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[14:00] <PersonaGM> […-
[14:02] <PersonaGM> [After that, there wasn't much left to do but to leave Krishna's palace.-
[14:04] <PersonaGM> [However, something had changed outside of its gate- hovering in the air, free from any wall, doorway or hinge, was a large blue velvet door, radiating a strangely familiar light…-
[14:04] <PersonaGM> [Roy walked right past it, apparently heedless.]
[14:07] * Ai …did not. In fact, she stopped right at it, and … pointed. "Stop. It's… it's here. It's really here. Y-y-you're seeing this, right?" Gesticulations, arms wiggling, at The Door. "Th-this is it! The place! THE PLACE."
[14:10] <Hideki> "Yeah, we see it already," Hideki moved over to it, all nonchalantly, and tried to rub his hand against the nice, blue, velvety surface of the door.
[14:11] <Dinah> Dinah merely scowled in response. Obviously she saw it and also obviously, she wasn't exactly a fan, considering how her time there had played out.
[14:11] * Ai gestured more. "Yeah but Roy doesn't?!?! He's just… going!"
[14:12] <Sachiko> "Calm down," Sachiko said, standing a few paces back. "But Roy, you might want to wait up."-
[14:13] <Sachiko> A pale shadow of Faust appeared around her as she focused, trying to Understand the door in the same manner she used on the Metaverse.
[14:17] <PersonaGM> ["?!" Roy turned around. He stared at the rest of the group. "… Okay, what's going on now?"-
[14:18] <PersonaGM> ["Big blue door, my dude." Said Adrien. He walked past Sachiko and bonked Ai lightly on the head before waving his hand at the door similarly to Hideki. The door felt solid enough, and indeed velvety and warm.-
[14:18] <PersonaGM> ["I don't see anything." Said Roy.]
[14:20] <Hideki> "Yeah, we figured. We talked about this thing a long time ago, at our first debriefing. You said you didn't know what we were talking about, and now we know why."
[14:20] <Dinah> "Maybe if it had one of those little cat flaps, you could see it."
[14:22] <PersonaGM> ["Ha ha. Funny!" Said Roy irritably. "This is freaking me out a little, but keep on goofing."]
[14:22] <Ai> "…Igor's in there. The blue fairy lounge. The land of elves." Ai said. "…Other than dude's name, I'm probably completely off." She …stared a bit at Adrien at the bonk, but. "…I think Igor wants to say hello. A-and… apparently this really isn't your thing…" Ai frowned.
[14:24] * Sachiko flinched back suddenly and sharply, and Faust vanished instantly. It looked as though she'd developed an instant headache. "Whatever it is, it's huge," she said.
[14:27] <Hideki> "Huge?" Hideki eyed the door itself speculatively. "You mean the space beyond it is pretty big, right?"
[14:27] <PersonaGM> ["I see. Well. Okay." Roy sat down and tried to hold his head up at a dignified angle. "Do what y'all gotta."]
[14:28] <Sachiko> "I mean conceptually huge," she said, coming closer to the others. "I guess we're going in."
[14:29] <Sachiko> [?*]
[14:32] <Dinah> "If we have to, I'd rather get it over with if it's all the same to you." Breezing past them all, Dinah grumbled slightly as she reached out for the knob of the door, seeking to open it for them.
[14:33] <PersonaGM> [And so Dinah opened the door, leading to light flooding the area…]
[14:34] <Ai> "…I'll try to keep it smooth." Ai said, as she began to move around to find a chance to sidle in. Maybe even first, figuring uh. Dinah might see the assistant and get really mad. So some diplomacy, yanno?
[14:36] * Sachiko looked back at Roy as she followed the others in. "We'll be back. Probably."
[14:37] <Hideki> "Definitely. Not like this thing's dangerous." Hideki strolled in as well.
[14:38] <Sachiko> "Somebody's an optimist."
[14:38] <Hideki> "Yup!"
