When Souji shouted that word as he crushed the blue card in his palm, the ferocious Shadow Yukiko launched an attack towards him, intending to skewer him with Double Fangs. The sound of glasses could be heard at that exact moment when Shadow Yukiko assaulted him.
"Partner!" the other boy, Yosuke saw what happened and he immediately stood up after he healed Chie. The collision that occurred caused some dust to fly in the air, and the shards of broken blue glasses could be seen, and both Yosuke and Chie knew that it came from Souji crushing his Persona card. And as the dust started to subside, they gasped as they saw a figure standing right between Souji and Shadow Yukiko.
"Ngh…" Souji grunted, feeling a slight pain in his chest as he looked at the flickering figure of Nata Taishi standing right in front of him, blocking Shadow Yukiko from reaching him with its own body. Apparently, the pain that the Persona felt was transmitted into Souji, causing the silver-haired boy to feel the same pain. "G-good… job…!"
Nata Taishi nodded before it disappeared and Souji took this chance to deliver a diagonal slash onto Shadow Yukiko's face. The slash managed to injure the Shadow and black blood could be seen on his sword. Shadow Yukiko shrieked in pain before it retreated back into its cage. The Charming Prince then rushed towards Souji, trying to stab him with its rapier, but the silver-haired teenage blocked the attack using his sword and disarmed the Shadow.
"Souji, you alright?" his teammate, Yosuke rushed to his side, pouring Dia on him. Chie followed him from behind. Apparently, her wound was healed by Yosuke earlier.
"Yeah," Souji nodded before he looked at Chie. "Satonaka, are you alright?"
"I'm fine…" Chie answered, looking at both Shadow Yukiko and the Charming Prince in front of them. Charming Prince had recovered its rapier and was ready to attack the Persona-users before it. Shadow Yukiko was not amused by this.
"I… I don't understand! You shouldn't lift a finger for me!" Shadow Yukiko shouted, looking at the group. Somehow, Souji could see confusion in its golden eyes. "You're supposed to be my Princes, right?"
"Enough already!" retorted Chie. "Whatever you are, I will never allow you to hurt Yukiko!" she said, glaring at the crimson avian monsters in the cage in front of them. "Yukiko… she's been having enough pain to deal with, and I won't allow you to give her more!"
"Chie…" Yukiko muttered weakly as she looked at her best friend's back. She felt weak as she placed her hand on her chest. If only she could do something to help them.
"Satonaka's right…" Souji nodded before he glanced behind, looking at Yukiko. "Don't worry, Amagi-san. Just leave everything to us," he showed the kimono-clad girl a gentle smile, causing the girl to have her cheeks reddened in embarrassment. Somehow, it warmed her heart to see such reassurance behind that smile. She knew that she could rely on them.
As Yukiko looked at Souji, Yosuke and Chie battling her Shadow and the Charming Prince, she was thinking about something. Perhaps, there was one thing that she thought her Shadow got it right.
They were her Princes.
Prince Arjuna presents…
A Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 fanfiction…
Chapter 11: Konohana-Sakuya
Well, it's a tough fight.
Yukiko's Shadow was stronger than any of other Shadows that we had fought before. In fact, it was stronger than Chie's and Yosuke's. It even got a minion to help it in battle, and provided it healing whenever it was injured. Despite us having advantage in number, apparently it was superior in term of strength and power. And it also had advantage in Chie's elemental weakness, fire.
"Whoa!" the brown-haired girl barely dodged a flame attack from Yukiko's Shadow. "That was close," she said before she retaliated by launching a Mabufu towards our opponents. The ice attack managed to stun the Charming Prince, immobilizing it. But it wasn't enough to cause any real damage on Yukiko's Shadow.
"Ugh…at this rate, we're screwed," Yosuke grunted, casting Dia on himself. I had to admit that Yosuke was right. If it continued like this, we might exhaust ourselves, and the Shadows would win and we, including Amagi-san, would die. I glanced at Amagi, who was leaning against the pillar, seemingly weakened and tired. But she continued to watch our battle against her Shadow with hopeful eyes. "Got any idea, partner?" Yosuke asked, casting Sukukaja on himself.
