Hey guys, it's Dom here bringing you another chapter, and not too long of a wait, eh? Really got into the writing mood with Dancing Moon Night having been released, so all the playthrough videos have me pretty psyched. But yeah, this chapter isn't too action packed, more of an info dump then anything else. You'll see what I mean, so don't be too expectant about too much happening, alright? You'll be seeing a whole lotta new faces and learn a few new things, I hope. But yeah, here it is, ready for you all to read. That's what you came here for right? Well, let's a go.
Blank Card - Chapter 8
(Scene Change - Tachigari Mountain Range: Mount Hyutte – Mountain Cave)
Gathered in the same cavern that offered them protection and shelter from the blizzard that blew in last evening; the quartet of Minato, Metis, Nyx and Alice could be seen staring down each other, or rather, the three ladies were staring down Minato. While they appeared calm, calm being a loose term as Nyx and Metis were a hair away from snapping and lashing out at the opposing pair, the hands of the two were itching for their weapons that were laying a fair distance away from them.
"Well? I'd like an explanation for what I have just bore and am still bearing witness to, Minato." Nyx asked in an eerily calm but frigid tone, her mood continuing to turn fouler as Alice had still not relinquished her grip around his neck.
"I'd also like to know what reason you had to be k-kissing that Demon in such an inappropriate manner." Metis added as a bit of embarrassment and anger seeped into her voice, red coloring her cheeks as she glared at the man still trying to remove Alice himself.
"Calm down, both of you. And Alice, could you please let go of me." Minato told the two of them in a stern tone, shifting that same tone to Alice as she pouted and opted to ignore his request.
"Nuh-uh! I'm yours and you're mine, Minato! Married couples always cuddle like this in the books I've read!" The blonde Demon told the bluenette in a sure tone, her answer drawing an angry growl from Nyx and an angrier scowl from Metis.
"What is that little trollop talking about! Marriage?! The two of you?!" Nyx snapped at the pair, her anger beginning to grow as did Alice's own bravado.
"Enough!" Minato barked at the squabbling trio in a terse and irritated tone, instantly getting their attention as they quieted and turned to fully face him.
"Tico. Explain, now." The bluenette ordered as he gave the previously giggling purplette an equally potent gaze, Tico stiffening as she nodded and began retelling the duo as to what had happened before they awoke.
(Time Skip – Five Minutes Later)
"-nd that's about the just of what happened! R-Right, Minato?" Tico finished in her usual cheerful tone, though it turned slightly anxious and awkward at the end as she turned towards the man still staring her down.
"Yeah, thanks. Now, do the two of you understand." He answered Tico before turning to stare hard at Metis and Nyx, the pair stiffly and timidly nodding their heads as Minato released a sigh.
"Good. I'm sorry for raising my voice, but it's way too early for any of this." Minato said in an apologetic tone, his apology earning them soft and guilty gazes as the duo before him moved to embrace him.
"I must apologize as well, Minato. But honestly, you should know how I feel about you." Nyx replied in a soft tone, though there was a cute pout on her face as she nuzzled the bluenette.
"I'm sorry too, Minato. But please remember that I love you more then anyone else! So seeing you k-kissing Alice kinda made me a little jealous…" Metis said in an equally pouting tone, though her answer drew an irritated brow twitch from Nyx as she turned to glare at her from the corner of her eye.
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that you harlot. Now that she is done spouting lies, know that it is I who holds the upmost love for you out of any being, Minato." Nyx bit at Metis in a snide tone, though it turned loving and coy when she directed her words towards Minato.
"Muu! Don't forget about me! I love Minato the most out of everybody!" Alice demanded as she saw Metis and Nyx butting heads once more, the blonde Demon feeling left out now that she had a new family that she was a part of.
When the duo heard her, they turned her icy gazes on Alice, the blonde Demon flinching at first before she narrowed her eyes and puffed out her cheeks. The sight confusing the two at first, it finally clicked in the minds of Metis and Nyx that the "marriage" that was sealed between Alice and Minato bolstered her confidence a significant amount, based on what they were witnessing. Seeing that, the pair growled as they moved to glower at Alice, the blonde Demon retaliating as she returned it in full. Soon enough, they trio were trapped in a three-way deadlock with their foreheads grinding against each other. With their attention focused on each other, they were entirely ignorant of Minato, who was watching the scene playing out before him with a smile on his face. Shaking his head, he turned to his COMP and saw Tico staring, as much as she could given her angle of view, at the scene with a slightly somber smile on her face.
"You alright, Tico?" He asked the purplette in a concerned tone, getting her to flinch slightly when she realized that he had noticed her mood.
"Nope! I'm A-OK, Minato!" She chirped in her usual bright and energetic tone, Minato giving her a soft smile as he moved his COMP so they could face each other fully.
"Alright. But if you ever want to talk or just hang out with each other, don't hesitate to ask." Minato said in a soft and warm tone, Tico's eyes widening a bit before closing slightly in turn.
"Mhmm, will do Minato. Thanks." She replied as she offered him an equally warm and soft smile, the bluenette returning it was he moved the screen of the COMP so the two of them could continue to observe the trio butting heads before them.
Soon enough, the bickering between the trio before them started to stray into more violent territory. Seeing that, Minato sighed before moving to break the deadlock before anyone got hurt. As he was doing so, Minato was ignorant of the smile and gaze that Tico was sending his way, giggling when the bluenette was evidently dragged into the deadlock when Alice cutely demanded that he list all the traits that he loved about her. Once those words left her mouth, a much more aggressive push to claim the young man occurred, with Metis and Nyx insistenting that he do the same for them. With her contractor being dragged into another petty debacle, Tico giggled much harder when Alice adamantly stated that Minato was a lolicon. As soon as Alice stated those words, Nyx instantly had her hands on Minato's collar as she shook and demanded that he explain her words. While Nyx was interrogating Minato, Metis was struggling on the ground with her arms around Alice's neck as the blonde was biting her forearm.
"Again! Lolicon!? My memories of our time together while I had my human form in that school may be foggy, but I explicitly remember that you denied all claims of being a lolicon when asked by Kenji Tomochika about that child you supposedly met with on occasion! Now explain yourself!" Nyx shouted with a reddened face, her shaking of the bluenette becoming much more violent the longer he denied her his answer.
"Stop calling Minato a lolicon! People will misunderstand and start saying things behind his back, don't you ge-! Ouch! Stop biting me! That hurts!" Metis chastised Alice in a heated and scolding tone, though it was instantly filled with anger as Alice continued to bite into her forearm.
"No! Minato is a lolicon! Minato is a lolicon! Minato is a lolicon! Minato is the biggest lolicon in the whole entire world! He would still be even if the whole world was full of lolicons, that's how much of a lolicon he is!" Alice shouted to the heavens as the anger and embarrassment that was coursing through the three others beside her grew exponentially, Nyx screaming as she shook Minato harder while Metis tightened her arms around her neck to silence her.
(Scene Change – Unknown Location: Boardroom)
"It looks like we got found out." A young man said in a nonchalant tone, calmly continuing his duty of signing and approving the documents laid out before him.
This young man was Tawake Guretsu, a young man at the age of twenty three. Standing at a height of five foot, ten inches, he was at an above average height for a man born in Japan, having a muscular build that complimented his height with red eyes. Having a head of long white hair, it was styled into a ponytail. Dressed in a plain white business suit, with mismatching white sneakers and tie, he let another sigh leave as he neatly arranged and fixed his attention towards the man to his left.
"Any word on who or what? And which branch was found?" Another young man asked as he fixed his glasses, getting the attention of the twenty-one others in the room as they glanced at Tawake.
Another young man, Inchiki Maryoku, was Tawake's business partner and closest ally, also a native to Japan. Standing an inch taller then Tawake at the same age of twenty three, he had a head of short, orange colored hair with brown eyes. His outfit matching that of Tawake, dressed in a white business suit, he differed his outfit with an actual matching pair of white loafers. Topping off his attire was his signature pair of glasses, which were in the process of being fixed once more as he shook his head.
"From the reports that I've been getting, it looks like the group that was recruiting in Japan was found, more specifically in Inaba. Adding to what we know about that region, we can assume that it was that group of Persona users who dealt with the Fog that was affecting it." Inchiki relayed as a murmur swept through the room, most of the attention falling on a young woman with raven colored haired.
"Having loose threads will only cause problems in the future. It would be best to get rid of them while they're still insignificant." Another man added in a calm and serious tone, getting a few nods in agreement to his statement.
Standing at a height of six foot-one, this young man was Asgeir Gudbrande, age twenty four with his origin in Scandinavia. A very muscular young man, as evidenced by his visible biceps, showing through the clothes that he had on. With sandy brown hair spiked up vertically and blue eyes, he was a rather intimidating individual, though that was made more so with the scar on his left brow. Currently he was dressed much more casually then the first two men, his outfit consisted of reddish brown shoes, white hipster pants with white designs in each side of his pant leg. A matching reddish brown belt around his waist, a black denim jacket with a large white design on the top part and an extended collar topped off his look.
