Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self
by Victorio Osaria
Jeez. I really haven't updated in a while. A very long while. I decided to skip a week ahead from where I last wrote, because I'm not pleased with the pace at which this story is going. I'm not very pleased at how this chapter came out either, but I know how much you guys are itching for a new chapter. You're the judge. By now, Yu has already established both the Strength and Moon social links. I'll let you know that there's going to be a small surprise at how things might turn out by the end of the chapter.
Oh yeah, and I'm writing a novel inspired by Persona 4. Completely different direction, though.
Kuso- swear word, usually a placeholder for "damn"
Abunai-"Watch out," or something involving danger
Amefuto-Japanese shortening of "American football"
Wednesday, April 27, 2011: Get A Home Run, Then Run Home Scared
Yu had been at the pitching machine for almost half an hour. He had only counted one strike, and that was only because defective machine pitched two balls at once... at almost 95 mph. The other players on the baseball team wondered why he was practicing on a broken machine, as that speed would send normal human beings in a coma, if not kill them. In fact, it was prohibited from use by the school administration because of that fact. Instead of trying to stop Yu Narukami, however, a crowd of players gathered to watch this spectacle: he was perfectly hitting every single leather-bound meteor with great accuracy. But he wasn't simply practicing for a home run; Yu was practicing his reflexes for battle.
"Your grip is starting to loosen," warned Izanagi. "You may miss at this rate."
Yu communicated mentally. Don't be so pessimistic. I think I'll be fine. He continued to challenge the mechanical pitcher with successful consecutive hits. Is it just me, or are these pitches getting faster...?
"Hey guys!" called Daisuke Ichijo, returning from brief football (soccer) practice. "What's going on here? What's with the crowding around?"
"Ichijou! You gotta check this out!"
"Man, Narukami's on fire!"
"I can't even see these damn balls, man! Faster than light, I swear!"
Daisuke immediately became worried. He pushed away the students in the crowd blocking his way. "Move it! Move it! Get outta the way!" He rushed towards the wire fence and froze; Narukami was in the way of danger. "Shit! Narukami, what the hell are you doing!?"
All Yu could give was a grunt as his answer. He was too focused on the battle before him. The mechanical menace would not falter in his attacks, so why should he?
"Kuso!" Daisuke sweared. "I'm getting in there and turning off that pitcher!"
"You can't!" said Takaji. "Narukami locked the gate from the inside!"
"N-Nani!?" Daisuke gripped onto the gate and attempted, fruitlessly, to shake it open. It was locked shut. "Do you have a freaking death wish, Narukami!?"
Yu ignored the remark and continued to batter each ball away from him. As he continued batting however, he finally noticed that the machine was vibrating very unnaturally... the balls were launching faster every minute. Ultimately, he could not keep up with the speed of each ball fired; he narrowly dodged a strike.
Yu heeded the warning and ducked again, but he still couldn't escape the suppressing fire of the pitcher, which was able to launch balls in different directions. He was pinned down.
Daisuke gritted his teeth and turned to two other students. "You two! Help me kick this gate down! NOW!"
"Are you su-"
"I said NOW!"
The two other students complied and struck with all their might against the batting cage gate. With just enough force, they were barely able to break the lock on the other side and slam the gate open. Daisuke charged towards the pitching machine in an attempt to save Yu. "Huh!?" He pressed the shutdown switch multiple times, but it was still launching. "Stupid machine! I can't shut it off!"
Yu cursed, and so he had to improvise. He gripped his aluminum bat and carefully, but swiftly stood back up to hit another ball. He would swing his weapon against the projectile with so much power that the ball would be returned to its sender and destroy the machine.
"Look out!" Yu warned, and Daisuke retreated back as the returning ball was launched back at the machine. A loud bashing noise was heard, and the machine ceased fire as soon as the ball crushed through the armor. Heavily dented and damaged beyond repair, the machine could now only make futile whirring sounds. The battle was over...
"What the hell were you thinking, Narukami!?" Daisuke yelled. "Were you trying to get yourself killed!?"
Yu sighed. "Look, I'm sorry, but..."
"'Sorry' doesn't excuse a head lobbed off by a ball going at 95 miles an hour!"
"I wanted to practice, so I wanted to do something that tested my limits."
"What the hell am I supposed to tell the gym teacher when he sees a mangled pitching machine in the batting cage?"
"It was broken beyond repair already, so I dismissed any thought of damaging it any more than it already was."
"So you dismissed your common sense too, huh!?"
"Not really. I knew others would get hurt if I let them come any closer, so I locked the cage door."
"Oh, sure! Like it's any better that you're the only one risking your life and not others!"
Yu was getting impatient. Yes, Daisuke had a point, but Yu knew that he could have handled the situation just fine. Not that he would actually tell Daisuke that a creation god was guiding him through each swing. "Ichijo-san, I knew what I was doing."
