Prologue: The Wormhole

Walking out of a ruined city devastated by disaster long ago, five individuals forged a trek toward a new destination. After completing a previous mission to ensure their kind's survival, the group traveled to communicate with outside sources and investigate matters regarding abominations referred to as 'the horrors'.

With this being the first time beyond their home's boundaries, this group maintained vigilance with their new surroundings.

The colors of their locality were bright as light but dull like grime. There was not a hint of activity from any other person or creature.

Eyes scanned the arid and desolate surroundings free of most foliage with only ruined infrastructures, a reminder of a former civilization in the distant past. Poking out from the terrain are tall obelisks shaped like massive spikes with trims of golden yellow crystals around them.

Ears picked up on any sudden sounds that could deem a potential threat. The rancid stench of the dirty air and the scent of rotten carrion filled their sensitive nostrils. Their tongues tasted the same scent from the rotting meat.

Despite their vigilance, the five individuals pressed forward without reservation. Their reservation checked out once they left their dwelling.

Of the five individuals, three are male and the other two are female. Save for one, they each carried with them individual, specialized weapons to defend themselves.

The leader, a youthful man with an unkempt brown hairstyle, eyed his compatriots.

On the man's right is a youthful male. He has dark brown hair in an unkempt style and locks of hair covering the right eye, and from a distance the hair color could appear to be black.

Walking behind the leader is a taller man with red hair placed in a small ponytail and bangs covering the sides of his face.

On the leader's left, the fourth member is one of the two females, a short woman with blonde hair tied into pigtails and a tall black wool papakha hat.

Also on his left with the short blonde is the other female. Her hair is tangerine-colored and tied in a single ponytail, contrasting the blonde's twin-tailed hairstyle. Of the five, only the tangerine-haired woman carried no weapon, but instead a massive army green traveler's bag that was hilariously thrice the size and weight of her lightweight body.

Just then, a dreadful presence filled the air around them. There was not a person or a thing to be seen in the vicinity.

In response to the imminent threat, their eyes instinctively flared bright red. Their teeth clenched hard and their urge to kill escalated.

Drawing out his sword, the leader faced the other way with his four colleagues on their guards. The woman carrying the large bag couldn't grab her weapon inside the bag in time, leaving her wide open for something to ambush them. The young woman's face transformed into a look of trepidation when two creatures rushed steadfast to attack them.

When the leader desperately rushed over to guard the tangerine-haired woman, the short blonde intercepted one of the creatures with a long bayonet. As her eyes turned red, a look of ferocity formed on her features. The blonde then went face to face with a creature they've encountered on their previous travels.

In front of her and the others is a dark clothed, black spiky-haired humanoid wearing what resembled a gas chamber mask. It wore dark torn garments over its lanky body frame.

Attacking the blonde woman with an ax, it went for another devastating strike, but the tall, red-haired man swiftly ran over and stabbed the malformed abomination's side with a two-handed sword.

Suddenly, another creature jumped out from a crevice between a large obelisk and a ruined infrastructure barrier. With murderous intent on its frenzied mind, the creature charged at the leader. The other brown-haired man interceded the creature's attack and stopped it with a sword.

Now in front of the leader and his sword-wielding compatriot is a tall, bipedal gray-skinned humanoid with a long, shapely anteater-shaped snout. The creature attacked with a sword that was countered by the young man's blade.

Just then, two more similar gas mask-wearing creatures came running out of a ruined building. Both individually brandished a hammer and a sword. Two other gray anteater-nosed humanoids rushed toward the group. The two creatures carried axes.

In response to these dangers intent on killing them, the red eyes of the individuals burned bright red. Metal masks mystically formed over their mouths. They then launched a quick counterattack against their unearthly enemies.

With his two-handed sword, the red-haired man slashed through the first gas-masked creature, dismembering and severing off its right arm. With a fast sword swing, he decapitated the creature.

The blonde woman shoved her bayonet through an ax-wielding anteater humanoid's torso. Quickly taking out her bayonet, she unleashed lightning fast slashes and cut the creature up into gory pieces. When the other ax-wielding anteater humanoid rushed her from behind, a flicker of dark red light formed from the blonde woman's back. From the red light, a long metal tail impaled through the creature's body. Then, a sword quickly shoved through the creature's chest. The blonde saw the tangerine-haired woman behind the monstrosity. Pulling out what resembled a Japanese greatsword, the young woman slew the abomination.

Before dispatching the first gas-masked creature, the brown-haired man slit its throat with his sword. The two other gas-masked beasts headed him and the leader off.

