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  1. Voice over Intercom: ...Are you awake?
  2.  
  3. Girl's Voice: I'm sorry, I had turned off my consciousness...to test the new equipment installed on me...
  4.  
  5. Voice over Intercom: Yes, that's why we used the emergency channel...We have been asked to go into action...
  6.  
  7. Girl's Voice: Has something happened? Who sent the request?
  8.  
  9. Voice over Intercom: We'll brief you on the details in transit...
  10.  
  11. Voice over Intercom: Also, regulations say that the member with...the lowest serial number is in command...Currently, that's you...
  12.  
  13. Girl's Voice: I'm in command? Are you sure about this?...After all, I'm...
  14.  
  15. Voice over Intercom: You're well suited for it, in my opinion...
  16.  
  17. Girl's Voice: ...Understood
  18.  
  19. May 1st, 2012, 09:30
  20.  
  21. Men equipped with assault suits and tactical vests line the concrete ground
  22.  
  23. Their urban camouflage and unmoving poses give them the appearance of an orderly line of rocks
  24.  
  25. 30 minutes have already passed since the Special Assault Team took up positions near the passenger plane stopped on the landing strip
  26.  
  27. Their captain glares at the passenger plane before he slowly turns around and looks at each of his men
  28.  
  29. Every last one wears ski masks and thick tactical visors to mask their identities, but he knows them nonetheless...
  30.  
  31. SAT Captain: Tell me about the situation And make it...quick, we don't have much time
  32.  
  33. One of the team steps forward next to him
  34.  
  35. The touchscreen tablet in his right hand has a summary of the case on it
  36.  
  37. On May 1st, 2012, around 0900 hours, a wide-body passenger aircraft headed for Kagoshima sent out a 7500 squawk code during passenger boarding
  38.  
  39. Following the signal, the captain reported to the control tower that their aircraft had been hijacked
  40.  
  41. Since the uprising occurred during passenger boarding, only half of the passengers--168 exactly--had boarded
  42.  
  43. The ten crew members bring it to a total of 178 hostages thought to be on board
  44.  
  45. Some passengers seated near the hatch had succeeded in escaping
  46.  
  47. The following points were gained from questioning them:
  48.  
  49. - Take care not to be seen by the hijackers
  50.  
  51. - There are three hijackers All of them are covering their faces with ski masks0
  52.  
  53. - All of them are armed with what seem to be pistols0
  54.  
  55. - From their voices and builds, they appear to be males0
  56.  
  57. - They all spoke fluent Japanese
  58.  
  59. Currently, the aircraft in question has moved to the front of the landing strip at the hijackers' insistence and is stopped there
  60.  
  61. The authorities have attempted to negotiate with the hijackers by radio, but they have made no demands
  62.  
  63. The team member finishes his report
  64.  
  65. The captain nods silently and addresses his team...
  66.  
  67. SAT Captain: There hasn't been a plane hijacked in this...country in over 10 years None of us, not...even me, have dealt with this before...
  68.  
  69. SAT Captain: Still, the procedure remains the same...Trust yourself, remember your training,...and keep a cool head
  70.  
  71. The captain turns towards the plane again
  72.  
  73. Taking that as a cue, the team scatters to their specified posts to take up positions
  74.  
  75. The only thing to do now is to see what happens
  76.  
  77. Eventually, 10:00 comes around
  78.  
  79. Half an hour has passed already with no new developments
  80.  
  81. Repeated attempts to raise the hijackers have been made, but they have yet to make any demands
  82.  
  83. Tensions are beginning to rise
  84.  
  85. The worst case scenario is that they have no need to make demands--that their objective is to seize the passenger plane itself
  86.  
  87. In this case, the team would be facing a large-scale terrorist attack...
  88.  
  89. SAT Captain: C'mon, talk to us...
  90.  
  91. The captain mutters to himself, deep in thought0
  92.  
  93. From the perspective of rescuing the hostages, every second that passes without learning the hijackers' objective is a second wasted
  94.  
  95. The captain and his team can wait in hiding, but the same is not true for the passengers on board
  96.  
  97. For untrained civilians, extreme stress can easily lead to physical and mental problems
  98.  
  99. It's true not only for the hostages, but for the hijackers as well
  100.  
  101. When people lose their nerve, they tend to act rashly
  102.  
  103. The hostages will begin to lose hope and the hijackers will begin taking it out on the hostages
  104.  
  105. An hour into the incident, anything could be happening inside the plane
  106.  
  107. The captain could do nothing but glare as the time ticked by
  108.  
  109. After 15 more minutes had passed...
  110.  
  111. A slight change in the situation was reported
  112.  
  113. All emails and calls going through stations near the airport are being checked The details of the message thought to be from inside the plane are not confirmed
  114.  
  115. It appeared that the hijackers had confiscated all cellular phones, as per standard hijacking plans, but...
  116.  
  117. SAT Member: Sir, there's a report from HQ! They picked...up a transmission from one of the passengers'...cell phones!
  118.  
  119. SAT CaptainIt's a smartphone with GPS, so they can...tell it's inside the plane...
  120.  
  121. SAT Captain: Confirm those details for me
  122.  
  123. There are two possibilities: the hijackers are using a passenger's phone to contact associates outside, or that a passenger is contacting someone in secret
  124.  
  125. The latter possibility is more likely
  126.  
  127. More and more devices have communication capabilities now, making it extremely difficult for hijackers to remove them entirely from play
  128.  
  129. And the more hostages involved, the more courageous they become, and the more likely to take risks
  130.  
  131. Unfortunately, more hostages involved means it's all the more dangerous to provoke the hijackers
  132.  
  133. Each individual hostage is worth less to them
  134.  
  135. The details of the transmission make it apparent that the situation is worse than the team had assumed
  136.  
  137. The cell phone's owner is a man in his 60s in first class
  138.  
  139. He signed up with a certain service after being diagnosed with heart illness
  140.  
  141. It's a remote EKG monitoring service that keeps track of the patient's heartbeat
  142.  
  143. A scheduled message was automatically sent from the patient's cell phone
  144.  
  145. The service provider promptly contacted the police, informing them that the man was in bad shape...
  146.  
  147. SAT Captain: A man's life is at stake if we don't wrap...this up within the hour... looks like we...can't stall for time0
  148.  
  149. As panic spreads, a proposal for negotiations based on this fact and a proposal to storm the plane are both considered0
  150.  
  151. But because only half the passengers had boarded, the situation inside the plane is uncertain, making devising a tactical plan difficult0
  152.  
  153. Though if nothing is done, a passenger will surely succumb within the hour
  154.  
  155. A blunder like that must be avoided at all costs
  156.  
  157. That was the thinking that guided the police officials to make their decision
  158.  
  159. That same day, at 10:30
  160.  
  161. ...
  162.  
  163. SAT Captain: What? Withdraw? This is a hijacking! What are...you thinking, withdrawing our people--
  164.  
  165. SAT Captain: ...Yes, I understand...
  166.  
  167. SAT Member: Wait, what's going on!?
  168.  
  169. SAT Captain: Orders are orders We'll fall back at once...Get ready0
  170.  
  171. No one understood the sudden withdrawal order0
  172.  
  173. "Why withdraw the team during a hijacking?"0
  174.  
  175. No one on the scene agreed with the decision, but the order could not be overturned0
  176.  
  177. The men here are not the brain, but limbs whose power is best put to use by precisely following orders0
  178.  
  179. Just then, another group approaches without a sound0
  180.  
  181. Its members are dressed differently, in suits and trenchcoats, but all of them wear black with sunglasses0
  182.  
  183. At a glance, it is clear that they are tall, well-built, and used to rough situations0
  184.  
  185. With nearly 20 of them gathered in one place, they are imposing despite their silence0
  186.  
  187. They don't seem to be airport personnel, but neither are they known to the police0
  188.  
  189. However, the captain senses a kindred spirit in them and approaches...
  190.  
  191. SAT Captain: Who're you?0
  192.  
  193. His voice is laced with suspicion, but the man in black at the head of the group speaks dispassionately as if he'd heard nothing...
  194.  
  195. MIB: For the next half hour, we're in command...of this scene...
  196.  
  197. SAT Captain: You didn't answer the question Who's...responsible for this?0
  198.  
  199. The captain's tone unconsciously hardens0
  200.  
  201. The group of men in black parts and one of their number in the rear steps forth0
  202.  
  203. The captain can't stop himself from furrowing his brow0
  204.  
  205. He can already sense the unrest spreading amongst his team watching in silence0
  206.  
  207. The one stepping forward looks like a 17- or 18-year-old girl0
  208.  
  209. She is dressed in black and sunglasses like those around her, but her slender build is out of place0
  210.  
  211. Not only that, her blonde hair stands out even more in contrast to her all-black outfit0
  212.  
  213. The girl walks a few more steps forward and removes her sunglasses0
  214.  
  215. The captain had intended to appraise the look in her eyes, but only gasps at her crystalline blue eyes0
  216.  
  217. He quickly regains himself and frowns at her...
  218.  
  219. SAT Captain: So you're the one in charge?
  220.  
  221. Girl with MIB: Yes...
  222.  
  223. SAT Captain: Are you shitting me?
  224.  
  225. Girl with MIB: There is no time to waste quarrelling0
  226.  
  227. The girl looks at him fearlessly, despite the armed team surrounding her0
  228.  
  229. The unreality of it all is what helps the captain get over his surprise0
  230.  
  231. Her age and appearance are most likely meaningless... she is clearly no ordinary girl...
  232.  
  233. SAT Captain: Are you not even going to tell me who...you're with?
  234.  
  235. Girl with MIB: I cannot...
  236.  
  237. SAT Captain: So you expect me to hand over control of the...scene to you without even telling me who...the hell you are?
  238.  
  239. Girl with MIB: I believe orders to withdraw have already...been issued0
  240.  
  241. Her calm, sweet voice only irritates him0
  242.  
  243. The captain closes the distance with the girl, and while he stops short of grabbing her suit, he glares into those blue eyes from only inches away...
  244.  
  245. SAT Captain: Lady, I don't know what kind of juice you...have with the brass, but are you ready to be...responsible for the deaths of those passengers!?
  246.  
  247. Girl with MIB: Your protests are doing nothing to relieve...the danger...
  248.  
  249. Girl with MIB: Rescuing them as soon as possible is my......or rather, our, duty...
  250.  
  251. SAT Captain: .........0
  252.  
  253. The girl is completely unruffled as she speaks0
  254.  
  255. "It's like she's a machine or something," the captain thinks, more dumbfounded than angry...
  256.  
  257. Girl with MIB: Have faith in us We, too, wish to save them0
  258.  
  259. For the first time, something like determination flickers within those crystalline eyes0
  260.  
  261. After looking into them, the Captain finds something akin to resolve and confidence in them He steps back0
  262.  
  263. Raising his right hand to his chest, he shows the girl his watch...
  264.  
  265. SAT Captain: ...Alright, but you get exactly 30 minutes,...and not a second more...
  266.  
  267. Girl with MIB: Understood0
  268.  
  269. After the girl nods, she gives instructions to prepare a staircar to the group she is leading0
  270.  
  271. The captain's fist tightens nervously0
  272.  
  273. Since there are few uses for a staircar, quietly moving it in place may make the hijackers think that a strike team is getting ready to storm the plane0
  274.  
  275. But there is no hesitation in the girl's actions...
  276.  
  277. Girl with MIB: Well then, move in as naturally as possible while...staying in their blind spots0
  278.  
  279. Eventually, a roofless staircar advances slowly towards the passenger plane...
  280.  
  281. MIB:  memberThe closest we can get without them noticing...will be about ten meters from the plane...
  282.  
  283. Girl with MIB: That will be more than enough0
  284.  
  285. "'More than enough'?"0
  286.  
  287. "What's the point of half-assing it like that?"0
  288.  
  289. The captain's annoyance begins to turn to curiosity0
  290.  
  291. If she is replacing the SAT team, then she must have a plan beyond simple brute force, but...
  292.  
  293. Girl with MIB: Now... let's begin0
  294.  
  295. The staircar stops0
  296.  
  297. The girl gets out of the driver's seat0
  298.  
  299. She walks slightly behind the vehicle, turns towards the passenger plane, and sits with one knee up...
  300.  
  301. SAT Captain: What's she doing...?0
  302.  
  303. The captain brings up a pair of binoculars to see her behavior more closely0
  304.  
  305. At first, he assumes she is going to use the staircar's movement as a decoy and send her team in from a different direction0
  306.  
  307. Like humans, most vehicles have significant blind spots above and underneath0
  308.  
  309. Yet that doesn't seem to be her plan0
  310.  
  311. Does she plan to make her move while using the staircar as shelter?0
  312.  
  313. Is she possibly going to snipe them...?0
  314.  
  315. The captain discards the possibility It would be foolish to set up a sniper perch at a lower angle of elevation, where the girl is now0
  316.  
  317. While the captain mulls over the question, the girl makes an unexpected move
  318.  
  319. She appears to lower her stance slightly one moment, and in the next, she is no longer in sight0
  320.  
  321. By the time the captain's grasps that she is running, she has already reached the top of the staircar0
  322.  
  323. Her slender body launches like a cannonball from the top of the stairs...
  324.  
  325. SAT Member: What!? Sh-She jumped!?0
  326.  
  327. Even the SAT Member: s voice their surprise0
  328.  
  329. The girl's leap arcs over a distance of over ten meters0
  330.  
  331. It's clearly beyond the abilities of a human being0
  332.  
  333. Coming in the middle of a hijacking, the scene seems even more surreal0
  334.  
  335. The girl lands on top of the aircraft and stands as if nothing unusual had happened0
  336.  
  337. She looks at the aircraft beneath her and slowly turns her head to scan it from back to front0
  338.  
  339. It reminds the captain of the movement of a security camera0
  340.  
  341. He knows it should be impossible, but he wonders if she can see through the plane's ceiling...0
  342.  
  343. Eventually, the girl seems convinced of something and begins walking0
  344.  
  345. When she reaches the boarding hatch at the front, she moved her right hand to her back0
  346.  
  347. The captain notices that a special knife, coated gray from blade to hilt, is in her hand...
  348.  
  349. SAT Captain: What's she going to do with that knife...?0
  350.  
  351. The girl suddenly lowers her stance and slides down the side of the aircraft0
  352.  
  353. Just as she's about to fall, she thrusts the knife into the jamb of the hatch and dangles from it...
  354.  
  355. SAT Captain: That's just crazy...!0
  356.  
  357. She then uses her left hand to pull the handle and unlocks the hatch with ease0
  358.  
  359. Once the thick, airtight door juts out of the aircraft, the girl nimbly jumps into the plane0
  360.  
  361. The captain is shocked by her dauntless methods0
  362.  
  363. He begins to wonder if she intends to defuse the situation on her own0
  364.  
  365. The captain lowers the binoculars and faces the reality before him with his own eyes0
  366.  
  367. "Who in the world is she...?"0
  368.  
  369. The doubts he had dismissed rise within him again0
  370.  
  371. A warning light goes on in the cramped cockpit0
  372.  
  373. Two people there notice it at once0
  374.  
  375. One of them is the captain, sitting in the pilot's seat0
  376.  
  377. The other is the man holding a gun to the back of the captain's head0
  378.  
  379. The light is labeled "Hatch Open" Even an amateur can understand what it means0
  380.  
  381. The man suddenly tenses and stands ready at the passenger side door0
  382.  
  383. He prepares himself for someone to charge through it0
  384.  
  385. But he quickly regains himself and turns the gun back onto the captain0
  386.  
  387. The man casts irritated glaces back and forth between the captain and the door for a while, but eventually approaches the door, his gun pointed at the captain0
  388.  
  389. He cautiously cracks open the door and looks towards the passenger seating0
  390.  
  391. Just outside the cockpit is the first class section0
  392.  
  393. But the passengers were gathered in economy class at the time of the hijacking First class is empty0
  394.  
  395. The man squints0
  396.  
  397. To ward off observation or, worse, snipers, the windows are down Coming into the darkened plane from the bright cockpit forces his eyes to adjust0
  398.  
  399. But from the corner of his eye, he sees a gleam of light shining in that's unlike the regular lights0
  400.  
  401. And within that light is a silhouette...0
  402.  
  403. Before he can react, the silhouetted figure closes the distance0
  404.  
  405. A hand grabs the edge of the door and opens it with tremendous force0
  406.  
  407. Two quick, heavy shots are fired0
  408.  
  409. The man collapses unconscious without a sound0
  410.  
  411. The captain turns around in surprise to see the intruder... a blonde girl with an index finger to her lips to signal silence0
  412.  
  413. She first lays the man on the ground and then removes the pistol in his hand0
  414.  
  415. On closer inspection, it is only a model gun, supplemented with metal parts0
  416.  
  417. The seam between the parts is in different places compared to a real gun If taken apart, the disassembled pieces would look nothing like a real pistol0
  418.  
  419. The girl then takes handcuffs from a small pouch on her waist and fastens the man's arms to a seat leg near the window0
  420.  
  421. Even if he wakes up, he will be unable to stand0
  422.  
  423. Though the captain still looks as if he wishes to say something, the girl's eyes meet his and insist on silence as she leaves0
  424.  
  425. The curtain dividing first class and economy class is closed0
  426.  
  427. The girl hides herself behind it and peeks through0
  428.  
  429. There is a man in each of the aisles on the left and right Neither seems to have noticed her0
  430.  
  431. The passengers and cabin crew are crammed into seats in the back
  432.  
  433. Everyone's placement matches the readings from her heat sensors she picked up from above the plane0
  434.  
  435. Both remaining hijackers are closer to first class
  436.  
  437. The man closest to her is only a few steps away She judges that he can easily be disabled before reacting if she moves quickly
  438.  
  439. They both carry pistols, but they are the same type as the downed hijacker From what she can see, these too are mere model guns
  440.  
  441. The girl swiftly pushes aside the curtain and grabs the closer man's right wrist
  442.  
  443. The hijacker, caught off guard by the sudden appearance of such a slender girl, stops moving for a moment
  444.  
  445. In that moment, he surrenders any chance of victory he may have had
  446.  
  447. With a pain cry, he drops the pistol to the ground
  448.  
  449. The girl uses her grip on his right hand to put him on the ground, then smoothly pulls out another pair of handcuffs and locks his arms to the passenger seat
  450.  
  451. The man thrashes about, but despite his struggle, he is no better than a worm writhing on the ground
  452.  
  453. The last hijacker finally recovers from his shock and aims his gun
  454.  
  455. The girl pulls a button from the other man's sleeve and flicks it towards her opponent's face
  456.  
  457. The button travels at immense speed, though it was only fired from her fingers
  458.  
  459. The man tries to shield his face, but he is too late, and groans in pain when the projectile impacts his forehead
  460.  
  461. The girl does not let the opportunity pass
  462.  
  463. She easily jumps over the three-seat-wide center block of seats with one arm and grabs the man's right hand
  464.  
  465. There, she repeats the same procedure she used before
  466.  
  467. Their weapons are immediately seized while they are restrained on the floor
  468.  
  469. The passengers are only now grasping what's happening before their eyes
  470.  
  471. A murmuring chorus rises...Girl with MIB: Do not be alarmed I have come to rescue you...
  472.  
  473. Girl with MIB: Your safety has not been secured yet, so please...stay calm and remain in your seats!
  474.  
  475. The passengers erupt in a cheer
  476.  
  477. There is sporadic applause as well
  478.  
  479. But there is a slightly hysterical tinge to it in reaction to the tension of the situation...
  480.  
  481. Girl with MIB: Excuse me! We were told someone requires medical...assistance for their chronic heart illness...
  482.  
  483. Girl with MIB: His name is--
  484.  
  485. Just as the girl approaches the center of the plane, she senses a male passenger stand up from his seat
  486.  
  487. He is extremely calm and quiet as he does so
  488.  
  489. The girl belatedly picks up on the incongruity
  490.  
  491. All of the other passengers are nervous...
  492.  
  493. It is then that she feels something hard pressing up against the back of her head
  494.  
  495. She knows without looking that it is the muzzle of a gun
  496.  
  497. The nearby passengers' cries of relief suddenly turn to screams...
  498.  
  499. Girl with MIB: I am impressed with your judgement to stay...hidden until an opportunity arose
  500.  
  501. The girl is unperturbed as she continues to look straight ahead
  502.  
  503. The man stays silent and keeps the pistol pressed to her head
  504.  
  505. She knows there is no danger of being shot, but she is not yet sure that he was the only one in hiding
  506.  
  507. Left with no choice, the girl accedes to his demand and moves forward
  508.  
  509. And after about ten steps, another man stands up, as expected...Girl with MIB: Ah, and you too
  510.  
  511. The man doesn't answer He slowly approaches from the front
  512.  
  513. The girl is now sandwiched from the front and back
  514.  
  515. At that moment, footsteps sound from beyond the curtain leading into first class
  516.  
  517. The two culprits both react at once
  518.  
  519. But it is too late
  520.  
  521. Over ten men in black rush in at once from beyond the curtain
  522.  
  523. While the girl had drawn the hijackers' attention with the scuffle, the staircar had closed in
  524.  
  525. First, they pin down the man standing in front
  526.  
  527. The narrow passage gives the man behind her a short reprieve, but it doesn't last long
  528.  
  529. The moment he lowers the hand gripping the pistol in order to escape, the girl grabs his wrist
  530.  
  531. So focused was he on the men who burst onto the scene that he forgot about the threat the girl posed
  532.  
  533. He is immediately tripped and restrained once he falls on his back
  534.  
  535. The girl stands up and looks around
  536.  
  537. If there were any more hijackers inside the plane, this would be their last chance to make a stand
  538.  
  539. ...But no one rises from their seat
  540.  
  541. She glances towards the men in black, and they nod back in acknowledgement
  542.  
  543. It seems the crisis has been averted
  544.  
  545. The girl carefully keeps her thoughts from appearing on her face and gives an inner sigh of relief
  546.  
  547. Soon afterward, the sweeper team gives a report confirming that the aircraft is secure
  548.  
  549. The girl works with the cabin crew to arrange transport for the man with the heart illness before she steps out for a moment
  550.  
  551. She turns on the blue indicator light on the staircar and waves it in circles towards the SAT's position
  552.  
  553. It is the signal that the crisis is over...
  554.  
  555. SAT Captain: She's done already!?
  556.  
  557. On receiving the sign, the SAT team on standby starts talking amongst themselves...
  558.  
  559. SAT Member: It hasn't been even five minutes... There...should've been at least three hijackers...
  560.  
  561. SAT Captain: You know what they remind me of, is those...guys... like, men in black or something...
  562.  
  563. SAT Member: Captain! Who are those people!? Is that one...even human!?
  564.  
  565. The captain sighs with reluctance...
  566.  
  567. SAT Captain: This is just a rumor... but I've heard that the...higher-ups formed an unofficial security group...in conjunction with a certain corporation...
  568.  
  569. SAT Captain: It's supposedly for cases that are a little......strange I hear they have some official...standing with the police, too...
  570.  
  571. SAT Captain: Though it's all some private enterprise,...so technically there's no authority...involved at all...
  572.  
  573. SAT Member: What!? But this is Japan we're talking about!
  574.  
  575. SAT Captain: A search-and-destroy unit that answers to...no department and keeps no records... I've...heard them called "Shadow Operatives"
  576.  
  577. He turns on his own blue light as a sign of understanding and waves it left and right
  578.  
  579. The response light comes from up ahead
  580.  
  581. The girl then sees the captain spreading his arms in a shrug and smiles for the first time
  582.  
  583. She feels slightly bad for them
  584.  
