Hey everyone, hope you all had a great Christmas. My favourite present? A Fievel stuffed toy. Remember American Tail? If not, then all you need to know is that I got a warm and fuzzy wave of nostalgia. It was great.

Rightho. Back to work. I got an awesome fight scene to write, so let's get these over and done with.

ByLanternNight, I wanted to put Cthuhlu into that fight ever since I realised that he was summonable in one of the SMT games. I kinda did the transforming blimp bit off the top of my head, but I really wanted Cthuhlu to punch something. Sorry.

Marada, Heraklinos, if that was the case, then Minato's last name would be Kuzohana. Sorry, but it'd leave waaay too many plot holes.

Greifen, City of Win, City of Victory, same thing really.
Sorry if it seems that Minato's taking everyone else's roles. Minato got the option to snap out at Shinji's funeral in-game, but I just took it further to give him the chance to help Shinji resolve. Remember, This Minato's been going to funerals all his life, so he has a lot of respect for how they should be.
They were strapped to individual crucifixes. And it doesn't matter whether Minato described them as Iron or Steel, since neither could hold Shinji down, so they're clearly not either.

Dragon's Shadow, He still isn't strong enough to fuse Thanatos. He brought it out from the shock of getting shot in the head for reals. First time with the Evoker was enough, but then he got used to it. For the purposes of the argument, his level is currently 59.

JRS74, giving Ikutsuki a Persona was my idea. That scene plays out the same in P3P.
And since Minato doesn't know that he's on the observatory rooftop, due to never having been there, he wouldn't know it as such. It looks like Thebel, so Minato assumes it is as such. However, it's insinuated that it's the top of Monad, but Minato's yet to go there either.
As for the Hanged Man, I agree with you. You're not sure whether the Shadow was the overpowered, arrogant sod, or if Minato was. You're probably thinking of something else, but that was my thinking behind it.

Slicerness, Simulacrum gets much better as it goes along. I actually had a discussion with the author recently about any potential accusations of Plagiarism from between our stories.

Slackerman, in one of the early drafts, Evokers shot bullets. They changed it last second because the localisation team would crucify it on spot if that was the case.

Have a Little Feith, have a little faith. Yeah, I made that pun. don't hate me…

Nightmare Syndrom, I'll do you… Six better. Yeah. SIX. ALL IN THIS CHAPTER.

Now to live up to my own expectations. Not looking forward to this at all. Oh, I'm looking forward to you guys doing it, but actually doing it is gonna be daunting. DAUNTING I say.


-}+{-


Black glass with bloodstains dripping off them flew into the sky in a spiral.

Crackcrackcrackcrack…

What.

CRACK

This cannot be good.

SMASH

Time didn't stop this time. By the looks of things, everyone heard this one.

THOU ART I! I! ART! THOU!

THOU LOOKETH IN THE MIRROR OF THY SOUL AND SEETH THINE PERSONA!!

BUT THY MIRROR HAST SHATTERED! BEHOLD THINE SHADOW!!

The glass stopped moving, then spiralled into the space above Ikutsuki.

LET THINE MIND WARP UNDER THE DEPRAVITY OF THE HOLLOW ARCANA!!

It formed into a nude version of the Hanged Shadow, but with no face, large red wings, and a golden crown above its head.

I AM NYARLATHOTEP! It said. THE CRAWLING CHAOS!

"Wh-what!?" Fuuka gasped as Ikutsuki laughed maniacally.

"So this is what a Persona feels like!" Ikutsuki laughed, drawing the remote from his pocket. "AIGIS!" He commanded. "Destroy the lesser sacrifices!"

Koromaru leapt through the Persona and grabbed Ikutsuki's remote with his jaw, crushing it as the Persona dissolved. "W-What!?" Ikutsuki snarled, pointing his gun at the dog.

"NO!" Aigis shouted, shooting the gun from Ikutsuki's hand, then turning to shoot the bindings on everyone's crucifix.

"Great work." I told them as Mitsuru ran towards her father's corpse. "Now for this one." I added, turning to Ikutsuki.

