Rise Kujikawa hadn't played many video games growing up.

There was just never enough time. She knew how to play some arcade games from her time in middle school when she went out with friends. Sometimes she and her classmates would hang out at the arcade after class and just kill time. Of course, that was before her career as an idol took off. Still, even before she became Risette she had never been a big fan. The games were just flashing lights and simple commands in order to reach the end, or as close to the end as one could get before the familiar words GAME OVER began flashing on the screen due to a wrong move.

Not to mention the music for a lot of games were horrible. They often sounded like a computer blurting out its best impression of a catchy rhythm. Honestly, she couldn't tell if what she was listening to was music or a bunch of sirens and car alarms going off.

No, arcades weren't the place Rise liked to be when she was younger.

When she was younger, when dinner was finished and she completed the chores assigned to her around the house, Rise would take a portion of her allowance and go to her town's Discotheque.

Rise was well aware that they were called nightclubs, or just clubs, in the modern age. But 'Discotheque' made is sound more... exotic, to Rise. Made it sound more fun and unique.

Her town's Discotheque opened early, often around four so that they could get money from middle and high schoolers who were on dates or something until eight when they kicked the kids out. They wouldn't serve alcohol, just soda and juice. But Rise had heard that some upper class men could get a hard cider for the right price, and only one.

Rise didn't do much dancing, but she did a lot of listening. Sometimes live bands played, sometimes they just popped someone's mixtape into the stereo. So she just sat there, drank her juice, and listened to the music. Rock, pop, rap, alternative, techno... she heard it all. Rise had thought that this is where she belonged, this was a place she wouldn't mind spending countless hours in rather than an arcade.

And this 'dungeon'... it was reinforcing the reason why Rise didn't like video games all that much.

The inside of the castle stepping in was just as uninspired as the outside. A long stone passageway, filled with 'pixels' in place of blocks along the walls, ceiling, and floor. Each one creating something vaguely resembling a stone brick, but misshapen. A few 'pixelated' torches were lit ahead, the flame flickering from one position to another to resemble movement.

It was... bizarre.

"My... place wasn't much to sneeze at, but at least it had something going for it." Rise thought to herself.

Sure the hallways were all the same, but it resembled what Rise thought the inside of a strip club looked like. Sure it hadn't been fun inside but her Shadow's domain at least had some authenticity going for it. This place however... this was honestly just so unimaginative it just circled back to creepy. Plus, the video-game like music that seemed to be on a loop was beginning to hurt her ears.

…Then again, if this place really was where the killer was hiding, that might've been the vibe the guy had been going for.

"Man, it's like I stepped into one of my old Gameboy games." Yosuke muttered while looking around. "It's pretty crazy."

"I haven't played many video games, so I'll take your word for it." Johnny replied while shifting his weight on Gyro. "Any suggestions you wanna give to get through something like this?"

Yosuke laughed nervously. "Other than Zubats are the worst and to keep repellant on you when getting in, not much."

Chie nodded in agreement. "Yeah. They are the absolute worst."

"What's a Zubat?" Teddie asked curiously, not understanding the reference.

Before anyone could answer, white letters began to form in the air in front of them. Rise tilted her head as she stared at the.

"How are they...?" But she answered her question simply by looking around. Himiko's power allowed her to see using sound, and she 'saw' little pixelated dots coming out of the walls, ceiling, and floor in order to form the message. "I see... so it's being formed using the environment. That's really… hey, what's that?"

For a split second, she thought she could see something beneath the ground. Like when part of a thin puddle on the ground clears for a bit when a raindrop falls onto it.

It was like there was a floor beneath the floor.

But it soon passed, as a small 'ping' came from the area in front of her. There were two commands on it.

-Begin a new quest

End your quest

"What the hell...?" Gyro muttered, a bit bewildered by this new development.

The cursor lingered on "End Your Quest" for a second before settling back on "Begin a New Quest". Then, it grew smaller and the message shifted into something new.

Please Enter Your Name: _

"Holy shit, even his title stuff is like a video game." Kanji's eyes narrowed as he said, "I mean, what the hell!? Can't he show a little personality or somethin'?!"

"Yeah, this is just annoying..." Rise muttered in agreement. She couldn't place her finger on what exactly was frustrating her though. Maybe it was the killer's Shadow trying to communicate with them or rile them up?

Teddie's Shadow, and her Shadow by extension, didn't know when to shut up. They were always saying something that rounded back to the originals' problems in some way. They were both like some twisted manifestation of their complexes, with personalities to match. Rise's Shadow was a ditzy stripper who hid her cold and bitter personality underneath, while Teddie's Shadow showed the bear's inner existential dread and hidden intelligence.

This entire sequence was devoid of that.

Devoid of personality or individuality.

Just a set of instructions and responses.

A one-way conversation between the killer and himself.

Slowly, the name was filled.

MITSUO

"Yeah, as if we needed another reminder that this is his place..." Johnny grumbled while Yukiko shook her head.

"I don't know Johnny... this seems different." Yukiko bit her lip as she said, "Like it's as if he's trying to tell himself..."

"What's that supposed to mean Yukiko?" Chie asked, but Gyro just sighed.

"Maybe he's the forgetful type, and needs to put notes on everything or else he'll forget it." Gyro shook his head. "Again, don't think too much on it. Let's just keep moving forward, or else we'll waist too much time and he can escape."

Rise gave a small chuckle. "It's still kind of a surprise seeing you so serious like this Gyro..."

"I can break out a joke or two if you need me to lighten the mood!"

"Yes, because that's exactly what we need..." Johnny muttered with a roll of his eyes.

"Please don't." Rise shook her head with a grin. Same old Gyro. "Anyways, I need a few moments to map out the place. Give me a sec."

Rise closed her eyes, and she felt the presence of the helmet be lifted, and instead felt something over her eyes. She also felt the presence of another being just behind her, bathing her in the warm feeling of familiarity.

Himiko, her Persona. It's true form when it wasn't in Discovery mode.

She opened her eyes, and saw the map of the 'floor' they had made enough noise, and the music playing was certainly helping in the mapping process.

However, something was... off.

"It's just a hallway guys. "

"Huh?" Gyro looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"I mean it's just a hallway." Rise pointed forward. "It goes on for a bit, just less than a mile, and then it ends at a door... there's something weird on it, but the best I can tell is that it's an exit of some kind."

"That's really straightforward." Johnny placed a hand on his chin. "Too straightforward. It's probably a trap."

"It's also our only way forward." Yukiko reminded Johnny. "So it's not like we have much of a choice."

"I also can't hear any Shadows so far, so if there are any they're behind that door." Rise announced.

"Damn it..." Kanji groaned. "Why can't we just go through a regular door or something? How come these Shadows gotta play these games with us?"

"Ha, good one Kanji!" Gyro laughed.

"Huh, what're you… gah, I wasn't making a pun, Senpai!" Kanji said with an exasperated sigh.

