"There you go, Captain Kidd!" Skull blasted an enemy Bicorn with Zio. The Shadow-like horse cried in pain as its entire body burned with electricity. "Get wrecked!" he shouted while fist pumping the air.
With his arms crossed, Mona chuckled. "Not bad, but you aren't quite on my level yet," he exclaimed, casting Garu with Zorro by his side. "Come forth, my other self!"
The powerful gale wind blew a group of Shadows apart, smashing them against the subway walls. An Andras was able to recover from the blast and attempted to attack. However, it's chance was cut short the moment a ball of fire engulfed it, causing it to succumb to its weakness before disappearing in a red liquid.
"Dance, Carmen!" Panther scorched the remaining enemies with Agi before they could even try to get up. Nothing but the scorched surface of where the Shadows once stood remained.
"Alright, Panther!" Mona complimented with a not so subtle lovestruck gaze.
Skull of course rolled his eyes, and just as he was about to offer a remark a sudden thundering noise shock the ground. The trembling was constant and loud, similar to footsteps.
Something big was approaching.
The shaking soon stopped and a Shadow far larger came into view. It's figure didn't looked any different to the ones they already fought, but even without looking at its size it was clear that it was far stronger than the previous ones.
"Holy shit…" Skull muttered, taken back by its sheer size.
"That Shadow is way too powerful to take out on our own, so be on your guard!" Mona warned them as he readied his scimitar.
"B-but where did it even come from?" Panther's eyes went wide and said, "You don't think it came here looking for us, do you?"
The Shadow's body convulsed, performing a series of painful-looking erratic movements before finally revealing its true form. It's whole body was covered in full body-armor, looking similar to that of a knight while a pair of white angelic wings sprang from it's back.
The Archangel directed it's emotionless gaze at the group of masked thieves. "You heathens will not go unpunished," the Shadow told them while holding a large sword.
"Oh yeah? Why don't you try eating this!" Skull shouted, removing his mask to summon Captain Kidd.
The pirate Persona's form manifested and lunged its ship forward. But rather than defending itself, the Shadow stood in place as it withstood the full force of the attack, barely receiving any damage.
Skull's eyes widened. "F-for real?!"
Not giving opportunity for a second attack, the Archangel closed the distance with its sword at high. Choosing Skull as its first target, the Shadow swung the blade in the form of a Giant Slash that threatened to split the blonde in half.
"D-dammit…" Skull yelped as he narrowly avoided the attack. "Okay I'll admit it, this asshole is tougher than I thought."
"Get your head in the game, Skull," Mona scolded him while shooting at the Archangel with his slingshot, only for the projectiles to bounce off it's armor.
He clicked his teeth as he evaded an incoming strike from the large Shadow. The Archangel intended to follow up with another attack, or that was the intention before it stopped when another figure appeared.
"Joker!" Panther exclaimed the moment their leader came into the scene.
Landing at the center of the stage—with a smirk plastered across his face—Joker finally spoke, "Go, Arsene!" The very next moment a demonic entity appeared, releasing something akin to a maniacal laugh as it spread its wings with great power.
With one daring look, Joker gave his command, "Eiha!"
Arsene unleashed a barrage of reddish-black tendrils that pierced the Archangel multiple times before it even had a chance to react. The Shadow screamed in pain as it fell to the ground due to its weakness to curse elements.
"Here's our chance!" Mona said the moment he saw the Archangel's vulnerable state.
"Right," Joker nodded. "Prepare for an All-Out Attack!"
It happened in an instant. The Archangel could do nothing but be at the receiving end of a mayor beat down as numerous attacks came from all directions. The damage was far too extend that the Shadow's body soon gave up and reverted into a puddle on the ground.
With their enemy now defeated, the atmosphere turned back to normal. All of the growing tension that once filled the air dissipated, allowing the thieves a moment to relax.
"Man, you sure make things look a hell of a lot easier," Skull joked as he leaned on his friend's shoulder.