[14:43] <PersonaGM> [From Roy's perspective:-
[14:43] <PersonaGM> [Dinah walked over to an open space and opened a door. Ai walked right past her, then froze in mid-air and glazed over.-
[14:44] <PersonaGM> [Then Dinah, too, would walk forward, only barely avoiding knocking Ai over, before also freezing in place, her eyes unfocusing.-
[14:44] <PersonaGM> ["Somebody's an Optimist." "Yup!" Hideki cheerfully leapt forward, then… Went completely still.-
[14:44] <PersonaGM> [As did Sachiko.-
[14:44] <PersonaGM> [And finally, with a salute, Adrien, joining the other living statues in the air.-
[14:44] <PersonaGM> ["…"-
[14:45] <PersonaGM> [Lady Gdon, who had been watching all of this, slowly padded over, lifted a big tiger paw, and batted at Hideki curiously.-
[14:45] <PersonaGM> ["Hey. No! Stop that!" Said Roy.-
[14:45] <PersonaGM> [Gdon began slapping at him harder. Hideki started to totter in mid-air.-
[14:46] <PersonaGM> ["Gdonnnnnnn! He's not a toy! Leave him alone!"-
[14:46] <PersonaGM> ["Give into your instincts, Roy. Let your body do the talking." Said Gdon as Hideki toppled over, drool starting to slide out of his mouth.-
[14:46] <PersonaGM> ["Nghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."-
[14:46] <PersonaGM> […-
[14:48] <PersonaGM> [They were inside the Velvet Room.-
[14:49] <PersonaGM> [It was as they remembered- the great study, filled with bookshelves and various contraptions, including a grand printing press at the very back, pumping out endless reams of paper.-
[14:51] <PersonaGM> [In the very middle was the ornate desk covered in huge stacks of thick books, at which sat the impish figure of Igor, as dapper as ever, one leg folded over the other and his hands tucked together beneath his chin.-
[14:52] <PersonaGM> [But something else was different, although what depended on the individual. Simply put, both of the assistants were here, along with their little spaces. For some, this would mean seeing Eliana for the first time; for others, William.-
[14:52] <PersonaGM> [Their chairs- all of them- were here too.-
[14:54] <PersonaGM> ["It seems our guests have finally returned." Said Igor, a large, permanent grin on his face. "And this time, by their own hand."-
[14:55] <PersonaGM> ["Something has changed within all of you since our last meeting, has it not? All of you have awakened to the power of your hearts- the Persona, and now are glimpsing the very surface of the sea of your souls." Said Igor. "Which brings us back to here."-
[14:55] <PersonaGM> [He leaned forward. "Welcome to the Velvet Room."]
[14:57] * Ai was marching forward with purpose, snapping her fingers once as if glad to hear the confirmation of what the hell this place was called. …Her eyes did cant briefly to William, raising a brow… before her eyes then moved to Eliana, bowing her head and smiling brightly. She did, though, keep her march slow enough for others to follow.
[14:59] <Hideki> "Thanks. Good to be back!" A brief pause. "…why are we back?"
[15:03] <Dinah> As they were in the Velvet Room itself again, Dinah folded her arms across her chest, glaring over at her chair and yet staying put where she was, stubbornly so.
[15:07] <Sachiko> The dream logic that'd swaddled Sachiko during her last visit was gone, and without it the room seemed to make her nervous. Trying to examine it from the outside probably hadn't helped that. For now she stood back and waited for the answer to Hideki's question.
[15:11] * Ai seemed… fine. She seemed… happy to be here. As if some great anticipation was gloriously sated. …It probably uh. Looked weird given the others' reactions. She, too, waited for an answer.
[15:16] <PersonaGM> ["It is time for me to explain the purpose of the Velvet Room."-
[15:17] <PersonaGM> ["You all now have Personas. But you are also now familiar with the concept of the 'Wild Card', correct? An individual who has no one Persona, but instead changes the nature of their heart as they see fit?"-
[15:17] <PersonaGM> [Adrien looked around, as though trying to remind the team of his existence.]
