The first thing Minato saw was light.
He blinked a few times as he shielded his eyes from the glare. The last thing he remembered before waking up was meeting Elizabeth and talking to her in the vast darkness. He recalled her saying she would hold the fort for him as he was being removed from the door he had been chained to. However, he didn't hear of the alternative she had picked. It made him worry, the thought of her taking his place did cross his mind. He didn't dismiss the idea, but as it always had been, he trusted her, for he considered her more than just his attendant.
He felt the back of his head against something solid and it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. He pushed his right hand against the ground and mustered energy to sit up. With his current position he was able to look around, making sense of his whereabouts.
Soft grass covered the ground with trees as far as the eyes could see. His immediate surroundings left a telltale mark of a campsite. Four logs arranged around an extinguished campfire, including one his head rested against. There were also boulders right behind one of the logs.
He lifted his rear to be able to sit on the log and exhaled a deep breath. It allowed him to take a look at himself. Dress shirt accented with a loose black ribbon tie with an unzipped black jacket on the outside, complimented with a strapped music player and clip-on silver earphones hanging around his neck. The dress shirt was tucked inside a pair of dress trousers covered his lower limbs secured by a belt with a silver buckle around his waist, complete with a pair of dark blue engineer boots covering his feet.
He looked to his right and found some items.
Firstly, a sword. Its steel blade, straight and double-edged maintaining the same width until it had to be given a pointed tip. It had a crossguard bending slightly upwards and covered in a hue of gold, milled to form a pattern. The wooden handle had been shaped to primarily accommodate the use of one hand, although it had enough room for him to squeeze the other hand in and apply more powerful blows. The pommel was coated and milled in the same way the crossguard did and allowed him to wield it securely. It was the same sword he had gotten used to. He took it by its handle with his right hand and took a good look at it. The blade didn't come in the most polished, most shiny finish but the edges reflected the sunlight. More importanly, he spotted no damage to the blade. The other parts of the sword didn't feel loose after he jiggled it. He planted the sword upright to the ground to his left with little to no force as he was done examining it.
There was another item to his right which he didn't notice when he picked up the sword. A white belt, holster attached to it. In the holster was a gun finished in the same dullish silver of the sword. He had to stretch out his hand to grab it and took it onto his lap. The belt was made of synthetic material, and had a metal buckle. He unhooked the clip which secured the gun in place and took it out. He recalled it mentioned to have been made out of refurbished shell of real, working guns fitted with the mechanism and a special material inside that allowed him, and others, to activate an ability. The special material itself had a light bluish hue and could be seen on the gun's handle. One side of the barrel housing had "Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad" and its abbreviation, "S.E.E.S." engraved into it.
Speaking of his black jacket, it had two zipped pockets at the front and two more inside. The two inner pockets were empty, but the two front pockets had contents in them. The right one contained none other than the SEES armband. The left one was his wallet. The armband went back to the place it was found as he chose to not wear it for the time being.
The wallet, on the other hand, was interesting. Of all the things carried over, he didn't expect it to come with him. Then it hit him he should've been more concerned with how the sword and the Evoker came with him instead of wondering about the wallet. He suspected it was Elizabeth's doing.
In any case, he examined his wallet. It looked mundane. Black, made of cheap leather, with no buttons to secure it as it closed. He took out the contents.
First, the things he expected to be in the wallet. His Gekkoukan High student ID. Then, the train pass as he had to take it to go places back in Port Island. Lastly, an ATM card.
Then onto the things he knew yet not necessarily expected to be in the wallet, but a welcome surprise nevertheless. Two photographs. One of SEES, taken in the dorm courtesy of Junpei as he insisted to take a "team photo" when everyone was hanging around the dorm's lobby as they got ready for an outing in the upcoming Dark Hour. Perhaps Junpei wasn't satisfied with the photo taken during summer festival at a nearby shrine, with the girls wearing kimono and all. The other photo, smaller in size than the first one, was of him and Elizabeth inside a photo booth. He recalled her trying all sorts of poses but in the photo he was holding, she managed to maintain a normal enough pose, one hand holding a tome.
