EIDBT – April 17, 2011 – Wow, Yukiko, just wow.
Oi vey, another long day for Nakao and friends. The good news is, we’ve got another Persona user. The bad news is, one of our friends is in trouble. It’s going to be a long year.
This whole thing started last night, when I watched the Midnight Channel again. It was… revealing in more ways than one. Yukiko appeared on the TV, fully in focus, wearing a gown that a princess would wear. I was a little too shocked to remember clearly what she said, but it was more or less that she was hosting a game show where she’d recruit a harem of hot studs and score with them. I would have been all over that if I didn’t know that this was her Shadow talking to us. The picture trailed off showing Yukiko running into a giant castle. Great, we get to storm a castle now. Yosuke of course immediately called me after the performance ended.
“She looked like she was on some low-budget TV show… Was it like this before, too?” Of course not. How bad is Yosuke’s short-term memory? I told Yosuke to get Chie to work on contacting Yukiko, and we agreed to meet at the food court this morning.
When I woke up this morning, Nanako was already downstairs eating breakfast. I was impressed.
“He work up early, so I woke up with him. He said he’s gonna be late.” I realized that if I left, Nanako would be all alone for the day. I hesitated, trying to figure out what I should do.
“Are you going somewhere? I’ll be fine by myself.” She turned on the TV to the weather forcast, which mentioned that it was going to be sunny today.
“Oh, the sun’s gonna come out. I should do some laundry.” She looked at me. “Uh… Weren’t you going somewhere?” With a bit of regret, I left to Junes. Nanako is either going to be an incredibly well-rounded adult, or she is going to have some serious issues. I really feel sorry for her.
I waited at the Junes food court for a while. Finally, Yosuke showed up. It was obvious he was holding something behind his back.
“Sorry for the holdup. I found some stuff we can use in the closet at home. Take a look at these!” Yosuke whipped out a katana and an aikuchi. He was carrying swords around in public. Even I have trouble believing that he could have been that stupid.
“We’ve got our Personas, but a golf club’s not that reliable of a weapon. So, which one strikes your fancy?” I had been fighting with a golf club up until now, and I just really wanted him to put the swords away, so I just answered that I’d take the katana.
“Ahh, you’ve got discerning taste. This is a Junes exclusive. The blade’s fake, though…” As if the world wanted to mock me for hoping he couldn’t get any stupider, Yosuke started to swing the blades around, making whoosing should effects and striking stupid poses. He almost hit me a few times, too. I tried to tell him to stop, but I wasn’t able to get him to come to his senses in time. A police officer found us, and after Yosuke making another stupid mistake, waving the swords around armed officers, we found ourselves in the police station.
Thankfully, Dojima saved our asses… But not before chewing us out.
“…You didn’t seem the type to pull a stupid stunt like this. You know what’s been going on around town. We got men stationed everywhere. For god’s sake… You’re lucky I was around, or this would have ended up on your permanent record.” Once Dojima was done, some police officers walked by, commenting that Yukiko was reported missing. Yosuke and I exchanged a meaningful look. Dojima caught this, and gave us a warning:
“I’m sure you’ve seen on the news that there’s an investigation in progress… We’re sensitive about certain things. You’re free to go. But this better not happen again.”
Once Dojima left to go work on the investigation, we ran into Adachi, the junior detective. Yosuke asked about Yukiko. Adachi looked a little conflicted.
“Am I allowed to say? Well, if you’re friends with Ms. Amagi… Keep this between us, okay? We got a call from Ms. Amagi’s parents yesterday evening saying they couldn’t find her anywhere. Since it was the weekend, the workers at the inn were extremely busy, and no one saw Ms. Amagi around that time. Oh, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this is a case just yet! But, people’ve been turning up dead on foggy days… So we’re really sensitive to stuff like this.” Something about that didn’t sit with me. I’m still not sure what, but it seemed off… Anyway, Adachi continued. “By the way, did she say anything to you guys about maybe going through some hard times?” Apparently, Yamano, the announcer, had complained to Yukiko’s mother about the service at the inn. It had caused her so much stress that she collapsed. He suggested that Yukiko had a grudge against Yamano because of that, and that she was laying low on purpose. That was of course totally untrue… I haven’t seen Yukiko take a single spiteful action yet. Chie’s ten times more aggressive than her, and the most Chie has done has been to kick Yosuke in the balls. I still enjoy thinking about that one. Unfortunately for Adachi, Dojima saw him talking to us.