"I guess there's no way of checking if there's an 'easy' mode for this place. We'd probably get done a lot faster that way." Yosuke said bitterly.

"…Guess all we can do is press on and move forword." Gyro said, his eyes narrowing. "But be ready to fight."

Everyone nodded, and Teddie shouted, "I won't let you down, Junkyouin!"

Rise herself smiled as Himiko returned to Discovery mode. "I'll let you guys know if anything pops up, but don't think you need to defend me if something pops up!" Rise hefted the bat over her shoulder for emphasis.

Her weapon against otherworldly monsters inside this TV World.

With everyone on the same page, the nameless team headed forward into the unknown and past the words.

But Rise could 'see' what happened to them.

They hovered in the air for a second before they sunk down and melted into the floor.

"It's like they were watching us..."

Not only that, but the fact that none of their names had shown up or been designated as the player of the game… but instead it had been the killer's name… what did that mean…?

Rise pushed her anxiety away for the moment and hurried after her friends.


xxXXxx

It didn't take them long to reach the end and that they hadn't run into any trouble didn't make Chie any less worried than she had been before. If anything, the lack of activity was making her even more nervous. Normally this was the point where Shadows would be attacking them.

There was a certain order to things that Chie had, surprisingly enough, gotten used to. They would explore a bit before a Shadow attacked them. They would fight, get a few scratches, beat the Shadow, and then continue on until they reached the 'mini-boss' so to speak. Afterwards, they would then find the big bad shadow, get pretty messed up, win, and then return home. That's how it always had been.

"…Unless instead of fighting us the Shadow's goal is to freak us out." Chie mused. If that were the case, it was succeeding so far.

She glanced at Johnny, whose mouth was turned into a worried frown. Chie was glad that she wasn't the only one thinking this. However, Johnny was probably imagining the worst in regards to the trap they were probably heading to.

"I should probably say something to make us laugh or something... that way we can calm down a bit..."

No, wait that would probably be awkward. Especially when they were both so close to the end of the hallway. Besides, they needed to be super focused on whatever came next.

Chie hoped, prayed that it was the murderer. The creep who murdered Yamano, Saki, and her teacher. Who had had dared to act like Yukiko 'owed' him a date just by existing, who kidnapped all her new friends, who haunted Rise in her dreams… who had hurt Yukiko, and got her, Johnny, and the others brought into this crazy journey in the first place.

Before Chie could continue to stew, she heard Kanji shout, "Okay, what the fuck is this shit!?"

Chie blinked as she looked ahead to see a simple pixelated door, sealed shut as expected… but in front of it was a small podium, with a screen on top of it. On the screen was the picture with the outline of a slouching teenager who looked vaguely like the guy they were chasing. Behind the outline was a massive explosion, and in front was a title reading:

The Embodiment of Mitsuo the Hero

Press Start

"Yeah, how about no."

Chie couldn't help but snicker a bit at the American's loud remark. Typical Johnny Joestar.

"Come on, lets open the thing." Johnny said, gesturing to the door.

"You took the words right outta my mouth, Senpai." Kanji grunted as he moved around the podium and to the door. He grabbed the handle and moved it slightly, but a click echoed out. Kanji clicked his tongue and turned back to them. "Damn thing's locked."

"Well, that figures." Yosuke sighed while scratching the back of his neck. Chie noticed the screen change.

"Hey guys! Look!" Chie shouted while pointing to the screen. On it was a new message:

Level Two unavailable until player has completed Mitsuo the Hero's glorious first quest.

"Wow... So this really is a game..." Teddie frowned as he said, "But... this is strange. Only Yuki-chan's Shadow did something like this, but not to this extent. How is this grizzly doing this?"

Chie could not help but flinch at that memory. When Yukiko's Shadow separated Chie from the others to fight her one on one...

"I don't wanna go through that again..."'

"You mean this isn't normal Teddie?" Gyro asked with a frown, only for Teddie to shake his head.

"No! While Shadows can control their dens, it's never to this extent! Something must be beary wrong with this guy for his Shadow to be able to control things to this extent!"

"Yeah, well, it's not like we expected that the killer would be someone who's well adjusted or anything." Chie muttered bitterly.

"So we have play this stupid game to move forward? Great, just great..." Kanji grunted as he turned around. "So who's it gonna be?"

"I haven't played any games, so it can't be me." Yukiko informed them before glancing to Chie. "Chie, haven't you gone to the arcade just as much as Yosuke-kun?"

"Yeah, I guess..." Chie never really took stock of how much time she spent in the arcade. After all, she had a home console. So there really wasn't much of a point to go to the arcade unless it was with friends. "Yeah, maybe I can do it."

"I can tag in when you die." Yosuke supplied cheekily while Chie flushed.

"H-Hey! Have more confidence in me damn it! I kicked your ass in DDR remember?"

"That was only in DDR, and no you did not!"

"Jesus Christ, can't you too save it until after this shit is done!?" Johnny demanded, causing both to look at him. Chie's cheeks flushed more and she looked away in embarrassment.

"S-Sorry Johnny..." Chie muttered before glancing at Johnny. He simply clicked his tongue in annoyance before Gyro injected his own thoughts into the matter.

"Come on Johnny, it's natural for tag-teams to have spats like this! Especially when it comes to matters of the controller!" Gyro then grinned. "Get it? Because they are almost having something like a lover's spat!"

Chie's face morphed into a mix of disgust and horror. "There is no way in hell I'm ever going to go out with him!" Chie shouted as she pointed to Yosuke, who grew indignant from it.

"H-Hey! You don't have to sound so disgusted with the idea! I'm not that bad!" Yosuke shouted out angrily, stamping on his foot. "Besides, who the hell would wanna go out with you, ya meat freak?!"

Chie would normally counter with an equally biting remark, probably mention Yosuke's own preference to handle meat in his bathroom most of the time but... she paused, and looked down in shame. That comment... it hurt. It really did. It was like that time Johnny made fun of her eating habits, but worse.

"W-Why wouldn't anyone want to be with me just because I like meat?"

She suddenly felt extremely insecure. Were her eating habits really that strange? Did… did guys think she was a freak because of that?

Did Johnny think the same as them?

Before she could think more, Yukiko shouted, "Yosuke-kun, that's too far!" The steel in her voice was impressive, and reminded Chie of how much she changed from just a few months ago.

Yosuke took a step back, blinking in surprise before sighing. "Y-Yeah. That was a low blow... sorry..."

"I'm sorry too." Gyro said with a sigh. "I just wanted to lighten the mood."

That, Chie could understand. This was Gyro after all. Sometimes, he made weird jokes just for the hell of it.

Other times, it was just him trying to help in his own way.

"Let's just forget about it, OK?" Chie asked before walking up to the podium, making a light glance at Johnny who was staring at her. He gave a light nod of encouragement, which lifted Chie's spirits a bit. She reached the screen and pressed on the screen. "Let's just get this over with."

