INDUCTION OF AN ANGEL.
Okay, what we have here is an extremely strange situation, to say the least.
There is a girl (probably a few years younger than me) who can somehow sense my Personas' presence. She can operate during the Dark Hour, she knows about Tartarus and the Shadows, and she apparently uses a Compendium for summoning her own Personas.
Question number one, how did she even know about Personas to begin with?
Who told her about Personas? Did Igor somehow get in contact with her? Didd Elizabeth? Ikutsuki, maybe, but even for all his insanity, I was sure he'd have told us about another Persona-user.
Number two, how did she even get her hands on a Compendium?
Persona Compendiums only exist in the Velvet Room. They must. If there were actual Persona Compendiums in real life, pretty sure Mitsuru would have told us at this point. She probably would have even given a few of them to us. Yuka isn't a member of the Velvet Room, seeing as how she didn't recognize Elizabeth...
And lastly, if she had the potential to enter the Dark Hour, if she had known everything about the Shadows to begin with, why didn't she do a thing about it?
I don't care how apathetic you are, I'd guess that if you knew of a 25th hour where everyone would turn into coffins and a giant tower would erupt from a freaking school, you'd probably try to investigate this even a little.
What is wrong with that woman?
...Well, her Social Link voice...thing didn't really say anything bad about her, unlike when I'd established the Jester with Ikutsuki, so I assume that there's more to her than just how she acted in her out-of-nowhere introduction...
The only thing I can do is wait.
"Oh. You're still here?"
"...You said we'd continue our talk at seven. It's seven."
I could seriously punch this woman in the face, she's so irritating...I think she should have been the Jester.
My irritation was reaching an all-time high, as you could tell.
"Please wait by the steps," I told Elizabeth. "I'm going to have a few words with this woman."
"Please, be civil, Master," she smiled.
"I'll do my best," I grunted. After Elizabeth had left me to my discussion with Yuka, I stormed over to the latter, my feet picking up speed the closer I got to her. "So, what do you know about Personas?" I questioned, glaring deep into Yuka's eyes.
"I know enough."
...Ugh. "...Be. Specific. If you have information, any form of information about Personas or Shadows or anything like that, tell me. I need it."
"For what, exactly?" She tilted her head in curiosity. "You're actually fighting the Shadows?"
"No, I'm collecting coupons for the elderly - of course I'm fighting the Shadows! And I need all the help I can get!"
"Jeez, relax, would you? Why are you so hysterical?"
"Woman, I need information. You're not giving me any information. Whatever you've got on the Shadows or Personas, I'll need it. Now."
"You sound like Ekoda."
"No, I do not sound like-!" Wait, what? "You know Mr. Ekoda?"
"Of course I do. He's my Classic Lit teacher."
"...You go to Gekkoukan?"
"Yeah, I do," she replied. "That's how I knew about you to begin with."
"...What do you mean?"
"I've watched you for a while. You and your friends have caught my interest. Although I never suspected you'd be taking the fight to the Shadows..."
"...You've been stalking me?"
"No! Stalking is such a cruel word...I was investigati-"
"You were stalking me. And my friends."
"Investigating. Don't say stalking. I don't like stalkers."
"Kind of ironic, then."
"Hey! At least I'm not insane, like you."
...Grr... "Insane, huh? What makes you say that?"
"You're actually willing to fight those monsters? You know what they can do to you...don't you?"
"I should be asking you why you're not even willing to fight the Shadows," I spat back. "What, are you afraid of them?"
"No, but I'm not exactly too keen on getting my hands dirty."
"And now, you sound like my mother."
"Listen to me, monsters that literally feed off people's minds plague this city every night," I said with the sternest voice imaginable. "Those who can fight can't just let these beings go off on their own and do as they please."
I know I sounded really harsh, considering I'd told Fuka that I wouldn't blame her if she didn't want to join S.E.E.S.
But my moral limitations couldn't afford to fetter me anymore. The Shadows were getting stronger, they'd keep on getting stronger, and I couldn't afford to let that slide. Not now, of all times. Not when we knew just when those huge Shadows were going to pop up.
