Welcome, everyone! Welcome to my first story on this platform. I'm gonna dedicate this first paragraph, as many people in the past have done and as many people will do in the future, to author's notes, reviews, and other stuff that I find relevant. Constructive constructive criticism is welcome; I always love having other people give me feedback so I can improve. Buuut... if you're just here to flame, well, you can take that shite away. I'm a snowman, after all. Flames aren't welcome. Anyway, welcome again, and I hope you enjoy my PERSONAlized adventure on Remnant!
Beta Read by Sleepysaurus Rex and the Great Wizzlesticks
CHAPTER ONE: A New World
As is the norm with reincarnation, it all really started when I died. Kind of a weird concept, I know, but hey. There's weirder. Trust me.
My death wasn't a pleasant one, really, but it was also just so… weird, in a way. I had always imagined my death would either be a very peaceful one at the end of a long, successful life, or it would be one where I went out kicking and screaming surrounded by people trying to kill me.
Instead, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I was pretty much turned into an origami pancake by a car wreck. Wonderful. I had been cruising through a green light at a leisurely forty-five miles an hour (which was the speed limit on this particular road, don't worry) when a semi came blasting through the red light and sheared the back of my car clean off.
The impact sent my little car spinning like a top into oncoming traffic. Whereupon, a second semi literally ran my car over. The last thing I remembered was glaring hatefully at the piece of blue metal (though now stained red) jammed through my chest cavity. It had hurt. It had hurt so, so bad. It was indescribable. The sheer agony shocked me into hardly being able to think, only being able to vaguely remember my own thoughts later on in the future.
But the one other thing I could remember was the pain. The excruciating pain radiated from the wound in my chest and rebounded through all my limbs before coming back and starting over again. I couldn't move; my legs were most likely crushed beyond repair beneath the car's crumpled chassis and my arms were twisted under my back in something probably resembling a reef knot.
Most people wouldn't be able to remain conscious under those circumstances, but I had always been… different. Defiant, I liked to call myself. My parents and teachers called it stubborn. At any rate, I had also been known to produce abnormally high amounts of adrenaline under stress, so this was probably that kind of moment. Well, adrenaline numbs pain and I was undoubtedly in shock. That's probably why I stayed awake. Even though my eyelids… kept… sinking…
But when I blinked and all that pain vanished, replaced by a vibrant slideshow of rapid-fire visions, I knew something was wrong. The logical part of me was denying everything that had just happened while the emotional part of me (which I had been ignoring for most of my life, if I'm honest) was going absolutely fucking ballistic.
These interesting visions included some paramedics tugging me from my car's wreckage and finding out I somehow still had a pulse despite my brain having completely died. As if my heart just didn't want to go yet. The next vision was that pulse flatlining half a second before they hooked me up to some donor blood bags. This was followed by a funeral with familiar-faced people standing around the coffin with my name emblazoned on it: Orion Marvelle. Finally, that coffin was lowered into the ground. However, right as the casket-lowering thingie began lowering me, the ground (nice and crumbly on the bright summer day) caved slightly. The whole contraption flipped over as one corner got yanked into the ground and my coffin went flying.
Now that was funny! If I had a proper body, I would have laughed. But it seemed as if the form I had in this weird limbo was mostly just a figure that looked like my own, but not really physical, if you get what I mean…
Suddenly, the visions faded and left me floating in pure darkness. Darn. Now I was bored. I had read that the afterlife was whatever you believed it to be. If I never believed in an afterlife… Oh dear… So it was going to be this for eternity?
A pang of fear shot through me. No, nonono… No no no! This would be closer to hell than something neutral if that were the case! I began to thrash, turning every which way to try and see if there was some way out of this hell.
A light, but no more than a single, tiny point, appeared in front of me. Despite its size, however, it was glowing like the sun with an otherworldly, yet caring, orange light. Almost as if running on instinct, I grabbed desperately for it and my limbo-form's hand snapped shut around it.
Fire radiated through my body, a burning pain more intense than when I had been impaled coursing through my limbs. Though… when I had been impaled, the pain had been unpleasant, agonizing, and generally unwanted. This pain was different… It was like… it promised something in return…
'How… how interesting…' was all I thought before my consciousness winked out like a candle snuffed by a breeze.
With a groan, I blinked my eyes open and sat up. It was like waking up, but I felt more rested than I had in, well, my entire life. However, there was something off about this… I remembered dying. Getting obliterated by two different semis. So how was I snoozing in the middle of a forest!?
I stood and shook myself, getting the leaves off my clothes—wait. These weren't my clothes… They were some kind of school uniform…? Weird…
There was another thing I noticed while shaking myself down. Aside from the random discovery of my phone in my right pocket (I had assumed it had been smashed by the accident), there was an interesting weight on my left hip. The grip of a pistol stuck from a holster belted to my waist. I undid the button and pulled the silver gun from its container.