With those out of the way, he moved onto the unfamiliar things in question, a collection of unfamiliar plastic cards coming in various colours. He deduced they were a form of currency, the front of cards were printed with the same motives paper bills would, with the back of the card completely blank save for the black stripe at the bottom. The symbol was unknown to him, however. It looked like a combination of two currencies he knew existed but otherwise foreign in country of origin.
Finishing his inspection, he put the contents of the wallet back in, and shoved it into the back pocket.
He was content to stay in the abandoned campsite for a while, seeing there was no immediate threats. The music player worked, and he put his earphones on, listening to the first song selected by the little cylindrical thing at random while basking in the sunlight.
The warmth of sunlight, and the breeze of Spring, was the last thing he remembered before he had to fulfill his duty. The wait was a long one. He had known full well of the price he had to pay, and yet out of sheer willpower, he managed to get by. Everyone in SEES had all the stories held from their own records until then, reduced back to mere school and dorm mates. And yet, when the promised day came, the memories raced in just like they did up the stairs and into the rooftops to meet him, not caring about the happenstances elsewhere.
He looked at them, his vision turning into a blur and all, and managed to muster an earnest smile before his eyes closed. He was filled with joy.
As he laid his eyes to the skies above, he prayed they were all doing fine. It would be a lie to say he didn't miss them.
He had spent enough time reminiscing. As the sun was getting high in the sky, he decided he needed to start walking. Elizabeth gave him a clear objective: find Ruby Rose.
The tales of four girls as old as he did, attending institutes akin to normal high schools to become warriors wielding weapons which sounded so advanced it couldn't be true, caught his interest. Much more so after she told him of the recent events which had deeply affected Ruby Rose and her companions. He recalled vividly the point Elizabeth brought up in which Ruby Rose witnessed someone she considered a friend met her demise. It moved him. Choosing to take or not to take the option of being transported into the world he was in, named Remnant, became irrelevant.
He lifted the bottom of his jacket to put on the white belt. He fastened it, but not as tight the other belt, letting the holster slide down a bit but secured otherwise. He took off his earphones from his ears and picked up the sword by its hilt as he stood up. The sword never had a sheath, so he had to carry it around as he walked.
To know his bearings, or at least the overall landscape, he required a higher point of view. Therefore, he decided to climb the tree nearby. He was never challenged with having to climb up stuff and over obstacles back then. It wouldn't stop him nevertheless. He had athleticism so might as well start using it.
He should strongly consider finding a sheath, or materials needed to craft it should it came to be, as he had to use both hands to get ahold of the tree. Having one hand holding something posed a problem. Still, he was adamant about climbing. Therefore, he carefully slipped the sword behind the white belt to avoid cutting it.
Once it felt secure enough as the crossguard managed to stick onto the white belt, he took steps back from the tree until he felt he was far enough. Pushing his right foot against the ground, he ran towards the tree, then planted his left foot onto the ground, pushed upwards with the same foot, and got up a lot higher than he expected. Nevertheless, he managed to find footing on the tree and his right foot quickly pushed up, giving him more elevation. With one leap off his left foot, he managed to reach the branch above the one he intended to. He pulled his whole upper body up, then sat on it, hoping it wouldn't break.
When he felt he could balance himself on top of the branch, he gripped the tree and lifted his left leg. Then his right, slightly struggling with his footing as his right hand provided a bit more leverage. Slowly, yet carefully, he stood upright on the branch with his left hand holding onto the tree.
All he could see in the vast wilderness, was more tree. No bodies of water caught his eye. There were no noticable landmarks along the way. Though in the distance, he spotted what looked like a walkable path quite a distance away.
The decision he took was to get to that path instead of walking in the wilderness. As he was ready to hang on the branch and drop back down, he sensed something. He couldn't find any other words to describe it but foul, in every sense. He looked around, then down, to find the source of foulness.