She pressed the 'start' button…

...And nothing happened.

"Huh?" Chie pressed on it once, twice, five times. Nothing happened, and she grew more frustrated with every press she made. "Okay, what the hell?!"

"Are you sure it's a touchscreen?" Yukiko asked, only for Chie to nod.

"I know it is! There aren't any buttons on this thing!"

"Maybe you should wipe it. Water screws those things up bad." Kanji provided helpfully, only for Chie to glare at the thing.

"There isn't any water on here and I didn't sweat on it!"

What was going on? She pressed start, so the thing should start!

"Hold on Chie-senpai." Rise began walking forward, one of her drones flying towards the podium. "Maybe there's something hidden on..."

A click was heard, and for one second Rise was there.

The next, she wasn't.

A shrill scream of surprise echoed out, and on the floor that she once stood was now empty space with a curve indicating a slide.

"RISE/RISE-CHAN!"

Everyone screamed in horror and surprise. Chie stared wide-eyed in shock at where Rise was, and it began dawning on her because the situation was just so similar.

This was a trap to separate them and pick them off one by one.

"We have to go down there!" Chie shouted as she began moving forward, only for Johnny to interject.

"Don't!" Everyone looked back at him, and he had his hand raised and teeth clenched in frustration. "If we follow after her, we'll just be thrown into the damn trap too!"

Chie could see the logic in what he was saying, but...

"Rise's in there Johnny!" Chie pointed at the open floorboard and shouted, "She could be hurt!"

"We have to save Rise-chan, Sensei!" Teddie shouted in support of Chie, motioning down. "If we don't, then...!"

"Johnny's right." Gyro said, his face stone-cold but his jaw clenched and face filled with anguish. "If we go down there, then we might as well be signing our death warrants."

"You can't be serious, Senpai!" Kanji shouted in anger. "You're saying we should just leave Rise in there?!"

"Kanji! Calm down!" Yosuke got in front of the teen with his arms outstretched as Kanji began stomping towards Gyro and Johnny.

"No! They're spewin' shit and saying we should just leave Rise to rot down there!"

"Kanji-kun, just think this through for a minute!" Yukiko pleaded with the delinquent, her hands clenched on her fan. Before she could say more, Gyro cut in.

"I'm not saying that! I just want us to think this through, Kanji!" Gyro snapped back, his voice hard and serious. "I got us thrown into a trap once because we went in half-cocked. After that time… I'm not gonna let that happen again."

Chie was a bit surprised at that. He sounded so sure about what he was doing... just like he did back then to. When he argued with Johnny over what was supposed to be Rise's cries. Or was it just wanting to prove Johnny wrong?Whatever the case was, something changed in Gyro. Something that made him actually agree with Johnny over this act.

"But I'm not going to just sit here and do nothing!"

Johnny can be pragmatic all he wants, but she was doing what was right!

"I'm going down there." Chie grumbled as she kneeled down beside the trap door. "I've got Tomoe. I can fight my way out and carry Rise out. Though you guys'll have to find a rope or something..."

"Hey, I never said we weren't going to do anything." Gyro unhooked a steel ball and held it in his hand. "I've got Puck. I can just throw this down to check if Rise's alright. If not, I'll jump down that damn thing mysel-."

"Don't bother!"

All of them looked back at the podium and saw Himiko's drone hovering just above it, facing towards them. "I'm alright guys!" Rise's voice came out of it, peppy as usual.

"Rise-chan!" Yukiko cried out in relief. Chie could not help but let out a sigh of relief at that moment.

"Thank god..."

"Are you alright, Rise?" Gyro asked quickly yet also calmly. Obviously, there was no reason to make the situation even more stressful.

"I'm fine, just a bit bruised from the fall." Rise's voice echoed from the drone. "Good thing I left one of Himiko's drones up there with you guys, huh?"

"I'll say!" Chie let out a nervous laugh. "We almost died of heart attacks!"

And wasn't it the truth! For a second Chie thought she got... that she got Rise...

No, it didn't do anyone any good to think like that. If she thought about that, Chie wouldn't be able to go on. And she couldn't have that. Not when they were so close.

"Where are you, Rise?" Johnny asked, his eyes narrowing. "Are you on the next floor? Are there any Shadows nearby?"

"Can't see anything down here, wherever I am. I think it's totally dark." Rise's voice seemed troubled by this fact, and that caused the other members of the team to look at each other nervously. "But I can 'see' through Himiko, and my voice is making out a practically empty room with a door at the end."

Chie frowned. "That can't be good."

'So just like this one then?" Yosuke looked at the rest of them. "Think you can reach that door before something happens?"

"Already running!" Rise shouted, and the sound of footsteps echoed out from the drone.

"Don't stop for anything!" Gyro ordered as he turned back to the door. "We're going to try and bust this thing from our end, so..."

"Wait! I see something!"

'What!?" Kanji raced over to the drone, held it in his hands, and shouted, "What do you see!?"

"It's a... it's a Shadow!" Rise shouted from her end. "It looks like a little man, but with wings!"

"Well, so much for that idea..." Johnny muttered out darkly.

"Rise-chan, you need to try and get to that door no matter what!" Yukiko summoned her Persona and waved her fan at the door. A small feather shot out, and an explosion of fire erupted while everyone covered their eyes and jumped back. Yukiko actually cursed as she and the others saw there was no damage to the door. "If you have to fight, fight!"

Chie grimaced. That was certainly something she and the others learned very well in this world.

"Wait, Sensei! Guys!" They all turned to Teddie, who was still on the podium looking at the game screen. "Something changed on this thing!"

Without hesitation, the six teens raced behind the bear and looked over his shoulder to see that the screen had indeed changed.

It showed a small pixelated Rise, face covered in her mask and wearing a pixelated yellow bathing suit of all things. The rest of the screen was a pixelated white, as if to represent the room, with four black cubes scattered on the screen moving horizontally across the screen.

Finally, there was a pixelated black creature wearing green with wings as well as a bow and arrow on the other end of the screen. Behind it was a small golden pixelated key, and further behind it was a door with a keyhole.

Two words were spread across the screen in red.

GAME START


xxXXxx

Rise knew something was wrong as soon as her companions went dead silent.

Leaving behind the drone had been a lucky break. Had she not left it there, then the others would have undoubtedly come down after her. And all of them were ill suited, save for Yukiko, for this environment.

"Not that I'm much better." Rise noted bitterly, standing still and the hairs on the back of her neck standing in anticipation. Even if Gyro said not to stop, going in half-cocked could lead to death. Instead of running, Rise took note of her surroundings. Himiko gave her a basic visual representation of the room. It was massive, spanning around the same area of her grandmother's house. There were no distinguishing marks of any kind, save for the door, at the end. "Guess that's my way out then..."

"Rise!" Chie's voice came from the drone by her left ear. "The Shadow is front of the door and it's your only way out of there!"