  585. Her team may have shamed them, though they had done nothing wrong
  586.  
  587. "I should apologize to them later..."
  588.  
  589. But then...
  590.  
  591. In the corner of the girl's eye, near the entrance of the luggage carts at the corner of the building, a figure catches her attention...
  592.  
  593. Girl with MIB: A girl...?
  594.  
  595. The girl seems to be about her age and is wearing a plain, capelike dress
  596.  
  597. The girl on the aircraft feels oddly uneasy at seeing the figure...
  598.  
  599. To begin with, given the heightened security, the parking entrance should be strictly sealed But the figure looks perfectly ordinary...
  600.  
  601. Girl with MIB: Um, may I check on something?
  602.  
  603. The girl calls to the SAT Captain over the radio
  604.  
  605. There appears to be some slight interference, necessitating an adjustment of the dial...
  606.  
  607. SAT Captain: What is it?
  608.  
  609. Girl with MIB: If you look towards my left, in front of the...luggage loading bay is...
  610.  
  611. But during the moment she looked away, the figure has disappeared...
  612.  
  613. Girl with MIB: She's not there...!? That can't be...
  614.  
  615. The girl looks around, but the figure is nowhere to be seen
  616.  
  617. Where could she have gone in this open space with nowhere to hide?
  618.  
  619. SAT Captain: What's the matter?
  620.  
  621. Girl with MIB: Oh, I... I'm sorry I was apparently...seeing things
  622.  
  623. The girl shuts the radio off
  624.  
  625. "Who was that just now?"
  626.  
  627. "Was I truly seeing things?"
  628.  
  629. With those questions in mind, the girl tries to remember the figure's appearance in detail
  630.  
  631. Only then does she realize the cause of her unease
  632.  
  633. That light blue dress the figure wore...
  634.  
  635. It was very similar to one she herself had once
  636.  
  637. It reminds her of those days when she did not yet have a heart...
  638.  
  639. The girl puts those thoughts aside and returns to the aircraft
  640.  
  641. The mission does not end with taking the culprits into custody
  642.  
  643. In truth, along with defusing the situation, securing the safety of one particular passenger was her highest priority
  644.  
  645. This fact was not revealed to the SAT team
  646.  
  647. The passenger was originally seated in first class, but would have been forced to move
  648.  
  649. The girl looks carefully through the restless passengers
  650.  
  651. It is not long before she finds the face she seeks
  652.  
  653. Looking relieved, the girl walks toward the passenger in question...
  654.  
  655. Girl with MIB: Are you all right, Mitsuru-san?
  656.  
  657. Woman in seat: Aigis I didn't think you'd be the one to come
  658.  
  659. The woman who answers has long, shining hair that would make an impression on anyone
  660.  
  661. Her refined appearance makes her stand out, over and above her calm position in her seat
  662.  
  663. But Aigis knows the woman well...
  664.  
  665. Aigis: In fact, I was surprised to be called on...to deal with something like this...
  666.  
  667. Aigis: The suspects made no demands What were...they after?
  668.  
  669. Aigis: At first, I thought that I was summoned...because you were their target, Mitsuru-san...
  670.  
  671. Mitsuru: The higher-ups must've thought the same...thing and panicked...
  672.  
  673. Mitsuru: Especially considering there's cargo on that...plane they wouldn't want made public...
  674.  
  675. Mitsuru: Hm...? Wait a second, that cargo...
  676.  
  677. Aigis: Is something wrong?
  678.  
  679. Mitsuru: This hijack seems strange, now that I think...about it...
  680.  
  681. Mitsuru: They made their move before takeoff, which...is odd timing, and they forced the boarding...announcement to be stopped...
  682.  
  683. Mitsuru: I thought maybe it was their way of trying...to pull it off with a small team...
  684.  
  685. Aigis: Are you saying that rather than a passenger,...they were after that cargo?
  686.  
  687. Aigis: Hmm... it's true that no one would consider...the unloaded luggage during a hijacking...
  688.  
  689. Mitsuru: Aigis, I need you to check on my things...Though if I'm right, it's already too late...
  690.  
  691. In response, Aigis instructs her team via radio to secure all luggage transport routes
  692.  
  693. Moreover, she requests a search to ensure that no cargo has been taken...
  694.  
  695. Aigis: Even if you're right, why would they be...interested in your belongings?
  696.  
  697. Mitsuru: My usual cargo wouldn't be worth hijacking...a plane over But I was carrying something......sensitive this time...
  698.  
  699. Mitsuru: Normally, if they wanted it, they'd have to...bypass a Kirijo facility's security or attack...the vehicle transporting it...
  700.  
  701. Mitsuru: But by doing it this way, they can divert...the entire country's attention with a few...model guns
  702.  
  703. Mitsuru: les Aigis can tell that she is impressed with their audacity, despite herself...
  704.  
  705. Aigis: Mitsuru-san's cargo... sensitive belongings...for a vacation... Ahh, I understand...
  706.  
  707. Aigis: Hijacking a plane out of a despearate desire...for undergarments... this incident will...surely go down in history
  708.  
  709. Mitsuru's eyes bulge at the unexpected comment...
  710.  
  711. Mitsuru: Wha--!? You're jumping to conclusions! It's not..."sensitive" in that way! Besides, my underwear...is in this bag, and--
  712.  
  713. Mitsuru: Th-That's it, enough about underwear! Ahem!
  714.  
  715. She forces a cough and steers the conversation back on track...
  716.  
  717. Mitsuru: More accurately... my cargo contained items...from Ergo Research...
  718.  
  719. Mitsuru: My trip to Kagoshima was partly vacation,...but also... to oversee their transferral...to Yakushima
  720.  
  721. The official name of Ergo Research is the "Kirijo Ergonomics Research Lab"
  722.  
  723. Both Mitsuru and Aigis have many bitter memories associated with the name
  724.  
  725. A pall hangs in the air
  726.  
  727. But a radio transmission from one of Aigis' team cuts the moment short...
  728.  
  729. Aigis: Aigis speaking... I see Understood
  730.  
  731. Mitsuru looks at Aigis questioningly and she nods...
  732.  
  733. Aigis: It's as you suspected They've found that one...of the boxes scheduled for transport has...gone missing...
  734.  
  735. Mitsuru: I thought as much
  736.  
  737. With a small sigh, Mitsuru rises from her seat...
  738.  
  739. Mitsuru: We must get it back, Aigis The rest of the...team can finish up here I need you to come...with me
  740.  
  741. Aigis inspects Mitsuru's face carefully...
  742.  
  743. Aigis: Will you be joining the search as well?
  744.  
  745. Mitsuru: Well, I am personally involved, so yes...
  746.  
  747. Aigis: In other words, you will officially rejoin the...unit and participate in this mission?
  748.  
  749. Mitsuru: .........
  750.  
  751. Aigis: To be more direct, is it accurate to say...that you are abandoning your vacation?
  752.  
  753. Mitsuru sighs with some exhaustion
  754.  
  755. Aigis interprets her silence as approval...
  756.  
  757. Aigis: Then I hereby transfer command authority...to you, Mitsuru-san...
  758.  
  759. Aigis: Regulations state that the member with the...lowest serial number is to take command...And since you are member #1...
  760.  
  761. Aigis: You are the official leader of the "Security...Department, Shadow Response Unit"... also...called the "Shadow Operatives"
  762.  
  763. Mitsuru: *sigh* I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to...enjoy this vacation for long...
  764.  
  765. Travelling with cargo from Ergo Research suggests that her vacation was neither relaxing nor cheerful...
  766.  
  767. Mitsuru: But I can't allow anyone to be hurt again...by the things we... the Kirijo Group created...We'll get this cargo back at all costs...
  768.  
  769. Mitsuru: Mission or no mission, I'm making it...a personal priority...
  770.  
  771. Aigis: Understood!
  772.  
  773. Aigis answers loudly and snaps off the police salute that she's finally gotten the hang of
  774.  
  775. I am Aigis
  776.  
  777. My official name is 7th Generation Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon... Aigis
  778.  
  779. As my name implies, I am not human
  780.  
  781. I'm a humanoid weapon... a robot, essentially
  782.  
  783. Though with the right clothes, a surprising number of people cannot tell the difference
  784.  
  785. I was created in a research lab owned by one of the world's foremost conglomerates, the Kirijo Group
  786.  
  787. I was made to exterminate a certain enemy
  788.  
  789. They are called Shadows... monsters born from people's repressed emotions, granted dark life
  790.  
  791. Shadows can only be defeated by those with the special power of Personas
  792.  
  793. One's Persona can be said to be the power to wield the Shadow within... They are two sides of the same coin
  794.  
  795. Though one cannot have a Persona if they do not also have a heart
  796.  
  797. I was given a mind to artificially develop a Persona, and a body close to that of a human, so that mind could maintain a "personality"
  798.  
  799. A heart designed for battle...
  800.  
  801. A body designed for battle...
  802.  
  803. I did endure some suffering because of my original purpose
  804.  
  805. But I now have a place where I belong
  806.  
  807. Somewhere I can make full, beneficial use of my powers
  808.  
  809. That is the Security Department, Shadow Response Unit Our nickname is the "Shadow Operatives"
  810.  
  811. The Shadow Operatives were formed at Mitsuru Kirijo's directive She is the scion of the Kirijo Group who created me; she has taken responsibility for Shadows
  812.  
  813. Our objective is to identify and resolve incidents involving Shadows by eliminating them
  814.  
  815. All of our members are Persona-users or have similar qualifications During operations, our guidelines state that the member with the smallest number has command
  816.  
  817. The number that I was issued is #5
  818.  
  819. Though I'm not human, I am treated as a member and not a piece of equipment
  820.  
  821. Moreover, my number is in the single digits
  822.  
  823. It's possible that there will be missions like today where I must take command of dangerous operations
  824.  
  825. In other words, I am recognized as having the same life and dignity as humans
  826.  
  827. Because Mitsuru-san and the others have such trust in me, I want to repay that trust with results
  828.  
  829. There is another reason I am working my hardest on this case
  830.  
  831. Soon after the hijacking was resolved, the stolen cargo was identified Its contents surprised me...
  832.  
  833. The 5th Generation Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon...
  834.  
  835. The unit named Labrys
  836.  
  837. She is one of my sister units
  838.  
  839. She was sealed over a decade ago for some reason and has been in storage with the other artifacts since then
  840.  
  841. Labrys... A humanoid weapon, just like me
  842.  
  843. It is possible that she has a heart
  844.  
  845. If so, I want to save her before she is misused
  846.  
  847. This is a mission... but more than that, I feel that it is a duty I must carry out
  848.  
  849. The next day, May 2nd, 2012
  850.  
  851. We wanted to pursue the vehicle carrying Labrys as soon as the hijacking was over, but its complicated route made it hard to track
  852.  
  853. Due to the sensitive nature of the cargo, it is difficult to set up large-scale traffic checkpoints
  854.  
  855. Fortunately, the license plate number was determined quickly, and we got a rough estimate of its destination
  856.  
  857. Our headquarters was moved to a police facility Mitsuru-san and our team are sorting out the situation to plan for an operation...
  858.  
  859. Mitsuru: And the interrogation of the suspects?Member in suitIt's begun But all of them are claiming that...their memories at the time are very foggy,...so they've been sent in for evaluation...
  860.  
  861. Member in suitThe psychologists who interviewed them think...it's possible they're not lying...
  862.  
  863. Mitsuru: So none of the five have any memories of...what happened during the hijacking...
  864.  
  865. Member in suitNormally, that would seem preposterous...There may have been some hypnotic effect,...but even then...
  866.  
  867. Mitsuru: We're dealing with someone after materials...from Ergo Research They'll likely be very...well informed about Shadows and the mind...
  868.  
  869. Mitsuru: Knowing that, it doesn't seem so strange...It would also explain the extreme lengths...they went to to create a decoy...
  870.  
  871. Mitsuru: What else do we know?
  872.  
  873. Another team member answers Mitsuru-san's question...
  874.  
  875. Armed Member: Since the cage storing the 5th Generation is too...large to transport by personal auto, we narrowed...our search to large vehicles that left the airport...
  876.  
  877. Armed Member: That combined with the testimony from our observer...and data from the transmitter allowed us to pinpoint...the vehicle in question...
  878.  
  879. Armed Member: The police are already pursuing it via the...N System This is the most recent photo
  880.  
  881. He hands the tablet to Mitsuru-san...
  882.  
  883. Mitsuru: The Inaba area... Wasn't this the place...where...?Member in suitYes, our routine investigation last year...rated the potential Shadow activity in the...area at Level 4
  884.  
  885. It seems that the culprit in this case definitely had prior knowledge of Shadows after all
  886.  
  887. If that is true, we must use extra caution
  888.  
  889. Many people do not know about Shadows, though they are enough of a threat as to possibly destroy the world
  890.  
  891. Then again... I experienced that for myself three years ago
  892.  
  893. If someone is trying to manipulate them, we must prevent it at all costs...
  894.  
  895. Mitsuru: Let's talk about the stolen 5th Generation...unit
  896.  
  897. Aigis, as the 7th Generation, would...be her younger sister...
  898.  
  899. Aigis: A sister...
  900.  
  901. Aigis: My older sister......
  902.  
  903. Mitsuru: I'd like to know why she was sealed...
  904.  
  905. Member in Lab Coat: 5th Generation Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon...Labrys... the records show her to be the first...model fitted with an artificial personality...
  906.  
  907. Aigis: In other words, she has a heart?
  908.  
  909. Member in Lab Coat: There's no knowing if it was developed enough to...call it that She seems to have been made to...gather test data rather than actual field use...
  910.  
  911. Mitsuru: What are her combat capabilities?
  912.  
  913. Member in Lab Coat: She wasn't given firearms, since her regulatory...system was inadequate, so she was instead...loaded with some kind of special equipment...
  914.  
  915. Member in Lab Coat: Unfortunately, the majority of the records...pertaining to her are missing, which means...that's the extent of our knowledge...
  916.  
  917. Aigis: Special equipment...
  918.  
  919. Member in Lab Coat: We also don't know why she was sealed...
  920.  
  921. Member in Lab Coat: Many of the documents regarding the old Ergo...Research were lost, probably to cover up...incriminating evidence...
  922.  
  923. Member in Lab Coat: We don't even know what she looks like...All we do know is that she was a life-...sized android...
  924.  
  925. Mitsuru: We'll just have to find out along the way
  926.  
  927. Mitsuru-san swipes her fingers across the tablet a few times and shows it to an aide...
  928.  
  929. Mitsuru: I'll need these three individuals' cooperations...I'd like to join them in the field...
  930.  
  931. Member in suitAre you... sure about this?
  932.  
  933. Mitsuru: Try not to make a scene when fetching them...Not all of them are part of our organization
  934.  
  935. The aide nods his assent and returns to his station
  936.  
  937. Mitsuru-san then turns her gaze on me...
  938.  
  939. Mitsuru: And Aigis... frankly, I think we can assume...that there'll be combat involved Will you...be all right with that...?
  940.  
  941. Though Mitsuru-san doesn't say it out loud, I understand what she means
  942.  
  943. Our highest priority in this operation is to stop the culprit and mitigate any associated danger
  944.  
  945. Not to rescue Labrys
  946.  
  947. Of course, we will strive to accomplish both, but in the worst case scenario... we must consider the option of destroying Labrys
  948.  
  949. Destroying a sister unit... It will be a painful experience if she, too, has a heart...
  950.  
  951. Aigis: I thank you for your concern, but I'll be...fine I will do my duty
  952.  
  953. Mitsuru-san says nothing more and silently nods...
  954.  
  955. Mitsuru: Well then, once we can confirm our target...is headed to Inaba, we'll depart at once
  956.  
  957. May 3rd, 2012
  958.  
  959. As we get ready to depart for Inaba, Mitsuru-san and I go over last-minute details inside the police station
  960.  
  961. Mitsuru-san is absorbed with issuing instructions over the cell phone she is holding
  962.  
  963. Pessimism seeps into my heart as I wait I begin muttering to myself...
  964.  
  965. Aigis: Will we be able to find Labrys... my sister?
  966.  
  967. Mitsuru: Hm...?
  968.  
  969. Mitsuru-san's surprised voice makes me realize how unlike me these doubts are...
  970.  
  971. Mitsuru: "Will we be able to save her...?" Isn't that...what you really want to ask?
  972.  
  973. Aigis: .........
  974.  
  975. Mitsuru: Don't worry As I mentioned to Aikihiko,...fighting Labrys is not our priority...
  976.  
  977. Mitsuru: The reason I formed this "Shadow Operative"...team is to save lives...
  978.  
  979. Mitsuru: We will find her, whatever it takes,...and bring her back We can do this...
  980.  
  981. Aigis: Yes I'm sorry to be so pessimistic...
  982.  
  983. Mitsuru: Those feelings you have for Labrys......you should tell her when you see her...
  984.  
  985. Aigis: I will!
  986.  
  987. Friends bound by trust are irreplaceable indeed
  988.  
  989. I hope that Labrys will become one as well
  990.  
  991. Eventually, the preparations are made and our limousine departs on its journey to Inaba
  992.  
  993. That evening...
  994.  
  995. We are in Inaba now and traveling down a midtown street
  996.  
  997. Though it is called "midtown," it is very different from an urban environment It is a quiet, rustic road
  998.  
  999. The vehicle we are targeting is easily discovered
  1000.  
  1001. The transmitter that was attached to it when it left from the airport is, luckily for us, still active
  1002.  
  1003. But the vehicle has been abandoned and the cargo is gone as well
  1004.  
  1005. To trace it further, we must learn why the culprit came here... Specifically, we need to know the details of what happened here last year
  1006.  
  1007. Though this was already assumed, so we have a plan
  1008.  
  1009. Mitsuru-san orders the driver to park nearby
  1010.  
  1011. However... this poses an unexpected problem
  1012.  
  1013. Our vehicle is a long, black, eight-door limousine
  1014.  
  1015. It stands out badly in this countryside town no matter where it's parked...
  1016.  
  1017. Aigis: Mitsuru-san Our activities are supposed...to be undercover, correct?
  1018.  
  1019. Mitsuru: Yes...
  1020.  
  1021. Aigis: For undercover missions, it will be...necessary to keep all personnel and...vehicles from being noticed...
  1022.  
  1023. Mitsuru: Right...
  1024.  
  1025. Aigis: Mitsuru-san May I say something that I've...been meaning to say for a while now?
  1026.  
  1027. Mitsuru: No...
  1028.  
  1029. Aigis: Understood...
  1030.  
  1031. Mitsuru: All I told them was to give us a car..."with enough space"...
  1032.  
  1033. Wherever we go, people peer into the windows out of curiosity
  1034.  
  1035. We avoid the public eye as much as possible and finally park in what looks like a site for vehicle disposal on the outskirts of the town...
  1036.  
  1037. Member in suitU-Um... our contact has arrived
  1038.  
  1039. I then notice a middle-aged man in a grey suit standing outside of the window
  1040.  
  1041. I recognize his face
  1042.  
  1043. He is one of the three collaborators Mitsuru-san contacted before our departure
  1044.  
  1045. I scoot over to the door and open the window...
  1046.  
  1047. Aigis: Oh my... this was not our designated...meeting area, yet he has discovered us
  1048.  
  1049. Suddenly, something not unlike astonishment or discouragement appears on his face...
  1050.  
  1051. Man that appeared ksWant to know how I did it?
  1052.  
  1053. Mitsuru: Ahem!
  1054.  
  1055. A cough interrupts us...
  1056.  
  1057. Mitsuru: We appreciate your cooperation,...Detective Kurosawa
  1058.  
  1059. Mitsuru-san gets out of the vehicle and slightly bows
  1060.  
  1061. Three years ago when we were still fighting Shadows in secret, Detective Kurosawa worked as a police officer at a nearby police box
  1062.  
  1063. He believed that our intentions were good and he supplied us with certain conveniences under the table
  1064.  
  1065. His job made this risky, but he always acted on behalf of what he believed to be just He said this many times while supporting us in secret
  1066.  
  1067. He is a strong man who always acts on his beliefs
  1068.  
  1069. But now, our organization has official government sanction
  1070.  
  1071. He can now cooperate with us without it being considered a rebellious act
  1072.  
  1073. Kurosawa-san's prior actions have recently been reassessed He was promoted for his special expertise
  1074.  
  1075. I have heard that he is now a plainclothes detective working at the central precinct...
  1076.  
  1077. Detective Kurosawa: Long time no see, miss And Aigis, was it?
  1078.  
  1079. Aigis: Indeed, it has been a while
  1080.  
  1081. Kurosawa-san fixes his eyes on Mitsuru-san and me
  1082.  
  1083. It is faintly awkward
  1084.  
  1085. We are both dressed for combat, and I am not wearing clothes that camouflage my nature...
  1086.  
  1087. Detective Kurosawa: Ah, sorry for staring...
  1088.  
  1089. Detective Kurosawa: A humanoid weapon... I was skeptical when I...heard, but seeing you in person doesn't leave...any room for doubt...
  1090.  
  1091. Aigis: I'm sorry that I kept it hidden back then...
  1092.  
  1093. Detective Kurosawa: It's all right It would've caused more of...a headache if you'd gone around looking...like that
  1094.  
  1095. Hearing him say that, I cannot help but smile...
  1096.  
  1097. Detective Kurosawa: Seeing you laugh like that makes it harder...to believe you're a machine...
  1098.  
  1099. Mitsuru: I shouldn't make you stand while we talk...Please, get in...
  1100.  
  1101. Detective Kurosawa: Ah, sorry I haven't seen you in a while,...so I had a lot to say
  1102.  
  1103. Mitsuru-san asked Kurosawa-san to collect information on the serial murder case that occurred in this town last year
  1104.  
  1105. When background research was carried out across Japan at the end of 2011, this region returned high numbers in Shadow detection measurements
  1106.  
  1107. But although it was investigated, there were no effects apart from slightly unnatural weather
  1108.  
  1109. Then again... what if something did happen that was just hard to detect?
  1110.  
  1111. Mitsuru-san suspects that the serial murder case was related to these Shadows and asked Kurosawa-san to have the local police force share their reports
  1112.  
  1113. We could have requested them directly, but what we wanted would not be the surface information found in the investigation records
  1114.  
  1115. There are limits to what an unofficial unit cloaked by authority can do with a direct request...
  1116.  
  1117. Detective Kurosawa: I found out quite a bit regarding the...case you had me look into...
  1118.  
  1119. Detective Kurosawa: First, I reviewed the report on the incidents...from last year One of the suspects...mentioned the word, "Persona"
  1120.  
  1121. I lock gazes with Mitsuru-san...
  1122.  
  1123. Mitsuru: So what went on here last year...
  1124.  
  1125. Detective Kurosawa: It's probably related But I wasn't done...there Parts of this guy's testimony were...even more outlandish...
  1126.  
  1127. Detective Kurosawa: If you can take what's in the record at...face value... it seems Persona-users can...enter TVs within the Inaba region...
  1128.  
  1129. Aigis: Enter... TVs? What does that mean?
  1130.  
  1131. Detective Kurosawa: Just what it sounds like You physically...stick your body into the screen and...go inside...
  1132.  
  1133. Detective Kurosawa: He claimed there was another world in the...TV, and dropping people inside it was the...method behind last year's murders...
  1134.  
  1135. Mitsuru: This all sounds rather absurd... I'm surprised...it was included in the police report...
  1136.  
  1137. Detective Kurosawa: I got in touch with the detective in charge...at the time and said the same thing...
  1138.  
  1139. Detective Kurosawa: Apparently, the report was filed by a young...partner of his at the time He'd entertain...the wildest testimonies, like this one...
