Thou art I! I art thou! Decadence! Rage! Rebellion! Light! Persona!

[10:35] <@PersonaGM> [The next few days of school became increasingly chaotic.-
[10:37] <@PersonaGM> [Asaka didn't show on tuesday, which only fuelled the claims against him. When he didn't show on Wednesday, the narrative changed- some accused him of cowardice whilst others said he'd been hounded or harassed into hiding.-
[10:37] <@PersonaGM> [By thursday, the increasingly virulent discourse on S-Chat began to spill over into small fights here and there.-
[10:38] <@PersonaGM> [Made worse when Asaka actually showed. Thursday was a bad day to be a student in his class. He handed out detentions like confetti.-
[10:38] <@PersonaGM> [In one case he tried to detain an entire middle school class.-
[10:39] <@PersonaGM> [This only worsened the atmosphere around the school. On Friday, Asaka had a class shut down by protesting students, all of whom now faced suspension from the principal. Asaka was sent home early to avoid provoking more trouble.-
[10:41] <@PersonaGM> […-
[10:41] <@PersonaGM> [Hideki had his troubles, too. As the week wore on, Yi became harder to contact. At one point she blew off a meetup- when she texted later, it was because she'd started receiving nasty, threatening phone calls.-
[10:42] <@PersonaGM> [When he did see her, she vibrated with a mix of fear and intensity that left little room for easygoing communication. Everything she did was full-throated, almost dangerously so.-
[10:42] <@PersonaGM> […-
[10:43] <@PersonaGM> [Ai of course would pick up on Yi's distance, but she had her own problems closer to home: rumours kept picking up around the student who was so afraid of Asaka that she threw up, although none realised it was her. Yet.-
[10:44] <@PersonaGM> [Wu meanwhile had showed up on Friday morning bearing a little limp. He'd been not one to back down from the challengers, even when things had turned violent.-
[10:44] <@PersonaGM> […-
[10:45] <@PersonaGM> [Sachiko and Dinah found that there were rumours about them as well. For Dinah they were far more pinpointed, considering the attention she'd drawn to herself.-
[10:45] <@PersonaGM> [Sachiko a little less so- there were other girls who wore pants- but nonetheless, she was finding herself the topic of conversation recently, with some groups falling quiet when she went past.-
[10:45] <@PersonaGM> [Meanwhile, both she and Dinah looked to get in contact with Yi and share their stories.-
[10:45] <@PersonaGM> […-
[10:47] <@PersonaGM> [The four of them would receive an opportunity come Friday afternoon.-
[10:48] <@PersonaGM> [For Sachiko and Dinah, texts from Yi: "I'm meeting an informant this afternoon at the old temple-school. Come along and we can work something out."-
[10:48] <@PersonaGM> [For Ai: "I'm having a meetup this afternoon at the old temple-school to see what we can do with Asaka. Do you mind coming along for me? You can take Hideki along for protection."-
[10:49] <@PersonaGM> [And for Hideki: "I'm meeting an informant at the old temple-school, and I want you to come in case things get bad. Protect Yoshino too if she comes."-
[10:49] <@PersonaGM> [And so it would be that the four of them would find themselves meeting in the lobby of the dorm, at around the same time…]
[10:56] <Sachiko> Sachiko emerged from the elevator, headphones and shades already on, the former playing loud enough for a slight amount of sound to leak out if one were close enough. She wasn't expecting anyone to be there - around people, her posture tended to straighten, the slightly unbalanced, irregular rhythm of her walking tended to even out, but she wasn't bothering to do either. Maybe when she
[10:56] <Sachiko> got out to the road, but not just yet…
[10:57] <Ai> Ai's arrival into the dorm lobby was fairly… unsuspicious? Phone out, jamming to… something. Her earbuds were more subtle than Sachiko's headphones, so the only real sign of WHAT she was listening to, was how her head bobbed to the beat. …Yet. There was a sense the small brunette was distracted, as if on some level the music-listening cheer was a facade for something. …She wasn't completely aware of Sachiko just yet.
[11:02] <Hideki> Hideki hopped carelessly down the stairwell, still in his uniform, although he had ditched the jacket. A sporty red duffle bag was slung over his shoulder. He paused at the bottom, nodding to Sachiko, and eying the oblivious Ai with a grin. Quietly, he slipped up behind the latter and gave her a light, friendly clap on the back.
[11:09] <Dinah> Dinah dropped the last of her cigarette to the ground and stamped it out with her foot as she pushed herself away from the wall of the dorm building, sniffing somewhat and shifting her jacket a little tighter around her. A quick glance at her phone reminded her that the meeting was still on and as she slipped it back into her pocket, she rounded back around to the front and headed back
[11:09] <Dinah> in, eager to get this over with.
[11:12] <Sachiko> It was easy enough to hide the small alterations to her posture behind the bigger movement of removing her headphones. She let the band hang off her neck, and returned Hideki's nod, watching the pair with bright eyes before Dinah arrived. "Well. Guess we couldn't avoid each other forever, even in a place this empty."
[11:17] <Dinah> "Yeah. Damn shame." She grumbled, making it hard to tell if she was joking or not as she moved over to flop down in one of the chairs, propping her feet up on the table in front of her.
[11:19] <Ai> …Which got Ai's attention. "Were we trying to?" She asked. "…I just figured you were so… I shouldn't… a-and what with the. Shenanigans…"
[11:20] <Sachiko> "I wasn't trying to," Sachiko said. She nodded towards Dinah, "She probably was."
[11:23] <Dinah> Dinah said nothing but rather gave a fairly sarcastic thumbs up to the comment.
[11:24] <Sachiko> "See?"
[11:26] <Hideki> "Nice. So are we doin' introductions or what? I mean, we can probably guess identities based on the names in the book over there." Hideki hitched a thumb in the toll-booth's direction. "So…"
[11:27] <Ai> "Dinah." At Dinah. "…And Sachiko by simple elimination. Accents, you know?" She said. "…Ai, because Hideki isn't a girl's name."
[11:27] <Ai> …Pointing at herself.
[11:28] <Sachiko> "Well there you go. No introductions required," she said with a faint smile. "Nice to meet you both, but I should probably get going."
[11:30] <Hideki> "Same," said Hideki. "Let's hang out later, though. "
[11:31] <Ai> "…Yeah." Ai said, trailing off with a curious expression.
[11:35] <Dinah> While the others were speaking, Dinah had fished out her phone and was looking at it, messing around in some game on it. If she intended to leave with them, she wasn't showing it.
[11:35] <Sachiko> Sachiko didn't exactly seem to be waiting for her. She gave a quick "Sure" to Hideki's statement and then headed for the door.
[11:40] <Hideki> "Welp. Let's not be late, huh?" said Hideki glancing over his shoulder at Ai as he too went for the door.
[11:41] <Ai> "Yes!" Ai said, as she was …seemingly more actively fiddling with her phone.
[11:45] <Dinah> Only when everyone else was by the door did Dinah finally drop her feet to the floor to stand, heading off herself.
[11:49] <@PersonaGM> [It wouldn't take long- only a minute- for the group to realise they were heading in the same direction.]
[11:50] <Ai> Ai … Ai had a bit of a face as it set in, but she didn't bother saying tons about it to the others, moving a bit closer to Hideki all the same. …Hmm.
[11:53] <Hideki> "Huh. Should we try racing to see who gets there the fastest?" Apparently someone couldn't resist making at least one dumb jokey comment about it.
[11:55] <Dinah> A frown crossed Dinah's lips as she realized she was suddenly part of a group. The joke just had her sniff as she intentionally kept a bit of distance. "No point. We're all goin' for a meeting, right? Ain't gonna start if we're not all there."
[11:59] <Hideki> "Alright, then let's speculate. Why're we all being invited at the same time?"
[12:01] <Sachiko> "Because conspiracies take longer if you have to repeat yourself," Sachiko said, eyes fixed on the road ahead of her.
[12:02] <Ai> "…Is it really speculation if all of us have every ability to tell the others? …If it's all the same place… Wouldn't it be the same purpose?" She mused. "Or, person. Whatever. …Which in theory means …" Then she sighed. "Mou, it's clear we're gonna be working together on this, and it's some important stuff…" She trailed off, with the slightest note of disapproval.
[12:07] <Hideki> "I'm not too sure about that. About working together, anyway. Important as hell, though."
[12:10] <@PersonaGM> [The awkwardness of walking together was soon broken up by the awkwardness of a taxi, which Sachiko called at the first possible opportunity.-
[12:11] <@PersonaGM> [Sachiko in the front with the driver, the other three squashed together in the back, and go on for about 10 minutes.-
[12:14] <@PersonaGM> [It was fast becoming night time at Sophia Academy, and Lion Hall was deserted. Despite this much of the Academy itself was still busy. Some were students just hanging out, but many were university students, intimidating and otherworldly in the esoterica of the forbidden knowledge of both adulthood and tertiary education.-
[12:14] <@PersonaGM> […-
[12:14] <@PersonaGM> [The taxi dropped them off five minutes away from the old temple school.-
[12:19] <@PersonaGM> [The temple-school was a mish-mash of architectural ideas. The basic layout consisted of a walled campus with a temple in the middle. The walls were painted red, albeit fading; the temple itself was built in the Chinese style, and almost ostentatious, raised on white stone, flanked with statues of intellectuals and scholars, and with double upturned 'artichoke' roofs of golden tile.-
[12:19] <@PersonaGM> [Around the temple were buildings of similar make- libraries and classrooms.-
[12:20] <@PersonaGM> [There were buildings outside the walls, however, and these were completely different; boxy and utilitarian, bearing the marks of Meiji-era construction when the whole country was rushing to industrialise. Western-style squat buildings smashed up against each other, creating a crowded and teeming look.-
[12:22] <@PersonaGM> [Indeed, the only unifying theme of the complex was that it was almost all in disrepair. The central temple was the most well-kept part, but it wasn't kept clean. The buildings became progressively shabbier the farther they got from the landmark temple, until the buildings on the very edge were pretty much condemned dwellings that looked half-collapsed.-
[12:22] <@PersonaGM> [Some were collapsed.-
[12:22] <@PersonaGM> [Some looked as though they'd been bombed in the war and left as is.-
[12:23] <@PersonaGM> [It was quiet- except for the whistling of the wind through eaves and holes and the creaking of tired timbers.]
[12:26] * Hideki marched on without paying much heed to his surrounding. He checked his phone a few times, trying to discern the exact meeting point from the messages he'd been sent.
[12:28] <@PersonaGM> [The messages said in the library… Not that Hideki knew where that was.]
[12:29] <Sachiko> Sachiko had paid the taxi fare herself, and now she lagged a little behind the group as they approached the temple. It was dark enough now that she begrudgingly folded up her sunglasses and stashed them in her pocket, peering around at the ruined buildings with undisguised curiosity.
[12:30] <Dinah> Dinah took the left side when the taxi came up, practically leaning against the door and the window on the inside as it went on. Though as soon as she could, she was out of it, crossing her arms as she started looking around.
[12:32] <Ai> Ai, for her part, was stepping … very carefully. She had some significant fear now - that roofs would collapse, that something was wrong here. Such a creepy, horrible place to meet… why not like. Why not a middlingly popular restaurant? Didn't some spy show talk about that? …She felt like there was a trap…
[12:35] <Hideki> "Library," Hideki said aloud, searching for one of the larger buildings visible from where they were standing. Of course, there was no way to tell what was a library, classroom building or dorm, but they had to start somewhere.
[12:36] <@PersonaGM> [At that moment, a sound cut through the air. The sound of something- or someone- crashing through wood. From a far building on the other side of the temple.]
[12:37] <Hideki> "Welp, that's our first clue!" said Hideki cheerfully, starting in that direction.
[12:38] <Ai> "H… Hideki…!" Ai started padding after him with a worried tone. "Y-you and. There's. …How can you…?!"
[12:40] <Dinah> Just like Hideki, Dinah was off as soon as she heard the sound, her hands noticeably balled up in fists. She didn't know what to epect, which meant she was expecting anything. Including the need to beat someone down.
[12:40] <Sachiko> "… clue's one word for it," Sachiko muttered, hurrying along as best she could. It wasn't like she was going to back out now.
[12:43] <@PersonaGM> [They very nearly got lost. The buildings behind the temple were cluttered with junk- spare crates, abandoned building materials, filing cabinets left here from another era…-
[12:43] <@PersonaGM> [And the rubbish only got busier as they got closer to the source of the sound.-
[12:43] <@PersonaGM> [Which continued: more crashing. A shout. Something delicate smashing.-
[12:45] <@PersonaGM> [Finally they came to a building at the back of the complex. The building seemed to be built through the wall, giving it a weird bisected look. On top of that, the building was worse than in poor condition; it looked practically unfinished. Rotting scaffolds were still bundled up against the walls, next to rusted boxes of tools, as though the building had simply been forgotten about.-
[12:45] <@PersonaGM> [Inside the building were signs of chaos. Holes in walls, animal droppings, animal skeletons, destroyed furniture… Most of it was old.-
[12:47] <@PersonaGM> [… Some of it was new. And a trail of wooden debris and drops of fresh blood pointed them towards a flight of stairs, leading downwards into the ground.]
[12:52] <Hideki> The blood made Hideki speed up, his eyes widening. Clearly someone was in trouble! And it could have been Yi Ji-Hu! "Hey!" he called out, hoping his voice would reach the fleeing person faster than he could. "Wait a minute!"
[12:54] <Sachiko> Sachiko still followed, but it was clear the blood had made her… if not nervous, then definitely wary. When it was on a weird hidden staircase leading into the earth, even moreso.
[12:56] <Ai> Ai followed… slowly. Not enough to lose pace, but. She was now intensely worried she was going to fall in. Or … that someone (some…thing? Something here felt super wrong.) was there, and …hurting Yi? But. …Could she do ANYTHING? "…W-we can't fall…"
[12:58] <Dinah> As soon as Dinah saw the blood, she frowned deeply and rushed past Sachiko and Ai. "Outta the way!" There was definitely some kind of problem here and they likely were going to have a fight on their hands. Hideki looked like he could handle himself but the other two, she wasn't sure about that. But Dinah? Dinah had been itching for a fight for a while now.
[13:00] <@PersonaGM> [The staircase was long and untrustworthy. Ai very nearly did fall as the step beneath her broke, but she was able to dodge out of the way, nearly shoving into Hideki and Sachiko on the way.-
[13:01] <@PersonaGM> [But Dinah was the first one to reach the bottom.-
[13:02] <@PersonaGM> [She encountered an open room, the floor basic wood and covered in dust and drops of blood.-
[13:02] <@PersonaGM> [And a diagram- someone had drawn, in silver marker, what looked like a series of dots around the place in no discernible pattern.-
[13:02] <@PersonaGM> [That someone was probably the person standing at the far end of the hall.-
[13:04] <@PersonaGM> [It was hard to discern features- the person seemed to be tall, but that was it. They were dressed in a long navy blue coat that went to the tops of their knees, under which they seemed to wear a robe of dirty white with a popped collar. They wore a white cloth over the bottom of their face and a black butterfly carnival mask over the top, which they topped off with a black top hat.-
[13:05] <@PersonaGM> [The person's left hand was clenched around a penknife that had been jammed into their side; their right was grasping a black, unconscious cat.-
[13:05] <@PersonaGM> [The dorm cat…?-
[13:05] <@PersonaGM> [Dinah would be able to get a closer look as the masked figure drew the knife from their side with one hand and hurled the cat at Dinah with the other. It slammed square into Dinah's face and knocked her to the ground.]
[13:09] <Dinah> "Hey! Who the hell are yo-!" As soon as she was getting the words out, the cat was being thrown at her. For as slow as it seemed to go in her mind, she was on her backside before she knew it, grunting and gently taking hold of the cat. Holding it out to whoever was closest, she moved to try and get back to her feet, scowling the whole while. "Wrong move, asshole."
[13:14] * Hideki did not take the cat as he raced to the bottom of the stairs; he skidded to a halt at the sight of the pen knife, now a few steps closer to the perp than the prone Dinah. "The hell?! Whoever you are, stop! We've got you outnumbered!"
[13:16] <Ai> As Ai advanced… …she hesitated near the highest step still in the room. And… instead, pulled out her phone. Apps page… Tap.
