Disclaimer: Shin Megami Tensei and the Persona series belong to Atlus, not to the Heartless Wanderer. All related characters and concepts are the intellectual property of said company. The Heartless Wanderer is merely an Internet nerd who writes works of fanfiction in his rather scarce spare time and happens to be a on a bit of a Persona kick at the moment. He claims ownership only of the fan-work itself and nothing else.
"The Not-So-Secret Meeting"
When Yu Narukami left his room for the second time that day, he was much better-dressed, and his head wasn't throbbing quite as badly. Paulownia Mall had turned out to be the place for pretty much everything he'd needed: he'd gotten a good supply of headache meds from the pharmacy and then paid a visit to the clothing store for a much-needed replacement wardrobe. This had essentially amounted to him re-buying all of the clothes he normally wore, although he'd had to settle for a few reasonable facsimiles on account of not all of it having been made yet.
So when Yu Narukami left his room for the second time that day, he looked pretty much like he always did on an off-day. He was even wearing the same outfit he often had on Sundays in Inaba. As he walked down the stairs that evening, he was thus struck by a certain sense of nostalgia. This would be the first of many precious days to rest and enjoy the life he risked on a regular basis — as it had been in Inaba, so it would be in Iwatodai.
Well, he still had some time before his Evoker arrived and he would be expected to spend his midnights fighting Shadows, but he wasn't about to take it for granted just because he had a particularly long "weekend" ahead of him. He still had some time before he had to meet up with the others at Hagakure, so he figured he'd re-acquaint himself with the shops at the strip mall. Now that he thought about it, wasn't there a used book store next to the burger place? He decided to check it out — they might even have the book Mitsuru had recommended…
When he got downstairs, he found that Mitsuru was gone — but at the table, alternating between a bowl of instant noodles and a text message on her cell phone, was Yukari Takeba. She looked a bit tired, but cheerful enough. Narukami was going to pass by without disturbing her, but she looked up as he passed.
"Oh, hi, Yu-san," she greeted him with a smile. "Goin' somewhere?"
"Uh-huh. Promised to meet the others at the ramen bar," Narukami said. "We went there last time we were at Port Island. Good stuff."
"Yeah, Hagakure's ramen is awesome," Yukari said wistfully, glancing down at her noodle bowl. "I'd love to have some, but I went over budget at the movies with my friends last weekend. Gotta save up."
"I know what that's like," Narukami said easily. "Back in Inaba I used to take jobs doing things like folding envelopes and translating stuff in my spare time. The money was alright, but it was pretty tedious and the pay wasn't enough to really binge on anything, y'know?"
"Heh, makes me feel kinda thankful that I still get an allowance…" Yukari said. She started at an easy laugh, but trailed off with a frown. Her eyes became a bit distant. Narukami's own smiled faded a bit.
"Something on your mind?" he asked.
Yukari's smile came back, but it was definitely a bit forced. "It's nothin'. Have fun with your friends, 'kay? Oh, and if you want some really good ramen, ask for the 'Hagakure Bowl.' That place has a secret menu. It's a bit pricier than the regular stuff, but trust me, you have to try it at least once."
Narukami blinked. Secret menu? A vague memory drifted into his mind from nearly a year ago, the voice of Rise, sounding surprised and put-out: The Hagakure Bowl is a regular menu item now? Oh, so this is what she'd been talking about…
"Thanks, I'll keep it in mind," Narukami said, waving goodbye and heading for the door. Probably not for tonight, of course… if the Hagakure Bowl was that good, it was probably better to save it for a day when he wasn't supposed to be concentrating on anything. As the debacle with Yukiko's fried tofu had proven, both he and Yosuke could get rather distracted by the taste of good food…
- V -
"Yo, partner! What kept ya?" Yosuke asked jokingly before slurping down another mouthful of noodles. When his mouth was free again, he said, "Hey, another one for my friend here!" to the cook, who acknowledged the order and continued about his business.
Narukami slid into a seat at the ramen bar between Yosuke and Naoto, looking around at his friends and returning their greetings. He set a small plastic bag on the table next to him — the book he'd been looking for had in fact been there, though this was the only remaining copy. The old man in charge of the store had been a little odd, though; he seemed to have been under the impression that he was a deli cashier until his wife had interjected to remind him that the store sold books, not ham.