"W-Well, w-what are you suggesting?" A young lady asked in an anxious manner, the attention of the others falling on her person as she tried making herself as small as possible.
Being one of the two youngest and shortest of those present, Philé Rei was seemingly out of place with the current assortment of people gathered. Being at the tender age of fifteen, Philé was standing at the height of five foot, two inches. Being half Greek, half Japanese, Philé's Greek blood was more prevalent as shown with her greens eyes and head of long blonde hair that reached a bit past her waist, a number of white, flower pins adorning it. As for her current outfit, Philé was dressed in a black school uniform with a yellow cardigan that was left unbuttoned except for the topmost button. Topping off her outfit was a white hat that had a rabbit themed motif to it; a nose, a pair of eyes and ears standing out most on the accessory.
"What do you think. We find them, we ask them what the hell they saw and if they saw something they weren't supposed to, we get rid of them." Another young lady with raven hair spat with venom in her tone, her hateful and tone causing a bit of a flinch to run through a few of the people present.
That rather crude remark was made by Anbu Kyoukyo, a young Japanese lady at the age of eighteen. Standing at a petite height of five foot, three inches, her small stature was a stark contrast to her appearance. With a head of medium-length black hair with a half fringes on the left side and a single fringe in the center of her head, her red eyes shone like flames as Anbu fixed her attention on Philé. Dressed in a back biker jacket, it was adorned with spiked shoulder pads each with a skull marked on them. Adding to the look of a delinquent, she matched her jacket with black rider pants marked with gray metal designs and red kneepads. Matching it with a black belt on her waist and a black chain hanging on the left side, she topped off her outfit with black with gray metal rider boots and black rider gloves with red metal designs. Her helmet, fixed with a skull design like her shoulder pads, was resting in front of her on the table.
"Heh, that sounds like a plan way too complicated for a social reject like you to have come up with. Didn't you just say that you were 'one hundred percent sure' that you were all unnoticed." Another young lady sneered at her with arrogance rich in her voice, instantly drawing a snarl of fury from Anbu as she glared hard at the other young lady.
The young lady that Anbu was glaring daggers at was of Russian descent, her name Zilya Dragunov, age twenty. Zilya is a young Russian woman of an above-average height of five foot-six. With a skin tone of a light tan due to her training in the sun, she had blonde hair, and blue eyes. Her hair is styled somewhat messily and is spiked backwards; a feature that many felt matched her nature. In the front, she has bangs that part near the center of her hairline. Her body is toned as well, as seen by her biceps and her abdomen, which often got those whose gazes lingered black and blue bruises. Reflecting her tomboyish personality, she has a masculine, somewhat military, wardrobe though it also contrasted in that it revealed more then most women would be comfortable with. Currently, Zilya was dressed in a tight tan tank top that showed off her impressive upper body and abdomen, a combat glove was on her left hand and a brace on her right wrist. A pair of green combat fatigues and tan military boots with a matching belt completed her look,
"The fuck did you say, bitch? If you don't watch your fuckin' mouth, I'll make sure you never use it right again, got it? And yeah, I was one hundred per-fucking-cent sure that we were alone. Must've been that blonde bimbo that we told to clean up." Anbu snapped back in a furious manner, though all she got to her increased ire was a smirk of amusement from Zilya.
"I think that's enough, you two. Anbu, calm down and you, Zilya, please stop antagonizing her." A tan skinned young man said as he tried to diffuse the situation, though all he got in turn was a glare from the two.
The young man being subjected to the withering glares of Anbu and Zilya was Sai Ramesh, a twenty five year old young man with his origins in India. Standing at a height of five feet, seven inches, he had a lithe build with sandy blonde hair and teal eyes. Currently, he was dressed in a simple yellow shirt with black pants and white shoes. When Sai caught sight of their glares, the young man flinched before bowing his head in apology.
"Stay the hell out of this, Ramesh, and don't speak to me like you know me. We aren't friends, and I'm sure as hell not stopping til that bitch over there shuts her fucking trap." The young woman now known as Anbu snapped with the same irate tone from earlier, drawing a sigh from Sai as the young man raised his head once more.
"Sai, just stay out of it. You know those two are like oil and water. But Kyoukyo does have a point, if you excuse her language. We should make sure that those Persona users didn't see anything that they weren't meant to see, yet." Another young man with blonde hair replied as the attention in the room was drawn to him, taking a quick glance around before moving to explain his point while pulling out a small remote.
This young man was Tavon Demarion, a twenty four year old young man from England. A muscular man standing at a height of six foot-one, Tavon had a head of short blonde hair that was slicked back in a professional manner, his dark blue eyes turning to the wall as he powered on the remote. Currently, the man was dressed in simple business attire, including a purple formal vest with brown upper outlines, a light blue and white pinstriped long sleeve button-up shirt with the sleeves folded into cuffs and a red neck tie with brown and white linings on the collar, as well as black formal pinstripe pants and black shoes. His statement catching the attention of everyone, he nodded before continuing his point.
"Like Kyoukyo said, we need to make sure that there weren't any witnesses that observed the strengthening ritual. That'll be the hardest part, but we've already got data on the Persona users in the area; what their habits are, places of residence and those who are close to them without knowing what Persona or Demons are. I think the best course of action would be to acquire some leverage on them. Get something that they are all protective of and they'll fold like a house of cards. Once we have that and keep it until we've done what we've needed to, we can just let them have it back. Not like we'll be needing it when we get what we want." Tavon explained as the others inclined their heads at the statement, adding to his point as he deployed a projection of the Investigation Team onto the wall with displays of their speculated strengths and weaknesses.
"…Do we have to get involved with them?" A young lady asked the gathered group as she gained the attention of those present, a sigh leaving the mouth of the young lady as she moved to glance at Tavon.
This young lady was a fifteen year old with her roots in Ireland, Iona Caoimhín. Standing at a petite height of five foot, three inches; she had what many would consider the looks of a doll. With deep red colored hair, styled in curled pigtails, she had fair, almost porcelain colored skin. Deep red eyes, a style that could only be called "Gothic Lolita," and a perpetual expression of indifference only added to her doll-like appearance. Currently, Iona was dressed in a black blouse and matching skirt, both as frilly and lacey as a dolls. With black stocking, shoes and ribbons holding her hair together, she was an ideal example of "Gothic Lolita" fashion.
"…You said that we needed to make sure that they didn't see anything that they weren't supposed to. Why do we need to prioritize getting involved with those people if we can just wipe them out as soon as we meet them." Iona added as many other nodded in agreement to her statement, the confidence in their strength and abilities showing more so on the more expressive and haughty members as they smirked.
"Iona does raise a good point. Why waste time and energy for preemptively dealing with them when we know that they lack the strength to face us. Even with the knowledge of what they've done with the fog that affected their town, the reports stated that it was a one-time ability, if that. There's no doubt that we will eventually meet with them, but by that time we will have acquired strength that will make our current selves look like children in comparison." A regal and relaxed voice sounded from a blonde young lady, drawing looks to her as the blonde with darker hair beside her shook her head in disagreement.
"I'd like to argue that it's pretty reckless and stupid to let things keep going the way that they are now. Really, everyone? We're just going to ignore them, after all that they've done? You all know what those Persona users did for Inaba, with dealing with the Fog and the murders that filled it. We weren't able to do anything about it, so we left it alone as a lost cause but those kids managed to deal with it and did it in a pretty short amount of time given the situation. Letting them run around without some sort of precautionary countermeasures in place is just idiotic. I'd also like to add that ignoring the issue with them is just like what we're doing with the Contractors. All that we know about them is that they seem to have an ulterior motive that is completely foreign to our own, or at least that's what it seems like as of right now. And that's not even taking into account the possibility of an outlying party between the ones that are on our radars now." Spoke the young lady that was sitting beside the one who first spoke in a much more boisterous and terse tone, a murmur running through the people gathered as the thought of another third party brought along more headaches.
The previous two young ladies were sisters born in France, Reine and Flerida Sédatif. Reine was at the young age of twenty two while Flerida was twenty one. While they were a year apart, they were nearly identical in appearance, many assuming that the two were twins. Reine was standing at a height of five foot, seven inches, the same as her sister. Though, the contrast between the two could be found in their features; Reine having a much more mature look and aura to her person then her sister despite physical attire, Flerida having a much more youthful appearance to her person and the colors of their hair and eyes.