"Give me a minute," I responded, changing my Persona from Nata Taishi into Izanagi. After changing my Persona, I gave my other teammates instructions. "Yosuke, continue healing us," I spoke to Yosuke before I spoke to Chie. "As for you, Satonaka, make sure to keep that thing from healing her and dodge whenever they start throwing fire attacks at you," I pointed at the Charming Prince. "And Teddie…"
"Yes, Sensei?" the bear spoke.
"Stay back and give us support. Make sure to remember every detail about their weaknesses and strengths," I instructed Teddie. Despite him not actively participating in battle, he was also one of our teammates. His assistance was crucial.
"Alright!" enthusiastically, Teddie responded. "I'm gonna go all-out too! Rawr!"
And so, both Chie and I went to the frontline, confronting both Yukiko's Shadow and its minion, while Yosuke assisted us by casting Sukukaja and Dia on us. The Charming Prince tried to attack Chie with its rapier, but I intervened by swatting its rapier aside with my katana. Stunned by my intervention, Chie took her chance to deliver a kick right on its face before she landed on its head. Her Persona card appeared before she summoned Tomoe. "Take this!" she shouted, crushing the card with a kick, and Tomoe appeared among the shards of broken blue glass.
Tomoe lifted her naginata before she used it to stab the Charming Prince right into its head. A strange gurgling noise could be heard from that Shadow, but despite the stab, the Shadow was still alive. So, Chie added the damage by casting a Bufu on it, freezing it from the inside.
"Souji-kun, let's do this!" Chie shouted as Tomoe pulled out her naginata. I nodded before I summoned Izanagi. Both naginata-wielding Personas, Izanagi and Tomoe, lifted their naginatas before they slashed at the Prince diagonally at the same time. A cross-shaped mark could be seen on the Prince before it fell, leaving behind a puddle of black blood behind. Yukiko's Shadow's golden eyes widened in disbelief as it saw its minion demise.
"My Prince!" the Shadow wailed. "My dear Prince!" it tried to summon another minion, but it never appeared. I could clearly see desperation in its face, despite the fact that it was a monster that had been trying to kill us. "Why? Why won't he come?"
Well, it might be a monster, but let's not forget the fact that it was a manifestation of Amagi-san's deepest shame, given form. Part of her wanted to escape Inaba, her gilded cage, with the help of her prince charming, and yet the prince never came. It pained me to see the desperation and sadness in its monstrous face.
We continued our assault on the Shadow, hoping to calm it down so we could save Amagi-san from hurting herself. Yosuke's Sukukaja helped us to clear our minds and sharpen our senses. We managed to dodge everything that Yukiko's Shadow threw at us. Then, the Shadow shrieked when Izanagi managed to carve a large wound on the Shadow's abdomen and Tomoe freezing half of its face.
"Are… are you trying to make me mad? That's not how it's supposed to work!" Yukiko's Shadow bellowed in confusion and anger. Its golden eyes flashed as it shouted at us in indignation. Then, it looked at Amagi-san who was leaning against a pillar.
And it did something that we didn't expect.
Suddenly, Shadow Yukiko flew out from its cage, flying towards Yukiko who was leaning against the pillar. Due to the impact, the pillar collapsed, and Yukiko screamed in terror as her Shadow pulled her away by grabbing her with its talon. Shadow Yukiko flew up, carrying Yukiko with her.
"Y-Yukiko!" cried Chie as she saw Shadow Yukiko flew up to the ceiling with Yukiko in its talon. Yukiko struggled to get away from her Shadow's grip, but it seemed that she was too weak to even do anything.
"Damn it…" Yosuke glared at Shadow Yukiko. Now with Yukiko being taken hostage by her own Shadow, it's going to be hard for them to defeat the Shadow. "Souji, what should we do?" he looked aside, consulting Souji.
"Tch," Souji clicked his tongue. Now they needed to defeat the Shadow and rescue Yukiko from being crushed to death by her Shadow.
"Now… what would happen if I do… this?" Shadow Yukiko started to tighten the grip of its talon on Yukiko, and Yukiko let out a scream of pain as she felt the pressure from the grip. "C'mon, my sweet Princes, shouldn't you do something and rescue the Princess already?"
"No! Please stop!" Chie cried. "Please don't hurt her!"
"C-Chie!" despite the pain, Yukiko still managed to shout Chie's name.