Rise's eyes widened behind her mask. "How can you...?"

"There's a controller and screen here that shows you and the Shadow." Gyro informed her. "Like a game, a sprite of you and the Shadow, and a little dip for the door at the other end."

"Are you serious!?" Rise thought in anger. What was even the point of that? Video games were the theme of this place sure, but making her actual situation into a game? "That bastard...!"

Still, she had to calm down and thin. What was the point of giving her friends something that gave away the position of the single Shadow that was in here with her?

Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a creaking in the room, a familiar sound from when Rise used to bend fallen branches out of boredom during her previous visits to Inaba.

"No, it's more than that. It's..." Rise's eyes widened. "It's the drawing of a bow!"

"Rise, get down!"

Rise instantly dropped to the ground just as the arrow launched towards where she was. "Jesus...!" Rise cried out as her Persona's visor outlined the arrow as it approached a few meters away. She only saw it for a second, but the arrow was massive. The tip, shaped like a heart, was the size of a cannonball and the shaft was the size of a rather thick tree branch. "T-That would have taken my head off!" Rise then got onto her feet...

"Rise, don't get up!" Johnny's voice instructed, causing Rise to blink.

"But it just passed m-"

"It split into two when it hit the back wall! There are now two heading diagonally!"

"Be careful, Rise-chan!" Teddie shouted from the droid. "I think that's a Blind Cupid! A nasty grizzly that can split its arrows when they make contact with a solid object!"

At that moment, Rise heard two metallic 'ding' sounds come from her sides, just a bit ahead of her.

"Now there's four more and... Rise! Jump back!" Yosuke ordered her, and as she turned her head to the left Rise could see why.

Now an arrow with the tip the size of the bottom of a cup. heading towards her, and with her luck there was an arrow to the right heading at the same height and angle. Them being the sonar images of arrows did nothing to hide the fact that they were sharp and headed for her neck. All while the word 'woosh' appeared on her visor. As quickly as she could, Rise jumped back.

But it was too late. The arrows managed to scrape by Rise's helmeted chin. Despite her Persona supposedly being metal, it did nothing to stop the pain the arrows as she felt their tips cut into her flesh and scratch her jawbone. Rise wanted to scream and cry.

"This is how I die!? Are you shitting me!?"

She had gotten her Persona and the nerve to go in an confront her attacker, and she was about to die to a glorified henchmen before Rise could even see the bastard's face!? This would be funny if it weren't so infuriating.

But that was all they did, as they disappeared soon after. Rise breathed a sigh of relief.

"Rise! Did they hit you!?" Kanji asked, and Rise ignored the feeling of blood trickling frown her chin. Normally, she would scream at Kanji for seriously asking that question but right now she was in shock.

She'd nearly died! It wasn't like this back in her Shadow's dungeon…

"Y-Yeah, but the arrows disappeared..."

Rise then heard the bow begin to draw, and 'saw' the Shadow aim at her. Everything went dark for a second, and then she heard Yukiko shout "Jump right!" Rise followed her instructions, and jumped to the right just in time for the arrow to pass by her. "Now left!" Rise grit her teeth as she did as she was told, and heard the arrows hit the back wall and the sides. "Now back!"

"This is insane!" Rise thought to herself as she did what Yukiko told her. "I'm now stuck here just doing whatever they tell me!" It annoyed Rise to no end. She had her own Persona, so she should be able to handle herself. She should be able to get herself out of this situation! "But... even with Himiko, I don't have a clear view of what's going on. They have a bird's eye view of the situation, so if they can see where the arrows are heading I should listen."

Then, she heard the Blind Cupid begin drawing another.

"Rise-chan! It's aiming right!" Teddie screamed out, and Rise grit her teeth as she began moving to the left...

"No! Now it's left!"

Rise's eyes widened as she heard the thing launch its bow, and heard the familiar 'ding' sound of the ricochet echo out far too early.

"Crap...!"

Rise ran forward, but felt the arrow take off a chunk of her left shoulder. Blood oozed out, and she noted the 'rip' sound appear on her visor.

"Shit...!" Rise gasped out, and then heard the thing begin drawing another bow.

It all made sense now.

This thing was relying on sound to find her!

"Duck!"

Rise did so, and the arrow passed by where she was standing once more. She then heard it ricochet off the wall in a familiar 'ding' sound, followed by a third and fourth ricochet...

Then a fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth...

Then a ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth...

"Is it not ending?"

"Jesus, it's like Ikaruga!" Yosuke screamed out in her ear. Rise had no idea what he was talking about, but it probably wasn't any good for her.

"Rise, there's only one chance you're getting out of this." Johnny said calmly. "There's a square thing a bit ahead of you and to your left. See if you can use it for cover."

Rise looked at that direction, and could not help but raise an eyebrow. "What square?"

Rise could see practically everything in the room because of all the sounds the arrows were making.

And there was no pillar where she was.

"Rise, you have to go now while there's still time!" Gyro ordered, causing Rise to grind her teeth. "Otherwise, that thing is going to start firing lower!"

Rise wanted to scream as she thought to herself, "I would, if I knew what the hell you were talking about!"

Rise could 'see' that there was no pillar. There was nothing that indicated there was cover, that if she headed to the area that the others were suggesting, she would just find more empty space.

But what if they were right?

What if this was the extent of Himiko's powers? That it could only allow her to see so much of a room before stopping altogether?

Rise couldn't say she was an expert of her Persona. After all, she was learning on the fly.

"But this is taking a chance, and if I do that it could mean I get seriously hurt. Or worse..."

Suddenly, she noticed that the arrows had stopped impacting the walls.

"Huh?"

She looked up, and saw no sonar representations of the arrows.

"Could this thing cancel them out the whole time?"

It probably thought that the arrows were an 'eyesore'. Lord knows she was, and it was probably one for her friends. Dozens of arrows going everywhere at practically every direction, trying to navigate through them just to stay alive... who would enjoy watching crap like that?

"Then again..."

The arrows that hit her did not continue or create more. There were rules to this thing...

"And it could have cancelled the arrows out at any time when it was clear they were not hitting me, yet it did not. So why did they just cancel now? Perhaps..."

No, she could think about that later. Right now, she needed to head for cover... and pray that cover was actually there.

Rise dragged two sounds to two of her droids, the kanji for 'running' and the 'tear' that had appeared after Rise had been cut by the arrows.

"Hopefully, this will work." Rise then directed the drone to move to her right and mentally counted down. "Three, two, one..."

Rise ran as fast as her legs could carry her to the left, and the drone moved to the right while echoing her steps.

She heard the Blind Cupid draw its bow, and Gyro saying "Okay Rise, it's aiming at your drone."

She then heard it let go, and grinned as she heard Gyro say, "Now it's near!"

The drone to her left let out a loud version of the sound of tearing flesh, and Rise continued on. No doubt the Blind Cupid would catch onto what Rise was doing soon.

