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Chapter 25: Festival of Shadows. (Part Two)

Once the opening ceremony ended, people of all ages began their tour of the festival. Most of them stopped by the vending booths selling food in front of the classroom building first.

The entire school was decorated inside out. It was an upgraded level of grandeur compared to last year’s festival, thanks to the backing from a certain conglomerate. It helped attract a huge crowd. Business was rapidly improving with participation of middle schools around Inaba, even as far as the next town. Life was looking good.

Back in Velvet Blues, everything was set. The classroom was divided into three sections; a quarter by the back windows held the food and drinks bar, the teaching podium was turned into a small performance stage, and the rest was the eating area filled with decorated tables and chairs. Going with the bar theme, the lighting of the classroom was dimmed down with velvet curtains to create atmosphere. Everything from the décor to the draperies was various shades of blue, with a little touch bright colors for contrast. Shinjiro had prepared a simple menu of finger foods such as sandwiches, croquettes, onigirazu and small pastries. All made by scratch and prepared in advance with Souji’s help, since cooking in the classroom was forbidden. At Minato’s bar, bottles of syrups, flavored sodas and fruit juices created an eye-catching display of colors and sweet odors to entice the senses. The menu of the day was written on the blackboard with colored chalk and a smaller blackboard outside to inform lining patrons. A simple sound system consisting of a laptop and speakers were set in strategic corners of the class. The sweet sound of jazz filled the air.

Despite the effort that had been put into it, the room was relatively empty. And they weren’t the only ones. The entire third year floor wasn’t a popular destination for visitors, most likely because it was located so high up. Yukiko and Yosuke were stationed at the front door to greet guests, and were getting bored. Shinjiro leaned against the back wall by the food station, staring out the window. Souji stood at the small corner stage, polishing his saxophone. Minako sat at the drums, pretending to play. Minato manned the drinks bar, browsing the playlist on his MP3.

“Step in and enjoy selected drinks and wonderful food as your soul feasts on the rhythm of blues!” Yukiko greeted. The passersby weren’t interested the least.

“Welcome to Velvet Blues! Step right in and experience the high life of city culture!” Yosuke greeted a few others. No one responded. As manager of class 3-2’s project, he had the right to be worried, and it was showing. “Argh! The foot traffic here is just awful!” he exploded minutes later, and abandoned his post to sit at a vacant table inside.

“Perhaps it’s still a little early?” Yukiko suggested. “I think it’s because there are more performances and attractions at the practice building and the courtyard, so Chie and Metis are having a hard time convincing customers to come.”

Minato flipped his phone open. “According to the schedule, the drama club is performing right now, followed by the music club. And yes, it isn’t helping that our class is on the third floor.”

“That’s not an excuse!” Minako piped in. Despite the seriousness of her tone, she was still distracted by the drums. Everyone sweatdropped.

Just as she said that, the juniors walked into their class. From the looks of it, Naoto, Rise and Kanji were dressed as a hip-hop/pop dance troupe. Their clothes were edgy and funky, with a twist of sophistication belonging to high street fashion (A/N: Their bonus clothes in P4: Dancing All Night). Teddie stood out by not going with the theme. Instead, he donned on a light blue Lolita dress with a matching lace apron and bows, his face enhanced with make-up and a blonde wig making him look prettier than he already was.

“Nice place you got here,” Rise said after taking it all in. “And you guys even dress the part. How cute!”

Yukiko beamed. “Thank you, Rise-chan. We’re proud of the results, even if the project manager was Yosuke-kun.”

“Hey!”

“S’not bad,” Kanji commented. “Too bad there’s not a lot of customers. Ours is doing slightly okay, so we let the sewing club guys handle it for now.”

“I’m sure people will start coming once they finish wondering the surrounding areas of the school and enter the class building,” Naoto said. “Either that, or the reputation of last year’s project spread farther than I expected.” She pressed the bridge of her nose. “Thank goodness there’s no more pageant this year.”

Minako stopped pretending to play the drums and grabbed Naoto by the shoulders. “Tell me about what happened last year!” she demanded desperately. Kanji had to pull her away from Naoto, which ended up him being shaken instead. “Was it so bad that you have to give us vague answers whenever we ask?!”

“This should be good,” Shinjiro drawled. He leaned against the counter with a smug grin.

“Why don’t you guys take a seat? Might as well get comfy while retelling that story,” Minato suggested, polishing a glass like a real bartender would. “I’ll make the drinks.” His enigmatic smile didn’t hide the fact that he was just as curious as his sister. Meanwhile, Teddie’s eyes were roving the menu, wiggling his rear as he tried to decide on what to order. “Ooohh ~ look at all this yummy stuff! You’re making it really hard for me to make up my mind!” His classmates ignored him as they joined the occupied table.

Kanji’s eyes met Yosuke’s, both young men immediately blushed and found the floor more interesting. Yukiko and Souji smiled sheepishly at each other, also blushing. Naoto and Rise looked disinterested, since they weren’t there to witness the embarrassing drama back then.

“I guess I’ll just have to tell it then,” Souji started. “Our project last year was Yosuke’s idea. At first he was being all secretive and sly when we had to write down our suggestions, but when the class rep announced it, his idea won by a landslide because nobody has ever even heard about it before.”

“Well…what was it?!” Minako demanded impatiently.

“A group date café.”

“Group date café…” Minato deadpanned. “You mean those cafés where you go sit with a group of random people, have random conversations in hopes that some of you hit it off?”

“Worse idea I’ve ever had,” Yosuke sighed.

“That’s pretty much it. It wasn’t a success. From the feedback I gathered, there were people interested in it, but then again this is the countryside. Some have the notion that going to these kinds of things was like cheating on their significant other or something.” Souji then proceeded to tell them whatever that happened next before their (yet another memorable event, but that was a secret the boys pinky-swore to take their graves) sleepover at the Amagi Inn. Including the sports festival which nearly got Rise squished by Hanako during one of the races (A/N: Refer to the drama CD).

Rise clutched her heart. “That was so scary…”

The twins laughed, small tears coming out of their eyes. Life in the countryside wasn’t bad at all!

Shinjiro didn’t know what to say. So he thought up a conclusion that the countryside has its own classification of weirdos, which he vowed to stay away from.

Minako had a dreamy look in her eyes once her laughter subsided. ‘Ahh~ I can't wait to explore the school once my shift ends. I wanna eat mochi ice cream, okonomiyaki and donuts, and play all the games. Then visit all the classes and clubs before dragging Shinji to the bonfire dance!’ She blushed and squealed softly at the last part.

Despite not having the same level of wild imagination as his sister, Minato was still excited at the prospect of exploring the festival. Thanks to the additional budget provided for each class and after-school clubs, there was bound to be something exciting and unusual. He picked up the tray of pink and blue frothy drinks to serve to his friends. “Before we can start doing whatever it is that you’re thinking about – ” he said, cutting off Minako’s daydream, “there has to be some way of getting people to come here and get the ball rolling. Metis and Chie-san might need a helping hand.”

“We’ll put the good word to our customers, but that’s probably about the best we can do,” Naoto said.

“Since you guys are doing a mini-concert, why not go put on a show?” Kanji suggested suddenly. “Y’know…to generate interest. Maybe after hearing you guys out, people wanna come here.”