[15:19] <Dinah> "Yes. We're aware." Dinah spoke bitterly, not even bothering to look over at Adrien.
[15:20] * Ai nodded. "Yeah." And gave Adrien a nod and sympathetic look, before turning to Igor. "A… and that something popped out about what just happened. That I think you'll address very soon."
[15:20] <Sachiko> Sachiko's mask rendered the fierce eyeroll she gave Adrien kind of pointless.
[15:23] * Hideki simply waited for him to continue.
[15:31] <PersonaGM> ["The power of the Wild Card is special, for it contains within it unlimited potential. It is the nature of this place, the Velvet Room, to shape and nurture such power."-
[15:31] <PersonaGM> ["However, this time the situation is most curious, and most unusual. It is normal for two Wild Cards to emerge." Said Igor.-
[15:31] <PersonaGM> ["But I'm the only one." Said Adrien.-
[15:34] <PersonaGM> ["The only one, yes." Said Igor. "For it seems that the second Wild Card has spread itself amongst our other guests, giving them all an element of its power and ability." Said Igor. "That is why the four of you-" he indicated Ai, Dinah, Hideki and Sachiko- "Each possess a distinct Persona, but also seem to possess 'minor' Personas as well, such as the ones you have all just gained."-
[15:35] <PersonaGM> ["Those minor Personas are teaching your prime Persona, shaping it and increasing its abilities. Which is where the Velvet Room comes in. For you see, we possess the ability known as fusion- the act of taking two Persona and fusing them to create a third and greater Persona."]
[15:48] * Ai snapped her fingers again. "Aha! I knew that suddenly getting a Hermit-arcana minor persona was something really weird! A-and whenever I tried to gesture at like, Roy to go 'this is weird' he just didn't……" She sighed.
[15:56] * Sachiko shut her eyes and sighed very quietly.
[15:57] <Hideki> "Hmmm…"
[16:00] <PersonaGM> ["Our job, meanwhile, is to keep records of your progress." Said Eliana. "William and I are the caretakers of power- we log each Persona you find or fuse. We can provide a copy for you at a later time, even if you've fused that Persona away- but for a fee."-
[16:01] <PersonaGM> ["The four of you share a single pool of Personas, and you can only have one copy of each at any given time. Furthermore, each of you can only access certain types of Personas. So there's no point in getting greedy and trying to hoard." Said William. "If you want to realise its full potential, you need to work together."]
[16:12] <Hideki> "Not a problem!" Hideki pumped a fist. "If we can flambe shadow oni as a team, then working together on something like this should be a calkwalk. Right, everyone?"
[16:13] * Dinah frowned as William was referenced, glaring at him slightly and then turning to the other one, her arms still crossed over her chest. Hideki's question went unanswered from her other than a slight grumble.
[16:14] <Sachiko> "We'll make it work," Sachiko said, though she lacked Hideki's enthusiasm. "When you say we can only access certain types, what does that mean?"
[16:25] <PersonaGM> ["Personas are known by their 'arcana'." Said William. "As per the major suites of the Tarot. Each of you are also identified by three of these Tarots, although I'll leave it up to you all to discover what those three are."]
[16:27] * Ai nodded her head. "I … We know our Personas' own, yes? … I. I think I checked what I received from Krishna to be… The Hermit?" She thought about that, now. "… …So in being somehow all partially Wild, we're described by aspects that aren't just… one Arcana. That'd be somewhat in our souls…?" Going a bit deep, Ai. "…How much, I wonder, do we live up to it?" But then she closed her eyes.
[16:41] <Sachiko> "Pretty closely, I assume. Doubt they're given at random," Sachiko said with a shrug.-
[16:41] <Sachiko> "I'll ask again, though: What do you three get out of the arrangement? The Metaverse doesn't seem to trade for free."
