Shin Megami Tensei

Persona 3: ParaPol

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Persona 3, SMT, or any characters within. They belong to Atlus.

Chapter XV: Demonic Showdown

Bearing his sword against the light of the moon, Nyx gripped his sword tightly as he faced off against the two vampire queens: Akasha and Thorne. Akasha held Yukari close to her, her fingernails against her throat, whilst Thorne hovered motionless in the air, lightly smiling at the demon.

"Release her!" Nyx said in his demonic voice that was also partly human. "By my authority in the Valley of the Kings, I demand it."

"We will bow down to your authority in the Valley of the Kings on only one precondition..." Thorne said, materializing a fan from behind her back and waving it towards her face.

"That would be?" Nyx replied back.

Thorne only smiled. Before Nyx got an answer, she had disappeared and was behind the demon, swinging her fan in several directions and creating winds with such ferocity that they slapped themselves against Nyx's back almost to the point where he could feel his life draining from him. It took him a few second before he swung his sword behind him and negated the effects of her fan, but by then the damage had been done and Nyx was forced to reevaluate his situation.

"Our condition is that you and your friends immediately leave this region upon her release. That you do not interfere with us again and that you do not contact any of the local ParaPols after this point," Thorne said, pointing at Yukari. "If you don't...then the girl will die."

As soon as she said this, Akasha smiled and tightened her grip on Yukari's throat, forcing her to use both her hands to try and pull Akasha's arms away from her, disregarding the fact that all four of them were hovering several thousand meters in the air and she no longer had any way of summoning her persona to save herself if she fell.

"Well...since you put it that way..." Nyx paused, if only for a moment to look at Yukari's struggling body and clenched eyes. "No."

"You have made a mistake, chairman," Thorne said, closing her eyes and snapping her fingers.

"Die!" Akasha shouted, immediately letting go of Yukari and throwing her towards the ground below. Without her evoker and hurtling towards the ground at several hundred meters per seconds, she did the only thing she could think of in such a situation: she creamed at the top of her lungs and prayed to whatever God there was that something...someone would save her from imminent doom.

Before Nyx could dive down towards Yukari, a furious Akasha was charging at him, fangs and claws in plain sight. Nyx looked between the two women for a split second, enough time to throw his sword by the hilt towards the demonic queen. Her reaction as the hilt hit her in the ankle was just enough time for Nyx to dive straight down towards the earth below and outstretch his arms towards the falling S.E.E.S. member that he had sworn to protect.

She was falling and screaming as the wind howled against her. Her voice almost inaudible against the winds of fate that would take her life as she hurtled down towards the treeline. In her vision, she saw Nyx rushing down towards her, his hand reaching out for her. She saw the two vampire queens chasing him, disinterested and hungry for blood, and she saw the reflection of the moon in the beautiful white sword levitating in the sky.

The moon...it's so...

Gripping her in his hand, Nyx immediately used his wings to fly parallel to the ground, swerving around birch trees and looking behind him as he saw the two pale vampire queens screaming for his blood and spiritual energy. As Yukari's hair swayed in the wind, the air resistance too great for her to keep her eyes open, she heard the same demonic voice that she had hoped to kill seven years ago ring out in her head.

"For behold, I am the Truth and the Light. Under the light of my sword, no harm shall come to thee and you shall be safe, for upon the hour of darkness, Salvation shall appear..."

"That's a pretty verse...where's it from?" Yukari asked, her voice barely a whisper. Any mortal would not have been able to hear her through the wind, but Nyx faithfully responded to her question.

"It is from the Gospel of Judas..."

Had Yukari been in any other situation, she would have been alarmed by that. The fact that the Gospel of Judas was kept in a high-security vault in Yakushima Headquarters was no laughing matter.

But considering the gravity of the situation and the apparent truth in the words, she was willing to let this transgression slide. At least Mitsuru wouldn't find out.

After that, she heard nothing. Nothing but silence. Even the air around her seemed to stop flowing as Nyx weaved in and out of the tree line, dodging the occasional dyne-level elemental attack from the two queens behind him.

"I believe it is time to go back to the others. They are waiting," Nyx said, raising his free arm into the sky and calling to his sword.

"Traesto!"

From the tip of the sword levitating near the Moon, a bright light began to gather. At first, it seemed as though the moon's reflection was merely shimmering against the blade, but soon it became apparent that this light was no mere shimmer. As it began to expand, engulfing the surrounding region in a sea of white, the two vampire queens shielded their eyes from a blast of intense radiation as the light expanded and shot upwards towards the Moon.

Before they knew what had happened, Nyx, and more importantly, Yukari, were gone. They had vanished behind a sea of white light from a sword that now intermingled in the space between dimensions, wielded by a demon who was no longer there.

"Ah...they got away...Akasha, you mustn't be too forceful with them...it would be...detrimental to our benefactor's will."