Flerida had a head of short, dirty blonde hair that was styled in a free-form manner, ending near the base of her neck. With deep emerald green colored eyes and a fair complexion, she was an individual that some would even call tom-boyish if it weren't for her rather large chest. Currently, the young woman was dressed in a blue, gold embroidered top with a white undershirt beneath it. It was matched with a pair of white boots with blue embroidering, golden etching seen running along with the blue embroidering. A pair of black pantyhose covering her curvaceous and well-toned legs, they were beneath a pair of blue shorts that ended near her mid-thigh. As for accessories, she had a pink tie secured around her neck and a white headband on her head, topping off her outfit with a pair of white gloves.
With Reine, she was dressed in a much more relaxed and casual fashion then her younger sister, many arguing that it was a comical difference between the two. A white graphic shirt with a snoozing cat was loosely covering her top, matched with a pair of slightly loose white pajama pants that had a number of different animals cutely drawn and decorated about. On her feet was a pair of white slippers with the likeness of a cat stitched onto them, a nose, a pair of eyes and ears with a smiling mouth staring at everyone on the top of the slippers. Though she was nonchalantly dressed, more so then anyone else in the room, Reine's beauty was not hindered by the comical and informal sense of fashion that she was sporting. With a fair and glowing complexion, Reine had a figure that many could compare to a goddess if need be. A head of long, flowing golden blonde hair that was slightly messy and strewn about as if she had just woken up, she had a pair of bright green eyes that still held a bit of grogginess to them. When tidied up, she could almost be mistaken for a goddess if it weren't for her usually languid character. Her last accessories were a wing-like ornament in her hair, contrasting slightly against her unkempt attire with the regal and sophisticated trinket along with a pair of thick rimmed glasses that many would say seemed a bit too smart for her usual attire.
"While that is a comforting thought, Reine, I'd have to agree with your sister on this. We still need to have some form of insurance, even if it isn't needed. In case things, by some otherworldly chance, do go south; we'll have something to fall back on even if we never find the need to use it." Another woman said as another round of murmurs ran through the gathered people, many turning to glance at the screen before them with the photos of the Investigation Team.
The woman who had just spoken was Lisii Vasiliki, a twenty four year old young lady from Greece. A head of long blonde hair, it was currently styled in a long ponytail that ended near her mid-back. With deep blue eyes and a well-endowed figure, she was the envy of a few of the younger young ladies as well. Though, the same couldn't have been said for her taste in fashion. Currently, Lisii was dressed in a frilly grey blouse with bright blue fringes running on her wrists, collar, waist and down the middle of her chest, following the buttons of her blouse. With a dark-blue skirt that had a wide slit on its side, she topped her outfit off with a pair of bright blue fishnet stockings, white bowed shoes with straps running up her legs and a white top hat with a teal ribbon and light blue feather adorning it, adding to her height of five feet, eight inches.
"Do we really need to involve them? They haven't done anything to warrant us taking action against them. I strongly urge for us to just leave them be until they actively begin affecting our goals." Another young man said as he spoke on the behalf of the younger adults, getting slightly irked stares for his statement from the more vocal of his companions.
This young man was Yishai Netanya, a twenty four year old young man with his birthplace in Israel. Standing at a height of five feet, eleven inches; he had a tanned complexion with a lithe but muscular build, short brown colored hair and eyes. Currently, the Yishai was dressed in a white button up shirt with matching blue pants and black loafers. His unruly hair was made a bit more messy as the man ran his hand through it, letting a slightly depressed sigh leave at the hostile stares that he was receiving.
"I'd like to also support those in favor of leaving them alone. I don't want any more senseless fighting, if at all possible." Said a tanned young lady in a soft and slightly unsure tone, her opinion and tone drawing a slightly disappointed look from another woman looking at her.
This young lady was Xpiayoc Sacniete, a descendant of the Mayan people. Standing at a height of five feet, eight inches; she had a womanly and athletic figure that attracted the attention of those who laid eyes on her. With a tanned complexion, long brown hair tied in a ponytail and chocolate brown eyes; she could be considered a Mayan princess if one traced her lineage. Currently, she was dressed in a rather revealing pair of white pants with slits on both sides of her thighs, exposing them. With a loose fitting white top, it was exposing the lavender colored sports bra that she had underneath it. Topping off her outfit was a simple pair of white sneakers, which were currently tapping against the floor as the gazes on her person were rather uncomfortable.
"You need to be more assertive in situations like this and state your opinion in a confident manner, Xpiayoc. How is anyone going to see you as a princess and take you seriously if you keep bowing your head and avoid raising your voice? I believe that we need to take action against these Persona users, personally. If we let them run without supervision, there's no telling what kind of trouble they'll get involved in." Another woman said in a lightly admonishing tone, causing Xpiayoc to become a bit downcast at the jab to her pride as a princess.
This young lady was Kleopatra Nefertari, a twenty five year old from Egypt. Standing at a height of six feet, she was the tallest of the women in the group with the most well developed figure as well. With a deeply tanned complexion that was free of blemishes, bright teal colored eyes and long, silky black hair with the bangs parted in the middle and framing her face; she held herself with the air and poise of her lineage, a queen. Currently, Kleopatra was dressed in a white sundress that hugged her body snuggly at the top, flowing freely past her knees. A gold and blue necklace of her ancestors resting securely around her neck, she had a white sunhat that was resting comfortably on her head. With her statement said, Kleopatra scanned those gathered around her with critical eyes, narrowing them on those who spoke against taking action akin to a mother narrowing hers on her misbehaving children.
"No need to give everyone the 'mom eyes', Kleopatra. Let's all just take a vote at the end, that'll solve things in a quick and easy way." Spoke another young lady in a joking tone in an attempt to ease the mood, succeeding slightly though Kleopatra's 'mom eyes' turned onto a slight glare before falling onto herself.
The subject of Kleopatra's glare was a twenty four old young lady from Hong Kong, Hualin Yan, the young lady seemingly unaffected by the withering glare being directing towards her, though internally she was trying her best to remain calm. Standing at a height of five-foot four, her mature and motherly aura contrasted her petite stature, though her chest was rather unbalanced in its size in comparison to the rest of her body. With long, black hair that was done up in buns, with a few stray strands refusing to sit still, it added to the impression of a busy mother or nanny. Dressed in a vermillion colored qipao with swallows embroidered on the bottom of its front, flying around a flower, it tightly hugged her curvaceous body in a flattering manner. Beneath that, she had a thin, pink blouse with orange ends that covered her sleeves, a pair of flared dark blue pants with white lace at their ends. Orange slippers on her feet, she topped off her outfit with a pair of glasses and most strikingly, an apron that covered her upper body with the exception of her chest, which was being pushed up slightly and emphasized with said apron.
"Eh, I'm game for a vote. Will make things move a bit faster then how it's going now. But as soon as we finish it, I gotta jet, so let's get it started already." An impatient voice said as a few sighs left the mouths of those gathered, the man in question getting a number of irritated stares as he continued to fiddle with his phone.
This young man was Denbeigh Gie, a twenty four year old from Australia. Standing at a height of six feet, he was a tall and muscular man with a more lithe build in comparison to the other muscular men gathered. With short blonde hair that was currently slicked back, he could almost be called a twin of Tavon if the two were to be seen from behind, though Tavon had a slightly bulkier build and Denbeigh's hair was a bit longer and more wild near the ends. With pale blue eyes that shone with slight annoyance at how long the meeting was taking, Denbeigh sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. Currently, the young man was dressed in some very casual attire; consisting of a white, unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt with a white t-shirt beneath, red jeans, brown shoes and a pair of sunglasses that were currently tipped forward to expose his annoyed stare.
"Ojike-san, are we going to finish up soon? I think Hinata wants to go home." A polite albeit reserved young lady asked the man standing beside her, though it turned warm and loving when it involved the young lady seated in front of her.
This young lady was Shion Kainashi, a sixteen year old with her roots in Japan and the middle child of the Kainashi trio. Standing at a height of five foot five with a fair complexion, Shion had a head of dark blonde hair done up into two wild and free pigtails, tied up in red and white stripped ribbons. Wearing an outfit that was reminiscent of that of a shine maiden, she had a white haori with the sleeves missing, showing off her back and the sides of her chest. A red hakama covering her lower body, it was also missing the sides that covered her thighs, though a pair of black shorts could be seen covering the exposed area. Covering her waist was a black and gold armor-like sash, a purple clothed ribbon helping secure it in place. On her feet were a pair of white socks and brown sandals, and covering her arms were a pair of black and gold gauntlets that contrasted greatly with her cutesy outfit.
"Onii-chan, if possible, I'd to get going too, like Shion said! My favorite anime is about to come on and you need to watch it with me this time!" An energetic and youthful voice added to Shion's statement, the young lady who spoke moving to give a hug to Shion who smiled warmly at her in turn.