Daisuke had enough. "Like hell you were! You're off the team!"
A dead silence held the air for but a moment. Yu broke the silence. "You can't do that."
"You bet I can! I'm not getting any comatose players on my baseball team!"
Yu gave a breath of defeat. His expression was not good enough to save his position. Fortunately, an angel had come to rescue him... or rather the opposite.
Ai Ebihara arrived on the scene, acting surprisingly proactive, or maybe she simply wanted to watch the ruckus."What's going on here? What's with all the yelling?"
"I'm letting Narukami off the team," answered Daisuke.
"And why is that?"
"He was using the pitching machine that was off limits."
She rolled her eyes. "Is that really a good reason to kick him out of the team?"
"It's for his own good. That machine pitched over 90 mph."
"Hey, at least he's alive."
"It's still inexcusable!"
Ai smirked. "You know, it's not exactly practical to lose such an asset like Narukami, right?"
Takaji realized the truthfulness in Ebihara's statement. "Hey, Ichijo. Why do we have to kick Narukami out of the team? You saw him! He beat the machine! He's inhuman!"
Cheers from other players on the baseball team followed.
"Man, if we keep Narukami, our team'd be unstoppable!"
"He's gonna kick ass!"
"Why we gotta kick him out, huh?"
Daisuke was astonished; he'd never seen the baseball team so inspired before, or any of the other sports teams he would lead, especially the basketball team, whom would normally slack off and quit practice. Still, Narukami was acting out of line, and he wouldn't condone life-risking activity.
Ebihara smirked. "Well?"
Daisuke sighed, then turned to Narukami. "If you pull a stunt like this again, consider yourself outta here."
Daisuke gave yet another sigh, as if he hadn't given enough of them. "What the hell am I going to tell the student council...?"
"You don't have to tell them anything," said Ai. "I'll tell them that the machine blew up on its own."
"You really expect them to believe something like that? How does that explain the dents?"
"Those council guys don't know a thing about these machine things. There's no need to worry about that."
"And when the custodians move the machine out of the school?"
"They won't say anything. You're being too paranoid."
Daisuke sighed. "I guess I am." He turned to the whole crowd. "Practice is over. Dismissed!"
After the crowd dispersed, Yu noticed a faint glow in his pocket. Pulling out his tarot card, the image that came out was a reversed Strength Arcana. Looks like I'm making some fantastic progress here, he thought to himself sarcastically. Suddenly, the image changed to that of the Moon. Ai was approaching.
"Okay," began Yu. "There's no way you got Takaji and the others to help me simply based on how awesome I am; they're so lazy that they wouldn't know inspiration if it hit them in the face. You did something didn't you?"
"Of course I did," Ai answered. "Bribery isn't exactly difficult in these parts. And aren't you going to thank me?"
"Well, I don't think it would be right to condone such actions."
"So using an off-limits pitching machine is any better?"
"That, and you've already skipped school with me. And held my shopping bags."
"Yes... that too." Yu twitched; holding someone's baggage for someone he barely knows certainly wasn't a pleasant experience. I always hated bitch girls like her... But I'm doing this for the Social Link.
Izanagi grumbled. "That is not an acceptable reason for manipulating her like this."
Manipulating HER? She's the one manipulating ME!
"If only she knew what you really thought of her."
Izanagi, I just reversed one Social Link already. Do you really think I would screw up another one?
"I would, considering your rather negative history with other girls..."
Let's not go there...
Ai growled. "Hey, stop daydreaming! I need you to come with me. I need to tell you something important."
"Can't you just whisper in my ear or something?"
"No. Not an option. Not with him here..."
"Get over here now!"
Yu groaned. There really wasn't much to be done about this...
They left through the gym's fire exit and into the schoolyard lot. Even though this secret could possibly have been hidden in a whisper, Yu figured out early on that Ai liked to make things bigger than they actually are. I really want this woman to let go of my arm now...
"Okay," she began. "This is really, really important. This is probably the biggest task I'm going to ever have you do."
"Break into the faculty office and steal the locker keys?"
"No, nothing so simple as that, though I suppose it might help in the future..."
"That is not the way you speak to your manager."
"Then please, ohime-sama, may you vocalize your request?"
Ai held an annoyed look, and then she almost immediately turned nervous. Her cheeks went red. "I'm sorry..."
Did she just say 'sorry?'
"I know I was kind of mean earlier..."
"But this is... well... kind of embarrassing, actually."
Oh no, don't tell me...
"You see... the first time I saw you, I knew you could help me with any problem...and I mean any problem."
Not this 'love at first sight' bullshit!; I need to get out of here.
"So... I need you to help me with this now..."
