Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self
by Victorio Osaria
Oh God, I'm months late again. At least I made a long one. I can't come up with a good schedule for updating this story, so always hope the next chapter to come up very soon at best, but expect it to come after months at a time at worst. I'm wondering how many people liked that little twist at the end of the last chapter...
Social Link events for the characters will happen, but some of the characters' rank-ups will only be in a passing mention, important to the character or not.
Also, investigations will go much more quickly and less complicated in comparison to the games, but similar to the Animation. Still though, I'm trying to make the team's deductive abilities a bit more progressive. How many times did any of you get frustrated with the mission briefings during the game?
If anyone remembers from Persona 4, the Ichijo family is briefly said to be a distinguished family in Inaba. I decided to elaborate upon that in this chapter. The Personas, unfortunately, do not play a big role in this chapter.
Akiraka no Taichou-"Captain Obvious"
Nani sore-"What's that" or something similar. Kill La Kill for the win. NANII SOREE.
Ichiban- number one, or "best"
Wakarimasen- "I don't understand"
Thursday, April 28, 2011: Return to Sender
"Just what the hell was that all about!?" screamed Yosuke.
The Investigation Team found themselves at a speed bump: what the previous victims had in common were that they were all connected to the first victim, Mayumi Yamano, in some strange, loose way. Not only that, but they were all women. Now that Daisuke Ichijo's Shadow had appeared on the Midnight Channel, this whole case had gone in a completely new direction.
"Daisuke's not a girl, and he doesn't have any connections to Yamano at all!"
Chie sighed. "Thank you, Akiraka no Taichou."
Yukiko waved her fan. "Well, this certainly shoots down the 'all victims are girls' theory, but we're still not certain that Ichijo-san is not connected to Yamano-san in any way."
"Yukiko-chan, I doubt a teenage jock like Daisuke really has any connections to a dead news reporter."
"Well, Yosuke-kun, you never know."
Yu intervened. "I think there might actually be a connection between Ichigo no Kaizoku and Yamano."
"Tell us, Narukami-kun!"
"Whoa, whoa, calm down. It's just a hunch, and it might not lead anywhere."
Chie crushed her soda. "Still, a hunch is better to go on than nothing at all!"
"Partner, I really hope that this is really an actual premonition and not just a wild goose chase. It's kind of hard to believe that someone like Daisuke has met Yamano."
"Maybe not personally," Yu paused. "But the Ichijo family is an esteemed name in Inaba, correct?"
"Well, yeah. Second to only the Amagi family, probably."
Yukiko sighed. I don't think our family has anything that special.
"Esteemed families in a rural place like this often get into the media, right?"
"Well, in the local news, yeah. Where are you going with this?"
"We should look up any old interviews on the Ichijo family. The chances of it are low, but we might find out about the person who interviewed them, and that person was hopefully Mayumi Yamano. I did some research on Yamano's bio on the web; she interviewed wealthy families before she became an announcer."
Yosuke raised an eyebrow. "I don't remember seeing many interviews on the Ichijo family, if at all."
"Oh!" Chie yelled. "I think I do! I saw the name Ichijo in the news when I was barely ten!"
"Yeah! Although I never actually paid attention to the news, so I don't know if Yamano was the one who interviewed them; my mom left the TV on at the time. I didn't really care about it because classic Featherman was on."
"Wait," began Yukiko. "You remember this, but you can never remember any of our study sessions?"
"I only remember this because it was the news article right before my favorite episode was being shown! It had Blue Three guest-star in it!"
"Uh-huh, Blue Three!"
Yu intervened. "I think you mean *'Bruce Lee'."
"Whoa! Narukami, you speak English? Sugoi!"
"I've traveled to America before. I kinda needed to know how. Anyways, now that we know of an interview with the Ichijos, we should look it up in our phones right now. Thank you for the info, Chie."
"Woohoo! I contributed something to the case!"
Yukiko flipped open her phone and typed in "uchi no ichijo interviews 2004," hoping to get some results. "Let's see... found one!"
"What's the article title?" asked Yu.
"It's a YuTsubu video with only 523 views. It looks like Yamano's on the thumbnail."
"Let's see it."
Yukiko held out her phone for all the others to see.
"So how long have you been in Inaba, Ichijo-sama?"
The blind, elderly matriarch of Uchi no Ichijo stayed silent. The nervous Yamano gripped her small microphone tightly.
"Shizuka na. Let me have my tea before I answer your questions, whelp."
"Eto... Yes, madam."
"Daisuke! Get me some tea, please!"
"On it, Grandma!" Daisuke came into the room with a tray of hot green tea. He didn't leave without saying hello to the camera. One sightless glare from his grandmother, however, and Daisuke left with ice in his pants.
Matriarch Ichijo sighed and put her cup down. "To answer your frivolous question, the House of Ichijo has lived in Inaba for many generations, continuously practicing ages-old Japanese customs. I will only answer three more questions. Four strikes and you're dead."
"W-Why only three more questions?"
"I only agreed to this interview because my insolent grandson claims that the appearance of the Ichijos on television would be to our benefit, but this is beginning to feel like a waste of time. Two more."
"Of course." Yamano shifted in her seat and visibly bit her lip. "So in regards to passing wealth, your family follows a strict inheritance system, correct?"
"Correct. My granddaughter, Michiko, is to be the next in line."
"But you have a grandson. Why isn't he the one to inherit the fortune?"
