Hey guys! Welcome to chapter three! So awesome. Is everyone getting my review replies? Because I'm sending them out to everyone, but my Outbox is saying that some of them aren't even existent. Let me know if you're getting them? Also, I'd like to thank the Hetalia and Persona fandoms for keeping the characters in character. I tried to read some Kingdom Hearts fanfics and they were... terrible. Terribly out of character. Your writing spoils me, guys! Seriously, I dare you to go try reading one. You won't even recognize the characters. Sad. ): So, without further ado, ENJOY AND REVIEW!
THE FOOL ARCANA: FORTUNE THREE
"Protect me, Tomoe!" Chie cried, crushing her card and bringing forth her Persona. "Mabufu!" The female samurai lifted her hand, sending a whirlwind of icicles flying at the last mob of Shadows and knocking each of them off their feet. (Depending on which creature you were looking at, that is. Truthfully, the majority of them were shapeless piles of sludge with white masks and strange little arms, but the point was that they were no longer ready to pounce.) After a doing a little cheer Chie turned to her fellow Persona users, eyes glowing with pride. "Alright, guys! Pile on! Ready?" She waited for each to give her confirmation before turning back to the enemy, a wide smirk claiming her face. "Let's do it!"
All at once the group rushed the Shadows screaming various battle cries, the brawl kicking up clouds of dust that nearly blinded the teenagers. Despite the fact they fought with naught but their bare hands the darkness was vanquished, the air clearing just in time for them to see the Shadows dissolve in a shroud of black.
Chie grinned triumphantly, dusting off her hands on the fabric of her skirt and stuffing her hands into her pockets. "Huh, I guess that does it! Great job, guys!" There was no reply, however, the others watching in wonder as a blue card drifted down from what seemed to be thin air, then splitting into five and beginning to dance around their nameless new companion.
"Dude, are those… Persona cards?" Yosuke asked in disbelief, his eyes following a card that was moving particularly fast.
The other boy looked just as baffled as the rest of them, his gaze narrowed as he focused the whole of his attention on the floating cards. After a short while, he reached out a cautious hand toward the small deck, grasping a single card in his firm grip. No sooner had he done this the other four cards vanished in a shower of sparkles, leaving him with the single card. Curiously, he flipped it over, an entirely new swell of confusion painting his expression.
The Persona Apsaras has emerged from the sea of your soul
Souji started at the unfamiliar voice, his head whipping all around to find its source, only finding three pairs of wide eyes fixed on him.
"What just happened…?"
"You tell us!" the other boy blurted frantically, gesturing wildly at Souji. "You're the one that has Persona cards coming out of nowhere!"
"Well it's never happened before!" It hadn't. In his life, Souji had battled a grand total of three Shadows, and never before had a deck of cards started swarming around him or an ominous voice speaking in his mind. The whole situation was bizarre, not to mention unnerving. He began staring at 'Apsaras' again, prompting the three strangers to wander over to him curiously.
The other boy focused on the blue card as well, his face scrunched up in thought. "So that's a Persona, right? Lemme see it." Without requesting permission, the other boy attempted to snatch the card, his hand only fazing through it. The teen's face paled, rapidly swiping his hand through it again and again to assure this was actually happening.
Finally fed up with his stupidity, the girl in the green jacket snatched the boy's wrist, halting its movements. "Stop being an idiot, Yosuke. You don't just try to take stuff from people you don't know." Even through her reprimand her voice was still tense, but she did her best to cover it as she turned to Souji, smile wide. "Hey! I'm Chie Satonaka!" She extended her hand toward Souji who took it politely, surprised that a girl could have such a firm handshake. "The moron over here is Yosuke, and she's my best friend Yukiko!" Chie beamed, inclining her head toward the other girl. "What's your name?"
"Souji Seta," he recited, still utterly bewildered by the odd turn of events. "Nice to meet you guys."
"Same to you," Chie replied, her stance less rigid and more relaxed than it had been just moments ago. "So Souji, I was wondering, uhm…" Chie rubbed her neck distractedly. "Can I try holding the card?" Souji gave a nod of consent and she moved her arm hesitantly, her hand fazing through just as Yosuke's had before. "Wow, that's weird. Can we not hold anyone else's Persona cards?"