Souji held his chin thoughtfully. “I think you’re right, Kanji. The group date café wasn’t a hit because people here didn’t know what it was. This jazz bar is also quite new for them, so we’ll have to demonstrate what it’s about.”

Fifteen minutes later, the Wild Cards were already assembled outside the practice building, where the density of people was higher. Minako set up the keyboard, Minato synched his violin to the amplifier, as did Souji with the bass guitar. A small group was already flocking around them, curious at what they were doing and how they were dressed. Metis and Chie were there with their promotional boards to explain what was happening. Once all three were in position, Minako started out with a midi, accompanied by Souji as Minato’s violin serenaded the growing crowd with a rendition of the jazz classic Autumn Leaves.

Once the song finished playing, the reaction was so encouraging, that the musicians decided to indulge them with another song – something more upbeat and modern. The growing crowd applauded a bit louder.

“Don’t forget, ladies and gentlemen. We will be performing live every 90 minutes, so be sure to visit Velvet Blues Jazz Bar on the third floor to indulge in music, food and fancy drinks!” Chie concluded the performance as the team leaders packed their equipment to head back to their class.

The promotional street performance worked – once word got out, the line outside got longer. More and more people were entering the classroom building, especially the middle school students. Since the music from Velvet Blues echoed throughout the third floor, some people began dancing along the corridor. It was promising to be a busy day.

Everyone involved took their breaks in shifts according to the roster Yukiko prepared. It gave them ample chance to explore the rest of the school and performances, hang out with friends and meet new people. Around noon, the jazz bar was packed. Some of the snacks were already sold out, but the drinks kept coming. Customers were having fun, happily conversing with each other, soaking in the atmosphere and music. Once the scheduled live performance was announced, people began to flood in, some spilling outside the classroom, staring in awe at the stage and performers as if they had never been to a concert before. Mitsuru and the rest of SEES eventually dropped by – Akihiko couldn’t help himself and laughed at Shinjiro’s costume. A fight almost started, but Mitsuru nipped it in the bud with her icy aura. Koromaru tagged along with Dojima and his daughter when they came to visit.

Of course, having this many people around didn’t come without challenges – from the mild misdemeanor of line-cutting to freebie seekers (Teddie was at the top of the list for that one) to a serious incident where Yukiko and Minako were groped. Shinjiro had no qualms about using his intimidating presence to scare the offender off, threatening to break his hands and castration as a warning before releasing him. Hiccups aside, things went smoothly. Even after all the food and drinks were sold out, people still came by to enjoy the music. Eventually, Yosuke decided to close their class a little early than planned after the final performance as there was no point in staying open with nothing to sell. Everyone was free to their own devices after cleanup.

The only worrying thing that day was that nobody had seen Kashiwagi-sensei’s whereabouts, but that didn’t ruin anybody’s fun whatsoever.

Minako didn’t wait long to drag her boyfriend out for a date. She was so excited that she didn’t even change into her normal clothes. At least Shinjiro managed to put on his usual turtleneck sweater. The evening was a bit warm for autumn, so he decided to forgo his pea coat. The auburn-haired girl then proceeded to exhaust him with games, play dress-up with Rise and Kanji, and endured his lectures about the sweets and fried foods she kept consuming.

“But Shinji, it’s sooooo good!” Minako whined. The way she said it made Shinjiro’s self-control go haywire.

Despite his well-balanced diet and getting back into the groove of his self-training regimen – without Akihiko’s help, he might add – Shinjiro’s stamina was nowhere near as high as Minako’s. Once she used up the energy gained by eating said junk food, he begrudgingly bought her a large-size ice cream parfait to keep her quiet and still. As he watched her eat, the corner of his eye picked up two guys passing their table. He didn’t think much of them wearing masks at a festival, but it picked up on his radar that they still wore those despite all the scheduled performances ended hours ago. His girlfriend perked up, parfait momentarily forgotten as her spoon dropped, and scanned the area.

“What was that?!” Minako demanded.

“What was what?”

“I just…felt something…weird.” She shuddered involuntarily. “Didn’t you feel it just now?”

Confused, Shinjiro craned his neck to take in their surroundings. “I don’t see anything out of the ordinary.” His eyes still shifted around, in case he missed anything.

“Hmmm…maybe I’m just tired?” Minako pondered. “All this excitement must be getting to me. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time!” She beamed a bright smile at her boyfriend. “Let’s do this again tomorrow!”

“Yeah.” He gently placed a few strands of hair that escaped her clips behind her ear.

Meanwhile, her twin brother wandered around with Yukari as soon as he finished cleaning up his station. Minato changed into jeans and a light sweater. Just like Minako, they both indulged in sweets and fried snacks, playing street games and reminiscing about fun times.

They came across a photo gallery of past Yasogami events and laughed at a few in the Year 2011 section. There were the Inaba girls (minus Naoto) in their bikinis on stage, and the boys in all their cross-dressed glory – it turned out Rise wasn’t the only one snapping pictures that day. Not forgetting the sports event after that. There were also a collection of pictures from the culture and sports clubs, where the members’ competitive sides shined through, including the impromptu basketball match set up by Daisuke to cheer Kou up. The trip to Gekkoukan High and Port Island took the centre.

“I feel bad for them that their school trip turned out to be for social study purposes,” Yukari commented. “Although from what Rise-chan told me, it got pretty wild. Her story sounds exaggerated, but after seeing what happened in Yakushima, I’m not so sure…” Seeing that he was distracted by the photos, she quickly ran to a nearby vendor for drinks.

As Minato silently praised the person behind the camera who took these pictures, he noticed one odd detail that anyone would normally dismiss. In all the pictures which Souji was a part of, there was a small red blob hiding behind a pillar, tree or building behind the scenes. ‘That’s odd…’ he thought. ‘That shade of red looks familiar…’ As he tried to remember where he saw it before, a bottle of Ramune blocked his vision.

“I thought we could use a drink after all that walking,” Yukari said as Minato took the soda from her grasp. “Besides, these were the only ones left and the vendor was only too eager to give a discount in order to finish up his stock.”

They walked together to a bench outside and sat down to enjoy their drinks. Minato relaxed as the evening breeze blew, revealing his right eye that was almost always hidden beneath his bangs. “Today was so much fun, it’s a shame it had to end. At least there’s tomorrow.”

Yukari smiled. “Yeah, I almost forgot what a school festival was like. During senior year, I was so busy studying and preparing with the archery squad for the championship that I didn’t participate. I always thought to myself that it wouldn’t feel the same without you.” She blushed and mumbled “I know it sounds stupid, but…that’s how I felt anyway…”

Minato’s grip on her hand tightened. “Then we’ll just have to work hard so that we can come to the next one.”

“And who knows, maybe your pictures will be on this board next year too,” she joked.

Both of them remained like that for a while, although Minato couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched. It was difficult to pinpoint if the feeling was his own paranoia, or his empathic link with Minako. Either way, it paid to be cautious.

When evening set in, the crowd began to thin. Despite that, a few of the stalls located in the courtyard delayed their closing to let the students working the final shift enjoy themselves. Thankfully, this year’s cultural festival had no embarrassing gimmicks like the previous beauty pageants. Souji and Yukiko were strolling around the gym hand-in-hand, changed out of their Velvet Blue uniforms. The game stalls had already closed and were being cleared out for tomorrow’s sports clubs’ friendly matches with invited schools. They had bought some takoyaki and kakigori earlier, and sat on the stage stairs to enjoy their meal.