[13:22] * Sachiko appeared a second later, and with some reluctance accepted the unconscious cat (It was unconscious, right?). She stood back and tried to take in the variables, beginning with the diagram and the creepy circus person inside it. "Ok, wait-"
[13:24] <Dinah> In Dinah's mind, there was a fight already and she was just late to it. The cat had put her down and yet she just didn't want to leave it on the floor. But her eyes focused only on the strange figure the entire time she was waiting. So she didn't really see the weird things all around the room itself. Nor would she really care.-
[13:28] <Dinah> When the cat was taken, it was like the chains had broken and she leaned forward with a dash toward the figure. "I'm comin' for you now!" Moving right past Hideki, she bought her fist back, intent on swinging it ahead and hitting whoever it was they were dealing with, letting out a yell of anger as she did.
[13:29] <Ai> …Once Ai pushed the app she seemed to habitually press whenever something went really wrong? …She then just froze. Staring in uncomprehension.
[13:29] <@PersonaGM> [This is what happened.-
[13:30] <@PersonaGM> [First of all, Ai's phone did nothing.-
[13:30] <@PersonaGM> [Second of all, Hideki and Sachiko stood there and tried to talk to the masked figure, who didn't respond.-
[13:30] <@PersonaGM> [Finally, Dinah rushed the figure.-
[13:31] <@PersonaGM> [The masked figure slashed upwards with the penknife- with their free hand they reached back, grabbed a wooden plank in the wall and wrenched it free.-
[13:31] <@PersonaGM> [A swarm of inky black butterflies burst out of the hole, a great tide that swallowed up the room.-
[13:32] <@PersonaGM> [They were so thick that the others couldn't see more than a few inches past their nose; so loud with the sharp beating of their wings that they heard nothing.-
[13:32] <@PersonaGM> [When the swarm passed…-
[13:32] <@PersonaGM> [The room they were in had changed.-
[13:33] <@PersonaGM> [The staircase was gone, as was the masked figure. The ground was moldy rather than dusty, and the silver marks were gone.-
[13:33] <@PersonaGM> [There were several paths leading out of this room, although such was the gloom that it was hard to make them out and harder to see where they'd go.-
[13:33] <@PersonaGM> [… And the only other sound was the constant drip drip of water.]
[13:37] <Ai> "…Everyone… s… stop." Ai weakly said, stepping forwards, now, into the center of the room.
[13:39] <Hideki> Still in a daze, Hideki took a few more steps forward, staring that the spot the stranger would have been standing in had he remained. "…did that really happen..?"
[13:41] <Dinah> Dinah had been so ready to beat down whoever it was that had thrown the cat at her and yet just before she could, it was taken away from her. Her arms went up in front of her face to shield herself from the butterflies as they flew past her, only pulling them away when everything had subsided. As soon as she could look around and see that the figure was gone, her fists clenched again
[13:41] <Dinah> and a foot raised and stomped. Not in a tantrum-like way but simply an act of aggression.-
[13:41] <Dinah> "Son of a bitch! Where'd you go!?"
[13:44] <Sachiko> Sachiko had drawn into herself as the butterflies swarmed, one arm covering her face while the one holding the cat drew into her chest. When it finally cleared she looked around the changed room, eyes wide and wild. "… what the hell was that?"
[13:44] <@PersonaGM> [Their words echoed, even though the room wasn't large enough for an echo…-
[13:45] <@PersonaGM> [No answers were forthcoming from the ether. Nothing to do but explore.]
[13:46] <Ai> "…Has anyone…" Ai began, before pausing. Thinking if it was right to… "… …I don't think we're anywhere… …real? Or. … …We're going to have to…" Beat. -
[13:46] <Ai> "Okay, different uh, tack. Anyone here played a dungeon crawler?"
[13:51] <Sachiko> Sachiko just stared at Ai with clear suspicion that she'd lost her mind.
[13:51] <Ai> Ai gestured to the room at the instant that stare was delivered. With a - shy, admittedly - expression that suggested she was welcome to try. …Try something.
[13:51] <Ai> We have no idea what.
[13:52] <Hideki> Hideki had moved to the perimeter of the room and was touching the walls a little. Definitely not the same place they had run into. He sighed and reached for his phone again. Better text Yi and tell her they'd be late.
[13:53] * Sachiko made a sound that was somewhere between a sigh and a growl. "Yes, I've played a dungeon crawler. What's your point?"
[13:54] <@PersonaGM> [Hideki's idea that he'd have a signal was sheer naivety by this point.]
[13:54] <Dinah> Dinah had played one or two here and there as well but she was a little too preoccupied with looking around the room and wondering just where their assailant had gone off to.
[13:55] <Ai> "…Butterflies, things suddenly disappearing, people in stupid costumes…" She shook her head. "I don't know what it really is, but…" She looked to the doorways. "We're clearly in a maze. And might have to fight… who knows what. …And that cannot have… have… been normal. Nothing's been fully normal the entire school year."
[13:57] <Sachiko> "You're good at leaps of logic, huh?"
[14:00] * Hideki looked up from his phone darkly. "Shit. Is the cat okay? Is everyone else okay?"
[14:00] <Ai> Ai nodded. "…You don't need to believe me any harder than, uh, that I think it might help us. So. …anyway. What … what we should do is like. Set up our party composition." Pause. "…Okay that's too nerdy, uh." She was blushing red, wiggling her phone-hand. "…A-ah uh. OKAY. We need. Someone to keep a map. Someone with good eyes. Someone who can take a beating and dish a…" -
[14:00] <Ai> "O-oh no! IS that cat okay? Sachiko, you took them, right?"
[14:01] <@PersonaGM> [As the tone of the conversation turned towards the cat, Dinah, wandering around looking for prey, would catch something out of the corner of her eye.-
[14:02] <@PersonaGM> [A flash of blue, coming from one of the paths out- before it quickly vanished behind a turn in the path.]
[14:02] <Sachiko> "It's breathing," she said, quite happy to take the topical off-ramp. "We'll need a vet for anything better than that, unless one of you has some hidden talents.
[14:03] <Sachiko> "
[14:04] <Hideki> "'Fraid not. But it's a good thing he's still alive. Nice catch back there, blue." He gave Dinah a thumbs up.
[14:04] <Hideki> It was a sincere thumbs up. Not a sarcastic one.
[14:05] <Dinah> Dinah stopped in her tracks as soon as she saw the flash of blue, once again firming her fists. The compliment went in one ear and out the other and before she could even think, she was running off after it. At least she had the thought process to call out. "I saw somethin'!"
[14:07] <Sachiko> "Oh come on!" Sachiko shouted. "Come back, dumbass!"
[14:08] <Ai> "…But what di-." …Ai balled her not-phone fist. "H… Hidecchin, a-after her! O-or. YES IF…" Ai was beginning to break into a run towards Dinah, before… stopping after her strides lengthened much. Instead, she. …She pulled out a stylus and pulled up a sketchpad app. And. Was indeed making a map. "If she saw something, her uh. Berserkergang mentality clearly is uh. Hypertuned?" …Heading to the side of that corridor, looking
[14:08] <Ai> at the others. She bounced on her feet nervously, yet couldn't bring herself to run. -
[14:09] <Ai> - "Scout get, I guess? …C-c'mon."
[14:10] <Hideki> "Well, it's not like we can go back the way we came." Hideki shrugged, glancing to Sachiko. "May as well?"
[14:14] * Sachiko just shook her head and followed as best she could. "Yeah, let's just run into the weird dungeon with no plan, what the hell?"
[14:17] <Ai> "We would've had a plan. She ruined it." Ai said … surprisingly darkly. "So our plan is salvaging the plan."
[14:18] <Sachiko> "'Let's assume we've been transported into a dungeon crawler' is not the same thing as a plan, Yoshino."
[14:19] <@PersonaGM> [AND OFF THEY WENT.-
[14:20] <@PersonaGM> [Dinah would soon find herself hopelessly lost. This place had no rhyme, no reason- corridors went wherever they wanted, up, down, backwards… It soon became impossible to tell if she wasn't even going in circles.-
[14:20] <@PersonaGM> [All she had were occasional glimpses of blue.-
[14:20] <@PersonaGM> [And all the others had were Dinah's faint footsteps.-
[14:20] <@PersonaGM> [So all in all, it was a miracle when they emerged into an open space.-
[14:21] <@PersonaGM> [It was obvious by now, if it hadn't been before, that the place they were in was too big to be contained in a single building- they had to be underground.-
[14:21] <@PersonaGM> [But this place…-
[14:24] <@PersonaGM> [It looked vaguely like a library, but if the books were made up entirely of those that people forgot to return or, if they did, shoved shyly through the 'return' slot without realising that the library was a condemned building. Shelves of books littered the area, most made of rotted wood, many sinking into the earth, where the wooden planks had turned more into pulp. Many a shelf was simply lying on its back, the books decaying.-
[14:25] <@PersonaGM> [And there was the water. Stale, stagnant, brackish, putrid stinking slimy leechy water, lying in puddles, dripping from the roof, oozing off the walls. The place felt cold and humid at the same time.-
[14:25] <@PersonaGM> [It was a place that no one could like.-
[14:26] <@PersonaGM> [And that was before something distant moved, something large enough to set the puddles rippling.]
[14:30] <Hideki> Hideki's reaction was… confusion. A library. Was this the same library Yi wanted to meet up at? It was disgusting! Would she really stay in a place like this? -
[14:32] <Hideki> "Hey, um. Someone please tell me we just stumbled across our intended destination by complete accident."
[14:32] <Dinah> Wherever this place lead, they could find a way out of it. Dinah knew that much. That was why she rushed forward without caring too much. That and the rage, of course. The only thing that really managed to stop her was the stench of the place they ended up in. Bringing her arm to her nose, using the sleeve of her jacket to filter out what she could of it.-
[14:33] <Dinah> "Ugh." Her eyes darted to the sight of movement, mouth tightening into a frown again, though this time she didn't charge forward. "Hey! Who's there?!"
[14:35] <Ai> "…There is nothing we intended about this. W…" Ai then frowned again, and … Decided to sidle away from Dinah's position. Far. Instead looking to Sachiko to continue the argument with one last bit. "…IF we set up roles we could explore. It's … it was an analogy. But you can't just… think there hasn't been some unreal things happening. …I can't be the only one, right? The blue flashes, the cat's inexplicable… the…" Her steam
[14:35] <Ai> was beginning to fail, as she noticed just what Dinah was yelling at. Or, rather. Noticed that Dinah was yelling at something unknown. Eyes narrowed.
[14:37] <Sachiko> Sachiko was not looking well, by this point. Trying to keep up with the rest of them had left her in obvious pain, and by the time they finally slowed down in the library she was barely keeping up. Waiting on the threshold, she leaned on the doorway and tried to catch her breath, occasionally shooting venomous looks at Ai as she refused to stop talking. "Dinah, shut up."
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [So as it turns out, they make lots of noise.-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [Just shouting into the void and all that.-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [(A lot of it is Dinah, but the others too.)-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [The rumbling stopped.-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [… Then it started, much faster and heavier.-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [It was coming closer.-
[14:38] <@PersonaGM> [And what 'it' was became obvious immediately.-
[14:39] <@PersonaGM> [A worm.-
[14:39] <@PersonaGM> [A great, hulking pink worm, the size of a large truck.-
[14:40] <@PersonaGM> [Its body was covered in segmented scales, and it stank of ammonia and dying plant matter.-
[14:40] <@PersonaGM> [It charged towards them, emerged from the dark, stared at them with an eyeless face- and opened its mouth to reveal great canine teeth the size of an elephant's tusks, along with rows upon rows of tinier, sharper teeth.-
[14:41] <@PersonaGM> [It roared, spraying hot biological air onto their faces.]
[14:51] <Dinah> Dinah didn't even hear the demand being thrown her way, instead keeping her gaze on the…whatever it was that was moving as she called out to it. And her eyes stayed on it as it showed what it was, even if what it was….was incomprehensible.-
[14:53] <Dinah> "What….the hell?" She was ready for a fight, that much was certain. But this was not something that could be fought. Even she understood that. Her eyes shot this way and that for a direction to get to that would leave her out of the things path and her legs took her there as fast as she could go.
[14:53] <Sachiko> It may have been an understatement to say Sachiko wasn't exactly thinking clearly, by that point. The truth was she wasn't really thinking at all. Perhaps she expected the others to follow her example when she simply turned on her heel and ran back the way she came, still limping heavily and thoughtlessly cradling the cat with one arm, but either way she ran.
[14:55] <Ai> Pause. Freeze. Ai was staring again, and trying to process this. Worm. Worm creature, giant. …Sandworms are dangerous foes in desert areas because of Dune references and she never read that book series anyway and doesn't remember how good the japanese subs on the - wait, rewind. So it's a worm and it's big and it has scales and why does it have scales and teeth it's a worm not a - …FOCUS. It smells hoorrible why does it smell bad why is
[14:55] <Ai> it breathing on her what… why. Why… Was she. It could fit her inside of it couldn't it. And all those teeth would… they're big and like saws and buzz buzz chop whirr. …Of note, like, full seconds were passing as this wonderful avalanche of nonsense was flying through the girl's head. -
[14:55] <Ai> And, standing there, Ai was doing something Hideki has already seen - hyperventilating, eyes dilating, shakes, mumbling (…something about scales?) and shivering and starting to tear up and… That time limit ended. It took uncomfortably long for her to react for real. -
[14:55] <Ai> "H-h-hiiiyaaaaaaa! Not that! D-don't eat me! Stink… no! Stop. Go away go away go away!" Backpedaling, screaming, sobbing, and pushing up against a bookshelf, only to scream out loud at feeling something bump her. Her heart sank at feeling something icky on her back and then turned around and… She couldn't see. She could, but nothing… clear. Ai just. Her brain was moving so fast now with thoughts and data and junk data that all her
[14:55] <Ai> eyes even processed now was 'not moving, not obstacle', and soon was tearing off into the distance, wailing inconsolably.
[15:00] * Hideki gagged, hands over his mouth. He could not even understand what he was looking at, let alone what was happening with his fellow explorers, but for a split horrifying second he found himself in danger of being alone with the thing as they made their respective retreats, some silent, some screaming wildly. "Z- FUCK." -
[15:01] <Hideki> He sprinted. Wasn't sure where, didn't care, as long as he was away - far away - and still breathing!
[15:02] <@PersonaGM> […-


-Sachiko-
[15:02] <@PersonaGM> [The twisting corridors betrayed the blind trust of Sachiko's panic. Not that she could tell.-
[15:03] <@PersonaGM> [She limp-ran, cat in arm, through samey hallways and along warped paths, heedless of where she was going.-
[15:03] <@PersonaGM> [Until finally Sachiko came to another room, far from the bestial worm…-
[15:04] <@PersonaGM> [There was less smell of mold here, although foul smells regardless- the water could be smelled, still, as could some sticky warm substance that permeated the air. But it was too dark for her to see more than a few metres.]
[15:10] <Sachiko> … a new place. Combined with the distance, it gave her enough room to bootstrap herself back into rational thought. Not that this was necessarily a positive thing; Rational thought let her see how badly she'd gotten herself lost. Rational thought let her consider that if something like that lived down here, then it might not live alone - and all she had to defend herself was harsh language and a cat.-
[15:10] <Sachiko> And thus, in the interests of testing her own weapons:
[15:10] <Sachiko> "Fuck," she muttered, staring down at the cat. She looked back at the path behind her, then at the path ahead of her, and found them equally dark and equally inhospitable.
[15:11] <@PersonaGM> [The cat remained still.-
[15:11] <@PersonaGM> [… But looking forward, Sachiko would notice something near her foot: a lighter.]
[15:16] <Sachiko> She stared at it for a long time before picking it up and flicking the wheel to test it, holding it away from herself.
[15:22] <@PersonaGM> [The light it cast wasn't much, but it was enough to get a feel for the place.-
[15:23] <@PersonaGM> [It looked to be a drainage facility for some kind of factory. Dominant were two huge drains pumping that sick water into the area; the water flowed into a pit in the middle of the room, from which a faint glow emanated.-
[15:23] <@PersonaGM> [Here and there were waste products, which Sachiko would have to get closer to examine.]
[15:28] <Sachiko> And what a tempting prospect that was! Still, she wasn't ready to go back into the tunnels just yet - she needed to recover, that was all - and so she edged a little bit closer anyway.