He was gone. "Behold, Mortals!" His voice shouted from above. I looked up to see him standing on a rising column. "Despair! And! DIE!"

I rushed to break down the column as Ikutsuki fired another shot into his head. The black demon scythed down as I tackled the monolith, toppling it with the power of the Demi-Fiend as I started scrambling the falling stone. Ikutsuki stepped forward and rode the pillar down as it fell, then turned his gun on me and laughed. "I wonder…" He boasted. "What would happen if I shot you somewhere else?" He asked.

I stopped scrambling and started running, pointing my gun ahead of me and fired. Ikutsuki must've fired at the same time, because the two bullets ricocheted off each other and clattered onto the pillar.

Didn't happen twice though. Ikutsuki missed the next two shots and I managed to get him in the shoulder as he reloaded. He screamed, and I smashed his face in with my emptied gun.

Grunting in pain, Ikutsuki staggered through a hole in Tartarus's wall that the falling pillar had made. Said pillar collapsed behind us, so that means that we're alone here in Yabbashah. "Nyarlathotep!" Ikutsuki shouted, pointing his gun to his head again. "COME!"

I pushed his gun away from his temple at the last second, the bullet cutting through his glasses and through my head. "COME FORTH!" I roared, and Surtr rose from behind me and struck us both with his flaming sword. So I can't summon Thanatos anymore…

Ikutsuki headbutted me and leapt into the shadows as I regained my balance. Damn, his head is hard…

I took this as a chance for a quick inventory check. I had no scrolls, no evoker, Aki's gloves were gone, and all I had was an empty gun and my Leatherman in my chest pocket.

Ikutsuki wouldn't have missed that. He must've asked Aigis to remove our weapons, and I've explained to her in detail why this knife isn't a weapon.

I heard a gunshot down the corridor, and looked to see waves of darkness rush towards me. I switched to Alice for protection and covered my face, but the force was still enough to knock me off my feet.


THOU ART I, AND I ART THINE

THY SOUL SHALL WARP SANITY INTO MADNESS

REALITY SHALT YIELD TO THE DESIRES OF THINE MIND

IF THIS WORLD BE HOLLOW, THEN FILL THE ABYSS WITH DREAM

THOU HAST OUR BLESSING

RENDER THIS NIGHT ASUNDER


Sounds like a plan. Now why is there a wall in front of me?

It collapsed at the thought to reveal Ikutsuki pointing a gun at me.

I wish I had some ammo… why is a white ammo clip growing out of the wall?

Ah, so this is the Hollow Arcana. This makes a lot of my previous fights make much more sense.

I clapped the gun's handle onto the ammo clip and snapped it off and started firing at Ikutsuki.

He did the same, but both of us missed each other was we approached. By the time we were close enough to press our gun's into the other person's face, we'd both run out of bullets.

A white ammo clip grew out of the ground and twisted around Ikutsuki's arm before connecting into my gun.

A black clip twisted around my gun arm and slithered into Ikutsuki's gun.

I switched to Melchizedek and shot a bullet into Ikutsuki's forehead, knowing full well what it'd do.

BLAM

Melchizedek punched Nyarlathotep in the face as Nyarlathotep sliced a claw through the king's head. It hurt like hell, but it knocked Ikutsuki back enough for me to re-aim the gun towards Ikutsuki's body.

BLAM

I dropped down to the ground and fired the gun wildly as Ikutsuki's bullet hit my cheek instead of my kneecap. The two Personae collided, and I kicked Ikutsuki's legs from underneath him and rolled over atop of him.

Why did Surtr come out just now?

And why do I have Alice equipped right now? Where did Surtr and Melchizedek go?

Ikutsuki laughed. "Have you realised yet?" He asked. "My Persona can kill yours."

Crap. I dodged back against his next shot, then rolled back to a relatively safe distance.

I only have ten Personae left, and the white mask has already reached my mouth. Bad things will happen if it finishes.

That said, I noticed a black mask growing up Ikutsuki's face as well as he stood up. "Oh, are you running away now?" He asked. "I thought you only ran towards." He sneered.

