Atlus is the creator of the Shin Megami Tensei series of games, which this story uses as source material. As per the subject matter, all characters, events, places, and concepts used in this story are a work of fiction.
Fall and Rebirth
Fool Arcana 1: Silent Revolution
Seven long days of hell on Earth were over. The demons which had plagued Tokyo City were gone. Once all of the strange events stopped happening, the people realized that the incident was over and they could get on with their lives. The JSDF had released the lockdown around the Yamanote Line, allowing people and supplies to once again flow freely. The terrorizing demons were written off as hallucinations caused by gas leaks in the region, a mere cover story for truth. Indeed, the truth was far stranger than reality.
The Yamanote lockdown was a test from God and the angels to see if mankind could deal with the presence of demons in their world. In the midst of the Yamanote lockdown was a life or death battle among demon-kind to crown their next ruler, the King of Bel. Each competitor was a demon christened with the name of "Bel" and fought the others to absorb their power. Once the winner emerged, he or she would be tested by the demon Babel, and upon victory, would have all the demons to do with as he or she pleased.
When the dust settled, the winner and new King of Bel was a reincarnation of the biblical Abel, Saemon Ichihara. Following the ideals of his friend, Atsuro Kihara, he had Atsuro and his cousin, Naoya, reprogram the demon summoning system housed in Babel to allow humanity to repackage demonic power as beneficial technology. Being Japanese nationals, they gave the system to Japan, which used it to explode onto the international scene in a way it had never done so before. Japan became a superpower rivalling the US and Russia before it, despite its small size. It even earned its own seat on the UN Security Council.
Sometime after Saemon and friends had handed over the power of Bel to the government, trouble reared its ugly head again. Babel, had summoned him and his friends to do battle against a mighty demonic invader. The Lovecraftian demon, Yog-Sothoth, had come to Earth for reasons only it knew. Despite its reasons being unknown, it was a very dangerous being who was a threat to the planet. Saemon and friends went to battle to stop its arrival. However, the battle was intense and his friends and demons now laid on the ground unconscious and wounded.
Saemon himself was barely able to stand after suffering the vicious attacks of the beast. There was a bruise on his chest as well as on the left side of the head. Yog-Sothoth had rammed him with orbs, separating them from its body and shooting them into him. In fact, all Yog-Sothoth consisted of was a set of glowing spheres. It looked almost like a bunch of white grapes, if not for the fact that he could see what looked like a small universe within each sphere. Despite its unusual and strange appearance, Yog-Sothoth was powerful.
"Is this how it ends for me?" asked Saemon.
Saemon looked down, seeing his charred Comp lying in the middle of space. Without it, he could not summon any demons to defend himself. His friends, Atsuro, Yuzu, and Midori were limp and unconscious near him. No matter how loudly he could yell, none of them would hear him. "Cousin... Brother..." addressed a voice over the radio.
"Naoya?" asked Saemon.
"There is only one way for you to win. You must call upon the power of Bel. It is your only hope," informed Naoya.
"But what will happen to me?" asked Saemon.
"Nothing will happen. You might deny it all you want, but it is a part of you. It is who you are, the King of Bel," replied Naoya.
"How do I do it?"
"Reach deep within yourself. It is there for the taking," said Naoya.
Saemon reached deep within his very soul. He envisioned a great mass of throbbing darkness within, dormant, waiting for the time of its awakening. Saemon reached out to the darkness and took it within himself. A surge of power rushed through him and an aura of violet flame surrounded his body. His wounds healed rapidly and he instantly regained the strength to stand upright again. A black cape now covered his body protectively. Yog-Sothoth hurled one of its spheres, but Saemon instinctively vanished in a purple haze and reappeared in a new location.
"Beautiful!" remarked Naoya, satisfied with this turn of events. "As the King of Bel, you have access to all of a comp's functions without needing a comp. You can summon demons whenever you want and fuse them together. Simply will it, and it will happen. You have Azazel and Thoth in your reserves. Fuse them together, then summon the result to battle Yog-Sothoth."
Saemon held out his hands and saw images of the devilish Azazel and the baboon-like Thoth. He clasped his hands together, forcing the two to merge together into a demon which could only be described as a miniature, living galaxy. Stars within it glowed orangy-red, their light intermingled such that it almost looked like a frothy burning gas. It had mouths all over its body of varying sizes, each of which opened and closed with the ceaseless churning of its body. This creature was the Jaki Azathoth, the Daemon Sultan, a Lovecraftian demon.
