The Velvet Room

"This recording will serve as a reminder of the guests who bravely fought in a marginal spot of the Collective Unconsciousness and survived, despite the odds stacked against them and the consequences of merely being present there. This, and the following recordings of the events that took place at that margin - placed in the year 1999 in Yasogami High School in the Japanese rural town of Yasoinaba - will serve as the sole proof of the battle against Chronos -"

To the annoyance of the blue-clad woman with bobbed hair, the recording skipped. The garbled words spilled out for a minute before the tape readjusted and became more coherent again.

"- Every Persona-user here is listed with their true Personae, inherent Arcana –"

The recording cut off again, having been taken over by another recording - an irritating jingle turned worse with the 90's electronic synth that had the displeasure of gracing many a Eurobeat and Japanese pop song. It would be a stretch to say that this jingle mangled the hell out of synth, but it sure as hell outright butchered jazz and enka. Those people had the gall to make those versions!

"Welcome to the Satomi Tadashi Drug Store!

To recover hit points, use Medicine or Gems!

When trouble arises and your friends are almost dying, rescue them with a Revival Bead or a Balm of Life!

You can recover SP with a Chewing Soul,

To cure poison, an Antidote will work.

When seeing illusions, use an Awaken G,

And when enraged, a Sedative will do!

The eternal ally of those who fight, Our city's friendly drug store!"

"The Satomi Tadashi Drug Store: Your eternal ally in battle and in life since 1987! Now available at our pharmacy: Muramura G, Japan's number one treatment for erectile dysfunction!"

Elizabeth's hands, fidgeting as if they had been electrocuted, mashed the crap out of the fast forward button, letting it run for a moment before hitting play again.

"If you have an erection lasting four or more hours –"

Click!

For once in her life, Elizabeth was sheepish. Her brother and sister shot her death glares worthy of a cat, the demon painter gave her a sneer, and Marie, the nameless pianist, and Belladonna stared like overly curious puppies. Counting to five in her head, she hit play again, and the recording continued.

"- and weapons of choice. Everyone has recorded their names, so that we may never, ever forget them."

The recording stopped briefly, the tape inside whirring loudly. One by one, new voices took over...

The recording was a solid five minutes in length. With a click, the recording stopped. Satisfied, Elizabeth set the recorder down and smiled. "That's the whole recording. I'm quite happy that every single one of them agreed to speak for me. I promised them no form of compensation for doing it either."

"All of them spoke without a hint of uneasiness. I'm quite envious of them…" the nameless pianist leaned back, stroking his chin. "It makes me wonder if every single one of them feels…'complete' inside."

"I do not think they are 'complete' in the way that you think that they are, but no doubt that all of them are a step closer to finding something that they desire," Belladonna responded with a smile. "To find something to achieve is the cross that mankind must bear, after all."

"Finding that one thing is in itself a journey…I have no doubt in my mind that every last one of them has found some sort of change from meeting one another," Margaret spoke next, ever thoughtful.

"A grand event that can change the lives of others…but sister, as per the consequences of anyone crossing the margin, their memories were erased…" Theodore said, a hint of sadness in his voice. "How can they be sure that they know they changed? I know it had to be done, but I feel a pang of sadness in my heart nonetheless…"

Elizabeth, in two massive strides, went up to her brother and tugged on his cheeks. "You really are my foolish baby brother, Theo!" She smiled, tugging to the point that tears welled in his eyes. "You cannot write off change so easily. It happens, even in the face of something such as memory loss. My guest may not remember what has happened, or why he and his friends have changed, but he will surely sense it. After all, a new resolve to live burns within them."

"R-Reawwy? Aaaagh!"

"Yes, yes, yes!" She tugged harder.

"Swistweeeeer!" All of the Velvet Room residents laughed. When the air settled, everyone settled back to their seats. An uneasy silence filled the room.

"Say…" Marie, the newest resident, began, "Aren't there a bunch of recordings of some of the stuff that happened? I wasn't around a lot, so I'm pretty curious...the Nose is away. Why don't we listen to them before he comes back?"

"Marie! Are you telling us that you want to have us spend our last moments together listening to all of our guests' follies? I suggest that we do something else," Margaret spoke sternly, giving her a hard stare.

"C'mon, please? Besides you recorded some of the weird crap that happened, Margaret. And you used my pathos recorder!"

"Now what have I said about addressing me without titles or honorifics, Marie?"

"That's not the point!"

"Enough!" Marie and Margaret halted at once and, like toy soldiers, turned their attention to the demon painter. The man had an air of assertion and confidence that caused even the siblings to turn. As Margaret herself had learned, the artist had little tolerance for tomfoolery and absolutely none for harassment.

"I have saved some takoyaki and anmitsu from the festival, and there is tea on the table. Belladonna, the pianist and I do not have long before we must depart. I would actually like to listen to some of these recordings. A wise man once said that every person's memory is his or her own private literature...a painting drawn from the depths of their souls, if you will. Won't you let me indulge for a bit?" His tilted chin and crossed arms were stern indicators that he wasn't going to take no for an answer. Margaret humbly set the recorder down, sighing in defeat.

"Think of this as a learning opportunity for all of you. The three of us need some inspiration, and you siblings need an answer, no? It'll be fun, and educational." The painter let out a small chuckle as he pressed the play button.

Theodore's face contorted to a look of worry. "Fun, and educational? But Demon Painter-san, Junpei-san and Teddie-san claimed to me that those concepts contradict one another! It's not possible to marry 'fun' and 'education' together. They have told me horror stories of the results of people trying to marry the two concepts together…Junpei-san told me the dreaded American-made abomination of a purple dinosaur that supposedly sings wicked songs to schoolchildren, and Teddie-san tells me the horrors of this strange idol who teaches children how to cook by morphing into an animated –"

"Theo…stop. Just stop."

Theo sighed as the recorder began to play…