I can't let him summon my Persona. So I can't let myself summon his either.

I threw away my gun. It's gonna do more harm than good.

"Idiot." Ikutsuki laughed, summoning Nyarlathotep with his own gun. Crap.

I jumped along the floor to reclaim my gun, but as soon as I grabbed it, Nyarlathotep shoved its claw inside my chest and started pulling out Alice. "HELP ME!!" She screamed, her arms flailing helplessly against the claw clenched around her chest.

I grabbed her hand. "DON'T LET GO!" I told her desperately as I fired bullets wildly into Nyarlathotep's head. "JUST HANG ON!"

"D-Don't let me die…" Alice sobbed as Ikutsuki laughed. "P-please help…"

I pulled her back into me as I rammed my shoulder into Nyarlathotep's body only to fall through air. "ALICE!!" I shouted.

"H-He-" Her eyes bulged as the dark Persona crushed her ribcage inside its hand, and Alice faded into nothingness.

Now I'm carrying Thor.

I'm past angry now. I stood to my feet and tossed the gun into my left hand, summoning a white, grotesque blade from the metal floor and grabbing it with my right hand at the seal of the Demi-Fiend came into action.

Ikutsuki laughed and grabbed a black hatchet that extended from the wall. "Come!" He laughed gleefully, his eyes flashing black.

I charged keeping my gun low and my sword high. I sliced for his head as I shot his knee, but he forced my gun arm up as he ducked, shooting my jaw so Nyarlathotep could wrench Mjolnir from its master and crush Thor's head under it. I kneed Ikutsuki in the face, but he shot again for me and then in his own head as he fell, summoning his Persona once more to destroy Kikuri-Hime.

She was the fifth Persona he just killed. I'm not giving him another chance. "BYAKKO!" I roared, firing a bullet through my skull. The white tiger pounced onto the traitor and bit deep down into his gun arm. Ikutsuki screamed as I stamped on his arm, kicking the gun from his fingers as he flailed helplessly with his axe.

The axe met Byakko's back and the tiger screamed in pain as it died. What.

I jumped back as Ikutsuki swung for my leg, and pointed my gun at him as he rose to his feet.

"Did you know…" Ikutsuki asked as he clutched at his bleeding shoulder. "That all this business with Evokers… even headshots… really aren't necessary to summon a Persona?" He laughed as he extended his injured arm, a rotating blue card appearing above it. "I just didn't want you to learn how to do this!" He swung his axe through the card, and Nyarlathotep rushed through me, tearing Ganesha out of my back as Ikutsuki healed. "That makes… Seven, right?" He asked from behind insane eyes as his mask grew across his mouth. "I wonder just how many can you hold?"

His voice had distorted underneath the featureless mask, and I noticed my own reflection. My sardonic white mask had already reached my nose. Not much time.

Dammit Pharos, where are you when I need you?

I fired a bullet into my head to summon Loki to heal me, but that was my last shot. I reloaded from behind the wall as I dodged Ikutsuki's next volley of Eldritch demon and switched to Siegfried to do a power charge.

Nyarlathotep tore through the immortal hero like it had the others. "Make this count." The hero demanded with his dying breath.

I intend to. With the power of Odin, I charged a Primal Force into my hands and smashed them into the ground. The white mask grew faster as the room turned into thousands of spikes; a nebula of pain that turned Ikutsuki into so much Swiss cheese.

I only stopped when I saw his mangled body skewered by dozens of bloodstained spikes. Yep. That should do it.

"Why, thank you."

What

A wingless Nyarlathotep grabbed me by the throat and lifted me into the air. "It's a shame that I didn't get to finish, but you saved me the trouble of killing him myself, so I suppose it works out." Its fingers tensed around my neck. "And these fingers… I can do more with these than with my old claws." it jumped and pushed me through the ceiling. "But I miss my wings." It added as it pushed me though another floor.

By the rate he's pushing me through these ceilings; I don't think he needs them.


Nyarlathotep let me drop to the floor after it'd pushed me through half of Tziah. "That's better." It stated, flexing its regrown wings. "I suppose they just needed the exercise."