"Thorne, know this," Akasha declared, looking out over the horizon towards the smoke where Nyx used to be, her face crunched up in an evil smile that reflected her blood lust. "When I find them again, the Akashic Arts will be unleashed...and I shall spare no remorse for the benefactor's feelings about the matter," she said, just as she bit into her arm to satisfy her thirst for blood.

Thorne simply shook her head before raising her hands to the sky, snapping her fingers once more as the two of them drifted away into nothingness.

BACK IN THE CAVE

"Junpei! Junpei, wake up!" Fuuka shouted as she lightly slapped Junpei's cheeks. It was to no avail. Both Junpei and Margaret were solidly unconscious and Minato was brooding, hunched over Margaret's body staring at his evoker as if he could have prevented this scenario.

"Ryoji...please don't fail..." he prayed, shutting his eyes and imagining Nyx and the two demons fighting in the middle of the sky before he heard a voice call out from behind him.

"Fail? Me? I'm surprised you think so low of me!" he shouted in an arrogant tone inappropriate for the solemnity of their predicament. Minato turned around to find Ryoji standing near the remains of the fire, carrying an unconscious Yukari in his arms and grinning wildly as if he had saved the world.

"You have to read the Scripture, my friend. There's a lot to be said in the Gospel...especially that of Judas," Ryoji said, putting Yukari down on the floor as Minato ran over to him, looking in his eyes for a moment as if to thank him, before crouching down and examining Yukari's limp form. The rest of S.E.E.S. had turned around to glance at Ryoji, Mitsuru in particular after hearing the mention of one of S.E.E.S.'s most prized artifacts.

"You know of the-"

"Mitsuru, for the last two years I've been around the world with your father hunting down artifacts that have been lost since time began...I think I can handle the S.E.E.S. security vault," Ryoji said, sparking a small chuckle from Takeharu Kirijo.

"Mitsuru...at a time like this, I believe everyone needs to hear the good word of Saint Judas, shall we?" Takeharu commented. He looked at Mitsuru, as if to sway her by his eye alone.

"Alright..." Mitsuru said, looking down towards the three unconscious bodies before looking back at her father. Clearing her throat, she began to recite a passage from memory. It was a passage she held very dear to her...

"And lo, remorse and sorrow cross the land. I am the sinner of thy heart, the holder of thine dreams, the killer of thy God. And whosoever shall set forth on this land upon posterity it shall be known to them that a traitor and a saint hath lived here. For only by the marriage of these two is one truly the human neither vows to protect. I have seen the Shadows and have lived in the Light. I have traveled the earth with a messiah and lived as a devil, and whosoever calls me a liar shall be a liar unto himself when he denies the truth that in equality, all things remain true, all transactions fair, and the just and mighty just as terrible as the sinful and decrepit. For tonight I may not have dined as a man, but tomorrow I will have lived as a King."

"So...so what? What the hell does that have to do with anything we're in right now?" Ken asked as he knelt down beside Junpei.

"Don't you get it, boy? Judas wrote this after the Last Supper with Christ just before the latter sacrified himself to seal a great evil away..."

"Great evil?"

"Let me finish!" Takeharu said loudly, clearly annoyed, "The great evil is not any entity in and of itself, but the Arcanum Cycle that takes the lives of so many...Minato and Ryoji here are merely the newest pawns in this eternal game," Takeharu pointed to the two men, standing side by side and chatting quietly to themselves while looking down upon Yukari.

"That is what Ryoji and I set out to accomplish: to end this cycle once and for all...the only cache is, Takaya is on this quest, too."

"Wait...you mean the artifacts you were after!? The Holy Grail and all them? What the hell do they tie in with-"

"If we can't manage to keep all seven artifacts from Takaya's hands, he will cease the Arcanum Cycle, that can be guaranteed, but whether or not he will use its vast spiritual energy for the good of all mankind...well, that's a little more than stretched in my opinion. That was our resolve and that was Judas's too when he wrote this Gospel...now...it is up to those unconscious ones to see if they have the resolve to save Humanity as well..."

"And what if they don't?" Mitsuru asked her father.

"..."

"Now we wait," Akihiko said. "We have to wait...we don't have the equipment to analyze their personas and we sure as hell can't attempt a persona-infusion out here..."

"We know, Akihiko...we know," Minato said, looking at Yukari's face as if she weren't real.

"Ryoji...can they be killed?"

"The vampire queens...I didn't kill them. I used traesto to escape with Yukari in tow. My blade in lost in the dimension between Earth and the Dark Realm. I'm afraid I'll only be able to transform into Thanatos for a while..."

"That's quite alright," Minato said as the remaining members of S.E.E.S. stared at him. "Because if personas really are the mirror image of your soul...then those queens are dead for this..."