From the looks of it, the other members of the team were all enjoying their ramen (Rise, he noted, had ordered the Hagakure Bowl). This time Teddie'd had the sense not to wear his "costume" in the middle of the restaurant, for which they were all grateful, and this time, from the pleased look on Yukiko's face and the empty bowl in front of her, the Amagi heiress had actually finished her own ramen. To a man, they had all changed out of their uniforms and into their preferred form of day-wear, although only Yukiko and Rise had taken the opportunity to try a new style. Narukami couldn't get a good look at their outfits while they were still sitting at the bar, but what he could see was pretty fitting. He wondered how many hours the girls had spent trying out clothes and giggling and — oh God, now he was having flashbacks to that time they'd wrangled the boys into going clothes-shopping with them. Best not to think about it further, he decided, or he'd give himself a headache all over again…
Yosuke sighed in contentment, having finished his own second bowl in record time, and then cleared his throat importantly. "Well, now that our leader is here, I say we get this meeting started. Naoto, you said you had some stuff to tell us that'd give an idea of what to expect, yeah?"
"I do, in fact — and more than what we discussed at the dormitory, Yu-senpai," Naoto responded. She cast a look around at the other patrons, but they were too absorbed in their own soup and small talk to take note of a bunch of high-schoolers chatting at the bar. "But it may not all be new to you… did any of you watch the news, or hear the rumors, around the month of January 2010?"
"Huh? The news?" grimaced Yosuke. "Dude, I was still in Tokyo back then, I had better things to do than watch the news."
Yukiko smiled apologetically. "I don't remember the news that far back so well, sorry, Naoto-kun… although…" She frowned, putting her hand to her chin in apparently deep thought. "Now that you mention it, I think I remember hearing a lot of talk around the inn… something about… a cult?"
"Oh, I remember that!" Chie said. "Yeah, I remember 'cause my folks used to talk about how disturbing it was. There was this cult back then that grew in popularity all over Japan and then just sort of stopped. But it was never that big a deal in Inaba. A few graffiti incidents and a bunch of flyers in the shopping district that all the store owners just tore down. Wasn't that cult all like... 'the end is nigh' and... 'believe and ye shall be saved'? Kinda freaky how many people bought into it, huh…"
Kanji snorted. "Yeah, I remember that. Caught some dumbass spraying the logo on the back of the shop one night. Don't remember how far up his ass I shoved my foot, but no one tried that shit again. What was that group called? …Somethin' about knickers?"
Teddie slurped at a third bowl of ramen, either having nothing to add or simply not paying attention.
"'Nyx,' actually," Narukami muttered, eyes narrowed. "I remember that cult. It was all the rage in Tokyo, at least among people who weren't so well-off."
Yosuke snapped his fingers. "Hey, you're right. Nyxism, yeah. I saw a lot of that. Couple o' my old pals got really into it for some reason." Then he blinked. "Wait, you're saying that this cult was connected to whatever's going on with the Dark Hour, Naoto?"
The detective nodded. "Yes. There are too many odd things surrounding the rise of that cult for it to be entirely coincidence. For example…" Naoto held up one finger. "First, the cult began on Tatsumi Port Island, spreading to Iwatodai shortly thereafter. Its rapid spread within the city itself is telling. It may have been the influence of whatever was causing Apathy Syndrome, but whatever the case, it seemed around that time that more and more people were becoming open to the idea of that the world would come to an end — talking about how society was hopeless, and so on and so forth."
Chie scowled. "Well, yeah, people kinda suck sometimes, but that's no reason to just up and quit, is it?"
Narukami nodded in agreement. Naoto continued: "Second, the cult's rapid spread ended as suddenly as it began, in February — about the same time the cases of Apathy Syndrome stopped happening. And third… most tellingly of all... the apparent leader of the cult, a man who was only ever named as 'Charisma,' spoke in a magazine interview of a power he had received from Nyx, as well as others who 'abused' that same power…"
Rise sucked in a small string of noodle, swallowed quickly, and leaned forward. "You mean — you think he was talking about Personas?"
They stopped talking abruptly then, for the cook approached with Narukami's ramen. The team leader thanked him, and they all remained silent until he had passed out of earshot.
"It makes sense," Narukami said. He blew lightly on the surface of his steaming soup bowl. "If anyone were to take advantage of or try to aggravate any part of this situation, it'd have to be someone who knows about the Dark Hour, and that pretty much narrows it down to people involved in Kirijo's research and other Persona-users. And we know that a person doesn't need to be a saint to control their Shadow; Adachi had a Persona, too. So this cult, or more specifically the person behind it — anything we can figure out about them could be a vital piece of the puzzle."