Don't confess to me, don't confess to me, don't confess to me...
"You see... I am absolutely in love..."
With anyone but me...
"...with Daisuke Ichijo!"
"You see, I've had my eye on him for a long time now..."
Why do I suddenly have a sense of disappointment?
"And I need you to find out if he likes any other girls."
"Why not do it yourself?"
"Because you're my personal servant now, and I can't bear the thought of hearing it from Daisuke-kun's mouth! I might die!"
"That might be a problem, actually..."
"Why is that?"
"Well, Ichijo-san and I aren't exactly on good terms right now..." Which was admittedly my fault, but the bigger problem here is that I don't really know if anyone actually likes you as a person let alone have romantic feelings for you, but I'm not gonna say that.
"I don't really care what you do, just do it or there will be a penalty!"
"What exactly happened to the 'sorry' and 'I know I was kind of mean earlier' part?"
"That was just so you could listen to me."
It's so comforting to know that I never accepted that apology in the first place. "I'll... go see what I can do, I suppose."
"Great! Lemme know as soon as you get some new info." She leaves him behind.
Can't there be some kind of eclipse on this Moon?
Daisuke leaned past the locker doors after changing his shirt. "Narukami."
"Look, I know I was... rather unwise about the whole pitching thing..."
"More like stupid."
"Yes, stupid. I was stupid." Yu really wasn't used to being called that, much less having to falsely agree with him. "And I want to say sorry about, um... being out of line and all."
Daisuke sighed, then sent something just shy of a smirk. "You know, you're really hard to stay mad at for some reason."
"Has my expression increased?"
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing. Just some words were put into my mouth by... something."
"You're kinda weird, you know that?"
"You're the best in almost every class, all the girls seem to love you, yet sometimes you say some weird things like your 'social link ranked up' and 'something-something Arcana thing.'"
"I say that out loud?"
"Yeah, and it's actually pretty funny."
"I, er... always thought that was all in my head."
"I guess I'll let this incident slide for another reason: you're crazy anyway. Hahahaha!"
"...Arigato." Yu didn't know whether to feel relieved or insulted. But it didn't matter much, anyway. He was only surprised at how easy this was handled; almost like the push of a button. In the caresses of his mind, the Strength Arcana turned over. But of course, his task given to him by Ai wasn't done yet. And it wouldn't be for a little while; he just repaired the social link, after all. A prying question like that being asked so soon would not be wise. He'll have to hold off on it for later.
Daisuke laughed again. "You've got balls Narukami. And I love balls."
Suddenly realizing the implications of his statement, Daisuke pulled back. "Er, meanwhile I'm gonna go to Junes and see those new TV's they've got. I guess I'll see you later."
"Welcome back," said Nanako.
Yu nodded, putting aside his umbrella. "Have you seen the forecast? How long is it gonna be raining?"
"I think it's gonna rain 'till 4 in the morning."
Izanagi stirred. "We must observe the television tonight."
Didn't need to ask me twice.
The television screen blankly stared back at Yu. He looked away from his darkened reflection and turned to the droplets on the glass of his window. Still pouring.
Midnight. The television screen lit Yu's face white and made a muted static. Yu could swear he was hearing ominous piano music playing inside of his head. He blamed Sarasvati.
What he saw inside the box was... an American football field.
A young man in a dirtied football uniform and blue helmet darted across the screen.
"Blue! Forty-two! Hut! Hut! Hut!"
The man was kicking the oval-shaped ball across the screen. Needless to say, this is not how "Amefuto" is meant to be played. The television was only showing the player's back. Stamped onto it was the kanji for "Ichijo" and the number "11."
"And strike one!" Using incorrect terminology, he kicked the football across the field. It was an impressive kick: 65 yards. It was also the only thing that seemed reminiscent of actual American football. The ball reached the goal post on the other side. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaand slam dunk!"
Yu covered his ears. He didn't want to hear the careless use of incorrect terminology and look at the idiotic soccer-style kicking of the football once more. While he covered his ears, he could finally hear his own thoughts.
There was no warning. No silhouettes, no news coverage... Ichijo's in the TV already. But how? Why? Why now?
The football player finally turned around to reveal Daisuke's face. The bandage was on his right cheek.
"Hey Mom! Dad! Did ya see me out there!? That was badass!" Immediately after saying that, his prideful expression descended into rage. "Shut up, Gramma! You don't know nothing! You don't know nothing at all! I'm not your grandson! I don't need you and your stupid bloodline! Shut up and let me do what I want!"
A congestion of fog bled from the sides of the screen and covered up Daisuke's expression. The television screen faded to black. Yu then took out the tape from his VHS player and archived it along with another recorded log: labeled "Amagi." His phone vibrated in his pocket.
I think I know what you're going to say, Yosuke...