I'd dropped my weapon's downstairs, but I still had Odin. I channelled a Thunder Reign into my hands and charged for Nyarlathotep.

It pushed at my face and Odin flew out from behind me, my head passing through Nyarlathotep's hand like water as the thunder fizzled out; no Persona to power it.

"This makes…" Nyarlathotep crushed Odin's head with one hand. "Three Personae left." It lashed out with its tail and sent me flying back into the gold wall. "Do you know what happens when you run out?"

I grunted to my feet. "You become one of the lost…" I answered, not as defiant as I hoped it'd be. "Without a Persona, real or figurative, you're just an empty shell."

The outer god clapped sarcastically. "Very good. Now say goodbye to Anubis."

What!? I lifted up my hands to create a wall between me and Nyarlathotep, but it smashed through it and grabbed at my mask.

"You dare use my power against me." It laughed. "The power to shield the mind from reality, the power of the deepest subconscious." Nyarlathotep rammed its knee into my chest hard, and I lost my stance. "This power to control Tartarus."

I kinda figured that out. "Let's see how long you last without it." Nyarlathotep laughed as it started pulling at my mask.

Not good. I grabbed at its arm, but saw that my hands wouldn't connect with it. I called up the power of the Demi-Fiend, however, and I did.

"Ooh, interesting." Nyarlathotep chuckled as it fell back, holding my mask. "But it's just too little, too late." It crushed the mask with one hand.

And now you have lost

So the Reaper's watching this too. I stood up and forced a Hamaon down my right hand and a Mudoon down my left. As long as it doesn't get a hit on me, I can win this.


It got a hit on me. Hard ones, two of them.

And now I am only left with Loki.

"Accept the inevitability of your fate." Nyarlathotep commanded me. "You cannot defeat me."

Come on Demi-Fiend… can't you… work… more!?


Naoki gets spikes coming out the back of his neck when he does this. Sometimes, I grow fangs.


I pushed out as much juice as I could get and charged forward as I felt my fangs grow. I was much faster now.

I skidded to the ground as Nyarlathotep clawed forward, then rolled into a donkey-kick aimed for his chin. It grabbed my ankles with its other hand, but he couldn't get my Persona out of there, so I twisted up and smashed its face in with fist.

My hand broke. So did its head.

I twisted out of its grip as I healed myself with a Diarama, then rushed forward to attack again.

I was much, much faster now. Hell, I was even starting to beat this guy down!

Then Nyarlathotep disappeared.

"This is a nuisance." Nyarlathotep commented as it grabbed my left wrist and my shoulder from behind and trapped my feet with one of its own and its tail. "And the seal's roots are in this arm?" It asked.

Then it pulled. I screamed as my arm popped out of its shoulder, but the demon didn't stop.

Then my flesh started to tear. "AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!" I screamed, gritting my teeth together as I tried to fight Nyarlathotep off.


I collapsed on the floor, and immediately pushed myself up.

I fell down to my left side in a pool of blood. What the hell..?

I turned around and saw Nyarlathotep holding a human arm like a sword, gripping it by the wrist as blood seeped out the other end.

It had a demonic seal on the bicep.

"Oh, sorry." Nyarlathotep threw the arm back at me and it slapped into my face. "What with all your screaming, I thought you might look a little more… frightened? Angry? Something at least."

It tore my arm off… it seriously tore my arm off…

Nyarlathotep grabbed me by the chest and shoved me against the wall. "But that's the odd thing, isn't it?" It asked. "All of your power… none of it's yours." It raised another arm to shove it into me. "Either you're channelling the power of the gods as Persona… or you're stealing powers from your enemies… or you're simply mimicking the skills of others…" It shoved its arm into my chest and grabbed Loki. "You're nothing." It told me as it tore out my last persona and incinerated it in black flame. "A cheap thief with no more tricks up his sleeve."

Then why can I still think?


I grabbed Nyarlathotep by the back of the head with my remaining arm and nutted it as hard as I could, right beneath the spiky crown.