"Because he is adopted. Not of any blood relation. He does not deserve the hardly-earned wealth and to own the family business."
"Ah... naruhodo. So, I have one more question before we leave-"
"You have wasted enough questions. Please leave." Ichijo turned to the lens of the camera and stared down with eyes blanketed with ice. "Now."
Yamano turned to the camera as well. "Shu, turn it off. We're done here."
"Well, that was embarrassing," snarked Yosuke. "How the hell did this end up on TV the way it is? No cuts, no edits in any way- -are they trying to scare the audience with a real-life witch?"
Yukiko laughed. "Witch? That's a funny way of putting it! Haha!"
Chie groaned. "Yukiko, what's so funny about a blind old lady staring down the camera? If anything, it's really damn creepy. Actually, that might be the reason why it was aired on television; some people like creepy."
"Doesn't matter," Yu interjected. "We have our connection, however vague it may seem."
"Connection?" questioned Yosuke. "I don't see how an interview like this really adds to anything."
"Really?" said Chie. "I mean, Grammy Ichijo was obviously annoyed by Yamano, and she doesn't seem to like Daisuke-kun very much either. His own grandson. Did you see the way she glared at him? I didn't know blind people could make scary glares."
"Still, that isn't much of a motivation for her to kill Yamano and Daisuke, not to mention the fact that there didn't seem to be a reason to try to kill Yukiko either."
Yukiko sighed. "I don't get it; why would the killer target me? I have no personal connection to her."
Yu pondered. "The fact of the matter is that Yamano was involved with both the Ichijo and Amagi families in some form, and the killer is throwing these people in the TV for this fact, as well as any witnesses like Konishi. But I've got to admit; these details are too vague to make much of a picture of."
Chie punched into her palm. "Guys! We already know that Daisuke-kun's in the TV! We should go and save him! Ask questions later!"
Yosuke slammed his hands onto the table. "Oh SHIT, you're right! Why're we just sitting here sipping slushies when there's someone whose life's at risk!?"
"That does bring up another question," spoke Yukiko. "Doesn't it feel like there are some higher powers, bigger than this whole case, that had orchestrated our almost pointless mission briefings just for the sake of having a mystery plot? Like the developers of a popular fantasy video game adding in a whole murder mystery subplot that has the protagonists running around in circles, thus boring the player who just wants to kill monsters and rescue the victim?"
"...I really don't know what you're talking about," said Chie. "How the heck did you come up with that analogy?"
"Just a suggestion."
Yu sat up from his chair. "All right, team; we've got ourselves another rescue mission. Let's move out!"
Soon after, the Investigation Team entered into the Junes Electronics Department. It was surprisingly almost empty, with a few scattered customers finding what they wanted and then taking their leave. With one exception...
"Is that you, Adachi-san?"
"Hm?" Adachi Tohru looked away from the iPod he was examining to see the familiar face of his partner's nephew. "Konichi wa, Narukami-kun! Eh, what brings you and your friends here?"
"Yosuke here was just going to show us some of the big TVs in stock."
"Like that one?" Adachi nonchalantly pointed to the exact TV that the team was going to jump through. "That's a big TV if I've ever seen one. Phew, no wonder it's a couple thousand yen."
"Yeah, that's right." Yu responded, somewhat nervously. "What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be working on the case?"
"Ah, I'm off-duty. I just thought that I'd find something to jazz up my apartment a bit. And I mean literal jazz music, by the way. But damn! These iPods are getting more expensive every year, aren't they?"
"Really?" Yosuke intervened. "I always thought that they were at a low price here."
"Junes pricing at its finest," said Chie.
"Oh, shut up."
"Um, Adachi-san?" asked Yukiko. "Have you heard of any more disappearances recently?"
"Well, well, well, somebody here wants to talk about murders! Sorry, Amagi-san, but other than yours, no I haven't heard of any recent disappearances. It's a good thing big, strong Narukami-kun and his lackeys found you from wherever you were, seeing as how you're here and alive and not a corpse dangling upside-down."
Both Yosuke and Chie didn't like what Adachi said. This idiot thinks that this whole murder mystery is some sort of game, doesn't he? thought Chie. And who's he to call us 'lackeys'?
"Speaking of, where exactly were you?"
Yukiko felt a sweat drop. "That's, er..."
"Oh... were you planning to elope?"
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I'm sure it's none of my business, anyhow."
Yukiko fidgeted, not appreciating the joke Adachi had made very much at all. She was surprised to see that Yu wasn't that fazed by his comments.
"So, Adachi..." began Yu. "How did you know that we were the ones who found Yukiko?"
"Oh, her mom called and told us about her being found."
"I see. And how'sthe case going for you and Oji-san right now?"
"Not much progress, unfortunately. Two people killed after disappearing. We thought Amagi here would be another victim, but since she broke the pattern by being alive and all, she's considered to be a separate case, recently closed."
"Naruhodo. So no real progress on anything yet?"
Adachi sighed. "No, unfortunately. Of course, I'm really supposed to tell you some positive things so that you guys don't panic or anything. Wait a minute... Crap! Er, I mean *ahem* We're getting closer and closer to catching the culprit! Daijoubu!"
"...Yeah, it's obviously not working."
"Ah... I didn't think so. Anyways, I'm gonna be buyin' some cabbage for tonight." He left with a wave. "Take care now! Stay outta trouble!"