[15:29] <@PersonaGM> [and so she edged closer.-
[15:29] <@PersonaGM> [She caught a whiff of smell from the product. Not biological, at least not in the usual sense.-
[15:29] <@PersonaGM> [It was off-white, pallid really, and smelled of tallow and burning-
[15:29] <@PersonaGM> [… Wax.-
[15:29] <@PersonaGM> [She was in a waxworks.-
[15:30] <@PersonaGM> [And now that she looked, sitting on a shelf on the wall were four wax mannequins staring at her, their features too deep in gloom to see.]
[15:33] <Sachiko> … yeah, that did not really encourage her. She jumped as the human shapes emerging from the gloom, but even when it became clear they weren't exactly people she continued to back away. Was she curious? Naturally, but she also felt a deep certainty that she wouldn't want to see them up close.
[15:37] <@PersonaGM> [She saw a silhouette of a head turn. "You want some wax?"]
[15:39] <Sachiko> "… No thanks," she said, a little surprised by how calm her own voice sounded. She glanced back over her shoulder at the path she'd arrived down, knowing that even if she still had the ability to run it wouldn't last long.
[15:41] <@PersonaGM> ["Sounds like bullshit to me." Said the waxwork figure. She climbed off her perch and walked toward Sachiko- not aggressively, though steadily.-
[15:41] <@PersonaGM> [Female, with long blonde hair and unblemished waxy skin…-
[15:42] <@PersonaGM> [But as she emerged into the light, she saw that the left half of her face was rotted off, somehow, revealing amethyst-dark human skull.-
[15:42] <@PersonaGM> ["The way you walk, the way you hold yourself, your body's crying out for wax. It's weird at first, but you get used to it, and then you can't live without it."]
[15:46] <Sachiko> "I'm managing with what I have," she heard herself say, even as her stomach lurched sharply.
[15:47] <@PersonaGM> ["Suit yourself." Said the mannequin. She reached down into the puddle of wax, scooped some up and threw it onto her face. She pushed, shoved, adjusted- and the exposed skull was now hidden under perfect face.-
[15:48] <@PersonaGM> ["I mean, you are suiting yourself, after all. You chose to come here, like we all did."]
[15:54] <Sachiko> "Doesn't seem to me like I chose any of this."
[15:56] <@PersonaGM> ["It doesn't, at first." Said the waxwork mannequin. "But then you stay here, and you start realising… Yeah, you kinda did."-
[15:58] <@PersonaGM> ["You do your best not to think about it, of course." Said a second mannequin from the shadows. "But you can admit it here. We all did."-
[15:58] <@PersonaGM> ["'It really hurts right now'."]
[16:04] <Sachiko> Sachiko's backpedalling stopped quite suddenly, her expression growing fierce. "I'm doing fine."
[16:08] <@PersonaGM> ["Will you be doing fine when they start taking club submissions?" Asked the first waxwork. "I mean I get it, maybe you didn't want to join a sports club. But it'd be nice to have the option, wouldn't it?"-
[16:09] <@PersonaGM> ["The wax can help with that. Let us tug out all the bad flesh and slick the wax in." Said the first waxwork. "We can help you, you know?"-
[16:11] <@PersonaGM> ["We're only trying to help." Said a distant third. "I came here because I knew I'd never be able to keep up with a boy- any boy- without the wax."-
[16:11] <@PersonaGM> ["Or a girl." Said a fourth, a more masculine voice this time.]
[16:16] <Sachiko> "And then what?" she asked, fury written all over her face and posture now. "I sit at the bottom of a sewer and mope with the rest of you? No thanks."-
[16:16] <Sachiko> "Pain's better."
[16:16] <@PersonaGM> [The first waxwork stared at Sachiko enviously. "I remember feeling like that. And it felt so good to feel like that."-
[16:16] <@PersonaGM> ["But it doesn't stick around. It wears you down eventually. And then you come here."]
[16:20] <Sachiko> That made her quiet, at least for a moment.-
[16:20] <Sachiko> "… yeah. Probably," she said eventually. The fury was gone all at once, but the carefully-cultivated certainty she'd built inside herself to cling to remained.-
[16:20] <Sachiko> "But not yet."
[16:21] <@PersonaGM> [The first waxwork cracked her neck. It sounded awful.-
[16:22] <@PersonaGM> ["Well, there's nothing wrong in hurrying the process up."]
[16:29] <Sachiko> Without breaking eye contact, she set the cat down in the corner with a barely audible murmur of apology. Then she stood tall, raised her fists and mustered up a smile.
[16:30] <@PersonaGM> [The waxwork stared, raised a hand, and fired a gout of fire directly at Sachiko.]
[16:38] <Sachiko> It swallowed her up before she had a chance to move. She screamed with a pitch and ferocity that would've been blood-curdling had anyone with blood been within earshot.-
[16:39] <Sachiko> She was ablaze from head to toe, deaf and blind, nerve endings screaming and dying and screaming again.
[17:02] <@PersonaGM> [The flames swallowed Sachiko up in a haze of pain and smoke.-
[17:03] <@PersonaGM> [She fell to the ground. A moment later the waxworks began throwing wax onto her. Wherever it hit, she went numb.-
[17:03] <@PersonaGM> [They were replacing her, bit by bit.-
[17:03] <@PersonaGM> [And all she could see was smoke…-
[17:03] <@PersonaGM> [… And a bright blue butterfly.-


-Dinah-
[15:04] <@PersonaGM> [And so Dinah ran, her fists and rage useless against a great worm, relying on her speed and stamina to keep her alive.-
[15:04] <@PersonaGM> [There was little time for orientation here, indeed not that Dinah seemed to reserve much time for it anyway.-
[15:05] <@PersonaGM> [And so the corridors delivered her to a place.-
[15:05] <@PersonaGM> [It…-
[15:05] <@PersonaGM> [Was a bridge.-
[15:05] <@PersonaGM> [Albeit a destroyed, crumbling bridge, now little more than a platform jutting out over… Nothing.-
[15:06] <@PersonaGM> [The bridge was made of silver, and covered in a thick layer of ice. Indeed the air here was incredibly cold, and brushes of snow kept curling around her.-
[15:06] <@PersonaGM> [As her eyes adjusted and the panicked breaths left her chest, Dinah would realise two things-
[15:06] <@PersonaGM> [There was a strange pink glow coming from the nothing over which the bridge sat.-
[15:06] <@PersonaGM> [… And there was something closeby that chittered.]
[15:11] <Dinah> Dinah was always more of a physical person, which came out in various ways here and there. It wasn't that she participated in extra things at her old school. She never went on track or volleyball or anything like that. And she wasn't outdoors-y. But she still got around. The only real exposure to something structured was the martial arts class she'd taken over break. And even that
[15:11] <Dinah> wasn't quite as formal as it should have been.-
[15:12] <Dinah> But that physicality came in handy at least, letting her run and run and run for her life away from whatever the hell it was that had been in the Library. Her hands grazed along the walls here and there as she rounded corners and charged down corridors, looking only for a place to be until she actually found one.-
[15:14] <Dinah> Not that it was exactly ideal. As she finally came to a halt, her breaths were filled with cold air that made her wince and tug her jacket tighter around her. Footsteps moved forward, looking out to the pink glow until the slight sound nearby drew her attention. Sharp as she'd been the whole night, she shifted, not sure if fight or flight would be the proper response this time, yet
[15:14] <Dinah> ready for both.
[15:17] <@PersonaGM> ["Ahhhh." The sound was raspy and yet also… Clicky.-
[15:18] <@PersonaGM> ["Look where her rage has gotten her. Her power has her lost and alone at our silver bridge."]
[15:21] <Dinah> "Who the hell is that!?" She was still catching her breath, so the edge wasn't quite there in her voice immediately and yet after a few seconds, she stood up fully, looking around. "What the hell is going on?!"
[15:24] <@PersonaGM> ["Ask-ask questions of us? The sages?" The voice clack-chitter-cackled.-
[15:24] <@PersonaGM> ["Prostrate your self-self before us and beg us, then we will help."]
[15:28] <Dinah> This whole night was one screw-up after the other. Going to some meeting and ending up getting stuck in this place. Getting hit in the face by a cat. Not getting to make the guy that did it pay. Having to run this way and that to find something, anything, to try and get her revenge and then having to run for her life in the most literal sense.-
[15:28] <Dinah> To say Dinah was fed up would be quite the understatement.-
[15:29] <Dinah> "Fuck you!"
[15:30] <@PersonaGM> ["Fuck-fuck you!" Came the retort.-
[15:30] <@PersonaGM> [From a different direction than the first one.-
[15:30] <@PersonaGM> [Multiples.-
[15:32] <@PersonaGM> ["You don't know who we are-are, do you, lost one?" Asked the first. "You have no idea where you are, or how to get out?"-
[15:32] <@PersonaGM> ["We can help you."-
[15:32] <@PersonaGM> ["We see things. The past-"-
[15:32] <@PersonaGM> ["The present-" said a second-
[15:32] <@PersonaGM> ["The future-"-
[15:35] <@PersonaGM> ["And we can help you, powerless one." Said the first. "All you need to do-do is bite your tongue, trammel your worthless pride and ask."]
[15:40] <Dinah> "If you're gonna help, then just help me! After all this bullshit, I am not in the mood for any of this cryptic nonsense! I'm-" She sneezed. Grumbling and pulling her jacket around her, she took the momentary distraction to try and get a grip on herself. She'd been unhinged for a while now, and with no payoff. The last time she'd had it this bad…well, there had been a 'payoff'.-
[15:41] <Dinah> Yanking out her pack of cigarettes, she looked around, figuring it wasn't like she was 'indoors' anymore and went to stick one in her mouth, retrieving her lighter afterward. Shielding the end of the stick with one hand, the other lit the end of the smoke, giving her a good drag off of it to clear her nerves a little bit, tightly wound as they were.-
[15:42] <Dinah> "Fine." The word was still clipped and angry, though it followed again, with a little more control. "Fine. Can you please tell me where I am?"
[15:43] <@PersonaGM> [A rush of cold wind blew her cigarette out.-
[15:44] <@PersonaGM> ["You're at our silver bridge!"]
[15:45] <Dinah> And there it was again.-
[15:47] <Dinah> Raking a hand through her dyed hair, she let out a grunt of frustration as she moved to relight her cigarette. "I can see that! That doesn't help me! What is the silver bridge for? Because it's pretty goddamn broken right now!"
[15:48] <@PersonaGM> [A chittering sigh.-
[15:48] <@PersonaGM> ["Aren't you American?" Came the second voice.]
[15:49] <Dinah> "What does that even mat-!" She stopped herself, her eyes clenching shut while she just flick, flick, flicked her lighter until finally her cigarette was lit again, giving her another puff of smoke to breathe out. "Yes."
[15:50] <@PersonaGM> [Whoosh! Cold air blew it out again.-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["Well maybe it doesn't matter. There's a lot you don't know." Said the second voice. "Maybe you haven't heard of the silver bridge."-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["Or maybe you haven't heard of our prophecies, or the sightings over the years. Maybe you haven't heard anything about that."-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["But I absolutely-"-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["Positively-"-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["Guarantee-tee-"-
[15:51] <@PersonaGM> ["That you've heard of-"-
[15:52] <@PersonaGM> [A shape burst out of the air and struck Dinah square in the back. It hurt like a mack truck.-
[15:53] <@PersonaGM> [It… Was tall and thin. Two metres tall, and insectoid. Most of its body was dark blue and furry, with bright red eyes. But most eyecatching were its great wings, wings of some kind of insect, but fluorescent and shimmering like rainbows.-
[15:53] <@PersonaGM> [It turned Dinah over and planted its foot in her stomach. "The motherfucking Mothman?!"]
[15:57] <Dinah> Every fiber of her being was becoming strained as the frustration set in again and again, like waves crashing upon the same beach over and over. The two puffs of smoke she'd gotten weren't enough, leaving her desperate to spark up again. "Can you fucking stop the wind or something if you're all-powerful or whatever?!"-
[15:58] <Dinah> But she had bigger worries soon enough. The hit in her back sent her sprawling forward and soon she was rolled over onto her back, grunting as a foot slammed down on her stomach.-
[15:59] <Dinah> The pain was blinding for a moment. But when she opened her eyes, there was nothing there but rage, fury. "I don't give a fuck what you are! You're dead!" Her hands went to its leg then, wrenching and trying to shove it to the side to get herself free.
[16:00] <@PersonaGM> [The leg didn't move.-
[16:00] <@PersonaGM> ["Cool job, muscles."]
[16:03] <Dinah> Dinah struggled and flailed under the foot, fighting to get free, showing the extent of her rage in how hard she was trying. "Fuck you!" Again, her finger worked at her lighter, flick, flick, flicking it, though not to light a cigarette this time. Even if the flame blew out, she didn't much need it, so much as just the sudden heat against the metal before she jabbed it - hard - at
[16:03] <Dinah> the Mothman's ankle.
[16:04] <@PersonaGM> [The Mothman yeeped and leapt backwards.-
[16:05] <@PersonaGM> [A moment later, a gust of icy wind blew the flame out and slammed Dinah's hand against the silver ground- where it froze solid.-
[16:06] <@PersonaGM> ["You're always so angry." Said the first Mothman, hiding in the sky. "What makes you so mad-mad?"-
[16:06] <@PersonaGM> ["Well, we know that." Said the second Mothman. "You're bad luck, Dinah. You know that, right?"]
[16:08] <Dinah> As soon as the Mothman was off of her, she tried to jump up, though the wind caught her hand and froze it to the ground, making her yell out. Whether it was in pain or anger, it was hard to tell. But there was still rage in her eyes as she glared up at the Mothmen. "Shit like this makes me mad! What kinda stupid question is that?!"-
[16:09] <Dinah> But it was the second one that drew her ire next, her arm jerking slightly to try and pull her hand free, even if it was futile. "Fuck you." Her rage was tempered slightly with bitterness in that response, the malice only growing stronger all the while.
[16:12] <@PersonaGM> ["Yeah. You know people avoid you for reasons besides your shitty attitude, right?" Said the second Mothman. "I can see it, I can. You're… Just bad luck. Bad things happen to people close to you."-
[16:12] <@PersonaGM> ["Keeping you here would, on reflection, be a karmic bonus." Said the first Mothman. "Helps us earn-earn our freedom."]
[16:14] <Dinah> "People avoid me because I want 'em to!" Again, her arm tugged and tugged, if just to prove she was still fighting with every fiber of her being. But her eyes narrowed as they continued on, her movements becoming more furious.-
[16:16] <Dinah> "You shut the fuck up!" Grunts as she struggled to free her trapped hand rushed out, making her look almost feral at this point. "You let me out of this and I'll show you just how much fuckin' bad luck I can give you! There's no way you're gonna keep me here!"
[16:17] <@PersonaGM> ["Why do you want people to avoid you?" Said the second Mothman.]
[16:22] <Dinah> "Because I'm fuckin' sick of everyone! 'Oh hey, I'm Lucia Broussard's kid' so that must mean I'll just give 'em whatever they want, or my mom'll get 'em in show business or they'll get famous and rich if they annoy me enough that I kick their ass!" Yank. Yank. Yank. "Who fuckin' cares about Dinah! Dinah's nobody! Dinah's just someone you go to when you want something!"
[16:25] <@PersonaGM> ["Dinah's a means." Said the second Mothman. "She's a way to get something you want, but even if you do get it, ooooh, she sticks to you, her stink rubs off on you."-
[16:27] <@PersonaGM> ["She's a curse-curse." Said the first. "Someone you send at someone else to hurt-hurt them. Doesn't have to be the fists she loves so much. Mishaps on set, detention because you had to back her up at assembly…"-
[16:27] <@PersonaGM> ["… A bad car crash…"-
[16:27] <@PersonaGM> ["Yeah." Said the second. "Stay here. Let us go in your place. We'll make it all better."]
[16:29] <Dinah> The struggling and the fighting continued on and on as they taunted her more and more. With grit teeth, she seemed intent on getting free one way or another. No matter how long it took.-
[16:30] <Dinah> Her entire body froze as they mentioned a car crash, however.-
[16:30] <Dinah> "Don't."-
[16:31] <Dinah> "Don't you fucking dare." It wasn't anger in her voice anymore. It was hate. It was venom. If it was possible to even look at them with more contempt than before, she was doing it now. If looks could kill, they would be dead three times over already.-
[16:33] <Dinah> "I don't care if I have to gnaw my fucking arm off. I'll do it. Just so I can kill both of you. Just so I can rip your goddamn wings off and throw you off your fucking precious bridge." She shifted then, her foot moving to try and kick at the ice around her hand now, a renewed vigor in her, as if there never was any to begin with.-
[16:33] <Dinah> "There is no goddamn way you two are leaving here. But I am. One way or another."