Not when we'd actually gotten somewhere.
"...Why do you want to fight the Shadows, anyway?" she questioned, her own voice turning stern. "What do you get from it? And aren't you...you know..."
"Aren't you afraid of dying...?"
Not this song and dance again...
"I am afraid of dying," I retorted. "Of course I am. But I'm more afraid of seeing those I care about die. I can't let that happen. And you shouldn't, either."
"...Are you serious?" she snorted. "Is that your justification for fighting? Come on! You sound like an anime character!"
"At least I have a justification. You're just perfectly content, letting the people around you die after becoming Lost..."
"...Of course I'm not content with that," she snarled back. "But I..."
She stopped herself.
"What is it?" I asked.
"...The only reason I'm even alive right now is because..."
"It's nothing," she told me, a wistful, mourning expression on her face. "Never mind."
...Okay, what just happened there?
I mean...what did she mean by that? What's the only reason she was even alive?
I should have kept my mouth shut...but...
All I wanted was to get her to join my cause...
...I don't feel good about this.
To think I'd believed that I was ready to take on the Shadows, no matter the obstacle. But something must have happened to her to make her carefree, snarky disposition turn sour so quickly. And I'd made her remember it, all for my own selfish reasons.
"...I'm sorry," I told her, surprising her with my sudden statement. "I shouldn't have been so forceful-"
"I'll tell you everything tomorrow."
"Do you have stones in your ears? I said, I'll tell you everything I know about the Shadows and about Personas."
"...Are you serious?"
Yuka stared at me with the most blank, inexpressive stare I've ever seen. And I'm the master at that kind of stare. "You wait outside a fast food joint for ten minutes just to speak to me. You rage at me for a few more minutes on how I should 'give you information.' And just when I tell you I'll give it to you, you think I'm kidding?"
"...Now that you mention it, that does sound idiotic," I said. "But why are you suddenly considering it?"
"You made me remember something important," she grunted. "Something I was...not too fond of. Something involving the Shadows."
Oh. "Again, I apologize-"
"Meet me after school tomorrow," she cut me off. "Right now, I've got to get home. My mom's waiting for me."
And then she walked away, leaving me in front of Wild-Duck Burger, all by my lonesome self.
...Huh. That was...weirder than I expected it would be.
Wait a second; I just remembered...all the questions I had about her Compendium. I forgot to ask her about them.
Why didn't I...why did - I just - AAGH! Not this again...why do I always-!? Ugh, whatever...I should get Elizabeth-
"Thou shalt be blessed when thou chooseth to imbue thyself with the Angel Arcana..."
"Master, are you alright?"
"Elizabeth, have there ever been a case of a human obtaining a Compendium from the Velvet Room?"
"...Forgive me, but I have no knowledge of that," she admitted. "Perhaps Master Igor might know...I suggest asking him for details concerning if a human has ever obtained a Compendium."
...Oh. Fine. "I see. Thank you, Elizabeth," I replied. "I'll be sure to do that."
But not tonight. S.E.E.S. and I had Tartarus to deal with tonight. I planned to question Igor about it tomorrow.
"Is something bothering you, Master Yuki?" Elizabeth questioned. "You've been acting rather despondent ever since we'd left the restaurant whose mascot was an anthropomorphic duck."
"Could it be that the burgers you'd eaten back at the restaurant are causing stomach troubles?"
"No," I chuckled. "I'm just feeling a bit uneasy..."
"...I thought I was willing enough to do anything against the Shadows," I replied, slumping in disgust. "I thought I had the strength to do whatever it took to destroy those monsters, through good or...questionable means. But now...I don't know."
I'd struck a sensitive nerve with Yuka. I must have. I'd tried using force to get her to give me what she knew about the Shadows, and in the end, all I'd done was make her remember something she probably wanted to forget. Besides, I had just been assuming she had information on the Shadows since she had a Compendium. What if I had found out she had none? What if she'd known just as much as I had?
"Don't be so hard on yourself, Master," Elizabeth said. "In fact, why aren't you proud of yourself?"