Now that the Electronics Department was completely empty, the Team would finally be able to enter into the TV with no disturbance. In an attempt to call Teddie, Yu placed his hand into the screen and beckoned for him again.
"That's strange," he said. "He's not answering."
Yosuke shrugged. "Maybe he's just fallen asleep or something. You go first, Chie."
"Hey! Why do I have to go first?"
"Why are you complaining?"
"Don't be such a baby. Get in!"
"AH! Don't touch me there you freaking per-"
A splash of mystical water later, and the bickerers disappeared into the screen.
"Are you still trying to get used to this, Yukiko?" asked Yu.
"It's still very strange to me. I actually hardly remember the last trip- -I was so tired. What did it feel like again?"
"That doesn't exactly help me remember."
"C'mon. It'll be fine. Er, use your fan to break the fall."
"We would still be falling, and we wouldn't die once we land. I don't really see the point."
"Thought it would ease your fears, even though it was obviously a stupid suggestion."
"Uh, I'm sorry. It didn't really help."
"We still need to get in."
"Right. Just need to... climb in here..."
Awkwardly lifting her leg into the TV, Yukiko slowly moved her head through the screen, then hesitated. "W-Wait, I think you should go first, Narukami-kun."
"Okay, but why? You're already halfway through."
"Eto... I just don't really want you to maybe look at... things... as I'm falling through. My, uh, skirt could... flow the wrong way."
"That's something I'd expect Yosuke to do. I didn't know you thought I'd be such a pervert."
"I don't know you especially well, either, so..."
"You don't trust me?"
"It's not that..."
"Ugh, fine. Whatever. Let me go first."
"No, it's fine! Er, I'll go anyway, just please-"
"Make a decision."
Yukiko froze at the sound of violent impatience in his voice. She looked back at Yu, seeing the tip of a blade staring back at her. "I'm so sorry..."
Almost immediately, the blade lowered, and Yu calmed. "I'm sorry for sounding so rude."
"I'm more sorry."
"No, the fault is mine."
"Um, how about we skip the apologies for now and I'll let you go first?"
Yukiko went ahead and began to climb into the screen. Before she completely submerged, however, Yu had these thoughts.
She does have some nice curves to her, though... Damn it! Stop proving her point, Narukami...
"You certainly feel better about entering first now!"
"I can't help it, Narukami-kun! I've never had such a thrill in my entire life! How did I pass out last time when I was falling through a vortex!? WAHOOO!"
"To be pleased to fall into a vortex to a hell full of Shadow monsters... You're something else, Yukiko."
"NEO RENJA FEZAMAN ARU!"
"Geez, Yukiko! We can hear you all the way down here!"
Exiting out of the vortex, the Investigation Team once again found themselves in the foggy studio.
"Hey," started Chie. "Where's that bear gone to?"
"Teddie!" called Yosuke. "Where are you?"
Yukiko gasped. "Look over there! Is that him!?"
The fog cleared up the further they walked, and the Team was shocked to see the colorful bear unconscious on the ground.
"Teddie!" gasped Yu. He was the first to run over to him and rouse him awake. "You okay?"
Teddie groaned. "Uhh... I don't feel bear-y good... Ah! Sensei! You and the others are back!"
"I-It was just a moment ago! Another person fell through the screen!"
"Just a moment ago!?" yelled Chie. "But we just came here! How did Daisuke come through so quickly!?"
"Chie, you know that time gets all screwy in this place," said Yosuke.
"What happened to you!?" Yukiko yelped.
"I was just going to say hello, but then the guy just screamed and punched me in the snout! I've never been greeted so rudely in my life!"
Yosuke briefly snarked. "I'd say that's a normal reaction for someone who's seen a hideous monster."
"I resent that!"
"Do you know where he's gone?" asked Yu.
"You guys are in luck! Since he was just here, the scent's still strong! Let's see... he smells... *sniff* He smells like he's scared for his life!"
"Follow the scent, Teddie!" Yu then called the team forward. "Everyone! Let's move!"
As the fog became clearer and clearer, another doorway appeared before the team. This time, they entered a narrow corridor lined with several posters, each one of them having an image of Daisuke Ichijo in a different sports uniform.
Yukiko saw a football (soccer) poster and read it. "'Daisuke's gonna kick this game off, off, and away'?"
Chie read a tennis poster. "'You just got served by Daisuke Ichiban'?"
Yu examined a basketball poster. "'Daisuke's gonna reach out to the hoop.'"
Teddie groaned. "These puns are un-bear-able!"
"Hypocrite," said Yosuke.
Yu scanned ahead. "It looks like we're entering into a stadium."
"Looks like it," said Yosuke. "Though it doesn't sound like there's any... spectators?"
Before Yosuke could even finish his sentence, loud clamoring from a roaring crowd echoed from beyond the doors and through the corridor.
"There's that many people in the TV World?"
"No," corrected Teddie. "Those aren't people... *sniff* Uh-oh... I'm sniffing a whole buttload of Shadows! Hundreds of them!"
"You've gotta be kidding me!" Yosuke yelled. "...I don't think I'm going to like what I'm going to see beyond those doors."
Chie held out her card. "Doesn't matter! We've gotta get in there and save Daisuke-kun now! I call upon thee, Tomoe!"
Kicking the card into spectral glass shards, the Persona Tomoe Gozen emerged from the blue flames. "I am at your command," she said to Chie.
"Whoa there!" shouted Yosuke. "Did you hear what Ted just said? Freaking a hundred Shadows out there! How the hell are we supposed to fight against that!?"