The first thing I noticed was that the end of the muzzle wasn't shaped like a regular gun. It was like a smallish rectangle with a small hole, far too small for a bullet, had been stuck on the end of the gun. I turned the gun to the side, noticing some weird markings… and I froze, hands shaking. Both sides of the grip had a single, vertical, glowing blue bar. The right side of the silver barrel was mostly unmarked, with two leaf-like shapes engraved on it on either side of the ejection port, but the left side had four letters emblazoned on it, right between two more little leaf-like shapes.
S. E. E. S.
This was… an Evoker! From Persona 3! But what was it doing on me!?
The school uniform was suddenly beginning to look much more familiar. A circular emblem over my left breast caught my attention. It was divided into quarters, two black and two white, with a red circle around it.
On my left upper bicep, a red band was safety-pinned to the sleeve. Four black letters were sewn into it. S. E. E. S.
"No way…" I murmured. That's when the last thing caught my attention. The right side of my vision was partially obscured by my hair. Blue hair. "No fucking way…!"
For some reason, I had woken up in an unknown forest in the body of the Persona 3 protagonist. I briefly had a moment where I asked myself, "Huh. So am I Minato Arisato? Or Makoto Yuki?" and then I came to my senses.
I stiffened and began pacing back and forth, mind whirling and heart pounding. "Th-this can't be real! This has to be some kind of wacky-ass dream! I… I got in a bad car accident. Right. This has to be some kind of fever dream while I'm in the hospital. Of course. That makes sense now. Just a dream. I'll wake up any time now, because that's how stupid dreams are, and I'll be wrapped in bandages in a hospital back home!"
As I paced, my shoe hit something with a dull clunk. I looked down and my expression faded to neutral. Great. There was a sword lying there. It was a simple-looking sword. It was a pretty standard hand and a half sword length. That is to say, the blade was just a little over two feet long. Its crossguard and pommel were a dull brass color, with blueish designs decorating it and the grip was also a dark blue.
I picked it up and stared at it. "This… isn't going to be a fighting dream, is it?"
Almost as if on cue, something snarled at me from behind my back. I swallowed nervously and slowly turned to face it.
Staring me down with hate-filled red eyes was some kind of wolf creature. It stood maybe seven feet tall on its hind legs and its whole body was studded with boney spines and some bone plates. Its head was covered in a white faceplate of bone. It growled lowly and then charged.
"YEEK!" I yelped, swinging the sword in front of me and clamping my eyes shut.
There was a sickening SHLCK sound, a hideous squeal, and something heavy hit me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me and forcing me to my knees. Hot breath wheezed in my face and something hot and wet splattered my front.
When I opened my eyes, wheezing, my jaw dropped. I coughed briefly, getting my breath back. The monster lay dead in front of me, with my new sword protruding from its collarbone. Evidently, as it charged, it had reared up just in time to impale itself on my blade. The force of the impact drove the sword hilt-deep in the monster's flesh and the pommel had slammed into my stomach.
I had never before considered myself particularly lucky. I amended that notion on the spot.
Panting, I set my back to yank the blade from the thing, but when I gave it the slightest tug, the sword came free with no issues whatsoever. I toppled backwards and sat down heavily, staring. The monster was dissolving. As I watched, it disintegrated into fine, black ash and blew away in the wind. Even the stuff on my shirt, which I had figured was the black blood of the creature, dried up, evaporated, and blew away too. My clothes were as spotless as they had originally been in an instant.
Then two neurons fired in my memory and I felt the blood drain from my face. Not only had I died and somehow ended up in the body of the Persona 3 protagonist, I had also somehow landed on the planet of Remnant, from RWBY.
A planet known for its racism and monstrous creatures of Grimm. I swallowed nervously, suddenly realizing that my moments of shock and fear since arriving here would be drawing Grimm to my location at that very moment.
I promptly scrambled for the nearest tree and began to climb. I needed to figure out if I could summon the protagonist's Persona. As far as I knew, it was only able to be summoned during the Dark Hour, but… no… In Persona 4 Arena, it was mentioned that you could summon a Persona in the regular world if your concentration was enough.
I stopped about halfway up the tree. I jabbed my sword into a branch next to me and it slid into the hard wood with astonishing ease. Then, gripping the trunk with my right arm, I raised the Evoker to my temple and tensed my finger around the trigger. My heart leapt. The coldness of the barrel felt too real. Like a real gun was pressed to my head. How could I be expected to pull the trigger!?
I bit my lip as more snarling sounds came from the forest. Clamping my eyes shut and my breath coming in quick, sharp bursts, I pulled the trigger. With the sound of a gunshot, followed immediately by the sound of shattering glass… nothing happened.