[16:47] <PersonaGM> [William adjusted his glasses, letting the light glint off them. "Money, of course."-
[16:48] <PersonaGM> [Eliana balled up a loose sheaf of paper and hurled it across the space toward him. The two watched the little missile fly in an arc towards him… before fading into nothingness less than halfway there.-
[16:48] <PersonaGM> ["The Velvet Room is as much a place formed by your innermost selves as it is a creation of the Metaverse." Said Igor. "Which is to say, that it is simply our duty to perform this task for the Wild Card."]
[16:50] <Hideki> "Does that mean you're all figments of our collective imagination come to life…?"
[16:51] <PersonaGM> ["Don't be gauché." Said William, snorting. "We're far more than just that."]
[16:57] <Ai> "…It can't be possible, Hidecchin." Ai said, pushing up her glasses. "…I just. I just have the feeling this is a purpose. It brought us here. It made the academy… allow us to enter Soejima 5. … …This is the mover underneath us joining forces. Whatever uh." She pouted. "Fate, this works on. Unconscious will. It… it is beyond us AND of us. I guess…?" -
[16:57] * Ai then looked sheepish. "…So uh, how useful is waking money to you anyway…?" The boy assistant was weird. Probably because he was a boy and not the one she met (and uh, keeps stealing looks at.
[17:03] <PersonaGM> ["Oh, it has its uses." Said William, again adjusting his glasses.]
[17:04] <Sachiko> While Ai was talking, Sachiko walked over to the printing press. She went to pick up the top page, but stalled and looked towards Eliana with a "is this ok?" gesture.
[17:05] <PersonaGM> ["William, your guest is trying to handle the printing press." Said Eliana.-
[17:05] <PersonaGM> [William shot Sachiko a glance, then shook his head. "Handle away. It's not like you can read it- yet, at any rate."-
[17:06] <Dinah> Practically growling as William gave a flippant response, Dinah took a step forward then, fists clenched at either side of her. "Enough bullshit! What is all this? What's this Wild Card shit and why is it on us? We're not even the only Persona users! Why didn't the rest of them get something like this? We got someone else out there that doesn't even know what the hell all of this
[17:06] <Dinah> is."
[17:06] <PersonaGM> [And indeed, the page seemed to be… frustrating was a good word for it. It was written in no text that Sachiko could identify… Yet she felt as though she almost did, like seeing someone from grade school ten years later that you didn't quite remember.-
[17:07] <PersonaGM> ["William, your other guest is causing a scene."-
[17:07] * Ai …began audibly whining, and was starting to sidle closer to Eliana's desk. …Since that'd put her further out of the strikezone of a charging Dinah.
[17:08] <PersonaGM> ["Yes, yes." William turned back towards Dinah. "This is the Velvet Room. We just discussed this. The Wild Card lets you use multiple Personas. As for why it's on you? Who knows? That's not our responsibility, now, is it? We have a job to do, and we do it. The rest is something you'll have to figure out, if you care enough to put the work in."]
[17:11] <Ai> Closer. Ai gave Eliana a look seeming to say 'please save me from the impending bullrush'.
[17:11] <Dinah> "That's not enough, you smug little shit." Again, she took a step forward, her hard glare right on William. "What about JC- Roy Griffin - and his friends? They were all Persona users too. They didn't get any of this Wild Card shit. Why not?"
[17:11] * Sachiko sighed and set the page back down. "Dinah, you really don't want to mess with these ones. I think they're connected to everything-" she said quickly.
[17:12] <PersonaGM> ["Maybe you should ask him." Said William.]
[17:14] <Ai> "…Igor, d… do you have any insights?" …Realizing she was TOO close to Eli's desk. Sidle, sidle.
[17:15] <Dinah> "I'm asking You. This Wild Card business is your wheelhouse. Do you just not care? Are you just doing the bare minimum? That what we got to look forward to?"