The young lady who had spoken was Hinata Kainashi, a fifteen year old young lady from Japan and youngest sister of the Kainashi trio. Standing at a height of five foot two and with a fair complexion, Hinata shared the position of being the youngest and shorted of those gathered with Philé. With a head of short brown hair, it was held up with a white headband that was resting comfortable on her forehead. Currently, the young lady was dressed in a sleeveless blue shirt with a white collared and buttoned up longer sleeve shirt beneath it. That buttoned up shirt was tucked into a blue pleated skirt that rested at her thighs. A pink ribbon was tied on her collar and she had a pair of white and blue sneakers on her feet. The smiling girl who was currently hugging her sister was also seated in a wheelchair, the most striking accessory to her person.
"Could you please tell your younger sisters to not add unneeded statements to this conversation. This is important. If they find our meetings "boring" then they should have stayed at home, as you would have no doubt relayed what we spoke about to them." A calm and deep voice asked in a slightly frigid manner, making Shion and Hinata flinch a bit before Shion narrowed her eyes on the man.
This young man was Cyril Faysal, a twenty five year old man from America. Standing at a height of six foot-one and with a paler but healthy complexion, Cyril had a rather large and imposing figure, his stature matching that of the other taller men in the room. With a head of shoulder length blonde hair, he had a pair of deep blue eyes that were as focused as they were cold. Currently, Cyril was dressed in a white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a pair of gray pants and loafers, a belt with a foreign emblem wrapped securely around his pants.
"You two can leave as soon as this meeting is over, so stop complaining." A deep voice countered Cyril in an equally frigid tone and glance, though his gaze turned even colder when addressed to his younger sisters.
The eldest of the Kainashi trio, Ojike Kainashi, was a stone faced young man at the age of twenty five. Standing at a height of six foot-one, he was a tall man with a head of short black hair, his sideburns connecting it with his mustache and beard. With cold and sharp coal colored eyes and a fair complexion, he had the build and appearance of a veteran soldier. Currently, Ojike was dressed in a black jacket with red leather padding on the shoulders, elbows, collar and the emblem of a snake on the left chest area. A pair of matching black pants with the same padding on the sides of the thighs and knees, he had a dark red belt holding his outfit together.
"Right… So why don't we get this vote underway? After that, we can all decide on what to do after. And since I'll be mediating this vote, I'll remain impartial unless there's a need to break an even sided result. That said, this will be a majority ruling, so whichever side that receives the most support will be the side that we will be acting for, agreed?" Hualin suggested as she took the role of mediating the affair, getting a murmur to run through the room as she scanned it.
"Alright, those in favor of taking action, raise your hands." She asked as a number of hands instantly rose, Hualin waiting a bit as a few more hands hesitantly moved before either rising or returning to their lowered state.
"And those in favor of leaving them alone?" She continued as another round of hands rose, the bespectacled young woman nodding as she let a sigh leave at the results.
"Well, looks like we'll be heading to Inaba." Hualin said in a slightly solemn tone, a rather varied reaction running through those gathered.
"What the hell! Come'on, I've got things to do!" Denbeigh shouted as he slammed his fist on the table, drawing a few glares and fearful looks from the others at his action.
"Calm the hell down, asshole. Like we need your sorry ass to deal with these punks." Anbu snapped at him in a rude tone, Denbeigh narrowing his eyes on the ravenette as she simply sneered at him.
"Like you should be talking, huh bitch. You were the one who was down there, why do we have to clean up your mess?" Zilya sneered at Anbu in a heated tone, instantly drawing the ire of the younger girl as she stood up.
"You wanna repeat that?" She asked in a barely controlled tone of anger, Zilya's sneer only growing as did Anbu's irritation and anger.
"Can we all just calm down!?" Sai tried to shout over the uproar the drowned his voice, sighing as he sat down and placed his head on the table.
"Come'on Sai, should've known that this would've happened." Yishai told the man in a knowing tone, patting him on the back as a groan left the man.
"I still think that we should leave them alone…" Xpiayoc lamented in a sullen tone, getting the irritated stares of a few of those who were for pursuing the Investigation Team.
"Ms. Sacniete, we reached this conclusion was reached with a majority vote; please remember that it wasn't based on the opinions of one person." Cyril said in a calm and cool tone, the young lady nodding her head softly at the statement.
"D-Don't worry, Xpiayoc, I-I share your sentiments." Philé said in an effort to cheer up the older woman, getting a small but thankful smile in turn for her concern.
"Tch… Waste of time…" Iona muttered in a cold and irked tone, tightening her fists as she narrowed her eyes on those who dragged her into the current situation.
"If you don't like it, feel free to leave, Ms. Caoimhín. We'll proceed fine without your assistance." Tavon said in a polite and cordial tone, drawing a glare from the redhead as he simply opted to ignore her.
"Again, I'm reminded that I'm surrounded by people with way too much energy…" Reine muttered under her breath in an exasperated manner, laying her head on the table as a soft yawn escaped her mouth.
"That's because there are some people who actually want to get things done, Reine. Unlike some people who are content with just sitting down, drinking tea and eating snacks all day." Flerida said in a slightly irritated tone directed towards her elder sister, Reine wincing when the topic of snacking was surely directed towards herself.
"Well, better start making plans, Inchiki. We're in for a fight, it looks like." Tawake said as he stretched his body, his partner letting a sigh leave as he shook his head.
"Should've figured that it'd come to this conclusion. Think I can call in sick?" Inchiki asked in a hopeful tone, drawing a dry look from Tawake as the man's head dropped.
"Come'on, Onii-chan! You said that we'd go after the meeting was over!" Hinata added in a slightly whining tone, leaning over her seat in her wheelchair to pull at Ojike's sleeve.
"What did I tell you earlier. Now stop pulling on me and go." Ojike told the young girl in an irritated and stony manner, his youngest sibling pouting as she retracted her hands from his sleeves.
"Like he said, we'll be leaving soon, Hinata. And don't worry; I set the TV recorder to start when your show does." Shion told Hinata in a reassuring tone, instantly drawing a smile from her as she hugged Shion once again.
"What's our next course of action." Asgeir said in a tone louder then he would have normally used, the usually calm and collected man's voice gaining a bit of an edge to it that unnerved a vast majority of everyone in the room.
"R-Right, w-well that's all on your end, Tawake-san!" Hualin said in an effort to ease the frightening man's growing ire, shifting the frightening man's attention to the other white haired young man.
"W-Well, that's all on you, Tavon, you've got all the intel on the Persona users in Inaba after all!" Tawake said in a nervous tone as Asgeir's ire started to show in more then his voice, the sound of his knuckles popping and cracking echoing through the room as he clenched his folded hands tighter.
"I-I see… Well, the first course of action would be to find something that all of them find valuable or precious. Having something like that as leverage will make anyone, even someone who seems invincible; fold if it's important enough to them. As you can all see here, I've isolated some key people and objects of interest." Tavon explained in a slightly anxious tone, though it became less so the more he spoke presented his intel.
"Shown here are a few people who a majority of them interact with on a daily basis." Tavon continued as he used a laser pointer to circle and direct the attention of his companions to the faces of the Investigation Team's families, though he focused the laser on the petite form of Nanako to everyone's curiosity.
"Who's the brat?" Anbu asked in a rude tone, though no one seemed to pay any attention to the raven haired young lady.
"Currently, this seems to be the most important person to all members of the Inaba Persona users, Nanako Dojima. From what is known; they all interact with her on a consistent basis, with Yu Narukami being related to her with her father, Ryotaro Dojima, being his uncle. They all seem to care immensely for her with again, Yu Narukami, being the one to hold the most affection for her." Tavon carried on as he showed a number of photos of the Investigation Team and Nanako hanging out and playing, a few members of the room feeling a bit uncomfortable with how many photos of the seemingly unknown Persona users were being shown.
"From what was reported, it seems like Nanako Dojima was kidnapped during the incident with the Fog that plagued Inaba. During that time, she was brought into the TV World for a brief time before she was saved afterwards. Though, due to unknown causes she momentarily passed on the third of December before regaining consciousness on the fourth, again due to unknown causes." The blonde man continued as the interest of everyone was piqued, the idea of a girl that young having an ability to somehow revive after death being an interesting one.
"The ability to cheat death… To think a gift like that actually existed…." Xpiayoc whispered in a soft tone, her eyes gaining a slightly glazed tone to them as she clenched her hands slightly.
"So, what're you planning on having us do with her, exactly…" Denbeigh said in an eerily calm tone that greatly contrasted with his impatient and irritated one from earlier, his eyes gaining also showing a calm yet barely restrained glint to them that many found unnerving.
"I don't plan on having any harm come to her, if that's what's causing you to be on edge." Tavon stated in an equally calm and even tone, though he let an internal breath out when he saw Denbeigh's tension lessen.
"Sure, whatever you say, Tavon. But you didn't answer my question, what're you planning on us to do with her." Denbeigh asked once more in an unperturbed manner, the other blonde sighing as he turned to face the projector once more.
