Persona – Wearing the Mask
Goodmorning, originally this Fanfiction was supposed to have come out much, much later and I was supposed to have put out another one. However, since I wanted to get one story out of the way and started on with a base – here it is. I have a massive inability to write stories without a background, so I have tried to create a small history behind Souji and the new characters.
In this story, I wish to focus on Souji's ability to interact with people, with his option being whatever choices you give him. I will try to show how he interacts with people and his persona changes in tandem. With that, he changes the way he talks around certain groups of people as some of us do in reality. He will keep his role as the silent protagonist, however, in most occasions – I will try to get him to speak in a way that is neutral and used for anyone.
I apologise if I am writing too much but I give the readers, if some, want to know why I write stories in certain ways. Finally, I wish to write Persona fanfictions that are completely different or not done from the norm of the other writers here. An example would be ~Kisdota – The Freak Gamer~, with his well written 'Split Personalities.' which this is partly inspired by. To sum it up simply, I wish to take the idea one step further about being able to actually interact with the Persona – but I will leave that till it comes.
Geez, this story took me a while...but - "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." – Confucius.
Therefore, here I present you – Personum Indutum | Latin: The Mask Wearer. In normal English...hopefully.
- 11th of April, Monday – Morning.
The midday sun floated lazily amongst the white puffy clouds in the sky, its radiance glinted off paned windows like freshly polished diamond. Towering skyscrapers loomed over the lesser buildings close by, casting a huge shadow unto the streets beneath. One building, stood out amongst the others far exceeding its height with width and across the roof stood a logo comprised of the letters – K.G. A ring of old collapsed buildings surrounded the structure, a scar that ran to another building on an island nearby, a result from an explosion many years ago. The scorched concrete and rubble now replaced with new and a school erected on top. The smell of fumes polluted the air as cars filled roads and pedestrians on sidewalks walked briskly to their destinations like a living river. Billboards and banners streamed across the cityscape, dressing the shops in a myriad of colours. Shops lined with bargains and hoards of buyers streamed out of the doors. People crossed lights and caught public transport while others met up with their friends on a local busy street for lunch.
A teenager with silver hair strode toward the train station, dressed in a black gakuran – white string sewn along the seams running from the shoulders to the hem, a three spoked Y enclosed in a concentric circle lay upon its left breast and a checkerboard pattern coloured the collar with black and white. The large bag slung over his shoulder swayed with each step, as he walked past a TV display. A bikini-clad redhead was airing in a commercial advertising a brand of soda that supposedly reduced calories, her image projected on all the electronic screens. Some passers-by watched as the commercial ended cutting to local news – a report about a recent affair scandal broke out between a celebrity, a TV announcer, and a secretary.
Stopping at the lights he waited until the signal turned green, surveying the crossing and the way to his destination. A few seconds later, the lights shone green. He crossed the road and started toward the station, a sea of people moving with him.
The growling of engines, the loud screams of braking tires on gravel, honking of drivers, and the little world of whispers from the people whom he passed had made him deaf to the hustle and bustle of the city like a swarm of bees droning in ones ear, having heard it so many times before. People lived and minded their own business, living a small, minuscule part of the world – that existed only as a microcosm of the world outside.
From the station entrance he noted the numerous lines which branched off into the distance; lines that ran around like a snake through the concrete jungle, slithering underneath raised highways or sliding over many of the roads beneath, there were as many stations as many times as the lines crossed. The train line he was looking for headed toward the outer districts, many, many miles away from city – further than the country almost. Moving towards a booth, the teenager set down his bag; pulling out the ticket from his pocket, and checked the information before going over to a conductor whom he asked for directions.
The inspector murmured, as he looked through the details, "Seta Souji...Line 13...Transit to...Yasoinaba?" a bemused look formed on his face. "That's quite a distance...to the middle of nowhere, there's only one to two trips there a year."
After directing him to the platform, he gave Souji back his ticket, "Have a safe and fun journey, Seta –sama" and with a friendly smile and bow, he took his leave. Souji recalled the instructions; he was to take an underground train to another station close by 'Moonlight Bridge', whatever it was called, then transit to Inaba via the Yasogami Terminal. There was a whistle and a sudden rush of wind from people caught his attention.
The train was approaching.
Souji got to the platform shortly before the train arrived perfectly on schedule. He found himself a small standing spot, whereas some of the other carriages had not been as lucky. Conductors watched along the sidelines as commuters boarded their trains, some warding off tardy commuters while others squeezed passengers on board by pushing them in.