"I just have to get to the cover by then! The cover..." Rise then blinked as she stopped and stared in front of her. "Where is it?"

She was getting closer to the area where the others were saying a square pillar was, and yet she saw nothing. Even if there were limits to Himiko's ability to see, she was close enough for her Persona to show it by now!

"Rise, what are you doing!?" Chie shouted, the text appearing in Rise's visor. "The cover's just a few feet away from you!"

Rise's eyes widened, and she figured it out at that moment as she heard the familiar sounds of the arrows ricocheting and multiplying.

"Oh shit. It's a trap. The bastard set me up."

That's when Rise felt something bite into the space between her right arm and her chest, and looked down to see the sonar representation of an arrowhead jutting out of her right shoulder.

This was the bastard's plan all along. Have her comrades think they were helping her, when in reality they were leading Rise into a trap.

And like suckers, they all fell for it.


xxXXxx

"Rise! Shit!" Gyro gripped the controller in his hands, his jaw clenched as he looked at the life bar of 'Rise' begin to drop slowly while the little pixelated Blind Cupid did a two-frame victory dance.

"Ah... Ah..." Rise's pained gasps came from her drone. "Shit... It got me in the shoulder...!"

"Damn it..." Gyro could only pray it didn't puncture an artery. If that were the case, Rise would only have a few minutes at best. If he were there, then he could at least stop the bleeding and check.

…No, chances were that he'd be blind as a bat just like her if he went down there. He couldn't very well dress a wound if he couldn't see it.

Gyro didn't like this. This feeling of... helplessness. Before, he participated in the fights. Fought alongside his friends against these monsters in some way, shape, and form.

But now? Now he couldn't do anything but watch and stare at a screen as Rise fought for her life.

"Rise, you have to crawl to cover! The block is just a few feet away from you!" Chie cried out, only for more pained gasps to come from the drone. "Rise, please!"

"But there is no block!"

"Yes there is Rise!" Yosuke screamed back. "We can see it on the screen, so it's there! You have to trust us, or else...!"

"Chie! Yosuke! We can't cause Rise more stress! She needs to remain as calm as she can or else that Shadow will find her!" Yukiko instructed her friend, who shook her head.

"How am I supposed to remain calm when I can HEAR her getting holes punched into her!"

"Well, at least I'm not the only one losing it." Gyro thought grimly.

It was a cold comfort though.

"Guys! We can't make too much noise!" Teddie shushed at them, causing the teenagers to look towards him. "There's a reason why Rise-chan isn't talking anymore, and it's because of the Shadow!"

"Well, what kind of Shadow is it?" Yosuke asked, and the bear looked down.

"I-I can't really tell. I think it's a Blind Cupid, and that would make sense since Rise-chan isn't speaking much so she must be trying to hide from it. But the pixels make it hard to tell..."

"Then what are we supposed to do?" Kanji muttered out, his face twisted into a rage. "We're stuck here giving advice that Rise's barely able to follow. She's stumbling around the dark damn it!"

"She can only see so much with just sonar, and that's what we are here for!" Yosuke fired back.

"Well obviously that's not doing shit!"

Gyro weighed his options. Obviously, their advice wasn't helping Rise all that much. She wasn't seeing the things they were clearly seeing...

"Are we the ones being tricked? Or is she?" Not saying anything would probably benefit Rise more than saying something. On the other hand, they were able to give Rise a good idea of where the arrows were before they entered Rise's 'range'...

"We have to go get her and get the hell out of here." Johnny declared, breaking Gyro out of his thoughts and causing the others to look to him. "Yukiko would have to go whoever's willing to go down there with her, light up the place, grab Rise, and we get the hell out of here. It's as simple as that."

"But Johnny..." Yosuke said slowly before motioning to the door. "This is probably our best shot at opening the door."

"And it's also Rise's best shot at getting killed." Johnny shot back with a glare. "We fell for a stupid trap, and now Rise's fighting for her life while we're up here twiddling our thumbs because if we try to fight with her we're going to get killed."

"We almost get killed all the time Johnny, and this is no different!" Chie shouted back at Johnny, stamping her foot. "Are you saying we should run when..."

"Do you want Rise's blood on your hands, Chie!?" Johnny's face was now twisted in rage. "Because she's going to die if we just let her keep going down there!" Johnny threw up his hands. "You heard her! She can't do this! She's going to just get herself killed if she keeps goi-!"

Okay, that was it. "Johnny, do you hear Rise saying she can't do this?"

Johnny blinked in surprise. "Wha-?"

Gyro turned fully towards Johnny, who was still sitting on the floor just by the trap door. "I said, have you heard Rise say she can't do this? Because I'm pretty sure my ears are still working just fine, and she hasn't said that."

"But Gyro..."

"Now if she said that, I would consider what you're saying. But she hasn't, and so long as she hasn't, that means Rise still believes in the possibility of her winning." Gyro then glared at Johnny. "So for now, I'm placing my trust in Rise and you should too."

"Even if she is going to get herself killed?"

"Especially if there's the possibility of her getting killed." Gyro crossed his arms. "After all, you were the one that told us there was that possibility remember? So it's not like Rise doesn't believe in the possibility. So long as she hasn't said 'I can't do this, please save me', then there is the possibility she can win and make it out alive."

Johnny opened his mouth... and closed it. He turned his head away and gave a click of his tongue, saying, "Fine, do whatever." And then, he turned his head and remained silent.

"Damn it Johnny..." It was obvious why Johnny was acting this way: he was scared. Out of everyone in the team, Johnny was the one who reacted to seemingly hopeless situations poorly. He could not see any way he, or Rise, could get out of this and thus was ready to throw in the towel.

Still, Johnny had a strength within him. That much was certain. He just needed to force it out somehow…

"Gyro..." Rise's voice came from the drone, making everyone turn to it. "Thanks." Rise then cleared her throat. "And Johnny, guys, thank you for worrying about me... but I'm going to need you all to shut the hell up until I say so."

Gyro could not help but smirk at that. There was the raw determination he saw in Rise, in her voice especially, from when they faced Teddie's Shadow.

It proved one thing that gave Gyro hope.

"Rise has a plan."

Now hopefully, it was a good one.


xxXXxx

She hoped that this was a good idea.

Rise grimaced as she attempted to move her right arm, only to feel the arrow painfully twist about through her shoulder.

"This is risky, but I have to try it!"

All things considered, she would have seconds at best. She needed to move as fast as possible, and having an arrow in her would greatly hamper that ability. Plus, Rise needed this sound.

Rise brought her bat to her chin and inclined her head down, capturing the handle within the space between her chin and her chest. It was cumbersome and awkward, but it would do. She couldn't place it down, otherwise the Blind Cupid would react faster.

She then took her left hand and brought it to the arrow sticking her shoulder, or more specifically the part of her shoulder that was just between the bones and her chest. Rise clenched her teeth.