"If you'd allow me to finish, you'd already have your answer. Essentially, all we're going to do is hold her as leverage until we finish our little project." He stated as a few sighs left those who were worried for the girl, though many gained a slightly irked expression in turn.
"That's it? All this trouble was for that?" Zilya snapped in an irritated manner as she slammed her hands onto the table, drawing a reluctant but cooperative glance from Anbu as she scoffed.
"That plan has to be the dumbest piece of shit I've ever heard. All this fucking voting and debating for that? A fucking kindergartener could've come up with something more useful then that. Give me a fucking break." Spat Anbu in a hateful and disbelieving tone, Zilya snorting as she couldn't help but share the ravenette's sentiments.
"As much as I don't want to get involved with those kids, I'd really appreciate it if you two could tone down on the swearing and noise." Reine quipped in a prim and proper manner as she looked up from her resting position, instantly drawing a snarl from Anbu and a glare from Zilya.
"I really hate reminding you two, but remember that Reine is a lot stronger then how she looks." Flerida added in a tired tone as the brows of the two twitched in irritation, though they choose to stow away their words and their attention from the two.
"Well, who's going to be working on this assignment? Don't think we'd need everyone's hand in this." Yishai asked in a calm tone that contrasted the guilt that filled his heart, his question stirring up the room as glances were exchanged between everyone.
"That's a good question, Yishai. Don't think we'll be needing a whole lotta firepower here, but we can't go in with nothing." Inchiki asked as he gazed around the room, some people adamant trying to avoid his gaze on their person.
"I'll go." Asgeir said as he stood up, drawing the attention of everyone as he cracked and craned his neck.
"You can't be serious. This is akin to dispatching a warhead to get rid of a couple of roaches. I know I said having a plan in case things fail is always needed, but having that man have free reign would only bring more unwanted attention." Lisii stated in a slightly exasperated manner while pointing at Asgeir, drawing similar looks as the man in question let a sigh leave his mouth.
"And just like roaches, those Persona users seem to keep retuning no matter the situation. From what is known about their actions, results and Persona; they aren't a threat to me, even if they all attacked together due to their inexperience in dealing with Human opponents. Their leader, Yu Narukami, his Persona is Izanagi-no-Okami. With what was told to us by that man, Narukami defeated the being that caused the Fog with an ability called "Myriad Truths. Based on what was witnessed, that ability has an almost limitless amount of power connected to it, allowing him to defeat the being responsible for the Fog in one strike." Asgeir stated as the faces of those who were unaware paled slightly, though they soon gained a hint of confusion when they saw that it wasn't reflected on the faces of the others.
"W-Why aren't you all w-worried? I-If he has that much power, s-shouldn't we be p-preparing for them?" Philé asked in a worried tone, her confusion only growing when she saw some of the kinder members in the room smile reassuringly at her.
"Don't be such a worrywart, Philé. You didn't stay afterwards for the debriefing that we had about the Fog that covered Inaba, so you wouldn't know of the ridiculous condition that must be met for that ability to function." Kleopatra said in a soothing and reassuring tone, moving to run her hand through the hair of the blonde as Philé had her worry slowly melt off her face.
"She's right, Philé. While the notion that, that ability, Myriad Truths, is able to defeat any being is crazy; the conditions to use it are equally as crazy. Because in order for that man to be able to use it, he had to endure an attack of an extremely specific nature from the sole being able to use it." Hualin explained as the last traces of worry that covered the young blonde's face faded, her sentiments were shared by a few others who let a sigh of relief leave their mouths.
"So in other words, that man is unable to use that ability ever again, am I correct?" Shion asked the older woman, getting a smile and a nod in turn for her question.
"Yeah, unless someone, somewhere manages to get their hands on the being that can use that one ability, Narukami isn't going to be using Myriad Truths anytime soon." Denbeigh added in a cool and airy tone, the atmosphere in the room become much less tense then it was earlier with that knowledge now public to them all.
"With that comforting thought, you all still want Asgeir to take care of our little problem? We're not trying to kill any of them, remember that." Sai stated in a tone that held a notable amount of hesitation, causing those who wanted to avoid senseless violence to grimace in turn.
"Fucking hell, enough of this shit! I'll go, that work for you all?" Anbu spat as all eyes turned to her, the young woman shooting them all an irritated gaze as they mulled over the thought.
"You think you can really take on all of em? By yourself?" Tawake asked in a tone of genuine interest, getting a scoff in turn for the question as she stood up.
"Fuck that, even I know I'd get my ass kicked into next week if I tried that shit. Only people who could reliably take on a group like that by themselves would be Asgeir, Kleopatra, Ojike, Cyril, Reine and Hualin." Anbu admitted in a tone that seemed like she had tasted something bitter, the others nodding at her words though some seemed irked that they weren't included in her listing.
"Then what are you planning on doing? If you can't beat them all on your own, why offer to go?" Xpiayoc asked in a curious tone, Anbu letting an irritated sigh leave as she rubbed the back of her neck.
"What do you think I'm gonna do. If I can't beat them head on, I'll just kidnap the brat when their backs are turned. From what we already know, they'll be focusing on finding what went on when I was down there. While their asses are distracted trying to find jack shit; I'll head in, find the damn brat, nab her and keep their attention focused on finding her and not fucking snooping around where their noses don't belong until you're all where you need to be." Anbu explained as the others mulled over the idea, eventually finding it to be a solid plan with an equal number of issues.
"There are a number of issues with your plan, Ms. Kyoukyo. Where are you going to keep Ms. Dojima when you successfully capture her and for how long? Are you going to be able to adequately move undetected with an eleven year old girl while constantly shifting locations to avoid being found? How are you going to get close enough to her to kidnap her when she most likely has a guarded heart against strangers due to her first kidnapping? What are you planning on doing in the event you manage to get captured by those Persona users? These are just a few of the implications that I'm seeing with your choice of action, please explain what you plan on doing if you will." Cyril asked in quick succession, Anbu grimacing greatly when put on the spot by the frigid man.
"But… If you are adamant and there are no objections on your decision, I will withhold my own objections. So, would anyone else like to oppose Ms. Kyoukyo's choice of action?" Cyril continued as he glanced around the room, getting a room of silence in turn for his question.
"Then it's settled. You'll have the task of locating Ms. Dojima and apprehending her for a set amount of time. During her tenure as your captive, you are to keep her safe, fed and well hydrated; this is non-negotiable. In the meanwhile, with Ms. Dojima under your wing, you will have to keep a vigilant eye for those who cherish her, as keeping them actively searching for her is the key factor as to why we are talking about this in the first place. As for the duration of her stay with you, that will be dependent on yourself. We will keep you updated with our progress, but ultimately you will be the final verdict as to when Ms. Dojima and yourself will be separated. But I will ask that she remain with you for at least a week's time, if possible." Cyril explained as everyone made notes of what the plan entailed, Anbu grimacing a bit as the thought of actually babysitting someone irritated her a great deal.
"Yeah, yeah; this is gonna be an annoying ass mission but I'll get it done." Anbu said in a slightly dismissive tone as the others nodded their heads, a few moving to leave when they concluded that the meeting was over.
Soon enough, there were only a few members left in the room and all of them still seated in their respective seats. Glancing around the room, they all met the gazes of each other before Cyril stood up before the others left in the room followed as well. Moving towards a door opposite of where the others had exited; Cyril, Ojike, Reine, Hualin and Kleopatra passed the door to a smaller room then before. Once inside, Ojike closed the door and locked it before taking a seat for himself.
"Ojike, are you sure that you can stay? Hinata seemed like she wanted to spend some time with you." Reine asked the man in a soft tone, though all she got in turn for her question was a scoff from the man.
"I'm not their babysitter, Reine. They choose to leave, so they did. I'm not obligated to keep watch over them twenty four-seven, when I have other obligations that are more important then watching their dumb shows with them." Ojike bit out in a cold tone, Reine letting a soft sigh leave her mouth at his rebuttal.
"If you want to keep telling yourself that, be my guest. Just remember that they'll be growing up without you in their lives. And when that moment comes where you would like to spend an evening with them, just talking over tea and snacks about everyday things, they'll refuse you like you did them." She added as the man gave her an irritated look in turn, Reine just staring at him in a calm manner despite his frigid gaze.
"Like what your sister is doing with you now?" He asked in a vindictive manner, his provocation working as Reine's usually tranquil expression stiffened considerably before glooming.
"Ojike, that was uncalled for! Reine was just concerned about you maintaining a place in the lives of your sisters!" Kleopatra spat out in a heated manner, the man turning to look at her before scoffing in turn.
"Look, Cyril, can we just get this debriefing session started? I think everyone is a little on edge right now." Hualin suggested as the tense atmosphere was prevalent to everyone in the room, the man sighing as he nodded his head in agreement.