[16:34] <@PersonaGM> ["Why do you even want to leave? What do you have in this world that makes you happy besides tobacco?"]
[16:36] <Dinah> What did she have, indeed? Not a lot. It wasn't like she had a life that she was happy with, that she enjoyed on any level. She barely hit 'content' most days.-
[16:37] <Dinah> But that wasn't the point. "Right now, I want to leave because that's what you want. And you're not getting what you want. You're gonna get what you deserve."
[16:38] <@PersonaGM> ["I see that you've realised that your anger hasn't helped, so you're just gonna add more anger?" Said the second Mothman. "Not complaining! Please do! The more angry you become, the more you show us how little you really are."]
[16:43] <Dinah> "Oh, it is helping though." Dinah stared at them both, hard, her foot kicking the ice as her arm yanked and jerked. She was sore. It was like an exercise that she'd done far too much of but she didn't care.-
[16:44] <Dinah> "I'm gonna get out of this. And there's nothin' you can fuckin' do about it. Else you would've by now. You can't leave here unless I let you. You can't keep this up forever. And when I'm free, I'm gone. And so will you. Just in a different way."
[16:45] <@PersonaGM> [The second mothman stared.-
[16:46] <@PersonaGM> [Then it walked over, picked up her smokes and threw them off the side.]
[16:46] <Dinah> It didn't matter.-
[16:48] <Dinah> "Oh no, I have to buy more now." Her tone was decidedly flat as her gaze bore into them, the hate, the malice still strong in her eyes. "It'll be a fuckin' celebration."
[16:50] <@PersonaGM> ["So if you went back in time, would you still meet up with her?" Said the Mothman. "Despite knowing that she'd be alive if you didn't? Asking for a friend."]
[16:51] <Dinah> Dinah spit at the Mothman, still working her futile struggle as if it was going to get her somewhere eventually. "Ask closer, motherfucker."
[16:52] <@PersonaGM> [The Mothman walked right over to her and stuck its face into hers. "I said, would you still meet up with her, if you knew that she'd be alive if you were not around polluting her karma?"]
[16:58] <Dinah> "Wow."-
[16:59] <Dinah> It was all she could say when it actually worked. She would've laughed if there weren't more pressing things at hand. Instead, her forehead shot forward to slam right against the mothman then while her free hand moved, gripping at one of its wings with a death grip, yanking as hard as she could. "What do you think?!"
[16:59] <@PersonaGM> [It was like hitting iron.-
[16:59] <@PersonaGM> [The Mothman pulled a hand back and punched her across the jaw.-
[17:00] <@PersonaGM> ["I think you're a living, breathing curse that makes the world worse, a malediction with no supervision."-
[17:01] <@PersonaGM> [The first Mothman clacked. "The world would be better off-off without you. And you've done nothing to prove otherwise. You lash out, you hurt. You exist only to feed the anger that keeps you going. We're taking it. You're already starting to fade."-
[17:01] <@PersonaGM> ["And what's left without the rage-rage? Emptiness. At least we provided a bridge for your convenience."-
[17:01] <@PersonaGM> [Punch.-
[17:01] <@PersonaGM> [Punch.-
[17:01] <@PersonaGM> [Something cracked. Blood filled Dinah's eyes.-
[17:02] <@PersonaGM> [Her vision swam…-
[17:02] <@PersonaGM> [… But in the middle of the blur, she saw something clear as day.-
[17:02] <@PersonaGM> [A bright blue butterfly.-


-Ai-
[15:07] <@PersonaGM> [Ai ran, blood pumped through her veins, carrying that panic throughout her body, driving her from danger and into the unknown.-
[15:07] <@PersonaGM> [Ai, in truth, remembered little of it.-
[15:08] <@PersonaGM> [… But now she found herself…-
[15:08] <@PersonaGM> [On a train.-
[15:08] <@PersonaGM> [The walls here were nondescript, almost like fog made solid, and it was too dark for her to see more than a metre away.-
[15:08] <@PersonaGM> [Still. Quiet. Dark.-
[15:08] <@PersonaGM> [… Until she heard a wing beat.]
[15:12] <Ai> Ai had… had a few moments to …settle herself, breathing hard, but starting to slow down. Quiet. With nobody to convince, she can be quiet. …Bat. …right? Why are there bats in a train? Why is there a train? Why is the train made of f… ENOUGH. -
[15:12] <Ai> Ai just … leaned against a wall, looking for a hiding spot. And. Waited. "I knew I was right. I know… th-this isn't possible." she whispered, in spite of her own knowledge quiet would uh, help.
[15:14] <@PersonaGM> ["That's what we all said." Said a soft, feminine voice near Ai's ear.-
[15:14] <@PersonaGM> ["Until it happened."]
[15:15] <Ai> …Horror. For once, Ai didn't jump or yelp. …She… slowly turned, instead. "…But I knew it wasn't like… real…" She wanted to rebut them too. But… Too much suspense.
[15:18] <@PersonaGM> [Ai came face to face with an incredibly beautiful woman.-
[15:19] <@PersonaGM> [It was hard to give proper justice to her beauty. She was a young woman with light caramel skin and long, shiny hair of blue. She had bright green catlike eyes.-
[15:20] <@PersonaGM> [She wore nothing on her exquisite body except a skintight leotard that hugged and tucked every full curve of what body it covered, even highlighting her navel. She had one long bare leg folded over the other.-
[15:20] <@PersonaGM> [And wings. Big, batlike wings.-
[15:22] <@PersonaGM> [Yet her expression was one of childlike innocence. "Look at you. So young." She murmured.]
[15:26] <Ai> "… And…? And so…?" Ai struggled to rebut, as she backed off just enough to sit on a nearby bench - because she was trying not to completely fall over. Her eyes were defocusing at least once a second, and sooner than later, the girl would whimper or even make weird pitiful noises of utter confusion. Okay, let's take stock of the situation. There is a succubus or other nondemonination… denominational! Demon! …Who seems… i…
[15:26] <Ai> innocent? Really pretty but succubus … but don't they go after men? (A fact she considered extremely distantly. Too distantly.). "But I know it's not real, and that's why it's… the most real. O-o-or it's like unreality but it's real but without… …" She pouted, cheeks bright red and fear giving way to a violently heady mix of emotions on top of it. "I-I-I knew what was going on and… nobody… a-and…" -
[15:27] <Ai> Ai's eyes couldn't help lingering on the clothed navel, even if she tried to look away and not look overly interested. … Which made her look at the really shiny inhuman hair. Wait, no. Stop! …But then those eyes, and the strange irises a-. And th-… She whimpered again, even more upset than before. "I c-can't put up much of a fight, so…"
[15:28] <@PersonaGM> ["Then you belong here, with us." Said the girl, her voice honey and warm.]
[15:30] <Ai> A long pause. Ai couldn't accept that. She couldn't help but to stare, but … this was bad, right? "…Can we… talk? I. I uh. I don't know what you do, to… w-weak little girls that blunder out of their r… reality and… who are all soft and d-d-delicate and scared and vulnerable without much power after a really bad week anyway … a-and." She paused again, thinking. Ai Yoshino what in the hell are you doing? "…I wanna talk.
[15:30] <Ai> About… something. Even if I just have to pretend. It's lonely…"
[15:37] <@PersonaGM> ["Oh baby, oh sweetheart." Said the Lilim softly. "I know it is. Tell me whatever you need to hear. We're here for you."]
[15:40] <Ai> A long sigh. "… …So what's really happening…? Everyone seems so mad when I try to explain what… what's actually happening." She began, letting it out and seeming to just. Grow at ease. …Even if, maybe, she shouldn't…? Demons… tempters? Yet… Whatever. "…There's so many things that aren't what they should be. They'll all call me some chuuni kid that might be in first year but hasn't left middle school in her heart.
[15:40] <Ai> …B-but. You're here. That's a lot of proof! And th-that worm thing. The butterflies too, and the illogical, impossible topography. The flashes of light and…" She pouted, tears flowing again - if, this time, not in sobs. "S-so many of them were acting stupid, o-or even acting smart in mean ways. I don't get it…"
[15:45] <@PersonaGM> ["You're in the Library of the Endlings, baby girl." Said the demon. "Do you know what an Endling is? It means the last of something's kind."-
[15:46] <@PersonaGM> ["That is… What we are. Endlings. The last remnants of someone gone."]
[15:48] <Ai> "…" Ai sighed, making a pitiful little mewl. "…Well. That's not why I'm here. …I'm sorry for what happened to you. Whatever it was. Whoever you… were." She said. "…Uh. Is there s… something I can do?"
[15:48] <Ai> She seemed to leave that… oddly open. Like she was legitimately asking.
[15:56] <@PersonaGM> ["Oh darling, that's nice of you to ask." Said the Lilim. "Tell you what… How about you help me get out of here?"]
[15:59] <Ai> Sudden full stop. A record scratch played loudly in Ai's head, in spite … well she never did ever have a record and… FOCUS. "…Is that a thing I should be doing…?" She tilted her head a little, as if confused. On one hand, DEMON. On the other hand… uhm. …She could be forgiven for a few specific biases here and there. …But SPECIFICALLY TEMPTRESS THO. …But I mean… if you think about it… WAIT it makes LESS sense the more
[15:59] <Ai> you think … but then if you don't think… -
[15:59] <Ai> Ai just sort of sat there after her question, staring at both nothing and the lilim's uh. Lap. Yes, lap. A small line of drool formed on her lips.
[16:01] <@PersonaGM> [The Lilim blushed. "Oops. Am I distracting you? Should I cover up?"]
[16:04] <Ai> Plip. That was about what the sudden break in the distraction got. "I mean I have a blazer you could use but I think the … it… and if I do that aren't I stripping fo…" Her cheeks got even more red. "OKAY LOOK. U-u-uh. You seem like a really nice girl but I'm sorta scared that the whole Obvious Demon Thing means that taking you out of here wouldn't be safe. …For someone. B-but that's important! …A-ah… I really am helpless…"
[16:07] <@PersonaGM> ["So if I looked less like a demon, I'd be more worth helping?"]
[16:11] <Ai> "Mou…" Obvious distress. "…If someone looks like a demon, they may be a demon, and the lore about … really uh, pretty demons, is temptation into. …Well uh I guess the original lore is something about sin? But most of what I see is uhm.." She made a very very small whisper that was almost impossible to make out, but seemed to clearly illustrate in no uncertain terms something about 'doujin' and 'souls'. "…S-so I don't know…
[16:11] <Ai> enough. And then the problem gets f… fractal… that…" Was that the right word? What did that word mean again? …Snowflakes, right? "…A-ah. But look, I. I actually like you … bu-but even if I don't d-do due diligence and … figure it out, what happens when you get out? A-and someone not even willing to think about it sees the big wings and the big…" Peek. "…Foreignness?" Nice save. "P-people are easily spooked. If I-I'm
[16:11] <Ai> doubtful, what about worse people…?" Tears welling up again. "… …L… let's w-work out the logistics."
[16:14] <@PersonaGM> [The lilim sighed.-
[16:14] <@PersonaGM> ["You seem to know the stories about 'pretty demons' like us. But do you ever wonder why that came about? Who decided the pretty demons are temptresses?"]
[16:16] <Ai> "…People who think sex is evil?" Ai said. "… …I'm really scared, o-okay? …Of like. Everything…" She admitted, as if in apology. "… …Isn't there this whole thing about women being bad a… like Daji and Tamamo-no-Mae. Mou da ne, I'm so sorry, I don't even w-want to do that! A-and… And I did anyw…" …Now she was actually crying in earnest again.
[16:19] <@PersonaGM> [The lilim wrapped Ai up in her arms. She was warm. And ever, ever so soft. It was very much a kind of fantasy come true in some ways.-
[16:20] <@PersonaGM> ["We're all that's left." Whispered the lilim. "Of girls, of women, who were once people, now burned into this place like shadows burned into stones. Now all that's left of us is the image of temptation."-
[16:21] <@PersonaGM> ["Doesn't that hurt? Doesn't that fucking burn you up?"]
[16:26] <Ai> "ALL of…?!" She asked, even if. …Even if it. Felt so good to just be there. "W… why… Why does this happen… to anyone?" She asked, in a small voice that honestly sounded like. Well. Whatever you get when someone is the impressive triple combo of teetering on the brink of depressive breakdown, in the throes of (…sort of confusing, scary) lust… …and wanting to just pretend the pretty stranger is mom because there's nothing
[16:26] <Ai> else to keep her safe now. "… …Then I'll take you. I'm. …I was here to fight someone. Or. Not fight, uh. Plan against them…? Wh-who seems to hate women and people that are different and who is… E-everything that made you this." She said, solemnly. "… …I can't kill him." Memories of Adrien mocking her for being utterly crazy came up. Briefly chased by Sachiko's more recent what-are-you-smoking gaze flashing before her eyes.
[16:26] <Ai> Eyes that closed. "… …But I'll stop him. And … and if it means taking a demon to the real world I guess it's what I'll do. Dumb elves and tomes don't work anyway."
[16:26] <Ai> A sigh. "…Sorry for being stupid."
[16:28] <@PersonaGM> ["It's okay, baby." Said the lilim. "We all want the same thing. We all want to get out of here and hurt those who hurt us."-
[16:29] <@PersonaGM> ["You belong here, remember? You're like us."-
[16:29] <@PersonaGM> ["But we can't leave without you. We need a human to go through."-
[16:29] <@PersonaGM> ["And that means we need you to stay here and become one of us."]
[16:31] <Ai> "Uwaa…?" Ai was staring now, confused and harrowed, eyes full open and… just. Starting to hyperventilate.
[16:31] <Ai> She was now getting red-flags, but there was a lot of processing lag. What…?
[16:34] <@PersonaGM> ["It don't be so bad. I promise." Said the lilim. "You'll look like this, which… Well, it isn't so bad. And when the time comes, you'll be able to just walk out! It's really a good deal. But we need you here, and we need you now, and we need you to give us that bridge. That humanity."]
[16:38] <Ai> "I…" Ai stopped cold. She couldn't think, she couldn't. Running through her head again, all of the parameters, options, configurations. What was even happening? …Time? When she … what time? Bridge… "I don't understand. …How would I be able to… and then you… but. This place, too. If an Endling is what's left of something destroyed, and… you say I belong here…" She shook her head, and bad instinct as it was, actually
[16:38] <Ai> nestled harder into her uh. Cushion. "But I'm not ending…? I'm b… beginning. If I don't do it I'll… The. I mean the priorities are different, it said. Reversed. Reversed, so we don't agree. A-and a disaster, and no power and. …But… how can I do that if I… But why just stay? How long is the time? How many people have come and tried? Wh-what happens when the time… There's so many questions!" She twitched heavily, shaking in
[16:38] <Ai> the embrace. "There's a whole bunch of rules and I don't have a guide and nobody's researched it and… a-and. This is a lot! This…"
[16:44] <@PersonaGM> ["Shhh, baby." Said lilim. "Just trust us."-
[16:44] <@PersonaGM> [She gently turned Ai around so that Ai's back was resting against the lilim's front.-
[16:44] <@PersonaGM> [There were three other lilim in the train carriage.-
[16:45] <@PersonaGM> [One of them walked over to Ai, caught her eye- and her own started to glow.-
[16:45] <@PersonaGM> [Ai's thoughts were becoming foggy…]
[16:49] <Ai> "W-wah…?" She felt… weird. Really weird, super weird. …Her own eyes couldn't really do much to move away, even if her body squirmed quuuuite a lot. "What arr… n-no. I. I don't… d-don't…!" She was trying to sort it all out. The demons here had plans about… leaving. Using a human, for a bridge, and. She'd be one and then have that body and they'd do things with their pretty bodies in the real world if she… but she had to stay
[16:49] <Ai> and … be one of them…? It was s-so hard to think about clearly, and she kept thinking of the bright eyes or the round s… succulent bits and… Imagining all those… a-and wearing something like… and she never did and was so small and. …Maybe it… and then what did they … -
[16:51] <Ai> "I d… don't wanna… e-even if… …hnn…~" Dizzy, unfocused eyes stared back as a line of drool fell from her lips. Ai's consciousness kept receding, as, the, well. Obvious bias that this demon oh so happened to hit right on the nose, pushed through the fog. Easy to fantasize. To just…
[17:03] <@PersonaGM> [… And just as her eyes were about to close for good, she saw something that drew her away from the hypnotic stare.-
[17:04] <@PersonaGM> [It didn't lurk in the corner of her eye now.-
[17:04] <@PersonaGM> [It was out in the open: a bright blue butterfly.-


-Hideki-
[15:09] <@PersonaGM> [Hideki's precious breath carried him through the nest of lost pathways, and his body did the rest.-
[15:09] <@PersonaGM> [Heedless of direction, even of his current location, Hideki didn't stop until he came to a long and empty room…-
[15:10] <@PersonaGM> [… It was actually pretty nice, in a way. A long room lit by dim chandeliers, with fading, peeling gold leaf on the walls and rich, ostentatious carpets coated in dust and dirt. Mirrors sat along the walls in both directions.-
[15:10] <@PersonaGM> [… And he wasn't alone. Sitting on an armchair in front of a grand ornate mirror, wearing a faded, slightly tattered ballgown, was Yi Ji-Hu.]