"According to Master Igor, there have been many other Wild Cards before you who've been faced with an ordeal like yourself; they steel themselves to do whatever's needed to defeat the Shadows, and they find that they cannot. This is not a sign of weakness. It is merely a sign that you still have your humanity, and that you are still willing to stay true to your values. That is true strength, if I've ever seen it."
"...Huh. I've never thought of it that way," I admitted.
"I suggest you start doing so," she smiled. "Humans often find it easier to succumb to brutality in order to achieve their goals, thinking it the only route available when a situation gets desperate. However, such a mindset is poor, and would lead to a vast number of...undesirable outcomes. Yet, while staying steadfast to the values you've been raised with is truly noble, it will be quite troublesome when those same values would get in the way of achieving your goal..."
"...True," I replied. "I guess it all boils down to making the choice you think you'd least regret making."
And I regretted what I had done to Yuka. It was unfair of me to rage at her when using her powers was completely her decision to begin with.
"I hope that, in the future, you will make choices you won't regret," Elizabeth told me. "I admit...I do not wish to see you so sad. I prefer it when you smile. It makes the atmosphere here...all the brighter."
"You're welcome, Master."
THOU SHALT BE BLESSED WHEN THOU CHOOSETH TO IMBUE THYSELF WITH THE WORLD ARCANA...
...Okay, I admit, I should have seen that coming.
But why was it so loud...?
When I got back to the dorm, I found the lobby populated by everyone except the senpai and Ikutsuki. Yukari and Fuka were on the couch, studying and transferring notes, while probably being in the middle of talking about...girl things, and Junpei was watching television, sitting on the armchair with a bored expression on her face.
He got up out of his slump after I burst in through the door.
"Dude! Where have you been? You said you'd be back here by seven," he suddenly said, startled at my sudden advent into the dorm.
"Sorry," I told Junpei. "I had some business to settle, and it took longer than it should have. Anyway, I've got news."
"What kind of news?" Yukari questioned, still focusing on her notes with Fuka by her side.
"I've found another Persona-user."
That got everybody's attention.
"Another Persona-user?" Fuka stood up from the couch, curious over the prospect of another potential member of S.E.E.S. "Who is it?"
"Her name is Yuka Narukami," I replied. "She goes to Gekkoukan, like us, but I think she's of a lower grade."
"How'd you find out about her?" Junpei wondered, getting up from his own seat.
"She flat-out told me that she knew about Personas," I said. "And she knew that I could carry multiple ones."
"Wha - how'd she know?" Yukari exclaimed. "How could she know about these kinds of things when we barely even know anything about the Dark Hour...?"
"Speaking of the Dark Hour, she also knew about Tartarus, the Shadows, and the fact that I hang out with people who've got Personas as well."
"She told you all of this?" Fuka asked me.
I nodded in response. "She also said she was going to give me information on the Shadows and Personas tomorrow, after school. I'd like you all to come with me there."
"Should we let the senpai in on this?"
"Of course we should," I said to Junpei. "That's pretty much a given."
"...That's true," he admitted. "So...tomorrow, then?"
"Yes," I said. "Tomorrow, we have to meet with Yuka and see just what she has to offer us...and, I'd like to give you one piece of advice."
They stared at me, waiting for what I had to say.
"Patience is the key to working with this girl. She's...a bit difficult, if you catch my drift."
"How so?" Yukari asked, tilting her head to the side.
"...You'll see what I mean," I replied. "Please tell the senpai about it. They should know."
"Why aren't you telling the senpai about it?" Junpei questioned.
"...I had a bit of a conflict with both of them," I replied. "I don't really like talking about it. If you want to know, ask them."
"Alright then," Junpei sighed.
"Also, could we postpone our trip into Tartarus?" I asked. "I feel kind of tired right now."
Everyone began giving looks at each other before returning their respective gazes toward me.
"It's alright," Yukari told me. "If you need to rest, you need to rest. You are the field leader, after all."
"Have you eaten dinner yet, though?" Fuka asked, tilting her head.
"I've eaten enough for tonight," I said hastily, getting up off the seat and heading to the stairs. "Night, everyone."
"Good night," Yukari said. "Sleep tight!"