Souji glimpsed outside the window as the train departed the urban areas for the outer districts. The change of scenery came abruptly as it approached the suburban areas, large corporate buildings became distant and alien figures in the horizon, the lack of cars made the roads look less choked and its humble setting gave it a much cleaner appearance – free from the suffocation and the mad rush of the city.
He glanced at his watch - [2:30pm] - it read, another half an hour until the train reached the terminal and then he would have to change trains. Souji gazed outside the window, taking in the lush fields, dark forests and countryside scenery as it passed. The afternoon sun bathing the view in a radiant golden hue, below a clear image of train glinted off a sparkling river. The train ride would be a tediously peaceful but steady journey to Yasoinaba.
There was a sharp crackle on the loudspeaker before a voice pierced through the rumbling of the train -
[We will arrive at Yasogami Terminal in a few minutes - passengers headed for Inaba City then Yasoinaba station, please go to the other side of the platform]
As the train slowed to a stop, very few people left the train doors - Souji included. He would not have to wait long - the next train would arrive almost immediately after they would get off the first. As Souji changed platform he saw a noticeable lack of people on the platform, though there was just enough people to at least to fill a few seats – surprisingly, even the train itself had only one carriage. It stood like a lonely, outdated model of its city cousins – a stark contrast between the technology of the city and country. He boarded the train and took an empty seat adjacent to a window.
It would be another dreary year and the same routine as always.
Be friendly but not too friendly. Keep your distance to avoid attachment. - The first social rule he lived by at school.
His last school was no exception. Nothing special.
The memories poured in of all the schools he had been to.
"I assume that you all know this already but we'll be having a new transfer student starting this March..." the teacher said.
"I may be here for only a short while but please, take care of me.", he would usually introduced himself. Moreover, they did take care of him, somewhat well. As with every school, beneath the occasional fake and real smiles lay the pure, cold-hard fact that eventually they would have to part - the friendship surmounting to nothing.
This time would be no exception either. Nothing special.
He reflected. I always have to move around cause of my parents…only this time, they're going abroad.
"How annoying..." he sighed. Souji began to muse about the idea of school, if anything there was of worth noting on this one. Knowing he had to begin school the very next day he would arrived would mean that he would have to adjust fairly quickly to his new home. That was no problem. Knowing his way around was the problem; usually, on a break or free day he would take a walk around the surrounding areas, familiarising himself to his temporary abode, memorising and noting particular landmarks or routes he could take unless he had a map of the area – often made things easier for him.
The train filled with shadow and darkness as it passed into a tunnel. The teenager closed his eyes to rest before a myriad of strange visions engulfed his mind. Souji held his head as the images etched into his mind, burning like a migraine as each appeared in succession. A strange man and woman. His vision returned to the green scenery outside as the train came out in light. Letting out a deep breath Souji laid his head on the headrest as he rested his eyes. What was that..? He thought. Souji began to ponder on the visions, before his thoughts were interrupted by a voice close by.
A boy, who looked about the same age as him stood next to the sliding door. His hair was obsidian black and parted off the right side of his face, partially obscuring an eye. He wore a leather glove on his left hand, a black sweatband and silver watch fastened around it,
"Excuse me..?" he asked, gesturing to the seat opposite to Souji. "Do you mind if I take this seat?"
"May I take this seat?" Souji paused before giving his answer.
"It is of no problem"
"Can I take this seat?"
"…Yes. You can."
"Ha-ha, thank you… ", the boy laughed. 'You don't seem to be annoyed by the way I talk"
Souji casually smiled, "Don't worry; you're not exactly the first one either who talks strange…"
"I've been around…" the silver-haired replied. 'I've seen… stranger".
"As have I…" As the boy stashed his bag in the overhead compartment, Souji noticed a peculiar shape on the boy's blazer collar underneath his trench coat. A Y enclosed within concentric circle, he was wearing the same blazer as him underneath his trench coat.
"Looks like we're both going to Yasogami High, him…?" the boy noted the school symbol, "We might as well…pleasure to meet you, my name is Chinmoku Nareta", he held out his hand, bobbing up and down as the train crossed the metal tracks of the stone bridge.
"Seta Souji." he replied in turn, shaking Nareta's outstretched hand.
"Pleasure to meet you, Seta-san..."
"As with you Chinmoku-san..."
Nareta took the seat across from Souji and drew out a long sigh.
There was a sudden jerk and screeching of iron wheels as the train began to move to a slow and steady motion. At the rate they were going, the train ride would still be for a couple more hours and with nothing else to do - Souji was getting bored. Drowsiness was becoming a long battle and Souji was losing; as much as he found the idea of sleep appealing, seductive even - he did not want to miss his stop. Opposite to him, Nareta had grabbed his bag from the overhead and was rummaging through his bag sorting out its contents.