[17:21] <PersonaGM> ["Ask me all you like." Said William, sitting back in his chair, one leg over the other. With one hand he dipped his quill in ink, and with the other he ran a hand through his hair. "I'm giving you the answer you deserve. If you really believe the truth is important, then you owe it to yourself to find it on your own terms. The first lesson of this room is that we do not have all the answers, and if you depend on us to feed them to you hand to mouth? You're going to get burned."-
[17:24] <PersonaGM> [Igor turned toward Ai for a moment, then looked back toward Dinah. "Insights? Only that I have had many guests in my time, all of them Wild Cards, and many of them have had many of the same questions. Yet, each found their own answers to their questions, on their own terms. It is not in my power to take that freedom away from them. It is simply my privilege to assist them on their journey. Asking questions is part of that journey."]
[17:25] * Ai slowly nodded, frowning. And remaining out of Dinah's way. "…Dinah, I think they like. Just do the… the logistics work for it. …There's s-something else going on. We need to research it. We need… t-to just go. Fight our real foes."
[17:25] * Sachiko appeared by Dinah's side, jaw set. "You need to back off, here," she said. "Those books from the Library? The ones for every person on the planet? They're printing them. I don't think they're our figments, I think they're everyone's figments."
[17:26] * Ai …then stammered out loud. "Did. …I knew there was some cosmic… cosmic collective unconsciousness! Carl Jung! The legendary archetypes! Sh-shadow selves! Oh my god, oh my god. This. …This…" Ai just backpedaled. "… …I wish I could even see this. I'm just a dumb little Justice girl."
[17:26] <Sachiko> "Not the time, Ai."
[17:27] * Ai pouted, and escaped to catbowl. Curling. Waiting. "Okay…"
[17:35] <Dinah> "It sounds like the first lesson of this room is that you're useless unless we wanna mash Persona together. Even then, kinda seems like we're going to him instead of you." Glaring at William again, she let out a sharp sigh then, pointedly moving to ignore him then, appeasing everyone else by backing off of it.
[17:38] * Sachiko let out a breath, but didn't bother Dinah any further.
[17:39] <PersonaGM> ["If that's the lesson you want to take away from this, well that's your right." Said William. He lowered himself over his desk and started to write.-
[17:39] <Hideki> "So, ah," Hideki spoke up, having watched the exchanges with a neutral expression. "I don't think any of us are ready to mash persona together today. Is it cool if we go back?"
[17:40] <PersonaGM> ["You're welcome to come and go at your leisure." Said Igor. "You are, after all, our honoured guests."-
[17:42] <PersonaGM> ["You can find doors to the Velvet Room on your side." Said William. "Sachiko and Dinah, you can find doors here in your dormitory library, and in the Academy Library."-
[17:43] <PersonaGM> ["Hideki and Ai, you can find one door on the first room of the first floor of your dorm. Your second room is in the Academy adaptive technology laboratory." Said Eliana.-
[17:46] <PersonaGM> [Eliana paused for a moment, a light working frown on her forehead. Then she looked up. "I understand that this is all very confusing for all of you, and frustrating that we can't provide the answers you seek. I'm sure some of you are suspecting that there's things we know but aren't sharing yet, which must be a bit of a pain. But we all have our roles to play, and our part in the system is very well defined. We have a clear cut purpose, and part of that is making sure you're strong enough to handle anything when the time comes. To that end, we have to avoid methodologies that risk weakening you."]
[17:48] * Sachiko absently dusted her hands off on her coat. "Yeah, I figured."
[17:51] <Hideki> "It takes time to build trust. We hope you'll bear with us too."
[17:52] * Sachiko nodded at that.
[17:54] <PersonaGM> ["Of course." Said Eliana.]
[17:59] * Dinah was already on her way back to the door out of there. "Yeah, whatever. We goin'?"
[18:03] <Hideki> "We're goin'," Hideki confirmed, moving for the door as well. "See you velvet guys later!"
[18:14] * Sachiko shot another glance at the printing press, then turned to follow the rest of them out. "Seeya."

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