Saemon immediately summoned Azathoth and sicced him against the enemy. Yog-Sothoth launched an orb, striking Azathoth cleanly. He didn't seem fazed by it at all. Rather, he seemed to enjoy taking the force of the impact, as though it was rejuvenating him. Azathoth latched wispy tendrils around the enemy. He proceeded to lash it repeatedly, with violet energy bursting with each hit. Yog-Sothoth separated and reformed out of Azathoth's grasp.
"Quick, while Azathoth has him distracted, blast him with the Wrath of Bel," said Naoya.
Saemon gathered power and thrust out his hand to direct it. A pillar of dark violet, nearly black, almighty energy burst into existence upon Yog-Sothoth. The pillar seemed to rupture reality itself, causing black electricity to crackle all around. Yog-Sothoth's body disintegrated, melting into inky darkness. Fatigued, Saemon slumped forward and his cloak vanished. "I overdid it..." he remarked, barely able to remain conscious.
"Good," remarked Naoya, as Saemon sank into unconsciousness. "Good... To display this much power, even with the majority of it in the possession of Japan. You're still too weak to handle it, but one day, it will become second nature."
Since then, Saemon had taken to guarding the Bel system, ensuring its safety and to channel the use of his newly awakened powers to a constructive end. Soon after, the Japanese began exploration and colonization into the demonic realm. Clad in the cloak of black, Saemon gazed up to the sky. In the demonic world the sky was blood red, just like Tokyo was in the last days of the War of Bel. Before him was the Tower of Babel, a monolithic tower covered in golden plates. The top was missing, having been blasted off by the angels in ages past.
At the base of the tower was his exploration team's base camp, which had grown into a small town. Houses started to rise up from their foundations in the ground. This budding Babel Town had facilities for everyone involved, from civilian scientists to military personnel and even the demons the group used as companions and defence. Saemon found his destination, the local police station and meeting place for his next adventure in the demon world.
Seated in the room were his friends. The first, Atsuro Kihara, adjusted his fisherman's sun hat and stood up to greet him. "Hi Saemon, how was your trip?"
"Oh, the usual," replied Saemon. "So, where are we going today?"
"We're gonna see Fairy Island!" replied a smiling, bespectacled Japanese girl. Despite being out of her cosplay costume and dyed hair, Saemon could still recognize her as Midori Komaki.
"Yeah, I'm excited," said a buxom girl in pink, Yuzu Tanikawa, who was another of Saemon's closest friends.
"Cool! When do we leave?" asked Saemon.
"Izuna's getting everything ready," replied Atsuro. "We'll leave the instant she gets back."
A few minutes later, a red-haired military woman came into the office. She wore a suit of military gear known as the Demonica. It consisted of a green jumpsuit and a protective beige bulletproof vest with numerous rectangular pockets for ammunition. The most important part of the Demonica suit was the golden arm-mounted Comp, a miniature computer designed to organize and maintain control of demonic servants. The Demonica was but one of the inventions derived from demon technology.
The woman seemed quite rugged and tough, as befitting her work in the military. She was Misaki Izuna. "Okay, everything's ready. Let's head out for Fairy Island."
Saemon and friends boarded a transport truck with a military camouflage design. Izuna got into the driver's seat and started the engine, taking the truck out of town and into formation with other vehicles. At the edges of the convoy, jeeps driven by soldiers in Demonicas provided a safe cushion of space in case of demon attack. The convoy passed through a small forest without incident and came upon a harbour. Like with Babel Town, it too was growing as people started to move there. Shops started to spring up, selling items such as fish, bait, and boating related merchandise.
The convoy transferred onto some boats and sailed all the way to Fairy Island. As they approached, they were greeted by the sight of a verdant forest which seemed to shine even in the light of day. It also seemed to radiate a sense of abundance, fecundity, and magic. Rising above the treeline was an alabaster palace, likely belonging to the rulers of the region. The convoy moored their ships at the nearest harbour and started to explore their new environment.
They found themselves at Fairy Harbour, according to the sign at the heart of the city. Various demons of the Fairy race milled about on their business. An elf woman purchased fruit from an elven vendor just before them. A large blue creature clad in bear fur transported heavy packages to a nearby store. It had a surprisingly cute appearance despite its intimidating size. Saemon recognized the demon as a troll. A small, rotund snow man in a blue jester's cap spoke to a meat vendor. Saemon was quite familiar with this cute creature, a Jack Frost.