"So what do we know?" Chie asked, looking to Naoto.
Teddie slurped down another bowl and called for a fifth, either having nothing to add... or still not paying attention.
"About the ones behind the cult, very little," Naoto said, obviously frustrated by that fact. "I remember seeing a picture of the man referred to as 'Charisma,' but his identity and background were never uncovered by the media and he seemed to just up and vanish completely when the cult itself did. My grandfather did, at one point, uncover a connection to one Chidori Yoshino, but when he went to Iwatodai to question her, he found to his surprise that she was an amnesic. She remembered nothing of the past few years of her life, so there was nothing he could learn from her. Apart from that, I only know that the cult's popularity was sparked by an Internet personality operating under the username of 'Jin,' whose identity was never revealed."
Teddie slurped noisily at his bowl. At that moment a man walked into the bar — a gruff-looking man in his late teens, clad in a trenchcoat and a beanie. He plopped down carelessly at the far side of the bar and grunted, "The usual." The Investigation Team couldn't help but glance at him, but he paid them no notice.
"So that sums up everything I can recall about the cult that will spring up sometime around the start of January next year," said Naoto more quietly.
Chie shook her head. "Thinking back, it kinda makes me think of the way Inaba was in December, y'know, when that fog covered the whole town and people were ranting about how it was poisonous and the world was gonna end? I don't wanna think of what would've happened if we hadn't beaten Ameno-sagiri before New Years'…"
The team as a whole (minus Teddie, who was still quite deep in soup), turned as one to look at Chie in surprise. She blinked at the sudden attention, and seemed to shrink in on herself.
"What? What? Don't tell me I hit something again…"
"I think you just might've," Yosuke said, tapping the counter with an almost uncharacteristically serious look on his face. "That month was pretty much our endgame time limit to solve the case before Izanami's stupid fog turned everyone into Shadows. If, whatever this Dark Hour stuff is, if it all ended — or, er, ends — next January, then January might be the same for S.E.E.S. as December was for us."
Everyone was so fixated on Yosuke's suggestion that none of them noticed the gruff-looking teen's eyes flick toward them in surprise.
"If that's the case, then it's definitely something to go on," Narukami said. "Let's operate under the assumption of a one-year time limit, then." He looked at Naoto. "You mentioned something about mysterious deaths… other than Minato Arisato, that is."
"Who?" Yukiko asked.
Teddie slurped away at his soup, although this time he paused to rub his belly with a slightly uncomfortable look on his face.
"Yes," Naoto said, nodding quietly. "In fact, it's fortunate for us that my grandfather and I took on that particular case, because nearly everything about it could potentially be useful knowledge in our current predicament. To sum it up for the rest of you: in the middle of March 2010, specifically on Graduation Day at the end of his third semester, a second-year student at Gekkoukan High School mysteriously passed away of an unknown illness. The only clues as to the cause are that he was noted on several occasions prior to his death as appearing fatigued, and that he was associated with the school club listed as 'S.E.E.S.' during his second year — this upcoming year — of high school. The timing suggests that the cause of death is directly related to the Dark Hour, or possibly to the Dark Hour's disappearance, if we are to assume the Dark Hour does end along with that cult."
Yukiko blanched. "Wait, so… this Minato Arisato will join up with us? When? And he's just going to die? We can't let that happen, c-can we?"
Rise frowned worriedly. "Can't we do anything to —?!"
"Without knowing how or why he died, at this point, no," Naoto said gravely. "But we may… learn more later. For the moment, let's examine what concrete foresight we can glean from that particular investigation. For starters: we know that Minato Arisato first transferred into Gekkoukan at the start of the first semester. This April, in other words, when we'll be starting up there ourselves. We can perhaps look into the matter then. Grandfather's investigation into that case also gives us something else: the identities of the students who would participate in the club during the year that followed."
Rise beamed. "So we know ahead of time who's gonna become a Persona-user! Apart from the ones we met during Golden Week, that is!"
The gruff teen in the beanie got his ramen then, and began to eat… quietly. His eyes remained facing forward.
Narukami nodded. "That could be handy to know, yeah. What do you remember about it, Naoto?"
