Tatsumi Port Island, Tokyo, Japan
April 6th, 2009, Dark Hour
The streets of Port Island were eerily silent under the yellow colored moon. A green glow had enveloped the world, as it did every night at midnight. Akihiko Sanada didn't mind the odd atmosphere, though. For him, it just gave him an excuse to fight. Events lately had given him more of a reason to go out on patrol. Strange cases of Apathy syndrome were popping up everywhere, and Akihiko knew that meant Shadows were wandering about. Mitsuru didn't argue most of the time, though she did seem to disagree with the fact he was going on patrol so close to the end of the week long break.
He stood down the road from what had been his school and looked up at the large tower that stood there now. He hadn't thought he'd wandered so close to Tartarus in his patrol. It was odd, though… usually there were at least a few stray Shadows wandering around Tartarus, but he hadn't seen a single one this night. Maybe he should just go home now and try again another time.
A series of sudden whispers rang around Akihiko, and a smirk spread across his face. That was the call of a Shadow for sure. He couldn't see Mitsuru being very happy with him for running to Tartarus when he was alone, but there was ass to be kicked. Upon running to the tower, he found that the school gates were unlocked, which was strange in itself, and that there were no Shadows to be seen. Instead, there was a person lying in the middle of the courtyard. Not a coffin, but an actual person. The collapsed teenager had blue hair and wore a Gekkoukan uniform, both rather strange traits. While blue wasn't a particularly rare hair color, it was definitely an odd one. The fact that he was wearing a uniform now felt rather out of place as well.
Akihiko drew his Evoker and carefully walked over to the teenager. There was always the possibility this was some kind of trap, and he didn't quite feel like being ambushed by a bunch of Shadows. He knelt down by the collapsed teenager, and noted with a bit of horror that he wasn't moving. Or breathing. Was he dead? He was certainly pale enough to be. Akihiko gingerly reached a hand out and shook his shoulder. The teenager gave a jolt and groaned. The color returned to the teenager's face, and he began to wheeze for breath.
The teenager's eyes fluttered open. He sat up and looked up at Akihiko's face. His eyes widened and he jerked his head toward his hands, and then back up at Akihiko. "…A-Akihiko? What am I…" He looked around at Tartarus and the surrounding courtyard. His body wavered as he moved, and he was rather obviously dizzy. "Where am I...? Why… Why am I alive? ! Where's Aigis? ! What's going on! ?"
He's definitely experiencing the Dark Hour… The Shadows would have gotten to him by now if he didn't have the Potential, so he's definitely a Persona user, Akihiko thought to himself. "Sorry, I don't think I know you. What are you doing around here, anyways?"
"H-How do you not know who I am? !" The blue-haired teenager only appeared to become even more panicked by Akihiko's words. "Don't tell me you've forgotten… ugh…" He wavered once more and pressed his hands against the ground to support him. He gave a retch, and Akihiko stood up and moved back from him in time to dodge the vomit that had just poured from the teenager's mouth.
"I don't feel very good…"
Akihiko suddenly realized he recognized this person. This was one of the new second year students that had moved into the boys dorms recently. "You're Minato Arisato, right? What were you doing wandering around during the Dark Hour?"
"Why do you remember my name but not me?" The teenager, who was evidentially Minato, asked. The Dark Hour was making him delirious. Well, it did tend to have that kind of effect on people who weren't used to it yet. He seemed rather convinced they knew each other well, despite the fact that Akihiko had only seen him during those few visits he'd made to the boys dorm over the past week. Every time Akihiko had seen him, he'd always been listening to his headphones and not really paying attention to anyone else. They'd never talked.
Akihiko bent down and put Minato's arm around his shoulder, taking care not to step in the disgustingly fragrant vomit as he did so. He pulled Minato to his feet, grunting from the effort. "Geez, you're heavier than you look. Come on, I'll help you back to your dorm." The two of them began to walk away from Tartarus and down the street.
The ground where Minato had lain only a few moments before began to ripple outwards, almost like it was water and a stone had been dropped into it. A large, black cloaked figure burst free of the fluid ground and rose into the air. Several chains rose from epicenter of the distortion and wrapped around the being. It roared in anger and grasped the chains with its one free hand. With a strong tug, the chains shattered, allowing the cloaked being to fly free. A black, animal-like hand tore free from the distortion after the being, and the chains drew back around to restrain the hand. The animal-like hand sunk back into the ground, and the ground became solid once more.
The black cloaked being dropped the remnants of the chains upon the ground and stared up at Tartarus. It was free.
And yet, this entire world felt unnatural to it. This was not the world of its origin. Nothing in this world felt the same as the world the being originated from. Even the Tower of Demise resonated differently with the being. There was only one thing the being could feel that was the same, and that was the human that had hosted it for many years, who it could feel was being led away from the tower at this very moment.
