Scenes from P4 Arena in the Hugverse.

"Oh, Yosuke," Yu said, pulling him aside for a minute on the way of a TV. "About your souvenir: I gave Sayoko a call. She said she'd love to e-mail a cute boy like you some pictures." After helping Yosuke train his courage, Sayoko remembered him and Kanji fondly. Yu had asked her to go all-out to help them become more courageous, and she'd gauged their progress by measuring how high they jumped when she slapped their asses.

"Whoa, seriously?" Yosuke stared, mouth open. "You're the best, partner!" he declared, already opening up his cell phone.

Elizabeth pouted. "Silly parlor tricks like these can get stuffed!" Her booted foot lashed out to kick the invisible wall. "Well, we shall see about this…" Her book flipped open in front of her.

"I'm sorry, sister," a voice came from behind her. "It seems whatever enemy is responsible for these events designed its protections to hold even a denizen of the Velvet Room."

Elizabeth turned and smiled. "Why, dear Margaret! Do you mean that I will be unable to pass unless I am victorious? So I have finally been recognized as a participant in this tournament: how marvelous!"

"I have been instructed by our Master to advise one of our Guests," Margaret told her. "Unfortunately, I cannot help prepare him to face these challenges if I am unable to reach him."

The junior elevator attendant clapped her hands, delighted. "So this will be an opportunity to see how much my strength has grown since I left the Velvet Room!"

Two Demonic Compendiums opened.

"Your fate is in the cards!"

"Hey, you mangy furball!" Kanji declared.

Yasogami-sama paused, sitting back on his haunches and tilting his head. How strange. This human normally showed proper respect towards his god's power and cuteness by offering up head pettings and kitsune udon.

"Let's throw down, you and me! If you win, I'll owe you a hundred million yen, or all the yen I ever earn!"

The fox shrine guardian instantly assumed human form, readying his beads and ofuda. "I accept your terms."

"Oh, it's you," Yosuke said nervously. "Of all the luck."

"What does that mean?" Izzy asked crossly, glaring at him from under her baseball cap.

Susano-o shifted nervously in the back of Yosuke's head. It made him wonder if he'd have an easier time dealing with izzy if she wasn't his persona's mom. "Um, you know that they're distorting what we say, right? So you won't take whatever that fake Teddie makes it look like I say personally?"

Oh crap oh crap oh crap he thought as Izzy's uniform was replaced by that white robe and dessicated limbs began to reach from the space around her. Looked like she hadn't gotten the message yet.

And aside from two of his friends getting kidnapped, the day had started out so well…

Ai sputtered. "Noveau Riche? Someone who goes into combat in a mink coat has no right to accuse me of conspicuous consumption! I worked hard to look this good! I'll take that silver spoon and disembowel you with it, you old hag! I'll show you the power of a self-made beauty!"

"…Labrys," Yu said, "Think about it. She wasn't saying that she wants revenge, or to kill all humans: no, she wanted us to understand. What would have happened if you did something like this to the scientists who made you fight your sisters? What if you were able to make them understand how horrible it was, to be forced to fight and kill your friends? Trying to get through to humans how wrong that was: it would have saved their lives. It's not revenge that your shadow wants, Labrys, and it's not just to have friends that understand, even if that's one of the most precious things there is."

He looked at her with those compassionate grey eyes. "Don't you see, Labrys? Even the part of you that you thought was the worst part, that you think is just the cruel machine they wanted: even that part of you is still trying to save your sisters, after all this time. You're still fighting for them to live, no matter what. This place: it's born of your wish to make them understand, so they didn't make you kill any more of your sisters. So your sisters could live. How could any of us possibly hate you for wishing that you could save your family? You saw how I fought my friends in order to get here so that I could save Nanako, didn't I? Not wanting your family to die: everyone who's a good person understands that, Labrys. You aren't alone. The reason you wanted us to experience the pain of fighting and losing our loved ones: wasn't that so you wouldn't have to feel that pain anymore? So no one else would have to feel that pain anymore? Your wish, to make the world a place where nothing like that ever happens again: that's not something that you need to be ashamed of."

Ai elbowed Aigis in the side. "Go and hug your sister," she whispered, fast, harsh and urgent.

"Hurry!" Yosuke agreed, looking at Yu and Labrys nervously. "Dude, going through someone like that… That girl seriously needs some hugs."

"I'm amazed he's held out this long," Naoto agreed.

"You're a wild card, aren't you?" Ai demanded of Aigis. "You know what they're like: move! Before he starts making her boxed lunches!"

Naoto blinked. "But we're in the TV world, and is she capable of consuming human food?"

"Look at her!" Yosuke waved his arm in the direction of Labrys, who looked about ready to collapse after the strain of fighting and accepting her persona. "Do you honestly think my partner would let that stop him?" When if she was human, she could really use some hot soup or something right now?

Aigis' eyes narrowed. "Understood." Swiftly, the anti-shadow emergency control weapon moved to capture the target in her arms.

"Wait, you want to control our shadows," Yu realized. "Does that mean you're the opposite of the power of persona that Margaret told me about? The embodiment of the weakness in human hearts that drives us to do stupid things like hurt other people because of our own selfishness?" He drew his sword. "So, does that mean that you're what drove detective Adachi to commit those murders?"

"The center of the malice that is the reason the Great Seal is necessary," Elizabeth agreed, holding out her book. In a flash, Mitsuru's sword was out as well. She only wished that Yukari could be here with them.

"Wait, are you saying that this thing is the part of those bastards that made them make me kill my sisters?!" Labrys demanded.

The fake Shadow Yu only laughed.

"So, you're all that and if you're like Philemon, then you'll keep coming back to life as long as people are still like that, right?" Kanji asked, cracking his knuckles. "So you're everything that's messed up about the world, and we can beat the shit out of you as many times as we want?"

Akihiko blinked. Happy sparkles appeared in the eyes of the Investigation Team.

"Wait," Chie said, bouncing happily from one foot to the other the way she did when she was raring to go. "What are we standing around here for?"

Yu gave the order to "Attack!" and Nyarlathotep found itself at the center of a big ball of violence.

When they met up again to say goodbye, Mitsuru's curiosity drove her to approach the leader of the Investigation Team. "…Narukami."

"Yes, Ms. Kirijo?" he responded politely without a note of sheepishness despite the unusual circumstances.

Since it didn't seem as though an indirect approach was necessary, the Kirijo heir cut to the chase. "Why are your arms tied behind your back?"

"I think it's important that Labrys get to focus on her bond with her sister right now, and discovering who she is as a person," Yu explained. "And according to Fuuka, in terms of how long she's spent actually awake, Labrys isn't even a fourth as old as Nanako. I can't take that risk."

"Yes, but…" she glanced at the ropes again, because that still didn't answer her question.

"Narukami-san is like he was," Aigis explained. "If not more so."

"Ah," Mitsuru said, nodding. "Say no more."

"I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I don't want to cause any of the usual side effects either." Yu sighed. "So as long as she understands that I would hug her if Naoto wasn't holding Kanji hostage, I hope she won't feel as though it's that I don't want to be her friend." After all she'd been through.

Because, seriously, who wouldn't love the chance to repeatedly maim the avatar of all the stupidity and immature dickishness that has caused all of us so much pain and facepalming throughout history? 'I have met our inner child, and I am really looking forward to bitchslapping the bastard.' I mean, how many times have you wished that you could reach through your computer screen to stab some idiot troll in the face? Exactly!

ALL YO YENS Yip yip yap. What better illusion to make the fox fight?