"I will. Remember! We all meet up tomorrow, after school!"
After school ended, we tried to find Yuka. Each and every one of us, yes, including the senpai (apparently, Junpei told them about Yuka a few minutes after I'd gone to sleep last night) went out searching for her. We couldn't find her.
She hadn't specified where to meet up. So, S.E.E.S. ended up spending thirty minutes of valuable time searching every single room, every single area, and every single open space just to get to her. We couldn't find her.
Eventually, Mitsuru managed to find her by searching for a girl with her description on the security cameras. And yes, she had access to the security room. It shouldn't be surprising at this point.
And guess where we found her.
The front gates, simply just standing there, as if waiting for someone.
The front gates were the first place we'd checked, and we had kept on checking that place every five minutes, and each time, she wouldn't show up.
Until this. Particular. Moment.
"There you are!" Yuka exclaimed as we walked right towards her. "I've been looking for you everywhere! Where were you, anyway?"
"Looking for you."
She smirked at that, as if knowing of my irritation at how much of a giant waste of time all of this had been. "I didn't think you'd bring this many people with you," she said. "But then again it makes sense, considering they're all Persona-users, too..."
Mitsuru cleared her throat.
"Hello, Yuka Narukami. I am Mitsuru Kirijo, heiress to the Kirijo Group and leader of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad."
"A.K.A., Shadow hunters," Yuka said in response to Mitsuru's rather elegant introduction. "Am I right?"
"...In simpler terms, yes," Mitsuru replied, her left eye twitching in restrained rage.
I didn't blame her. And in brutally honest terms, could you?
"Alright then, I suppose you're going to interrogate me on what I know about the Shadows and Personas, am I right?"
"You've got that right," I replied.
She sighed. "Follow me. I think it'd be better to talk in a more...friendly environment."
"What have you got in mind?" Yukari questioned.
"Just follow me."
Wild-Duck Burger. Sigh.
"So. Let's start with each other's names, Personas, and skills," Yuka said after we all had gotten settled at a booth. "We'll start from the guy with the cap, going from left to right."
"Why do we have to do this?" I questioned. "I mean-"
"Let's just say I'm planning to do more than just give you information," she cut me off. "And it would be more convenient to know each other's names while talking about this stuff, don't you think so?"
"...Fine." I pinched my nose in agitation. "Junpei, start us off."
"O-okay...my name is Junpei Iori. My Persona's name is Hermes, and I'm pretty much the tank of the group. I use a katana to fight the Shadows, and Hermes mostly uses fire spells and offensive attacks. So yeah. Pretty awesome, huh?"
And everyone was silenced for a few seconds, dumbfounded at the last five words that had escaped Junpei's mouth.
I find that Akihiko's more of the tank. Junpei's more of the comic relief.
"My name is Yukari Takeba. My Persona is Io, and I use bows and arrows against the Shadows. Io uses wind spells for attacking, but is way better at performing healing spells."
At least Yukari didn't end her introduction with a 'pretty awesome, huh?'
"I'm Akihiko Sanada. I control Polydeuces, and my main weapons are two silver gauntlets. My Persona is mostly an offensive type, using strength buffs and electric attacks, but Mitsuru thinks he can use healing spells, if I train him more in that aspect."
Hmm. That's interesting. I've never known offensive types could learn healing spells.
"My name is Fuka Yamagishi. My Persona's name is Lucia, and while she doesn't have any real offensive spells, she is proficient at healing, can detect Shadows, and can sense their weaknesses and strengths."
Yuka seemed genuinely impressed by Lucia's capabilities. 'Seemed' being the key word here.
"Although I've already introduced myself, I'll do so again for the sake of convenience. I am Mitsuru Kirijo, leader of S.E.E.S., and host of the Persona Penthesilea. She is adept at both offensive and healing spells, is weak against fire, and can also analyze the Shadows for their weaknesses, but not to the extent of Yamagishi's Persona."
Yuka smirked at how obviously impatient Mitsuru was. I'd have told Mitsuru to calm down, but her rage was definitely justified in this situation.
My turn was up.