[15:15] <Hideki> "Oh god… oh my god, Ji-Hu…" Hideki stumbled forward. He was still catching his breath, the decor an elegant blur in his peripheral vision. "You're okay! We've gotta get out of here. This place, this place is… what are you wearing?"
[15:17] <@PersonaGM> ["Do you like it?" Said Ji-Hu, getting to her feet. "I can take it off if you don't~"]
[15:22] <Hideki> "Yeah…?" He stared at her in confusion. Then, actually began to take in their surroundings. Mirrors. Gold leaf? It was actually kind of… well… fancy. And safe. Right? -
[15:23] <Hideki> "Yeah?" he said again, with a note of intrigue in his voice.
15:26] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu's expression became playful. With a few deft twists, she let the dress fall off her, leaving her utterly naked.]
[15:29] <Hideki> "Oh shit." She really did it. It was terrifying. But it was also… kinda… hot. He drew closer. "You're really okay? We're gonna be alright here, aren't we?"
[15:36] <@PersonaGM> ["Am I okay?" Ji-Hu chuckled; she ran a hand over one of her breasts. "Come and feel for yourself, dummy."]
[15:37] * Hideki drew closer still, but he didn't cop a feel yet. Instead, he cupped his hand gently under her chin and stared deeply into her eyes, trying to discern what was real and what wasn't.
[15:39] <@PersonaGM> [Her skin felt warm. So warm. And soft…-
[15:39] <@PersonaGM> [And her eyes. Beautiful keen olive eyes that-
[15:40] <@PersonaGM> [That… Didn't see through him at all. Just dull normal everyday olive eyes you could buy at the eye shop.-
[15:40] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu(?) closed them a moment later and purred.]
[15:42] * Hideki let his hand fall away, his eyes bright with disappointment, his heart pounding fast in his ribcage again as if he was back to sprinting away from a giant worm monster again. -
[15:43] <Hideki> "Who are you?" he mumbled.
[15:49] <@PersonaGM> ["I'm Ji-Hu." She said. "Who else would I be? Who else would you choose?"-
[15:49] <@PersonaGM> ["Maybe me?" Asked a new voice.-
[15:50] <@PersonaGM> [A girl stood in the doorway, blocking Hideki's exit. She was tall and gorgeous, with short honey-brown hair and warm brown eyes. She was curvy, long-legged, and wearing a sheer sundress that fluttered in a nonexistent breeze.]
[15:53] <Hideki> "Ma-Mayumi!" He stepped back suddenly, eyes darting between her and Ji-Hu, his face twisting into a mask of sheer panic "You can't be here! You don't even go to this school! Wait… Wait! Wait!" -
[15:56] <Hideki> Something dawned on him, just as hopeful as it was utterly horrifying. "If Ji-Hu isn't really here, then maybe you aren't here either? Heh heh… oh good… You're probably a couple of ghosts, coming to eat my soul or something…"
[15:59] <@PersonaGM> ["If I'm going to be eating something, it'd be more fleshy than soul." Said Ji-Hu.-
[16:00] <@PersonaGM> ["Yeah, we don't want your soul." Said Mayumi. "We just, you know, we figured out a way for you to be really happy. Wanna hear it?"
[16:00] <@PersonaGM> ]
[16:01] <Hideki> "Against my better judgement, but… what is it?"
[16:03] <@PersonaGM> ["Stay here." Said Mayumi. "Look. It's quiet here, it's safe, it's warm… We can bring you food, drink, games to play, and we're always available for sex. This place doesn't change. You won't change either! You'll stay here, the prime of your life, not having to make any stupid decisions that everyone seems to want you to make."-
[16:03] <@PersonaGM> ["Hell, if this isn't enough?" Said Ji-Hu, waving her hand towards a mirror- where Ji-Hu's reflection emerged. There were now two Ji-Hus. "Then there's more of us. As many as you want. Forever."]
[16:06] * Hideki admired the Ji-Hus. How could he not? They were gorgeous and completely not pissed at him and their offer made something in his heart swell. "There's a catch," he mumbled, hoping that he was wrong. "There's always a catch."
[16:13] <@PersonaGM> ["Well, we'll take stuff from you." Said the first Ji-Hu. "But it's stuff you'd want to give us anyway."]
[16:17] <Hideki> "Such as…?" They were going to say 'your soul', weren't they?
[16:18] <@PersonaGM> ["Weeeeeell." The Mayumi rubbed her chin nervously. "It's a little something called… 'Orgone'."]
[16:22] <Hideki> "I don't know what that is. And my phone doesn't have a signal, so I can't look it up." He eyed them suspiciously, noting that nervousness. "It sounds soulike, though."
[16:24] <@PersonaGM> ["It's energy." Said Ji-Hu. "Electrical. Spiritual. Sexual. It's all around us, binds the universe together. You know when you're with me, and you get that moment near the end where you can't keep your eyes open and you don't even know where you are? That's you feeling the orgone."-
[16:24] <@PersonaGM> ["And we kinda need it. For ourselves. See? It's perfect. You get what you want and we get what we want."]
[16:29] <Hideki> "Hey. Why don't you show me what your true forms are like before we seal any deals?" he said suddenly. "I… can't say I'm not tempted. Really I am. But you're not the real Mayumi or the real Ji-Hu. And it just… wouldn't be right without them, you know?"
[16:30] <@PersonaGM> ["Would it be okay if we looked like a girl you didn't know?" Said Ji-Hu. "Maybe… We could make a form for you!"-
[16:31] <@PersonaGM> ["Yeah, we like these forms better. And who's to say we even have real forms?" Said Mayumi. "What is real? It we feel the same and smell the same, does it matter that it's not literally the same person?"]
[16:35] <Hideki> "I mean, yeah, it does. That's like doing it with a girl's twin sister and saying it's the same thing as doing it with the girl herself. It's a good way to get your teeth knocked out by both girls and maybe their parents if they're on to you."
[16:35] <@PersonaGM> ["Well… No one's gonna hurt you here." Said Mayumi. "So… It's like doing it with a girl's twin sister, but nobody cares and you can do it as many times as you like."-
[16:36] <@PersonaGM> ["C'monnnn. Just say yes! Don't care about our other forms!" Said Ji-Hu.]
[16:38] <Hideki> "See… when you say stuff like that, it makes me suspicous. 'Don't care about our other forms'?" Hideki sighed. "I still don't know what's going on around here, but this isn't a good idea. Sorry, ladies."
[16:39] <@PersonaGM> ["…"-
[16:40] <@PersonaGM> ["You know? You picked a bad time to start caring about the special bond between lovers." Said Mayumi.-
[16:40] <@PersonaGM> ["You stand there." Muttered Ji-Hu. "Filled with orgone, wanting to use it, but we're not good enough? Is that it?"-
[16:41] <@PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu shivered- she shivered so hard that her skin split open.-
[16:41] <@PersonaGM> [Blue clouds burst outwards, crackling with energy like a thundercloud. After a moment the clouds parted, revealing- faces. Dozens of faces, arranged like the points of a triangle.-
[16:41] <@PersonaGM> [All of them screaming.-
[16:42] <@PersonaGM> [The other copies did the same. Before long the hall of mirrors was full of Orgone Ghosts.]
[16:46] <Hideki> "Y-yeah. I'll just…" Hideki was stiffly backing away now. This was definitely not how he'd imagined ghosts being. They were everywhere, reflected, real, somewhere in between, and utterly goddamned terrifying. His head swam. "I'll just see myself out…"
[16:47] <@PersonaGM> [The nearest ghost launched bolts of electricity at him, shocking him and throwing him into the wall.-
[16:47] <@PersonaGM> [A second grabbed his head- the touch burned- and forced his mouth open so a third could start climbing inside of it.]
[16:54] * Hideki screamed. From the muscle spasms and the pain around his head and… oh god, WHAT WERE THEY DOING??? He struggled in a blind panic, but his limbs were like blocks of wood.
[17:04] <@PersonaGM> [And only getting heavier. They were pulling something out of him- it was like they were tugging his nerves out through his throat.-
[17:04] <@PersonaGM> [His eyes went into electric shock, seeing nothing but sparks-
[17:05] <@PersonaGM> [… And, first as reflection and then as body, a full glowing bright blue butterfy.-


-Sachiko Awakens-
[17:19] <@PersonaGM> [A moment later, a voice sounded in Sachiko's head, which soon became all she heard…-
[17:21] <@PersonaGM> [ How… Dissatisfying. The voice was droll and dry. Look, then, and see the unedifying remains of those who took the path of smallness.-
[17:22] <@PersonaGM> [ They would reduce you to nothing but your pain, you know. Your memories, dreams and music- nothing in their rush to turn you into what they wanted you to be: a little hurt thing that they could save, and in turn justify letting themselves become nothing.-
[17:23] <@PersonaGM> [ You are more than your pain. You are more than this little world can ever take! Acknowledge me! Take the raw power of who you are and fill it! You may never know contentment as long as you live.-
[17:24] <@PersonaGM> [ But you will never settle for the scraps this world deigns to give you. Overcome it! Defy their expectations! Defy God himself if you must! This world is ours for the taking, and no one and nothing will ever stop us from being free!-
[17:25] <@PersonaGM> [A new pain tore through Sachiko's veins, jolting her nerves back to life. Blood in her veins turned to ink-
[17:25] <@PersonaGM> [And sitting in her hand was a sharp white quill that begged to be plunged into her heart.]
[17:33] <Sachiko> "PER-" Her voice was ragged from the screaming, but she roared anyway. It was a sound of deep and boundless fury and spite, unhindered by the flames that still engulfed her her. "-SO-" She gripped the quill with both hands, unflinching, and drove it through her chest as hard and as deep as she possibly could. "-NA!"
[18:01] <@PersonaGM> [A great plume of smoky black ink burned into the air, striking the flame and going almost immediately out.-
[18:02] <@PersonaGM> [The waxworks looked around in confusion- and shrugged. One of them advanced on Sachiko-
[18:02] <@PersonaGM> [But the shadows grew darker. In total silence, a silhouette appeared around the waxwork and shrouded it in a great black cloak of shadow. It vanished.-
[18:03] <@PersonaGM> [For a moment, a cone of darkness was all that could be 'seen'…-
[18:05] <@PersonaGM> [Then little symbols began to appear seemingly in the air around them. Strange symbols, glowing with blue fire in languages unknown by any one alive. As the symbols twinkled and faded, they were replaced by a pair of great eyes, sitting in mid-air just above the collar of the nebulous cloak.-
[18:05] <@PersonaGM> [Then these too faded. As did the cloak.-
[18:05] <@PersonaGM> [The waxwork was gone.-
[18:05] <@PersonaGM> [… Then the cloak reappeared, floating over Sachiko; the shape threw the cloak open with a great dramatic toss.-
[18:06] <@PersonaGM> [Below were webs of branches stacked together, seemingly incoherent until one's eyes adjusted and realised that it was an effigy, branches bent to mimic the human form, like the wicker men of heathen Britain.-
[18:07] <@PersonaGM> [No skin hid these bones of wood- the cloak was the skin.-
[18:08] <@PersonaGM> [The blackness within the wicker wasn't formless, either; as one looked, shapes emerged- some only arms, others whole torsos- distinguished only by great glowing golden eyes. There were uncountable shadows within this cage, and they worked ceaselessly, pulling on invisible pulleys and yanking on wicker to make the body move.-
[18:09] <@PersonaGM> [It moved now, plunging a wicker arm into its own chest and ripping out the waxwork, albeit one covered in shadow ink. As the ink fell away, a new shape appeared- a crouching, red demonic form covered in maori tattoos. After a moment, the skin split, revealing that its bones, too, were wicker.-
[18:10] <@PersonaGM> [ Thou art I, and I art thou. said the figure. I am the malcontent, the rebel of knowledge, who thirsts for things that should not be in reach, and yet are… The great demon summoner, Faust!]
[18:13] <Sachiko> The flames around her redoubled. They were roiling now, like something alive and hungry, and they reached out to burn away the wax before swallowing her up in a ball of flame too bright to look at.-
[18:13] <Sachiko> When the fire wicked away she was standing again, untouched by the flames. Her street clothes were gone, and in their place she wore a thick, brown coat edged in grey. Beneath that was a white tunic, with matching gloves that covered her whole forearm. The rest of her outfit was dark and nondescript, but it shrouded her entirely, and her heavy-looking boots were steel-toed.-
[18:13] <Sachiko> Her face was hidden by a mask of black ceramic, shot through with thick, apparently random lines of gold, while bright, golden lenses hid her eyes. Her mouth was twisted in a savage snarl of a smile.-
[18:13] <Sachiko> "When I am done with you," she whispered to the waxworks, that same deadly certainty sitting behind every word, "There won't be enough wax in the world to fix you."
[13:48] <Sachiko> It felt simple. In that moment, with the anger flowing through her, reaching out for her newly-formed instincts felt as natural as breathing. "Destroy them, Faust."
[13:55] <PersonaGM> [Faust spun, his cloak swirling up around him, obscuring him from view- then he threw it open. Like coiled springs, the shadow-crew leapt into action and smashed alchemic vials against the wicker ribs, loosing hordes of black inky locusts outwards like darts, swarming around the waxwork figures. Within seconds, two had been stripped to the amethyst-like bone. Most of their skeleton was gone, replaced with the soft wax that simply melted before the onslaught. They fell, their brittle bones shattering on impact with the ground.-
[13:56] <PersonaGM> [One last waxwork remained in view- the one who had burned Sachiko. As the locusts charged her, she planted one of her wax feet and pirouetted, sudden grace remembered from dim memory dancing the waxwork clean out of the way.-
[13:56] <PersonaGM> [But as the moment ended and the memory faded, the waxwork stumbled slightly. It tried to catch its footing, to attack-
[13:57] <PersonaGM> [But before it could, Faust pulled its cloak up around itself and threw it open, revealing a large wicker javelin glowing with arcane symbols. The javelin tore through the waxwork's chest, melting most of the wax off its body.-
[13:58] <PersonaGM> [But it wasn't quite dead. It still stood, off balance and exposed, crying pathetically at its weak form crumbled.]
[14:03] * Sachiko was already advancing on it, one hand brushing back her coat to access the tools clipped to her belt. She unclipped a crude humanoid doll made out of clay and held it forward… where it rapidly reshaped itself to provide a rough approximation of the waxwork's face, gemstone skeleton half and all.-
[14:03] <Sachiko> Then she gripped the doll's head in her fist and squeezed.
[14:04] <PersonaGM> [The waxwork's head jerked backwards, pulled by an invisible force. Its head shook and twisted, its eyes bulged, then popped out- then the entire head crunched together, crumpling into a ball. The waxwork fell backward and shattered on impact.-
[14:05] <PersonaGM> [Its cries stopped abruptly. The other waxworks, those who had watched passively or hadn't yet joined the fight, fled in a rush. Within seconds, Sachiko was alone.]
[14:09] <Sachiko> She stood over the last waxork's shattered body, breathing hard. She was shaking badly, and her expression suggested it wasn't all down to anger.
[14:16] <PersonaGM> [ You live, said Faust behind her. He wrapped himself up in his cloak. Triumphant over those who believed they were your future. They were half right- this is a future for you, but one of many. Remember these broken bodies. Remember them the next time someone tries to convince you that the world, your world, is set in stone.-
[14:18] <PersonaGM> [ Even if at the end of this journey, we find that indeed it is set in stone, then I will be there to remind you that even stone can be remade. For thou art I, and I art thou.]