Yukiko shrugged her shoulders. "I'm not sure, I've never tried. Here." She held her card out to Chie, her hand garnering the same result. "I guess not."
"Then how can he have two?" Yosuke asked in frustration, vocalizing what all of them had been wondering.
"Your Persona's name is Izanagi, right?" Yukiko ventured, an almost hopeful look in her eyes.
Souji was completely puzzled, put off by the seemingly random question. "Yeah, why?"
Gasping in realization, Chie turned to Yukiko, her voice nearly breathless as her brain processed at a mile a minute. "Wait, Yukiko. Do you think it might be him?"
"I think so. Maybe that's why the Shadows came out so early. Like… they knew he was coming."
Yosuke stared at the girls quizzically before what they were discussing finally dawned on him, an impatient groan pouring from his lips. "Are you talking about that 'Izanagi and Izanami' bullshit again? How many times do I have to tell you there's no way something like that could happen?"
The two glared at him, Chie huffing indignantly and stomping her foot. "It could too! You're just too dumb to realize it!"
"As if! Stuff like that doesn't happen! This guy isn't the new Persona master!"
"But he could be the new Persona master."
Souji's eyes darted back and forth between the opposing groups. "Excuse me," he cut in, "but what are you guys talking about?"
Heads turned towards him yet again, surprised by his sudden question.
"You know who Minato Arisato is, right?" Souji nodded at Yukiko. "We think you're the new Persona user that can control all Personas."
"They think," Yosuke scoffed, clearly unimpressed. "If you really are the new Persona master you'd be able to get more, right?"
Chie hopped from foot to foot excitedly, her sense of adventure taking over. "Ooh, let's go out tonight and see if he can!"
"Why don't we meet up at the school Zone later? We can decide where to go from there."
Souji watched the trio chatter and plan amongst themselves, completely lost as to what was going on.
Suddenly, Chie looked over at him, announcing, "We're gonna meet up at the Zone at Yasogami High School at 7:00 tonight. See ya then, Souji!"
With that the group ran off in a direction that presumably led to their houses, Souji left standing in the middle of the station square.
…Where was the school?
"Hey, you Souji?"
Souji turned around when he was addressed, spotting an older man with a five-o-clock shadow that he immediately recognized as his uncle, trailing behind him a little girl that could only be Nanako. He waited for the pair to reach him, willing his body to relax. "Nice to see you again, Uncle Dojima," Souji greeted, giving a respectful nod.
"Hey, no need to be so formal!" Dojima replied, grabbing Souji's hand roughly in much the same way Chie had. His handshake was very telling of the kind of person his uncle was, Souji realized— confident and frank. "You're going to be living here for a while, so don't be afraid to get comfortable. And here…" Dojima looked around, smirking in an oddly fatherly way and pulling his shy daughter out from behind him, "is Nanako."
Nanako looked up at her cousin with an unsure smile, nervous to be finally meeting Souji. "Hi," she greeted quietly, fiddling with the sleeves of her turtleneck.
He couldn't help the soft grin that fell on his face at her adorability, squatting so he could be level with her and hopefully less intimidating. "Nice to meet you, Nanako." A chuckle escaped Souji's mouth at her embarrassed noise. "Let's get along, okay?"
"We parked the car in the lot," Dojima informed him. "Where's your luggage?"
Souji's face remained blank for a moment, uttering a "hmm" as he directed his gaze at the steps that led to the station. "I left my backpack and bag with one of the attendants." He conveniently excluded the fact that his version of 'left with the attendant' was actually 'threw it at the poor man in a rush', mainly because it would give his relatives a terrible impression of him.
His uncle frowned. "Why'd you do that?"
"There was a mob, so I had to jump in."
Dojima's eyebrows shot up in response. "There were Shadows here too? This is the second Zone they've attacked today."
"Like… they knew he was coming."
Yukiko's words echoed in his mind, only adding to the sense of foreboding that had overtaken him. He hadn't even been in Inaba for an hour, and already he was being led into the unknown.
"Well it's good to hear you can fight. You'll have to tell me about it in the car. Let's go get your bags and head home; your futon's all set up, so you should get some sleep. It seems like you need it."
Souji nodded tiredly, the mere mention of a futon waiting for him causing his eyelids to droop. As he scaled the stairs he caught sight of a lightboard proclaiming "WELCOME TO INABA" in red digital letters. He grinned wryly.