"Let's begin, then. We'll start with the strange disturbance and spike in spiritual energy that was reported near Kirishima." Cyril started as he reached for the projector in front of him, turning it on as an extremely fuzzy image was soon shown.
"Hmm, what's that?" Kleopatra asked in a calmer tone then before, though lingering traces of anger could be felt beneath.
"Looks like a person…" Reine said in a soft tone, her gloomy expression still evident with the way her eyes were still downcast as Kleopatra moved to rub her head.
"Now that you mention it, it kinda does look like someone if the blue is their hair. Do we have any other photos of the event?" Hualin asked in an interested tone, though all she got for her question was a negative shake of the head from Cyril.
"Unfortunately, this and two more photos are all that was given to us by our contact in the Contractors. It appears that they are all that was recovered from a barely functioning COMP before it short circuited due to an unknown cause, which I believe that person is involved with." The man explained as a troubled grimace passed though the faces of the others, though Ojike had a frown mar his.
"Should I go and investigate it?" The man asked in a serious manner, though once again he just received a shake of the head from Cyril.
"No, prematurely engaging this person seems like it's a lost cause. If they are someone who even the Contractors are wary of, with our resources and numbers now, we'd be at a disadvantage if we were to proceed without a plan." The blonde man explained as he moved to another slide, the eyes of the others following as it showed the same blue haired figure from earlier with a number of new figures beside it.
"So it wasn't just one person, then. That's a bit of a relief. If there was just one person dispatched that many people along with the Demons that they were controlling, it would just be absurd." Kleopatra said in a relieved tone, still running her hand though Reine's hair as the blonde young lady nodded her head in agreement.
"So what are we going to do about that group, Cyril? I'm assuming that it's a third party at this point in time, given that we haven't heard of them and that they took out a large number of Contractors." Reine said in a less gloomy manner then before, Kleopatra and Hualin smiling a bit when they caught it.
"At this point, we will wait. But I will tell all of you this now, we are not to send Philé, Hinata, Shion or Iona anywhere near the locations that they are seen. Am I clear?" Cyril stated in a serious and stern tone, drawing curious looks from everyone as Ojike furrowed his brow slightly in confusion.
"Why not? They're not children anymore. They may be in high school and middle school, but they are more then competent enough for missions without hand holding." Ojike said in a confused tone, Cyril choosing to remain silent as he moved to show the next photo.
As soon as the next photo was shown, the water and tea that were in the mouths of Hualin, Kleopatra and Reine was spat out in a heartbeat. Coughing and trying to catch their breaths from the sudden expulsion of liquid, they slammed their palms on the table as they directed hateful and heated glares towards the photo shown before them. Being much clearer then the others, for some unknown reason, it was a photo depicting the blue haired man from before engaged in a rather passionate kiss with what seemed to be a blonde haired girl near the age of thirteen. Their eyes wide and filled with disgust and confusion, they snapped their heads towards Cyril as the normally calm man had a bit of pink marring his face from the photo. Tuning to Ojike, they saw that the man's eyes were wide and bloodshot as he stared at the scene; the can of coffee held in his hand nothing more then scrap metal with how hard he had squeezed it.
"A little girl loving bastard…" Was all that escaped the mouths of the four in a hateful and disgusted manner, Cyril coughing a bit to bring the attention of everyone back onto him.
"L-Like I have said, this is the reason why we are not to let those four anywhere near this man. As you can all see, it seems that he has a… Penchant, for little girls." Cyril said in a tone that held notable amounts of embarrassment, the four in the room stiffly craning their heads back to the photo as they imagined the various scenarios that could happen.
(Flashforward – Kleopatra's Imagination)
"No~! Don't come any closer~!" Philé cried in a tone that held nothing but fear and terror, her cries doing nothing to impede the man stalking towards her with an immoral smirk on his face.
"Now, now; little girls shouldn't be so disobedient." The man said in a chiding and lecherous manner, talking a hold of Philé's wrist as he brought her closer.
"S-Stop~! T-That's only for my husband~! K-Kelo, help~!" Philé cried in an attempt to dissuade him from doing what it was that she knew was coming, the man shaking his head as he leaned closer.
"Don't worry, I'll take good care of you~!" The man said as he brought Philé close and leaned forward, Philé having a single tear fall from her right eye as their lips were mere centimeters from connecting.
(Flashforward – End)
"He's dead… He those pure lips aren't meant for a deviant like him…" Kleopatra muttered beneath her breath as her instincts as an older sister and mother figure were brought out in full, her grip on the table causing the polished wood to crack from the pressure.
(Flashforward – Hualin's Imagination)
"H-Hualin, please save me~!" Iona cried out in a tone that starkly contrasted her normally emotionless and doll-like person, huddled into the corner of a room as the man from before stood imposingly in front of her.
"You're so beautiful and cute, just like a doll…" He said in a lewd and scary tone, holding his hands out towards her as his fingers began to wriggle in a menacing manner.
"W-What are you going to do to me~!?" Iona asked in a frightened and weak tone, the man cackling as he reached behind him before pulling out a clothes hanger with fabric on it.
"What any other person would do to a cute and beautiful girl like yourself~! Let's see what you look like in bloomers~!" The man said with a maniacal laugh emanating from his person, inching towards Iona with a tight fitting shirt and bloomer school gym uniform in tow.
"N-No~! H-Hualin, help~!" She cried as the man grabbed her shirt, pulling and just moments away before ripping it and exposing her body.
(Flashforward – End)
"I'm going to end that piece of trash for putting bloomers on her…" Hualin hissed in a tone that contrasted greatly against her normally kind and peaceful nature, the bottle of tea that was held in her hand now reduced to rubbish with its contents dripping from the bottom of the ruined bottle.
(Flashforward – Reine's Imagination)
"Hiya, sis~!" Flerida called out as she waved at Reine, the blonde having a bright smile on her face as she turned to face her younger sister.
But as she turned around, her world shattered when she saw Flerida with her arms linked with the man in the photo. Unable to voice her utter confusion with what she was seeing, her voice was robbed once more when her younger sister received a peck on the cheek by the man. The action bringing a blush to Flerida's face, she pouted a bit before returning the gesture.
"Come'on, you can't be stealing kisses like that~! It's not fair~!" She said in a cute and pouting manner, her tone normally causing heartburn for her sister now causing heartache with who it was directed towards.
"Sorry, sorry~! Ah, big sister Reine, guess what~! We're getting married~!" The man declared as the world around Reine shattered even more, colors fading to black and white as Flerida and the man were suddenly in wedding attire.
Flerida in a handsome black tuxedo, she was carrying the blue haired man in a bridal carry as he had on a beautiful wedding dress. Unable to comprehend the scene, Reine could only watch with rapt horror as the man wrapped his arms around Flerida's neck, her younger sister blushing as she leaned towards him as he leaned towards her. Mustering all of her strength, Reine reached towards the pair in an attempt to stop Flerida from committing the greatest mistake of her life. But just before they locked lips, she was brought back to reality.
(Flashforward – End)
"F-Flerida… D-Don't leave big sis for t-that man…" Reine muttered in a defeated and sobbing manner, burying her face into her arms as she whimpered and begged her sister to not abandon her for the blue haired man.
(Flashforward – Ojike's Imagination)
"Guhehe… A pair of cute little girls, just my luck to have run into you two~!" The man said in a lusty tone as he held his hands out to his sides, the forms of Hinata and Shion huddled together with their clothes tattered and torn shaking like a pair of leaves in the wind.
"S-Stay back~! T-Take me instead and don't touch Hinata~!" Shion said in a shaky tone while valiantly offering herself as a sacrifice, Hinata shaking her head as she pulled Shion towards her.
"N-No~! T-Take me~! I-If it's me, t-then Shion will be ok, r-right~?" Hinata countered as the man cackled in turn, inching closer as the pair huddled closer together.
"Since the two of you are offering, why don't I just take you both~!?" He cackled as he lunged towards the two of them, the pair screaming as they held the other closer.
"No~! O-Onii-chan, save us~!" The pair screamed in unison as he was within arm's reach of them, the last thing that was seen in the dimming room being scraps of clothes being strewn in the air.
(Flashforward – End)
"Tsk! Those two brats are always getting into trouble, can't keep my eyes off of them before they me need to save them!" Ojike spat out in an irritated and aggravated manner, his nonchalance of the two being countered by the way he had reduced the can in his hand to a thin roll of aluminum.
(Flashforward – Cyril's Imagination)
"Gyah… W-Who… Are you?" The blue haired man stammered as he lay defeated on the floor of the room, Cyril standing proudly and tall while staring hard at him.
"Me? I am no one important. I am just a man who did the right thing, by saving these pure maidens from your vile clutches." He announced in a proud and saintly manner, raising and slamming the tip of his blade against the ground in a show of righteousness.