"But of course! That's exactly how a gentlemen thief should be!" Mona approved while wearing a confident grin.
Joker nodded back, satisfied as he silently watched the remains of the defeated Shadows disappear. No words were necessary as he turned his gaze back to the pathway leading deeper into Mementos.
"Let's keep going," Joker told them. Mona complied, turning himself into a van before driving off with the rest of the thieves.
It's been a couple of days since the newly recognized Phantom Thieves successfully completed their first major heist.
Having stolen Kamoshida's distorted desires, they forced a change of heart on the former PE teacher that made him confess for his sinful deeds. The whole operation was exhausting and dangerous, but whatever struggles they went through were without a doubt worth the risk.
Once word of Kamoshida's abuse was brought into the light, those who remained silent were no longer afraid to speak up, turning the whole ordeal into something mayor once authorities finally got involved.
Now with the true about Kamoshida's despicable nature revealed and everyone at Shujin gaining enough courage to talk openly about the abuse, rumors of the Phantom Thieves began to spread.
"Good job, mister." Jose greeted. The shop attendant smiled at the black-haired leader. "Did you brought something to trade? I just replenished plenty of my fine goods if you're interested."
The mysterious boy who hang around Mementos was an odd one. Neither of them knew who the boy in white was and most of their attempts at digging information out of him ended up being for naught.
However, one thing they knew for certain was that the services he offered have proven useful enough for them to stop asking questions and simply trade for whatever stuff he had.
"Give me two Sleep Vials and a Soul Drop."
"A Soul Drop, huh? I guess you really like them that much, don't you mister?" Jose giggled as he searched through his inventory.
Joker nodded. "They're useful."
There were several instances where exhaustion became a mayor issue.
After fighting one Shadow after another, it became clear that they needed something that could help them replenish their energy without having to spend too much out of their own budget. Well, Jose was their solution for that, as it ends up that collecting flowers was much easier than using real money as currency.
"By the way, there's been some weird stuff going around Mementos today." Jose's words got Joker's attention.
"What do you mean?"
"It's a little hard to explain," Jose admitted. "But the cognition flowing through Mementos has been acting strange lately, and that's affecting the Shadows too."
Joker was reminded of the large group of Shadows they fought on their way down here. Encountering powerful Shadows like that was not uncommon, but they were behaving far more aggressive than usual.
"Whatever is causing this change in the people's cognition, I doubt that it's coming from Mementos itself," the boy explained. "Oh! This should be it." Having found what he was looking for, he handed over the items and said, "Here you go mister, just as you asked."
"Not a problem," Jose responded gleefully. "I think that should do it then. Good job!"
Take Your Time
"How much longer before we get there?" Panther asked from the backseat. Despite her best efforts, she was starting to sound exhausted.
Mona hummed in consideration before answering. "It should probably be a couple of floors more before we reach the next level... I think."
"Geez. Just how many more of these do we have to go through?" Skull complained. "Are we even close to the bottom yet?"
"Fitting of you to complain even when you aren't doing anything, Skull." Despite sounding somewhat distorted due to the radio, one could still hear the animosity in Mona's voice.
"Mona, you little…" He glared daggers at the transformed thief. "Don't talk as if you're doin' anything! You're just lettin' Joker drive you around anyway!"
Mona's motor growled at the blond. "You want me to kick you out that badly! I can do that, you know!"
"Oh yeah?!" Skull retorted. "Wanna try that out, furball!"
"Come on you guys, stop it already!" Panther tried to break up their bickering. "Aren't you gonna do something, Joker?"
"It's only friendly banter," the leader of the group responded. "Better let them be."
Hearing Mona and Skull arguing was far better than listening to the unnerving echoes that flew through Mementos. No matter how you looked at it, the place was kinda creepy.
Joker's thoughts drifted to the words Jose told him; the cognition that flows through Mementos wasn't acting as it usually does. He didn't know what that exactly meant, but something in the air definitely didn't feel right to him.