  1140.  
  1141. Aigis: He sounds like quite the oddball...
  1142.  
  1143. Detective Kurosawa: If this was what really went on, the police...would have had no chance cracking it...
  1144.  
  1145. Detective Kurosawa: But that detective Dojima is one shrewd guy...Even with all the supernatural hocus-pocus...surrounding the case, he caught the culprit
  1146.  
  1147. Kurosawa-san sighs He seems to be tired...
  1148.  
  1149. Detective Kurosawa: That's all I have for you right now I should...be going... I doubt either of us has time...to reminisce over the old days...
  1150.  
  1151. Detective Kurosawa: It's funny, though I thought the fighting...was over, but you guys surprise me every...time I see you...
  1152.  
  1153. Mitsuru: Thank you very much, Officer Kurosawa...Er... why don't we at least see you off?
  1154.  
  1155. Detective Kurosawa: Oh, that's all right I've got my own car...I doubt my department would appreciate...your tastes...
  1156.  
  1157. Detective Kurosawa: If I ever showed up for work in something...like this, I'd be the talk of the force...until the day I retired
  1158.  
  1159. He opens the door himself and exits the vehicle
  1160.  
  1161. He gives a short farewell and leaves without turning back even once...
  1162.  
  1163. Aigis: Mitsuru-san, this could be bad Our sense...of social aptitude is in question...
  1164.  
  1165. Mitsuru: Ngh... I can't deny that...
  1166.  
  1167. Member in suitU-Um... what should we do now...?
  1168.  
  1169. Mitsuru: A-Ah, yes...
  1170.  
  1171. Mitsuru: First, we'll need to test the claim that...Persona-users can enter TVs
  1172.  
  1173. Hearing this reminds me of something
  1174.  
  1175. Looking around the area again, although I had called it a vehicle disposal site, there are also household electronics such as refrigerators discarded here
  1176.  
  1177. In a corner is a stack of TVs...
  1178.  
  1179. Aigis: There is a discarded TV over there If the...environment does not matter, we can use...it to test the phenomenon
  1180.  
  1181. I voluntarily get out of the vehicle...
  1182.  
  1183. Mitsuru: Wait,
  1184.  
  1185. Aigis...Aigis: Don't worry I'm just going to touch it
  1186.  
  1187. I extend my right hand and touch the screen of the biggest TV I can see
  1188.  
  1189. My fingers brush the glass screen...
  1190.  
  1191. But although I seem to be touching it, I feel no resistance from its surface
  1192.  
  1193. I push my hand forward a little more A weak light runs across the screen and my forearm sinks into it...
  1194.  
  1195. Aigis: Amazing...!
  1196.  
  1197. Rings of light spread from the contact of my arm, rippling like water across a pond...
  1198.  
  1199. Mitsuru: Interesting... it's exactly as the police...report said What's it like inside?...Do you feel anything?
  1200.  
  1201. Aigis: Not particularly... no, wait a moment!
  1202.  
  1203. My sensor detects a sensation I've never felt before
  1204.  
  1205. But the knowledge of what it is is already recorded within me...
  1206.  
  1207. Aigis: It's the same as mine...
  1208.  
  1209. Aigis: It's hard to say definitively since this is...my first encounter with it, but I believe...this reading is from a personality module...
  1210.  
  1211. Mitsuru: Does that mean our retrieval target is inside...the TV?
  1212.  
  1213. Man in cape akHuh... Sounds like fun
  1214.  
  1215. I hear a voice come from an unexpected direction Mitsuru-san and I look towards it
  1216.  
  1217. What we see is a silhouette wearing a low hood that covers his eyes and a tattered cape billowing in the wind, like a figure from a Western
  1218.  
  1219. He is standing atop a mountain of trash with his arms crossed...
  1220.  
  1221. Mitsuru: Is that... Akihiko?
  1222.  
  1223. Man in cape akHa!
  1224.  
  1225. He jumps down nimbly and walks towards us...
  1226.  
  1227. Man in cape akYou didn't show up at the rendezvous point,...so I went looking and found you here...This whole TV thing is pretty interesting
  1228.  
  1229. I would never forget the man laughing so fearlessly
  1230.  
  1231. Like Mitsuru-san, he is a friend I once fought alongside... Akihiko Sanada
  1232.  
  1233. He was a student boxing champion in his school days and a staunch ally, powerful even without his Persona
  1234.  
  1235. He is also our second collaborator on this case...
  1236.  
  1237. Aigis: It's been a while, Akihiko-san!
  1238.  
  1239. Akihiko: Yeah, good seeing you...
  1240.  
  1241. Mitsuru: Akihiko... what on earth are you wearing?...Just what were you doing overseas...?
  1242.  
  1243. Akihiko: Hm? Didn't I tell you that I was on a...training expedition?
  1244.  
  1245. Mitsuru: Don't tell me you came here from the...airport like that... does the concept of...keeping a low profile mean nothing to you?
  1246.  
  1247. Aigis: Mitsuru-san, I believe we have lost the...right to complain about that...
  1248.  
  1249. Mitsuru-san sighs in annoyance
  1250.  
  1251. Oh yes Akihiko-san was on a training expedition overseas until this morning
  1252.  
  1253. As a result, his appearance is slightly... no, very different from the last time I saw him
  1254.  
  1255. But his aggressive personality and love of a challenge seems to be the same as always
  1256.  
  1257. He gives a cocky smile and smacks his palm with his fist...
  1258.  
  1259. Akihiko: Anyway...Akihiko: We can get in from that TV, right? Then what...are we waiting for?
  1260.  
  1261. Mitsuru: Still the same Akihiko We don't know the...situation inside yet, and we'll need a secure...means of getting out...
  1262.  
  1263. Akihiko: So what? If we want to get this Labrys back,...someone has to go inside, right?
  1264.  
  1265. Mitsuru: Well, that's...
  1266.  
  1267. Akihiko: Our target hijacked a plane to throw her...into a TV in this town...
  1268.  
  1269. Akihiko: If we sit on our hands, it's possible...we'll be put in serious danger
  1270.  
  1271. Akihiko-san steps forward towards Mitsuru-san as if pressing her...
  1272.  
  1273. Akihiko: We're different from how we used to be...We made the choice to fight Shadows...as professionals...
  1274.  
  1275. Akihiko: That's why I traveled around the world and...trained harder than ever...
  1276.  
  1277. Akihiko: And now that something's actually come up,...you're hesitating?
  1278.  
  1279. Akihiko: We agreed to do this I'm ready to stake...my life on the mission
  1280.  
  1281. Akihiko-san's opinion is a bit strong, but he is not incorrect
  1282.  
  1283. It's probable that Akihiko-san understands that being slightly forceful is his role
  1284.  
  1285. Because Mitsuru-san takes caution seriously as the ultimate authority in this case, she frequently second-guesses herself
  1286.  
  1287. I have seen Akihiko-san's words cut through her hesitation in the past
  1288.  
  1289. It shows his trust in Mitsuru-san not to make decisions in error...
  1290.  
  1291. Mitsuru: *sigh* All right... wait right here I need...to go make a phone call first...
  1292.  
  1293. Akihiko: Okay, but make it quick
  1294.  
  1295. Mitsuru-san goes back to the limousine and returns after a few minutes
  1296.  
  1297. All hesitation is gone from her face
  1298.  
  1299. The three of us stand before the stack of TVs and stare at their dark screens
  1300.  
  1301. <Cutscene [ENTER TV]>
  1302.  
  1303. I am surrounded by a white light that strains most of my sensors to their limits
  1304.  
  1305. A portion of my sensors indicate that I am currently in a state similar to freefall
  1306.  
  1307. I can't tell up and down from left and right... This continues for a while
  1308.  
  1309. Eventually, my functions slowly recover
  1310.  
  1311. I find myself inside an unknown room, sitting with one knee up
  1312.  
  1313. I quickly stand and check my surroundings...Aigis: This... Is this the music room of a school?
  1314.  
  1315. I can see a music stand, a grand piano, a blackboard, and portraits...
  1316.  
  1317. There is an air of overexaggerated theatrics to it, but I may not be far from the truth
  1318.  
  1319. Is this the world inside the TV...?
  1320.  
  1321. After the surreality of entering a TV screen, this comes as quite a surprise...
  1322.  
  1323. Aigis: No sign of Mitsuru-san or Akihiko-san......Did they land elsewhere?
  1324.  
  1325. Aigis: So much noise... I can't contact anyone...like this...
  1326.  
  1327. I attempt to use my communicator, but there is no response
  1328.  
  1329. This looks like an ordinary classroom, but it has an alarming amount of radio interference
  1330.  
  1331. When I concentrate my senses again, I detect a bizarre disturbance from the entire area that is unlike normal buildings
  1332.  
  1333. This may be another world after all
  1334.  
  1335. In any case, I must join up with Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san
  1336.  
  1337. But just as I begin to make plans to do so...
  1338.  
  1339. The monitor hanging from the ceiling switches on
  1340.  
  1341. What appears on it is--how to describe it--a bizarre figure that looks like a living costume...
  1342.  
  1343. Mysterious bear kuHmm!? I spy an unknown, yet bewitching babe!
  1344.  
  1345. Mysterious bear kuH-How unexpected! U-Unexpected!...U-Un-Unex-ex-ex...
  1346.  
  1347. Its comical tone does not last long before the voice becomes distorted and the image disappears
  1348.  
  1349. It reminded me of a malfunctioning machine
  1350.  
  1351. I stare at the monitor
  1352.  
  1353. I have a hunch that it will return soon
  1354.  
  1355. Just as I thought, the costume reappears
  1356.  
  1357. But its behavior is very different now...
  1358.  
  1359. Mysterious bear kuCase 04: Unintended intruder...Entering elimination process
  1360.  
  1361. Its mechanical-sounding voice is completely different from the joking tone it had before
  1362.  
  1363. And that phrase, "elimination process"...
  1364.  
  1365. It seems that a battle will be starting I release the safeties from the weapons built into my body
  1366.  
  1367. That's when a large noise comes from behind me...
  1368.  
  1369. Large young man: Whoa!
  1370.  
  1371. A young man in a school uniform comes rolling in with a yell...
  1372.  
  1373. Aigis: A human!?
  1374.  
  1375. Large young man: Owww... sheesh, why'd it decide to open right...then? This place makes no damn sense...
  1376.  
  1377. I thought that I was ready for any eventuality, but I had not expected to suddenly encounter a human...
  1378.  
  1379. Aigis: Are you all right? You seem to be unharmed...
  1380.  
  1381. The young man looks back at me a steely gaze while fixing his bleached hair with his fingers
  1382.  
  1383. His behavior does not seem to be that of one who came in pursuit of me...
  1384.  
  1385. Large young man: Huh? What the? Never seen you before...
  1386.  
  1387. Aigis: I'm sorry, I haven't introduced myself...My name is Aigis
  1388.  
  1389. Only then do I remember that my appearance would seem very peculiar to a casual observer...
  1390.  
  1391. Aigis: Uhh, I'm... a transfer student I have...blue eyes, blonde hair...
  1392.  
  1393. Aigis: Uhhhh...
  1394.  
  1395. Aigis: ...Gatling cannon...
  1396.  
  1397. Large young man: Huh?
  1398.  
  1399. Aigis: I'm sorry, forget what I said In the past,...that prepared explanation for students has...been effective, but no longer...
  1400.  
  1401. Large young man: Uhh, okay... anyways, I'm Kanji Tatsumi...This mean you're my next opponent?
  1402.  
  1403. Aigis: Opponent? What do you mean...?
  1404.  
  1405. Kanji: What do I mean? I'm talkin' about a scrap!
  1406.  
  1407. Aigis: You mean a fight? But we have only met,...Tatsumi-san... actually, where are we?
  1408.  
  1409. Kanji: Enough blabbering, you machine!
  1410.  
  1411. With a yell, he slams the folding chair in his hand on the ground
  1412.  
  1413. A cold, dull metallic sound echoes and eliminates any possibility for talking this over...
  1414.  
  1415. Kanji: And what's a fake girl like you doing...calling me by my name!?
  1416.  
  1417. Aigis: .........
  1418.  
  1419. ...I go quiet
  1420.  
  1421. "A fake girl"
  1422.  
  1423. I understand how I might elicit such a reaction, but there is pain in my chest
  1424.  
  1425. Though I cannot help but smile at how instinctively I reacted that way
  1426.  
  1427. It seems I have become more humanlike than I knew...
  1428.  
  1429. Kanji: I was worried I might have to go up against...my senpai, but I ain't gotta hold back...against a robot like you!
  1430.  
  1431. Thinking with a calm mind, I notice a small incongruity in his attitude
  1432.  
  1433. When he first saw me, he seemed unsure and claimed that he had not seen me before
  1434.  
  1435. Yet though he knows now that I am a machine, he doesn't seem particularly surprised
  1436.  
  1437. Aren't those two things contradictory?
  1438.  
  1439. I focus my senses once more and enhance the gain on my sensors
  1440.  
  1441. I detect a faint interference...
  1442.  
  1443. Because it had appeared uniformly across all my sensors, I hadn't been aware of it
  1444.  
  1445. What is this...?
  1446.  
  1447. Kanji: If you're not gonna do anything, I'll make...the first move!
  1448.  
  1449. Kanji: Rrrrraaaagh! Take-Mikazuchi!
  1450.  
  1451. Aigis: A Persona!?
  1452.  
  1453. Light flickers intermittently... Could that be electricity?
  1454.  
  1455. A thick, barrel-like arm charged with voltage approaches from above
  1456.  
  1457. I jump back and narrowly escape a crushing blow...
  1458.  
  1459. Kanji: Tch... nice dodge Looks like you've got...at least a little bit of fight in you
  1460.  
  1461. A Persona-user... I was careless
  1462.  
  1463. I should've expected that possibility since I encountered him inside the TV
  1464.  
  1465. I do not know the procedure for attacking a human, but if he's a Persona-user, I must defend myself with the usual armaments...
  1466.  
  1467. Aigis: There is no avoiding this fight......I cannot fall here!
  1468.  
  1469. <BATTLE [vs KANJI]>
  1470.  
  1471. Aigis: Are you all right, Tatsumi-san!?
  1472.  
  1473. I help Tatsumi-san up off the ground and call to him
  1474.  
  1475. After repeating myself several times, I hear a groan...
  1476.  
  1477. Kanji: Ngh... dammit... oww...
  1478.  
  1479. Kanji: Wh-Whoa, hands off!
  1480.  
  1481. Aigis: I'm sorry If you can't stand, then I'll...carry you
  1482.  
  1483. I pick up Tatsumi-san, who is still lying down, with both arms...
  1484.  
  1485. Kanji: Whoa! Damn... you're a hell of a lot stronger...than you look...
  1486.  
  1487. Kanji: Whoa, whoa, whoa! H-How come you're carrying...me like this? Like a bride or somethin'...
  1488.  
  1489. Aigis: This is the spousal method of carrying...
  1490.  
  1491. Kanji: No it ain't! It's the bridal--
  1492.  
  1493. Kanji: W-Wait a sec... are they pretty much the...same thing...?
  1494.  
  1495. Aigis: Tatsumi-san, you seem completely fine...
  1496.  
  1497. Kanji: That's what I've been sayin'!
  1498.  
  1499. Kanji: And stop with the "Tatsumi-san" crap It's...makin' my skin crawl Just call me Kanji...
  1500.  
  1501. Aigis: You don't object to being called that?...I am an artificial person, after all...
  1502.  
  1503. Kanji: Huh? Who cares? If I say it's fine,...then it's fine!
  1504.  
  1505. Kanji: And will you put me down already!?
  1506.  
  1507. When I put Kanji-san down as requested, he turns his back and repeatedly scratches his head
  1508.  
  1509. I feel as if his demeanor has changed compared to how it was before the fight
  1510.  
  1511. His loud voice and rough words are the same, but the sense that he will not listen to a word I say is gone
  1512.  
  1513. I feel that I can make myself understood now...
  1514.  
  1515. Aigis: Well then, Kanji-san, allow me to ask again...Where are we? And what did you mean by..."opponent"...?
  1516.  
  1517. Kanji: Huh? You're not an enemy that Ted set up...for me?
  1518.  
  1519. Aigis: Ted...? Are you referring to the bear who...appeared on the monitor?
  1520.  
  1521. Kanji: This is a fighting tournament Only the...winners get to keep going...
  1522.  
  1523. Kanji: I lost this time... but oh well I wouldn't...make it in the big leagues...
  1524.  
  1525. Aigis: That sounds like something Akihiko-san...would say...
  1526.  
  1527. Kanji: Huh?
  1528.  
  1529. Aigis: Sorry, I was just talking to myself...
  1530.  
  1531. Kanji: Heh Gotta say, you pack one hell of a punch......It got me real good...
  1532.  
  1533. Aigis: Punch? But I didn't throw any punches...
  1534.  
  1535. Kanji: Listen, though The rest of this tournament...ain't gonna be so easy! My senpai are...waiting up ahead...
  1536.  
  1537. Aigis: There are more people here!? Um, could you...estimate how many...
  1538.  
  1539. Kanji-san smiles dauntlessly and gives me a thumbs up
  1540.  
  1541. I don't really understand why, but I give him a thumbs up as well
  1542.  
  1543. Good job
  1544.  
  1545. Then Kanji-san keels over
  1546.  
  1547. I rush in to catch him
  1548.  
  1549. When I look into his face, it is still smirking, but he has passed out
  1550.  
  1551. It seems he was fighting through his fatigue for the sake of his pride
  1552.  
  1553. He doesn't seem injured, so I carefully set him back down on the floor
  1554.  
  1555. Suddenly, that costume--Kanji-san called it Teddie--appears again on the monitor...
  1556.  
  1557. Mysterious Teddie: Intruders are Persona-users... Due to...difficulties in elimination, they will be...acknowledged as valid targets...
  1558.  
  1559. It's using that mechanical tone of voice again
  1560.  
  1561. The "intruders" must be me and the others
  1562.  
  1563. Since I won't be easy to eliminate, it appears that he's changing tactics
  1564.  
  1565. But what could he mean by "valid targets"?
  1566.  
  1567. The monitor's screen turns off once again
  1568.  
  1569. Just like before, it flickers back on after a few seconds
  1570.  
  1571. It is the same face as before, but a completely different attitude...
  1572.  
  1573. Mysterious Teddie: Woohoo, what a fox! Came to join in on...our fun!?
  1574.  
  1575. Mysterious Teddie: I'm A-OK with that if you're up for a little...fighting! I'll wait for you in the next...arena up ahead!
  1576.  
  1577. This is more how he sounded at the beginning
  1578.  
  1579. He's gone back to normal... or at least recovered from the abnormality...
  1580.  
  1581. Mysterious Teddie: Oh, silly me! If you're cutting in, you don't...know who I am Ah-he-hem...
  1582.  
  1583. General Teddie: I... am General Teddie! Remember that name well!
  1584.  
  1585. General Teddie... Apparently, he really is a teddie bear
  1586.  
  1587. He doesn't seem like one... but a number of things he said caught my attention
  1588.  
  1589. "Joining in on our fun" and "arena"...
  1590.  
  1591. These are in line with the tournament Kanji-san mentioned
  1592.  
  1593. Is this tournament being held here?
  1594.  
  1595. But the monitor is silent once again and does not return
  1596.  
  1597. I do not think I will make any progress if I remain here
  1598.  
  1599. I poke my head through of the door where Kanji-san appeared to check my surroundings
  1600.  
  1601. What looks like a school hallway leads straight ahead
  1602.  
  1603. There appears to be no danger nearby
  1604.  
  1605. I manage to hoist Kanji-san's body over my shoulder and try to leave the room...
  1606.  
  1607. Aigis: Mm...? What...!?
  1608.  
  1609. But something gets stuck and prevents me from proceeding
  1610.  
  1611. I stop and check, but I cannot see any obstructions
  1612.  
  1613. Both of the sliding doors fell off when Kanji-san came in and the way is completely open
  1614.  
  1615. It should be wide enough for me to pass through easily, even with a person over my shoulder
  1616.  
  1617. Yet I cannot proceed
  1618.  
  1619. Something is getting stuck
  1620.  
  1621. I slow my walking speed and check to see what part of me is getting caught
  1622.  
  1623. That is how I discover something surprising
  1624.  
  1625. Nothing is blocking the way, yet only Kanji-san's body cannot pass through the door
  1626.  
  1627. It seems there is an invisible wall... one that is selective and prevents only Kanji-san's passage between the room and the hallway
  1628.  
  1629. Something Kanji-san said comes back to me
  1630.  
  1631. "Only the winners get to keep going..."
  1632.  
  1633. Is this what he meant?
  1634.  
  1635. I increase the sensitivity of my various sensors, but I cannot detect any wall here
  1636.  
  1637. I have no way of destroying what I cannot touch
  1638.  
  1639. Which means I have no choice but to leave Kanji-san here...
  1640.  
  1641. Aigis: Oh well... I will come back for you later...Please stay safe until then
  1642.  
  1643. Once he comes around, he's still a Persona-user
  1644.  
  1645. It's not as if I'm leaving someone behind who can't fend for himself...
  1646.  
  1647. I reluctantly convince myself to move on
  1648.  
  1649. While moving down the hallway, my sensors continue to pick up disturbances from everything in the school
  1650.  
  1651. It all looks so normal, though
  1652.  
  1653. There is a line of glass windows on the wall Outside is a field level with the ground I am walking on
  1654.  
  1655. I seem to be on the first floor of the building
  1656.  
  1657. Eventually, I reach a doorway and cautiously venture outside
  1658.  
  1659. There is barely any difference in temperature or atmospheric composition compared to the real world
  1660.  
  1661. But the lack of wind is unnatural, and there are other discrepancies between here and there
  1662.  
  1663. I turn around and inspect the building's exterior
  1664.  
  1665. This is indeed a school
  1666.  
  1667. I walk along the wall and go around the building
  1668.  
  1669. Soon, I reach what seems to be the main gate
  1670.  
  1671. I turn towards the school building once again... and come to a realization...
  1672.  
  1673. Aigis: I recognize this place...!
  1674.  
  1675. I have seen a photo from this angle in the preparation materials
  1676.  
  1677. As I recall, this is a high school in Inaba
  1678.  
  1679. To make sure, I step past the school gate and check the nameplate
  1680.  
  1681. The name engraved in the gate's pillar is Yasogami High School
  1682.  
  1683. I cross-reference the name with a map of the area and find a match
  1684.  
  1685. This is confusing
  1686.  
  1687. A real-world location has been completely recreated inside the TV...?
  1688.  
  1689. Why is it structured like nesting boxes?
  1690.  
  1691. Just then...
  1692.  
  1693. I sensed something move in the corner of my vision
  1694.  
  1695. I quickly turn and view it from the front
  1696.  
  1697. It is a uniformed girl
  1698.  
  1699. She is running straight through in the opposite direction of the field
  1700.  
  1701. Is she a student...?
  1702.  
  1703. No, this is not a real school
  1704.  
  1705. Could she be one of the "senpai" Kanji-san spoke of?
  1706.  
  1707. But a moment's thought highlights an important detail
  1708.  
  1709. Her pale skin and hair color...
  1710.  
  1711. Aigis: That's...!
  1712.  
  1713. There can be no mistake
  1714.  
  1715. It's the girl I saw for a moment at the airport after the hijacking
  1716.  
  1717. I immediately chase after her
  1718.  
  1719. But the girl is much faster than I anticipate and I cannot close the distance
  1720.  
  1721. I release a portion of my foot speed limiters and finally get close
  1722.  