“You’ll be participating in the friendly basketball match tomorrow, aren't you?” Yukiko asked.

“Yeah, Kou’s decision. Since becoming Captain, he’s surprisingly strict and vetoed me into it.”

“I’m not surprised. Ichijo-kun always had a bit of a competitive streak since I’ve known him, and he aims to win. He’ll want the best players to be on the team.”

Souji looked at his watch. “Jeez, look at the time. I didn’t realize it was almost this late. I’ll walk you home after we finish eating.” He picked up a takoyaki ball and pressed it near Yukiko’s lips. “Say Ahhh~”

They teased each other incessantly until their food finished and left.

Outside the gym by the storage room, a certain red-head looked on. His vision was particularly focused on the couple’s linked hands. “Tch…why do they do that kind of shit? It makes me sick!” He spat on the ground, scowling as he crossed his arms.

“Be patient, Sho,” the inner voice he called Minazuki chided. His presence was soothing to the angry young man. “Just wait until tomorrow. Then your wish will be fulfilled.”

“You’re right, Minazuki. Everything will begin tomorrow. The old man can screw himself for all I care, but my wish comes first!”

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That night…

They could tell it was another dream, as their consciousness drifted through the border of the subconscious.

Fire…every corner of the room was on fire. It didn’t help that the entire place was made of wood. Tapestries of familiar, prominent figures of Shinto-Buddhism hung on the pillars. At the end of the room, an altar surrounded with flowers and the statue of a golden Buddha smiled at them. It was so hot that they were having difficulty breathing and could feel blisters forming on their skin, even though they knew it was only a dream. But that wasn’t all. Distant voices echoed clearly through the splintering wood and crackling inferno. It sounded like two men talking.

“Yes Minister, the intel came through correctly. Your son is indeed the culprit.”

“What is that incompetent fool up to?”

“My sources tell me that he is on a serial arson rampage. He has set fire to several buildings in Sumaru City, but they could not pinpoint his motive. Although I can assure you those won’t be his last.”

“It doesn’t matter. The authorities can handle damage control, but I want that boy found and locked away. It will cause a nationwide scandal if the press gets to him first, and we must avoid that at all costs! Whatever you do, make sure to cover his tracks so the cops won’t come sniffing at my doorstep!”

Before they were barbequed alive in that shrine, the scene shifted to the courtyard. The very structure they were in just now stood burning in front of them. For reasons unknown, they were lying on the ground face-down, exhausted out of their minds. Strangely enough, this feeling felt familiar, aside from the sharp pain that tore through their abdomen. A tiny hand instinctively applied pressure to the wound. It took a few moments to realize they were inside the mind of another host body, with no control over their actions.

The door of the shrine kept banging. A girl’s muffled voice shouted from within.

Whoever’s body it was tried their best to turn his/her head to a certain direction. Because of the fatigue they were experiencing, it took a while to register that someone, a man, was screaming in pain. He was holding his face. A bloody knife was by his feet, which the Wild Cards assumed what he had used to stab them with. He was a blonde man in his teens, smartly dressed in a black sweater over a red collared shirt and black slacks. When he finally lifted his hands, they saw that a part of his face had been burned, his right eye so badly damaged that hopes of restoring it was lost. The glare in his functioning eye caught them off guard, staring straight at them with intense hatred.

It was the face of a man who had lost his sanity.

Police sirens and the fire brigade could be heard in the distance. “You’ll pay for this, brat!” the insane man yelled, before fleeing the scene.

Everything was becoming blurry…

“Tatsuya-kun! Tatsuya-kuuun!”

Their vision succumbed to darkness.

Gasping for breath, the Wild Cards shot up from their beds, wiping the sweat from their brows.

Another dream…just like before…’ they thought. Simultaneously, all three got up to get a glass of water, the intense heat from the burning shrine still ingrained in their memory that their first instinct was to cool down.

‘What is Butterfly Mask trying to tell us this time?’

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Unfortunately the Wild Cards had no time to ponder on what the dream meant the next day.

The popularity of Yasogami High skyrocketed overnight as visitors from Yasoinaba and surrounding schools flooded the entrance gate. The headmaster was particularly giddy at the potential enrollment for the next school session, not forgetting the annual school trip he had planned for his students this year.

Velvet Blues was bustling with customers, and so was Fashion Express (Rise had named their class. Surprisingly, Naoto was okay with it), and were raking in the cash.

Souji was on fire at the basketball court during the friendly match. He and Kou scored the most points, their flawless teamwork boosting team morale that winning was actually possible. Akihiko stood by the benchwarmers, cheering on the sidelines with Kondo-sensei. The coach’s assistant may have unintentionally had a hand in attracting the female crowd to the gym as well. Their screams had the effect of spiking up the testosterone levels of the other basketball players on court, resulting in a heated game.

Mitsuru, Yukari, Aigis and Fuuka were chaperoning Nanako and Koromaru around the festival. They played games and looked at exhibitions and performances they didn’t get the chance to experience the previous day. It was unfortunate that Dojima was called in for an emergency meeting that morning, but the young women and dog managed to distract her with fun.

Junpei and Ken went their own separate ways after a small dispute between soccer and baseball as Japan’s best sport. Ken headed to the soccer pitch and Junpei went for the baseball field.

Just like Souji in the basketball court, Yasogami’s soccer team was squaring it off with a rival team, Minato and Daisuke in the lead. Ken stared in awe at his Leader’s ability to skillfully cut off the ball’s trajectory and maneuvered it away from the opponent, passing it on to Daisuke to score the goals. ‘Minato-san’s experience in Kendo and swordplay must’ve given him an edge in his footwork. I must get him to teach me those moves when we get home!’ Ken thought excitedly.

As the afternoon rolled in, the school was full to the brim with people. No one looked concerned about the dark clouds looming in from behind the mountains.

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A sharp pain pierced Marie’s skull. “Ack!”

Pharos stared at her with his big, soulful eyes. “Are you alright, Mariko-san?”

“What is this?!” she demanded, her vacant stare not focused on anything. “Something is happening…what the hell is this? I didn’t order this kind of weather!”

“Should I go get Brother?”

Marie was panting hard. “Go get him! Tell him…something’s…not right...”

Pharos disappeared into thin air. With a burst of strength, the minor goddess ran ahead in the direction of the shopping district. “Must…get to…Velvet Room!”

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From his position on the rooftop, Sho Minazuki stared at the crowd beneath his feet.

Have the preparations been set for the summoning ceremony?” Minazuki asked from within Sho’s mind.

“Yep. Those losers will start when I give the command.” Sho snorted at their gullibility. The hand in his pocket tightened its grip on the crystal resting there. “The intensity of Ideal Energy within all those people…can you feel it, Minazuki?”

“Certainly. Just this location alone will provide the necessary power for the next phase of our plan. We can dispose the tools after that. And that leaves the final piece.”

A grin of excitement twitched on the red-haired boy’s lips. He took out a burner phone and typed in a single line: Begin the ceremony.

