imbued with the emotions that were discarded by her sister. Those emotions were all directed towards you, so in a sense, you most likely sensed and responded to those emotions as they were the only positive emotions that were within that plane. While not directly connected, the two of you were existences that weren't shadows but two entirely different existences all together. Though, I am not sure as to why you feel so comfortable around her. Perhaps it is love at first sight..." Nyx explained in a terse and slightly jealous tone, Minato mulling over the thought as he decided to stow it away as more wild events had occurred.
"Well, what are you going to do now, Metis? I don't think you're cut out to be hanging around with the guys who found you." Minato finally asked as he figured that she wasn't going to be returning to the group who picked her up, the raven haired woman glancing up as she weighed her options.
"I... I want to go with you, Minato." She told him in a pleading tone, turning her gaze to him as he flinched at her expression.
"You can't. I saw how you battled against me earlier, even with that power boost you couldn't beat me." He told her in a stern tone, Metis' eyes becoming a bit downcast as she fidgeted as bit.
"But, you're the one who stopped the Fall. You're a being that defeated the one who had the power to bring about the end of the world. Fighting you is one thing but beating you is an impossibility." Metis told him as he couldn't really find a retort to her statement, Nyx nodding proudly in his soul as she agreed wholeheartedly with the statement.
"So... Can I come with you, Minato? I promise to not get in your way and to support you as much as I can! And I... I want to be together with you... I don't want to be left behind again..." She pleaded while staring up at him with her bewitching ruby eyes, her voice becoming timid and loving at the end as she held his hand.
"Tch... I don't really have a choice now, do I?" He asked in a slightly wry tone, Metis' eyes brightening up considerably as she saw him nod his head at her silent question.
"R-Really! Thank you! Thank you so much!" She shouted in a tone that held nothing but gratitude and adoration, wrapping her arms around him with tears of joy falling from her eyes.
"Easy there, Metis. I still have a couple of questions for you, if you could answer them." He told her with a small smile on her face, the raven haired woman returning it as she stood up with him before linking her arms with his.
The anticlimactic confrontation settled in a calm and warm manner, the two headed towards a small cabin that was situated further along the barricaded trail, having been placed there for travelers and hunters alike. Finding it with Metis' dependable memory, they settled there for the night as Minato began his debriefing session with the woman, finding the situation becoming a bit more dire as she recalled all that she knew of the group that had taken her under their wing.
(Time Skip - Two Hours Later)
(Scene Change - Kirishima Outskirts: Tachigari Mountain Range - Public Use Cabin)
"So, these Contractors are trying to build up an army for some reason or another?" Minato asked Metis as he jotted down everything that he told her into his phone, the raven haired woman nodding as she typed what she knew into his laptop.
"That's correct. The reason was never told to me, however. That's probably because they saw me as expendable, given that I was nameless and with an unknown background. They only really used me for missions where my goal was to forcibly subjugate and contract the Demons of the area, and in the situation where didn't comply, completely eradicate them. But, for some reason, they only had the man named Asuma accompany me. I got the feeling that he, in the scenario that I decided betray them, would be able to easily deal with me." She added with a muddled expression while finishing the last of her entries, Minato nodding as he finished with his.
"And this network, what is it exactly? I understand that it's a means of communication but what other functions does it serve?" Minato continued as he ventured into the more interesting aspects of the organizations resources, Metis typing in a few more bits of information before showing her arm to the man.
"The network functions as a hub for everyone whose affiliated with the Contractors. The main purpose is communication but there is one more important purpose of it, the auctioning of Demons." She said as she typed in her login information into the device on her arm as the screen blacked out, an archaic language of code running across the screen before a simple screen with the words "Demon Auction".
"What is this?" Minato asked with slightly wide eyes, taking a glance at the numerous listings of Demons that were on the screen before him.
"This was the main purpose of my missions. After I subjugated Demons, they would be forcibly contracted to me. After that, it was up to me whether or not I wanted to place them up for auction. The second purpose of the network is to allow those who can't or don't bother with subjugating Demons themselves to simply buy the contract from another. In essence, the second purpose of the network is selling slavery contracts." Metis told him in a serious tone pointing to a certain number beside her name, Minato glancing at that number before widening his eyes even more.
"You've sold over three hundred contracts?" He asked in a slightly disturbed tone as she nodded softly, a bit of a guilt expression on her face as she explained the consequences of getting contracted.
