It was an evening like any other. Minato chose three of his friends and mentally steeled himself for another long night of fighting. He decided to start on one of the high floors and made his selection. But then something strange happened. When his vision had cleared again he was alone and Mitsuru, Akihiko and Junpei were nowhere in sight. He waited for Fuuka to radio and say that everyone had been split up, but no transmission came. Minato didn't panic, however, but cautiously advanced and looked around a little more closely. It was then that he came to the uneasy conclusion that this might not even be Tartarus.

Instead it looked to be some sort of ancient Greek temple, if his 5 in Academics told him anything. He wanted to look around closer but he immediately found himself fighting off a pack of wraiths. After that he had to deal with a group of archers that seemed to be targeting him from the farther end of the temple. (He was really starting to regret equipping the Bus Stop Sign.) Panting and covered with the blood of his enemies, he advanced to a strange looking door and examined it. After hesitating for a moment he entered the Rings of Pandora where he was immediately almost taken out by a series of spike walls.

Mitsuru spotted a powder blue Columbian Cruiser in good condition and smiled. The driver was still in the car, so she jerked open the door, pulled him out and savagely pistol-whipped him with her Evoker. As she ground her heel into his face she reflected she was getting rather good at this.

Her next stop was the Pay n' Spray where she had her new acquisition painted red. Then she proceeded to Chinatown to hunt down Chunky Lee Kong, running over several pedestrians on her way there. She grinned and decided that this was even more fun than driving her motorcycle around during Dark Hour, when there was no traffic and she could really tear up the streets. Somewhere overhead she could hear a police helicopter. She snorted and turned up the radio.

Junpei was seriously wondering if he was on an acid trip. He'd heard that once some people had done an experiment where they released LSD on a subway…had someone done that to him? An invisible man passed him carrying what looked to be a super-sized bowl of ramen and several cats drifted by tied to balloons. In the schoolyard a group of punks with pompadours were busy clustering next to a toreador guarding a soccer goal. Someone or other hiding under an orange crate scuttled away at his approach.

He tried to ask a policewoman for help but she started shooting at him, and he had to run for his life. As he was running down a side street he was relatively certain he glimpsed a ninja going the other way, somehow defying gravity and walking on the walls of the building next to him.

Akihiko was also coming to the conclusion that this wasn't Tartarus. For one thing, Tartarus didn't have this much mist. He had to look hard to see the dim outlines of buildings and fences around him; from what he could tell this place looked to be some kind of town. As he walked through the silent streets he started to feel more and more paranoid. Everything seemed to be completely deserted and dilapidated. So far he hadn't spotted one living thing, not even a Shadow. His earpiece, which hadn't picked up anything from Fuuka (or anyone else) this entire time, suddenly buzzed.

Then he jumped. Something dark had skittered out of the mist from under an abandoned car in front of him. He gritted his teeth and approached it, knowing in advance that this was probably a bad idea. He turned out to be right. It righted itself and started to shamble toward him, and even the way it moved was horrifying. It was a little like a person but it didn't have any arms or face, and Akihiko didn't have to hesitate long before deciding to frenziedly beat it to death.

Minato was exhausted. He had fought Gorgons and minotaurs, dodged buzz-saws, climbed over bottomless pits, and raided coffins. All he wanted to do now was get to a Save Point and relax. When he finally found it, it turned out to be two women on a bed. Minato blinked for a moment and then rolled up his sleeves.

Mitsuru was also feeling the need for a little relaxation. Now in a stolen police car, she cruised around town looking for another prostitute. She had come to find out that she saved more money by beating them up and robbing them after she'd had her way with them. Talk about your win-win situations.

Junpei screamed and tried to dodge the laser beams that were coming out of the King of All Cosmos' eyes. The King was saying a lot of nonsense about how Junpei's "katamari" hadn't been big enough, whatever the hell that meant. Somewhere the darumas and red pandas were laughing at his plight.

Akihiko had entered one of the buildings to try and find out some answers, but he was beginning to think that had been a mistake too. His earpiece buzzed again about the same time he began to notice a low, metallic scraping that was slowly getting closer and closer. He turned to see what appeared to be an unusually large, powerful man in a bloodstained butcher's apron wearing some kind of pyramid-shaped helmet coming at him.

It took some doing, and she had to stretch her powers as she had never stretched them before, but Fuuka finally managed to locate them all and bring them back. Breathlessly, she asked each of them in turn if they were all right.

Minato nodded as he wiped the blood off his Bus Stop Sign. It, and he, had apparently seen a lot of action. And those new tattoos were almost certainly against the school dress-code.

When Fuuka turned to her, Mitsuru merely smiled and said her experience had been "fulfilling."

Junpei shuddered and said he thought maybe he had been in Hell or something. Panda Hell.

They couldn't really get anything out of Akihiko. He just shivered and sat against one of the walls with his arms around his knees. Junpei tried passing a hand back and forth in front of his eyes, but the only response he got was "No more…it hurts…!!" He didn't look like he was injured anywhere though, so they put him to bed with a nice glass of warm milk.


Minato: God of War

Junpei: We Love Katamari Damacy

Mitsuru: Grand Theft Auto III


Silent Hill 2