Chie was about to rush to save Yukiko before she felt a hand stopping her from moving forward. "Don't stop me!" she yelled angrily, turning around, only to see Souji's frowning face. He was the one who grabbed her hand to stop her from rushing towards Yukiko and her Shadow.
"Calm down," Souji said before he released Chie's hand. "I don't want you to hurt yourself," he said calmly.
"B-but… she'll die!" Chie cried. She glanced at Yukiko and her Shadow. Shadow Yukiko tightened its grip again, and a sickening sound could be heard. Yukiko screamed in pain, as if the grip had broken some of her bones. "N-no!" seeing her best friend in such situation, Chie tried to rush towards them again, but once again, Souji stopped her.
"I have a plan," Souji said seriously before he summoned Izanagi. Chie was about to retort before she saw Souji's serious expression. Despite her reluctance, the girl nodded. "This is a little dangerous though, but if you follow my instruction, you should be fine," he said.
Before Chie could respond to any of Souji's words, Souji grabbed Chie as Izanagi lowered his body. He also placed the tip of his naginata on the floor before Souji placed Chie on the flat side of the naginata's blade.
"Umm… are you sure this is going to work?" Chie felt like she understood what Souji's plan was, but she was unsure whether it's going to work or not. Souji's response to her question was a smile.
"One way to find out," Souji said before he looked up to Izanagi. "Now," he ordered to his Persona.
This is a strange plan, but I like it, son.
So, by using his naginata as a lever, Izanagi threw Chie up towards Shadow Yukiko in the air. With Izanagi's strength, Chie was sent flying right towards Shadow Yukiko and while in midair, Chie summoned Tomoe. The sound of breaking glass was heard as Tomoe took her form, using her naginata to slash onto the Shadow's feet. The attack was enough for Shadow Yukiko to release Yukiko from its grip.
I could feel the pressure applied from my Shadow's talon on my body. It was safe to assume that it might've broken some of my bones.
I screamed due to the pain. My Shadow was getting desperate.
It wanted a Prince to save her. To save me.
Such desire might get me killed.
Am I going to die?
Ah… perhaps it would be better if I die. I would never give Chie and the others trouble again. My parents might get worried, though, but it's fine. I thought that by dying, I would finally be freed from this cage. No more Amagi's Inn. No more dealing with the traditions and being what people expected me to be.
If being dead could free me from my responsibility, then I would embrace death.
But then, Chie would be sad. Hanamura-kun would be sad. Seta-kun would be sad. They had risked their lives trying to rescue me.
I… I am a terrible person, aren't I?
But then, even if I had to die, please, please don't die. Chie, it's going to be sad if I die, but you still have many things to live for. Hanamura-kun, I don't really know about you, but I know that you still want to live more, right? Please don't die.
I… I'm going to break my promise to you again…
Chie's voice broke me out of my trance, and much to my disbelief, she flew through the air as an ethereal figure came out of nowhere, attacking my Shadow's talon to release me from its grip. Then, when I was about to fall, the figure pulled me towards Chie into her embrace. Then, the figure disappeared.
While in midair, Chie embraced me, showing me a tearful smile. She was grateful that she managed to pull me out of the death's grip.
She's… she's a Prince that I've been waiting for.
"Wait, they're going to fall, aren't they?"
I could hear Hanamura-kun's voice from below as gravity started to take over, and we started to fall. Even so, my Prince didn't release her embrace as we fall together.
"Wait, they're going to fall, aren't they?" Yosuke expressed his worry as both Chie and Yukiko started to fall while still embracing. But Souji wasn't panicking, as if he had already anticipated this from the start. In the middle of their fall, Chie released her embrace and separated herself from Yukiko.
"Catch Satonaka," instructed Souji before he went to catch Yukiko. Yosuke nodded before he immediately went to catch Satonaka. Souji managed to catch Yukiko, and the heiress groaned in pain due to her injuries that she got from the grip earlier. So, Souji adjusted her position so Yukiko could feel more comfortable in his arms.
As for Yosuke, he also managed to catch Chie, but not by his arms, but his back.
"Ugh, my back!" the boy groaned. Chie sheepishly scratched the back of her head.
Souji let both Yosuke and Chie be as he summoned Senri to heal Yukiko's injuries. With the help of the healing spell, Yukiko could feel that her pain started to fade away.
"You alright?" the silver-haired boy asked Yukiko coolly as he cradled her in his strong arms.