Taking an immediate stance against the threats, the leader rushed the two brutes. When meeting the gas-masked creatures head-on, his eyes intensely glowed red. He quickly produced another sword, granting himself dual swords to fight them. He rushed the two creatures, cutting off the head of one and bisecting the other's torso, leaving them to collapse in a bloody heap.

After dispatching the creatures, the slain bodies dissolved into black dust.

The group huddled together to regroup and collect their belongings. They mused on where these surviving creatures came from, believing they already eradicated the last of them.

These were not the 'horrors' described to them. These misshapen humanoids were merely the standard monsters they've been used to fighting against.

When the tangerine-haired girl reached for her giant bag, the leader offered her a helping hand.

Then, a bright flash of red light exploded and blinded all but the leader, who had his back facing the light. Quickly turning his head, the leader felt his body being pulled on its own into the mouth of a white distortion hole. He desperately tried grabbing onto rocks and his nearest surroundings to hold himself in place.

When the others regained their bearings, they witnessed their leader being pulled into a distortion of unknown origin. The young man with the sword jumped forward and grabbed his friend's hand. For a moment, he had a firm grip on the leader's hand, but the force of the portal pulled the leader into it. The others reached for him, but their efforts were in absolute vain when the force of the portal sucked their leader inside, who vanished from their sight.

When the portal closed, the group was left distraught with the loss of their friend. The young man, cursing himself for failing to save their colleague, screamed out his friend's name. The others did the same, but their pleas couldn't bring him back.

They were left without their compatriot to continue their harrowing trek.

As for the leader, he was on his way to another world, one unlike the one he was leaving behind.

A/N: Hello, if you're reading this. Welcome to Akane no Mai.

Hi, I'm Kanius, formerly SSJ4Takeru, and am a long-time fanfic writer. I've written an untold number of stories over the years, most of which I've written and posted on . I've been involved with a great number of fandoms. Fandoms I've avidly written (and co-written) for and read include Dragon Ball, Digimon, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Naruto, Witchblade, Sonic the Hedgehog, WWE, DC, Marvel, Madoka Magica, Guilty Crown, and a decent amount of crossovers.

Starting with this story and previously Urban Legends, I've entered the Persona, Code Vein, and to a lesser extent Kakegurui & Nioh fandoms. Technically, this won't be the first time I've written anything involving characters from these respective franchises. Since 2018, I've diligently watched Persona 5, Code Vein, and Nioh walkthroughs to familiarize myself with those series' characters and worlds. After helping co-write and read Persona Vein with Allfather-Ford, he passed on the privilege to produce and write PV's sequel, Urban Legends, which was released in early-2019. Over a year has passed and UL is in its final stretch. With UL drawing closer to its end, we decided now was more than any time to release our condensed revision: Akane no Mai. AnM will serve as the finalized, consolidated platform for the PV+UL revision. Writing UL (and to a lesser extent helping write scenes for PV) was equivalent to producing a first/second draft for a novel.

Tidbits about Akane no Mai

AnM was made to be accessible for first time readers and a general audience (but will also cater to returning followers already familiar with PV/UL). Furthermore, it will be independent of PV/UL. You don't need to read PV/UL to understand this. AnM is a fresh story and many story elements will be altered to set itself apart. This story will be updated alongside UL for now, but you are not required to read UL, first time readers.

AnM follows directly after the events of Persona 5 Royal and Scramble, the post-game events for Code Vein, 3 years after Kakegurui, and over 400 years after Nioh & Nioh 2's events.

AnM will consist of three books. The next chapter will begin Book I. To further differentiate this story from PV/UL, a new cover art has been included with this story. The cover art illustration was done by Vanette Kosman. Credit goes to her for the beautiful piece.

The recommended soundtrack for the prologue: VAMPS - Underworld. It perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of this post-apocalyptic world and the battle between the characters and the unearthly creatures.

The intent of this fic is not only to remake Persona Vein and Urban Legends similar in vein to Persona 5 Royal, but to treat it as a pseudo-official novelization while I'm working on my first original novel with it. I'll be treating this as if I were writing a nearly finalized draft of a novel. This story will kick-off this new decade of me fully transitioning into original novel writing. This will be an interesting experience to say the least. So, that means PV and UL are akin to second-third stage drafts. Many concepts will be retained, but others will be excised and events will be moved around to better suit this novelization. This story is going to be worked on simultaneously with Urban Legends while UL enters its final stages.

The next chapter will begin Book I, which adapts Persona Vein. With P5R now out in the west, don't fret. Chapter I will be out by mid-April to allow y'all time to finish the game. I hope you enjoy this forthcoming story, my readers.