An uneasy feeling grew inside his gut the deeper they delved into Mementos, but as the leader of their illustrious group he couldn't allow hesitation nor worry to show. The best he could do was to proceed with caution as he silently drove through the empty tunnels…
Hold on a moment.
Joker's brow furrowed at this. "We haven't run into any Shadows." Both Mona and Skull froze in mid-argument.
"Y-yeah, I guess you're right," responded Ryuji, not really getting it. Mona on the other hand understood what their frizzy-haired leader was talking about.
"This isn't right," Mona noted. "The deeper we go into Mementos, the more Shadows should be, but we haven't encountered any in a while."
Panther didn't liked where this was going. "But didn't we just fought a bunch of them a few floors back?" A silent gasp escaped her. "Could it be that they're setting us a trap?"
"I doubt it," Mona countered. "Shadows aren't dumb, but they can't exactly work together unless they have someone like a Palace ruler to order them around. If anything, the lack of Shadows bothers me a lot."
"I don't get it." Ryuji said with a frown. "Isn't that a good thing, then? That just means that we don't have to worry 'bout fightin' Shadows as we go, right?"
"Gosh, you sound like an amateur," Mona scoffed at the blond's naive thinking. "Don't forget that we're in the middle of an infiltration, Skull. If there isn't anyone guarding the place, than obviously there's something wrong."
Joker cut them off. "Mona has a point," he said before an argument could break out. "Something isn't right about Mementos." His words were proven accurate when a sudden tremor shock the subway tunnels.
"W-what's happening?!" Panther yelled, struggling and failing to keep her own balance before falling on top of Skull. The former track athlete yelped at the weight of his fellow blond.
Joker did his best to get a hold of the wheel to prevent Mona from crashing into a wall or even worse. It only became a lot harder when pieces of the ceiling started to fall off, nearly crushing the van with everyone inside.
"Everyone hold on!" Joker barely managed to avoid a large chunk of stone before hitting the gas, trying to push past the crumbling tunnel.
His gloves squeezed the wheel tighter, but otherwise he never lost his cool for even a second.
The same couldn't be said about his companions though. "W-watch it dude! Turn left! Turn left!" Skull insisted loudly next to him. At one point the blond was able to recover and was now crushing his shoulder with a tight grip.
The whole time Mona did his absolute best to go as fast as he could while maneuvering any of the falling obstacles. Unfortunately, at their current speed it was just not possible for him to remain steady enough for the coming turn.
"W-whoah! Watch out for that…!" Mona tried to warn them, but it was too late. His right side fell flat on the ground with a loud thump and could no longer move. "…turn," he finished.
Fortunately, it seemed like they successfully adverted the zone where most of the rubble fell, so it looked like they were safe for the moment.
"Is everyone alright?" Joker asked, feeling somewhat disoriented. It seems like the impact hit him harder than he thought.
A groan could be heard from the back. "D-dammit, the hell is goin' on?!" Skull cursed.
"I don't know, but I really don't wanna go through that again," Panther said, painfully holding her side.
Pulling themselves back together, everyone got out of the vehicle, allowing Mona to transform back into his normal form. "I don't think I ever pushed myself this hard before." The small feline was holding his over-sized head in pain.
"Who cares about that?! The whole place fell on top of us!" Skull shouted. "What in the freakin' hell just happened?!
They were all confused, including Joker. They all looked at Mona as if expecting guidance or even an explanation, but the small thief was as lost as them.
"I… I don't know," he admitted. "This is the first time I ever seen Mementos acting like this."
"God, you're useless," Skull grumbled.
"S-shut it! I never said that I knew everything!" Mona retorted. The two would have probably gotten into a fight had it not been for Panther.
"G-guys, cut it out!" she intervened. Her voice was somewhat shaky. "I think there's something over there…"
The ceiling and everything else that collapsed began to regenerate. It was no surprise that Mementos was healing itself after what happened. However, what neither of them expected to see was a figure emerge from the piles of debris.