"This is going to hurt."

And it did.

It took all of Rise's willpower not to scream as she broke the arrow's shaft and tip from the front. Despite the darkness, Rise could see white spots in her eyes. She could also see the kanji for 'snap' appear in her visor, as did the creaking the Blind Cupid made while drawing its bow.

"K-Keep going!"

Rise reached back and then, in a painful tug, took out the remaining half of the arrow from her back. She made sure to keep note of the 'squelch' that appeared in her visor.

Then, Rise dropped to the floor as an arrow tip the size of a cannonball got within ten meters of her. The bat clattered and Rise cried out as blood came out of her fresh wound, but she scrambled and grabbed the bat as the Blind Cupid cocked its bow again. In a flash of motion, Rise dragged the sound 'ding' to the drone at her side before having it go into the bat. "Please work, please work...!" Rise raised her bat just as the initial arrow hit the wall behind her and split into two half the size. One heading towards her, and the other to the right.

She positioned the bat for it to be right in front of her, but cocked ever so slightly to the right. The arrow raced towards her, its massive heart-shaped tip seeming to gleam even as a sonar-produced image...

But it made contact with her bat, and Rise could not help but grin in victory as the arrow split into two and headed the other way diagonally. One to the left, one to the right. But the one to the left hit the left wall, and then split into two. And the left smallest arrow headed to the same right corner as the initial arrow that Rise had created.

Both of them impacted, and Rise could see no more sonar from the sound of the arrows.

They cancelled each other out.

"Yes! Knew it!"

There was a reason why there weren't a billion different arrows the size of needles or smaller bouncing around, rending her and the Shadow to shreds.

The arrows split into two with each impact, heading at the same degree diagonally.

The chances of them hitting their target were higher with each split made, and once there was a hit all of the duplicates would disappear.

"But if they did not hit anything, it would just put the monster in danger! That's the drawback! While the chances of hitting of the target increase, so do the chances of the arrows hitting each other! And if they do, they cancel each other out!" Rise smirked beneath her mask. "Not that it matters now!"

Rise dragged the word 'run' to the drone just a few feet away from her to the right. Floating in tandem with her, the sound of their... her... steps being in synch. She was halfway through the room now, she was close...

Now!

Quickly, she dragged the word 'left!' to the drone floating just above the one that was repeating the sound of her steps. As if on cue, the drone then let out a squeak of Yukiko's voice. "Left!"

Then, the drone darted to the left and the Blind Cupid fired its arrow at it. The arrow passed over them, obviously aiming where her head would have been, while Rise continued on. "Thank god they kept quiet! That wouldn't have worked if they spoke up!" The Blind Cupid relied on sound, so it made sense that it also use the fact that she relied on her comrades' instructions. That she would trust them over her own intuition, because they could 'see' the room in a way she couldn't.

"Sorry, but Risette is going off script from now on." Rise then dragged the word 'squelch' to the drone which came out of her bat, and it went back in. The kanji then spread across the bat up to the handle, and Rise ran forward.

She could 'see' the Blind Cupid's outline, a little thing with a big head and a bow in its hand. It was already grabbing at a new arrow desperately, trying to draw it in its bow as it aimed to her.

"Just a few more feet...!"

This was it: the gamble she was taking. The Blind Cupid was in a position that the arrows would not hit in, so the arrows that formed after it fired the drones would not hit Rise. It had to put in a new arrow, and Rise had to get into striking distance to end things.

At twenty feet, it had managed to find its arrow.

At ten feet, Rise gripped the bat with her right hand and raised it overhead. Her muscles ached and the area where the arrow hit in her armpit burned, but she didn't care. It couldn't slow her down. Everyone was counting on her!

The Blind Cupid was drawing its bow now.

There was no time now.

At five feet, Rise swung down and she heard the arrow fire, it sailed to her left, and Rise heard something tear, got a flash of pain, and then she couldn't feel anything in her left arm.

Did the arrow tear some of her nerves in her arm?

No, that didn't matter.

What mattered was that the lights turned on, if the flash of light in her visor was of any indication. Himiko came off, and Rise saw her handiwork.

The Blind Cupid's head was caved in, even though Rise's bat was at what appeared to be the top of its skull. The middle was now a black mushy pulp, while the two sides were swaying a bit as if they were hanging on by a miracle. It's wings twitched once, twice, and then the body fell before dissipating in a black smoke.

"Gotcha, you little bastard." Rise muttered out, feeling a swell of triumph course through her.

Weird. Why did she feel light?

Then, a golden key popped out with a short jingle following it, obviously victory music.

Rise then glanced at the door just ahead of her with an ornate keyhole in the center of the door.

Obviously, the key was meant for it.

"Guys, I… whoa…" Rise then blinked. She felt… really weird for a second. What was up with that? "I-I won! I've got the key!"

"Oh thank god..." Gyro muttered out, and she heard the sighs a victory as well as a few cheers from Yosuke and Teddie. "You OK there?"

"Got a bit messed up, but I hope it's not..." Rise then blinked as she took a step back. "Oh... w-wow… that's…"

"Rise?"

"Nothing. Just... feel a bit dizzy.." Rise attempted to reach out with her left hand, but it hurt. It felt cold... "I might be more hurt than I thought. Hope you can fix it right up, Doctor Gyro."

"Just get up here and we can see the damage."

Rise nodded and dropped the bat. Her right arm seemed to be working just fine, so she would use it. She wanted to look at her left arm to assess the damage, but there was something stopping her. Something that told her 'don't look'. To ignore the dripping sound she heard, and Rise had half a mind to ignore it and look anyway. But another part of her was scared, scared of how bad it could be if her mind was screaming at her not to. "No. I can deal with that later. I just need to get up and back to the guys." With that in mind, she took the key in her right hand and ran to the door.

For some reason, she was swaying from side to side. But she managed to make it to the door. She inserted the key into the keyhole, and didn't need to twist it as the door swung open.

However, for a brief second, Rise looked over her right shoulder to look at the room.

There were no pillars on either side of the room.

No... wait. She could swear she could see for brief seconds the images of pixelated square pillars, but then they disappeared. As if her eyes were receiving bad TV reception, fading in and out...

"What's up with that? Am I going insane?"

Not to mention she saw splashes of red on the floor, and one forming a pool of crimson with the origin being...

"Don't look. It's not important."

Deciding to heed that piece of advice Rise ran in and began going up the steps, using the right handrail to keep her balance while pixelated candles lit the way. She felt light and sick, going faster yet yearning to stop. It felt like torture, and it was just one flight of stairs!

"I can rest when I get to Gyro and Johnny! They can figure out what's wrong!"

It couldn't be poison, because with the amount of times the arrows scratched her would have keeled her over if they were poisoned. Did she loose too much blood again? She hoped not. Recovering from that was not fun.