"C-Curse you, C-Cyril the Gallant…" The man wheezed out before darkness overcame him, Cyril scoffing a bit before turning towards the four girls held behind the bars of the cell they were forced into.
"Careful, ladies. Allow me to rescue you from your prison." He said in a gentlemanly and calm manner, taking a step back before stepping in and hacking through the bars like one would a stick of butter.
"Kyaa~! Cyril is so cool~!"
"You're the greatest Cyril~!"
"You're so much cooler them my brother~!"
"Please let me stay by your side forever~!"
The cheers and adoration of the four previously captive girls inflating his pride and ego, he simply offered them a bright smile as Iona and Philé fainted upon seeing it. Shion and Hinata gained a healthy blush as they hid their faces in embarrassment. Upon seeing that, Cyril gave them a hearty laugh as the two pouted before hitting his chest in protest and embarrassment. But soon enough, his laughter ended as he picked all four of them up, Shion and Hinata being the only ones awake could only flush in embarrassment and happiness as the man drew them close to his person.
"Do not worry. For if you are ever in despair or in darkness, I will reach my hand out towards you and pull you into the light of tomorrow, no matter the time or the distance. For I am Cyril the Gallant, the knight who has pledged to protect the purity of fair maidens such as yourselves." Cyril declared as Shion and Hinata finally fainted with smiles on their faces, Cyril grinning as he sped out towards the setting sun with the four rescued girls held securely on his person.
(Flashforward – End)
"Ahem! Like I was saying, let us not let those four near that man if possible. There is no telling what could occur if they meet." Cyril said as he broke the four out of their stupors, getting snarls and nods in agreement as Cyril nodded his head in turn.
"Well, I believe that this was the most pressing issue that we needed to talk about. Why don't we continue this tomorrow?" He asked before immediately getting nods in agreement, the four storming out of the room to ensure that the girls they had their delusions about were safe and not in the situations that their minds decided to play on them.
(Scene Change - Tachigari Mountain Range: Mount Hyutte – Mountain Cave)
"A-Achoo!" Minato sneezed as he felt an unnatural amount of cold enter his body, a shiver running down his spine as he glanced out of the sole entrance of the cave.
"Huh? What's wrong Minato?" Metis asked as she held a pouting Alice in a headlock, the blonde's attention also being drawn as she released Metis' forearm from her jaws.
"Is something the matter, Minato?" Alice added in a concerned manner, managing to elude Metis' embrace and scamper towards the bluenette.
"I… I wasn't being too harsh, w-was I, Minato?" Nyx asked in a fearful and guilty manner, instantly releasing the collar of the man she was shaking in fear of what was to come from his mouth.
"Hmm? No, it's nothing, ladies. I just got a real bad premonition all of a sudden, like someone is plotting to something against me, something I really don't want to be a part of." The bluenette replied in an airy albeit serious tone, drawing concerned looks from the others as they moved to embrace him.
"No one is going to touch a hair on you if I can help it, Minato." Metis stated in a firm and loving manner, snuggling deeper into his side as she held his arm close to her.
"She is right, Minato. No matter the enemy, they must defeat and smite me, the Bringer of the Fall, before they dare strike you down. And know that, that moment will never come to pass with me by your side." Nyx said in a loving and gentle tone, her own arms wrapped around his as she nuzzled against the crook of his neck.
"That's right! We'll always be here to protect you! Just like you'll always protect us!" Alice reminded him as she hugged him in the front, squeezing him tightly as Minato let a soft laugh leave his mouth.
"Thanks ladies. I'll remember that." He said in a soft and grateful tone, the ladies embracing him giggling as they squeezed him tighter.
"There's that smile! Hehe!" Alice beamed as she leaned upwards, planting another kiss on Minato's lips as the happy atmosphere froze over once more.
"W-W-What are you doing you trollop!?" Nyx screamed as she lunged towards Alice, pinching and stretching the cheeks of the Demon as a cry of pain let her person.
"Ow, ow, ow! T-That hurts!" Alice cried as she grabbed Nyx's hands, futilely trying to wretch the goddess' grip from her face.
"S-Stop kissing Minato! Y-You're going to make more misunderstandings like that!" Metis shouted at the blonde Demon, Alice's cries beginning to ramp up in volume as Nyx began to pinch her harder.
"Muguu! Minwatwo! Minwatwo, halp mwe!" Alice begged as Nyx's brow twitched in response, the blonde Demon's cries growing even louder as the hands pinching her cheeks increased their pressure.
"Alright, alright. Come'on, Nyx, no need to punish her that badly." Minato said in an attempt to stop the goddess from tearing off Alice's face, though all he got in turn was a heated glare from the Mother of the Night.
"Quiet! You are next once I deal with this Demon! Now sit there and await your punishment!" Nyx spat out as Minato blinked before sighing, moving towards Nyx before chopping her lightly on the head.
"Come'on, Nyx. No need to get so bent out of shape over something as innocent as a kiss." Minato said in a stern tone as Nyx's eyes narrowed slightly, releasing Alice as the blonde Demon immediately began rubbing her cheeks with tear filled eyes.
"T-That really hurt!" Alice complied in an angry and tearful tone, Nyx offering her a pitiless smirk in turn as Alice's eyes began to fill with even more tears.
But the blonde Demon did not let those tears fall immediately, instead she ran back towards Minato before burying herself into his chest. The act once again drawing another round of arguing and threats as the bluenette in question let an exhausted sigh leave his mouth. While the trio was fighting to pry Alice off of his person, Minato opted to glance down at his left forearm, seeing a purple heart beeping in a steady manner. Raising a brow, Minato tapped on the touch screen as it awoke from sleep mode, the man seeing a head of purple hair immediately come into view.
"Hiya, heyo! What's going on, Minato!" Tico called out in an energetic and happy tone, Minato smiling softly upon hearing and seeing the purplette's energy.
"Nothing much, Tico. Just saw that the screen timed out, didn't know it could do that." Minato said as Tico's eyes momentarily widened a bit before returning to normal, a genuine smile lighting up her face as she nodded her head in agreement.
"Haha, yep! If you're not directly interacting with the screen, it'll time out. Kinda lame but I didn't make it, so I can't really say anything. And since you woke me back up, I can't refuse can I?" She giggled as Minato offered her another smile, the two idly chatting while the trio of Nyx, Metis and Alice continued to argue and bicker about Alice's newfound clinginess to the bluenette.
"I'm tell you this right now, stop doing that! It's starting to get annoying!" Metis snapped at her as Alice simply stuck her tongue out at her, the ravenette's face soon deepening into a shade of crimson.
"Make me!" Alice challenged in a childish tone, tightening her hold on Minato as Metis' brow twitched in complete irritation.
"Remember that it was you who said it and not I." Nyx quipped in a ruthless tone, an equally ruthless smirk on her face as she summoned her blade.
"We're not going anywhere this morning, are we Minato?" Tico asked in a jolly and knowing tone, Minato sighing as he nodded his head in agreement.
"Yeah, we're not. Let me snap them out of it." The bluenette said in a resigned tone, Tico simply giggling as she observed and enjoyed the banter between the three before her while Minato raised his hand.
Then, in a manner befitting the one who stopped the Fall and the end of the world, Minato stuck the three arguing ladies with a brutal and precise hand chop. Three cries of pain sounding one after the other echoing through the chamber, the three turned their heads and looked with teary eyes at Minato, the man sighing as he shook his head.
"Look, we've spent enough time playing and joking. We need to get going." He said in a stern and serious tone, Metis and Nyx giving him apologetic looks as they nodded their heads while Alice looked a bit downcast.
"I-I'm sorry, Minato. I-I didn't mean to make you mad." The blonde Demon said in a guilty and apologetic tone, Minato's eyes softening as he patted her on the head.
"I'm not angry with any of you, just a bit jumpy with that premonition from earlier. We can all play later alright? Right now, we need to get moving." The man told the blonde, Alice offering him a smile as she nodded in turn.
Soon enough, the three newcomers to operating a COMP were shown a demonstration on how to recall contracted Demons and return them back to the COMP that they were summoned from. A bit hesitant at first, Alice was reassured by Tico that she wouldn't be separated from the others, that she would be able to hear and see them like Tico herself could. The words of the purplette comforting and easing her tension, Alice was successfully able to be recalled into Minato's COMP, the man a bit anxious before he heard the Demon speak.
"M-Minato, I can see you!" Alice chirped in a bright tone, Minato letting the breath that he had built up out once he heard that she was safe.
"That's good, Alice. How're things in there?" The bluenette asked in a curious tone, his curiosity shared between himself and the two other ladies beside him.
"It's very cozy! It feels like I'm being held in your arms right now while sitting in a chair watching a screen of you all!" Alice beamed in an excited tone, Minato smirking slightly while Metis and Nyx couldn't help but frown when she mentioned the feeling of being held by the man.