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“Isn’t it getting a bit dark for this time of day?” Yumi Ozawa asked Ai Ebihara. They were discussing the basketball team arrangements earlier. “I hope it doesn’t rain…”

“I sure hope not. There’s not enough shelter in a school this size.”

Yumi’s head perked up. “Hey…do you hear that?”

Ai heard it too. “What…is that?”

 

“It sounds like chanting, and it’s coming from the tool shed. That area is off limits!” She then heard something slump to the ground beside her. “Ebihara, what’s wrong?!” Yumi could see white, phantasmal steam seeping out of her body. “What the…” Before she could finish her sentence, she too lost consciousness.

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Marie cursed as she activated her powers. Whatever that was happening now, it was about to get ugly, and fast. She knew that if she didn’t do something, her town and the people in it were going to perish. “Ryoji, NOW!”

“One forcefully induced Dark Hour, coming right up!”

Inside the Velvet Room, the residents were on standby. They had received Marie’s request earlier and in no time prepared what she wanted. They could only hope that their guests adjusted fast for the mishap that was about to rain down upon them.

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The Persona-users knew right away that something was wrong when people around them began dropping like flies. They too saw the phantasmal, white smoke evaporating from their bodies.

And then the Dark Hour hit, which surprised everyone before they could react. Those who had previously fainted were now Transmogrified.

Wasting no time, they dropped whatever they were doing. The high school students quickly ran to get their weapons and armor - some had them hidden in certain secret stashes around school, a few concealed in their schoolbags or kept in their shoe lockers. It was noted in the last SPIES meeting that they had to be prepared to fight at any time, any place.

What came next was completely unexpected. It still remained dark as night, as usual of the Dark Hour. No electrical items worked. The only difference is that the moon had turned an evil, glowing red, and waves of heavy, red mist danced in the air. The atmosphere got a bit more oppressive.

The next surprise came when the Persona-users noticed that the Transmogrified coffins had disappeared. Things were not looking good…

It didn’t end there. The ground started rumbling and moving beneath their feet, causing the Persona-users to lose their footing, cursing and shrieking as they were thrown around and rolling into things around them. They tried their best to find shelter or protection given the circumstances, closing their eyes and hoping for the best.

When the rumbling stopped and deemed safe enough to open their eyes, the teenagers and young adults dizzily took in their surroundings. They didn’t like what they were seeing.

Rise, Kanji and Naoto had remained together.

Fuuka and Yukari were shakily holding hands.

Shinjiro and Yosuke managed to stay in each other’s sights.

Ken, Koromaru and Junpei miraculously found each other after a short amount of time wandering around.

Chie, Yukiko and Metis were lucky enough to take shelter in the girl’s restroom and remained together.

The rest however, were on their own.

Everyone was separated.

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Ryoji collapsed on his knees, having exerted himself in trying to call forth the Dark Hour. It only lasted a few minutes, but it completely drained him. The former harbinger of The Fall still managed to retain some of Nyx’s powers after his mysterious comeback, but not much.

Marie was continuously panting. Pharos materialized beside her.

“Are the townspeople safe?” she asked him.

“Yes. I did a sweep across town and there were no civilians left. Your plan worked.”

“It was a good call on your behalf, Marie-chan. Using the Dark Hour to intervene whatever happened just now,” Ryoji praised. “It’s too bad I couldn’t identify whoever is behind this ‘Red Mist’ phenomenon. We’ll just call them ‘Malevolent Entity’ for now, because it’s clear their intention is to cause harm.”

Pharos turned his gaze to the direction of Yasogami High. His eyes grew wide at what the countryside high school had become. “Brother...that’s…”

Ryoji gritted his teeth. He recognized that tall structure anywhere. “It can’t be…” He gulped, and his mouth went dry. “Tartarus…”

“You...mentioned it...before…” Marie said between breaths. Despite her fatigue, she couldn’t help but ask “What’s...it for?”

“It’s basically a beacon to call forth the end of mankind. Whatever it is that the bad guys are summoning, I hope our friends can defeat it.”

“Then...they’ll have to...hurry…before I...reach my limit. I don’t know...how long...I can contain...this red fog….before it...breaks out...of Inaba...”

Persona - Chaos Butterfly 25.2
Hi hi everybody. I finally managed to get this done. As you remember,  I had to put the fic on hold due personal reasons. I hope to keep this on a more steadier pace. Here's hoping it works out okay. 

Hopefully you guys will like the surprises in this chapter, but please comment on it. Faves are really nice and I do appreciatte them, but we really want to know what you guys think about it so we can improve more. It doesn't have to be a long or detailed comment. All feedback is appreciatted.  This take a lot of work, ya know.


A few other warnings:
-There will be spoilers for all games! You've been warned.
-The Main characters from each game in this fanfic are called Minato Arisato (P3:FES), Minako Arisato (P3P) and Souji Seta (P4)
-There'll be some cursing. (Anyone that played any persona games knows that some  characters on it curse quite a bit.) as well as some heavy subjects.
-Main Pairings in this fanfic: MinatoxYukari, ShinjiroxMinako, SoujixYukiko, KanjixNaoto, AkihikoxMitsuru, YosukexChie.
-Hinted Pairings: JunpeixChidori. (Hinted because Chidori doesn't appear much  on this story) KenxNanako (Ya know those little girl's crushes on older  boys? It'll be along those lines) FuukaxKeisuke (Other than Minato and  Junpei, Fuuka only displayed some sort of close relationship with  Keisuke the club president. I found it kinda cute.) TeddiexRise (Just  for giggles. They are afterall the two hyperactive cuties of the team  X3)

Ohta-Suzuke's A/N: We're so so sorry this was late! *On hands and knees, bows* I'm so glad to have readers as loyal as you, I can't thank you enough! I was laid off my job April last year (I really loved that job, with its flexible hours and awesome, crazy colleagues) but alas, they've moved their operations to another country. Until now, I have not been able to get over it because I still miss my friends. Now I have a new job which takes up most of my energy, and the commute home takes up lots of writing time. Ideas run around in my head, but due to the normal working hours of day-dwellers, it gets lost somewhere as I keep getting called to meetings and thinking of stuff other than Persona. Sorry for the rant, but this is what I have been going through in the past year. Please don't hesitate to PM us if you have questions. Some of the stuff here may not make sense at first, but we'll do our best to clarify things in the coming chapters. Don't forget to drop a review!

Have fun ya guys.

Persona series and all its characters (c) Atlus
Pegasus Persona design (c) :iconladystarwing:
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Chapter 25: Festival of Shadows. (Part One)

When the lunch bell rang, the Wild Card trio quickly made their way to the school roof after hastily apologizing to their friends that they were going to have a – to quote Minako – “Leaders meeting”. It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t entirely the truth either; they were not going to discuss battle tactics or which dungeon they were going to train in next.

The topic of their discussion was the dream they had last night. The first moment Minato began telling what he dreamt of, Souji and Minako confirmed that they had the same dream and saw the same people.

“It was so bizarre,” Minato said, holding his forehead. “That sensation I felt after losing consciousness was exactly how it felt when Igor summons us to the Velvet Room, but we ended up somewhere different instead. And it can't be a coincidence that the three of us experienced the same thing at once.”

“You’re right, Aniki. It has to mean something,” Souji said, holding his chin pensively.