A beautiful fairy noticed Saemon among the crowd. She wore an elegant green dress with golden designs on it, but was barefooted save for an anklet. The fairy had a youthful, elven face and pointed ears. She had long, curly blonde hair with a flower on top of her head. She hovered about, carried about by drafts from her insect-like wings. Despite her youthful beauty, she also seemed to have an air of regalness and noble maturity about her.
She moved closer to Saemon and looked him over. "Excuse me, but would you happen to be Lord Abel?"
"Yeah, but everybody just calls me Saemon though," said Saemon modestly.
"Oh wow, it is you!" remarked the fairy, happy to see him. "I've always wanted to form a contract with you!" The fairy seemed to be almost swooning, as though she had met a rock star. "Oh, how rude of me! I haven't introduced myself. I'm the Fairy Titania. Do you accept my contract?"
"Of course. Let the contract be formed," stated Saemon.
"Yes! ...And now to seal it with a kiss," which Titania promptly did to Saemon's cheek.
"Okay, okay, you've made a contract with him. Can we please get on with our mission?" asked Yuzu, irate over Titania throwing herself at Saemon.
"I know this area well. Would you like me to show you, my master?" asked Titania.
"Sure, we'd really appreciate it," replied Saemon.
Titania led the group around on a tour of the Fairy Island Docks. As they travelled to each of the locations, Titania identified them. She started with the harbour, where the group had moored their ships. She proceeded to the town square and market area, full of stands and fairies trading goods. Next, she led the group to the north part of town, where the sheriff's office was located. The sheriff was a troll, big and tough, one who could intimidate criminals. He was seated at a desk, talking to a dryad.
Titania came to a single dirt road leading up to a beautiful white castle in the distance. "That path leads to the Pearly Castle, where Oberon and his Titania wife rule the island. That concludes my tour of the docks and Fairy Island," said Titania.
"We really appreciate it," said Saemon.
Elsewhere in the demonic realm, a large creature resembling a green blob traversed a vast plain. The creature's flesh looked like molten green wax dripping down its sides. It shifted its body forward, using its claws to pull its way forward. The creature's mouth was open so wide, that it could swallow a grown man whole. Perched at the top of this creature was a pair of yellow eyes and a single wide nose. The demon was known as Abaddon, the Lord of Locusts.
The Abaddon spotted a brown rabbit and quickly moved to pursue it. By the same token, the rabbit heard it coming and immediately started to bound away. Though surprisingly fast for something its size, the Abaddon was still slow compared to the rabbit. Instead of trying to outrun it, the demon conjured a swarm of locusts and sicced them in pursuit. The bugs proved too fast and numerous, scooping the poor rabbit into the air and delivering it to the Abaddon's mouth. The Abaddon savoured its meal with each and every bite.
A swirling vortex suddenly opened underneath, sinking the demon into its clutches. The Abaddon couldn't put up even a token resistance before vanishing into it. At Babel Town, scanner operators picked up the vortex on their equipment as a dimensional anomaly, or more specifically, a demon summoning. A black-haired Japanese soldier with a fierce expression visited the operators. "Commander Fushimi, our scanners just picked up a spatial anomaly in the western sector. Someone had just summoned a demon," reported one of the operators.
"Can you track who or where it was summoned?" asked Fushimi.
"Negative," replied the operator. "I don't understand why. Our system links to Babel. It should be able to track where the summoning took place."
"I'm taking a team to investigate the area. Keep monitoring the situation and trace the summoning."
"Roger," replied the operator.
Within minutes, Fushimi was on the scene, investigating the area with a team of crack soldiers. So far, all they had seen was grass and rocks. They came across a pile of animal carcasses, but other than that, there was nothing of note. "There's nothing here..." remarked one of the soldiers.
In the distance, something watched the soldiers. It was hidden in the darkness of a burrow beneath a large set of rocks. The creature's yellow eyes scanned the distance, seeing Fushimi and his men mill about the area. One of the soldiers turned his back to the creature, which it used as its chance to strike. The creature, a different Abaddon, emerged from the burrow with a blast of ice blazing from its mouth. The soldier got caught in the back and gasped in pain as a chill raced up his spine.