"Any Demon can be forcibly contracted if you can defeat it, most opting to become contracted rather then being destroyed outright. Demons who are forcibly contracted are in essence, slaves, striped of their freedom until their contractors are either tired of them or have no use for them. After that, they are either destroyed, sold off or used as fusion material. I've never heard of any instances where contracted Demons have been freed once their service has expired, though I imagine that it could happen. As for becoming fusion material, well... I can only assume that it destroys their physical form and adds it to another, the two becoming an entirely new Demon altogether but I've never attempted it so I can only speculate." Metis continued as she pointed to the various icons on the screen, Minato nodding his head as he recorded their images, uses and explanation.
"Right, well I think that's the jist of what I wanted to know. Thank you, Metis." Minato told her in a grateful tone, the cheeks of the woman coloring as she gave him a shy and happy smile.
"You're welcome, Minato..." She told him a slightly timid tone, scooting closer to him before leaning into him as he did nothing to stop her.
"We should probably get ready for bed, tomorrow is gonna be a day of recon and finding more information." Minato said as she nodded in agreement, blinking when she saw Minato stand and make it to one of the beds situation on the far side of the cabin before settling in.
"W-Wait! Why are you sleeping all the way over there, Minato?" She cried out in a slightly panicked tone, the bluenette giving her a slightly dry look as he gave him a teary one.
"You want to sleep together?" He asked in a slightly incredulous tone, the raven haired woman nodding her head so fast he thought that it would have fallen off.
Without answering, Metis began moving towards him before she jumped over to the bed and moved under the covers. Snuggling closely into him, she let a content sigh leave as she took in his scent and warmth, feeling like nothing could harm her as long as she stayed that way. Minato blinking at her, he couldn't help but let a small smile cross his face as he felt the same sensation when Naoto snuggled into him. Running his hand through her hair, he heard her let a satisfied sigh leave before snuggling even deeper into him. Settling down, he glanced at the ceiling as the faces of the ones who called him his companion slowly appeared and faded, the bluenette feeling a deep pang of guilt enter his heart as he situation at hand would no doubt draw their anger and sorrow.
"Once this is all over, hopefully everything will work out in the end." He whispered as his breathing slowed before he entered the world of sleep himself, Metis resting her head in the crook of his neck as a small and radiant smile appeared on her face.
(Scene Chang - Inaba: Amagi Inn - Persona User's Room)
"Hmm?" Aigis sounded as she sat up from her resting position, glancing towards the direction that Kirishima rested in.
"Huh...? Aigis...? What's up...?" Junpei asked in a sleepy tone as he let a small yawn leave his mouth, Chidori pouting slightly as she tried to find another comfortable position.
"It's strange... I feel like I am angry with myself for some reason..." She told him as the others glanced at the blonde, tilting their heads in a curious manner at her words.
"Now that you mention it, I do feel kind of angry for some reason." Yukari quipped as she rested her chin in her hand, mulling over the strange feeling that overtook her slightly.
"I feel slightly irked for an unknown reason as well, I've already made preparations for everything but I feel as though I'm missing something." Mitsuru said as she furrowed her brows, trying to think of some reason why she was feeling slightly distraught.
"It feels like it did when Naoto-chan got to spend the night with Minato-kun." Fuuka added with pink on her cheeks, the others instantly knowing the feeling as they straightened their backs.
"You don't think..." Hamuko started as she narrowed her eyes in a slightly heated manner, the other ladies in the room catching on to what she was insinuating as they followed suit.
"No, I don't believe that Minato-san is that kind of person." Aigis adamantly stated with a serious expression, though there were hints of anxiety on her person.
"Well, whatever the reason, I'm going to have a long talk with him once we find him." Yukari said in a slightly scary tone, an equally frightening smile on her face as she imagined the look of terror on the bluenette's face.
While the others were out doing their own things, the ladies of the Shadow Operative and Junpei were discussing the possible scenarios that could've tipped off their instincts as maidens. Though, those feelings of anxiety immediately turned to anger and irritation when Junpei offhandedly stated that he was visiting a long-lost girlfriend or mistress, getting a number of slaps from everyone there, including Chidori who decided to sleep by herself for the rest of the night due the horror of the man.
And that's a wrap, what'd ya'll think? Metis is here, aww yeah. She's actually one of my most favored girls from the series, dang, too many Robo-Waifu I tell ya. Sorry if her personality isn't what you think it is, I went with a more childish and devoted characterization as she is made from Aigis' discarded emotions after all. Can't wait to see what'll happen between Metis and Aigis, the battle between the blue haired guy who captured their hearts is gonna be a good one, even more so that Metis got a kiss before Aigis did. So yeah, tell me what ya think and I'll promise to keep going with this story, alright? Like always take it easy and you all stay awesome.