"I am a shadow…" I told it as the black liquid coursed over my skin. "The true self…"

Nyarlathotep merely shoved its hand into my chest again and the blackness blew back like a cloud of dust. "Really. That's the best you can do?"

I grabbed its arm and forced it deeper through me. "Nope." I replied, grinning despite the pain. "Because you missed one little detail."

"And what did I miss, mortal?"

"I'm Minato Arisoto." I replied. A rotating blue card rose to the outer god's face as the bones of a hand appeared beneath it. "I took this social link to eleven." I explained as the bones regenerated, connecting to my shoulder as the finger bones clenched the card, destroying it. "Daisoujou!"

The mummified priest appeared above us and laughed as gold walls surrounded us, spinning slowly as light encompassed the ground. Samsara. The ultimate light skill.

The world turned to light.


I knew that wouldn't kill it, but it gave me chance to run for the stairs like hell while I healed myself. "Diarahan!" I cast on myself, biting down on my lips as the nerves and muscle regenerated and scratched underneath my shirt, which didn't get torn off somehow.

Once my skin was back, I proceeded to run past the blockade and into the next block of Tartarus.


It was some freaky disco place that was waaay too dark for my liking. The reason being that I barely noticed Nyarlathotep in the darkness.

"It's useless to try and outrun your fears."

I dodged the claw in time to keep my face, but not in time to save my fringe.

"That took ages to grow!" I shouted, even though it really didn't matter at this point. "RRAGH!" I shouted, crushing Daisoujou's card in my hand.

The room lit up and I saw that Nyarlathotep had taken on a new form. It was now a freaky guy coming out of the floor. Random white masks littered its body and tentacles, which also came out of the floor. It shrugged off my attack, which wasn't good.

This is my last Persona, but I don't think Nyarlathotep can just take this one away from me.

Thing is, this Persona only has light skills which don't work, and healing skills.

It's useless in this fight.


I can help you… but this will be the last time, alright?

I nodded. Good to see you again.


I see no hear no evil,
Black writing's on the wall…

I approached the main body as darkness spread across my body again.

Unleash a million faces,
And one by one they fall…

"That didn't work the first time you tried." Nyarlathotep sneered as a tentacle shot out for me.

Black hearted evil…
Brave hearted hero…

I calmly grabbed the appendage with a bone white hand, and sneered as Ichor burst from it as I crushed it.

I am all, I am all I am…

I tore it out of the ground and sliced it with my sword. "WHAT!?" Nyarlathotep exclaimed as I charged forward with the blade, slicing through anything stupid or inanimate enough to get in my way. Nyarlathotep shrunk into the floor as I sliced for it, so I sent a wave of dark energy down the corridors as I summoned Daisoujou to flood the place with light.

Go ahead and try to see through me,
Do it if you dare…

I couldn't find the bugger, so I charged up another dual attack.

One step forward, two step's back
"I'm here."

I span around behind me and rammed the scorching chaos into its face, destroying several walls as the collateral damage.

Do it… do it… do it… DO IT!

That got him.

Can you see all of me?

I charged and stabbed down through the rubble.

Walk into my mystery!

I launched spiralling light and dark energy down the blade.

Step inside and hold on for dear life…

The outer god didn't stand a chance.

"Do You Remember Me?" I asked.

Capture you and set you free

"I Am All, I Am All I Am…"

I withdrew the blade and sliced the Ichor from it, sending another destructive shockwave that breached the outer wall.

This wasn't the power of a mere outer god.

This was much more.

The power of The Death god.

Thanatos.


I watched Nyarlathotep die and vanish, revealing Ikutsuki still alive, but completely drained. Good.

I grabbed him by the throat and dangled him off the ledge and waited for him to become coherent.

"You won't." Ikutsuki sneered. "You don't have what it takes to murder."

"You wouldn't be my first." I told him.

Ikutsuki laughed. "That was self defence." He replied. "It's not the same as deciding to kill a man." He sneered into my eyes. "No-one will know if you drop me here to my death, so why do you hesitate?" He asked.