The Abaddon charged as the men faced it to prepare their counterattack. Fushimi fired an Agi spell through his gun, which spewed balls of flame with each press of the trigger. A second soldier fired a Zio gun, zapping the Abaddon with electricity. Despite concentrated fire from the men, the Abaddon withstood the pain and pressed forward. "Its resistant to our weapons. Cover me, I'm getting my side arm!" cried Fushimi.
The soldiers closed ranks around him and blasted the Abaddon with elemental projectiles and bolts. Fushimi successfully drew his weapon and opened fire. The Abaddon recoiled as each bullet struck its body. The creature broke down and burst into several wisps of magical energy before vanishing. However, the fighting woke up more of the creatures, drawing three more Abaddons to their location. The soldiers fired on the closing demons.
"Oh great, more of them..." muttered Fushimi. "Time to bring out the demons."
He pressed a button on his comp. Suddenly, a group of demons appeared at his side. The first was a skeletal horseman who rode upon a blood red horse. The horseman was clad in a black shroud and bore the skeletal face of death. He raised a single sword high above his head triumphantly, as though having been victorious in a massive battle. He was the Fiend Red Rider, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the one which brought War to the world.
The second was a Japanese woman clad in white ceremonial priestess robes with red sleeves. The woman was quite beautiful and the sole demon of the trio who could pass for a normal human being. Her long black hair reached the small of her back and some of it was tied into two loops behind her crown-like hairpiece. She was the Megami Kikuri-Hime, the goddess of miko and the one who mediated between the creator god and goddess of Japan during their dispute.
The last was a four-armed Indian deity with bluish-purple skin. He had a closed third eye on his forehead. The deity carried a trident, a horn, a chakra disc and a chalice in his arms. He wore a snake as a necklace and a tiger's skin as a loincloth. This strange deity was actually the Fury Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, and one of the most highly worshipped deities even in the modern world. Shiva readied his weapon in preparation for battle.
"Attack!" commanded Fushimi.
His men backed off to let his demons take care of this threat. Kikuri-Hime started off by throwing a fireball at an Abaddon. However, like with the previous Abaddon, the new one shrugged off the fiery attack just as easily. However, the attack distracted it from noticing that the Red Rider had closed in from the flank. He swung his weapon, the Terror Blade, which cast several yellow blades at the victim. They cut into the Abaddon's with such force that they toppled it. As it laid helpless, Red Rider closed in and sliced the creature in half.
Shiva opened his third eye and gazed at one of the approaching Abaddon. His eye opened a dark vortex upon its victim, sucking it in fatally. The second Abaddon lunged at Shiva, who parried its claw with his trident. Shiva knocked it away and unleashed a Megido spell. It formed a sphere of violet energy overhead which then blasted down upon its victim like a column. The beam shredded the Abaddon, dispersing its demonic energy in a haze of inky darkness.
A radio message came from base. "Commander, Saemon's group has returned from their survey of Fairy Island."
"Good, I'll return to base to meet them," replied Fushimi, who then turned to a subordinate. "Major, continue the search and keep me posted if anything happens."
"Yes sir!" replied the soldier. Fushimi boarded a jeep with one of his men, who drove him back to Babel Town.
Saemon's group listened to the words of the scanner operator as he described the incident in the western region. "I managed to track down the location of the summoning, but its not anywhere in the demon or human world."
"Then where is it?" asked Saemon's final friend, a bespectacled boy named Keisuke Takagi.
"Another world," replied the operator.
"Another world?" asked Midori. "Like another dimension?"
"Yes, just as you think," assured Atsuro.
"...But shouldn't Babel be able to stop something like this?" asked Yuzu.
"That's what I'd thought, but whatever did this summoning did so despite Babel's attempts to veto it," replied Atsuro. "We'll have to go to origin of the summoning and investigate."
"On the bright side, we get to explore a new world! I wonder what that place is like?" wondered Midori.
At that moment Fushimi entered the monitoring room. The operator and Saemon's friends briefed their commander on what had happened. "Very bad," he muttered. "Is there anyway we can go to this other world to investigate whomever summoned the demon?"
"Of course, we'll need to make some modifications to Babel's program so it will take some time," replied Atsuro.
"Then do so," commanded Fushimi. "In the meantime, I'll have my men prepare for the trip."
END OF CHAPTER