A quadrupedal creature, primarily black in colour, with white spikes protruding out of its limbs and bodies. Half of its face were white, with subtle red markings. It's as if the skull of the creature was meant to be armor. The eyes, red, leaving trails as it walked. Its grunt wasn't unlike the beast-like Shadows he encountered back then.
The beast walked past the tree he was standing on as he looked around some more. He found two more, idling and just walking in circles quite a ways behind this one. He assumed they possess the same behaviour as similar animals he knew, in the sense that they could be a pack, or part of one.
He didn't have time for further judgment, he had to decide what to do in the immediate moment. He didn't want to humor the beasts to find out whether or not they prey on humans. Although, judging by the size, he at least knew a human would struggle if pitted against one. He looked at the beast who had come to an idle state below the tree and looked at it.
The thorns, even though they weren't scattered all over the beast, meant he couldn't simply drop on it as it would leave him exposed to getting impaled, which wouldn't be funny. Still, a surprise attack was in the cards. He would have to end it as quickly as possible. Problem was he had to do it without attracting the other two.
The other option was to simply run. The trees aren't far from each other. Should he wanted to he could simply traverse from one tree to the other. The question was whether or not he had the tenacity to do it.
He might choose to try jumping trees, had he not notice the two beasts in the distance turning around while the one under him had laid down on its belly. It was the perfect opportunity.
He quickly but carefully pulled the sword he had slipped onto the white belt and tried to get a feel for his Personas at the same time. They answered his call, though he had to wait for them to collect their senses as if they too had just awoken from their own slumber. All of them seemed to be present, which was a good thing.
The opportunity could slip away at any moment, so anybody would have to do. And one Persona he was associated with, and one that shared a resemblance to him, Orpheus, was on the ready. He breathed a sigh of relief at that. Stealth was still pretty much the main option, but should the two beasts in the distance approach him, Orpheus would be summoned to help fend them off.
He changed the grip of his sword, allowing the blade to point down to the ground and took one last look at the beast, aiming at the side of its neck where the thorns were absent. He steadied his breath and closed his eyes.
He opened his eyes, focusing on the target, grasped the sword with both hands, lifted it until the handle was level to his face, and jumped down without making as much as a hiss. Gravity helped multiplying the force as he planted the sword as deep as he could to the neck of the beast while he managed to land on the side. The beast roared as he quickly reacted by pulling out the sword with both hands, dragging the hilt back to around chest-level before delivering a powerful upward slash to the same part of the neck he had impaled. The slash exposed its flesh, bright red in colour, as if it was a heat source. The beast, meanwhile, let out another roar but was rendered unable to move as it lied on its back after the resulting slash. It prompted him to quickly get away as it might have attracted the other two beasts. Fortunately, there was a bush large enough to fit a man nearby and he quickly jumped in to hide.
As he peeked from inside the bush, he steadied his breath again. He observed the beast laying there incapacitated, emitting black smoke before completely dissolving into nothingness. The two beasts he spotted in the distance had come close to the position of the deceased kind. They didn't stick around for long and scattered to two different directions. He remained undetected, a huge relief.
While still hiding in the bush, he processed what just happened to the beast he had killed. Its exterior characteristics were unique, unlike any Shadows he had faced before. They did share a common theme, however, that they disintegrated into nothing upon death. It made him wary. It could be a brand new type of Shadow and that Remnant might be in danger. Then again, he supposed the four girls Elizabeth had told him received training for something like this.
He could no longer sense danger as he finally came out of the bush. He brushed the leaves off him and breathed a sigh of relief before beginning to walk towards the direction of the path relative to his position.
The increasingly taller grass did impede his progress a bit but after some time he finally reached the path which turned out to be a road because it was wider than it appeared to be. However, he had to quickly decide which way to go. Dwelling in the opening might lead to getting ambushed by those beasts. There was no trail to follow which made it difficult. He recalled the beasts coming from the one way, so normally, he decided to go the other way. Truthfully, he knew it wasn't that simple. As he sensed more Personas on the ready in his mind, his options grew, so was his confidence.
Whatever this world throw at him, he would be ready. He began walking as he repeatedly mutter Ruby's full name and the description of her Elizabeth had given.