She practically stumbled to the door at the top of the stairs, glancing to her right to see another flight of stairs heading to another floor, and tackled it open.

"Guys!" Rise gasped out, and everyone turned to her. "I-I made it!"

She saw their looks of relief slowly morph into horror, of dread and terror. She saw Gyro's face turn slightly pale, and Rise knew that wouldn't happen unless it was something bad.

"Don't look."

Rise ignored the advice and looked down at her left arm.

Turns out Rise really should have listened to herself.


xxXXxx

Everyone could only stare in horror as Rise looked down to inspect the thing that was the cause of their distress.

Specifically, a lack of something.

Below the elbow of Rise's left arm were bits of wet fabric, blood dripping out at an alarming rate onto the floor. Bits of flesh, strands of muscle and nerve, and little fragments of bone hung off of the stump, and some began splashing on the ground. Rise's clothes were similarly stained, and seemed to paint a picture from a horror movie.

Or at least from that one Teddie began seeing on the screen of his Junkyouin's TV before Gyro changed the channel.

"Oh." Rise said dumbly. "S-So that's why I felt liguugh..."

Rise could not finish that sentence before her eyes rolled to the back of her head and she crumpled on the ground.

"Cazzo!" Gyro shouted a naughty word in Italian as he dropped Sensei and ran forward. Johnny, for his part, didn't seem to mind and stumbled as he lurched forward.

"RISE-CHAN!" Yukiko screamed in horror as she and the others followed Gyro.

"Oh god! Oh my god!" Chie turned pale as she covered her mouth, pacing back and forth. "Rise! Oh god!"

"What do we do!?" Yosuke turned to Johnny and said, "Summon Pixie for Christ's Sake! This is supposed to be its job right!? Fix Rise! Hurry!

"It can't replace a missing limb! Fuck!" Johnny dropped to the ground and his hands landed on a puddle of Rise's blood. "Jesus! We have to stop the bleeding!"

"What do you think I'm doing here!?" Despite his shouting, Gyro was completely calm in his expression. He turned to Kanji and said, "Give me a piece of your shirt!"

Kanji seemed to snap out of his haze and began stuttering out, "W-Wha?"

"I need to stop circulation here. Before she loses even more blood." Gyro held out his hand. "Hurry up!"

Teddie knew that humans could only lose so much blood. Junkyouin said so in the fight against Teddie's Shadow. And from what Teddie could tell, losing one of their limbs was even more serious. "Then... that means Rise-chan is in even more trouble than before."

Rise, who stood up to Teddie's Shadow and was the first person to say he wasn't empty. Who treated Teddie like a friend without hesitation or suspicion.

Someone who was just like Teddie.

Someone who didn't know who they were.

And now here she was, bleeding on the ground and missing an arm.

Then, something clicked in Teddie's head.

"Wait, that's it!"

Teddie could help now! It wasn't like before where he was a useless bear!

He could save Rise-chan!

As Gyro wrapped Kanji's shirt around Rise's stump, the young former idol looking paler by the second and giving shallow breaths, he looked to Yukiko and said, "Okay, now I'm going to have you use your fire to cauterize Rise's wound."

"W-What!?" Yukiko practically screamed. "I-I can't...!"

"She's going to die if you don't!" Johnny shouted back in anger. "Just do i-!"

It was time for Teddie to show off his stuff!

"Now hold it!" Everyone turned to him as he said, "There's no need for any of that! I've got a super-special beary unique skill up my sleeve that will save Rise-chan, easily!"

"What are you talking abo...?" Johnny began, only for Teddie to shake his head.

"It's easier for you to see, Sensei, than it is to explain!" Teddie pointed to Rise and said, "Hold up her arm, but keep your hands away from the missing end! Otherwise, things are going to get grizzly."

Gyro quickly held up Rise's stump, and Teddie grinned. Now he was in the spotlight!

Teddie took a deep breath and began imagining the bright blue card he had seen all his friends use time and time again.

He had seen this numerous times, and practiced enough, that the process took only a few seconds.

The card floated overhead Teddie, and he grinned as he shouted, "PERSONA!" He jumped up, and his right paw impacted on the card.

As it broke, his Persona appeared. Kintoko Doji stood floated in all its glory, the light gleaming off of the red and gold paint of its body and its cape flowing heroically in the wind.

And the Tomahawk missile in its hands now having a blinking warhead.

"Go, Kintoki Doji!" The Persona hefted the missile up before thrusting it forward. "MELLOW GOLD!"

Teddie planted his feet and squared himself as he concentrated.

"Focus! Rise-chan needs a new left arm! A new left arm!"

"Teddie! What the hell are you-!?"

But before Johnny could finish, the warhead of the Tomahawk missile touched Rise's stump and then disappeared.

At first, nothing happened.

Then, Rise gasped as color returned to her. And in a sickening squelch, something burst from the stump. At first, it was a fleshy blob that merged with the bits of flesh hanging from the stump. And then, it began to take shape. Within seconds, it began to look like an arm with a fleshy nub where the hand used to be. Then the nub began to flatten and spread, five digits forming and nails beginning to sprout out.

Everyone watched in amazement as Rise got a new arm, very pale and hairless but unmistakably Rise Kujikawa's left arm.

"Well? What do you think?" Teddie asked confidently as everyone stared at the arm, even Rise who looked at it with wonder, flexing her wrist and opening before closing her hand. "Pretty cool huh? I trained hard while you guys were away! I wasn't hibernating like a lazy bear!"

It was at that moment Rise brought her right arm and her newly created left arm to her mouth. A loud rumble came from her stomach for all to hear, and everyone around Rise got back a bit as she turned to her side and let out something wet and colored onto the ground.

Teddie had heard that some people did that kind of thing, 'throw up' in times of stress.

And Rise had been through enough today to make Teddie think it was appropriate.

Gyro walked over to Rise, who was coughing, and helped her up and away from the puddle. He stared numbly at the arm, Teddie's work, with wide eyes. When he set Rise down, who was now spitting a bit, he turned to Teddie.

"T-Teddie..." Gyro muttered out. "H-How...?"

Suddenly, Rise jumped and pulled Teddie into a big hug.

"R-Rise-chan!" Teddie stammered out in amazement.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyou...!" Rise muttered out, fast and low. Teddie could not help but feel the temperature of his body rise at the contact, but it slightly cooled when he felt little droplets of wetness on his fur. "I would have died! I was so scared Teddie... thank you..."

"Awww shucks, it was nothin'..." Teddie said, embarrassed and flustered. "Just showin' why I'm not some useless bear anymore..."

"Like we'd ever think that!" Johnny shouted, and Teddie saw his Sensei have a huge, relieved grin on his face. "Teddie, what you did was the opposite of useless!"

"H-Huh...?"

"You saved Rise's life Teddie. Even I thought the chances of her survival were slim at best." Gyro admitted with a tip of his hat and a flash of his grills. "But Doctor Ursine managed to patch her up nicely!"