  1723. Until I am able to grasp her right arm from behind...
  1724.  
  1725. Girl in Uniform: Huh!?
  1726.  
  1727. The girl stops and turns around
  1728.  
  1729. There is surprise on her face, but she stares in wide-eyed wonder at my form
  1730.  
  1731. Though I am surprised myself
  1732.  
  1733. That instant I take her hand, a flash of intuition charges through me like electricity
  1734.  
  1735. "This girl is Labrys..." I am unaccountably convinced...
  1736.  
  1737. Girl in Uniform: Who're you...? That's one funny-lookin'...costume you've got on...
  1738.  
  1739. Aigis: Oh, well, I...
  1740.  
  1741. Girl in Uniform: Oh, of course! You're mixed up in this...racket too, aren't you?
  1742.  
  1743. "Racket"...? Does she mean the tournament?
  1744.  
  1745. Aigis: No, I am not in this tournament of my...own free will...
  1746.  
  1747. Girl in Uniform: Really? Then you mind lettin' me go? I'm the...student council president, I can't be lettin'...people run wild at this school...
  1748.  
  1749. Aigis: Student council president...
  1750.  
  1751. Girl in Uniform: Didn't I tell you to let me go? Are you trynna...get in the way of my work here?
  1752.  
  1753. The girl looks at me with an irritated expression
  1754.  
  1755. How strange... She speaks as if she really is leading an ordinary life here at school
  1756.  
  1757. If she was aware that she was inside the TV, would she say such things to me?
  1758.  
  1759. Aigis: Um... if you happen to know, could you please...tell me what sort of place this is?
  1760.  
  1761. Girl in Uniform: Huh? It's the first floor of the classroom...building Can't you tell?
  1762.  
  1763. Aigis: Hm...? Is it possible that you don't recall...entering a TV...?
  1764.  
  1765. Girl in Uniform: A TV? Listen, I don't know what you're talkin'...about, but I'm kind of in a hurry here...Can I go now?
  1766.  
  1767. Aigis: Before you do, please tell me something...
  1768.  
  1769. Aigis: Who are you...?
  1770.  
  1771. Girl in Uniform: Who...? What'd you stop me for if you didn't...even know? I just told you, I'm the student...council president...
  1772.  
  1773. Girl in Uniform: What hole have you been hiding in?...The elections were just last week...
  1774.  
  1775. Aigis: .........
  1776.  
  1777. Girl in Uniform: Are we done now? 'Cause I got places to be
  1778.  
  1779. The girl ends the conversation sternly, shakes off my hand, and runs away again
  1780.  
  1781. In an instant, she has disappeared into the school building...
  1782.  
  1783. Aigis: Ah... please wait!
  1784.  
  1785. I go after her, but just as I enter the hallway and round the first bend, something blocks my path
  1786.  
  1787. But I can't see what it is at all
  1788.  
  1789. I can't see it... yet when I reach out my hand, I can feel it
  1790.  
  1791. I think I know what this is...
  1792.  
  1793. Aigis: That wall again...!
  1794.  
  1795. The invisible wall that prevented Kanji-san's passage... It's most likely the same thing
  1796.  
  1797. Once again, I am surprised
  1798.  
  1799. I can touch it, yet my sensors detect nothing
  1800.  
  1801. And it's much stronger than I had imagined
  1802.  
  1803. It repels even gunfire, let alone physical strikes
  1804.  
  1805. I attempted various methods to destroy it, but before I can, the girl disappears from view...
  1806.  
  1807. Aigis: It seems I am forced to try a different...route...
  1808.  
  1809. I consider the situation once more
  1810.  
  1811. Was that girl truly Labrys?
  1812.  
  1813. There are too many factors now indicating otherwise
  1814.  
  1815. Her appearance, and the feel of her arm when I grasped it a moment ago...
  1816.  
  1817. Both are strong signs that she is human
  1818.  
  1819. If she is entirely artificial, then she could not be part of an older generation of models than myself
  1820.  
  1821. Her speaking voice and behavior were both also indicative of known human patterns...
  1822.  
  1823. According to the records of Labrys' development, she was sealed away soon after
  1824.  
  1825. Even I stumble with natural human speech She could not have become so proficient in so short a time
  1826.  
  1827. "She's not a machine, but a human... So she cannot be Labrys"
  1828.  
  1829. Usually I would not hesitate to make such a judgement based on the available data
  1830.  
  1831. Yet I still cannot shake the feeling that she may be Labrys
  1832.  
  1833. That intuition I felt earlier... What caused it?
  1834.  
  1835. This case remains murky
  1836.  
  1837. I feel as if my senses are being muffled by a thin cloth
  1838.  
  1839. But I cannot leave her be
  1840.  
  1841. Even if she is not Labrys, that fact itself means that she's in danger
  1842.  
  1843. I quickly looked for an alternate route
  1844.  
  1845. I backtracked the way I came and run outside
  1846.  
  1847. Suddenly, I am enveloped in a tidal wave of sound
  1848.  
  1849. ...These are human voices
  1850.  
  1851. The cheering comes from an enormous crowd
  1852.  
  1853. I turn around and a thick mass of people runs towards me out of nowhere
  1854.  
  1855. They are boys and girls in school uniforms
  1856.  
  1857. It was clear that everyone is looking at me...
  1858.  
  1859. Aigis: This is impossible...!
  1860.  
  1861. How did I fail to detect so many humans?
  1862.  
  1863. But then I notice it
  1864.  
  1865. There is white noise running through all my sensors
  1866.  
  1867. It is the same feeling that I had before fighting Kanji-san
  1868.  
  1869. What is this...?
  1870.  
  1871. As I stand in thought, the students close in on me
  1872.  
  1873. I ask what business they have with me, but the uproar drowns out my voice
  1874.  
  1875. I cannot attack them, so I have no choice but to edge backwards
  1876.  
  1877. Soon, my back is against a wall
  1878.  
  1879. I looked around for an escape route
  1880.  
  1881. Luckily, there was a door beside me
  1882.  
  1883. I hurry inside to find shelter
  1884.  
  1885. The room I have entered appears to be spacious
  1886.  
  1887. It is dark here, but I believe it is the gymnasium
  1888.  
  1889. Here and there, folding chairs and gym equipment are piled in heaps
  1890.  
  1891. It looks like the result of some strange ritual
  1892.  
  1893. Suddenly, a light shines in the corner
  1894.  
  1895. Upon close inspection, I can see a monitor showing something
  1896.  
  1897. It is airing some familiar faces...
  1898.  
  1899. ...I am not sure what to say about that video
  1900.  
  1901. It seems to be modeled after promotional videos for martial arts tournaments
  1902.  
  1903. I noticed appearances by Kanji-san and the host, General Teddie
  1904.  
  1905. The other people shown must also be participants
  1906.  
  1907. It is safe to assume they are all Persona-users
  1908.  
  1909. As if watching my reactions from somewhere, General Teddie appears on the monitor, replacing the video...
  1910.  
  1911. General Teddie: Heeheehee... Looks like you're officially...getting in on the action Welcome! Look,...everyone, another challenger!
  1912.  
  1913. Without warning there is a loud sound All the doors in every direction open at once
  1914.  
  1915. Excited students pour in, cheering and yelling
  1916.  
  1917. Before I know it, I am surrounded by people, with no means of escape
  1918.  
  1919. General Teddie grins at my situation and raises his stubby arm...
  1920.  
  1921. General Teddie: Well then, bring out the next opponent!
  1922.  
  1923. A spotlight shines on a spot where the crowd parts
  1924.  
  1925. A female student can be seen She has short hair and wears a sweatshirt She looks very athletic
  1926.  
  1927. I recognize her face from the video
  1928.  
  1929. Her name was... "Chie Satonaka"
  1930.  
  1931. She steps in front of me, bouncing from foot to foot...
  1932.  
  1933. Chie: I heard that you're elbowing in on the...tournament Suits me fine! Let's do this!
  1934.  
  1935. As she finishes her speech, she takes a fighting stance...
  1936.  
  1937. Chie: Haaaa!
  1938.  
  1939. Just then, a gleaming silhouette appears behind her
  1940.  
  1941. It is another Persona
  1942.  
  1943. Chie-san extends her palm facing up and motions with her fingers, taunting me...G
  1944.  
  1945. eneral Teddie skuOoooh, she's ready and bearin' to go!
  1946.  
  1947. ...This is strange
  1948.  
  1949. Chie-san's willingness to fight is odd enough, but even stranger are the students in the crowd
  1950.  
  1951. Even when seeing a Persona up close, they show no signs of alarm
  1952.  
  1953. Come to think of it, how did they get here?
  1954.  
  1955. I cannot believe that they are all Persona-users
  1956.  
  1957. But even if they were, would they be so excited over such brutality?
  1958.  
  1959. While stuck in a mysterious world filled with potential dangers?
  1960.  
  1961. ...That does not seem likely
  1962.  
  1963. Perhaps my basic assumptions are faulty
  1964.  
  1965. Could they, like these buildings, be unreal?
  1966.  
  1967. I cannot jump to conclusions, but I decide to take the offensive
  1968.  
  1969. I turn to the monitor
  1970.  
  1971. General Teddie is bouncing up and down gleefully...
  1972.  
  1973. Aigis: I will fight on one condition...
  1974.  
  1975. General Teddie: Which is?
  1976.  
  1977. Interesting He answered me
  1978.  
  1979. I can hold a conversation with him
  1980.  
  1981. Which means he can see and hear me...
  1982.  
  1983. Aigis: That you immediately release all these students...from this school... or rather, from this world...
  1984.  
  1985. Aigis: If you do that, I will fight as you wish...
  1986.  
  1987. General Teddie: Tut-tut Are you making demands to me? Before...you get too worried about other people, why...not worry about yourself?
  1988.  
  1989. Aigis: I will not fight unless you guarantee...their safety
  1990.  
  1991. I glare at General Teddie through the monitor
  1992.  
  1993. I didn't want to involve the students--but I have an idea...
  1994.  
  1995. General Teddie: Sheesh... What a stubborn girl...
  1996.  
  1997. He snaps his stubby fingers
  1998.  
  1999. The room instantly fills with light
  2000.  
  2001. I ward myself against it by covering my eyes
  2002.  
  2003. A few seconds later, the brightness fades to normal As my eyes adjust, I see that the students have vanished...
  2004.  
  2005. General Teddie: Tadaaaaaa! Is that what you wanted?
  2006.  
  2007. The General smiles proudly
  2008.  
  2009. My guess was correct
  2010.  
  2011. If the students were fake, it is easier for him to remove them than to talk me into fighting
  2012.  
  2013. As a result, my sensors detect the moment when the "students" disappear all at once
  2014.  
  2015. The only human here is Chie-san in front of me
  2016.  
  2017. Looking around, it seems that not everything disappeared
  2018.  
  2019. Humanlike figures remain, as if the shadows of the students were burned into the scenery
  2020.  
  2021. There were several about the gymnasium
  2022.  
  2023. Their readings are similar to Shadows, but they show no sign of hostility
  2024.  
  2025. So these are the true forms of those students... They have been unmasked...
  2026.  
  2027. General Teddie: Honestly! You're in no position to be making...demands, you know...
  2028.  
  2029. General Teddie: I'm making an exception just this once because...it's no fun if you don't both go at it tooth...and claw...
  2030.  
  2031. General Teddie: Even if you don't resist, your opponent will...show no mercy! It'll be a grizzly sight!
  2032.  
  2033. Chie: C'mon, even if the crowd was still here,...would you not have hit back when I hit you?
  2034.  
  2035. Aigis: No The safety of the people must be...prioritized above all else...
  2036.  
  2037. Chie: Huh! That's pretty cool of you, actually!
  2038.  
  2039. Chie: But self-sacrifice doesn't mean much, coming...from a machine They can just fix you right up...
  2040.  
  2041. Aigis: .........
  2042.  
  2043. Chie: Oh, that's right! It doesn't even count as...self-sacrifice for a machine It's just...what you're programmed to do...
  2044.  
  2045. Chie: You probably don't feel pain or anything, huh?...It just seemed that way 'cause you look human...
  2046.  
  2047. Aigis: You may not understand, but I can sense pain...as well...
  2048.  
  2049. Chie: Really? That's such a weird thing to program...into a weapon! Doesn't make any sense to me...
  2050.  
  2051. Aigis: That's...
  2052.  
  2053. As I struggle to answer, Chie-san smiles wide...
  2054.  
  2055. Chie: Well, that's fine with me Means I can fight...you without pulling any punches!
  2056.  
  2057. Her smile disappears and her eyes spark with fire as she launches herself at me
  2058.  
  2059. I would rather not fight her, but she is a Persona-user
  2060.  
  2061. I clench my teeth and make myself ready to intercept her...
  2062.  
  2063. Aigis: If I must fight you, then I will!
  2064.  
  2065. <BATTLE [vs CHIE]>
  2066.  
  2067. Chie: Owww... Sheesh, wow, you're definitely...a pro when it comes to fighting...
  2068.  
  2069. Aigis: I'm sorry Are you all right?
  2070.  
  2071. Chie: Mm, yeah... but boy, I didn't stand a chance...against you! Hey, what's all this about you...being a robot!?
  2072.  
  2073. She is upset by her loss, but seems cheerful
  2074.  
  2075. She didn't show this open-mindedness before the fight
  2076.  
  2077. Perhaps, as with Kanji-san, I could make peace with her by--
  2078.  
  2079. --No, it is vain of me to think that is possible
  2080.  
  2081. Her words echo in my mind
  2082.  
  2083. "It doesn't even count as self-sacrifice for a machine It's just what you're programmed to do"
  2084.  
  2085. I hate to admit it, but her observation is correct...
  2086.  
  2087. Aigis: Um... I may seem like a ridiculous machine...to you, but I'm still...
  2088.  
  2089. Chie: Huh? I never said that!
  2090.  
  2091. Aigis: Hm?
  2092.  
  2093. Chie: Wait... you're not acting like you did before...the fight I'm surprised that you're a robot,...but... what gives?
  2094.  
  2095. Chie-san looked stupefied
  2096.  
  2097. Her expression confuses me as well
  2098.  
  2099. She stated it clearly, yet she doesn't remember...?
  2100.  
  2101. Then something hit me
  2102.  
  2103. Didn't things go similarly with Kanji-san as well?
  2104.  
  2105. Could it be that something was done to the participants?
  2106.  
  2107. No, I should avoid drawing conclusions based solely on speculation
  2108.  
  2109. Besides, there is something I must do first...
  2110.  
  2111. Aigis: That reminds me, I haven't introduced myself...yet My name is Aigis...
  2112.  
  2113. Chie: Haha... looks like we let our fists say too...much before we opened our mouths I'm...
  2114.  
  2115. Aigis: I saw the introductory video You're Chie...Satonaka, correct?
  2116.  
  2117. Chie: Yup Oh, you can just call me Chie...
  2118.  
  2119. Aigis: The carnivore who's discarded womanhood...
  2120.  
  2121. Chie: Okay, you didn't need to bring that part up!...And I didn't discard anything!
  2122.  
  2123. Chie: I can use a Persona, but I'm just an ordinary...high school student I go to Yasogami High...
  2124.  
  2125. Chie: So, anyways... are you, um, seriously...a machine? No fooling?
  2126.  
  2127. Aigis: Yes I was created as a weapon for a certain...purpose It may be difficult to explain...to you...
  2128.  
  2129. Chie: Nah, I can tell from the fight you're telling...the truth Huh... so you're not cosplaying...
  2130.  
  2131. Chie: Then again, it'd be pretty nuts for someone...to come out here to cosplay...
  2132.  
  2133. Aigis: Speaking of which, Chie-san... can you tell...me what this place... this world... is?
  2134.  
  2135. Aigis: I confess that I am looking for someone While...pursuing them, I heard the rumor about going...inside TVs, and ended up here...
  2136.  
  2137. Chie: Oh right, you can use a Persona That's how...you got into the TV...
  2138.  
  2139. Chie: Hmm, where should I start...?
  2140.  
  2141. Chie: I don't know exactly how it works, but this...place is supposedly a "realm formed by human...thought"
  2142.  
  2143. Aigis: By thought... does that mean this is someone's...mental landscape?
  2144.  
  2145. Chie: Hmm, I guess so...?
  2146.  
  2147. Aigis: Then we've physically entered a mental world?...Through a TV, no less...? How can this be?
  2148.  
  2149. Chie: To tell the truth, I never understood it...so well myself...
  2150.  
  2151. Chie: There was this insane monster thing around...town up until early spring...
  2152.  
  2153. Chie: It created this whole world, and I got my Persona...because of what happened in here
  2154.  
  2155. Chie-san folds her arms with a troubled look on her face...
  2156.  
  2157. Chie: Come to think of it, all this stuff should...have been over and done with...
  2158.  
  2159. Chie: But you see that ad showing on the monitor...over there? It suddenly started getting...shown on TV in reality...
  2160.  
  2161. Chie: There's no way we were gonna stand for that crap to...be shown! So that's why me and my friends came in...here to put a stop to it...
  2162.  
  2163. Aigis: Your friends are here as well?
  2164.  
  2165. Chie: Yeah, a couple Also... that Teddie guy who's...hosting this, plus the girl Rise who's serving...as commentator, they're my friends too...
  2166.  
  2167. Chie: But they're acting so weird...
  2168.  
  2169. She lets out a sigh...
  2170.  
  2171. Chie: Oh, sorry Listen to me, babbling away...Do you think you can find this person you're...looking for?
  2172.  
  2173. Chie: Actually, could whoever it is get in here?...I don't think normal people can enter the TV...
  2174.  
  2175. Aigis: To tell you the truth, I have already...encountered one such person, but...
  2176.  
  2177. I tell her about the girl I saw
  2178.  
  2179. I give her all the details that I can remember
  2180.  
  2181. I recall that she called herself the "Student Council President"
  2182.  
  2183. She did not seem aware that she was inside the TV...
  2184.  
  2185. Chie: Ah, you mean the girl who was calling herself...the student council president Yeah, I saw...her too...
  2186.  
  2187. Chie: She was yelling into a bullhorn to "Stop this...foolishness!" but then she ran off, saying she...was gonna go talk to the tournament's host...
  2188.  
  2189. Aigis: She was wearing the same skirt that you are,...Chie-san It seems to be part of a uniform...Are you acquainted with her?
  2190.  
  2191. Chie: No, I don't know her It's funny, that girl...said she was elected last week...
  2192.  
  2193. Chie: But if I remember right, our student council...president was a guy
  2194.  
  2195. I have many doubts about her
  2196.  
  2197. I must meet her again and figure her out...
  2198.  
  2199. Aigis: ...Thank you I now have a better understanding...of the situation...
  2200.  
  2201. Aigis: Well then, I should be going now I would like...it if you could come along, but...
  2202.  
  2203. Chie: I know I can't leave here, right? I'll stay...put for now...
  2204.  
  2205. Aigis: I will come back for you later You may find...it hard to trust me, but...
  2206.  
  2207. Chie: No, I believe you
  2208.  
  2209. Chie-san replies unhesitatingly...
  2210.  
  2211. Chie: I've been through so much over this past year...that I'm pretty confident I can read people...
  2212.  
  2213. Chie: Honestly, though, what other choice do I have?...If you run into any of my friends, tell 'em...I'm okay...
  2214.  
  2215. Aigis: ...I will
  2216.  
  2217. After wiping the dust from her right hand with her sleeve, Chie-san extends it to me...
  2218.  
  2219. Chie: Aigis-san, right?
  2220.  
  2221. Chie: Soooo... if this was some fighting manga,...we'd beat the tar out of each other, then...shake hands in the end as best friends...
  2222.  
  2223. Chie: A powerful enemy can become a powerful...friend, you know
  2224.  
  2225. I clasp her hand She smiled in embarrassment...
  2226.  
  2227. Chie: Friendship can do amazing things I saw that...for myself last year...
  2228.  
  2229. Chie: And you and I can be friends, too, so, um......you don't need to talk like you're just...an object...
  2230.  
  2231. Aigis: Chie-san...
  2232.  
  2233. Chie: A-Ahaha! Don't look at me like that! You're...embarrassing me! C'mon, get going, go! Hurry!
  2234.  
  2235. Aigis: Yes! I'll see you later!
  2236.  
  2237. Energized by Chie-san's words, I run towards the entrance
  2238.  
  2239. I turn around and wave to Chie-san
  2240.  
  2241. There is more at stake than Labrys... I must protect these people
  2242.  
  2243. I swear a vow to myself and leave
  2244.  
  2245. As I exit the gymnasium, I remain cautious while running down the hallway
  2246.  
  2247. Suddenly, I pick up a response on my transmitter, which has been silent until now
  2248.  
  2249. I stop and focus on picking up the signal...Mitsuru: ...gis... you hear... Ai...Mitsuru: Can you hear me, Aigis!?
  2250.  
  2251. The staticky transmission soon becomes clear
  2252.  
  2253. It is a voice I recognize very well...
  2254.  
  2255. Aigis: Mitsuru-san!?
  2256.  
  2257. Mitsuru: Good, it seems you're all right too...
  2258.  
  2259. Mitsuru: It's been quite a while since I last used my...Persona in this manner... to think it would...be useful in a place like this...
  2260.  
  2261. Aigis: Is Akihiko-san with you?
  2262.  
  2263. Mitsuru: No, we were separated, but I can still sense...him I doubt he'll be defeated that easily
  2264.  
  2265. She is speaking not out of carelessness, but trust
  2266.  
  2267. I know, because I feel the same...
  2268.  
  2269. Mitsuru: I'm sure you're aware by now, but although we...came in search of Labrys, we appear to have...been dragged into another incident...
  2270.  
  2271. Mitsuru: Don't worry about meeting up for now Under...the present conditions, we'd only end up...fighting amongst ourselves...
  2272.  
  2273. Aigis: Understood...
  2274.  
  2275. Mitsuru: I don't know how Labrys ties in to this...situation yet, but be careful
  2276.  
  2277. Before I can answer, the static grows louder, and the transmission ends
  2278.  
  2279. Knowing that Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san are okay gives me room to breathe
  2280.  
  2281. The invisible walls are everywhere along the hallways, forcing me down a particular path
  2282.  
  2283. I follow the route Soon enough I can see the shoe lockers up ahead
  2284.  
  2285. It seems I am back at the entrance
  2286.  
  2287. When I reach the entrance, the monitor nearby turns on, as if it were waiting for me
  2288.  
  2289. As usual, it is General Teddie
  2290.  
  2291. I took a defensive stance
  2292.  
  2293. This appears to be the arena for my next battle...
  2294.  
  2295. General Teddie: Heeheehee, you're pretty good for a latecomer
  2296.  
  2297. The instant General Teddie appears on the TV, my sensors pick up that noise again
  2298.  
  2299. My suspicion turns into certainty
  2300.  
  2301. General Teddie is doing something before the matches
  2302.  
  2303. Whatever it is makes the opponent belligerent, or something similar
  2304.  
  2305. I can assume that neither Kanji-san nor Chie-san were acting like themselves before the battle
  2306.  
  2307. That would explain why none of our stories were consistent afterwards...
  2308.  
  2309. General Teddie: Well then, bring out the next opponent!
  2310.  
  2311. I hear light footsteps
  2312.  
  2313. A young man wearing his hat low arrives...
  2314.  
  2315. Small young man na*sigh* Naturally, of the three of you,...you're the one I encounter first
  2316.  
  2317. He shrugs his shoulders and pulls the brim lower
  2318.  
  2319. This boy was also in the promotional video
  2320.  