"My name is Makoto Yuki. I am the field leader of S.E.E.S., and I can control multiple Personas. My main Persona, and my personal favorite to use, is Orpheus. Examples of others I control are Pyro Jack, Jack Frost, Angel, Apsaras, Forneus, Inugami, and Pixie. I can use multiple spells with effects ranging from offensive to defensive to healing to even instantly killing...and my strongest Persona is named Thanatos."
"Thanatos?" Yuka questioned. "I've never heard of a Persona named Thanatos..."
"I don't even know why he's with me in the first place," I admitted. "But he gets the job done."
"...Fine then. Okay, my turn." Yuka cleared her throat. "My name is Yuka Narukami. I don't really have a Persona of my own...but I do have this."
She zipped open a bag of luggage which I just noticed she was carrying around with her, and fished a large blue book out of it.
It had little to no detail, save for the two words emblazoned on the hardbound cover: Grimoire Animus.
"This," Yuka began, "is my Persona Compendium. With it, I can summon hundreds of Personas and make them do my bidding without any mental strain whatsoever. I'm technically a wild card, except I'm not born with the ability."
"What's a Wild Card?" Fuka asked.
"You don't know? That's what blue-hair is. Someone who can control multiple Personas. You guys didn't know the term?"
Everyone gave me quite a stare. And I didn't like it one bit, so I decided to break the awkwardness.
"Where did you get it?" I asked Yuka.
She replied, "I was involved in an accident years ago. I survived...but my brother and my dad didn't."
She continued, "My mom survived too, and a few years after the accident, she gave me this book and told me to never let it out of my sight. Ever since then, the book and I have been inseparable. And thanks to this book, I know a whole lot about Personas and Shadows."
"Like what?" I questioned.
"Like how every person has a Shadow." ...What? "You should all see your faces," Yuka snickered.
"What do you mean by that?" Mitsuru questioned.
"Okay, I'll start with this: Shadows and Personas are the same thing," Yuka said in response. "That's why you're able to fight them in the first place. Did you all think that Shadows were mysterious invaders or something?"
... Igor told me something like this once. I remember.
"Shadows are the lower parts of the psyche everyone has," Yuka continued on. "They are suppressed human thoughts and feelings given physical form. When people are unable to face their darker selves, their Shadows break loose, free from all control. But sometimes, people's Shadows can be tamed when they have enough drive and determination to clear their mind and accept their suppressed selves. When that's all said and done, the Shadows become Personas."
Everyone was either shocked or they didn't know what to feel.
I was actually not that surprised by the concept of Shadows being untamed, uncontrollable Personas, but...the fact that I had been controlling what are basically reformed monsters was just mind-blowing.
But then...wait, what does that mean about me? I mean, if I'm controlling multiple Personas, does that mean I've been controlling Shadows that I've somehow managed to tame without any form of effort at all?
"There are other little bits of info about the relationship between the Shadows and Personas all in this nifty little book. I'd like to warn you, though; there are some...side effects you might get when reading it."
"Side effects?" I questioned.
"For one thing, reading this book has made me able to tell the difference between normal people, Persona-users, and Wild Cards. But for some reason, I can't tell what Arcana your Persona is or its name."
Huh. So that's how she was able to find out about everyone.
"Are you willing to let us borrow your book?" Mitsuru asked.
"Of course I'm not," Yuka crossly stated. "No one can take this book. Not even for a little bit. I made a promise to never let this book leave my sight and I'm going to keep that promise. But I'm willing to share more of the info in Animus with you...so I'd like to propose a deal." What...? "I'll offer my services to you. I'll let you in on everything - and I mean everything - I know about the Shadows, Personas, and the like, all for just one thing in return."
"...What do you want?" I asked her.
"I want to join you guys. And I want to know more about what happens at midnight."
...What have I done.
FINALLY! I'M DONE!
This chapter...I hated this thing so much...
Writer's block...why do you do this to me...?
At least it's over.
And HEY! YUKA'S A PART OF SEES NOW! *confetti drops in from ceiling*
How marvelous for the story. And how painful for Makoto.
Tune in next time! We go and see Yuka's abilities and meet new Social Links!