It was hard to make out the form of the dark figure. It resembled that of a person, but the place was far too obscured and covered in smoke that one could hardly see.
"Is that a Shadow?" Skull asked out loud.
"I can't tell," Mona responded. "Whatever that thing is, I can't measure it's strength. Everyone, be ready for anything!"
Joker frowned behind his mask. His sense of danger went up the moment the figure got close enough for them to fully see. It had the body of a normal human. It didn't look very different at first glance. However, that's where the similarities ended.
Rotten and deformed flesh. It's features were utterly disgusting, being a barely recognizable pitch black. It had a trance-like look with burning red eyes. Eyes that wore a look of pure hatred.
It was a walking corpse.
Skull's jaw became unhinged. "Effin' hell..."
With an axe in hand, the decaying body slowly began to drag its feet as it got closer. It's pace soon turned into a mad dash.
Panther was taken back by the sudden action. "H-hey! It's coming right at us!"
Skull was the first to react. Once it got close enough, the blond hit it with his club square in the face. "Got him!" But the creature didn't even flinched. "Wh-what the hell…!?" Skull cursed. "Just what is this guy even made of?!"
The walking corpse tried to attack, but its movements were slowed down when a whip wrapped around it's neck. "Someone help me out with this thing!" Panther mustered whatever strength she had to hold down the struggling corpse.
"That's it, Panther! Hold him right there!" Mona yelled, moving into the action. "Show your might! Zorro!"
Taking form behind him, Mona's Persona manifested in its entirety as it casted Garu, blowing the creature away in one powerful torrent of wind.
"That's it! Go for it, Captain Kidd!" Skull followed soon after, frying the corpse with an electrifying attack until it disappeared in a cloud of black smoke. He bumped his fist in celebration, "Alright! We got 'em!"
"Look out!" Mona warned them. "There's more from where that came from!"
The cat-like thief was right. Their moment of victory was short-lived when more of those horrific creatures crawled out of the debris. The numbers quickly went from just a couple, to perhaps even dozens.
Joker readied his knife in response. Where did these things even come from? He thought with a scowl.
"Shit, are those things zombies or somethin'?!" Skull didn't bother to hide his surprise.
"D-don't say stuff like that out of the blue!" Panther reprimanded her fellow blond. "These things are already terrifying as they are!"
"Is that seriously what you're complainin' 'bout? Who cares 'bout that?!" Skull retorted. "Let's just beat these bastards up!"
Finding themselves surrounded, the thieves fiercely fought back against the masses of corpses. Many of them were destroyed by bolts of lightning, blown away with gales of wind and even burned to a crisp by fire.
Thankfully they weren't smart enough to realize that rushing at them wasn't the brightest of ideas, thus their numbers slowly began to decrease. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to feel some fatigue."
"Save your strength, Panther." Mona was panting heavily. "So far your fire has been the most effective against these things, but don't push yourself too hard or else you'll no longer be able to keep fighting."
Panther nodded. "Y-yes. You're right."
"What the hell! These guys sure don't know when to quit!" Skull cursed as he pushed an enemy back and hit another one that got too close. "Whadda we do now, Joker?"
"Skull. Mona," he called to them. "Follow my lead and concentrate on anything that gets too close. I'll draw their attention." Putting a hand over his face, Joker's mask disappeared in a blaze of blue flames. "Come out! Jack-o'-Lantern!"
Calling upon the character of legend, a smirk spread across Joker's lips as watched the mob of enemies approach. "Agilao!" The Trickster casted, striking the center of the incoming group with a large bolt of fire.
It helped a lot that the subway tunnels of Mementos weren't exactly too wide, thus the radio of the attack caught most of their numbers. They scattered once the impact got the majority of them. While they were indeed durable to a certain degree, fire proved as the best method to deal with them.
The walking corpses didn't appear to feel any pain, even when their bodies were practically burning, but their limps became pretty much useless once the flames consumed most of their body, leaving them exposed for a follow up attack.