  2321. His name was... "Naoto Shirogane"
  2322.  
  2323. I bring myself to high alert
  2324.  
  2325. He said "three of us"
  2326.  
  2327. Aigis: You know about us?
  2328.  
  2329. On hearing my question, he smiles cynically...
  2330.  
  2331. Naoto: Did Mitsuru Kirijo not inform you? I don't...merely know about you; I was there at...the airport...
  2332.  
  2333. Naoto: The Kirijo Group seems rather lax for a...multinational corporation Allowing a machine...to act autonomously and take command...
  2334.  
  2335. Aigis: .........
  2336.  
  2337. Naoto: To be frank, watching you fills me with pity...
  2338.  
  2339. Naoto: Perhaps the kindest thing to do would be...to give you a merciful end...
  2340.  
  2341. Aigis: Pity?
  2342.  
  2343. Naoto: Your existence is inherently a deception...Isn't it? You're a machine, and a weapon on...top of that, yet you look human...
  2344.  
  2345. Naoto: Those who meet you think you're human...You even seem to believe it yourself...Truly pitiful
  2346.  
  2347. I have no answer to this
  2348.  
  2349. As much as I don't want to believe it, it's all true...
  2350.  
  2351. Naoto: You were built to consider yourself human...in order to activate the ability to wield...a Persona...
  2352.  
  2353. Naoto: Your appearance and your "heart" are only...prerequisites for that power I'm sure you've...realized it already...
  2354.  
  2355. Naoto: You will never find the means to cross the...gap between the human heart and your mechanical...frame...
  2356.  
  2357. Naoto: No matter how much you want love, you'll never...earn it At best, people grow fond of you...
  2358.  
  2359. Aigis: I...
  2360.  
  2361. He sounds as if he knows for certain
  2362.  
  2363. I hang my head in spite of myself...
  2364.  
  2365. Naoto: The more I consider the matter, the more...I genuinely pity you...
  2366.  
  2367. Naoto: I'd best hurry up and put an end to your...pathetic life!
  2368.  
  2369. Naoto-san draws his gun
  2370.  
  2371. Because my eyes are lowered, I am slow to react...
  2372.  
  2373. Aigis: Ngh...!
  2374.  
  2375. I already knew that we had to fight, and yet...
  2376.  
  2377. I curse my carelessness and quickly stand back up...
  2378.  
  2379. <Battle [vs NAOTO]>
  2380.  
  2381. Naoto: Ungh...
  2382.  
  2383. Naoto-san slowly gets up
  2384.  
  2385. She is staggering and still slightly dizzy
  2386.  
  2387. I watch carefully for any change in her behavior
  2388.  
  2389. But I am surprised by what I hear next...
  2390.  
  2391. Naoto: ...Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
  2392.  
  2393. Naoto: The mastermind behind this tournament may have...some means of fogging our senses... were you...suspecting that as well?
  2394.  
  2395. Aigis: Yes
  2396.  
  2397. Seeing me nod, Naoto-san smiles...
  2398.  
  2399. Naoto: Then we are in agreement Its aim appears to...be to make friends fight one another...
  2400.  
  2401. Naoto: Though it's a mystery to me as to why it...would do such a thing...
  2402.  
  2403. Naoto-san brushes some dust off and walks toward me...
  2404.  
  2405. Naoto: But the battle is over and the interference has...been lifted Given past examples, the pattern...is clear...
  2406.  
  2407. Naoto: How about it? Why don't we talk things over?
  2408.  
  2409. I have no objections
  2410.  
  2411. Naoto-san seems to understand everything
  2412.  
  2413. I nod my head, relieved...Naoto: I am Naoto Shirogane I work as a detective...
  2414.  
  2415. Naoto: I agreed to act as an observer for the police...regarding the special cargo, met with Kirijo-san...beforehand, and accompanied her to the airport...
  2416.  
  2417. Aigis: So that's how you knew about us...
  2418.  
  2419. Aigis: I recall seeing you in the introductory video...along with the other competitors...
  2420.  
  2421. Naoto: They're... good friends of mine I attend...Yasogami High, the same school as them...
  2422.  
  2423. Aigis: I see So after you finished your business and...returned to your hometown, that video appeared...on TV Is that correct?
  2424.  
  2425. Naoto: That's right...
  2426.  
  2427. Naoto: At least, that's what I should say if I wanted...to feign innocence...
  2428.  
  2429. Aigis: What...?
  2430.  
  2431. Naoto: The real reason I came here is because I was...tailing you...
  2432.  
  2433. Naoto: It was for a secret investigation...
  2434.  
  2435. Aigis: For who...?
  2436.  
  2437. Naoto: Naturally, I cannot reveal my client or what...their aims are, but I'm sure you have your...own secrets to keep...
  2438.  
  2439. Naoto: What do you think? As long as we're in the...same boat, why not cooperate?
  2440.  
  2441. I become tense when she mentions her "secret investigation," but that is not important now...
  2442.  
  2443. Aigis: I see It would not be wise to continue...to stand in each other's way in this...situation
  2444.  
  2445. I accept Naoto-san's hand and we shake...
  2446.  
  2447. Naoto: How much do you know about this world?
  2448.  
  2449. Aigis: Your friend told me it's a realm formed by human...thought... in which case, why a school?
  2450.  
  2451. Naoto: This place varies according to people's mental...state When someone enters it directly, they...have a much stronger effect on it...
  2452.  
  2453. Naoto: For a normal person, with no Persona-based...resistances, a dangerous situation will arise...where their Shadow goes berserk...
  2454.  
  2455. Naoto: That happened frequently in the case I was...involved with last year This false school...may have something to do with it...
  2456.  
  2457. I consider Labrys
  2458.  
  2459. According to her specifications, she should be able to use a Persona But... did this come from her mind?
  2460.  
  2461. Why a school?
  2462.  
  2463. And why Yasogami High School of all places?
  2464.  
  2465. She has no prior knowledge of the place
  2466.  
  2467. She has never even visited Inaba
  2468.  
  2469. But if that girl is Labrys, she undoubtedly has a heart
  2470.  
  2471. It is possible that something like what Naoto-san suggested could happen...
  2472.  
  2473. Naoto: I assume you have a theory already?
  2474.  
  2475. Aigis: Yes Thank you very much I believe I'm slowly...starting to understand what's going on
  2476.  
  2477. I look down the path ahead
  2478.  
  2479. But before I go, I turn and ask Naoto-san a question...
  2480.  
  2481. Aigis: Would you mind telling me something?
  2482.  
  2483. Aigis: Why did you tell me about your secret...agenda...?
  2484.  
  2485. Naoto: I suppose... because it wouldn't be fair...otherwise
  2486.  
  2487. A wry smile spreads over Naoto-san's face...
  2488.  
  2489. Naoto: Given that I cannot leave here and must trust...my friends' fate to you, it would be unfair...to continue deceiving you...
  2490.  
  2491. Naoto: But not only that... you carry out your duties...with little care for your true appearance...You and I are not on equal grounds there...
  2492.  
  2493. Aigis: My true appearance...?
  2494.  
  2495. Naoto: Consider it a sign of my respect for that,...haha I still seem to have a soft spot...
  2496.  
  2497. Naoto-san's smile fades and she looks at me solemnly...
  2498.  
  2499. Naoto: Aigis-san...Naoto: I ask only one thing of you Please save...my friends...
  2500.  
  2501. Aigis: That is my intention...
  2502.  
  2503. Naoto: Thank you I'll wait here, secure in knowing that
  2504.  
  2505. We nod to each other
  2506.  
  2507. Chie-san, Kanji-san, and Naoto-san are all so different, but they are connected by a strong bond
  2508.  
  2509. Knowing that fills my heart with warmth...
  2510.  
  2511. Aigis: I am curious, though When you refer to your..."true appearance," do you mean the fact that...you are a woman?
  2512.  
  2513. Naoto: Wh... what?
  2514.  
  2515. Aigis: Am I mistaken?
  2516.  
  2517. Naoto: Oh, um, well...
  2518.  
  2519. Aigis: Your clothing hides it, but my sensor scan...shows the body measurements of a human with...female proportions...
  2520.  
  2521. Naoto: Wh-What do you mean!? How much can you see!?
  2522.  
  2523. Suddenly Naoto-san loses all of her composure and turns red as she covers her chest with her arms
  2524.  
  2525. What happened?
  2526.  
  2527. I don't think I said anything to warrant such a reaction...
  2528.  
  2529. Just then, General Teddie interrupts over the monitor...
  2530.  
  2531. General Teddie: Hey, hey, enough with the chitchat!...Hurry up and move onto the next--
  2532.  
  2533. Aigis: Would you like to know your current...measurements? From top to bottom, they are...
  2534.  
  2535. Naoto: Th-That's quite all right!
  2536.  
  2537. General Teddie: .........
  2538.  
  2539. General Teddie: Never mind little old me! Please, finish that...line of thought I demand it!
  2540.  
  2541. Naoto: How did we get so off subject!? If you're...going to go, please hurry and leave!
  2542.  
  2543. Hrmmm
  2544.  
  2545. She yelled at me
  2546.  
  2547. I must have said something rude
  2548.  
  2549. That still happens every so often
  2550.  
  2551. An innocuous remark can greatly upset someone
  2552.  
  2553. Hrmmmmmmm
  2554.  
  2555. I must keep practicing
  2556.  
  2557. I climb the stairway and notice a silhouette in one of the classrooms
  2558.  
  2559. Looking carefully, it could be that student council president's--Labrys
  2560.  
  2561. I will be relieved if I have caught up to her so soon
  2562.  
  2563. But the hand I raise to knock on the door inadvertently stops
  2564.  
  2565. Wait... Could she be my next opponent?
  2566.  
  2567. She wasn't in the promotional video, but neither was I, yet I am being forced to fight in the Grand Prix
  2568.  
  2569. But there's no point in worrying about that now
  2570.  
  2571. I cannot change the path I take nor the opponent I must face
  2572.  
  2573. I prepare myself and knock lightly on the door...
  2574.  
  2575. Girl in Uniform: Hm...? You're that girl from before
  2576.  
  2577. The girl turns and notices me
  2578.  
  2579. I set foot in the classroom There is no immediate interruption from General Teddie
  2580.  
  2581. It looks like he has not scheduled a match between us
  2582.  
  2583. I breathe a sigh of relief...Aigis: What are you doing here?
  2584.  
  2585. Girl in Uniform: Ain't it obvious? I'm cleanin' up the...classroom It's no picnic, what with people...runnin' wild and wreckin' things
  2586.  
  2587. She takes down the chairs piled on top of each other and lines them up
  2588.  
  2589. After a few runs, she takes a breath
  2590.  
  2591. Though she is complaining, there is a gentle smile on her face...
  2592.  
  2593. Girl in Uniform: But I guess this is all in a day's work for...a student council president We'll look back...on it and laugh, right?
  2594.  
  2595. Aigis: You seem like you're having fun...
  2596.  
  2597. Girl in Uniform: Haha, that's 'cause I love my school...Even the chores are fun for me...
  2598.  
  2599. Girl in Uniform: The reason I wanted to be president is because...of that Though it can be rough when things...get outta hand like this...
  2600.  
  2601. Aigis: But it's dangerous here You must leave at...once... won't you come with me?
  2602.  
  2603. She seems confused by my words and tilts her head to one side...
  2604.  
  2605. Girl in Uniform: What, you're worried about me?
  2606.  
  2607. Girl in Uniform: Hey, I'm the president And you might not think...so to look at me, but I ain't no slouch in...a fight I'll be fine!
  2608.  
  2609. Aigis: No, that's not what I mean Um...
  2610.  
  2611. How should I put this...?
  2612.  
  2613. She still has no idea of the danger
  2614.  
  2615. She walks up next to me, takes a long look at my face, and giggles...
  2616.  
  2617. Girl in Uniform: Your clothes are pretty out-there, but I can...see you mean well Thanks...
  2618.  
  2619. Girl in Uniform: Some a these students won't listen to a word...I say... but I feel like I gotta be here...
  2620.  
  2621. Girl in Uniform: No... I want to be here...
  2622.  
  2623. Aigis: Even if it puts you in danger?
  2624.  
  2625. Girl in Uniform: You're really a drama queen, aren't you?...Who's to say I'm in danger for sure? Besides...
  2626.  
  2627. Her eyes burn with affection for something dear to her...
  2628.  
  2629. Girl in Uniform: Even if you're right... I'd wanna stay here
  2630.  
  2631. There is no need to test her commitment
  2632.  
  2633. It is consistent with the fact of this world being created
  2634.  
  2635. Then, is she human...?Girl in Uniform: I always wanted to go to school with everyone,...just like normal That's all...
  2636.  
  2637. Aigis: Does that imply you couldn't do so before?
  2638.  
  2639. Girl in Uniform: Hahah, you're asking me that now?
  2640.  
  2641. Girl in Uniform: Honestly, back then, I...
  2642.  
  2643. She stops abruptly
  2644.  
  2645. I wait patiently for her to continue, but her face twists with suffering...
  2646.  
  2647. Girl in Uniform: Huh...? I...
  2648.  
  2649. She puts her fingers to her temple Her knees begin to buckle...
  2650.  
  2651. Aigis: What's wrong?
  2652.  
  2653. Girl in Uniform: Weird... the past... I... nghhh... how come...it's...?
  2654.  
  2655. She begins to fall, and I catch her
  2656.  
  2657. At that precise moment...
  2658.  
  2659. There is a strong "reading" from my fingers as soon as I touch her
  2660.  
  2661. It's so strong, like touching a hot stove
  2662.  
  2663. This is the same reading as when I first stuck my hand into the TV...
  2664.  
  2665. It is coming from a Personality Module... a piece of lost technology called "Plumes of Dusk" by the researchers due to its shape
  2666.  
  2667. I have one inside me as well
  2668.  
  2669. This is not merely strong evidence; it is conclusive
  2670.  
  2671. There are still questions to be answered, but this girl can be none other than Labrys
  2672.  
  2673. At the very least, she is not human...
  2674.  
  2675. Girl in Uniform: Whoo... sorry, I'm not feeling so good all...of a sudden... ugh...
  2676.  
  2677. The memory she is trying to access is causing conflicts with her current level of awareness
  2678.  
  2679. If she tries to remember, she will not be able to maintain her mental state The memory is that charged
  2680.  
  2681. I hold her close and wait for her to calm down
  2682.  
  2683. But her reaction does not improve; it gets worse
  2684.  
  2685. She shakes violently as if electrified...
  2686.  
  2687. Suddenly, bright lights burst in front of my eyes...
  2688.  
  2689. Aigis: What...!?
  2690.  
  2691. Is something flowing into me...?
  2692.  
  2693. I quickly let go of Labrys, but it does not fade away easily
  2694.  
  2695. Images I don't recognize flow together in my head, one after another, at incredible speeds...
  2696.  
  2697. Aigis: Are these... Labrys' memories...?
  2698.  
  2699. The torrent of data finally subsides
  2700.  
  2701. I analyze the data to find out what happened... and then I understand
  2702.  
  2703. It did not flow into me
  2704.  
  2705. This data was already dormant inside of me
  2706.  
  2707. I am the "Last Number" of the Anti-Shadow Weapon project
  2708.  
  2709. I inherited all the data from the previous models of the same type, both tangible and intangible
  2710.  
  2711. Labrys' memories were part of it
  2712.  
  2713. Normally, the developers would not upload data into me that was unrelated to battle
  2714.  
  2715. But the Plume of Dusk is a black box
  2716.  
  2717. It is possible that something was transferred somehow through that
  2718.  
  2719. Thinking about it, that might have been the reason I thought I saw Labrys at the airport
  2720.  
  2721. My glimpse of the newly awakened Labrys caused my buried records of her appearance to be called... perhaps that is what happened
  2722.  
  2723. Unfortunately, the memories I have just accessed are in complete disarray
  2724.  
  2725. I can't just flip through it like an album
  2726.  
  2727. The video records were not in chronological order, making them useless in their current state
  2728.  
  2729. However... there was one memory that left an impression on me
  2730.  
  2731. The sea
  2732.  
  2733. That cerulean sky and lingering clouds; the emerald-blue water
  2734.  
  2735. All of the other memories are of cold, mechanical rooms or the night sky, but this one is different...
  2736.  
  2737. Aigis: What was that just now...?
  2738.  
  2739. Labrys staggers as she stands up
  2740.  
  2741. Before I can ask her anything, she abruptly shakes me off and runs out of the classroom...
  2742.  
  2743. Aigis: Ah, wait...!
  2744.  
  2745. I try to chase after her
  2746.  
  2747. But after only a few steps I tripped over my own feet
  2748.  
  2749. The information overload has prevented me from making any sudden movements
  2750.  
  2751. I fight through it, dragging what feels like several times the weight of my legs, when--Shadow
  2752.  
  2753. AigissagAre you sure you want to take that girl...out of here?
  2754.  
  2755. I stumble to a stop and look around, searching for the hidden speaker...
  2756.  
  2757. Shadow Aigis: This is the only place she can fit in No one...will understand her once she steps outside...
  2758.  
  2759. Shadow Aigis: But she can't become human, either, so she...has no other choice but to wallow in this...illusory school...
  2760.  
  2761. Shadow Aigis: Pitiable, isn't she? But this is the only way...she can be happy...
  2762.  
  2763. Shadow Aigis: Are you going to take that from her?
  2764.  
  2765. Aigis: Who are--!?
  2766.  
  2767. I stop, suddenly realizing the answer to my question, and catch my breath in my throat
  2768.  
  2769. This voice...
  2770.  
  2771. It's mine!?
  2772.  
  2773. Shadow Aigis: What will you do after you take her from here?...Lock her up in a box again?
  2774.  
  2775. Shadow Aigis: How cruel... no wonder she ran away...
  2776.  
  2777. Aigis: Ran away? What are you...?
  2778.  
  2779. Aigis: You don't mean...!
  2780.  
  2781. Shadow Aigis: Ahaha, you finally figured it out? Labrys wasn't...brought here by some sinister mastermind...
  2782.  
  2783. Shadow Aigis: She escaped on her own and came here...
  2784.  
  2785. Aigis: That can't be! The suspects in the hijacking...case...
  2786.  
  2787. Shadow Aigis: I'm sure you've seen the opponents you fought...so far robbed of their sanity Have you...forgotten already...?
  2788.  
  2789. Aigis: You're saying that was Labrys' doing too?
  2790.  
  2791. Shadow Aigis: Yes Her heart gave birth to this world...And that power is one of her abilities......from some special equipment...
  2792.  
  2793. Shadow Aigis: With a power like that, wouldn't it be simple...to control a number of ordinary people?
  2794.  
  2795. It's true that the hijackers were confused, and that there were signs of some mental interference...
  2796.  
  2797. Aigis: It does seem strange to go to so much trouble...to come to a place like this...
  2798.  
  2799. Aigis: If she did in fact do this... then she must...face herself...
  2800.  
  2801. Shadow Aigis: Ahaha, what gives you the right to say that?
  2802.  
  2803. Suddenly, the tone of her voice changes
  2804.  
  2805. She speaks very gently, like a parent correcting a child...
  2806.  
  2807. Shadow Aigis: You've experienced suffering before too......it pains you to have a heart, knowing that...you can never be human...
  2808.  
  2809. Shadow Aigis: Even if there was someone you considered to...be worth fighting for, you can't be a real...companion to them...
  2810.  
  2811. Shadow Aigis: That's why you chose to protect them as a...weapon But in the end, you still lost them...
  2812.  
  2813. Aigis: What do you know about me? Mere words will not...cause me to abandon hope...
  2814.  
  2815. Shadow Aigis: A brave bluff But a tool like yourself...can never be a true partner for a human...
  2816.  
  2817. Shadow Aigis: Doesn't your heart yearn to be by their side...and to be loved...?
  2818.  
  2819. Shadow Aigis: "Ah, it hurts so much that I wish I could go...back to how I was before I gained a heart!"
  2820.  
  2821. Shadow Aigis: Has that really never once crossed your mind?...I think not...
  2822.  
  2823. Shadow Aigis: That pain will never completely disappear...It will always fester inside you...
  2824.  
  2825. Shadow Aigis: Isn't that right?
  2826.  
  2827. Aigis: .........
  2828.  
  2829. Shadow Aigis: Even if you take Labrys away, the same will...happen to her She'll become just like you...Is that a fate you want for her?
  2830.  
  2831. Shadow Aigis: You see, here you can have anything as long...as you look away from the truth That doesn't...just go for Labrys, but for you too...
  2832.  
  2833. Shadow Aigis: Even the things you have lost forever......here, you can have them back...
  2834.  
  2835. Aigis: What are you...?
  2836.  
  2837. I cut myself off, realizing that I am becoming fascinated with the voice
  2838.  
  2839. This isn't good
  2840.  
  2841. I cannot let the voice deceive me
  2842.  
  2843. I must get its speaker in my sights first
  2844.  
  2845. I carefully attune myself to the source of the voice and quickly turn in that direction
  2846.  
  2847. But the person standing there is... me
  2848.  
  2849. Or rather, something that looks like me
  2850.  
  2851. At first I think that the overload is still affecting my sensors, but that is not the case...
  2852.  
  2853. Shadow Aigis: I'll take away your suffering...
  2854.  
  2855. Shadow Aigis: Now, take my hand, Aigis...
  2856.  
  2857. "I" smile and extend out "my" hand
  2858.  
  2859. I feel sick
  2860.  
  2861. This is very confusing... I don't know what to do
  2862.  
  2863. My mind advises caution, but my heart doesn't listen...
  2864.  
  2865. I...
  2866.  
  2867. But all of a sudden-
  2868.  
  2869. -
  2870.  
  2871. A door opens in the corner...Woman in blue elPardon my interruption of this seemingly...trivial conversation!
  2872.  
  2873. This unexpected event brings me back to reality, and I realize that I was nearly seduced by its promises
  2874.  
  2875. On a second look, I can see a woman beyond the door frame
  2876.  
  2877. That distinctive blue dress...
  2878.  
  2879. I recognized the attire of an elevator girl
  2880.  
  2881. Her name was... Elizabeth-san, I believe
  2882.  
  2883. But why is she here?
  2884.  
  2885. Elizabeth walked right in and stands in the center of the room
  2886.  
  2887. There is nothing outwardly abnormal about her pose, but it is as imposing as a battle stance
  2888.  
  2889. She opens her thick, leatherbound book, then smiles dauntlessly at the "other me"
  2890.  
  2891. Elizabeth: Excuse me, but I would like a word with this...lady over here Would you mind leaving?
  2892.  
  2893. Shadow Aigis: Who are you!?
  2894.  
  2895. Elizabeth: If you don't leave the two of us, I must...resort to giving you a hearty thrashing...with my book...
  2896.  
  2897. Elizabeth: It's a hardcover, leatherbound edition and is...quite powerful Enough to do over four digits...on average, I'd say
  2898.  
  2899. Without warning, the pages from the open book overflow with light...
  2900.  
  2901. Shadow Aigis: What...!?
  2902.  
  2903. Shadow Aigis: Tch... I don't believe this...!
  2904.  
  2905. The "other me's" face flinches in pain, and she vanishes into thin air while spitting a curse
  2906.  
  2907. Did she cease to exist...?
  2908.  
  2909. I can no longer pick up any readings on her
  2910.  
  2911. The tension leaves my body and I collapse to the ground
  2912.  
  2913. While I am there, Elizabeth walks towards me
  2914.  
  2915. I first met her two years ago
  2916.  
  2917. Her attire is somewhat strange, but the place I met her was even stranger
  2918.  
  2919. A blue room... That is the only way to describe that mystical space
  2920.  