Yu sighed. "We don't have time to come up with a strategy, and I doubt it would work in any case; they're waiting for us. There's only one thing to do: we go through the doors and face them."
"Are you insane!?"
"Maybe. But are we going to let Daisuke-kun die?"
"Then that settles it. We go out there and pray they don't end up killing us as soon as they see us."
"That's a horrible plan."
"It's not a plan at all."
"But there's gotta be another way!"
"Do you see one?"
"Then we go through. Izanagi!"
The god of Japanese myth emerged from the flames, readying his naginata. "We shall see how strong these Shadows are, Narukami Yu-sama."
Yosuke sighed. "Guess there really is no turning back. Jiraiya!"
And so the legenday ninja of lore had risen. "Still having trouble with the odds, Yosuke-dasai?"
"STOP CALLING ME THAT."
Yukiko, with this being the first time she would be summoning her Persona, gripped her fan in hesitation. It only took a few words of persuasion from Konohana Sakuya to calm her nerves. "If you have faith in your friends as they have faith in you, then all will be well in the end."
"...Come forth, Konohana Sakuya!"
The goddess princess of the earth flew like petals from Yukiko's shadow, turning the blue flames of the tarot card into red fires of passion.
"All right," said Yu. "Let's go through."
A gentle push onto the large metal doors led to the shouting of the audience to become louder and louder. What met them was an American football field underneath a blood red sky. Grass covered the field a hundred yards across, but this grass was not a normal shade of green; sick, pale, and for all intents and purposes dead. At each end of the field stood the goals: distorted, cracked reflections of actual football goals. They creaked with an unknown force pushing onto them, for there was no wind. In the stadium's seating, hundreds of Shadow spectators shouted, cheered and jeered upon the field below them. But what caught the attention of the Investigation Team was the stage founded smack in the middle of the field, with the Shadow of Daisuke Ichijo holding an unconscious Daisuke by his collar and standing before a microphone. He began to sing...
"*Oo sei kan yuu shi... bai za donzu ari raito..."
The team and their Personas stood still, rather dumbfounded.
"*Wato sou purao duri wii herudo atsu za towai raitsu rasuto gurimingu..."
"Nani... sore...?" Yosuke questioned his own sanity as he saw what was happening.
"Do you understand what he's saying, Chie-chan?" asked Teddie.
"Wakarimasen," said Chie. "I'm flunking English as it is."
"He's singing the American National Anthem," answered Yu. "And badly at that."
"Why is he singing that song, though?" asked Yukiko. "It doesn't make any sense at all."
Tomoe groaned. "Enough of this nonsense! Slay it so we can end our torment!"
"Took the words right outta my mouth, Tomoe!" Chie charged ahead with a battle cry.
"Chie, wait!" Yosuke reached out for her, but was too late in stopping Chie from almost crashing into the sudden appearance of ten Magic Hands of the Magician Arcana.
Teddie sniffed. "Chie-chan! Tomoe-chan! They're weak to ice!"
"Noted! And stop calling me -chan!" Chie had Tomoe cast a Mabufu, freezing the group of Shadows.
"Be bear-y careful, Chie! There's one behind you!"
"Crap!" Chie dodged a Hand that leapt over her, then countered with a deft roundhouse kick. Tomoe covered her, cracking the skull of another with the heel of her boot. There were still more Hands that surrounded her.
"Dammit Chie!" cursed Yosuke. "When are you going to learn to not rush in blindly like that!?" He dashed over to her side and took out more Shadows with his kunai. Jiraiya cast a green tornado that caught the remaining Shadows and blew them away.
"I see that you had required assistance, Tomoe-chan," said Jiraiya.
Yu turned to see Yukiko watching the two in awe. "C'mon!" he told her. "Let's go help them!"
Yukiko broke from her trance and nodded. She unfolded her fan and followed after Yu, who unsheathed his katana. More Shadows of differing Arcana rose from the ground with a black aura. Yu cleaved three in a row, having Izanagi finishing them off with lightning. Yukiko lagged behind, still feeling new to the dangers of this mystery. She paused in her tracks, doubting herself on what she should do next.
"Yukiko! Attack now!"
A slew of Basalt Shadows emerged and began to strike back, but Yukiko's enhanced abilities shifted into gear; she threw her fan against one of them. It started ricocheting from Shadow to Shadow then almost mystically returned to its thrower. Yukiko chanted.
Konohana Sakuya heeded the call, and from her petals, she set alight a blast of flame upon the enemies, burning them to crisps.
"Saikou!" cheered Chie. "Go get 'em Yukiko!"
"Ah, I-I'm sorry!"
"For what?" Yu said. He slowed his pace for Yukiko to keep up.
"I didn't get to help you before. Er, I was kind of... frozen in place. I didn't really know what to do."
"Well, now you know. Knowing is half the battle."
"...Where have I heard that before?"
"Yukiko, focus. We've gotta keep pushing forward and cover Chie and Yosuke."
Yu lifted his tarot card up once again. "Change!"
Izanagi, bidding farewell, disappeared from sight. In his place came the High Pixie. In an almost seductive voice, she spoke. "Ready to serve, Yu-sama. Hmhmhmhm..."
"Uh, yeah..." Yu ignored the Pixie's laugh and chanted. "Masukukaja!"
The High Pixie casted her magic, and then a burst of speed surrounded the aura of Yu and Yukiko. They both dashed across the football field by several feet, beheading and vanquishing all of the Shadows in their path.