A hand composed of nothing but a black gelatinous mass shot up from the ground. The black cloak flew away from the being as it reached for its sword and sliced the entire hand off. The hand went flying and fell to the ground, where it squirmed and twitched grotesquely before dissolving into a black ichor. The being did not have long to rest before more and more hands reached up from the ground, clawing at the being's body. Some of the hands were armed with blades, which the being had to counter with its own blade. Finally, it spotted what it had been looking for. One hand that had been clearly staying out of the fight was holding up a Magician Arcana mask. It moved forward at a speed that tore the hands grasping him from their arms and sliced the Magician's mask down the middle. The mask fell to the ground and lay there while the hands around it dissipated. The being stood there, waiting for the inevitable joining of the energies.
It didn't happen. The cleaved halves of the mask joined together, leaving no evidence of damage.
You are not the one we belong to. We were mistaken.
The sword wielding being snarled and brought a foot down upon the mask, which dissolved into a black mist before its foot could touch it. A taunting laugh emanated from around the being, and it had to take great care not to allow these unnatural fragments of itself to bother it. It was clear from what Magician had said that even this world's Arcana Shadows were unnatural to Death. It was impossible for it to absorb its fragments in this world, and thus impossible for it to connect with its mother. The reason why became apparent to the being as it realized what it had been sensing since it appeared in this world. There was another Death, a much weaker one, far from here. The fact that this unnatural Death existed in this world meant that this world's Fall was proceeding, but somehow the being could sense that compared to him, even this world's Nyx was lacking.
Death's body shuddered before dissolving into a black mist. The mist rose into the air and began to move in the direction its former host had gone. All it could do was observe. It was no longer tied to its former host, and staying in Tartarus had become impossible. The Shadows within would not care that it was the most powerful of their kind; it was not of their world and thus unnatural to them. They would attack and overwhelm it the moment it stepped inside. The mist passed over the bay and the buildings of Iwatodai City, finally coming across the two human figures it had been searching for. They stood in front of a large dormitory, the words "Gekkoukan High School Men's Dorm" written on a sign attached to the outer wall of the building.
"…Well, this is where I leave you. You can get back to your room on your own, right?"
"I don't really have time to explain everything to you, and you look too out of it to listen anyways. So I'll come back tomorrow."
The silver haired teenager walked away, leaving the being's former host alone on the steps of the dormitory. The blue haired teenager turned to walk up the steps, and just as it turned to do so, the black mist sunk into his shadow. The blue haired teenager did not notice the mist sinking into his shadow. In fact, it would be a very long time before anyone realized that a Shadow had tied itself to Minato, and by the time they did realize, it would be far too late to change his fate.
In the moments before the Dark Hour ended, a blue butterfly landed upon a streetlamp. The insect remained there until the unearthly mist lifted from the world and time unfroze, at which time it fluttered away.
11:52 PM, April 7th, 2009
The monorail sped down the tracks toward Iwatodai City with its few passengers. The late night monorail primarily carried businessmen on their way home from work, so the teenage girl riding on the train was a bit of an out of place feature. She sat in a seat by herself, listening to music through a pair of odd clip-on headphones.
"Been a little while but I'm still battling moving fast while you's just prattling no time for me—"
Hamuko Arisato hit a button on her MP3 player, and the song changed.
"Dreamless dorm, ticking clock, I walk away from the soundless room…"
She sighed and leaned back in her seat. It had been a very long ride from Chiba to Iwatodai. In the ten years that had passed since the accident that had claimed her parents' lives, she had moved from city to city, being shifted from relative to relative. By now, she had become used to being transferred from school to school at least once a year. The reasons for being transferred had varied; sometimes it was a relative getting transferred to another location, other times they just couldn't handle her being at their house anymore.
There actually hadn't been plans for her to transfer to Gekkoukan this year. It was a rather well known and expensive school in Iwatodai, and most students only dreamed of being able to go there. She must have done something to get in. She had been top of her class at her last school, so that must have counted for something.
Despite the fact that she'd been born there, Hamuko couldn't remember much of anything about the city. Well, it had been ten years since she'd last been there, so it was probably natural that she couldn't remember much of anything.
Hamuko turned her head toward the window. There was a blue butterfly flying by the monorail, somehow managing to stay in flight despite the slipstream. It remained in the air long enough for her to notice it before dropping out of sight. Well, that had been odd.
"Attention passengers. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delay. Next stop is Iwatodai. I repeat, the next stop is Iwatodai."
The train rolled to a stop at the Iwatodai station, and Hamuko stood up. She walked out into the station and looked up at the clock. It was nearly midnight.
A few seconds later, the music playing in her headphones came to an abrupt stop as the world shifted over to the Dark Hour.