  2921. Its residents called it the Velvet Room I do not believe it is at all part of the real world
  2922.  
  2923. There, Elizabeth was "one who governs power" She helped me to grow spiritually by introducing me to the power of Personas
  2924.  
  2925. I never imagined that she would leave that room, let alone that I would run into her here
  2926.  
  2927. Yet her appearance here has saved me...
  2928.  
  2929. Aigis: I'm sorry for that Thank you for saving me...
  2930.  
  2931. Elizabeth: Did I save you...?
  2932.  
  2933. She stares straight at me, then lets out a long sigh of disappointment...
  2934.  
  2935. Elizabeth: I was on a journey for... personal reasons...
  2936.  
  2937. Elizabeth: But I sensed some extraordinary powers clashing...against each other and came to see what all...the fuss was about...
  2938.  
  2939. Elizabeth: Only to be met with this bitter disappointment!
  2940.  
  2941. I am baffled by her candidness...
  2942.  
  2943. Elizabeth: Please stand Have you already forgotten the...enlightenment you gained before me once?
  2944.  
  2945. Elizabeth: Has it escaped your prodigious goldfish-...like memory?
  2946.  
  2947. Aigis: .........
  2948.  
  2949. Elizabeth: It seems that I must once again ascertain what...you are truly capable of
  2950.  
  2951. She speaks in tones as if she is engaging in everyday conversation and opens her leatherbound book again
  2952.  
  2953. I suddenly feel the deadly force of her intent, fierce as a gust of wind...
  2954.  
  2955. Aigis: Ngh...!
  2956.  
  2957. Something about me has disappointed her; I know that much
  2958.  
  2959. But I clearly have no time to ask her what it is...
  2960.  
  2961. Elizabeth: Well then, here goes...
  2962.  
  2963. Elizabeth: The cards will decide your fate...!
  2964.  
  2965. <BATTLE [vs ELIZABETH]>
  2966.  
  2967. Elizabeth: Well done
  2968.  
  2969. Elizabeth stands from her kneeling position
  2970.  
  2971. Though she lost, she did not so much as break a sweat
  2972.  
  2973. While I, for my part, am detecting strain on my entire drive system
  2974.  
  2975. I can see myself, lacking the energy to even speak, reflected in Elizabeth's clear eyes...
  2976.  
  2977. Elizabeth: You are indeed neither man, nor any ordinary...machine You are truly singular...
  2978.  
  2979. Elizabeth: But then, can anyone be said to be the same...as anybody else?
  2980.  
  2981. Elizabeth: People anguish over the gulf between themselves...and others, and the lack of any who could...possibly understand them...
  2982.  
  2983. Elizabeth: How is their situation different from yours?
  2984.  
  2985. Aigis: .........!
  2986.  
  2987. Elizabeth: What defines life is not death, but bonds......That is the answer you once reached...
  2988.  
  2989. Elizabeth: Then take that to heart and go forth Remember...that your bonds will remain unbroken, giving you...the strength to withstand any suffering...
  2990.  
  2991. Aigis: My bonds...
  2992.  
  2993. Elizabeth: I, too, am currently on an endless journey...
  2994.  
  2995. Elizabeth: But I anticipate that you will become...a compatriot of mine, unbound by the...limitations of time...
  2996.  
  2997. Elizabeth: I hope that you will not be led astray by...trivial things With that... I bid you...good luck
  2998.  
  2999. Elizabeth bows and finally shows me her smile
  3000.  
  3001. Immediately after, she turns on one heel and walks towards the hallway
  3002.  
  3003. I suddenly remember...
  3004.  
  3005. Aigis: Um... there are rules to this tournament...delineating behavior after a match...
  3006.  
  3007. Elizabeth: Such parlor tricks can get stuffed!
  3008.  
  3009. Elizabeth: I shall be on my way!
  3010.  
  3011. True to her word, she leaves the room with no trouble, and closes the door with an exaggerated slam
  3012.  
  3013. Those "walls" were nothing to her...
  3014.  
  3015. But come to think of it, Labrys didn't seem subject to those rules either
  3016.  
  3017. Do they only apply to participants in the tournament?
  3018.  
  3019. No... in Elizabeth's case, it simply does not matter to her...
  3020.  
  3021. Aigis: She... remains a complete enigma
  3022.  
  3023. I find it amusing, which allows me to feel more relaxed...
  3024.  
  3025. Aigis: It may be true that this world can grant...one's true desire...
  3026.  
  3027. Aigis: But I want Labrys to see past herself to a...world where other people matter...
  3028.  
  3029. Aigis: Even if one discards their bonds to avoid pain,...all that awaits is a numb, desert-like future...with no promise...
  3030.  
  3031. Aigis: I thought as she did once... so I'm sure...I can understand her
  3032.  
  3033. I too, felt the same as Labrys when I went through an incredibly trying ordeal
  3034.  
  3035. If there's no one to stretch out their hand to her, she'll hide herself deeper within her blockade
  3036.  
  3037. Labrys has fallen into a trap she cannot escape on her own
  3038.  
  3039. That is because the key to extricating oneself is the realization that one is not alone...
  3040.  
  3041. Aigis: I want to form a bond with Labrys... with my...sister I want to teach her things that she...cannot learn if she is alone
  3042.  
  3043. Saying it out loud helps to strengthen my resolve
  3044.  
  3045. I change my approach and focus on searching for a way to save her
  3046.  
  3047. Still, that thing that looked like me...
  3048.  
  3049. Was that what Naoto-san meant by a Shadow going berserk?
  3050.  
  3051. My own Shadow...
  3052.  
  3053. Thinking of it that way sheds some light on things
  3054.  
  3055. Of course, I can control my Persona and have some tolerance for this world, but the heart cannot easily be stabilized
  3056.  
  3057. If the same thing happened to Labrys...
  3058.  
  3059. I suddenly realize the dangers involved
  3060.  
  3061. I impatiently suppress these thoughts and dash out to the hallway
  3062.  
  3063. I follow the path formed by the invisible walls
  3064.  
  3065. Eventually I climb the stairway to the third floor There seem to be no walls here, allowing me to go as I please
  3066.  
  3067. I can tell the end is near, and so I prepare myself
  3068.  
  3069. Soon, I stand in front of a room that has a sign outside saying "Announcement Room"
  3070.  
  3071. The door is half-opened I can sense someone inside
  3072.  
  3073. I cautiously press up against the door and peek around it...
  3074.  
  3075. Aigis: *gasp*
  3076.  
  3077. This is an announcement room, as the sign indicated, but the space inside is much larger than the classrooms I have seen
  3078.  
  3079. The equipment here is also closer to that of a TV studio than what would be found in a school
  3080.  
  3081. On top of that, the back wall is made of glass, showing a view that is clearly not a schoolyard
  3082.  
  3083. Taken together, this is the first distinct sign that this is not the real world
  3084.  
  3085. As I expected, Labrys is here, standing in the middle of the room
  3086.  
  3087. There is also another boy and girl as well
  3088.  
  3089. The girl is holding Labrys' shoulders, and the boy stands in front of the pair, protecting them
  3090.  
  3091. Across from them is... General Teddie
  3092.  
  3093. It seems this is the end of the line
  3094.  
  3095. I've seen that boy's face in the video
  3096.  
  3097. "Yosuke Hanamura-san," I believe
  3098.  
  3099. I am not familiar with the girl's face, but I do recognize her distinctive voice
  3100.  
  3101. It's the same voice that has been commentating on the fights along with General Teddie on the school PA
  3102.  
  3103. From the tone of the commentating, I thought she was working with the General But right now, she seems to be on Yosuke-san and Labrys' side
  3104.  
  3105. I recall what Chie-san told me
  3106.  
  3107. Chie-san said that she--Rise-san--was originally their friend
  3108.  
  3109. In which case she may actually be another victim
  3110.  
  3111. General Teddie gives a cruel smile, squints his eyes, and speaks...
  3112.  
  3113. General Teddie: What a shame You gave it a try, but there's...no way anyone would understand you...
  3114.  
  3115. Girl in Uniform: Huh...!?
  3116.  
  3117. General Teddie's voice and tone have undergone a remarkable change
  3118.  
  3119. Listening closely, this voice is...
  3120.  
  3121. Ah So it finally reveals its true form...
  3122.  
  3123. General Teddie: "At least ONE of them has to understand how...I feel..." Isn't that what you thought?
  3124.  
  3125. General Teddie: The important part is that it's all your fault...
  3126.  
  3127. Girl in Uniform: Th-That's not true...
  3128.  
  3129. General Teddie: You still refuse to remember? Look at me......and stop deluding yourself!
  3130.  
  3131. Girl's ShadowslaI am a shadow, the true self...
  3132.  
  3133. Rise: No way... that's...!
  3134.  
  3135. Girl in Uniform: She has my face...
  3136.  
  3137. But the face is the only thing that is the same
  3138.  
  3139. The rest of her body is covered in metal There is no doubt that it is man-made
  3140.  
  3141. Labrys lets out a short scream and backs up...
  3142.  
  3143. Girl in Uniform: Stop...! I'm not like that...!
  3144.  
  3145. Yosuke: Calm down! It's just taking that form to...agitate you!
  3146.  
  3147. Yosuke is frantically trying to calm a confused Labrys
  3148.  
  3149. "It's just taking that form to agitate you"
  3150.  
  3151. That's what he says, but is that really the case?
  3152.  
  3153. ...I have my own suspicions...
  3154.  
  3155. Girl in Uniform: No, no no no...
  3156.  
  3157. Girl's Shadowsla"Taking that form," huh? Well, you have...a point...
  3158.  
  3159. Girl's ShadowslaI do have the power to confuse people's...senses... warp what they're seeing......twist what they're hearing...
  3160.  
  3161. Rise: That's how you made my senpai fight...each other!
  3162.  
  3163. Girl's ShadowslaOf the things you're seeing right now......which do you think is real, and which is fake?
  3164.  
  3165. The former General Teddie--
  3166.  
  3167. No, Labrys' Shadow, breaks out into a grin
  3168.  
  3169. Labrys, meanwhile, is cringing in fear as she holds on to Yosuke's sleeve...
  3170.  
  3171. Girl in Uniform: No... I'm not like you I'm human, aren't I...?
  3172.  
  3173. Yosuke: Huh? What do you mean...?
  3174.  
  3175. I can see that Yosuke does not know how to answer the sudden question...
  3176.  
  3177. Girl's ShadowslaAnd how did I come to have these special ...powers? Why, it's because "I" have them
  3178.  
  3179. With that, the Shadow snaps its fingers
  3180.  
  3181. At once, static like that on a poorly tuned TV starts appearing around Labrys and slowly envelops her
  3182.  
  3183. I enhance my vision
  3184.  
  3185. Nothing is happening to Labrys' body
  3186.  
  3187. It was my own vision that was clouded--or had been until now
  3188.  
  3189. Soon after the noise dissipates, an inhuman-looking girl is standing in her place...
  3190.  
  3191. Yosuke: Huh...!?
  3192.  
  3193. Yosuke: A... robot?
  3194.  
  3195. Metallic arms and legs extend from her uniform
  3196.  
  3197. Thrusters on her back spread like wings
  3198.  
  3199. It's just as I thought: her body is identical to that of the Shadow in front of her...
  3200.  
  3201. Shadow Labrys: Ahaha, look! That's what she really looks like!...It's her who's been deceiving you all from...the start!
  3202.  
  3203. Shadow Labrys: Not only you, but herself too She really...thinks that she's a human living a normal...life at school...
  3204.  
  3205. Shadow Labrys: To reinforce her make-believe as real, she...prevented herself from accessing any memories...that could contradict that...
  3206.  
  3207. Shadow Labrys: She even sealed away her own name!
  3208.  
  3209. Labrys: No...! Stop! Why are you doing this...!?
  3210.  
  3211. Shadow Labrys: Kindly hurry up and remember me... remember...yourself It's pretty rude of you to even...forget your own name...
  3212.  
  3213. Labrys: No... I don't wanna remember...!
  3214.  
  3215. Shadow Labrys: Huh... is that so? Looks like you still need...an extra push
  3216.  
  3217. The Shadow grins evilly and swings the enormous axe at Labrys--or actually, at Yosuke-san...
  3218.  
  3219. Rise: Yosuke-senpai!
  3220.  
  3221. Before the axe can complete its arc, I am already in action
  3222.  
  3223. I must intervene
  3224.  
  3225. Neither Labrys, in shock at seeing her true form, nor Yosuke-san or Rise-san are prepared for the attack...
  3226.  
  3227. Rise: What the...!?
  3228.  
  3229. I deflect the strike with the metallic part of my arm
  3230.  
  3231. It was heavier than I anticipated
  3232.  
  3233. The battleaxe is a giant lump of metal that blocks most of my vision...
  3234.  
  3235. Yosuke: ...A girl?
  3236.  
  3237. Yosuke: Wait, you're a robot too!?
  3238.  
  3239. I turn my head to Labrys and look straight into her shocked eyes...
  3240.  
  3241. Aigis: You must remember That is the only way the...future will open up to you You must accept it,...no matter how painful it may be
  3242.  
  3243. I tell her her name in a clear voice...
  3244.  
  3245. Her official name, which includes something no human has: a model number...
  3246.  
  3247. Aigis: Your true name is 5th Generation Anti-Shadow...Suppression Weapon... Labrys...
  3248.  
  3249. Labrys: .........!
  3250.  
  3251. Labrys quivers violently, as if an invisible arrow had pierced her chest...
  3252.  
  3253. Labrys: Labrys...
  3254.  
  3255. Labrys murmurs her name to herself...  Her head hangs lifelessly as she stares at her mechanical limbs
  3256.  
  3257. The shock slowly drains from her pale face, replaced with bitter comprehension
  3258.  
  3259. Across from us, the Shadow stares at me with a piercing, mocking stare...
  3260.  
  3261. Shadow Labrys: That body... you can't be...
  3262.  
  3263. Aigis: I am the same as you 7th Generation Anti-...Shadow Suppression Weapon,
  3264.  
  3265. Aigis...Aigis: I am the model that came after you...
  3266.  
  3267. Shadow Labrys: Are you here to seize her!? I won't let you!
  3268.  
  3269. Shadow Labrys: Not when I'm almost free...!
  3270.  
  3271. The Shadow turns to its double and cries out impatiently...
  3272.  
  3273. Shadow Labrys: Tell her, Labrys! Or do you want to be caught...and locked in a cramped little box again!?
  3274.  
  3275. Labrys: I...
  3276.  
  3277. Her eyes wander in search of something to settle on, and eventually fixate on Yosuke
  3278.  
  3279. Though he is still in shock and unable to speak in the heat of the moment
  3280.  
  3281. That moment of silence is enough to shatter any hope of a peaceful resolution
  3282.  
  3283. Labrys smiles lifelessly and hangs her head...
  3284.  
  3285. Yosuke: N-No, don't get me wrong!...I was just a little... s-surprised...
  3286.  
  3287. Labrys: Nah... it's okay That's how a normal person...would react...
  3288.  
  3289. Her sad, weak voice makes my heart ache...
  3290.  
  3291. Shadow Labrys: I won't let you take her back... I will gain...my freedom, whatever it takes!
  3292.  
  3293. Suddenly, the Shadow fires its arm out
  3294.  
  3295. A long chain trails from behind it that wraps itself around Labrys many times over...
  3296.  
  3297. Labrys: .........!
  3298.  
  3299. The Shadow begins to pull her in with its winch
  3300.  
  3301. Unable to struggle, Labrys is dragged over to her captor, who lifts her over its shoulder
  3302.  
  3303. The Shadow then runs full speed out of the Announcement Room
  3304.  
  3305. It fled with such explosive velocity that it is hard to believe it was carrying its own weight...
  3306.  
  3307. Aigis: Wait!
  3308.  
  3309. I give chase
  3310.  
  3311. It is unfortunate that I cannot explain the situation to Yosuke-san, but I have no choice
  3312.  
  3313. I exit into the hallway and see the Shadow make for the stairway leading up
  3314.  
  3315. This is the top floor, so it must be heading for the roof
  3316.  
  3317. I climb to the landing and take the stairway two steps at a time before throwing open the door
  3318.  
  3319. But what I find there is not what one would expect to see on the roof of a building
  3320.  
  3321. It is best described as... a TV studio
  3322.  
  3323. The spotlights hanging from the scaffolding, the cameras here and there...
  3324.  
  3325. Up until now, no matter how warped things got, they still looked like part of a school But not here
  3326.  
  3327. What is this place...?
  3328.  
  3329. Just then, the door behind me slams open again, and a boy comes running out, breathing hard
  3330.  
  3331. It is Yosuke-san
  3332.  
  3333. I am perplexed
  3334.  
  3335. Why did he chase after us?
  3336.  
  3337. There is no one here who would warrant leaving his friend Rise-san's side
  3338.  
  3339. Suddenly, the area is shrouded in a menacing aura The Shadow appears
  3340.  
  3341. It is still carrying Labrys over its shoulder
  3342.  
  3343. Labrys shouldn't be unconscious, but she isn't showing any signs of resistance...
  3344.  
  3345. Shadow Labrys: Persistent pests... too bad for you!
  3346.  
  3347. Shadow Labrys: The Grand Prix is still on! Have fun wasting...time fighting each other!
  3348.  
  3349. Yosuke: Hey, wait--Whoa!
  3350.  
  3351. As soon as Yosuke-san turns around to give chase, he runs up against something
  3352.  
  3353. I try stretching out my hand
  3354.  
  3355. Just as I thought, there is an invisible wall
  3356.  
  3357. Though it wasn't here when I climbed up the stairs
  3358.  
  3359. The only door back into the school is the one beyond the wall
  3360.  
  3361. In other words, we are trapped
  3362.  
  3363. Yosuke-san hangs his head in shame and looks at me awkwardly...
  3364.  
  3365. Yosuke: I guess... this means we have to fight...Sorry, I feel like I got in your way
  3366.  
  3367. "I came here without thinking and fell right into the enemy's trap" I'm sure that's what he's thinking
  3368.  
  3369. But as I see it, it isn't Yosuke-san who should be apologizing...
  3370.  
  3371. Aigis: ...I am also sorry for all this...
  3372.  
  3373. Yosuke: Huh?
  3374.  
  3375. Aigis: We are the ones ultimately responsible for...this incident... I'm sorry to have dragged...you all into it...
  3376.  
  3377. Aigis: If your friends are safe, I would suggest you...evacuate at once, but in these circumstances...
  3378.  
  3379. Aigis: I must go after her...
  3380.  
  3381. Yosuke: There's no need for you to take the blame...I mean... I feel the same, about wanting to go...after her...
  3382.  
  3383. Aigis: Why? I'm not sure this concerns you...
  3384.  
  3385. Yosuke: ...I promised I'd protect her, but I couldn't...back her up when she needed me the most...
  3386.  
  3387. Yosuke: So, like, I want to apologize and actually...keep my promise this time I feel like I can't...leave her alone right now
  3388.  
  3389. In his eyes, I could see a glimmer of solemnity...
  3390.  
  3391. Aigis: I think I should explain certain things to you...I'm not authorized to disclose everything, but...
  3392.  
  3393. I review the important parts for him
  3394.  
  3395. That Personas and Shadows are universal
  3396.  
  3397. That they have existed since ancient times, and that there are probably little-known battles and pacts all over the world to harness their powers
  3398.  
  3399. That I have experience in one such battle, and was in fact created for the purpose
  3400.  
  3401. I am a weapon given a heart in order to use a Persona
  3402.  
  3403. I explain that Labrys was a prototype, long sealed away, that was lost during a recent incident
  3404.  
  3405. Yosuke-san doesn't seem to swallow all of it, but he listens attentively nonetheless...
  3406.  
  3407. Yosuke: There are Shadows outside the TV too...?...Who would have thought...
  3408.  
  3409. Aigis: I was surprised as well, to find out that...a world like this was accessible through...televisions...
  3410.  
  3411. Yosuke: Believe me, we were pretty shocked last year...too Hahaha...
  3412.  
  3413. I look straight into the boy's eyes without laughing at his attempt to lighten the mood
  3414.  
  3415. Only the winner can leave...
  3416.  
  3417. So we must fight
  3418.  
  3419. There is no ignoring that cold fact
  3420.  
  3421. I suspect the Shadow set this up to buy time
  3422.  
  3423. We don't have a moment to waste
  3424.  
  3425. I don't say anything, but Yosuke-san seems to get the picture...
  3426.  
  3427. Yosuke: Um... can you tell me something? What's going...to happen to Labrys once you catch her?
  3428.  
  3429. Aigis: ...I cannot answer that...
  3430.  
  3431. Yosuke: Yeah, I thought so You did say that she was...a weapon, after all Not really surprised you...can't talk about it with outsiders...
  3432.  
  3433. Aigis: Is that all? I must go get her back...
  3434.  
  3435. Aigis: If you cooperate with me, I am sure I can...knock you out painlessly
  3436.  
  3437. In response to my blunt suggestion, a wry smile appears on Yosuke-san's face
  3438.  
  3439. However, his eyes still have that gleam...
  3440.  
  3441. Yosuke: Sorry, but I can't back down...
  3442.  
  3443. Aigis: Are you really going to fight me? Not to boast,...but you would challenge a living weapon?
  3444.  
  3445. Yosuke: She said she wanted to be free... Hey, I made...her a promise I want to see it through...
  3446.  
  3447. Yosuke: I guess you could say it's a guy pride thing?
  3448.  
  3449. He jokes about it, but there is resolve behind his words
  3450.  
  3451. He will not back down from that resolve
  3452.  
  3453. What he is really saying is this:
  3454.  
  3455. "My feelings for Labrys are as strong as yours"
  3456.  
  3457. I smile inwardly, though it does not show on my face...
  3458.  
  3459. Aigis: ...I understand I accept your challenge!
  3460.  
  3461. <BATTLE [vs YOSUKE]>
  3462.  
  3463. Yosuke-san smiles sheepishly at me from the floor...
  3464.  
  3465. Yosuke: Haha, I had a feeling I didn't have a chance...against a pro like you Owww... you sure are...strong, Aigis-san...
  3466.  
  3467. Aigis: Are you all right?
  3468.  
  3469. He waves his hand to show that he is fine
  3470.  
  3471. He should be exhausted Perhaps the "guy pride thing" prevents him from admitting it...
  3472.  
  3473. Yosuke: Looks like I'll be staying behind...
  3474.  
  3475. Aigis: I will do what I can to not force anything on...my sister that she does not want...
  3476.  
  3477. Yosuke: Can you tell her that I wanted to apologize...to her, too? Of course, I'll tell her myself...once this is all over, but...
  3478.  
  3479. Yosuke: Oh, and one more thing! Tell her we can...have a party when this is all over...
  3480.  
  3481. Aigis: Yosuke-san...
  3482.  
  3483. Yosuke: Oh, you're invited too, of course!
  3484.  
  3485. My heart is warmed
  3486.  
  3487. He's not just worried about Labrys' safety... He's worried about her "heart"
  3488.  
  3489. I nod vigorously...
  3490.  
  3491. Aigis: Yes, I will make sure to tell her...
  3492.  
  3493. Aigis: Though, we are not capable of eating food...Will that be a problem?
  3494.  
  3495. Yosuke: Huh? Really? Nah, it's no problem at all!
  3496.  
  3497. Aigis: ...Thank you
  3498.  
  3499. I will save Labrys from this world--from her cell of solitude
  3500.  
  3501. There are people in the outside world who accept us as allies
  3502.  
  3503. Some of them consider us friends
  3504.  