"*An za roketsu redo gureru! Za bomusu basutingu inu eru!"
"Yare-yare," Yosuke groaned. "He's still freaking singing this?"
"*Gebu purufu suru za naito dato ao furagu wazu sutiru zeru..."
"Shut up already!" screamed Chie. "How long to we have to listen to this crap!?"
"How long is this whole field!?" asked Teddie. "I'm so beary tired already!"
"*Oo sei dazu dato suta supangerudo bana yeto uweibu..."
Yosuke paused after stabbing another Shadow. "Wait, is this the end?"
"*FO ZA RANDO OFU ZA FURI!"
"Oh God, yes! It's the end!"
"*ANDO ZA HOMU OFU ZA BUREBU!"
"Finally! Now I can listen to my own tunes without him drowning it out!"
"That's what you were worried about!?" Chie groaned. "How about we focus on saving Daisuke-kun from his Shadow!"
"*Oo byutifuru, fo supeshasu sukaisu, fo anba webuzu ofu gurein..."
"No, no, no, no!" lamented Yosuke. "Not another one! How many anthems does America have!?"
"*Fo papuru mao-ten majesuchizu ababu za furu-tedo purensu!"
"AAAH! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! JIRAIYA, GIMME A SUKUKAJA!"
"Why did you not ask that before, Yosuke-dasai?"
"STOP QUESTIONING YOUR MASTER ALL THE TIME!"
Tomoe sighed. "How is it that the lecherous whelp of a Persona has more sense than his own host?"
"I guess Yosuke's aware of his own idiocy sometimes," answered Chie. "Good news is, it looks like we're not much farther from the stage Shadow Daisuke's singing on."
Yosuke's speed was enhanced even further, and then he zoomed towards the stage in a matter of seconds. He prepared his kunai for a stabbing blow onto the Shadow. "Thisiswhatyougetforyourterriblesingingyousonofabitch'scuntI'msogonna-"
The Shadow immediately stopped his singing. "URUSAI!"
In a fantastic anticlimax, Yosuke's face was met with the devastating punch of Shadow Daisuke. followed by Jiraiya screaming in pain and disappearing from sight. Yosuke himself had hit the dirt faster than when he arrived at the stage.
Chie gasped. "Yosuke!"
That punch was enough for the unconscious Daisuke Ichijo to wake up in his Shadow's hand. "...Where the hell...?"
"Ah, so you're awake, huh? That's nice to know. Marakukaja."
The Shadow waved his hand and cast a strong barrier around the stage, protecting himself and his host from the Persona-users arriving on the scene.
"What..." began Daisuke, still groggy. "What are you...? Who are you!?"
"Ain't it obvious?" cackled the Shadow. "I'm you. And you're me." He threw the host onto the hard wooden floor of the stage.
Eventually, Yu, Yukiko, Chie, and Teddie arrived to resuscitate Yosuke. Unfortunately, the barrier around the stage prevented them from attacking the Shadow and going through with their rescue.
"I can't..." grunted Yosuke. "I can't move... that bastard got me pretty good."
"Hold on, Yosuke," said Yu. "Rest up. We need you later."
"But we can't let the Shadow attack Daisuke!"
"The barrier's too strong. We can only watch."
"But that's not right! Urk... He only hit my face, but it feels like there's knives all over my body. Dammit..."
Yu turned to Yukiko. "Are there any other abilities Konohana Sakuya can use?"
Yukiko paused, then looked into her Persona's eyes.
"I believe..." began Konohana. "I believe I can heal Yosuke."
"Do it fast."
Yukiko emptied her mind, searching for answers from within herself. She connected with the mind of her Persona, learning the spell necessary to heal her friend. "...Diarama."
Konohana Sakuya placed her hand on Yosuke's forehead, emitting a pink light that surrounded his whole person. The large bruises on Yosuke's face were quickly disappearing.
Meanwhile, the Shadow laughed as he watched his host crawl away like a scared animal. Daisuke picked himself up and backed away even further, still shocked. "H-How... how could you be me? What the hell is this place!?"
"Puh-lease," scoffed the Shadow. "As if you really don't know what all this is. All of this 'barbaric foreign hullabaloo'."
"Wait... only Grandma says 'hullabaloo'."
"Yeah, quit pointing out the obvious to yourself."
"I don't see what's obvious."
"Oh, come on! You might be a brawny lughead, but even you're not that stupid. Quit lying to yourself, already!"
"'What' doesn't stop the lying."
"What? I don't understand..."
"Japanese, motherf*cker. Do you speak it?"
"Wh-yeah, yeah I do."
"Then you know what I'm saying, right?"
"No, I don't know what all this is. I just wanna go home..."
"No you don't. You don't even know what 'home' is. Not when nobody wants you."
"Say 'what' again! I said say 'what' again! I dare you! I double-dare you motherf*cker! Say 'what' one more goddamn time!"
This time, Daisuke yelled back. "I don't know 'what' this all is, I don't know 'what' you're talking about, and I don't know 'what' you are, you son of a bitch! But if you think you can say whatever the hell you want to me and get away with it, think again. Tell me the way back home or else I'm gonna kick your freaking ass!"
"Hahahaha... Whatever you say. But you know that even if I do tell you, you'd be lost anyhow. Just a lost, scared little bastard child who was adopted by a filthy rich family 'cause the parents couldn't get busy soon enough to make an heir."