"That's good to hear. Alright, Nyx why don't you return as well and Metis get ready, we're heading out of here." Minato said as Nyx begrudgingly returned to the sea of the man's soul, but not without giving him one more kiss on the cheek while Metis was preoccupied with securing her backpack and equipment.
"I'm all set, Minato. Are you ready to go?" Metis reported as she made sure the straps of her pack were secure, Minato doing the same before turning to nod at her.
"Yeah, I'm all good here." He replied as he turned to look at his COMP, tapping on the screen as Tico appeared before him.
"Tico, do you happen to know if this COMP has a map function? It be more convenient if I didn't have to switch between this and my phone." The bluenette asked as Tico beamed him a smile, her reaction drawing a smile from the bluenette as well.
"Sure does Minato! Where can your beautiful and lovely Tico-rin direct you towards!" She answered in a smiling tone, Minato mulling over the question as he still had no solid lead on the miasma emanating moth or on the party that left the note for him earlier.
"Tico, Alice, Nyx; can either of you detect strong spikes or distortions of spiritual energy? And Metis, is there any strange activity on the network?" He asked the four in a curious tone, his question causing Metis to tilt her head before blinking in realization as she turned to her own COMP and began typing.
"Sorry Minato, I can't feel anything…" Alice told the man in a slightly defeated tone, the bluenette reassuring her that it was fine.
"Hmm… I am not sensing anything drastic other then the Koropokkuru in the Kirishima woodlands, though my range only governs around two kilometers from our present location I hate to admit." Nyx reported as Minato nodded his head, turning to glance at Tico as the purplette had her eyes closed.
"I'm afraid all that I can offer you is that there are seventeen Contractors between eleven and thirty eight kilometers from our present location. Though this is assuming that their COMPS are active and they are currently connected with the network so there could be more offline." Tico said in a less energetic tone then she usually showed, the loss of energy present as she seemed a bit saddened after her report.
"Same here, Minato. There hasn't been any activity on the network that points to suspicious activity." Metis added in an equally glum tone, Minato opting to offer the four of them a smile in response to their reports.
After hearing the lack of success from the combined efforts of the four of them, Minato was about to speak only to freeze. His eyes widening, he felt an immense amount of pressure; likening it to an ant staring down an elephant, with his person being the ant in this situation. Quickly darting his eyes towards Metis, they soon shone with confusion along with panic when he saw that she was frozen mid-sentence. Attempting to connect with Nyx, he soon found that she too was out of his reach, their link seemingly disconnected. At that, the bluenette shot to his COMP in an attempt to reach Tico or Alice, but was once again met with nothing. But before he could react, Minato heard a chilling voice echo through his soul.
"Tokyo… If you wish to continue on the path you are treading, head towards the heart of the rising sun… Heed my words and I will see you through to the end of your journey…" The voice echoed through Minato's soul, the bluenette's mind feeling like an explosion tore through it.
"-ato… Minato!" Metis called out in a worried tone, Minato blinking before he put a hand to his head.
"Ngh… Sorry, what was that Metis?" Minato said in an attempt to throw off the ravenette, though judging from the frown that marred her face it wasn't likely that it worked.
"I was asking if you had a plan on what to do next. Are you ok? You seemed like you weren't yourself, you… You kind of looked a little scary…" Metis told the man in a slightly frightened tone, Minato's eyes widening a bit as he stared at her.
"That harlot is correct Minato; it was barely noticeable but… It felt like it wasn't you that I was connected to in that brief moment, are you sure that you are fine?" Nyx added in an equally worried tone, Minato's eyes narrowing a bit as he shook his head
"If you're not feeling well, Minato, we can just stay here and rest. I think that would be the best thing to do right now." Alice said in an equally worried tone, the blue haired man having a small smile grace his face at their concern for his person.
"Sorry about that, you guys; just had a lot of my mind as of late. If we're going to move, I think we'll find out something if we head to Tokyo. That sound good to you all?" He asked as they stared hard at him in an attempt to see if he was fine, though they evidently found nothing and agreed with his decision.
"And if anything is wrong, I promise to tell you guys, ok?" He added in an attempt to lighten the mood, succeeding as a round of smiles greeted his response.
With that, the group checked the quickest route for their journey. Finding that there was a train that they could catch in Kirishima, Minato and Metis headed towards the station, in hopes that they could catch the earliest train and reach their destination before any other obstacles occurred. As they were running towards the town, the two were entirely ignorant of the silent blips of purple that were steadily showing on Minato's COMP.
"…It's already planted itself in him, damn it…! Damn it!" Tico whispered to herself in a powerless and hopeless tone, clenching her fists tightly as she grit her teeth at the newfound knowledge of Minato's fate.
"Be sure not to interfere, little rabbit… Fate has a peculiar way of refabricating events, even those of other universes… Let us see if your new guest will be able to break free from those events, shall we… For your sanity, I hope that he is everything that you have placed your hopes in… Now, let the cycle begin anew… And let us see if he survives…" A deep and chilling voice echoed through the deep blue that shrouded Tico in an amused tone, the purple haired woman shaking horribly as she wrapped her arms around herself in a futile attempt to drive away the frigid negativity that was ensnaring her.
(Scene Change – Inaba: Dojima Residence)
"Oh!" Nanako cried out as she dropped a plate, the sound of the porcelain shattering into numerous pieces causing a pair of hurried footsteps to sound through the house.
"Nanako, are you ok!" Came the synced cries of Ryotaro and Yu, the two rushing to check on the brunette as Nanako offered the two of them a smile.
"I-I'm alright! That plate just slipped out of my hand is all!" She reassured them, the two double checking her to see if there were any injuries before sighing in relief.
"I'm just glad that you're not hurt anywhere, Nanako." Her father told her in a relieved manner, his statement causing a bright smile to light up her face as Yu stared at the shattered plate.
"But it is a bit odd, isn't it? I don't think I've ever seen you drop anything like this before." Yu said in a slightly anxious tone, Ryotaro furrowing his brows a bit as he stared at his daughter.
"Maybe… It can't be an omen, can it?" The man said as he suddenly found himself holding Nanako tight, Yu feeling some ice form in the pit of his stomach at the notion.
"Dad, big bro; I'm fine! I was washing the dishes and still had some soap on my hands, see!" Nanako told them in an effort to relieve their tension, the two glancing down at her hands before seeing the shiny sheen of dish soap.
"I see, it was just slippery, that's a relief." Ryotaro said as he laughed a bit at his overprotective nature, Yu soon joining him as Nanako beamed the two of them a bright smile.
"That's right! I can take care of myself, so don't worry too much! Well, except this plate…" Nanako declare in a prideful and reassuring manner, through it turned a bit embarrassed when she mentioned her most recent folly.
The trio soon fell into a round of light laughter, Yu and Ryotaro quickly helping clean up the shards of porcelain as Nanako suddenly began counting them one after the other. Working quickly and safely, the two were able to remove all shards of the shattered plate from the floor of the kitchen. As they finished with the cleanup process, they turned to see Nanako smiling at them as they tilted their heads in a confused manner.
"What's with the smile, Nanako?" Ryotaro asked her with a smile of his own, Nanako giggling a bit as she pointed at the trash can.
"I remember reading about this in one of the books that Naoto lent to me! It said that a plate that gets broken like that can tell your fortune! That plate broke into twelve pieces; that means great luck! If it was eleven, it would mean really bad luck and if it was more then twelve it would mean something bad is going to happen, but it was twelve!" The brunette exclaimed in a bright tone, Yu and Ryotaro blinking before smiling brightly themselves.
"Well that's great to hear, Nanako!" Yu said as Nanako giggled before hugging him, the silver haired young man feeling his heart float to heaven seeing his cousin so happy.
Quickly wiping down the sink, the trio headed out of the kitchen to the living room, intent on spending the rest of the evening together. Though Yu was a bit heavyhearted to tell the two of his upcoming departure, he decided to prolong the painful goodbye until the next day; after all, they weren't scheduled to move out until the day after tomorrow. Seeing it that way, he was less anxious about the whole affair. As the three left the kitchen, they all failed to see the last shard of the broken plate that had been sent beneath the refrigerator during its creation, the pale shard seemingly growing a bit paler then it normally was in the shadows that concealed it.
And that's a wrap guys. Like I said, not too much happened in this chapter, just a lot of character introductions, so I hope you all didn't get overloaded with that. That's all of em right there, the big bad Shadow Hunters in all of their glory; let me know if you all can guess who goes with which Arcana, that'd be something fun to see. But again, hope you all enjoyed this info dump outta nowhere and it didn't drop your expectations. And yeah, I kinda figured the "lolicon" jokes might've run on a bit too long, so I'll try and tone em down in the future, even if it's a running gag, should have a cooldown on em, ya know. Well, that's all from me, don't expect anything like this happening too soon though, alright? Hope you all have a good one and as always, stay awesome.