The detective crossed her arms over her tight-bound chest, closing her eyes. "Apart from ourselves, Kirijo-san, Sanada-san, and Takeba-san," she said slowly, "I recall several others. One Junpei Iori joined the club shortly after Arisato transferred to the school; all accounts speak of the two being on good terms during school hours, with Arisato often whispering answers to Iori when he neglected to pay attention in class."
Narukami and Yosuke shared a look, Narukami's amused and Yosuke's sheepish.
"During the following months, others joined," Naoto said. "One of the Persona-users we met during Golden Week, Aigis-san, transferred into Gekkoukan after summer vacation… an orphaned middle-school student by the name of Ken Amada —" (The gruff man abruptly stopped eating for a moment) "— started living in the dorms, which is odd enough an occurrence even when you aren't aware of Personas or Shadows. Finally, a senior named Shinjiro Aragaki took up residence in the dormitory after a long absence some time afterward, though he was rarely seen in class that year…"
Naoto opened her eyes, frowning. "That leads me into the subject of the three other mysterious deaths that occurred around that time," the detective said quietly.
Teddie was almost done his final bowl now. He seemed rather unwilling to eat, though…
"More mysterious deaths?" Chie asked, sounding worried. "D-don't tell me more of our, um, future teammates are gonna die? Well, not if I have anything to say about it!" she added, cracking her knuckles over her empty bowl.
"…One of them does die, yes," Naoto said quietly. "The first of the mysterious deaths, which I honestly wouldn't have thought much of if I hadn't been aware of Personas and Shadows, occurred in October. The puzzling thing is, although the death occurred sometime overnight… suggesting that it happened during the Dark Hour… the cause of death was in fact a bullet wound. The death was thus written off as a result of violent crime, a textbook back-alley murder."
Chie grinned. "Well, if it was just some jackass with a handgun, we can handle that! So who was it who died? All we gotta do is be there and not let it happen, right?"
Naoto sighed. "That first victim was Shinjiro Aragaki…"
The eavesdropper continued eating, but his eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"…I guess it makes sense that people would think he'd get caught up in something shady," Yosuke noted sagely. "You said he didn't come to school, right? I guess he got written off as a drop-out or a gang member like Kanji used to be."
Kanji grunted uncomfortably. "…Well, it's like Chie says. We just gotta be there and stop it from happening. No sweat."
"That's assuming we don't get caught off-guard," Naoto said quietly. "Listen, there's one thing we can't do in this situation, and that's act rashly with what knowledge we have. We have very little of the actual, complete picture. It'd be one thing if we had the whole story, but even the Kirijo-san of our own time told me very little about what happened on Port Island this year. It's one thing if we act to make things better, but we need to be careful not to trip up and make matters more complicated."
Narukami nodded. "If that cult business is any indication, the fate of the world may actually be at stake here. Apathy Syndrome was really widespread by the time it all blew over, so… I want us all to agree on something right now. If we figure out anything, anything at all, about what happened — about what's going to happen — we talk it over with each other before doing anything about it. Are we cool on this?"
Yosuke gave him the thumbs up. "Good call, Partner."
As the others nodded and gave their own various versions of the same answer, Teddie groaned and pushed away his stack of bowls. "Uuuuhhhhhh…" he moaned. "I dun feel so goooood…"
Yosuke sent a withering look in Teddie's direction. "That's 'cause you ate like seven bowls, you moron. Hey, aren't we supposed to actually, y'know, save some of that money Ikutsuki-san gave us? What part of 'don't spend it all in one place' don't you freakin' get? Gah…"
"Urp…" burped Teddie. "But it's just so… so beary dee-lish…" Teddie cringed, clutching his tummy with both hands. "Owwww…"
Yosuke shook his head, as did most of the others, and looked at Naoto. "Forget him. What about the other deaths?"
The detective sighed, and scratched her head. "This one is a bit more difficult…"she murmured, "because the timing suggests foul play on someone's part, possibly one of the victims themselves, or maybe even both of them. But without more information, it's impossible to say. All I know is that around the beginning of December, the C.E.O. of the Kirijo Group… that is to say, Takeharu Kirijo, Mitsuru-san's father, passed away. According to the official reports, his death was caused by sudden illness, but his death occurred at the same time as another important figure's demise, which raised quite a few eyebrows at the time."