"You shut the hell up about my family! You don't know what you're talking about!"
"On the contrary, I know more about you than you know yourself. You know your family doesn't really love you, especially since they got a real kid to keep the business going. And even if your parents kinda cared about you, even they can't disrespect poor, blind Grandma, who so obviously hates you. Hates you and the stupid foreign shit that you always used as an escape."
"They're not 'stupid foreign shit' to me! Baseball, tennis, basketball, football, from America or anywhere else, they mean the whole world to me!"
"Not to Grandma they don't. 'Barbaric and savage foreign nonsense' she called them. It fits you perfectly, because you're nothing like the traditional-ass family you were plopped into. You're a foreign element, something that doesn't belong. You wanna know who your real parents are and you wanna understand why they left you with them. But you can't can you? Playing these damn sports are the closest you're gonna get to knowing your real parents, because they're adopted by Japan from all those foreign countries, just like you are. You think your real parents were foreign; you think that because you're so naturally talented at all of these sports that maybe your dad or something was some international sports champion or something. But you know that's a stupid thought. You're just escaping the fact that the Ichijos don't love you as much as they say they do..."
"You... shut up. I love them, do you hear me!? They love me too! Why the hell else would they adopt me? You think you know everything about me? I just play these sports for fun! I'm not escaping from anything! I don't care about my real parents! Not... Not at all... Not..."
"Listen to yourself. You're doubting yourself even now, after what I said. But you've always known that what I've said is true, through and through."
"Wait!" yelled Chie. She tried to kick the barrier down, but even her enhanced strength wasn't enough to break through. "Don't say it, damn you!"
Yosuke, now fully healed, repeated Chie's cry. "Daisuke! Don't say it!"
"Please, Daisuke-kun!" pleaded Yukiko. "Don't!"
"It's too late," said Yu. "The damage has already been done."
Daisuke didn't notice the crying pleas from beyond the barrier. He yelled at the top of his lungs.
"YOU'RE NOT ME!"
"...I see. So you really don't accept me..."
...The Shadow paused, cracking its neck. It wailed, its teeth becoming more pointed as its wailing grew louder. Both of its lower arms disintegrated, and the shoulders became broader, followed by its entire body and its uniform ripping from the sheer size. It knelt down as a chain bled out from its right stump of an arm. On the other stump, veins enlarged and whipped out into a double-helix, with a cleat covering the end. A crack emerged from the Shadow's football helmet. Like a molted shell, the head outgrew the helmet as pointed horns pushed the cracked helmet pieces away. The face of the Shadow began to melt away and re-shape itself, disfiguring into a hideous quasimodo with eyelids almost peeling off.
Daisuke backed away in horror. "W-What the hell is going on...?"
"I... am a Shadow... the true self..." It whipped its DNA-shaped arm around its host and picked him up.
"Hey! Lemme go!"
"I'll send you back to your parents all right... in hell!"
The power emanating from the Shadow had been enough to put a crack into the Marakukaja barrier.
Yu readied his katana, and he sliced through. "Now's our chance! Initiate an All-Out Attack!"
As Yukiko and Chie chanted for their own Personas, Yosuke called upon Jiraiya once again, fully reinvigorated. With a battle cry, they all charged against the Shadow, ready to vanquish it with all of their might. The attack was succesful, and the Shadow dropped its host in pain.
Daisuke landed into Yu's arms and was gently put down.
"N-Narukami? What the hell are you and the others doing here?"
"No time to explain! Get away from here as far as possible!"
Teddie screamed. "CAREFUL! IT'S ABOUT TO ATTACK!"
"Get the hell away from me!" yelled the Shadow. "Annoying little pricks!" It charged its horned head against the airborne Yosuke.
"Whoa!" Yosuke used Jiraiya's wind to create a second jump. "Sheesh, that was close!"
"Teddie!" cried Yukiko. "Are there any weaknesses to exploit!?"
"I don't know what 'eggs-boidt' means, but I can't find any weaknesses! My nose isn't any good!"
"Try harder, bear!" answered Chie as she pulled off a jumping roundhouse against the Shadow's face. Daisuke had been observing her quick movements in admiration.
Jeez... I didn't know Chie-san could move like that...
"Grr..." growled the Shadow. "Get fried, bitch!" It inhaled a gust of air, with smoke emerging from its throat.
"WAH!" screamed Teddie. "It's gonna use fire! Get Tomoe-chan outta there, Chie!"
"Oh crap!" Chie pulled Tomoe back, but the fire was already leaving the Shadow's mouth.
Daisuke, realizing she was in danger, leapt forward. "Look out!"
He had pushed Chie out of the way... and put himself in front of the flames.
It appeared as if Daisuke was done for, and he closed his eyes as his fate was sealed...
"SCORE!" cheered the Shadow, overjoyed as it has successfully killed its host. Or... did it? "...What!?"
The smoke cleared, and Daisuke found that the extreme heat of the flames hadn't reached him at all. In fact... he was feeling a lot colder. Daisuke found that he was surrounded by an icy shield, and then he looked up to see...
"Is that... Jack Frost?"
"Ho hee ho! You got that right, Ichijo san!"
"As real as you'd think I'd be, ho!"
"So, you're not real. And this is just in my head that a beloved icon just showed up to save my life."
"In a way, yeah! Hee ho!"
"Frost," said Yu. "How about you shut up and hit the Shadow!"