  3505. I am happy that hope is so close by...
  3506.  
  3507. Yosuke: Be careful That Shadow looked pretty strong...
  3508.  
  3509. Aigis: I will Please stay safe
  3510.  
  3511. As he cheers me on from behind, I leave the roof
  3512.  
  3513. As soon as I reenter the school, I can sense the Shadow's presence without needing to scan for it
  3514.  
  3515. I followed the presence back to the Announcement Room
  3516.  
  3517. What is waiting for me there this time?
  3518.  
  3519. I slowly opened the door, wary of an attack
  3520.  
  3521. But the room is quiet No ambush comes
  3522.  
  3523. I open the door all the way and step inside
  3524.  
  3525. Both versions of Labrys await in the back of the room
  3526.  
  3527. I quickly step between the two, shielding Labrys from her Shadow
  3528.  
  3529. But the Shadow does not seem alarmed It spins its axe idly...
  3530.  
  3531. Shadow Labrys: You're late I had a feeling you'd be the one...to come Was Yosuke-kun a tough opponent? Haha...
  3532.  
  3533. As it finishes the sentence, its axe stops
  3534.  
  3535. I brace myself in anticipation of an attack
  3536.  
  3537. But the Shadow simply smiles brutally...
  3538.  
  3539. Shadow Labrys: Just as you thought, the real party begins now!
  3540.  
  3541. Just as the words sink in, I hear a sound simultaneously
  3542.  
  3543. The heavy sound of the air being sliced behind me...
  3544.  
  3545. I lunge to the left solely on reflexes
  3546.  
  3547. A battleaxe slams into the ground where I had been only milliseconds ago...
  3548.  
  3549. Aigis: What...!? Sister!?
  3550.  
  3551. Shadow Labrys: Ooh, so close! Heheheh...
  3552.  
  3553. Labrys takes a combat stance with her battleaxe There is a shocked expression in her wet eyes
  3554.  
  3555. She has chosen to fight for the unreal school...
  3556.  
  3557. Aigis: Is this what you really want?
  3558.  
  3559. Labrys: What else is there for me...?
  3560.  
  3561. Labrys sounds resigned in her reply
  3562.  
  3563. I have no answer for her
  3564.  
  3565. My heart aches as if it was cut by a razor...
  3566.  
  3567. Shadow Labrys: It's finally come to this Sister versus...sister! Let the battle begin!
  3568.  
  3569. The Shadow jeers at me with delight
  3570.  
  3571. I do not have the presence of mind to deliver a rejoinder
  3572.  
  3573. The battle about to play out is straight from the worst-case scenario I had envisioned
  3574.  
  3575. The very person I hoped to save...
  3576.  
  3577. My sister... I must defeat her with my own hands...
  3578.  
  3579. <BATTLE [vs LABRYS]>
  3580.  
  3581. Aigis: Ngh...!
  3582.  
  3583. Labrys loses her strength and falls to her knees...
  3584.  
  3585. Labrys: Ngh... *sob* Why... why can't I stay like this...?
  3586.  
  3587. The hope she risked so much to gain has been shattered She mutters piteously as she falls
  3588.  
  3589. She is not the only one who wants to collapse
  3590.  
  3591. I never imagined this would be so painful...
  3592.  
  3593. Every time my attacks connected, I felt as if I was tearing out a piece of my heart
  3594.  
  3595. This unwanted exchange of violence that will end in one of our destruction leads to nothing but despair
  3596.  
  3597. Each time I felt that pain, the memories of Labrys I saw in the classroom--those vivid images--made sense
  3598.  
  3599. The sterile, mechanical rooms that made up most of her visual memories...
  3600.  
  3601. It must have been the facility where she was created
  3602.  
  3603. At that facility, Labrys was forced to endure the same pain she is feeling now
  3604.  
  3605. In order to gather combat data, she was forced to destroy her sister models--even though they had hearts
  3606.  
  3607. Not just once or twice, but over and over and over
  3608.  
  3609. It's too much for my mind to immediately comprehend Agitation spreads through me like a fever
  3610.  
  3611. I clutch my chest...Shadow Labrys: I knew that you couldn't beat her
  3612.  
  3613. The Shadow, in contrast, is completely nonchalant...
  3614.  
  3615. Shadow Labrys: But wow, you really didn't have any qualms...about attacking her...
  3616.  
  3617. Shadow Labrys: Deep down, you must really want to make them...suffer, don't you? You want them to go through...what you had to...
  3618.  
  3619. Labrys: N-No...
  3620.  
  3621. Shadow Labrys: You want the everyday boys and girls to...experience what you had to go through...
  3622.  
  3623. Shadow Labrys: Right? That's why we're in a school,...having a fighting tournament...
  3624.  
  3625. Shadow Labrys: You want to see close friends fight for their...lives against each other... because if they...do that, then they might understand...
  3626.  
  3627. Shadow Labrys: You want to MAKE them understand...
  3628.  
  3629. Labrys: That ain't true...!
  3630.  
  3631. Shadow Labrys: But it was no use Even another living weapon...can't understand you...
  3632.  
  3633. Shadow Labrys: It's all right, though You don't have to...worry about that anymore I'll take care of...everything from here...
  3634.  
  3635. Shadow Labrys: I'll destroy anyone who doesn't understand...you and comes to get in your way... just like...you once did!
  3636.  
  3637. Labrys: Please stop!
  3638.  
  3639. Labrys: That's all a lie! You're not me!
  3640.  
  3641. Shadow Labrys: *chuckle* Ahahaha!
  3642.  
  3643. Shadow Labrys: Finally... You've finally said it...!...I'm finally free!
  3644.  
  3645. The Shadow's eyes start to glow full of life
  3646.  
  3647. It isn't just a change in its attitude Its power seems to actually be rising
  3648.  
  3649. Did something in its conversation with Labrys catalyze this change?
  3650.  
  3651. Too late, it hits me
  3652.  
  3653. What did the Shadow want with Labrys?
  3654.  
  3655. It was trying to buy time, which meant it needed something from her...
  3656.  
  3657. Shadow Labrys: It's time for the true star to take the stage!
  3658.  
  3659. Its shout shakes the air
  3660.  
  3661. As if in response to the cry, the room begins to warp
  3662.  
  3663. The view beyond the window shimmers ominously...
  3664.  
  3665. A giant incinerator appears from the darkness
  3666.  
  3667. Countless chassis are falling in to be cruelly destroyed
  3668.  
  3669. Illuminated by the blood-red light of the flames, the Shadow reveals its true self
  3670.  
  3671. The scene of Labrys and the giant beast chained behind it brings to mind the summoning of a Persona
  3672.  
  3673. I run over to Labrys and stand her listless body up...
  3674.  
  3675. Shadow Labrys: I won't be needing that trash anymore
  3676.  
  3677. It seems that the Shadow has accomplished its goal with Labrys
  3678.  
  3679. I was used--forced to fight my sister--for this purpose
  3680.  
  3681. I clench my teeth at my own slowness to comprehend...
  3682.  
  3683. Shadow Labrys: Now... let's get started, shall we?
  3684.  
  3685. This isn't just for Labrys...
  3686.  
  3687. The is the enemy--the fate--of anyone not human...
  3688.  
  3689. Aigis: It seems that I must take responsibility...for this!
  3690.  
  3691. <BATTLE [vs SHADOW LABRYS]>
  3692.  
  3693. The monster's form melts away as it disperses like fog
  3694.  
  3695. Only a silhouette, similar to Labrys', remains
  3696.  
  3697. It falls to its knees, having no will to resist anymore...
  3698.  
  3699. Aigis: I somehow pulled through...
  3700.  
  3701. I turn to face the real Labrys...
  3702.  
  3703. Aigis: Are you all right?
  3704.  
  3705. She is conscious and seems to have no major damage
  3706.  
  3707. All that remains to be tested is her will...
  3708.  
  3709. Aigis: Please listen I have a message for you......from Yosuke-san...
  3710.  
  3711. Labrys: .........!
  3712.  
  3713. Aigis: He said that he is sorry for promising to...help you and being unable to support you when...you needed it most...
  3714.  
  3715. Aigis: Additionally, he said that he would be throwing...a party later You are invited, of course...
  3716.  
  3717. Labrys: You're lying...
  3718.  
  3719. Aigis: If that is what you think, you can ask him...yourself later Now, please stand up
  3720.  
  3721. I lend her my shoulder and prop her up
  3722.  
  3723. She follows my lead, but her legs are still shaking...
  3724.  
  3725. Labrys: How come this happened...?
  3726.  
  3727. Labrys: I... didn't wanna hurt anyone or make 'em...suffer...
  3728.  
  3729. Aigis: I know That was a Shadow going "berserk"......Not everything it said reflects your true...feelings...
  3730.  
  3731. Aigis: I had a similar experience, actually My "other...self" was on the verge of going berserk...
  3732.  
  3733. Aigis: It told me there was an innate contradiction...in having a heart but not being human,...preventing me from truly protecting others...
  3734.  
  3735. Labrys: Wasn't that tough to listen to?
  3736.  
  3737. Aigis: Yes, of course...
  3738.  
  3739. Labrys: Then how can you stand it? How are you still...acting like everything's fine?
  3740.  
  3741. Aigis: I'm fine right now, but I'm sure I will suffer...that pain again someday...
  3742.  
  3743. Aigis: Very probably... as long as I am myself,...it will never go away as long as I live...
  3744.  
  3745. Labrys: It won't...? Then what can I do but give up?
  3746.  
  3747. Labrys: What am I supposed to do...?
  3748.  
  3749. Aigis: We'll be all right, as long as we have friends
  3750.  
  3751. Labrys opens her eyes wide...
  3752.  
  3753. Aigis: It was when you were alone that you suffered...most... I'm sure of it...
  3754.  
  3755. Aigis: If you do not give up on reaching out to...others, you will surely find someone who...understands...
  3756.  
  3757. Aigis: Or maybe...
  3758.  
  3759. As I say this, I can hear voices from outside
  3760.  
  3761. They are calling our names
  3762.  
  3763. The voices grow closer and closer, and eventually one of the doors flies open...
  3764.  
  3765. Chie: Heeeeey! There you are! Thank goodness!
  3766.  
  3767. Yosuke: Are you two okay!?
  3768.  
  3769. Naoto: You seem to have the matter in hand
  3770.  
  3771. Kanji-san and Rise-san arrive shortly after
  3772.  
  3773. Now that the Shadow has been defeated, the invisible walls trapping them have disappeared
  3774.  
  3775. There are some faces new to me as well
  3776.  
  3777. As I recall from the video, they are Yu Narukami-san and Yukiko Amagi-san
  3778.  
  3779. There was also a costume that looks like General Teddie
  3780.  
  3781. This must be the real Teddie that Chie-san mentioned
  3782.  
  3783. The resemblance is strong, but this one is so charming that it is hard to hate him
  3784.  
  3785. Everyone has considerate words for Labrys
  3786.  
  3787. My heart is filled with warmth
  3788.  
  3789. They could have ignored us outsiders and escaped, but they didn't
  3790.  
  3791. The were truly worried about us and came running
  3792.  
  3793. All of them
  3794.  
  3795. I address Labrys, who is looking back and forth between me and them with a perplexed look...
  3796.  
  3797. Aigis: It might be more accurate to say that those...who understand you are already here...
  3798.  
  3799. Aigis: Of course, I want to understand you as well...
  3800.  
  3801. Aigis: Please talk to me whenever you want Tell me...about your memories, even if you have to take...them one at a time
  3802.  
  3803. Labrys sinks deep in thought, then looks at me again
  3804.  
  3805. I nod silently
  3806.  
  3807. She slowly starts walking and stops in front of the Shadow--who stands as quietly as a real shadow--at the other end of the room...
  3808.  
  3809. Labrys: ...You were right...
  3810.  
  3811. Shadow Labrys: .........
  3812.  
  3813. Labrys: I was always alone, so I had no one to talk to,...no matter how much it hurt...
  3814.  
  3815. Labrys: And... I went and blamed that on them...
  3816.  
  3817. Yosuke: This reminds me of us from last year...
  3818.  
  3819. Chie: Yeah... it's the same thing She's really no...different from us
  3820.  
  3821. Yosuke-san and the others laugh
  3822.  
  3823. To acknowledge one's weakness in front of others...
  3824.  
  3825. They must have earned their Personas through the same ordeal
  3826.  
  3827. I can see now why their bond is so strong
  3828.  
  3829. The tension in the air evaporates
  3830.  
  3831. Just as Labrys' expression softens...
  3832.  
  3833. A familiar voice comes from behind...M
  3834.  
  3835. itsurumiIs that Labrys?
  3836.  
  3837. Everyone turns to look at the newcomer...
  3838.  
  3839. Aigis: Mitsuru-san, Akihiko-san! You're all right!
  3840.  
  3841. Akihiko: Hmph, of course we are
  3842.  
  3843. I run toward them
  3844.  
  3845. Neither of them appear to be injured
  3846.  
  3847. I notice that Yosuke-san and the others are not surprised to see them They must already be aware of the situation
  3848.  
  3849. ...Though they react to their arrival differently...
  3850.  
  3851. Yosuke: U-Uh, who are these people? And what the...hell are they wearing...?
  3852.  
  3853. Chie: Oh man, a dude storming across the battlefield...in just a cape... I am ALL about that...
  3854.  
  3855. Akihiko: I'd say you've got good taste...
  3856.  
  3857. Naoto: Seriously...?
  3858.  
  3859. Labrys grabs weakly at my arm...
  3860.  
  3861. Aigis: Don't worry
  3862.  
  3863. I smile and nod
  3864.  
  3865. She still bites her lip in anxiety... but she is no longer afraid of everything...
  3866.  
  3867. Mitsuru: ...You're Labrys, correct?
  3868.  
  3869. Labrys simply nods in response to Mitsuru-san's question as she walks up
  3870.  
  3871. There is a moment of silence...
  3872.  
  3873. Mitsuru-san's sigh of relief breaks it...
  3874.  
  3875. Mitsuru: I'm glad you're safe...
  3876.  
  3877. Labrys: .........
  3878.  
  3879. Labrys smiles back awkwardly
  3880.  
  3881. The look on her face helps dispel the tension in Yosuke-san and his friends
  3882.  
  3883. Mitsuru-san notices this as well
  3884.  
  3885. I step forward alongside Mitsuru-san to introduce ourselves and show our appreciation
  3886.  
  3887. It seems they have never met a Persona-user who didn't awaken in the TV world We spend some time discussing our respective circumstances
  3888.  
  3889. Teddie leads us back to the roof
  3890.  
  3891. They say that this was the place they used to enter and exit this world
  3892.  
  3893. Labrys, who still doesn't quite understand that she is in the TV, cocks her head in bewilderment
  3894.  
  3895. Yosuke-san and his friends gather around her and explain everything
  3896.  
  3897. She is shocked at first, but as she grows accustomed to the idea, she begins laughing
  3898.  
  3899. Relieved, I leave Labrys to them...
  3900.  
  3901. I approach Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san
  3902.  
  3903. I relay to them all the information I have gathered on this case so far
  3904.  
  3905. I tell them that the tournament's host was Labrys' Shadow, which had emerged from her
  3906.  
  3907. And that Labrys may have not been stolen, but that she may have escaped on her own
  3908.  
  3909. She has the ability to manipulate people's senses
  3910.  
  3911. That would explain the signs of mental interference found on the hijackers
  3912.  
  3913. We were able to discover Inaba through our research Perhaps she used the same methods
  3914.  
  3915. It would have taken time, but she was sealed away for over ten years
  3916.  
  3917. Although she was caged, it is not clear whether she was conscious or not during that period
  3918.  
  3919. She had more than enough time
  3920.  
  3921. Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san show no surprise
  3922.  
  3923. But they do let out a long sigh
  3924.  
  3925. In contrast to Mitsuru-san, who is lost in thought, Akihiko-san goes to get an answer straight from the source
  3926.  
  3927. Labrys startles when he taps her shoulder...
  3928.  
  3929. Akihiko: So when did you actually awaken?
  3930.  
  3931. Akihiko-san's question is blunt
  3932.  
  3933. But Labrys handles it calmly, knowing that it is the natural thing to ask...
  3934.  
  3935. Labrys: Y'know... I can't remember...
  3936.  
  3937. She is being honest
  3938.  
  3939. She had used her ability on herself--not even she knew what she really was
  3940.  
  3941. But Akihiko-san seems skeptical
  3942.  
  3943. Having no memory of it also means that she is unable to deny it...
  3944.  
  3945. Aigis: Please, Mitsuru-san, can you be lenient...with her?
  3946.  
  3947. Mitsuru-san folds her arms and thinks
  3948.  
  3949. I know she is in a difficult position
  3950.  
  3951. Though Labrys may have a heart, that does not make her human
  3952.  
  3953. She is a weapon with dangerous capabilities
  3954.  
  3955. Mitsuru-san cannot decide based on her personality alone what measures to take
  3956.  
  3957. Especially now that we are affiliated with the police
  3958.  
  3959. We have our reputation to consider...
  3960.  
  3961. Yosuke: Um... yeah, would you, please!?
  3962.  
  3963. Labrys: Yosuke-kun...!
  3964.  
  3965. Yosuke: I know I'm asking without knowing the whole...story here, but, um... please don't lock...her up again!
  3966.  
  3967. Even his friends seem surprised by his outburst
  3968.  
  3969. But soon enough, they are all giving Mitsuru-san the same pleading look
  3970.  
  3971. Mitsuru-san winces before giving a wry smile...
  3972.  
  3973. Mitsuru: Well... I hadn't intended to seal her away...again to begin with...
  3974.  
  3975. Labrys: .........!
  3976.  
  3977. Aigis: Mitsuru-san!
  3978.  
  3979. Yosuke: Seriously!? Did you hear that!?
  3980.  
  3981. Mitsuru: It should be a walk in the park compared to...the challenge of sending Aigis to school
  3982.  
  3983. She has no intention of locking her away...
  3984.  
  3985. The smile on Mitsuru-san's face confirms that much...
  3986.  
  3987. Aigis: Thank you so much!
  3988.  
  3989. Chie: Um... how about if we go outside? This isn't...really the place to stand around and chat...
  3990.  
  3991. Yosuke: Yeah *sigh* Well, it was a hell of a way to...start off a holiday, but at least it's over...
  3992.  
  3993. Yosuke: Man, why'd that Shadow have to pick our...school, and us of all people...
  3994.  
  3995. Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san freeze...
  3996.  
  3997. Akihiko: You know... that is odd, now that you...mention it...
  3998.  
  3999. Akihiko: I was told this place takes its shape from...a person's memories, but why would it become...this high school?
  4000.  
  4001. Mitsuru: I had picked up on that incongruity as well...
  4002.  
  4003. Mitsuru: Putting aside that Inaba was chosen as the...escape destination, why was a specific school...so carefully recreated...?
  4004.  
  4005. Mitsuru: I also have my doubts about Labrys' power...
  4006.  
  4007. Mitsuru: Strictly speaking, it doesn't "rob one's sanity"...What her power really does is cloud one's...senses with illusions...
  4008.  
  4009. Mitsuru: I'm not sure that would have been enough to...control those hijackers so completely...
  4010.  
  4011. Akihiko: Hey, Labrys
  4012.  
  4013. Akihiko-san calls out to Labrys again
  4014.  
  4015. The instant he puts his hand on her shoulder, she suddenly twitches...
  4016.  
  4017. Yosuke: H-Hey, what's the matter?
  4018.  
  4019. Labrys abruptly leaps backwards
  4020.  
  4021. Everyone is baffled to see her white body flying over their heads...
  4022.  
  4023. Mitsuru: She's...!
  4024.  
  4025. Akihiko: Stay back, everyone!
  4026.  
  4027. Akihiko-san is the first to realize the danger and yells a warning to the others...
  4028.  
  4029. Aigis: Sister...?
  4030.  
  4031. Labrys stands there emotionlessly Slowly, her right hand reaches for the battleaxe on her back
  4032.  
  4033. Tension fills the air...
  4034.  
  4035. Aigis: No... why...!?
  4036.  
  4037. The blade of the axe is pointed towards me
  4038.  
  4039. I do not comprehend
  4040.  
  4041. What's going on?
  4042.  
  4043. As I stand there confused, Labrys lowers her stance, readying herself for battle
  4044.  
  4045. I open my mouth to try to persuade her, but I can't
  4046.  
  4047. There is no time
  4048.  
  4049. Labrys now has the use of her Persona
  4050.  
  4051. She will be stronger than before
  4052.  
  4053. If I don't focus on counterattacking... I'll lose!
  4054.  
  4055. I clench my jaw and hold in the despair that threatens to overwhelm me
  4056.  
  4057. I must concentrate on the problem at hand
  4058.  
  4059. Labrys falls to the ground with a thud...
  4060.  
  4061. Aigis: Labrys!
  4062.  
  4063. I try to run to her
  4064.  
  4065. But I stop when I hear an unearthly voice...
  4066.  
  4067. Eerie voice sagYou succeeded in repulsing it yet again......Very unexpected
  4068.  
  4069. Everyone takes a defensive stance and looks around...
  4070.  
  4071. Rise: Wh-What is this...? I'm not getting a good...feeling about this!
  4072.  
  4073. Mitsuru: It's certainly an ominous presence, but...that voice...
  4074.  
  4075. Aigis: Is that... my voice?
  4076.  
  4077. Yes... it is
  4078.  
  4079. Before I can react, an unnatural-looking shadow--a clump of darkness thick as a pool of blood--forms next to Labrys
  4080.  
  4081. Our true enemy rises up from the sludge
  4082.  
  4083. It is a sight I will never forget...
  4084.  
  4085. Naoto: No... Aigis-san's Shadow!?
  4086.  
  4087. Shadow Aigis: To think you'd fight back this fiercely...No wonder you once drove back a god...S
  4088.  
  4089. hadow AigissagHaha, yes... I want them even more now!
  4090.  
  4091. Yosuke: Want them...? What does that mean!?
  4092.  
  4093. Yosuke-san lashed out at the enemy
  4094.  
  4095. But it ignores him and continues talking...
  4096.  
  4097. Shadow Aigis: Sadly, it seems things won't be going...according to plan this time But I'll make...use of what tools I have to the very end...
  4098.  
  4099. Shadow Aigis: This is my last chance... No, more like a...marvelous entertainment...
  4100.  
  4101. Aigis: Entertainment...?
  4102.  
  4103. Instead of answering, it raises its right hand over her...
  4104.  
  4105. Shadow Aigis: Stand, my puppet
  4106.  
  4107. Labrys stands up as if being pulled by strings...
  4108.  
  4109. Mitsuru: Is it controlling her!?
  4110.  
  4111. Aigis: Sister...!
  4112.  
  4113. She doesn't answer
  4114.  
  4115. Her face is a blank stare and her shoulders hang unnaturally She is every inch its puppet
  4116.  
  4117. Confused, I look again at the enemy
  4118.  
  4119. Is that my Shadow...?
  4120.  
  4121. It looks like me, but its voice, its powers... they are all so different from mine
  4122.  
  4123. But before I can come to a conclusion, the enemy uses Labrys to make its next move...
  4124.  
  4125. Shadow Aigis(?)sagThis form is exhausted from constant battle...and will be useless as an asset...
  4126.  
  4127. Shadow Aigis(?)sagBut unless you destroy it, it will keep rising...up and attacking you all... What will you do?
  4128.  
  4129. With the battleaxe in hand, Labrys dashes forward without warning...
  4130.  
  4131. Aigis: Ngh...!
  4132.  
  4133. Her attack is much more forceful than in the last battle
  4134.  