“Adachi, what the hell are you chatting with civvies for!? And where’s my coffee!?”
Adachi didn’t hang out around us much longer after that.
As we were leaving, we ran into Chie. She started to berate us about being here instead of helping Yukiko. Yosuke tried to apologize, but he ended up just making us look stupid. Seriously, who carries around swords in public and waves them around, especially when police officers are reaching for their guns?
Yosuke and Chie began arguing pointlessly about Yukiko being in the TV World, and the police’s theory about Yukiko. It was getting us nowhere, so I tried to get us back on track by insisting that all we had to do is save her. Chie insisted that she was going to come along as well. That was all well and good… But we didn’t have any weapons. Thankfully, albeit strangely, Chie knew of a weapon shop in town, which she took us to. I still haven’t decided if this amazon nature of hers is awesome or disturbing.
As Chie was running around trying to equip herself, Yosuke started to try and talk her down.
“Look, we know how you feel…”
“No you don’t!!! You don’t know shit about how I feel… Yukiko might die from this, for crying out loud! I’m going, and that’s that!” With her being so insistent, I knew it wouldn’t do me much good to argue. I sighed and said “Oh, alright.”
“Psh, I’ll be fine!” She continued. “My reflexes are second to none!”
“Listen… I’m not kidding around.” Yosuke warned. “You don’t know what it’s like in there! If you’re not gonna listen to our warnings, we’re leaving you here! If you insist on coming, just make sure you have something to protect yourself.” Yosuke didn’t really know what to get, so he just gave me 5000 yen and asked me to pick some things out for the two of us. I bought us both a set of chain mail. We can attack just fine with our Personas, but I’m concerned about a lucky hit from a Shadow. The shopkeeper told me as I was buying the mail that he would create new items for us if we found rare materials for him to work with. We’d have to pay for them, but at least we’d be a little more effective in combat. (While it is annoying that you have to pay for the items you help him create, you sell the materials to him, so you can more or less pay for the item with the proceeds of the materials that went into making it.) Now that we were ready for action, there was a problem. The last time we came to Junes with weapons, we were arrested. If we were going to be wearing armour AND carrying weapons now, we were going to be in even more trouble, and Dojima would certainly think something was up. I suppose I could have tried to convince him that we were LARPing or something, but I think he knows I’m too cool to do something like that. Chie, in a moment of sheer… Something…. Suggested we hide our equipment under our school uniforms. I really don’t know how a bunch of kids running around on a weekend in their school uniforms looking especially bulky would work, but we had no other options. We decided to meet at the Junes food court to plan out our attack.
As I was leaving, I noticed a glowing blue door set into the wall of the weapon shop. It didn’t seem like anyone else noticed it. As I studied the door at a distance, a voice filled my head. I sighed as Igor started to speak. Does this guy not have any manners at all?
“So it finally begins… Now, if you’ll give me a moment of your time…” The velvet key Igor gave me earlier stared to shine in my pocket. I was frowning as much as I could when I used it to open the door.
Surprise, guess where I wound up? The velvet room. I was about to start berating Igor for his constant mental intrusions when he started to talk again.
“We have been expecting you. The catastrophe that is headed your way… It has already taken human lives in its approach towards you… But you have nothing to fear. You already have the power to fight against it. It seems that the time for you to use your Persona has come… *chuckle*” Margaret elaborated:
“Your Persona ability is that of the wild card. If you strengthen your bonds properly, their power will help you overcome any ordeal. Our role is to facilitate that.”
“My contribution… is to give birth to new Personas. By mixing together multiple Persona cards, I can transmute them into a new form… This, in other words, is the fusion of Personas. You have the power to hold multiple Personas and to use them accordingly. When you defeat an enemy, the seeds of possibility you attain will appear before you as cards. At times, they may be hard to grasp… but you must master your fear and reach out to them. When you obtain new cards, please do not hesitate to bring them here. If you have been developing your Social Links, then your Persona will gain even more power… They will be one of your chief sources of strength… You would do well to take this to heart.” So Igor’s job will be to breed aspects of my personality to expose more aspects of my personality. Sounds deeply disturbing. Margaret produced a book out of thin air, and showed it to me.