"…y-yes!" Yukiko stuttered. Before she could say anything else, they heard a loud screeching sound from Shadow Yukiko. They could tell that it was getting angrier because things hadn't gone its way. Instead of flying, it was on the floor, visibly weakened by the continuous attacks from the Persona-users earlier.
"Ngh… looks like I had the wrong idea…" it spat maliciously. Its crimson feathers were spread everywhere and everyone could tell that despite its angry tone, it was weakened by the attacks earlier. "You're no Princes…" it glared at Souji. "Die, you worthless commoners!"
With that, Shadow Yukiko threw a fire attack towards Souji, and Souji was consumed by the flame. Both Yosuke and Chie were stunned by this, but before they could do anything to help Souji, they gasped in amazement as Souji emerged from the flame unharmed. Yukiko was still in his arms, also unharmed.
"What?" Shadow Yukiko couldn't hide its surprise, looking at the unharmed silver-haired teenage before it. How could he manage to survive the burning?
"Thanks, Senri…" Souji looked up, thanking the faint figure of Senri above him. The cat-like humanoid figure just nodded before completely disappearing from view. "Enough already," he spoke to the Shadow. "There's no need to hurt yourself any further…" he said, stepping forward towards the weakened Shadow. He was still carrying Yukiko in his arms. "Can you stand, Amagi-san?"
Reluctantly, Yukiko nodded. So, Souji put her down and let her stand on her feet. Both of them looked at Shadow Yukiko. The Shadow was bewildered as the silver-haired teenage displayed no hint of fear right in front of it.
Both Yosuke and Chie also went to his side as well. Shadow Yukiko's bewilderment increased as too many eyes were looking at it. After all, it was nothing but a Shadow, a side that no one wanted to accept. And now, it knew that no one would ever accept it. A Shadow… would always be a Shadow.
"It's alright…" said a soft voice. It came from the kimono-clad girl, much to the Shadow's surprise. Without showing fear, Yukiko stepped forward, despite the fact that her Shadow had tried to kill her before. As Yukiko stepped forward, its crimson feathers scattered everywhere and it reverted back into its humanoid form. Seemingly clueless, the Shadow looked at Yukiko with her glowing golden eyes. "…now, I understand…" Yukiko said, standing before her own Shadow.
For a while, silence lingered in the air.
""I want to run away…" "I want someone to save me…"" with a self-deprecating smile, Yukiko held out her hands, touching her Shadow's. "You are right, those feelings are part of me too…" she continued to smile as she spoke. "I understand now… you are me."
As she said that, she gave her Shadow a hug. After a while, a smile was seen across her Shadow's face and both of them surrounded by azure light.
Then, the Shadow disappeared and a circle of flame emerged on the floor. "Whoa!" Chie was surprised as she saw the ring of fire suddenly appeared on the floor. They could feel the heat from the fire, but the heat somehow provided them homely warmth, just like a hearth. They could also feel their fatigue being lifted.
"She's… healing us?" Yosuke said while looking at Yukiko in amazement as a figure started to form above her. It was a figure clad in pink, with wing-like ornaments. "Whoa… is that a Persona?"
"Konohana-Sakuya…" Yukiko smiled at her Persona. She held out her hand, as if offering the Persona a handshake. "Pleased to meet you…" Konohana-Sakuya, the Persona nodded before she also held out her hand, touching Yukiko's hand before she disappeared. The strength of heart required to face oneself had been made manifest in the form of Konohana-Sakuya of the Priestess Arcana.
So, after Amagi-san obtained her Persona, Chie practically hugged her and apologized to her. She was practically sobbing when she admitted to Amagi-san that she was self-centered and being a bad friend to her. She also admitted that she was being jealous to her and admitted that she just befriended her so that she would never feel alone.
Well, being friends, Amagi-san forgave her and admitted to her that she was being a terrible friend to Chie too. We just looked at both Chie and Yukiko trading apologies to each other before Teddie intervened. Well, we didn't know for sure what Teddie was, but it was safe to assume that Teddie was lacking in social grace.
"So, who threw you in here?" Teddie asked Amagi-san in the middle of dramatic moment between her and Chie. Both she and Chie blinked. Apparently, Amagi-san just noticed the bear's presence.
"Huh? Who are you?" Amagi-san asked Teddie. "Or what are you?"