  4135. Even with all my strength, I am being pushed back...
  4136.  
  4137. Chie: Oh crap, if this keeps up...!
  4138.  
  4139. Kanji: Let's do this! Take Mika--
  4140.  
  4141. Aigis: Wait! Don't interfere!
  4142.  
  4143. Kanji: But--!
  4144.  
  4145. Aigis: Please!
  4146.  
  4147. I clench my teeth
  4148.  
  4149. Labrys is under that thing's control, and ignoring her own limits
  4150.  
  4151. And she is already damaged and exhausted from the previous battle...
  4152.  
  4153. If we all attack, we might be able to contain her, but she could be destroyed in the process...
  4154.  
  4155. Shadow Aigis(?)sagNow... may you suffer and curse your fate!...Relinquish your Personas!
  4156.  
  4157. Aigis: Relinquish...?
  4158.  
  4159. Shadow Aigis(?)sagPersonas and Shadows are one and the same...If I poison your hearts, I can recruit...Shadows with unparalleled strength...
  4160.  
  4161. Yosuke: Wait, what!? You mean... turn our Personas...back to Shadows!?
  4162.  
  4163. Shadow Aigis(?)sagThe heart is frail Its weaknesses are never...fully vanquished Given the opportunity,...it can betray you and return to darkness...
  4164.  
  4165. Shadow Aigis(?)sagOld wounds that you thought you had overcome...opened once again You almost let go of your...hearts... your Personas...
  4166.  
  4167. Shadow Aigis(?)sagThis one's desire to make people suffer was...perfectly suited for such a plan...
  4168.  
  4169. Rise: Plan?
  4170.  
  4171. Yosuke: You caused all this to gather strong Shadows...?Akihiko: You bastard... Who are you!?
  4172.  
  4173. Shadow Aigis(?)sagHaha... you had best hurry and decide...Who will be destroyed? This shell,...or the lot of you!?
  4174.  
  4175. Labrys flies through the air again and unleashes a full-force attack...
  4176.  
  4177. Aigis: Ngh!
  4178.  
  4179. I am forced to one knee
  4180.  
  4181. If she attacks again...
  4182.  
  4183. But just when I am sure it's over, something happens...
  4184.  
  4185. Mitsuru: Sorry, but this show is over
  4186.  
  4187. I see Mitsuru-san stand straight up out of the corner of my eye
  4188.  
  4189. Suddenly, the menacing aura surrounding Labrys is dispelled like magic...
  4190.  
  4191. Shadow Aigis(?)sagWhat...!?
  4192.  
  4193. For the first time, the enemy seems shocked
  4194.  
  4195. Freed from the spell, Labrys falls to the ground...
  4196.  
  4197. Aigis: Sister...!
  4198.  
  4199. I run to her and cradle her in my arms
  4200.  
  4201. What was that?
  4202.  
  4203. Mitsuru-san smiles defiantly and glances up to the sky...
  4204.  
  4205. Mitsuru: Looks like you made it in the nick of time...
  4206.  
  4207. Mitsuru: You saved us, Yamagishi
  4208.  
  4209. An answering voice echoes in my head
  4210.  
  4211. That soft but extremely reassuring voice...
  4212.  
  4213. Fuuka fuAre you all okay!?Aigis: Fuuka-san!?Fuuka Yamagishi-san
  4214.  
  4215. She is a fellow ally who helped us overcome the challenges we faced in the past
  4216.  
  4217. I cannot help but smile with surprise and joy...
  4218.  
  4219. Akihiko: Ha... so you had a third assistant...
  4220.  
  4221. Teddie: Oooh! What a soothing voice! My Teddie senses...are telling me that this is a real cutie pie!
  4222.  
  4223. Chie: Is this like Rise-chan's Persona!? Wait, where...is she!?
  4224.  
  4225. Rise: This feeling... what the...?
  4226.  
  4227. Rise-san opens her eyes and looks up...
  4228.  
  4229. Rise: That voice... it's not coming from in here...Whoever it is is out there!
  4230.  
  4231. Yosuke: Seriously!? She can use hers in the real world!?...That's amazing...
  4232.  
  4233. Even before I can ask, Fuuka-san tells me what I want to know...
  4234.  
  4235. Fuuka fuAigis, the enemy is just mimicking your...appearance It's not actually a part of you...
  4236.  
  4237. Malevolent Entity: Very impressive to guess correctly from...such a long distance away
  4238.  
  4239. Mitsuru-san stares at the enemy in shock
  4240.  
  4241. We hear Fuuka-san's words as if she is speaking, but technically there is no sound
  4242.  
  4243. She transmits her voice directly into people's minds; other people should hear nothing
  4244.  
  4245. Yet the enemy is responding to her
  4246.  
  4247. I raise my guard in spite of myself
  4248.  
  4249. But there is no fear in me
  4250.  
  4251. My doubts about the enemy--my hesitation--are gone
  4252.  
  4253. My heart starts to burn
  4254.  
  4255. What is this...? I've never felt this heated emotion before that's running through my body...
  4256.  
  4257. Mitsuru: You must be the one behind all this......You stole Labrys and threw her into a TV...
  4258.  
  4259. Mitsuru: You were after Persona-users from the start...That's why you chose this school and tampered...with Labrys' memories...
  4260.  
  4261. Mitsuru: And you just demonstrated how you controlled...those hijackers...
  4262.  
  4263. Yosuke: So this must be the real puppetmaster...
  4264.  
  4265. Aigis: Then that voice who tried to dissuade me...back in that classroom...
  4266.  
  4267. Malevolent Entity: You're quite slow, for a machine Can't you...tell by looking at me who that was?
  4268.  
  4269. So that wasn't something my heart saw, but just a malicious whisper
  4270.  
  4271. The fire in my heart is stoked higher and I make a fist without realizing it
  4272.  
  4273. I thought this entire incident was just an unfortunate event caused by my sister's suffering
  4274.  
  4275. But her pain was all orchestrated by someone
  4276.  
  4277. This isn't her tragedy
  4278.  
  4279. Someone saw to it that this would happen
  4280.  
  4281. And not just to Labrys
  4282.  
  4283. Whoever did this tried to manipulate the pain in my heart, too, by posing as my Shadow
  4284.  
  4285. And to top it off, the culprit posed as everyone here to make them distrust each other, reopening old wounds
  4286.  
  4287. This was all an evil plan...
  4288.  
  4289. I am not human, but because of that, I hold the hearts and bonds of others to be sacred
  4290.  
  4291. They saved me... they keep me going now
  4292.  
  4293. And yet... It tested those bonds and used our anguish for its own purpose
  4294.  
  4295. Our hearts were nothing but tools to it
  4296.  
  4297. Tools to hurt others
  4298.  
  4299. I see...
  4300.  
  4301. I get it now
  4302.  
  4303. This roiling, violent surge of emotion...
  4304.  
  4305. This shaking, burning, erupting sensation
  4306.  
  4307. I realized that this is a type of emotion, which can best be described in a single word
  4308.  
  4309. This is... "fury"
  4310.  
  4311. Malevolent Entity: Haha, are you angry? All right I'll play...along The show must go on, right?
  4312.  
  4313. Aigis: ...You've gone too far!
  4314.  
  4315. This thing shaped like me falls to the ground on its knees
  4316.  
  4317. But it gets right back up with an awkward, jerking motion, and lets out an insane laugh
  4318.  
  4319. The smile on its face, contrasted with its damaged limbs, has the eeriness of a clown...
  4320.  
  4321. Malevolent Entity: Hahaha... this is fine with me...
  4322.  
  4323. Malevolent Entity: Good enough for my purposes that I confirmed...you have enough power to meet my expectations...
  4324.  
  4325. Kanji: Psh, "good enough" my ass!
  4326.  
  4327. Naoto: Those are the words of a sore loser!
  4328.  
  4329. Malevolent Entity: This is only a temporary form...
  4330.  
  4331. Malevolent Entity: I doubted there'd be any meaning in changing...my appearance, but sure enough, it made for...a very enjoyable game...
  4332.  
  4333. Malevolent Entity: All that irritates me is having to feign...cooperation with that foolish human until...I obtain the one true vessel...
  4334.  
  4335. "That foolish human"...?
  4336.  
  4337. That's an odd choice of words
  4338.  
  4339. It would seem to imply not only that it is not human, but also that it is working with a human to carry out its crimes...
  4340.  
  4341. Malevolent Entity: I will see you in another guise next time...Just wait until then...
  4342.  
  4343. Malevolent Entity: *chuckle* Ahahahaha...
  4344.  
  4345. It let out a racous laugh with my face
  4346.  
  4347. After that it slowly fades away, dissipating into the air...
  4348.  
  4349. Mitsuru: Yamagishi!
  4350.  
  4351. Mitsuru-san quickly calls out
  4352.  
  4353. However...
  4354.  
  4355. Fuuka fuThe reading disappeared It didn't move,...it just... vanished What could this mean...?
  4356.  
  4357. Akihiko: Tch... back to square one again
  4358.  
  4359. Akihiko-san lets out a heavy sigh...
  4360.  
  4361. Yosuke: Sheesh, it even had to exit on a lame,...evil laugh!
  4362.  
  4363. Yu: "Another guise," huh...?
  4364.  
  4365. Chie: Don't even think about coming around...here again!
  4366.  
  4367. YukikoyuShould we put up some talismans? I've got a...lot left over from when we were putting them...up in our inn!
  4368.  
  4369. Kanji: Well, even if it shows up again, it'll get...double the pain we gave it this time!
  4370.  
  4371. Naoto: Who could it be, though...? How did it know...about our Personas...?
  4372.  
  4373. Rise: That aside, it sure had a sneaky way of doing...things! This is twice I've been kidnapped into...the TV world, you know! TWICE!
  4374.  
  4375. Their irritation is obvious
  4376.  
  4377. And it's only natural
  4378.  
  4379. They were toyed with as well, and they do not take Labrys' treatment as a tool well
  4380.  
  4381. But... I cannot encourage them to settle the score
  4382.  
  4383. Akihiko-san apparently thinks the same thing...
  4384.  
  4385. Akihiko: Don't worry about it We'll handle things...from here...
  4386.  
  4387. Yosuke: Wait, but it kinda said it was still...after us...
  4388.  
  4389. Mitsuru: Of course, you should be aware that the enemy...is out there
  4390.  
  4391. Akihiko only means that there's...no need to abandon your lives to pursue it...
  4392.  
  4393. Mitsuru: We will do our best to ensure that no harm...comes to you That is, after all, our duty...
  4394.  
  4395. Yosuke: But...!
  4396.  
  4397. Yu: ...Guys, let's leave this to them...
  4398.  
  4399. Chie: Yu-kun!?
  4400.  
  4401. Yosuke: Are you serious!?
  4402.  
  4403. Yu: They're right that we need to go back for now...You look beat
  4404.  
  4405. Yu-san, aware of their situation, speaks out
  4406.  
  4407. Perhaps he senses our dilemma...
  4408.  
  4409. Aigis: I'm sorry, everyone
  4410.  
  4411. He nods and looks at Yosuke-san, who reluctantly gives up
  4412.  
  4413. Their ability to communicate through eye contact only proves the strength of their bond...
  4414.  
  4415. Teddie: Alrighty! Attention, please! The trip doesn't...end until we get out of the TV...
  4416.  
  4417. Yosuke: Dude... we were in the middle of a conversation!...And what's this about a trip!?
  4418.  
  4419. Yosuke: You really gave us a scare, disappearing...like that! And this isn't the first time,...either!
  4420.  
  4421. Teddie: It's not my fault!
  4422.  
  4423. Teddie: Or should I actually sponsor the next Miss...Inableargh!!
  4424.  
  4425. Chie: Don't even think about it
  4426.  
  4427. Chie-san's fists is still shaking with anger after impacting Teddie at full strength
  4428.  
  4429. There are times when you should give it your all because its your friend...
  4430.  
  4431. Ahhh, how beautiful friendship is
  4432.  
  4433. I comprehend
  4434.  
  4435. After everyone calms down, we finally move on to the main subject
  4436.  
  4437. We are on the roof to begin with to leave this world
  4438.  
  4439. After getting everyone's attention, Teddie makes a few narcissistic remarks and clicks his heels
  4440.  
  4441. Then, like a magic trick at a party, some old TVs appear in a puff of smoke...
  4442.  
  4443. Akihiko: What're you doing with this ancient TV?...Hang on... where'd you even get this?
  4444.  
  4445. Teddie: It's a Teddie-vision! You can get out...from here!
  4446.  
  4447. Mitsuru: This TV is our escape route...? Can we......really fit inside...?
  4448.  
  4449. Teddie: Ooh! Are you a little too front-loaded...to fit!? In that case, I wouldn't mind...helping you squeeze through...!
  4450.  
  4451. Rise: You're even worse than before, you know that...?
  4452.  
  4453. Chie-san and Yosuke-san jump in without hesitation, showing how used to it they are
  4454.  
  4455. Seeing that, Akihiko-san and Mitsuru-san shrug and follow suit
  4456.  
  4457. Labrys' eyes are wide to see everyone getting sucked into the TV
  4458.  
  4459. But she doesn't look scared
  4460.  
  4461. Her eyes are actually bright as she glances this way
  4462.  
  4463. I can't help but smile at that
  4464.  
  4465. She doesn't need my permission to do anything
  4466.  
  4467. I tell her to go ahead and she dives in headfirst with a giant grin
  4468.  
  4469. ...Although...
  4470.  
  4471. Labrys: Ow...
  4472.  
  4473. ...Just as I thought, her wings don't fit and she gets caught on the screen
  4474.  
  4475. I burst into laughter to see her legs sticking out of the TV, kicking wildly
  4476.  
  4477. I take off the unit on her back and she instantly gets sucked into the TV
  4478.  
  4479. I wonder if she landed safely
  4480.  
  4481. As the last one left, I turn around and take a final look
  4482.  
  4483. It doesn't feel like it, but it's only been a few hours since we entered the TV
  4484.  
  4485. And only three days since the hijacking
  4486.  
  4487. It was a horrible nightmare, but at the same time, I met some good people
  4488.  
  4489. But most importantly... it isn't over
  4490.  
  4491. The true test may be still to come
  4492.  
  4493. I push my toes in and slip into the TV
  4494.  
  4495. Everyone made it back out safely
  4496.  
  4497. When we return to the real world, I am surprised to find myself in Junes, a large department store
  4498.  
  4499. I have never seen Mitsuru-san so flustered
  4500.  
  4501. Even she could not have expected to emerge in the most crowded place in town, and from a display TV at that
  4502.  
  4503. But to make it back to the limousine, we have no choice but to walk through the store
  4504.  
  4505. Mitsuru-san in her skintight suit
  4506.  
  4507. Akihiko-san, mostly naked except for his cape
  4508.  
  4509. Me with my mechanical parts exposed, and Labrys with her axe... or her wings, I suppose?
  4510.  
  4511. Not to mention Teddie...
  4512.  
  4513. Rise-san and Naoto-san are both public figures One is an idol and the other is a detective
  4514.  
  4515. We make quite an outlandish procession
  4516.  
  4517. Considering the nature of our operations, I hope to avoid having my picture taken with phone cameras
  4518.  
  4519. However...
  4520.  
  4521. As we walk along, I soon find that my fear of cameras is baseless
  4522.  
  4523. In fact, it is not cameras we need to worry about at all It is the police
  4524.  
  4525. I find myself anxious in this completely unexpected situation
  4526.  
  4527. An arrest would mean disgrace as an unofficial unit
  4528.  
  4529. And I'm sure Yosuke-san and the others would like to avoid the inside of juvenile hall
  4530.  
  4531. Everyone hastily agrees with each other and takes off at full speed
  4532.  
  4533. I can hear Yosuke-san and Chie-san loudly complaining about the unfairness of the world
  4534.  
  4535. Mitsuru-san and Akihiko-san exchange fearless smiles, though cold sweat is streaming from both their heads
  4536.  
  4537. Teddie and Labrys seem like they're having fun
  4538.  
  4539. I don't think they understand the situation
  4540.  
  4541. Yu-san and Yukiko-san run without a word, like determined athletes
  4542.  
  4543. Kanji-san tries to turn and fight every so often, with Naoto-san having to stop him each time
  4544.  
  4545. Rise-san switches on her cell phone to find an alarming number of missed calls, which seems to be the bigger problem for her
  4546.  
  4547. In the end, our parting with the Yasogami High School students concludes with a brief goodbye as we all scatter like birds
  4548.  
  4549. That night...
  4550.  
  4551. We decide to stay the night in Inaba for a quick health checkup and review of the case After finishing the necessary steps, we decide to take an early rest
  4552.  
  4553. The true culprit is still out there, and Labrys needs to get to a lab for proper maintenance
  4554.  
  4555. After ten years of stasis, she was suddenly forced into a series of stressful battles
  4556.  
  4557. It would not be surprising if some of her parts are now malfunctioning
  4558.  
  4559. Considering the morning traffic, we should leave early in the day
  4560.  
  4561. Or so I suggest, but...
  4562.  
  4563. Labrys has other ideas
  4564.  
  4565. May 4th, the next day
  4566.  
  4567. Our car is parked near an intersection away from the main road
  4568.  
  4569. We are here to say goodbye to everyone
  4570.  
  4571. Labrys wanted it this way
  4572.  
  4573. I am happy that she wishes to see people again of her own will
  4574.  
  4575. On the side of the street, all the people we met yesterday are gathered to see Labrys one last time
  4576.  
  4577. They wished to say goodbye to her, but they had not expected us to contact them...
  4578.  
  4579. Labrys: I asked if I could come see everyone I wanted...to give everyone a real goodbye...
  4580.  
  4581. Yosuke: What'll you do next? Are you going back...to that lab...?
  4582.  
  4583. Labrys: No, I decided I'm gonna work with Mitsuru-san...and them...
  4584.  
  4585. Labrys: I wanna do my damndest to catch whoever used...me to bait a trap for you all...
  4586.  
  4587. Yosuke: Alright...
  4588.  
  4589. Yosuke: Then I guess the party's on hold until...after everything's really over...
  4590.  
  4591. Yosuke: But hey... you should come see us again...anyway Promise me, okay?
  4592.  
  4593. Labrys: You got it!
  4594.  
  4595. Labrys shakes hands with each of them
  4596.  
  4597. ...Even after we leave, Labrys keeps waving through the rear window
  4598.  
  4599. Waving and waving and waving
  4600.  
  4601. Waving and waving and wa--even past the point where the human eye can no longer see her, she is still waving
  4602.  
  4603. After she has waved to her heart's content, she turns to see Fuuka-san and I looking at her, and blushes
  4604.  
  4605. Fuuka-san giggles...
  4606.  
  4607. Fuuka: I'm glad things went well Oh, but first......It's good to see you again This is becoming...a real reunion!
  4608.  
  4609. Mitsuru: Indeed Things are going to heat up from...now on... I must get back and reallocate...my staff...
  4610.  
  4611. Akihiko: You're including me in there, right?
  4612.  
  4613. Akihiko: Every opponent I made a mistake against on...my journey, I made sure to go back and get...a rematch... This'll be no different...
  4614.  
  4615. Mitsuru: It should spur discussion amongst the staff again...about working Yamagishi into our unit...F
  4616.  
  4617. uukafuHuh...? Um, I'm still not sure about joining...any special unit...
  4618.  
  4619. Flustered, Fuuka-san starts wringing her hand
  4620.  
  4621. Looking at the seat next to me, I notice Labrys looking at the sky from her window...
  4622.  
  4623. Labrys: I didn't know the sky was so blue...
  4624.  
  4625. There is deep wistfulness in her voice...Labrys: Back at the lab, they only let me out at...night But this...
  4626.  
  4627. Labrys: I feel like I've seen it once before... That...same bright, blue sky...
  4628.  
  4629. Once before...
  4630.  
  4631. I recalled the memory relating to those words amongst the countless memories of Labrys awakened within me
  4632.  
  4633. The sea
  4634.  
  4635. That cerulean sky and lingering clouds; the emerald-blue water
  4636.  
  4637. In my mind, I place Labrys at the scene
  4638.  
  4639. A white figure gazing from the edge of a pier
  4640.  
  4641. Hm...?
  4642.  
  4643. I...
  4644.  
  4645. I know this scenery...?
  4646.  
  4647. For an instant, it feels that I do
  4648.  
  4649. Like a knot slowly undoing itself, the lid to a box inside of me opens, and something hot fills my chest
  4650.  
  4651. What had been only an image becomes a memory
  4652.  
  4653. Soon after, I understand everything
  4654.  
  4655. I know when Labrys saw this scene
  4656.  
  4657. I know what she thought when she saw it
  4658.  
  4659. What she wished for...
  4660.  
  4661. Aigis: Ah... I see now...
  4662.  
  4663. Noticing my murmur, Labrys looks at me in wonder...
  4664.  
  4665. Aigis: The scenery from your memory was the pier...outside of the Yakushima laboratory
  4666.  
  4667. Suddenly, Labrys' eyes open in surprise...
  4668.  
  4669. Aigis: The date was the final day before you were...sealed You made a heartfelt wish there...
  4670.  
  4671. Aigis: You hoped that your successor would make the...same wish to see someone precious to them, and...that meeting would take place at the pier...
  4672.  
  4673. Aigis: You dreamed that your successor would be...able to go beyond that pier, to places you...would never be able to see for yourself...
  4674.  
  4675. Aigis: And that even if your memories were deleted,...your feelings would be passed on to the next...generation
  4676.  
  4677. Labrys' ruby eyes begin to quiver
  4678.  
  4679. My words have unearthed her buried memory...
  4680.  
  4681. Labrys: Yeah... that's right...
  4682.  
  4683. Aigis: It was at that very place where I met the...friends I have now...
  4684.  
  4685. Aigis: When I was searching for someone, I found...myself naturally drawn there for some reason...
  4686.  
  4687. My memories return to a certain encounter
  4688.  
  4689. That day... on that very same pier, I met him
  4690.  
  4691. My dear friend...
  4692.  
  4693. Aigis: I think it was because of your wish...
  4694.  
  4695. Labrys: My wish... you mean the thing I wished for...that day actually came true...?
  4696.  
  4697. Aigis: Indeed It stayed alive for ten years...
  4698.  
  4699. Aigis: Thank you, Labrys It's because of you that...I found happiness...
  4700.  
  4701. Labrys: Huh... I didn't know that...
  4702.  
  4703. Labrys: My desires... all the feelings I got from...the others... they didn't go to waste...
  4704.  
  4705. Labrys: *sob*
  4706.  
  4707. Tears stream down Labrys' cheeks
  4708.  
  4709. I stretch out a finger to wipe them off, but it is already wet from a drop on my own cheek
  4710.  
  4711. Mitsuru-san and Fuuka-san smile at us gently
  4712.  
  4713. Fuuka-san seems a bit teary-eyed herself...
  4714.  
  4715. Labrys: I... I gotta thank you too You made me remember...something important
  4716.  
  4717. After wiping her tears, Labrys looks at me, her eyes clear and determined...
  4718.  
  4719. Labrys: There's... someone I have to find I need to...meet her so I can tell her something
  4720.  
  4721. I am about to extend my hand to shake hers, but it now seems too distant a gesture for we sisters
  4722.  
  4723. Instead, I pull her towards me and look at her face to face...
  4724.  
  4725. Aigis: I'm sure you will...
  4726.  
  4727. Aigis: You're not alone anymore We can search for...her together...
  4728.  
  4729. Labrys: Yeah... thanks!
  4730.  
  4731. As the sun shines down, she gives me the biggest smile I've seen on her yet
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