“The tomb you see in my hand is the Persona Compendium. Registering the Personas you hold will allow you to recall them at any time. Please see me when you wish to use it.”
“*chuckle* Do you recall my words to you before?” Which ones, dude? You’ve said a lot of shit. “‘The coming year is a turning point in your destiny… If the mystery goes unsolved, your future may be forever lost.’ I meant precisely what I said. Defeat in battle is not the only way your journey may come to an end… Please do not forget this. When next we meet, you will come here of your own will. *chuckle* I look forward to it. Until then… Farewell” Before I had a chance to chew him out, I found myself outside the weapon shop again. God damnit. Will I ever be able to give this asshole a piece of my mind? Actually, that’s a bad expression to use. I will pretty much be literally giving him pieces of my mind as time goes on, apparently.
Since I had a little time before the sale ended, I took the chance to walk around the shopping district a bit. (This is the first time I’ve been able to control Nakao outside of his home. There are many people to talk to here, but I only talked to a few, so I’d have more things to write about later.) The first thing that caught my eye was a group of butterflies flittering around in one place. I went to investigate, and as I approached them, I felt calmer, and a little more resolute. I couldn’t figure out what they were gathering around, though. (Save points in Persona 4 are either the calendar at home, or a group of blue butterflies. The butterflies have a significance in the larger SMT: Persona universe that isn’t explored in Persona 4, just hinted at here.)
As I wandered, I found a little boy huffing around the district.
“Huh? What do you want? You’re not from around here, are you? I’m busy with errands… For my sister. Arggh, if only this was a part-time job. But doing all this for no reward!? I can’t believe it. The notice says that starting the 23rd, you can apply for a part-time job, but at my age getting hired is impossible.” I took a mental note of this. Having a part-time job could help me pay for the weapons we’ll have to buy along the way.
I took a moment to stop by Souzai Daigaku, a local cafe, and bought a steak skewer to give to Chie later. It seems that she’s always thinking about steak, so this might give me an in with her. Also, this is probably the place that Yosuke intended to take me to before Chie butt in and we had to go to Junes.
I didn’t know what else I could do to waste time, so I headed over to the Junes food court to wait for the others.
When the three of us sat down together at our regular table, Yosuke looked uncomfortable, and not just because he had a chain mail shirt on underneath his uniform.
“We really stick out… Guess it doesn’t help that we’re in our school uniforms on a Sunday. The sale should end soon, so that’ll get rid of some of the people wandering around here. Alright… let’s get going. Chie, it’s not too late to–“
“I’m going!” Chie said forcefully.
“Fine, but don’t push yourself, got it!?”
With that, we headed over to the electronics department, and jumped inside a fucking TV. It’s still strange to say that. We jumped inside a TV in order to enter into a hidden, fog-filled world inside a TV filled with the repressed emotions of people…. Which can sometimes kill their host. Fuuuck.
This time, we made sure to not fall on our heads when we came in. After making a graceful landing in spite of the chain mail, I noticed Teddie holding his head in deep thought. He’s probably been contemplating the nature of his existence ever since Friday…
“I’ve been deli-bear-ating over it for a long time now. Hey, that wasn’t a bad joke. Heehee…!” …Yes it was.
“…… So… did you figure anything out? Eh, it’s probably useless to think about it too much. I’ve seen the inside of your skull, and it was empty.” Yosuke had a good point. I still have no idea how Teddie functions.
“How rude! You’re right though. I try and try but nothing comes out of my head.”
“Will you guys shut up!? Now’s not the time for stupid jokes!” Chie said, obviously very anxious to get started. “Listen… Someone came here yesterday, right?”
“Wow! There’s a girl with a better nose than me!? What’s your name, miss?”
“M-Miss? Uh… I’m Chie. But never mind that! Tell me more about that ‘someone’!”
“I think it happened a little after I talked with you guys. After that, it felt like someone was here.”
“Is it Yukiko-san!?” Yosuke asked.
“I don’t know. I haven’t looked… The presence is over that way. That’s probably where they are.”
“Over there, huh…? Is everyone ready?” She didn’t even wait for a response, and just darted off. I know she cares about her friend, but Chie needs to learn a little restraint before she gets herself killed. And that’s not just a meaningless expression right now.