"Mitsuru's dad dies?" Narukami said, leaning forward. I… can't let that happen if it can be avoided…
Naoto nodded. "Yes. But at about the same time, the chairman of the board at Gekkoukan High — Shuji Ikutsuki — fell to his death from the top of the school observatory…"
"Shuji… Ikutsuki?!" Yukiko squeaked. "Wait, not the same Ikutsuki-san we met last night!"
The Investigation Team expressed their surprise in a variety of ways; with exception to Naoto and Narukami, these ways were quite noisy, drawing the eyes of virtually everyone in the restaurant. Naoto quickly hushed the team while Narukami muttered an apology to one very disgruntled cook.
The gruff-looking teen in the beanie glared openly at the Investigation Team now, frowning in a confused sort of way. Kanji caught his eye and glared back. "What're you looking at, eh?!"
"…Not much," grunted the teen irritably. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a wallet, and put a few bills on the table. "I'm done. Never mind change," he said as he slid off his stool and sauntered away, hands in the pockets of his coat. He walked slightly hunched over, Narukami noted, as if he were physically trying to withdraw from the rest of the world.
Then, he was gone. Narukami heard Kanji mutter something profane under his breath, but the group didn't give the beanie-wearing teen another second's thought after that. There was a more important issue on their minds.
"So, about Ikutsuki-san…" Yosuke prompted uncomfortably. Narukami empathized with what Yosuke was probably feeling: it was one thing to hear about the imminent deaths of people you'd never met, and quite another to hear that someone you were acquainted with was destined to die.
Naoto collected herself and said in her usual professional tones, "Yes, Ikutsuki-san… he apparently fell from the observatory while stargazing late at night: a tragic accident, if the reports were to be believed. The timing was suspicious, but there was nothing else to suggest foul play was involved when I first heard of it. That said, knowing what we know now, particularly about what the school becomes late at night…"
The rest of the team nodded in grim understanding: Ikutsuki's death could only be connected to Tartarus. But the circumstances surrounding it, and how it might tie in with Takeharu Kirijo's death…
"…We need to keep an eye on anything to do with either of them," Narukami decided. "For now that's the best we can do. If it turns out one or both of them is up to no good, then we can stop them before it goes too far. If they both turn out to be victims of something else, then we can stop that before it goes too far."
"Yeah," Chie agreed. "It's gonna work a bit differently than usual, but at the end of the day, it's what we usually do, isn't it? Gather information, fight Shadows, save lives. We can do it this time, 'cause we've done it all before."
Yukiko smiled. "Well, this time it's a bit more complicated than just storming a labyrinth and fighting a giant monster at the end of it all, but I think Chie's right. If we keep our cool and use every bit of information we can find, it shouldn't be too difficult to save whoever needs saving and stop whatever's causing all of this. After all, since the world didn't end, S.E.E.S. was able to win even without our help, right?"
Kanji nodded. "Yeah, they don't need us. They'll just be twice as badass as they would've been now that they got us on their side."
Narukami smiled at his friends' enthusiasm (Teddie was only grinning half-heartedly due to his stomach-ache), but said evenly, "Let's just make sure not to go overboard. And like I said, we talk it over before acting on any of this foresight. We need to play this carefully. Just by being here, we might have changed things up in a pretty big way…"
The others all voiced their agreement, taking care to keep their voices down this time, and then Yukiko voiced the question they'd all wondered about at some point over the past few hours:
"So, speaking of foresight… what about Labrys? I mean, we can't just leave her wherever she is right now, can we?"
The Investigation Team suddenly became quite sober; even Teddie seemed to forget his tummy-related antics in favor of focusing on their most recent friend, the Anti-Shadow robot they had rescued from the TV World during Golden Week. They all knew that at this point in time, Labrys was inactive, stashed away in some Kirijo Group cargo-storage facility. They also knew what the Kirijo Group had done to her back in the day…
Naoto shifted uncomfortably. "While investigating the Kirijo Group for possible leads on the culprit behind the P-1 Grand Prix incident," the detective said, "I believe I may have determined the location from which Labrys was being transported when she was stolen. But I didn't have a chance to follow up, and…"
"Well, that settles it, doesn't it?" Yukiko said firmly. Her eyes were blazing with a fiery passion that Narukami rarely saw in the normally soft-spoken girl, but always found mesmerizing when he did. "We can't just leave her stuffed in a box in some — in some warehouse! We have to get her out! If we do — maybe she won't even have to go through that mess in the TV World! Think about it! If we can prevent that from happening —"
Teddie was nodding fervently along with Yukiko, but then Chie blurted out, "B-but won't that prevent us from having met her in the first place?" and Teddie did a massive double-take, his jaw dropping.