“The fundamental question is…who put us there?” Minako asked no one in particular. “Why would they want us to experience something like that? I don’t think Igor is involved with this, guys. Not the ‘forcing-us-into-dreams’ part, anyway.”

“I agree. It must be that butterfly mask guy,” Minato said. “Who is he? And why won’t the people in the Velvet Room say anything about him?”

Souji’s silence has the twins unnerved for a moment. “What’s on your mind, Souji-kun?” Minako asked, sucking orange juice from a drink box.

“It’s just that…even though we felt out of place in that dream, but the person we were experiencing through clearly didn’t. Those people knew him, trust him even. And then there’s the mention of that game…Master Persona.”

Minato opened a can of Orange Smash and sipped slowly. “Yeah, and supposedly it can ‘show the future’ to the people playing it.”

“Rumored to, anyway. It’s similar to the one that started when I first transferred here. ‘When you stare at an empty television screen on a rainy day, your soul mate will be shown to you at the strike of midnight’. Once enough people start to respond to the rumor, their collective desires are shown instead.”

Minako sighed. “Ugh…why does all this have to happen now? The culture festival is starting soon and we can't enjoy it because our heads are messed up!” She held her head in frustration. If it wasn’t for her hair clips neatly holding her hair in place, she would have messed it up badly.

“Oh yeah, those guys were preparing for a culture festival too. I wonder which school they go to,” Minato pondered. “Judging by their uniforms, it’s gotta be some sort of private institution, right? Did any of you get a good look at their emblems?”

“School emblems…Aniki, you’re a genius!” Souji exclaimed, surprising the twins. “This could be a clue that Margaret was talking about! So far, it’s the only lead we got. Whatever they said about that Master Persona game and the weird stuff happening afterwards could be related to what’s happening in Inaba!”

“You’re speaking in past tense,” Minato observed, sipping more of his canned beverage. “Do you think whatever they’re talking about has already happened?”

Souji nodded. “I can't say definitely until we look it up, but judging based solely on their surroundings, it looks like it. The most telling sign was that blonde girl with twin pigtails. That fashion statement died away at least half a decade ago. And what sort of private institution doesn’t have a single computer in the classroom? But then again, I could be wrong.”

Minako passed him a melon bread. “Alright, we’ll start by following this lead. It’s the only thing we got anyway. But first things first, we gotta prepare for the culture festival. Might as well go all out!”

“To be honest, I’m looking forward to it,” Minato said, smiling. “It’ll be our first real experience of one.”

“As long as we’re not participating in the beauty pageant again,” Souji said. “That was hell in itself.”

The bell rang, signaling that lunch time was over and classes would be starting soon. There was still a lot to do before calling it a day.

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The final bell of the day rang. Students postponed their work on the festival preparations to take a break, while some of them went back, finished for the day. Shinjiro left immediately since he had to work, but the rest of the Persona-user seniors hung out in their empty classroom resting, when the class door flew open and Rise stampeded in, face red and on the verge of tears. “SENPAI, SAVE ME PLEASE!” the idol bawled, and hid behind Souji's back, clutching his jacket so tightly as if her life depended on it. 

His inner panic meter climbed rapidly at his teammate’s distress. “Rise, what's wrong?!” 

Fortunately for him, Minako was there as a calming factor and came to his aid. She pried Rise off his back and pulled her into a hug. “Rise-chan, tell me what’s wrong,” she demanded softly, rubbing the junior's back, who looked a little hysterical. 

“T-Teddie! He…*hiccup* H-he…!”

“Rise-san, please calm down and tell us what happened,” Minato ordered. Rise took a few shaky breaths to steady herself. As she was about to explain what was going on, Naoto and Kanji appeared, the latter carrying Teddie by his midsection under his arm, to prevent the smaller boy from running away. 

“Unhand me, you brute!” Teddie whined, wriggling like a worm to escape the iron-like hold.

Shrugging off the mild insult, Kanji glowered at him instead. “Stuff it, before I stuff your face with my fist!” Naoto and Rise glared darkly at the captive, effectively shutting him up and he stopped moving.

“Oookay...anyone mind explaining what’s going on?” Souji asked, though wasn't surprised that whatever had upset the three juniors, Teddie had a huge portion of the blame.

Naoto clenched her fists at her sides, her small body trembling in anger. “This…this fool...! He wanted to turn our class into a giant kissing booth for the festival!”

Chie choked on her instant ramen, Yukiko patted her back, and Yosuke sputtered on his can of Orange Smash. “WHAT?!” the rest of the seniors yelled.

Kanji did the explaining this time. “It all happened during our previous class...”

Flashback…

Class 2-2 was becoming noisier with idle chatter, after Kondo-sensei finished his lecture a little early to help the sports team with their festival activities, so they had some free time before break.

The class rep stood at the front, rapping the chalkboard to attract attention. "Attention, everyone!" he called. He was mostly successful, although some still ignored him. He cleared his throat. "As you know, the Cultural Festival is approaching and we still haven't decided what our class will be doing."

"Hosoi-sensei and the student council are demanding that we decide as soon as possible and get to work soon. I heard that our class is the only one who has not handed in our submission," the class rep assistant added. "So, we need to put our heads together and think of something."

Silence. You could almost hear the crickets chirping.

"Any ideas?" the class rep prompted. The lack of response had him feeling hopeless. He perked up when someone raised a hand.

"Ooh! Ooh! I know!" It was Teddie, waving his raised hand with overflowing enthusiasm.

"Oh man, here we go again..." Kanji muttered. Whatever that was getting suggested, he knew it'll be either silly or embarrassing.

The class rep sighed, disappointed that it wasn’t anyone else. "Go ahead, Teddie-kun. What is it?"

"A kissing booth featuring me and Rise-chan!" That certainly had everyone paying attention. All eyes were directed to the blonde and pop idol, whose face was burning red.

Naoto stood up to protest, hands balled on her hips. “Are you insane?! That sort of inappropriate attraction will never be approved by Student Council and the festival committee.”

“But Nao-chan, think about it!" Teddie whined. “With my charms –” Sparkles flew out of his very being, "and Rise-chan’s stunning beauty, it’ll be a huge hit! Our class will be Number One in all of Inaba festival history!”

It went quiet for a while, until stirs of conversation ignited surrounding the topic. “He does have a point…” a male classmate murmured. “I mean, what guy wouldn’t want to kiss Risette?”

“And Teddie-kun is kinda cute…” said a female student. “He reminds me of a little brother who I don't have the heart to scold because he's so adorable." She said it loud enough for the class to hear, although Teddie was too busy fantasizing that the statement flew over his head.

Murmurs of agreement echoed across the class. Rise was getting more and more flustered. “No, I won’t do it!” She stood up and stomped her feet, clearly upset.

“A-ah, we won’t force you to do it, Rise-san…” the class assistant assured her nervously. “But we do need to decide on a project, and fast…”

Teddie then turned his gaze to Naoto. “Then Nao-chan can do it. She's pretty too.”

A chair in the back of the classroom skidded backwards and crashed to the floor violently. “OVER MY DEAD BODY!” The last thing Kanji wanted was having random guys kissing his girlfriend. Naoto's cheeks flushed at Teddie’s suggestion. If she had her gun in hand she would’ve shot him right on the spot. The other students shrank in their seats, not wanting to face the wrath of Kanji Tatsumi.