We eventually came upon the castle that the Yukiko on TV ran into. Chie was waiting for us there.
“What the…? A castle!? Y’think this is the place they showed on TV last time?” Yosuke turned to Teddie.
“You’re positive that no one’s behind a camera for that bizarre midnight program?”
“Program…? I don’t know. Maybe people on your side can see stuff in this world. It might be that. And I told you before! There’s only me and Shadows here! There’s no “camera” stuff going on. This world has been like this from the beginning.”
“‘From the beginning’ …? That’s what we don’t understand!”
“I dunno… Can you guys explain everything about your world? I’ve never seen this ‘program thingy before. So I don’t know.”
“Well… Is that really what’s happening? Are we really looking into this world? Because the first time Yukiko showed up on that channel was before she disappeared. Doesn’t that seem off? I mean, Yukiko saying stuff like ‘score myself a hot stud’? That’s not like her at all!” Chie pondered. I think we’re coming to learn that not everything we think about someone is true. What the princess Yukiko said probably has a grain of truth in it, which bodes well for me, if you know what I mean.
“‘Score’? ‘Stud’…?” Teddie was seriously confused.
“Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either… Yukiko-san would never say anything like that. ……!? I wonder… Is this kinda like what happened to me last time…?” Yes, Yosuke. It’s exactly what happened to you last time.
“There’s a lot of stuff I still don’t get. But after hearing your story… I think that ‘program’ happens because of the person who appears on it. Or something like that…” Well, if their repressed emotions can conjure up shopping districts and castles, I’m sure they can manipulate the Midnight Channel a bit.
“So… Yukiko is producing that show herself? Ugh, I don’t get this at all! Hey… Do you feel Yukiko’s presence from the inside?” Chie seemed a little too eager to just get to the rescue. Before I could try and stop her from rushing off, Teddie confirmed it, and Chie was off. Great. Now we had two people to save.
When we entered, we couldn’t see Chie, so Yosuke and I had to explore a bit. We got into a few battles, but they weren’t anything we couldn’t handle. As Igor predicted, I was able to push a few of my repressed emotions into the foreground of my mind. I obtained the Personas “Angel” and “Ukobach“. (I recommend getting Angel at the very least, because she proves to be very useful very soon.) We encountered some treasure chests as we went (is Yukiko subconsciously willing us on by providing these chests, or is it something else?), which contained various useful goods. Eventually, we stumbled on a staircase, which led us up to a short hallway with a single dauntingly large door in front of us. Teddie warned us that Chie was on the other side of the door. We burst though, ready to be heroes.
Chie was standing still, looking up at the ceiling. Yosuke called out to her:
“Chie! Are you all right!? … Chie…?” It should be no surprise that Yukiko’s voice filled the hall.
“She said that red looks good on me…”
“Yukiko-san!?” Yosuke cried out, perhaps thinking it would reach her.
“I hated my name… Yukiko… ‘Snow’… Snow is cold and it melts quickly… It’s transient… worthless… But it’s perfect for me… Apart from inheriting the inn, I’m worthless… Still Chie told me that red looks good on me.”
“Are these… Yukiko-san’s inner thoughts? I remember hearing Saki-senpai’s, too…” Yosuke is still a little slow on the uptake as far as these details go. I’m a little disappointed at that.
“Yeah. This castle is probably here because of this Yukiko person.” Teddie responded
“Yukiko…” Chie was still a little shocked at this whole thing.
“Chie was the only one who gave my life meaning… She’s bright and strong, and she can do anything… She has everything that I don’t… Compared to Chie, I’m… I’m… Chie protects me… She looks after my worthless life… And I… I don’t deserve any of it… Chie is so kind…”
“‘Chie is so kind’, huh? What a joke.” We all jumped at that. It was Chie’s voice, but she didn’t say it… Which meant…
“Wh-What…!?” Chie’s Shadow emerged, clad in blue flame.
“Oh man… Is that…!?” Yosuke knew what was going on.
“It’s just like Yosuke! She lost control over her suppressed self! Now it’s a Shadow!” As did Teddie.
“Are we talking about THAT Yukiko!? She says I’m protecting her!? She says she’s worthless! *chuckle* That’s how it should be, right?” Shadow Chie started into her routine.