"Orion, you idiot!" I cursed myself. "Of course not! I'm not concentrating!"
I brought Orpheus to the forefront of my mind and concentrated on remembering everything that I could about it. Its form, how it spoke through the odd speaker in its stomach because its body had been torn apart. I remembered its lyre and how it was used to bash around opponents. I remembered how Orpheus, right at the beginning of the game (because that's the body I undoubtedly had received; from right at the beginning of the game. Otherwise, that'd be too easy), knew Agi, the lowest-level fire spell.
"Persona!" I exclaimed through gritted teeth, clenching my eyes shut, and pulled the trigger.
This time, it felt different. The gunshot and shattering glass were accompanied by a frigid wash of pure sensation that exploded through my psyche. With an indescribably pleasant, yet horrible, drawing-out sort of sensation from my very head, the branches behind me creaked and snapped as something appeared there.
"Thou art I, and I am Thou!" a voice, heavy and tinny, yet lilting, like a song, boomed from behind me. "From the seas of thy soul, I cometh. I am the Master of Strings, ORPHEUS!"
I whirled, nearly falling off the tree branch, and a sharp gasp left my lips. Orpheus, in all its metallic glory, was standing there. Balanced on two branches just below mine, its red eyes gleamed down at me from a charcoal-black face. A bluish-silver torso had a medium-sized, circular speaker set directly in the stomach. White arms and legs with silver, mechanical joints held themselves with all the poise of a dancer ready for a fight. The blood red scarf obscuring its mouth fluttered slightly in the light breeze.
The speaker on Orpheus' stomach vibrated and that same tinny, yet lilting voice came from it, though far less commanding than before. "You have summoned me, though something is different. This body is not your body. Who are you?"
I was dumbfounded. Somehow, this Persona was talking to me! Orpheus, which had always been silent in all the games, was talking to me!
My mind, whirling to come up with an explanation, decided that, 'Well, I talk more than the Persona 3 protagonist. So maybe Orpheus does too now?' would suffice for now
"Um…" was all my mouth could muster.
A howl from down below me drew my attention. More Beowolves (which is what I had recognized the monster from before as) were circling the tree, occasionally jumping up and trying to climb. Thankfully, even with their freakishly human-like hands, they didn't seem to get the whole concept of "climbing" and so repeatedly toppled back down amongst their comrades.
"Uhm… er, right!" I snapped upright. "Orpheus, Agi!" nothing happened. I slapped my forehead and yelped when that action nearly unbalanced me from my perch. "Right, right. Orpheus is a part of me, I have to be the one casting the spell through him."
I concentrated on what Agi did. It was a moderate-sized explosion that dealt fire damage. I pointed my Evoker down at the Beowolves, aiming down the barrel of the object.
Orpheus grabbed its lyre from its back and struck a massive riff with it. With a single note, high and piercing, blasting from the speaker on its stomach, the instrument sang. Orpheus' mouth opened wide, that same red light in its eyes glaring from within, and an explosion ripped across the two Beowolves right at the bottom of the tree.
Agi was supposed to be a single-target spell, but I suppose when they were that close, it would hit both. Also, wow. For a low-level, single target spell, that explosion was big and strong. The hot winds buffeted even me, thirty feet above it.
Beyond that, the strain on my mind made me gasp briefly. It wasn't painful, just stressful, likelike someone was yanking my thoughts from my head, if that makes sense. I dropped my concentration to dismiss Orpheus and conserve my strength, something I also remembered from the games and movies, and realized that conserving my strength had suddenly taken a back seat in terms of my problems. Right when I thought it couldn't get any worse, too.
The explosion had not only blasted about half the trunk off my tree, but it had set it on fire too.
"You know, if I ever meet a man named Murphy, I'm going to be very, very nice to him," I weakly muttered as my perch began to tip.
I stuffed my Evoker in its holster, buttoned it, and grabbed my sword from its branch. Then, with an undignified scream, I launched myself from my tree and into a neighboring one. The pine needles scratched my face and hands and got stuck in places that I didn't think I had, but I grabbed onto the tree just fine. I somehow even managed to avoid flattening my family jewels on a branch when I landed.
All the fear in my body had just about been replaced with confusion (which had been present since the beginning, obviously), wonder (which undoubtedly stemmed from my new body and powers), and excitement (because come on. I have a Persona now!). While the Beowolves were distracted with some of their number running around screeching and on fire, I scrambled up the tree, took note of the city in the distance, scrambled down, and took off running.
Then the adrenaline caught up, fueling my excitement even further. A whoop of joy tore from my lips before I promptly cursed myself for making a sound and increased my speed to try and outrun the Beowolves for as long as possible.
If you're not Sleepysaurus Rex, ignore this: Gotcha! They actually went in the direction of that old cantina.