"Yes sir, ho!"
"Wait, what?" Daisuke turned around to see Narukami standing behind him. "You're friends with Jack Frost?"
"More like he is me, technically."
"It's complicated. Bufula!"
The Persona cast an ice spell upon Shadow Daisuke, but found that the ice attack was actually not very effective.
"Dammit," cursed Yu. "Izanagi!"
Daisuke watched in awe as Yu magically levitated a card above his hand. A tall black figure rose up from the blue flames, wielding a naginata of awesome might.
"Whoa..." Daisuke still had no idea what was going on, but he liked what he saw.
Izanagi nodded. "I cast lightning upon thee, beast!"
The bolt landed, causing the Shadow's hairs to stand up as it writhed in pain.
"Way to go, Sensei!" cheered Teddie. "It's super effective!"
"But it's still not enough," said Yu. Indeed it wasn't; the Shadow grew angrier.
"Be a good sport and die, will ya!?"
Yu ducked as the Shadow whipped its helix arm. He prepared to dodge another of its devastating flame attacks, but the flames proved to be too spread out.
Konohana Sakuya flew in and shielded Yu from the blaze. Yu turned around to see Yukiko behind him, moving in dancelike motions as she synchronized with her Persona to manipulate the flames.
Look at her go, he thought.
"Narukami-kun! Strike again!"
"Right. Izanagi! Synchronize!"
"Hai!" Izanagi held his naginata as Yu did. He then followwd through with another cleaving against the Shadow, with major effect.
"Graah!" The Shadow struck the Persona with its horns in retaliation.
"Kuh!" Izanagi backed away. "It would make sense for a Shadow of the Strength Arcana to be this powerful."
"Shut up! It's time to get rid of the competition!"
Shadow Daisuke inhaled once again.
"No you don't!" Chie directed Tomoe to attack its neck, but Tomoe was tangled in its helix whip and was being crushed. Chie held her chest in pain.
"Hold on, Chie!" Yosuke led Jiraiya to rescue her, but even Jiraiya with his agility, flight, and speed couldn't dodge the bull's horns. Jiraiya dodged the tip, but the bulk of the horn knocked him away, sending Yosuke flying in the process.
"Daisuke, stay back!" ordered Yu. "Yukiko, you're with me. We're going to flank it from both sides."
Daisuke stood back a safe distance and watched as a spectator at the games. How he wished he could help out. How he wish he had his saviors' fantastic abilities. How he wished that he could protect Chie.
"Dammit!" he cursed. "What the hell am I gonna do to help!? How come I can't have awesome powers like evryone else!?"
"You do, Daisuke-kun!" said Teddie.
"You! I remember! You were the scary-looking clown thing I saw earlier!"
"How bear-y rude! I'm a bear, not a clown (though I do dabble into comedy now and again)! You punched me in the face, too!"
"Oh... Sorry, but you kinda surprised me when I first saw you. But whatever you are, you seem to know this place."
"I've lived here my whole life."
"As far as I can remem-bear... Though that's not very far, to be honest. B-But the point is that you're no different from everyone else. You can summon a Persona if you really, really want to."
"I... I can? Really!?"
"Yeah, and all you have to do is face yourself."
"Face... myself? How do I do that?"
"Look over there. Whaddya see, Daisuke?"
Daisuke saw the behemoth fending off attacks from the others. "I see a great, big ugly thing that's pretending to be me."
"But that's why you can't summon a Persona. You can't accept that that monster is really you."
"That thing is NOT me!"
As soon as he said that, the Shadow began to snarl and laugh. Its attacks became more frequent and unpredictable, throwing around Jiraiya and Tomoe like ragdolls.
"What the hell happened!?" Daisuke jumped from his corner. "How the hell did it get stronger!?"
"Do you see now, Daisuke?" said Teddie. "The more you say it isn't you, the stronger it gets. That thing is your Shadow , and your Shadow is you. It's the part of yourself that you hate; the one you can't accept. But it looks like Yu-sensei trusts you a lot; he knows you're stronger than that. Don't give into hating yourself."
Daisuke pondered. Narukami trusts me? He's really giving his all to this thing... I... I need to help out. "So that thing... That Shadow... Really is me, huh?"
The Shadow groaned as static flowed through its body... "What the hell?"
"What the hell?" Daisuke echoed. It was then he realized what he had to do. "Oh yeah... I'll face myself all right." He looked to his right and saw an American football right there to be kicked. He flipped it up and bounced it from knee to kbee like a soccer ball.
"What exactly are you doing, Daisuke?" asked Teddie.
"Nothing. I just don't know anything about Amefuto, that's all. Thought it wouldn't be much different from regular football, but... this really is more for throwing, ain't it?" He bounced the ball into his hand, then began to walk towards his Shadow.
"Keep hitting it, team! It's weakeni- -what?" Yu ceased his attacks to see Daisuke holding a football in his hands. He theb turned to see that the Shadow was too weak to be able to attack. He called the team off.
"So it's come down to this, eh?" spoke Daisuke to his Shadow. "Yeah, I admit it. There are moments when I feel thst my parents don't care much about me because I'm adopted. I know Gram doesn't like me very much either. And I feel like I've failed as a son. I hate losing."
"Shit..." the Shadow cursed. "How could you say those things like it's nothing?"
"It ain't nothing. Far from it. It hurts too much to know that some ugly monster like you's living in my brain somewhere. But I'm strong enough to know that you don't represent the whole me. I'm not just you- -I'm better."