[14:23] <Sachiko> "Yeah," she said quietly. She shut her eyes for a moment, and within a second or two the shaking ceased.-
[14:23] <Sachiko> "Yeah, that's right," she said, the certainty back in her voice. "Let's show them what we can do."
[14:26] <PersonaGM> [Faust bowed, his wooden wicker waist creaking as he did so. Then he dissolved into glowing blue light.-
[14:26] <PersonaGM> [But… He was there. Within. The power Sachiko felt didn't fade.-
[14:27] <PersonaGM> [Something stirred behind her. The cat- it struggled to its feet and let out a low 'meeeeeew'.]
[14:37] <Sachiko> Sachiko didn't pick up the stirring, mostly because it occured as she kicked a pile of amethyst shards hard enough to bounce them off a nearby wall. The meow was when she snapped around, half-expecting it to be some new monster come to find her…-
[14:38] <Sachiko> -… but right, there was a cat. She'd nearly forgotten about it in the chaos, but there it was, making itself a lot less easy to carry by being all "mobile" and "conscious". She tried to grab it before it could run and get itself permanently lost in the tunnels beyond.
[14:38] <PersonaGM> [The cat nearly evaded her grasp, but it was still groggy, still slow.-
[14:39] <PersonaGM> [The cat eyed her with those blue eyes.-
[14:39] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah… You can put me down now." Said the cat in American-accented Japanese.]
[14:45] <Sachiko> And judging from the way she promptly dropped the thing like a hot coal, Sachiko was happy to oblige.-
[14:45] <Sachiko> She backed away, hand going to her belt again; She knew there was a knife there, somehow. "What the hell?!"
[14:46] <PersonaGM> ["Meoow!"-
[14:46] <PersonaGM> [The cat hit the ground hard. It rolled over onto its paws.-
[14:47] <PersonaGM> [It stared at Sachiko. It… Sighed.-
[14:48] <PersonaGM> ["My name is Roy Griffin. I was a student at your school thirty years ago, where I manifested a Persona. Then at some point, I was turned into a cat at some point and have kept watch ever since. I live in your dorm."-
[14:49] <PersonaGM> ["Wait, no. Haha. You live in my dorm. Yeah, I'm your landlord!"]
[14:59] <Sachiko> Sachiko fixed him with a very flat look that went on for a while.-
[14:59] <Sachiko> "Throwing a lot at me at once, talking cat," she said.
[14:59] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah… I can kinda see that."-
[15:00] <PersonaGM> [Roy sighed. He sat. "Let's start with basics. You just manifested a Persona, it looks like."]
[15:07] <Sachiko> "… Sure."
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["Nice." Said Roy. "Lookin' good."-
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Okay." He looked around at the surroundings as though seeking inspiration. "… Okay."-
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Take your mind. Imagine if every time you thought a thought or felt a feeling, part of that thought and feeling turned to liquid and drained into a pool." Said Roy. "Now imagine if every single human being did the same thing, all into the same pool."-
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["That's where we are now." Said Roy. "In a huge, huge pool of human thought and feeling."]
[17:33] * Sachiko looked at her surroundings, then at the broken waxworks. "So I just killed a bunch of very aggressive emotions," she surmised, skuffing the pile again for emphasis.
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. You see, most emotions diffuse through the pool- or as we call it, the Sea of Chaos- but sometimes bits of the same emotion find each other and congeal." Said Roy, padding over to Sachiko's side. "And they become alive. Just concentrated living emotion."-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["We call them Shadows." Said Roy.]
[17:39] <Sachiko> "And who's 'we'?"
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["The only people who can see Shadows. The only ones who can fight 'em." Said Roy.-
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["People who've mastered the metaphysical mask that bears their soul through life's hardships."-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["People who've mastered the Persona… We're known as Evokers."-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Ha! Oh man it felt so fuckin' badass saying that!" Said Roy, leaping excitedly through the air. "Ohhhhhh damn I got that DRAMATIC STYLE!"]
[17:53] <Sachiko> "…"-
[17:53] <Sachiko> "'We' suggests there's more than one of you," she said patiently. "Am I looking at a pack of talking animals with magic ghost powers, or what? I just need to prepare myself."
[17:55] <Minaplo> ["Uh… You're an evoker. You have a Persona. That makes you an Evoker. That makes two so far."]
[18:05] <Sachiko> The mask made it really hard to get a read on her expression, but it didn't exactly seem positive.
[18:05] <Sachiko> "So when you say 'we you call them shadows' you mean that you call them shadows," she said icily. "Fine. Sad, but fine."-
[18:05] <Sachiko> "I came down here with other people," she said, smoothing down her coat. "Can you help me find them?"
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["I also mean some others, but that can wait." Said Roy huffily.-
[18:08] <Minaplo> [He looked around.-
[18:11] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. Doesn't look familiar, but that rank-ass smell tells me that we're in the Library of the Endlings." Said Roy. "Basically one of the nastiest places going."-
[18:12] <Minaplo> ["Things that get stuck here… Get forgot." Said Roy. "Including people. Damn."-
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Welp, Sachiko, we're in a tight spot." Said Roy. "I can't find the others, not in this escher fever dream."-
[18:13] <Minaplo> [He tilted his head. Sniffed.-
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["… But maybe you can. Yeah…"]
[18:19] <Sachiko> "And how would I do that?" she asked. "Seems like I was the one to get us lost."
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["Is there any part of you that wants to know more about this place?"]
[18:24] <Sachiko> "Yeah, but-"
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["This place is made of diffuse emotional crap! Your Persona is concentrated willpower, straight from your mind! Focus your curiosity through your Persona and learn yourself!"]
[18:49] * Sachiko frowned. "… ok," she said after a second. "Screw it, let's give it a try."-
[18:49] <Sachiko> She would've been inclined to argue further, but the truth was she could feel the logic (or at least something like it) of this place tugging at her brain. The feeling had been growing the longer they talked, incomplete but tempting. In the end it didn't even take a lot of work to figure out what the path was: All she had to do was shut her eyes, focus on what she understood and
[18:49] <Sachiko> extrapolate.
[12:07] <PersonaGM> [And the logic underpinning this place unfolded like a paper flower. Yes, this place was massive, bigger than she could truly perceive, but large chunks of it were just noise. There were little islands of meaning here and there, like the waxworks in which she sat, but they were connected by an utter mess of corridor and tunnel.-
[12:08] <PersonaGM> [The trick was that these connections were mass, inert irrelevance. They were sheer forgettableness, to the point where the harder you tried to focus on a destination and make sense, the more lost you'd become. If you wanted to traverse the expanse, then all you had to do was ignore it.-
[12:08] <PersonaGM> [Close your eyes, focus on a destination and walk.-
[12:09] <PersonaGM> [Ironically, Dinah's wild charge had demonstrated this perfectly.-
[12:09] <PersonaGM> [But a moment later, Sachiko felt…-
[12:10] <PersonaGM> [Yes, it was like she could sense the fabric of this place dipping like a gravity well around certain entities. She recognised them immediately- her fellow dormmates, and their woken Personas.-
[12:10] <PersonaGM> [And a moment later her phone- or rather, the tome that now floated at chest height- cracked open, ink dots forming on blank page, awaiting her command. With a thought, she could start talking to them through that shared connection: the tome.]
[12:30] * Oat opened her eyes as Faust disappeared, vanishing along with the shadow cloak it had shrouded her with. She looked wild and alive, and she found that she was laughing. "It worked!"
[12:30] * Sachiko opened her eyes as Faust disappeared, vanishing along with the shadow cloak it had shrouded her with. She looked wild and alive, and she found that she was laughing. "It worked!"
[12:34] <PersonaGM> ["Of course it did." Said Roy. "You're a Navigator."]
[12:39] <Sachiko> "I thought I was an Evoker?"
[12:39] <PersonaGM> [Roy sighed.-
[12:40] <PersonaGM> ["A Navigator is a kind of Evoker. You're still an Evoker, but your Persona is a little different to other ones. It can scan stuff."]
[12:48] <Sachiko> "So I can make maps," she said, resting one hand on the still open tome. The moment she did she flinched a little. "… no, that's wrong. I can map places and people, right…?"
[12:50] <PersonaGM> ["That's right."]
[13:09] <Sachiko> "Holy shit," she muttered, still grinning. The priorities were simple: Reunite the group, then carve a path back out to the real world. And she could do it, she didn't even need to ask how. It was exhilarating in a way she wasn't really prepared for, but she wasn't about to stop.-
[13:09] <Sachiko> She could sense the other Persona users with startling clarity; She felt as though she could've reached out and touched them, if she wanted to. It was equally easy to bridge her thoughts and theirs.-
[13:09] <Sachiko> {Can everyone hear me…?}
[13:14] <PersonaGM> ["There you go." Said Roy.-
[13:14] <PersonaGM> ["Oh, word of warning, they can hear you, but they won't know how to reply. That's something that can take days of training. So you're gonna have to deal with one way communication."]
[13:18] <Sachiko> "… ah," she muttered. "Hm. Ok, let's alter the approach."-
[13:19] <Sachiko> {… alright, I'm being told you won't know how to respond, so just listen for now. I think if you all follow my instructions I can guide the four of us out of here.}
[13:30] <Sachiko> She paused for a moment, turning her attention back to the structure as a whole. Was there a designated 'exit', or was there a trick to creating one? If navigating from place to place was a matter of intent, maybe the exit was the same…
[13:32] <PersonaGM> ["Hey, so, you want to find the exit? Funny story…" Said Roy.-
[13:33] <PersonaGM> ["Did you see any Amnelids earlier? Big ugly worms?"]
[13:35] <Sachiko> A long sigh. "… yeah, we ran away from one."
[13:35] <PersonaGM> ["Way out's through its guts."]
[13:36] <Sachiko> "What?"
[13:39] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah, you kill one, then walk through it to get to the outside world." Said Roy. "This place makes people forget you exist. Amnelids eat memories. So killing one and using it as a bridge is kind of like beating amnesia to death. Makes sense?"-
[13:39] <PersonaGM> ["… Okay, it doesn't, but if you wanted to design a fuckin' prison where just being there made people forget you, then wouldn't you make the exit be a giant awful worm?"]
[13:45] <Sachiko> And her analysis of the dungeon seemed to corroborate the cat's story. Explaining that over a one-way communication system wasn't an attractive prospect, so it was on to her second choice.-
[13:46] <Sachiko> {Ok, so the exit… is complicated. I'm going to guide everyone to a meeting place, and then we can talk it over. Here's what you need to do…}


-Dinah Awakens-
[17:15] <@PersonaGM> [A voice rang in Dinah's head. Rough. Masculine. Bitter.-
[17:16] <@PersonaGM> [ They threw away your sticks, sealed your hand shut and snuffed out your lighter, but there's more fire in you than that. Right?-
[17:16] <@PersonaGM> [ You see what I see. You see how insincere and superficial this world is, a world that only wants you for one thing.-
[17:16] <@PersonaGM> [ A world like that doesn't deserve to be respected. It may as well burn.-
[17:17] <@PersonaGM> [ Not in the fire of apathy, but the fire of rage, of true, glorious rage. Burn away the lies! Incinerate the superficialities! Let true words spill out like flames!-
[17:17] <@PersonaGM> [ You are more than a curse! You are more than who you know! Show them the true potential of a flame that can never die!-
[17:17] <@PersonaGM> [The ice around Dinah's hand splintered.-
[17:18] <@PersonaGM> [Pain wracked Dinah's body, pain that woke her, cleared the fog of concussion from her.-
[17:18] <@PersonaGM> [She saw it now- the blood in her veins turning to ink, racing towards her heart-
[17:18] <@PersonaGM> [The heart that she would pierce with the sharp, knife-like quill in her frozen hand.]
[17:22] <Dinah> To her credit, or perhaps not, Dinah had been in a lot of fights and yet hadn't taken a lot of hits. It turns out that she was good at taking them, however. The fist punched across her face. She didn't care. Again and again. Her focus was on resistance. On fighting. Never giving up. Her free hand gripped the wing, never letting it go, even as the hits kept coming and coming.-
[17:25] <Dinah> The words fuelled her. The fire burned hot inside of her. And she was suddenly aware that her hand was finally free. And even more aware of the quill in her hand. "PER" Her gaze shot back to the Mothman, or maybe just where she thought it was. "SO" With resolve, with spite, desire, need, anger, hate, calm…with everything in her body, her hand flew to her chest, stabbing the
[17:25] <Dinah> quill where it needed to go. "NA!"
[17:46] <@PersonaGM> [A great geyser of ink exploded out of Dinah's chest.-
[17:47] <@PersonaGM> [The offending Mothman leapt away, just in time- the ink turned into fire droplets a moment later, then exploded outward, shrouding the area in flame and melting the ice beneath Dinah.-
[17:48] <@PersonaGM> [The curtain of flame hung in the air for a moment… And then longer… And then Dinah would see that it held a shape.-
[17:52] <@PersonaGM> [The first thing she saw was its jacket. Tight across the chest, flaring out beneath its great belt, surrounding trousers tucked into boots that reached the knee.-
[17:54] <@PersonaGM> [A human figure- but one with a face hidden beneath a mask. As the figure appeared it reached up to adjust its helmet- a black helmet, as though someone had designed an army helmet by looking at bike helmets. The visor was tinted black with ash and smoke.-
[17:56] <@PersonaGM> [Its left hand- the black cuffs detailed with fire-like inks that really moved up and down its whole body- reached down to grab a pair of fuel tanks that sat by its side. These it threw onto its back, which it buckled together with a red belt.-
[17:57] <@PersonaGM> [The tanks were connected by a hose to a long, rifle-like gun… Albeit a gun whose tip was always lit with fire. A flamethrower, then.-
[17:57] <@PersonaGM> [The punk mothman fled, at the same time as a third, unseen mothman swooped out of the sky toward Dinah.-
[17:58] <@PersonaGM> [The jacketed figure raised his flamethrower and caught it point blank with a jet of flame.-
[17:58] <@PersonaGM> [It shrieked, then went abruptly quiet. All that was left was ash.-
[17:59] <@PersonaGM> [As the ash fell, the figure pulled a book out of his jacket and held the book open beneath the stream of ash, catching it within the pages. It then closed the book, shook it, and burned it again.-
[17:59] <@PersonaGM> [This time as the ash fell, it formed a new shape- a jack o'lantern pumpkin head, holding a little lantern…-
[17:59] <@PersonaGM> [And wearing an actual fireman's coat and helmet.-
[18:00] <@PersonaGM> [ Thou art I, and I art thou! proclaimed the figure. The cleanser of shallowness and inquisitor of the fake… The fireman of new truths, Guy Montag!]
[18:06] <Dinah> Dinah's blue gaze took in everything before her, the ink that became fire, the fire that became a figure and the Mothmen that sought to escape. Also the one that didn't, the one that sought to further their little exchange.-
[18:10] <Dinah> So too did she see the fate of it as the fire shot across it, burning it to almost nothing but ash. A smirk set upon her lips while she looked to the others. Her fists balled, informing her that she had additions to her hands. Rings around each digits holding the knuckledusters on her fingers that would prove to offer a little more…well, punch in her punches.-
[18:14] <Dinah> That wasn't the only thing different about her. Her outfit was no longer her uniform and jacket. Her body was wrapped in a suit that looked straight out of the 1920s or 30s. A white button up with long sleeves, covered by a black pinstriped vest set above a pair of solid black pants. It sat at a sharp contrast from her usual wear, not to mention the rest of her outfit. A fireman's
[18:14] <Dinah> jacket rest around her shoulders like a cape, the arms hanging off to the side with the whole thing being more than a little big on her if she was wearing it for its intended purpose.-
[18:16] <Dinah> And atop her head was a helmet much like the one on her newly created persona. Long like a hat, yet hard like a helmet, it bore a facemask that went up and down that was currently up. Though she reached up to bring it down over her face, obscuring the smirk on her lips. "I made a promise. I'm gonna keep it. You can fly but you're still gonna die."
[14:10] <Dinah> New outfit aside, Dinah felt in control of this situation like she had never felt before. Even when she knew that she had someone right where she wanted them, there was always the wonder. But there wasn't that here. Instead, she knew they were going to die. It was just a matter of when. Smirking wide, she gestured to the one in front of her even if her gaze was upon the others.