I sighed and dragged him back inside the tower. "I wanted to see if you were serious about the Fall."

Ikutsuki laughed maniacally. "It's too late to stop it!" He declared. "Even if you kill me, all that'd do will delay the inevitable!"

"How long for?" I asked him.

Ikutsuki stopped. "For what?" He asked back.

"If I killed you, here and now, how much time would we gain?" I asked him.

Ikutsuki shook his head, laughing. "Only for as long as it takes for the true harbinger to realise his true purpose." Ikutsuki laughed. "But after that, Nyx shall descend and destroy humanity."

"So I only need to stop the harbinger from realising his destiny." I nodded, pulling out my Leatherman and flicking out the knife. "Then the Fall will never happen."

Ikutsuki froze. "Y-you can't do that… everything I've done… IT WON'T BE FOR NOTHING!"

I stabbed into his throat, then cut outwards. "Everything I do will make sure that your life was for nothing." I corrected. "And you're right about killing in self-defence." I nodded as he started to choke on his own blood. "It is different from choosing to kill someone."

I cleaned the blood from my knife and closed it as Ikutsuki gurgled. "It's true that I killed my girlfriend's brother in self-defence." I admitted. "But kid's get stabbed in alleyways all the time in England." I told him. "The police usually give up after a few days of investigating, and even then they can only prosecute you if they have 99% evidence." I sighed as I sat next to the dying man. "But that's just the way it is back home. You're not the first bastard I've killed in cold blood, and you won't be the last."

I stood up and grabbed his ankles. "But that's the way the world is." I told him as I dragged him to the edge. "You need bigger bastards to clean up the evil ones. That's what my knife is for." I told him. "For when I need to murder, not defeat." I sighed as I dumped his limp body by the edge. "But you can't hear me anymore, can you?" I asked. "At least, I hope not, for your sake." I stood up and pressed my shoe against his back. "That'd make this part hell."

I kicked the corpse over the edge, then watched it splatter against the ground.


By the time I got back to where everyone was, Shinji was comforting Mitsuru who was still clinging to her father's body. "He's dead." I told everyone as I walked up to them. "Both of them."

Shinji nodded and picked up Takeharu's corpse. "Come on." He said. "Let's get home."


Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
Guy Fawkes and Gunpowder plot.

The next day was November 5th. Bonfire night. The night where we set fires to remember when terrorists tried to eliminate all of parliament in one night using gunpowder underneath the House of Lords. They were stopped at the last second, and the English government was saved.

But what if they were too late? What if parliament burned that night?

I expect that the royal guards would feel like we did. Useless. Pathetic. Betrayed. Failures.

We had a bonfire at 1AM that morning. It was twenty hours too early, but Junpei agreed to help me destroy Ikutsuki's body.

Only ashes remained of him now. There was no evidence of the crime we had committed.

Except for the weight of the apocalypse on our shoulders.


-}+{-


Yep. Sad ending.

I hope you all had a good Christmas, and that you'll have a happy new year. I might have a new chapter out by then, but don't count on it.

…wow, that was a sad ending. I think that may be one of the lowest moments of the entire story.

And fittingly too.

So. Minato lost everything in that battle. Everything. And yet he still came out on top. I was discussing the events of that battle with a friend, and he thought I was asking for his advice on how Minato should win it. I wasn't asking for it.

So. To list:

Minato has lost the Hollow Arcana, the Demi-Fiend, Pharos, Shadow power, and half of his emo-cut. Remember when I compared that fringe to a crown earlier? It's symbolic.

But now that explains why the Fall was delayed. Before you ask, Minato can only card summon Personae from Arcana he has reached rank 11 with. And he can get those dead Personae back from the Velvet Room.

That was one of the harder chapters to write in my opinion. It didn't turn out as epic as I had imagined, and I had to write out a lot of the ideas I wanted to do, but I think it worked well here, especially with the return of 'I Am… All Of Me…' towards the end.

Nyarlathotep was the main antagonist of Personas 1,2, and 2.2, but you all knew that already.

So… yeah… until next time, see you.