"GRAAH!" The Shadow screamed in pain as it began to shrink. "WHAT DO YOU KNOW? NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, YOU STILL HATE YOUR FAMILY FOR NOT BEING REAL! YOU STILL WANNA ESCAPE! KEEP PUNTING AND BATTING AND SERVING LIKE THE FOREIGN SPORTS NUT YOU ARE!"
"And I won't deny that. I won't deny that I love Western sports because they give me an escape from the traditionalist customs of my adopted family. I won't deny that I wanna know who my real, probably foreign parents are. But there's one thing you did get wrong: I love my family, because without them, I'd still be stuck in that orphanage. I owe them my life." He lifted the football and prepared to throw it. "And this one's for you, me!"
The ball flew threw the air like a missile, aimed perfectly at the shrunken Shadow's head. It pierced through and caused an explosion of the Shadow's black essence.
"Wow!" exclaimed Yukiko.
"Whoa, sugoi!" cheered Chie.
"*Naisu shoto!" approved Yosuke.
The Shadow's true humanoid form was shaped from the remains of its previous body. Now he could see into hisbhost's eyes and see him accept the truth.
"And I'm you..."
Daisuke held out a fist, then the Shadow lifted a smile and pounded in response.
The Shadow levitated in the air under a blue light. He faded away to reveal a new, stronger form. A muscular masked man with a ponytail, dressed in a sash and robes, descended and knelt.
"I am... Fudo Myo-oh of the Strength Arcana. Your Persona and bodyguard against all things."
"Amazing..." Daisuke stepped forward to remove the demonic mask with inverted canine teeth. "So... you really are me."
Fudo Myo-oh remained silent, but he lifted his uncanny face with the slightest hint of a smile.
"Thank you," said Daisuke. "For being a part of me."
Fudo returned to his card form and descended into Daisuke's hands. Daisuke was happy, for he had found a new strength.
"So," began Yu. "You ready to go home, Daisuke?"
"Yeah, I am. Where is home, anyway?"
"Right o-fur there!" pointed Teddie. "My nose will lead the way."
"Gee, thanks bear."
Yosuke patted Daisuke on the back. "Man, you're gonna have a lotta crap coming up once you join up."
"Uh, I think we should wait for him to actually decide to join our investigation," said Yukiko.
"Investigation?" questioned Daisuke. "What investigation?"
"We're gonna have to tell you later," said Chie. "By the way, the way you through threw that weird-looking oval ball at your Shadow was pretty awesome!"
Daisuke blushed. "Th-Thanks, Satonaka-san."
"Ah, don't worry about the honorifics. I think saving our lives by getting rid of that Shadow warrants a first-name basis."
"I saved your life? My life was saved first by you and the others... Chie-san."
"Now that's better."
"Um, Chie," called Yukiko. "How come we don't call Narukami-kun by his first name?"
"Because he's the leader," answered Yosuke.
"Hey!" yelled Chie. "I was going to answer that because it was my question! Also, you only say my first name because you feel like it, jackass!"
"Yeah, you jackass!" repeated Daisuke.
"Wha-!?" Yosuke backed up. "You too, Daisuke!? Hey, Narukami! Help me out with this!"
"Help you out with what?"
"Were you even listening!?"
"Listening to what? Your music?"
"Wha- -gimme back my headphones now!"
"Sorry, here you go." He handed back the orange headphones to Yosuke. "Nice selection you've got. 'Burn My Dread', 'Mass Destruction', 'Pleather for Breakfast'..."
"While I appreciate your taste in music, at least tell me you wanna listen before you steal it!"
The Investigation Team laughed their stress from the battle away for a few seconds. Then Daisuke began to speak.
"I dunno what investigation you're doing right now, but count me in already! I've got the same thing as you guys have now!"
"Well, first off," began Yosuke. "We need to ask you what you were doing before you were thrown into the- -"
Daisuke yawned and fell to the ground with a snore.
"...Well, that was quick."
"Ah, he's exhausted," said Yu. "Yosuke. Let's carry him over to the exit."
"Yeah, yeah, on it."
The Investigation Team carried their newfound Persona-user to the exit studio. As Chie and Yukiko conversed about how many injuries they received during the battle, Teddie frolicked in front of Yu and Yosuke as they carried he exhausted and unconscious Daisuke over.
"He's probably gonna think this was all a dream when we leave," said Yosuke.
"We'll explain everything again tomorrow morning," answered Yu.If his Persona doesn't do it first.
Damn, he's heavy.
I know it's been far too long since last chapter. Kinda had a lot going on in school and I lacked the time. Ah well, I made sure to make this kong for you guys. Hope you liked how I changed things up. If you're wondering how Jack Frost can defend against fire like that, then well... I wanted Jack Frost to defend against fire. Just pretend he's got Absorb Fire fused in.
Even though I intend for an ultimate Yu x Yukiko romance, I realized with the way I wrote Daisuke that he could be a good candidate for a pairing with Yukiko too. Family problems, rich backgrounds, polar opposite appearances mannerisms, and personalities... Food for thought.
You guys can use Daisuke Ichijo and his Persona at any time in any way you want to. Pair him with Yukiko. Do whatever the hell you want. You don't need my permission. Just credit me with his "creation." Or credit me with the idea of combining these two characters. I just want people to know Daisuke Ichijo was kinda my idea. Kind of. I don't own anything, Atlus.