“Wh-What’re you saying?”
“Yukiko’s sooo good looking… sooo fair-skinned… sooo feminine… She’s the one all the guys drool over. When Yukiko looked at me with such jealousy… Man, did I get a charge out of that. Yukiko knows the score. She can’t do anything if I’m not around… I’m better than her.. Much, much better!”
“No! I have never thought that!”
“Wh-What’re we gonna do?” Yosuke looked at me, a conflicted expression clouded his face. “We need to protect Chie,” I responded. She had to deal with her issues.
“We need to protect Chie-chan right now!” Teddie chimed in. We moved closer.
“N-No, don’t come near me! Don’t look at me!” Chie said, obviously in a state of panic.
“Chie, calm down!” Yosuke shouted.
“No… No, this isn’t me!”
“W-Wait, stupid! Don’t say anything else like that!”
“*chuckle* That’s right. I’m the one who can’t do anything alone… I can’t win as a girl, let alone as a person.. I’m pathetic. But Yukiko… She depends on me… *chuckle* That’s why she’s my friend… I’ll never loosen my grip on her… She’s too important to me.”
“No… That’s not how I think of her…”
“*chuckle* So, you’re just gonna turn your back and deny me again? But things are different now. When the time comes, I’ll be the one left standing. You won’t mind, right? I’m still you!”
“Shut up! You’re…”
“Chie, no!” Yosuke shouted at Chie, trying to stop her… But we had already let things go too far.
“You’re not me!”
Chie’s Shadow began to laugh manically, and started its transformation.
Chie’s enraged Shadow looked like a dominatrix sitting on top of a tower of schoolgirls. I’m not entirely sure what it symbolized… A need to control and be supported by others? Whatever it was, it began to speak.
“I am a Shadow… The true self. What do you guys think you’re doing? Trying to defend the ‘real’ me? Then you’re gonna pay the price!”
“Shut up! Quit being such a pain! Chie… Just hang in there a little longer…” Yosuke whipped out his wrenches, and got ready to fight.
“Hah… Think you can stop me that easy!?”
“Chie! Are you okay!?” Yosuke asked once Chie’s Shadow had been dealt with.
“What happened…?” Chie’s Shadow stood silent, looking at Chie intently.
“What’s the matter…? Got nothing to say anymore?”
“Stop it, Chie, it’s all right.” Yosuke said, trying his best to be calming.
“We understand.”, I replied.
“He’s right… I went through the same thing. So I can understand… I mean… Everyone has a side like this…”
“Yeah… I kinda get it now. You are me… A side of me I couldn’t forgive… That I tried to ignore… But you still exist. You’re a part of me…” Shadow Chie nodded at this. It began to transform in the same way Yosuke’s Shadow did two days ago. Before it receded back into Chie’s mind, I caught a glimpse of her Persona. Chie now commands Tomoe.
“I… Um, well it’s true that part of me feels that way… But I wasn’t lying about being friends with Yukiko…!”
“Like we didn’t know that already.” Yosuke replied. Chie sank to her knees, an exhausted look on her face.
“I’m okay… Just a little tired…”
“You don’t look okay at all… And I bet… You can use the same power we have now.”
“Hey, what should we do?” Yosuke asked me. I suggested that we take a break. It was exhausting for Yosuke and I when our Personas awakened, it was the same for Chie. We wouldn’t be able to do anything else today.
“All right. Let’s get back to the entrance, though. It’s dangerous around here.”
“I-I never said I needed a break! I… can still keep going…”
“Don’t overdo it!” Teddie urged.
“It’s not that we don’t think you can. It’s just, we have to save Yukiko-san, no matter what. Now you have the power, you can fight with us. It’d be much better for us all if you had your strength back. That’s why we’re saying we should go back and regroup.” Yosuke pleaded.
“But Yukiko’s still in here, isn’t she!? I-I… If those were Yukiko’s true feelings… then I have to tell her something. I’m not as strong as she thinks! It’s because she was with me… Because we were always together, I was able to act that way. If we weren’t, I’d…”
“Well, you need to get your strength back! Then you can tell her! Yuki-chan’s normal. The Shadows don’t attack normal people. They only attack when the fog lifts here.” Teddie assured her.