"Hey, if you want to rest, go ahead..." Nareta proposed without looking up. "I can wake you up, we're both headed to Inaba either way...". He took out a paper and pen and began to scrawl something on it.
Souji was just about to doze off but shook himself awake, "No thanks, we'll be there soon anyway..." he said, pulling out a leaflet and flipping through its contents. "What about you...? You seem to need it more than I do..."
He noted the slight shade underneath Nareta's eyes but no obvious signs of fatigue anywhere else and strange marks on the forehead near where the hair grew.
"There are some other things I have to worry about first..." Nareta smiled, taking a glance at Souji before giving him a look "...seriously, get some rest. We...mean...I can see you're starting to doze off."
Souji shrugged it off and decided to read the entire leaflet, apparently there was a famous hot springs inn in Inaba. Souji started off reading the first few pages but with sleep lapping at him like the waves of the tide creeping up a sandy shore, soothing and inexorable – he succumbed as darkness soon clouded his vision and only the sound of silence was all he heard.
An angelic choir filled Souji's ears as the haze covering his eyes soon dissipated. The low hum of an engine was vibrating in his head, he could make out two figures sitting in front of him, and he was in the inside of what seemed to be a limousine bathed in a strange blue light. From his seat looking through the windows, he could only see a sea of fog, where they were driving to – impossible to tell.
There was a silver haired woman sitting on his right.
Dressed in a large woolen navy-blue coat that ran from her neck to her knees, a layer of material sewn onto the chest with four golden circles positioned in the shape of a square and another four below in the same fashion, fastened together with a navy-blue belt - a gilded buckle separated the two patterns at the belly. A large book rested on her lap, her eyes closed – like in a deep state of sleep or meditation.
In front, was a strange man who was hunched over with his elbows on his knees, his head rested on the folds of his fingers and an bizarrely long nose hung over the crest of his hands. Dressed in a tuxedo, his hair cut to a tonsure, he was, like his companion next to him – unmoving and silent. Souji recalled as the previous visions bared resemblance to each of the people who seated in front of him. Souji felt a strange presence come over him as suddenly the residents of the limousine awakened, the bizarre-looking man greeted the teenager as his eyelids pulled back revealing the veins that looked almost strained as Souji swore he could almost see his entire eyeball.
"Welcome, to the Velvet Room…"
Despite the strangeness of the atmosphere, Souji could feel the bizarre man meant no harm.
"Ah…It seems we have a guest with an…intriguing destiny" he chuckled."My name is Igor…I am delighted to make your acquaintance."
It felt like a dream but felt real enough as reality, it was something different from extraordinary, more perhaps. "This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter..." The teen listened as Igor begun to explain the reason for his presence. "It is a room that only those who are bound by a 'contract' may enter…"
I never remembered taking or signing any kind of contract… but it doesn't seem like he's telling me I haven't taken one either…
"It may be that such a fate awaits you in the near future."Igor continued. "Now then…Why don't you introduce yourself…?"
"Hm…I see", Igor pondered Geez, already something wrong… Suddenly Igor propped up his hands onto the table in front of them. Motioning his hand above a space, "Now, let's take a look into your future, shall we?" a blue glow radiated underneath.
A pack of cards, but Souji could not tell what they were.
"Do you believe in fortune telling?" Igor said, his swept the same hand over the table and the cards suddenly arranged themselves into pentagonal pattern with a card in the middle. "Each reading is done with the same cards, yet the result is always different…"he explained, he chuckled suddenly as he continued. "Life itself follows the same principles, doesn't it?"
Souji watched as Igor grabbed the air in front of him and turned it over, the exact happened to a card on the left side. Revealing a dark rectangular shape, Souji saw what was presumably was a tower struck by a lightning bolt. He did the same of what he expected Igor to do next. "Hm…The Tower in the upright position represents the immediate future. It seems a terrible catastrophe is imminent."
The long-nosed man looked at Souji carefully before drawing his attention back to the cards. "The card indicating the future beyond that is…" he repeated what he did with the previous on the right and a moon was printed on the top. "The Moon, in the upright position – This card represents "hesitation" and "mystery"… very interesting indeed." He swiped his hand over the cards once more and slowly they disappeared.
"It seems you will encounter a misfortune at your destination, and a great mystery will be imposed upon you." He summed up but he had more to tell. "In the coming days, you will enter into a contract of some sort, after which you will return here. The coming year is a turning point in your destiny", he paused before giving the final piece in a deep darker tone. "…If the mystery goes unsolved, your future may be forever lost."
However, there was reassurance in his eyes and his Cheshire grin grew bigger, "My duty is to provide assistance to our guests to ensure that does not happen." he briefly closed his eyes before being in lost in thought once more.