“Alright, alright, settle down everybody!" The class rep pounded the chalkboard again, harder this time. Order was regained. "Ugh, this is getting us nowhere. Look, I know you guys don’t wanna do this and it's a major pain in the ass, but if we don’t deliver a project proposal by the end of the week, we’ll be forced to work on whatever Kashiwagi-sensei is planning to do to replace the cancelled beauty pageants, and we all know that won’t be pleasant.” The class groaned at the thought.

“So what d'ya suggest we do?” Kanji asked, crossing his arms.

“Find an alternative. We’ll vote for it tomorrow, so we need ideas, people." The bell rang just in time. The rest of the students hastily left, leaving only the four Persona-users.

Teddie leaped out of his seat. “Yay, post-school snack time! I wonder what Junes is having on sale right now.” He was about to leave the class when Kanji grabbed his collar and lifted him by the scruff. “Hey!”

“You ain’t going anywhere, you little punk!” Kanji growled. Rise and Naoto were stood behind him, arms crossed. “This time you crossed the line.”

“What did I do wrong?” Teddie asked, wide-eyed and confused.

Rise lost it at that. “You…you moron!” She slapped him, her shoulders shaking with anger. “Wait until I tell Senpai about this, you pervert!”

End Flashback

“And that’s what happened…” Naoto concluded. “Senpai, please, you have to talk some sense into him."

The three leaders glared at the blonde culprit, who shivered in Kanji's hold. “And here I thought you learned your lesson after what happened in Yakushima. How disappointing…” Souji sighed, shaking his head.

“B-But…" Teddie's eyes glazed with unshed tears. "I just wanted to help our class come up with the best project!”

“Suggesting things that will embarrass your friends without talking to them first is not the way to do it,” Minato said “If I recall correctly, Souji-kun told me you did the same thing to the girls last year."

“Yosuke had a hand in it, but yeah, the mastermind behind it all was Teddie,” Chie said.

“If it wasn’t for him, we never would have had to do the swimsuit pageant,” Yukiko muttered bitterly.

“Besides, a kissing booth will definitely attract all sorts of weird and unpleasant people from both genders,” Minako added, then scowled. “Like Kashiwagi-sensei or Hanako-san for example. Those two are always making creepy and slutty comments… Gross…”

Having been reminded of their least two favorite persons, Teddie, Yosuke, Kanji and Souji paled. Memories of their failed sneak attack after that particular misunderstanding at the hot springs came rushing – and in an attempt at petty revenge, mistook the girls’ room for the one Kashiwagi and Hanako shared – haunted their sleep for weeks. In Teddie’s case it was worse, doubled by the fact that Hanako almost crushed him inside his suit after accidentally flirting with her during last year’s summer festival. That was enough to scare him for multiple lifetimes. “Whahh! No, no! Don’t let them get me ~ !” he wailed. “Please, please Sensei. I’ll be good! I’ll be good! No kissing booth, I promise!”

His fellow classmates were relieved. “Glad you came to your senses,” Souji said. “Kanji, you can put him down now.” Kanji unceremoniously dropped the human Shadow to the ground, not feeling the least bit sorry when he hid behind Souji, shivering the bad memories away.

“Well, that solves one problem. However, we still don’t have a project for the festival,” Naoto pointed out.

“Yeah! We don’t wanna be guinea pigs for Kashiwagi-sensei’s project,” Rise added.

Minako tapped her chin, eyebrows scrunched together in thought. “Maybe one of the clubs you guys attend can help?” she suggested.

Naoto shook her head. “None of us are part of a club this year, because our help is needed to attend to family business after school. Well, except Kanji-kun. He helps out the sewing and crafts club every now and then since many of the members also take lessons from him.”

The metaphorical light bulb of inspiration lit above Rise’s head. “Kanji, didn’t you say the sewing club wanted to show off the outfits they made and designed during summer, but had no place to?”

“Huh? Yeah, they did. But all their homerooms already picked something to do, and their club room is too small and cluttered for something like that. Why do you ask?”

“I just had the best idea!” Rise jumped with excitement. “Why don’t we turn our class into a fashion show?” But she wasn’t stopping there – she was on a roll. “How about throwing in a rest area for fashion and makeup consultation, too?”

Naoto blushed, not enjoying the idea of dressing up again. “Explain to me how that is not worse than a kissing booth.”

Having expected such protest, Rise put on her best smile. “C’mon, you’ve seen the outfits they made when we walked in on one of his teaching sessions last time. They were all cute and pretty and fancy.” She noticed the flush of pride creeping up Kanji’s neck and ears. “Besides, giving them the free publicity could really help, wouldn’t it? It’s not like our class can come up with a better idea.” Naoto remained silent, only proving her point. “Look, I’m not saying only the two of us have to do it. I know the girls in our class would love to try out those cute clothes, and we can borrow mannequins from Junes to add to the decor. We can be in charge of the make-up consultations, and Kanji can advise on how to fix and alter clothes to suit the client’s style. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

Minako’s face lit up in excitement. “She has a point. It’s a chance to highlight the sewing club and their talents, instead of something awkward like a kissing booth.” She clapped her hands. “Sounds like a win-win to me.”

“You just want to try on ridiculous costumes again,” her twin said teasingly. She slapped his bicep.

Naoto thought long and hard, but one look at Teddie caused mild anger to resurface and decided that anything was tolerable if it wasn’t planned by him. “Alright, I’m in,” the young detective said, though still unconvinced. “Mind you, this won’t be the only idea that will be voted by our class. But still, anything is better than a kissing booth.”

“I can't wait to start!” Rise cheered. “C’mon Kanji! Let’s gather the sewing club and tell them about their debut project!” The idol then dragged the muscular young man out of their upperclassmen’s class, followed by Naoto and a discouraged Teddie.

Yosuke let out a deep breath once the juniors were gone. “I just hope they don’t screw up too badly like we did.”

“By ‘they’, you mean you,” Chie pointed out, residues of anger spilling out from her words in waves.

“Come on! You’re still not over that?!”

Minako’s eyes glimmered, eager for information. “Ooohh, I want to hear about that! You guys never told us what happened last year!”

“Well…it all started when –” Souji began.

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The following day, Souji's headache started acting up again during a short break. Flashes of the usual ghastly images were getting much more intense, which reflected the frequency of Izanagi’s pounding. He made a run for the gym which should be empty, although that wasn’t where he really wanted to go. Anywhere would do as long as it was outside.

Staggering through the hallway, he found himself on the pathway connecting the Classroom and Practice Buildings. ‘Damnit...why does this keep happening?!’ Souji gripped his head and fell to his knees from the pain, trying hard to focus on pleasant thoughts hoping that it could calm his Persona down. But the Original God only got more aggravated. ‘Please... Stop it!’ He took deep breaths, not noticing someone watching him from afar.

“Well, well…look who the cat dragged in,” Sho mused to himself, tapping the blunt side of his blade on his shoulder. “All alone in despair, in pain... so pitiful.” A scowl made its way on his face. “Stupid old ass... Why is that arrogant fart so interested in him? He’s so weak, I could take him out in a heartbeat!”

Sho’s bloodlust kicked in, not wanting to miss an opportunity when his prey was vulnerable. His chance was cut off when an invisible force stopped him. “Don't be so reckless,” the voice in his mind reprimanded coolly. “We need him alive for the plan to work. You know that.”