“So Yukiko-san will be safe until then, right?” Yosuked inquired.
“I’m positive,” I assured the group.
“Why…? I don’t get it…” Chie asked.
“Teddie told us that the weather here is the opposite of our own world. When it fogs over in our world… That’s the day it lifts here, and that’s when the Shadows sttack their victim. So even if we leave for a while, Yukiko-san won’t be in danger until the fog starts to cover Inaba. I’m sure of it. It was the same way for that announcer and Senpai… Don’t you remember how it was foggy in town on the days they died?”
“You mean… they were killed by their other selves?”
“The fog usually appears after it rains. But it’s been sunny lately. I don’t think it’s going to rain anytime soon. Don’t worry so much. We’ll check the weather forecast first thing when we get back.”
“But I-I can’t turn back now! We’ve come so far! Yukiko’s still here! She’s all alone… She must be so scared!”
“Then you tell me how much further we gotta go to reach Yukiko-san!”
“You don’t know what’s up ahead. The enemies might be even stronger. If we push ourselves too hard and get wiped out, who’ll save Yukiko-san then!? We can’t fail, no matter what… Am I wrong?”
“…… …Alright.” We helped Chie up, and led her back to the studio.
“I’m sorry about before… I shouldn’t have rushed in like that by myself…” Chie apologized. I could understand her actions, as fevered as they were.
“No worries. We’re difinitley gonna save Yukiko-san… Right?” Yosuke did his best to encourage Chie.
Chie started to feel even worse, and didn’t seem to understand why Yosuke and I were doing just fine. I told her that’s because she didn’t have a pair of glasses like Yosuke and I did. Teddie took the chance to give Chie her own pair, claiming that he was busy making them ever since Chie came into the TV World again. At least now Chie won’t collapse after a battle or two when we try and save Yukiko.
Yosuke asked me if I would mind acting as the leader of our group. I agreed reluctantly, but considering the group, I think I need to take control before one of the rest of them gets us killed. With our resolve renewed, and with another member in our ranks, I felt a surge of energy and camaraderie. As before, voices filled my head. I had established a Social Link with the fellow members of the self-proclaimed Investigation Team. That’s right, we’re taking things over from the cops, and into our own hands. We’re the only ones who can deal with this case. We’re the only ones who can save our classmate.
I got home a little later than normal, a little worse for wear, but still alive at least. Dojima and Nanako were eating dinner already, so I sat down to join them. Dojima stopped eating to look at me with a stern expression.
“Hey. Mind if I ask something? You aren’t getting involved with any strange business, are you…? What happened at the station this afternoon… It’s still bothering me. Is there… anything you’re not telling me?” I told him not to worry. I mean sure, we’re putting ourselves in mortal danger by fighting repressed human emotion given form inside a hidden world that uses TVs as gateways, but that wasn’t something I would want to burden him with. “…Is something bothering you? Believe me, I do feel bad that I’ve been too caught up with work for us to have time to talk…”
“What’s wrong? Are you fighting…?” Nanako asked. She seemed agitated.
“No… We’re not having a fight.” Dojima replied.
“This isn’t the police station…” Dojima sighed, and gave up.
“I agreed to look after you. So don’t get yourself involved in anything that could get you into trouble. Got that?” It was a little too late for that warning, really. I’ve spent a week living in a new town, and already I’ve established myself as the leader of a rag-tag group of students and a mystery bear who are fighting to save the lives of people who are being thrown into TVs and are being killed by their hidden psyches… Oh right, and I’m being aided by a guy with a two foot long nose and his bored-sounding assistant by letting me breed aspects of my personality together. Dojima might not believe that.
As I was getting up to leave, Nanako asked a question:
“Is this lady the one who decides the weather? ‘Cause when she says that it’ll be sunny, it always is…”
“Uh, she’s not really deciding it… …Never mind.” Tell me, how can Dojima let something that cute sit at home by itself day after day? I forget sometimes how young Nanako really is. Dojima should really let her be a kid more often.
So there you have it, folks. Chie has dealt with some of her self-worth issues, we’re one step closer to saving Yukiko, and we’re apparently learning that hiding scores of weapons, armour, and other random equipment under our school uniforms is easier than I expected.
I’m still a little bugged by my conversation with Adachi… I can’t put my finger on it though.