"Ah! I have neglected to introduce my assistant to you." he gestured to the woman next to him, who had been the whole time – quiet. "This is Margaret. She is a resident of this place, like myself." She almost sprung to life as she opened her eyes at Souji. Despite her humane appearance, her eyes shone an unearthly gold.
"My name is Margaret. I am here to accompany you through your journey." She was almost monotonously repeating what her senior had said before.
Souji drew his attention back to Igor who seemed to have a final word to say. "There is another who will assist you on your endeavours, who like yourself shares the very same fate but different destiny…however he is a special case…" Something stirred inside Souji, but he wasn't sure what it was.
"We shall attend to details another time…" Igor waved; gradually Souji felt his vision fade "Until then, farewell…"
A faint ringing and vibrations repeated resounded in his ears, its distorted echo gradually got louder until he recognised the tune. Scanning his surroundings, Souji was relieved as he was still in the train and his phone was the cause that woke him.
He checked the mail inbox – From: Uncle - [Meet us outside Yasoinaba Station at 4pm]. The teen checked his watch – he still had 20mins until he would arrive.
"~ YasoInaba ~" the loudspeaker rang… Inaba District: Mother's hometown, come to think of it, this is probably my first time coming here. He reflected. Souji looked in front of him and found Nareta staring at him.
There was an awkward silence.
"Nightmare?' Nareta asked suddenly, he rested his chin on a thumb in an almost interrogative manner.
"Something like that..." Souji replied.
He sensed something different in the atmosphere; it was not as welcoming and free as it was a few minutes ago, it was menacing almost before it suddenly changed back to a peaceful and still feeling.
They looked outside for a few moments; passing flat expanses of farmland and mile-long patches of rice but amid the undifferentiated rolling hills and gnarled, brooding trees, the sudden expanse of sparkling cobalt caught Souji's eye. It looked a serene, isolated lake surrounded by stone runs, some submerged under the lake depths, others poked out onto the surface like a natural pathway. Canopies of ancient wood that shaded the golden aureola and flowing streams that sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. A light spray of mist dusted the air like a fog.
"A natural beauty, untouched by man... ", Souji heard Nareta mutter, he wasn't wrong about that.
A haven shrouded in natural mystery, true. It was rare for Souji to see something like that, having being used to the city and its artificially made substances. The black-haired boy turned to look at him, in an almost monotonous tone he said "Ironic, how it is us humans that end up making it...disappear".
"Sometimes we just blinded more about to our needs than how we actually achieve them…" Souji sighed. "We never know just how much we end up missing in the process."
"The shortest distance between to objects...is a straight line" Nareta stated. "You can do that or...go around instead."
"It truly is something different from the city...". Souji said. "Something natural... at least"
"You look like you've never seen this kind of thing before…" the boy replied. "I am pretty sure there are parks in the city, they are natural enough..."
Souji hadn't noticed he had been ogling the lake the entire time, lost in his thoughts and missing the fact that Nareta had taken out a photography camera and snapped a few shots of the scenery as well as Souji himself.
There was a sudden sensation, bulging then residing before repeating itself in a stronger manner. Nareta clutched at his head,
"Hey, are you ok?" he heard Souji ask.
"Just a headache…on…the…the right… side...don't worry…it'll wear off… give it time…"
"Need an –"
"Aspirin? … It'll wear off…" Nareta waved it off, "Given time…we're almost there". They could see the terminal from the window and its greetings wasn't exactly memorable.
The entire station was deserted.
The two stepped off the train, watching it as it left the station for the next stops. It was time for Souji to leave as the clock hit 4pm, he found Nareta organising his bags again. They bid farewell to each other and Nareta took up an empty spot on the platform watching as a car pulled into the parking lot and Souji leave the exit. He rested his eyes to alleviate some of the pain and backed himself against a wall. Gently, he drifted off to sleep and soon an angelic opera filled his ears.
An impish voice greeted him - "Welcome to the Velvet Room…"
The moment his vision cleared, he realized he was in an elaborately decorated limousine, drenched in the sea of dark and light blue. Outside, an unholy but soothing light twirled within a mist of fog. His levelled his eyes at the two figures in front of him and almost immediately recognised the figure in front of him.
"Oh geez..." Nareta smacked his forehead with his palm. "...it's you again."
There ye go, my first chapter and geezes I hope I didn't screw it up...
As usual, thanks to the many writers out there on for inspiring me to at least try and write stories and providing a standard for them.
Cheers, good luck and have a nice Christmas/New year/Hanukkah/Whatever you celebrate or a nice day!