"…You mean we won't've met Labby-chan at all?" he mumbled, looking suddenly reluctant.
Narukami leaned forward on his elbows, adopting a serious posture. "It's possible. We don't really know how any of our actions might affect future events, especially if they relate directly to our own experiences. If we intervene and try to help Labrys now, it's possible we might erase our reason for knowing about her in the first place… a classic time paradox situation, in other words."
Naoto sighed. "Yes, I was going to mention that. It's a question I'd rather find an answer for before we do anything… big. It isn't just about meeting Labrys, either. If not for that incident, we may never have encountered the Shadow Operatives or that strange being who orchestrated the event in the first place, and we might not have known about S.E.E.S. to begin with…"
Kanji, rubbing at his blond hair in aggravation, muttered something about time-travel making his brain hurt. The others now looked conflicted: Yukiko and Teddie in particular, who Narukami understood had taken a real shine to Labrys in the short time they'd had to get to know each other, seemed lost in their own confused thoughts. Narukami himself wasn't sure what to do…
"Let's just set that aside for now," Narukami said reasonably. "Labrys is safe where she is for the moment, and will be for another few years or so. There's no rush. We should take some time to think about it before we make a decision."
The others agreed, though they didn't seem particularly happy that the question was being left unanswered for now. Perhaps, Narukami hoped, they would learn enough about this time-travel problem that they could make an educated choice later on.
"That just leaves one matter to be discussed," said Naoto in a subdued voice. "The question of what brought us here, and how we can get back to our own time."
"You mean apart from waiting three years?" Kanji said gruffly. "Let's face it, dudes. We're stuck. We don't know how it happened, but unless someone invents a goddamn time machine, we're not gonna be moving through time any way but the normal way. It sucks, but…"
It was rare for Kanji to be the first to answer a question, and even rarer for him to be insightful, but there it was. The Investigation Team looked from one to another and then Yosuke said, "Yeah… you might be right about that, Kanji. Well, it could be worse. We coulda landed in the distant past or far future… never seen our families again ever. Compared to that, eh, three years don't sound so bad."
Everyone looked uncomfortable with the prospect except Teddie, but Yukiko and Chie visibly paled at the thought. "W-when you put it that way…" Chie laughed nervously.
"Y-yeah, we got off lucky," Yukiko agreed.
Everyone seemed to share that sentiment, although Narukami knew that just about everyone Teddie was attached to apart from Labrys happened to be sitting at the ramen bar with him. Teddie, as it happens, was currently uncomfortable for another reason.
"Oooooooooh," moaned the humanoid Shadow, clutching his midriff again with both arms. "My t-t-t-tummy hurts…"
"…Dude," Yosuke sighed. "You had better hit a public restroom on the way back to the dorm. 'Cause I swear, you stink up the dorm bathrooms and I'm gonna slap you upside the skull with a golf club."
"Yosuke, don't be mean…" whined Teddie. "Urp…!"
Teddie suddenly jumped up and ran for the bathroom. Just before the door swung completely shut, they heard a loud retching sound. The girls all curled their noses in disgust. Narukami stared deadpan in the direction Teddie had gone, while Kanji just shrugged and turned back to the bar.
Yosuke's palm met his face and he muttered, "What a tragic waste of good ramen..."
Author's Note: And there we have it, the Investigation Team's first official meet-up in the year 2009. As those of you familiar with Persona 3 are aware, they've already slipped up in a rather big way… but we'll see what comes of that when it shows up, yes? Thanks for reading, and thank you all for all of these awesome reviews you've been leaving me! It really gets me fired up to write this story. And don't mistake my earlier comment about liking the longer, more in-depth reviews more: I appreciate all of them, even the quickies. You guys are the reason I can even find the energy to bludgeon my way through this pesky writer's block.
Not sure when the next chapter'll come — I'm not one hundred percent on how the next stage of the story should go, to be honest — but it might have to wait until after I've played through Persona 4 Golden myself. While I have the basic gist of it, nothing beats a complete and thorough playthrough when it comes to accuracy.
I might also take a bit of time off from this story to actually complete Persona and Persona 2: Innocent Sin on the PSP for the same reason…