[14:10] <Dinah> "Light 'em up, Montag."
[14:15] <PersonaGM> [A mothman leapt over the edge of the bridge and charged at her. Well before it could land a foot in Dinah's face, Montag seized it around the waist, held it up to the nozzle of the flamethrower, and began burning until nothing remained.-
[14:15] <PersonaGM> [Then Montag shook the ash from his hand with one contemptuous swipe.]
[14:25] <PersonaGM> [The other two aggressive Mothmen seemed to be in a state of shock. The nearest, understandably panicked, fired a blast of ice that went clear over Dinah's head.-
[14:26] <PersonaGM> [The other, the far one, hoving near the end of the bridge- the one who had taunted and beat Dinah- cupped his hands together. "Insult, take wings!" He said, whispering into his hands before throwing them outwards in Dinah's direction.-
[14:26] <PersonaGM> [A horde of red angry clouds, forming the phrase "I'm gonna fuck your mom", hurtled towards Dinah.]
[14:30] <Dinah> "One down. Two to go." Raising a hand to her face, she used her thumb to flick her nose before getting into a fighting stance. The taunt came her way, making her laugh and hold up her middle finger at the Mothman that had been her tormenter. "You wouldn't even be the worst she's had!"-
[14:33] <Dinah> Her attention went from it to the other Mothman, her feet shifting her in close while her hand lifted and flew in. Hard. The impact didn't stop where it meant, leaving the foe to crumple to the ground, dead. A rush flew through her then, putting her back in her element. "Oh, yes."-
[14:34] <Dinah> Pointing for the last one, her eyes reflected that earlier mania, though while she had been a dog on a leash then, she was fully off the chain now. And he had nowhere to go. "You ready to die, asshole?!"-
[14:35] <Dinah> With a burst of speed, she was off, closing the gap between them until her left hand swung out as she stopped suddenly in front of it. The blow didn't land as solidly as the other had, though it didn't mean to, either. She wanted to rattle him, not kill him outright. "Sucks when I can hit back, don't it?!"
[12:14] <PersonaGM> [The Mothman shrieked and reeled, fear etched on its insectoid features- before it turned to desperate rage.-
[12:15] <PersonaGM> ["Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-!" It pulled one arm back, which suddenly swelled with raw muscle to a huge size. It threw a heavy punch at Dinah, straight for the face.]
[12:17] <Dinah> As the punch came at her, Dinah threw her left hand up, using the knuckleduster as well as her own strength to knock the incoming fist up, stopping it from impacting her. And with a wicked smirk as she stared dead in its eyes, she reeled back with her own hand and delivered a hard strike straight in its face.-
[12:19] <Dinah> Letting it drop after the life had fallen out of it, she just let out a sigh of…relief? Satisfaction? Whatever it was, it felt good. Fulfilling. "Shouldn't have fucked with me, buddy."
[12:23] <PersonaGM> [The mothman fell, its lifeless body vanishing into the swirling pink-red void below.-
[12:27] <PersonaGM> [ And so we begin our work. Said Montag, hovering behind Dinah. The night in which we work will remain dark until a sun of our own making rises. Until then, we will split the shadows of lie and mediocrity away from that which is worth preserving. But as outside, do inside as well. Take that spark of greatness within you and nurture it into a great flame.-
[12:28] <PersonaGM> [ Remember the newfound power you have unlocked. Remember this scene. And remember that it is only the beginning of your triumphs. You have far to go before you reach your true potential, and I will walk with you on that path. For thou art I, and I art thou.-
[12:28] <PersonaGM> [And with that, Montag dissolved into blue smoke- but he felt nearby nonetheless.]
[12:44] <Dinah> Her gaze looked outward past the bridge as Montag moved behind her, speaking to her. Fishing out a cigarette, she pulled out her lighter and sparked up, letting out a little puff at the end of the little speech, staying uncharacteristically quiet. For someone that always had a smartass remark or an answer to anything, this wasn't one of those times. Instead, she just…thought about
[12:44] <Dinah> it. For a minute. She hated reflecting on things but this seemed to be one of those times.
[12:51] <PersonaGM> [Dinah would have her silent reflection to herself for a little while- before a voice- that of Sachiko's- came out of nowhere in her mind. {Can everyone hear me…?}-
[12:52] <PersonaGM> [A tome floated out of Dinah's jacket and split open, where Dinah would see the words she heard being transcribed in black ink. {… alright, I'm being told you won't know how to respond, so just listen for now. I think if you all follow my instructions I can guide the four of us out of here.}]
[12:55] <Dinah> The tome made her lift a brow but, considering everything else that had happened, it was hardly strange. So with a shrug, she looked over the book. "Might as well, I guess." Not that there were any better ideas on the table, after all.
[12:56] <PersonaGM> [{Ok, so the exit… is complicated. I'm going to guide everyone to a meeting place, and then we can talk it over. Here's what you need to do…}]


-Ai Awakens-
[17:10] <@PersonaGM> [And a moment later Ai heard a voice in her head. A feminine voice, caring and optimistic.-
[17:11] <@PersonaGM> [ Despair is a powerful force… But you can't do anything for these ones lost to it. See the situation around you for what it really is… Loving others means helping them out of the hole, not climbing down with them.-
[17:12] <@PersonaGM> [ Let these be reminders for you. The debris of the world of the past, fuelled by despair… Don't let them be forgotten, but take their memories into the future world you're about to create!-
[17:12] <@PersonaGM> [ Let that be their freedom! Let it be your freedom! The despair of the old world can't hurt you any more!-
[17:13] <@PersonaGM> [ Now break out! Take up your heart! And test the world in the crucible of your own justice!-
[17:14] <@PersonaGM> [Pain- invigorating, waking pain- tore through Ai's body. She saw it, now- the blood turning to ink in her veins. The lilim holding her leapt away, leaving Ai suspended in the air for a moment.-
[17:14] <@PersonaGM> [A quill appeared in Ai's hand. Sharp. Pointed. Yearning for her to plunge it into her own heart.]
[17:23] <Ai> In the depths of time, of mind beyond. …She nodded to that. And it came to her. …Despair, sorrow, peace. … …Trying to think, hearing it. Then closing her eyes. Standing in mid-air, eyes closed. At that moment, just because? …The ties keeping her hair in two sidetails fell off, as the full length billowed behind her. "P…" She teased out the first letter, tongue flicking to make the sound, but lips almost completely still. A soft
[17:23] <Ai> whisper, resolute. Open eyed, wider and more real than ever before, as the hand with the quill extended - and… the other swept out to the side in a grand gesture. "Per…" Deep breath. Fear. …But if you were afraid you were alive. NOw she remembered. Worms. Dune. Fear is the mind-killer… No. It's okay to be afraid. When you're not afraid of anything anymore, on the other hand… "So…!" Ai was scared. Ai was terrified. But. She
[17:23] <Ai> would turn that into her weapon. She would. Her mind would kill with it. All she had to do was -
[17:24] <Ai> Swallow it. -
[17:24] <Ai> And with a single gulp of air, the quill went deep, so deep that she didn't even know she could stab that hard! "…NA!"
[18:22] <@PersonaGM> [A great flood of black ink burst out of Ai's heart, striking the roof of the train.-
[18:22] <@PersonaGM> [Electricity crackled from it, flooding the lights and the windows. The interior lights lit up, allowing Ai to finally see the room…-
[18:23] <@PersonaGM> [… The lights grew brighter. And brighter. And then exploded, shrouding the room in blinding whiteness.-
[18:24] <@PersonaGM> [The light faded, but as it did so it highlighted a figure that now stood over Ai, a figure whose brightness remained unshaken.-
[18:29] <@PersonaGM> [A girl, tall compared to Ai, standing straight with the sort of elegant firmness that suggested dancer- or fencer. In some ways she was similar to the lilim- she was beautiful, curvaceous and tall, but where their eyes were catlike and green, her's were bright gold and amber; hair was deepest blue, her's was the colour of her eyes yet brighter still. Her hair was impossibly long, but split down the middle, where it curled, seemingly at will, into long drill-tails… That in turn curled back into curtains of hair that hung around her like a heavenly robe.-
[18:32] <@PersonaGM> [A lily-white hand reached up to adjust her cute brown beret, within which was inlaid a wire-filigree flower ornament, albeit instead of an eye sat a truly immaculate, perfect gemstone of gold.-
[18:37] <@PersonaGM> [Her neat, slightly puffy blouse was white, as was her sleeves, detached though they were like a shrine maiden's, with sleeves that fell far past her arms. Past this was a brown corset-like garment that bound her lower chest and stomach tightly, before it flared out into a golden robe that fell to her left and right; in front was a tabard of white, held together with woven golden ribbons that, slowly fluttered in the wind. Set in the middle was a golden mitsudomoe that seemed to shift ever-so-slightly in the light.-
[18:39] <@PersonaGM> [Shining from her head was a golden halo of light; however below it were golden ribbons that threaded around her sleeves, moving through the gaps. Every so often the ribbons shifted, opening and closing like little golden flowers.-
[18:40] <@PersonaGM> [Finally, joining the halo and ribbons and hair together was a great pair of wings of golden light- but as one looked, one would see they were made up not of feather but of ribbon.-
[18:40] <@PersonaGM> [A moment passed- then the wings burst outwards, surrounding her in an aureole of winged light.-
[18:41] <@PersonaGM> [One lilim- the one that Ai had spoken to- was caught too close. The wings caught her, pulled her in-
[18:41] <@PersonaGM> [The figure bent down and whispered something in her ear. The lilim scowled, then frowned, then suddenly sobbed. Great big wracking sobs, tears running down her face- and as the tears fell they dissolved the lilim into a glowing cloud of light.-
[18:43] <@PersonaGM> [For a moment, a little girl appeared- then faded into the light. The figure reached her hand into the cloud, pulled it into her sleeve- and threw out a pair of small robotic figures. One was red and holding a sword, the other blue and holding a shield, but each wore a little golden dress and pair of toy angel wings, with a big magical-girl ribbon at the throat.-
[18:43] <@PersonaGM> [The figure reached into her other sleeve… And pulled out a long silver musket, elegant, deadly- and bearing a little white lily flower just behind the hammer.-
[18:44] <@PersonaGM> [ Thou art I, and I art thou. Said the figure, her voice sweet and warm. I am the seeker of hope, the one who cuts the cloud of despair and fights with everything she has for everyone she has- all for one, one for all, the puella magical musketeer of wrong-put-right, Mami Tomoe!]
[18:52] <Ai> And glowing with her own inner light, as if … she herself was as much magical girl as her Persona was? Ai emerged, an entirely new outfit sparkling in formless light, yet, starting to coalesce. -
[18:52] <Ai> With her hair wild and untied, the girl now stood in the wind of her own enlightenment, billowing with… what revealed itself now. The soft folds of a pale pink kimono formed the main part, with elaborate white embroidery of flowers in bloom - lillies, mainly - around it as it disappeared under the thick band of a pale red hakama-skirt, seamlessly hiding most of the kimono top with ease. Yet, that kimono top was almost more of an
[18:52] <Ai> undershirt, for on top of it was a long round golden band, laying above (and… almost suspended over?) the girl like a waiting curtain bar or some kind of halo at chest height… only for all but the frontmost part to give way to a large, nearly cloak-like white robe, dotted with pink cherry-blossom motifs to match the lillies of the kimono below. She wore simple wooden geta sandals in all traditional form, with tall almost knee-high
[18:52] <Ai> white socks to match them in contrast. But, maybe the most notable? …Her glasses. Now, ornate with what looked to be a mix of white-gold and rose-gold making not only frames, but quite the frames, managing to make them both glasses and mask in one go, yet… the filigrees moved further up her head and formed 'wings' on either side, extending back past her hair. Which, surprising nobody at this point, were shaped like white lilies. -
[18:52] <Ai> In her hands were two things, then. One, held a small wooden wand, shimmering with tiny gold-leaf veins… but more prominently, carrying a pair of large zig-zagging white tassels of paper on either end, which seemed so crisp and pure-hued as to almost be more light, than paper. The other, held a tall, tall bow of thin light-hued wood, a string of fine gold that would be invisible in its slightness were it not for how it glowed like it was
[18:52] <Ai> made of golden sunlight, not thread. Atop the bow, a white lily was in bloom, trailing small golden motes from its open bell. And, finally, when it had arrows? Those arrows were long and pure-white, with gleaming golden arrowheads that may well be coherent light, luxuriant plumes at the back that resembled sakura petals, and then, dangling from the one she had held against the bow, a single prayer strip in pink, very very flowing script. -
[18:52] <Ai> "…I'm sorry." Was all she needed to say.
[12:10] <Ai> While Ai would eventually need time to process this? …Right now, the heady rush of suddenly… everything, was amazing. She was in a cool outfit! She had a bow! She had… Wait. Hang on, a what n- No, focus on this! Given that Ai knew exactly what she had fallen into just out of pure chuunibyou instinct, earlier? She just ran with the tropes inherent. So now she has superpowers based on a …popular magical girl? Who's herse- NO,
[12:10] <Ai> FOCUS, DAMNIT. Perception was starting to un-lag enough to notice the Lilim all around her, and she felt… confined. Trains are small, bows need - this is a particularly long yumi, designed for distance sniping! So. What else could she do? -
[12:11] <Ai> It was at that moment Ai noticed her other hand carrying that wand. …No, gohei, sacred implement to wave blessedly pure paper in rituals to grant benisons and ward off evil. …Ward off evil… Okay, that gave her an idea! "Alright, then. Mami, I don't know how you-as-me rolls here, but I'm getting the hint. So if I have demons, and the demons are so broken as to be just dragging me down… and if I have a gohei…" A ghost of a
[12:11] <Ai> confident smile. -
[12:13] <Ai> "…Find peace in your next life." She said softly, closing her eyes, and… casting out the glowing tassels with a sweep of the implement - yet, inside of Ai's mind, she was trying to… to reach out. To feel that power that she felt when the ink and the quill and all that other stuff happened. Let's see what this 'persona' can do, when she tries to purify the darkness!
[12:17] <PersonaGM> [Mami Tomoe spread her wings, the light around her redoubling. The pinions of ribbon-light swirled around her, forming characters of purification around her. With her free hand, Tomoe lifted the skirt of her robe, dropping what looked like a large flaregun out from beneath. The flaregun fell into a waiting ribbon, which launched it up into Tomoe's hand. She levelled the flaregun at the sky-
[12:18] <PersonaGM> [Boom! A blast of light fired upwards and exploded, sending dozens of little plumes of light showing downa round them. The lilim stared, transfixed at the fireworks light show- until the plumes struck their bodies.-
[12:19] <PersonaGM> [Not plumes. Not little motes of light at all, but purification seals twisted into the shape of musketballs. They unfurled on impact-
[12:19] <PersonaGM> [And suddenly the lilim were coated in them.-
[12:19] <PersonaGM> [A split-second look of horror crossed each one of their faces-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> [Before the seals began absorbing the lilim into themselves, dissolving them like threads from a tapestry. Within all of a few seconds, the lilim had been completely absorbed. One shrieked as it happened; another tried to flee, fell and didn't even hit the floor; the third simply stared at Ai and nodded in acceptance.-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> [The seals vanished into motes of light.-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> [And then… Ai was alone on the bright train.-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> [Alone except for the warm, comforting presence of Mami Tomoe, hovering over her like a guardian angel.]
[12:23] * Ai sighed with a huff. "… …That was confusing. But. … Maybe demons are what they are, even when they're also more…? It feels weird to hurt… something that seems so alive and sad, but you're right, Mami-persona-me. They were more or less gone, and hurting others for it."
[12:52] <PersonaGM> [Mami held the flaregun between her hands and allowed it to vanish.-
[12:54] <PersonaGM> [She turned toward Ai and bowed in a ladylike manner. Now you understand. Many are those who have been scarred by the world, only to scar the world in return. As sad as it is, we help those we can, with understanding and, when necessary, justice.-
[12:57] <PersonaGM> [ Never allow your scars to forget your responsibility to the world around you. Take it as a reminder. Take them as a reminder, too. Our goal is always a better world, an ideal of peace and truth. Not to lash out with our feelings.-
[12:57] <PersonaGM> [ So take this memory with you and wear it like a talisman around your heart. Embrace your purpose, and know that I will always be with you- for thou art I, and I art thou.]