“Tch…” The red-head sneered, reluctantly putting his swords away. ‘I know, Minazuki, I know! It just pisses me off to see such a pansy having that much power, yet he wastes it on that whole friendship shit!'

“All in due time, Sho. Have patience. We'll soon obtain the power to grant your wish,” Minakuzi said, his voice cold, but calm and collected. “Then we'll show that worthless geezer who's the real deal.”

‘My wish... I will get it.’ Sho balled his hands into fists, eyes burning with hatred and anger from his very core. ‘And no one is gonna get in our way!' A final evil chuckle later, he vanished into the Practice Building. There was a lot of catching up to do.

After the headache receded a little, Souji could finally sense that someone had been watching him. “Who’s there?!” No answer. “I could have sworn… No! I can’t be losing my mind now...’

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That night…

Naoto typed away on her laptop, eyes frantically scanning the numbers appearing on the screen. In a note pad, she wrote what she has observed so far; and nothing was standing out. Huffing in irritation, the young detective slammed her pen down before draining an entire mug of coffee, which had gone cold.

“This isn’t making any sense…” she mumbled to herself. “All these financial records are squeaky clean. According to Fuuka-san, these have not been tampered with or deliberately changed. Not even a trace of hacking could be found, but I still question the legitimacy of this data…”

Not one to give up, Naoto made her way to the family archives where all the records of cases handled by the Shirogane family were stored. There was bound to be some information regarding high profile embezzling cases which might be useful for spotting patterns. Since it was too late in the night to go through them one by one, Naoto decided to ask for Akihiko and Mitsuru’s help in the morning. Until she remembered something: tomorrow was the last day for preparations before the Culture Festival, and she promised Rise that they would do the finishing touches for their class  together. Grumbling softly, the Shirogane heir took out as many of the case files that she could carry, and scurried to her room.

Taking out her cell phone after dumping piles of files on her desk, she dialed Mitsuru’s number. After a few dial tones, Mitsuru’s crisp and formal voice answered “Kirijo speaking.”

“Mitsuru-san, sorry to bother you at this late hour.”

“No, don’t be. In fact, I’m glad you called. The data sets I obtained with Fuuka from the Kirijo database is currently baffling me. Nothing out of place, the numbers add up, even the sources and recipients of these finances seem legitimate. Have you found anything new on your side?”

“No. I’m in the same situation as you are. I cannot find a shred of evidence that this has been tampered with.”

“Fuuka is looking into the digital side of things. If she finds any digital evidence or trails connecting these to other places, you can be assured that she will follow it.”

“I have no doubt about Fuuka-san’s skills. I would however, need extra pairs of eyes to help me go through some of the case files my grandfather has worked on or collected in the past regarding white collar crimes, and compare them to what we have here. My gut instinct tells me we might find something, but I need help.”

“Say no more. I will bring Akihiko and Aigis with me first thing tomorrow. Heaven knows Akihiko will not be looking forward to something as tedious as looking through files, but it will be good experience for him if he wants to be involved in law enforcement.”

Naoto chuckled. “I’ll email you my home address and let Grampa know I’ll be expecting visitors. There is the culture festival at school to attend to, so I might have to leave early.”

“I completely understand. The three of us will also be joining you at school around mid-day. Knowing Akihiko, he will not want to miss this opportunity for the world because Shinjiro is participating. To be frank, I too am looking forward for a day to unwind and sample Shinjiro’s cooking.”

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“Why the hell do I have to do this again?” growled an irritated Shinjiro as Minato prepared the mini bar and ingredients for mocktails. Both of them were wearing the Velvet Room suits similar to Theodore’s.

“Because it’s a team effort, you’re part of this class, and my sister will do unspeakable, horrible things to you for being a party pooper and ruining what is our real experience of a cultural festival in a long while,” Minato answered, elaborating his point. He arranged bottles of naturally-colorful flavored syrup in a repurposed old book shelf (Was there anything that Kanji isn't good at when it came to crafts?) and stepped back to admire the results.

“You sound like you’ve never been to a cultural festival before.”

“Yeah, well…before we came to Gekkoukan, our old school wasn’t known for its festivities.” The blunette arranged clean glasses under the bar top. “I wasn’t comfortable with such settings back then, and Minako respected that. I know it’s mostly my fault that she didn't get to experience much,” he sighed, heavy with regret. “When I was looking forward to a culture festival for once, we both fell sick, so it couldn’t be helped.” He gave Shinjiro a small smile. “I’m gonna do my best not to hold her back anymore. You'll be answering to me if you ruin this for her.” Somehow, that small smile lost some of its shine, radiating malice instead.

As much as Shinjiro detested culture festivals, he remembered his oath to Minako. The least he could do was to help make this a success.

Souji walked into the classroom, arms laden with groceries. “Whew, the third floor never felt so high!” He put the bags down, carefully placing it on the serving station while Shinjiro rummaged it for any missing ingredient. “Aniki, did you know that they’re going to have a bonfire dance at night? It wasn’t done last year.”

“I bet Yukiko-san is thrilled to hear that.” Minato snickered at his blush.

A saucer slipped out of Shinjiro’s hands, but he caught it in time. The pseudo brothers turned their attention to him. “Shinjiro-san, you are taking Aneki to see the giant bonfire, right?” Souji questioned.

Shinjiro made a choking sound, and quickly turned around to hide his blush, but no avail.

Minato’s smirk grew even wider. “Senpai, don’t tell me you can't do a simple dance?” His mind conjured an image of Shinjiro – tall, physically fit, and socially awkward – fumbling through his steps. It was quite hilarious.

“I’ll take that as a ‘No’ then,” Souji said, trying to suppress a chuckle from escaping.

“Sh-shut up! I never bothered with that kind of thing!”

“You’re not going to have a say in the matter,” Minato snorted, shaking his head. “You should know by now that Minako drags anyone around her to participate in anything that interests her. A large bonfire party in the middle of a countryside school counts as one of them.”

The Wild Cards heard the tall young man mutter a soft but sharp “Shit!” and couldn’t help but find this amusing.

“Since it’s technically a culture festival, it’ll be open to the public to participate,” Souji said. “You can ask Yukari-san to go with you, and I’ll inform Akihiko-san about it during our training session.”

The humorous light in Minato’s eyes transformed into a hard stare at the mention of the word ‘training’. “Souji-kun, you’ve been working yourself pretty hard lately. Are you resting properly?”

“It’s nothing different than what my team and I experienced before. School, training or extra-curricular activities in the evenings, and studying at night. I make sure to go to bed on time so that I get enough sleep.” Okay, the last part wasn’t completely truthful, but his friends didn’t need to know that.

Another hard stare came from Shinjiro’s direction. “Aki can be pretty brutal with his training regimen, but he’s a muscle-brained training freak who chugs down protein shakes like water. You’re nothing like that. If he’s pushing you too hard, then I’ll – ”

Luckily for Souji, the school bell rang, indicating that the gates would be opening soon. Souji internally sighed in relief; it started to feel like he was interrogated by his uncle.

Yukiko and Minako, already dressed in the Velvet Room uniforms, came into the class. “Alright, it’s about to start. I’ve already briefed the rest of the guys about their tasks and responsibilities,” Yukiko said.