"Show them how it's done, Zorro!"
"Beat 'em down! Captain Kidd!"
Take Your Time
Crouching next to one of the creatures, Skull poked the body with his club before it turned into a cloud of smoke. "Damn. These really are just a bunch dead bodies. Ain't that kind of effed up?"
Mona folded his arms. "This is… Well, this is certainly bizarre. These things aren't just not alive, but they ain't Shadows either." Frowning, the small thief mumbled, "Just what is going on here?"
Joker remained silent. A part inside him felt disgust at the mere sight of these creatures, yet he couldn't hide his own curiosity.
They were disturbing, no question about it. But on the other hand, the presence of these creatures were by no means a natural occurrence. Like before, there was something off about all of this.
The shop attendant's words resurfaced through his mind. Is this what Jose meant? Joker considered, finding himself in deep thought before he turned his attention back to the matter at hand.
"We have yet to know more about Mementos, but that will have to wait for another time," Joker declared with a reflective look. "Let's go back for now."
"I guess you're right," Skull agreed bitterly. "I'm feelin' pretty pooped actually."
Panther nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I'm at my limit too."
They have spend nearly all day exploring Mementos, so it came as no surprise that the group was starting to show signs of exhaustion. And considering the toll it took to fight off those creatures after the collapse of the tunnels, it was only natural for them to call it a day.
"Hmm, I guess we're heading back," Mona said as he prepared to transform. "Alright then, let's get to it and–"
A blinding light suddenly flashed them. The Phantom Thieves were momentarily stunned by the brightness that they could only cover their eyes to shield themselves from it.
"What the-shit!" Skull cursed with a grunt. "The hell's goin' on here?!
Panther too was blinded. "I-I don't know, but it's hurting my eyes! Don't tell me there's more of those things…"
Keeping his cool despite the confusion, Joker spoke up. "Everyone, be on your guard."
The light begin to dim bit by bit, enough for them to finally see what's happening.
Thousands of flashing particles came together at the end of the tunnel. It was as if space itself distorted to the point where it became visible enough for the human eye to see.
Mona was the first one to speak, "Joker, I'm sensing some strange power coming from there and it's getting stronger!"
A brighter spark of light emerged from the distorted space, flashing out in the form of a circle that gave the appearance of a large eye. The eye-like structure soon opened, revealing what lied beyond the other side.
"Uh, guys," Skull broke the silence, unsure of what he was looking at. "Is that a person what I see there?"
The blond was proven correctly when someone came running out of the eye-like structure and leaped into the air. The mysterious masked figure wore a dark-blue attire, along with a short cape and sheathed sword strapped to the side.
A woman? Joker thought in realization.
How does he know that? Well, it was pretty hard not to see that when said person practically crashed on top of him, pushing them both down.
The girl yelped when the two hit solid ground. Her mask fell off due to the impact and her short-length blue hair was released, revealing a beautiful long hair that reached all the way down to her waist. Her body could perhaps be considered rather small compared to the average person.
The frizzy-haired thief blinked once, then twice. Joker was stunned by this sudden development. The girl lifted herself up from his chest, grunting in pain before her eyes widened once she realized that she was on top of him.
The whole time Joker couldn't take his eyes away from her now uncovered blue eyes. More specifically, the brand in her left eye.
"Who are you?"
So this was barely a short prologue for a story that I had in my mind for some time. A Fire Emblem and Persona crossover? What's exactly new about that? Well, not much really, but I do have some ideas that I'll like to try out as I work on this.
I rather not say much about any future plans, as this is merely a fun way to spend time considering whats going on in the world right now.
You may have also noticed with the inclusion of Jose that I'm taking into account the new Persona 5 Royal instead of the original. Just some extra info in case you haven't noticed by now.
Having said that, I hope you guys enjoyed it and look forward to the first chapter. I wish you all have a great day and stay safe.