"I'm Teddie!" Teddie introduced himself. "So, who threw you in?"
Amagi-san tried to recall the things that happened before she was thrown into the TV world, but then, she just shook her head. Nobody could blame her, though. After all, she had been in this world for days. "I… I don't know. Umm… I think someone called my name, but my memory's a blur. I can't remember who it was. I'm sorry… umm… Teddie."
And so, it was clear that someone had been throwing people inside the TV. Yosuke still couldn't contain his surprise when Teddie said that he still suspected us, though. So, after talking about a bunch of stuff, we decided to bring Amagi-san out of the TV world, and we had to promise to Teddie that we would come again in order to investigate the one behind the throwing.
And Amagi-san was still hurt, so Chie offered to carry her, but apparently she was too heavy for her to carry, it was up for me to carry her instead. She wasn't that heavy. Perhaps Chie wasn't really that strong when it was about lifting people. After all, she completely relied on her feet while fighting. So, with the flustered Amagi-san in my arms, together with everyone, I went to the place where the exit was. After bidding farewell to Teddie, we returned to the electronic department of Junes. We sneaked out of the television when there were no clerks or customers around.
We continued to ask Amagi-san regarding her disappearance at the food-court, but then she was too tired and we had to send her home. She was able to walk, so Chie offered to walk her home.
Well, at least we managed to save her.
And I was glad that we managed to save her.
I'm proud of you, boy.
Once again, I found myself standing at the riverbank where I could see my angel. This time, she was staring at the river while humming a tune. Izanagi was standing behind her but facing me. Apparently, it felt like my angel didn't notice his presence despite his appearance and height. Well, it's a dream. It had to be expected, right?
"You're congratulating me?" I asked my Persona, giving him a quizzical look.
You expected something else?
"Nah," I shrugged. "Well, since I'm dreaming about this scenery again, and you're here to speak with me, I assume there will be another piece of wisdom you are going to impart to me, right?" I said. Izanagi chuckled after I said that.
Well, you are right, son. It's just another thing that occurred to me. Don't you think you've been denying a lot of things lately?
I blinked. "What do you mean?"
There's no need playing stupid with me, boy. I know everything about you. After all, you are me, and I am you. It was clear that Amagi Yukiko was the angel of the night that you've been dreaming of. And now, you have steadily denied it so that you won't feel the pain of having to remember the memories of her.
I looked down. I knew it that he would bring up the topic sooner or later. I already noticed it long time ago, the moment when the first time I saw her, Amagi Yukiko. She was the girl I befriended when I was young, and we promised each other under the moon that we would protect each other. And now she had returned to my life, already grown into a fine young lady, I could sense a complicated feeling deep inside me.
"So, what?" that was my weak response to Izanagi. "Do you want me to talk to her about this?" it was an absurd idea. I didn't think that she even remembered about that promise. Even if she did, we were children at that time.
It's up to you. After all, this is your choice whether to pursue the fleeting memories of her or to let them float away from you. Do you want her to continue waiting her Prince that will never come?
Izanagi glanced at my angel who was staring at the river.
"S-she won't need her Prince anymore. She even admitted it herself…" I retorted, albeit unconvincingly.
Izanagi just shrugged, seemingly noting my words. His golden eyes were looking at me, and despite him being my other self, I did not understand this tall, helmeted man at all. How could I hide things from myself? It just didn't make any perfect sense when I think about it. And Izanagi being cryptic certainly didn't help either. I could only hope that Izanagi could stop spouting riddles so I could understand things better about me.
Well, it's your choice, my boy. Whether you decide to chase after the fleeting memories or not, I will always be with you. After all, I am you, and you are me.
And so, everything started to fade. My dream would be ending soon.
And you wouldn't want your angel to wait forever, would you?
Dammit, Izanagi. Stop being so cryptically vague, will you?
Hello, this is Chapter 11. I am sorry for my yearlong absence, but do not worry, because I have decided to continue writing this fic. You may see that I have done several changes in the story, because I think it would be better if I spice things up a little. And since I've been playing Persona 4 Golden for quite a while, I'll be throwing in some aspects of Golden into the story as well. So, as usual, I hope you guys like this chapter, and it would be good if you can give me reviews. I will really appreciate it.
Prince Arjuna (2013)