“And I told them about the performing schedules and synchronized it with the duty roster,” Minako said, shivering in excitement. “Yosuke-kun, Chie-chan and Metis are going to the opening ceremony on our behalf, so let’s use that time wisely before the crowds start forming.”

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A few people have gathered in the gardener’s shed, lying low as their fellow students gathered at the sports field for the opening ceremony. All of them wore masks of different shapes and size, their facial features hidden even from each other.

One of them – a young man, though unsure of which class he attended – played with his fingers in glee. “I cannot contain my excitement. So many people have gathered…”A shiver ran down his spine at the thought of what will be happening soon.

“Patience, Brother,” said another young man, his voice smooth and deep. He had more authority and higher in rank, from the way he addressed the other guy. “We will be in the favor of our Master soon. But first, the ceremony must be performed without a hitch. We must not fail!”

“Yes, Brother. My apologies.”

“You are forgiven. Remember, the conditions must be right in order for the ritual to work. Otherwise, Master will not be able to cross over and join us in this realm. And until that glorious moment arrives, we shall wait.”

The occult members continued to remain still, mumbling inaudible mantras to pass the time. And wait they shall.

Unknown to those inside, an eavesdropper was leaning against the back wall outside the shed, grinning triumphantly. Everything was going according to plan.

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“Did you do what I told you to?” demanded an impatient Mariko Kusumi, or rather, Marie.

“Oh my dear Mariko-chan, of course I did!” exclaimed Ryoji. “I would never come to see you with empty hands,” he added, and gave her a wink.

Luckily, Mariko was in a pressing state of hurry, ignoring his flirtation but made a mental note to throttle him later. “Margaret better be right about this, and by her I mean The Nose. Is Pharos in position?”

“Awaiting your very command!”

“Good. Let’s just hope that we can do something to help weed out the culprit behind this mess, even if it’s just a little to point them in the right direction. But first and foremost, we have to help them protect this town.”

Persona - Chaos Butterfly 25.1
Hi hi everybody. I finally managed to get this done. As you remember,  I had to put the fic on hold due personal reasons. I hope to keep this on a more steadier pace. Here's hoping it works out okay.

Hopefully you guys will like the surprises in this chapter, but please comment on it. Faves are really nice and I do appreciatte them, but we really want to know what you guys think about it so we can improve more. It doesn't have to be a long or detailed comment. All feedback is appreciatted.  This take a lot of work, ya know.


A few other warnings:
-There will be spoilers for all games! You've been warned.
-The Main characters from each game in this fanfic are called Minato Arisato (P3:FES), Minako Arisato (P3P) and Souji Seta (P4)
-There'll be some cursing. (Anyone that played any persona games knows that some  characters on it curse quite a bit.) as well as some heavy subjects.
-Main Pairings in this fanfic: MinatoxYukari, ShinjiroxMinako, SoujixYukiko, KanjixNaoto, AkihikoxMitsuru, YosukexChie.
-Hinted Pairings: JunpeixChidori. (Hinted because Chidori doesn't appear much  on this story) KenxNanako (Ya know those little girl's crushes on older  boys? It'll be along those lines) FuukaxKeisuke (Other than Minato and  Junpei, Fuuka only displayed some sort of close relationship with  Keisuke the club president. I found it kinda cute.) TeddiexRise (Just  for giggles. They are afterall the two hyperactive cuties of the team  X3)

Ohta-Suzuke's A/N: We're so so sorry this was late! *On hands and knees, bows* I'm so glad to have readers as loyal as you, I can't thank you enough! I was laid off my job April last year (I really loved that job, with its flexible hours and awesome, crazy colleagues) but alas, they've moved their operations to another country. Until now, I have not been able to get over it because I still miss my friends. Now I have a new job which takes up most of my energy, and the commute home takes up lots of writing time. Ideas run around in my head, but due to the normal working hours of day-dwellers, it gets lost somewhere as I keep getting called to meetings and thinking of stuff other than Persona. Sorry for the rant, but this is what I have been going through in the past year. Please don't hesitate to PM us if you have questions. Some of the stuff here may not make sense at first, but we'll do our best to clarify things in the coming chapters. Don't forget to drop a review!

Have fun ya guys.

Persona series and all its characters (c) Atlus
Pegasus Persona design (c) :iconladystarwing:
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  • Mood: Movingon
  • Listening to: Clattanoia - Masayoshi Oishi × Tom-H@ck
  • Reading: My notes
  • Watching: Big Bang Theory
  • Playing: Criminal Case
  • Eating: Mom's cooking
  • Drinking: Water
I know i haven't written in a while and mostly due work and other reasons, but this has annoyed me so much i had to make an entry to vent. Thanks to :iconkronos2501: for warning me about this. 

Quoted from his journal: 

"IF ANYONE HAS ANY STORIES ON FANFICTION.NET, PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW

wildrhov.tumblr.com/post/13889…

All stories from Fanfiction.net have been stolen. If you or anyone that you know has posted fanfics, please click the link above to find out how to report these sites."

I checked the links and true enough my persona fanfic Chaos Butterfly was copied into those sites and they are mirror copies of ff.net as well as filled with spaming ads at every single click! This is outrageous!!! :rage:

I already reported whoever is behind this and i hope my fellow writers that also use ff.net do the same 

I plan to make a more calm entry later, but on a side note i plan to upload the next chapter of chaos butterfly soon. Take care guys and thanks for listening. :wave:

deviantID

Star-Ninja
Here we go again!
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
Brazil
Current Residence: Brazil
Favourite genre of music: Rock!
Favourite cartoon character: More than ya can imagine. XP
Personal Quote: "I don't try to be different, I AM!"
Interests

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:iconmapsal313:
mapsal313 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi!
I've noticed that you've been adding my stuff to your favorites for a while, so I wanted to say I really appreciate it! :D
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:iconthe-dark-fallen:
The-Dark-Fallen Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks very much for the fav ^^
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:icongj301:
GJ301 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016  Student Filmographer
Hey, Star-Ninja! I just wanted to ask you for a favor. You see, I'm trying to determine what everyone's favorite part about season five of MLP was. I just posted ten pictures that include ten categories involving different aspects of the season. For example, there's Best New Character, Best Song, Best Episode, etc. I just need some help getting more votes for those categories. All you have to do is comment which nominee in which category you want to see win. For example, if the nominees for Best New Character were Countess Coloratura, Marble Pie, Moon Dancer, Starlight Glimmer, and Tree Hugger, and you wanted Marble Pie to win, you would comment here name and that would count as a vote. If you could encourage some of you watchers to visit my photos and vote, and perhaps you could vote as well, that would be awesome! I'll give you the link to the photos, just let me know if you're willing to help me out. Thanks!
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:iconshadowneoeevee:
ShadowNeoEevee Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Kya, thank you for the favorite!!! :D
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:iconmoonlighthawk:
MoonlightHawk Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the Star! Star! 
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:iconladisilverfox:
LadiSilverfox Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the favorite.
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:iconkaio-silva:
Kaio-Silva Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2015
Ai valeu pelo favorito
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:iconmaruankaled:
MaruanKaled Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Thnx 4 the Fav!
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:iconumbreongal:
UmbreonGal Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the :+fav:
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:iconladymadcat:
ladymadcat Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fav 
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