"Jesus..." Kanji turned away, took off his glasses, and began wiping his eyes. "W-Well, good job man..."

"Come on Kanji, it's OK." Yukiko smiled while droplets of water fell from her eyes. Chie meanwhile was practically sobbing. "Y-You're not the only one crying."

"Shaddup! I-I ain't crying!"

"Oh god..." Yosuke gasped out in relief. "I-I thought I was going to be next! I was practically gettin' a heart attack..."

"And not for the usual reasons, Yosuke?" Johnny could not help but let out a little snarky comment despite the situation, causing Yosuke to roll his eyes.

"Aw, shut the hell up man."

Everyone let out a few laughs at that, even if they were interrupted by the occasional sniffle. Eventually, it died down and the room fell into silence.

Silence that not even Teddie felt comfortable in breaking.

"So." Teddie glanced at Johnny, who was frowning as he said, "I think we should call it a day for now."

"What?" Chie motioned to the now open door as she said, "But we just unlocked the door! We can now go down to the next floor!"

"Rise almost died." Johnny said simply. "You think she should go forward?"

Chie opened her mouth... and then closed it. She grimaced and looked to the side before remaining silent.

"Chie-chan..." He wanted to support Chie... but Sensei was right. Rise had been hurt pretty badly before, and something inside Teddie wasn't comfortable with having her continue.

"Johnny has a point." Gyro nodded as he said, "I don't think any of us are willing to push out luck, especially after a close shave like that."

"But what about..." Yosuke then turned to Teddie. "Ted, just to be clear, the guy won't be munched on by Shadows until the fog sets in on our world right?"

"Yosuke remembered that?" Teddie could not help but feel a bubbling happiness come up from inside. He never really expected Yosuke of all people to pay attention to what he said all those... months, they were called, ago. "Y-yeah! That's right!"

"Really? So we don't have to rush this?" Kanji blinked in surprise. "Damn. I thought we had to do this in a day."

"No… this time is different." Johnny said, gaining everyone's attention. "Guys, there's no one we have to save this time. This isn't a kidnapping. This is someone who's hiding, a rat who's burrowed himself in his hole because he's run out of options and he knows we're coming to catch him. We're going to get him… but we don't need to rush like we did with Yukiko, Kanji, Gyro or Rise. We have to be careful… because once we catch him…"

"…It's over." Gyro finished.

"…And since the killer probably doesn't have a way to return to the real world if Teddie gets rid of the exit on the way out..." Yukiko muttered to herself. "But still... leaving him in there..."

"I'm fine with that." Rise let out a mutter, causing all to look at her. "Let the bastard stew. He threw us all down there didn't he? We can take our time with him..."

Teddie was shocked speechless. "I-I can't believe Rise-chan said that!" But he could see it in her eyes, Rise meant every word she said. Which was rather... scary. A normally kind and funny Rise was now transformed into someone so full of bitter hate... "But maybe... they all think of the killer like that, deep down."

Humans were really complicated...

"...Damn." Johnny muttered to himself, causing Rise to snap out of her thoughts and look at him.

"H-hey, look, I didn't mean to put it like that. But..."

"No, don't worry about it. You were just put through a lot." Yosuke let out a nervous laugh. "Not every day you lose an arm right?"

Silence overtook the room.

Teddie decided to say the only appropriate thing. "Yosuke, you have beary much to learn..."

Yosuke then only seemed to realize what it is that he said. "Shit! Sorry Rise, I didn't mean...!"

"And now we should leave before Yosuke develop a taste for sneakers." Gyro laughed to himself. "Get it? Because..."

"Because Yosuke put his foot in his mouth again. Thank you Gyro." Rise said with a tired grin, causing Gyro's smirk to twitch.

Teddie groaned. "Aww... Rise-chan, you don't step on the punchline..."

"Heard that one before huh?" Gyro muttered out.

"She's just a comedic genius like you, Gyro. One in a million. Rise's going places." Johnny added his two cents in, and everyone chuckled at that. Gyro then picked Johnny up, with Chie supporting Rise, before they left.

Left without Mitsuo Kubo.

Despite that, Teddie felt good. Great even. "Before, all I could do was support Sensei and the others through words. But now... now I can help make sure they can keep moving forward even with all the Shadows trying to hurt them." Teddie clenched his hand to his chest. "And all I had to do... was face myself."

It was hard, harder than Teddie could have ever imagined. He knew how much Sensei and the others struggled, but it was another thing to actually experience it.

But with a little help, Teddie faced himself... and accepted himself.

Now he felt better than ever, and could do things that Teddie only dreamed of doing!

"And tomorrow... I'll be able to do so much more! Just you wait Sensei! what'll happen next will make your jaw drop and make the Shadows wish they stayed in their dens!"

But as Teddie continued on, he noticed something.

Something on his Sensei's face that caused concern to well up within Teddie.

A look of relief.

And something within Teddie told him it wasn't primarily for Rise's survival.


[To Be Continued \]


Note: Completed new chapter, fresh off the presses thanks to Kiiam!

Big news! This fic now has a cover thanks to the artistic talent of Author 741AuthorNCS (Writer of the fic Little Witch Academia/Persona crossover A Fool's Study Into Witchcraft)'s cousin Artist741! Be sure to check out their fic and Deviantart page! Huge thanks to them!

If anything, this chapter proves how hard it is to work with a non-visual medium when what you want to play with is mostly visual. In this case, a JoJo-esque re imagining of Bullet Hell games into a 'Stand' battle. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy but I actually managed to complete the sucker! But in my personal opinion, it wasn't one of my best fights and I think it kind of shows with how awkward things feel with Rise. Though thankfully, Kiiam managed to help clean things up to make things more comprehensive.

One of the things I did enjoy in my own unique way is Rise literally losing an arm. Once again showing that there are real consequences to these life-and-death battles. Had Teddie not been there, Rise would have died.

Anyways, onto the Stats!


Persona STATS

Persona: Kintoki-Douji

User: Teddie

Destructive Power: C

Range: B

Speed: C

Durability: B

Precision: C

Development Potential: C

Power:

Kintoki-Doji is able to accelerate and manipulate the growth of any organic matter that its Tomohawk missile should hit. However, the organic matter can only be manipulated within ten meters of its origin should it not simply be returned to its original state. Also, if the area hit by Kintoki-Douji's missile is in contact with other organic or inorganic matter, they will fuse with the contacted area and whatever regrow or manipulated matter that is made.


Anyways, it was great getting back to this. Especially since I am the type of person who often gets bothered when they have ideas in the back of their head and need to get out. Though I was discouraged by the overall lack of reviews last chapter... I'm not one to get bothered that much, but reviews help to tell me how I'm doing and that people are still interested. I really want to hear your thoughts, especially with this chapter where I try something a bit different.

So please tell me what you think in reviews, and add to the TV Tropes page if you have the time.

Until next time, peace.