[12:59] * Ai nodded again, solemnly. "…I got that last part, yeah." She said, thinking about it, before doing a more proper bow. "Now let's get going! Trains are stuffy and this place stinks."
[13:12] <PersonaGM> [And with that, Tomoe faded.-
[13:13] <PersonaGM> [… And a second later, a voice came through. Sachiko's? {Can everyone hear me…?}]
[13:17] * Ai subconsciously reached up to her ear, as if to turn on a push-to-talk headset. …Then paused. She wasn't wearing one, of course! …"Oh. Telepathy. Right…" And then closed her eyes for a moment to better… well, again. Stretch a mental muscle she didn't even know she had. …And. ["I'm… here!"] …Yet. It didn't feel different? "…Uhh." -
[13:17] <Ai> But then she craned her head over to, quite conspicuously, notice an Anomalous Booklike Object.
[13:24] <Sachiko> {… alright, I'm being told you won't know how to respond, so just listen for now. I think if you all follow my instructions I can guide the four of us out of here.}
[13:27] <Ai> "…Oh." Ai caught herself replying anyway, just talking to the air. Before, well. Stopping at the door out of the train, taking a bit more time to examine her tome.
[13:46] <Sachiko> There was another, longer pause. {Ok, so the exit… is complicated. I'm going to guide everyone to a meeting place, and then we can talk it over. Here's what you need to do…}
[13:51] <Ai> Ai nodded… again, to nobody there and with no way for them to see it, before starting to sally forth, listening to the instructions (and, honestly, only taking a little to get used to the 'concepts and intent matter more than anything else' thing.)


-Hideki Awakens-
[17:05] <@PersonaGM> [And then Hideki heard a… Chuckle.-
[17:06] <@PersonaGM> [ I commend you, young man, on your ability to discern imitations from the genuine article, said a voice in his head- a dignified, sleek and rich voice it was, too. But discernment is only the start.-
[17:07] <@PersonaGM> [ Nothing is ever easy, but that's the pleasure of it all! In this place you'd be given everything you wanted until you didn't want it anymore. The real world awaits! With all its challenge and glorious delights, beyond the imaginations of a few ghosts who think they know what seduction looks like. The sheer nerve, I say!-
[17:08] <@PersonaGM> [ Call me. Call my name, and I will show you how seductive the real world can be.-
[17:08] <@PersonaGM> [… Pain rippled through Hideki's body.-
[17:08] <@PersonaGM> [But he could see. He could see so clearly-
[17:08] <@PersonaGM> [He could even see his veins, bulging against his skin. Not red with blood but black with ink.-
[17:08] <@PersonaGM> [And in his hand-
[17:09] <@PersonaGM> [A quill. A quill sharpened to a point, to be plunged…-
[17:09] <@PersonaGM> [Right into his own heart.]
[17:14] <Hideki> "Per-" Could he move his hand? He could, lifting so it was level with his chest. His fingers trembled. "-So-" Hand drew back. His breath was ragged. "NA!" His plunged it in, deep, point-first.
[17:37] <@PersonaGM> [It hurt.-
[17:37] <@PersonaGM> [But it felt so damn good.-
[17:38] <@PersonaGM> [A great jet of black ink burst out of his open heart and across the room, before striking a nearby mirror- which soaked it all up.-
[17:39] <@PersonaGM> [The ink spread across the other mirrors, tainting them one by one, the light of the room dimming as it went.-
[17:39] <@PersonaGM> [And finally, when every single mirror was jet black…-
[17:39] <@PersonaGM> [They shattered, spraying glass shards across the room.-
[17:40] <@PersonaGM> [But one mirror remained… The great gaudy gilded one, but mirror no longer. Now it was a picture frame, and within was… A man.-
[17:41] <@PersonaGM> [He was beautiful. And young, his face fresh and innocent, his long, wavy, golden blonde hair tied back into a ponytail. He reclined in a great overstuffed armchair as though he were a king on his throne.-
[17:41] <@PersonaGM> [He reached into his opulent velvet smoking jacket and took out a pocket mirror.-
[17:42] <@PersonaGM> [With his other hand, he reached off-frame, grabbed a glass of wine and sipped from it. Hm.-
[17:42] <@PersonaGM> [He held the mirror up to his face.-
[17:42] <@PersonaGM> [But within wasn't the beautiful face at all- within that mirror was his true self, a horrific, demonic, twisted visage that would fill any normal human with nightmares.-
[17:43] <@PersonaGM> [He smiled with satisfaction and reached his hand through the pocket mirror.-
[17:43] <@PersonaGM> [At the same time, a hand shot out of the portrait, grabbed an orgone ghost and pulled it shrieking back into the portrait.-
[17:44] <@PersonaGM> [What the figure pulled out of the hand mirror… Wasn't the ghost. Instead it was a similarly beautiful man, mostly nude except for a sash around his waist.-
[17:44] <@PersonaGM> [The figure waved a hand over the nude, shrouding it in a rich overcoat and jodhpurs, but little else. Finally he tapped the little flowers on the man's head and set him aside.-
[17:44] <@PersonaGM> [ Allow a gentleman to introduce himself! Thou art I, and I art thou!-
[17:45] <@PersonaGM> [ I am the seeker of pleasures, the thief of hearts, the emperor of sybarites…-
[17:45] <@PersonaGM> [ Dorian Gray!]
[18:08] <Hideki> Hideki's uniform was gone, and he didn't recognize the clothes he was now wearing… although they were well tailored and of excellent quality. There was a matching cape and top hat, both blood red, with a satin sheen to them. The hat was rakishly tipped to a slight angle. The long cape fluttered to its full length as Hideki rose to his feet, and the design on its back - two golden
[18:08] <Hideki> peacocks rendered in metallic embroidery, fluttering beak to beak as if they were kissing - gleamed. His shirt was white silk, mostly obscured by the previously mentioned cape and a metallic gold waistcoat that twinkled like a disco ball when he moved. His tie was black and impeccable. His pants were black and impeccable. His shoes were glossy black leather, and gripped in his gloved
[18:09] <Hideki> hands was a heavy black walking stick with a simple round, gold knob on its top.
[18:11] <Hideki> Of course, resting on Hideki's face, was a solid-gold domino mask, trimmed with white and gold fan-shaped feathers. A lone ruby-colored jewel sat between the eyes.
[12:36] * Hideki stared awkwardly at the hall of ghosts. They weren't physical, so punching, kicking and caning seemed like weird choices for self defense. Still, if they had attacked him, didn't that mean they could also be attacked? He glanced over his shoulder at the picture guy for guidance. -
[12:39] <Hideki> But when he did, something clicked in his mind. Instinct? Reassurance? He twirled his cane as a sudden swell of confidence ran through him. "Dorian Gray!" He stopped twirling and pointed the cane at the nearest ghost. "Do something!"
[12:44] <PersonaGM> [Dorian Gray waved his mirror over his face. For a moment, his handsome visage turned frightening and horrific.-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> [The ghost recoiled in terror. A spray of psychedelic multi-coloured light burst out of the picture and struck the ghost square through like a spear.-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> [It shrieked- then tore apart like an overripe fruit.]
[12:51] <Hideki> Hideki gawked, a cold sweat breaking out across his forehead. Was this murder? It - oh crap, there were more coming at him! He pointed again, and a second ghost met the exact same fate. The third one loped to the side of the spear of strange light, and countered with more horrible electric sparks! This time, however, they didn't hurt. Hideki opened and clasped his free hand a few times,
[12:51] <Hideki> glancing down at it in wonder at being able to move it. Then he and Dorian Gray counter-countered. Another ray of light. Another evaporating ghost.
[12:57] <PersonaGM> [The other ghosts in the hall of mirrors wavered. They looked at each other as though daring one to take charge. When none did, the ghosts scattered.-
[12:57] <PersonaGM> [One- the one who'd been Mayumi- turned and shrieked. "You haven't heard the last of us, you fucking tease!"-
[12:58] <PersonaGM> [And then Hideki was… Alone.-
[12:58] <PersonaGM> [Well. Not so alone.-
[12:59] <PersonaGM> [ Do you feel it? Said Dorian Gray, settling in behind Hideki. The ecstasy of power, of choosing radical, intoxicating growth over pleasant stagnation? Listen to the rush in your veins, more beguiling than any drug- they cannot stop you. They had no chance.-
[13:00] <PersonaGM> [ Take that feeling of victory, and with it the delight of ever-present change, and treasure them, my boy. You and I will walk this journey together, for thou art I, and I art thou.]
[13:06] <Hideki> "So… that means you're sticking around for a while, right?" Hideki pulled off his hat and wiped his brow with his sleeve. His hair had had been neatly slicked back during his wardrobe change, and showed no signs of messing up even now. "Heh. Well, thanks! Glad to have you, buddy."
[13:11] <PersonaGM> [Dorian saluted Hideki with his wine glass- and then the Persona faded from view.-
[13:12] <PersonaGM> [Yet Hideki could feel the power within. Dorian was with him.]


-Party Reunified-
[14:26] <Hideki> The first to sprint into view was a mysterious dapper, shining figure with a stylish cape flowing behind him in the wind and a cane gripped in one hand. He slowed as he came closer, frowning slightly as their surroundings. That frown settled on Sachiko and the cat, and for a moment or two he stopped entirely. "That's really you, right Kurata?"
[14:29] <Ai> But soon after, Ai came. ..Ai, with her hair down, in a fancifully pink-and-white… miko outfit? She looked very colorful, arguably very feminine, and. Spunky! "…What, the… telepathy? Yeah… Uh I guess she can do telepathy." Ai had no idea what horrors Hideki had witnessed.
[14:41] <Sachiko> Sachiko was sitting on a makeshift stool fashioned from loose cinderblocks she'd found around the waxworks, and she didn't bother rising as Hideki and Ai arrived. She had her coat off her shoulders, and was gingerly massaging her shoulder. "It's me," she said, offering a half-hearted wave. "I guess I'd say that whether it was true or not, though."-
[14:41] <Sachiko> "… nice outfits."
[14:42] * Ai did a surprisingly playful curtsey-bow, actually. "Yours is oddly simple, yet… styling? I feel like I'd trust you to hunt down a replicant."
[14:46] <Sachiko> "… thanks," she said. "Simple works for me."
[14:57] <Hideki> "Yes, yes, everyone is pretty," Hideki broke in, daring to come closer. "But are we all good and ready to get the heck out of here?"
[15:00] * Ai turned her head, coming closer too, and …almost, sighing, shrugging, and whining all at once. "But Dinah's a bit late. …I assume she got one too, though?" But then she thought a bit more.. "…You said you knew how to get out, and you were told we didn't know how to communicate. Told by who…?" -
[15:01] <Ai> Beat. Then Ai's face, previously a bit soft and defeated… curled into a cross between long-suffering put-upon-ness and a subtly-smug grin. "Oh. Ms. Asahina told you."
[15:04] * Hideki perked up with interest. His eyes shifted around, oh so subtly. "You seriously think she came out of her box and wandered down here for no reason?"
[15:05] <Sachiko> "… what?" she said, staring. "Why would it be Ms. Asahina?"
[15:07] <Ai> "Okay, okay. Hear me out." Ai said. "The first day at the dorm, I had gone out to the computer cafe, and then on my way back, there was this big scary guy with muscles like-" She made a gesture like a fisherman's 'it was THIS big'. Bigger than any muscle could be. "-whoa. And he looked like he was gonna draw a knife or something and I just, panicked like an idiot. …But when I yelled at him that I needed my cat to take me home (cat was
[15:07] <Ai> totally there), The cat… actually took me home faithfully and perfectly. That's like, a dog thing and even they have trouble doing spontaneously?" But she took a breath.
[15:10] <Ai> "But like, then that night there was this vivid dream I only remember a bit about. Something about a swank lounge, tarot readings, and a weird long-nosed elf. …But one thing other than that I remember is blue. So much blue light and blue carpet and blue… everything." She said, waving her hands a bit for emphasis. "But back when the cat took me home, I saw a blue flash that made me look to see them." But, she continued. "So…
[15:10] <Ai> the cat's magic, right? I only thought of that after the dream, but then there's the Asahina connection."
[15:10] * Sachiko shifted from staring at Ai to staring at Hideki.
[15:12] <Ai> By now her gesticulations were going pretty fast, if a bit chaotically. "So like, she lives in a box. And doesn't like us talking about it. Never leaves. Never reaches a hand out, only uses this weird stick. A-and when I got omurice the first morning after, she complained about how hard it was to make. And didn't the menu have a ton of seafood?" A bit of a hand-flaily wave.
[15:13] * Hideki took the initiative. "Sure, the cat's magic. It adds up just fine. But, you know, you've had a very long day," he said gently. "Let's try to focus on one thing at a time, okay?"
[15:14] <Ai> "…But then I thought about it a bit more and like. The rules are weird. Sure there's no-smoking and tell me about letting you in and all that. But what about crossing out 'me/I' and writing in 'Ms. Asahina'? Or the rules about… the room on the fifth floor? You know, the one that the elf lives in?" …And then she pouted. "Call me crazy after I'm done!"
[15:14] <Sachiko> "… the cat is magic," Sachiko admitted. She didn't seem remotely pleased about it.
[15:15] <Dinah> A puff of smoke preceded Dinah as she joined up with the others in the group, though the look on her face suggested that she had heard whatever they were all going on about as they talked over one another. "What the fuck are you all goin' on about?"
[15:16] <Ai> "…Look anyway so it's…" Beat. Stare. "SEE?! ……Erm. S-sorry. I'm. …uh. Nobody was listening to me and I know it sounds really crazy…" She looked down. "…But like, all of it doesn't add up well, and if it wasn't for the dream and the weird coincidences, I wouldn't do this. …But that dream. I remember it too well. It's… it's all this, isn't it? I am thou thou art I and … magic and…" Wiggle wiggle flail. "S-so I'm
[15:16] <Ai> pretty sure Asahina is just the cat's pseudonym and she's been here the whole time! A-and that's why the decor isn't touched and a lot of stuff is in disrepair! And only the four of us and the cat live in the dorm! …It's the elf's fault."
[15:16] <Ai> She did turn and jump - very very belatedly - at Dinah arriving. "Eeek! Y-you startled me."
[15:17] <Hideki> Now it was Hideki's turn to stare first at Sachiko, and then at Ai. "What are we talking about?" he echoed. "I thought I knew, but now I don't."
[15:17] <Sachiko> "… I feel like you probably would do it, but ok," Sachiko sighed. It'd been a long day.-
[15:20] <Sachiko> "Yeah, the cat can talk," she shrugged. Dinah got a quick nod. "Says he's an American, go figure. Honestly there's been a lot wrong with the last hour, so I don't have great answers for you yet."-
[15:20] <Sachiko> "He should be back in a second and you can ask him yourself."
[15:21] <Dinah> For once, Dinah didn't look as scary as she did most of the time. The rush of beating down those Mothmen and celebrating with a cigarette was well enough to take the edge of the day off, though her brow still knitted in confusion at the conversation she'd walked in on. JC was magic and could talk and was actually the Box Lady? That didn't really scan with her.-
[15:22] <Dinah> Taking another drag off of her cigarette, she glanced to Ai briefly but then turned to Sachiko, rolling her shoulders. "You're tellin' me. I just punched two giant moth things so hard that they died."
[15:22] <Sachiko> "Nice."
[15:23] <Ai> "R… right! … …" She had a small, sad little smile on her face. "…Kurata-san, I just… needed to feel like someone would at least listen to me. …I tried to set up the group to survive but I messed up…" Then she nodded, turning to Dinah. "…Succubi, here. A-and my Persona shot them with holy bullets. Poor things…"
[15:31] <Dinah> "Persona, huh? So it was all of us, then? Mine burned one of them to ash." Tapping the ash off of her cigarette when she said that, she approached a bit closer, crossing her arms over her chest. "So do we compare notes now or are we just waiting on JC?"
[15:41] <Hideki> "And JC would be… the cat? No one said we couldn't do both."
[15:43] <Ai> "Context says yes?" Ai mused. "…And no, we could totally trade notes. …Maybe I won't get funny looks for these. But you first…?" She waved to all of them with a sweep of her hand.
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["I'm back." Said a voice most unfamiliar to the Sachi-nos in the room. After a moment of looking around, they'd look down, to see the cat.-
[16:14] <Minaplo> [Where had the cat gone? To scout around, maybe test something. Now he was back.-
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["The name's Roy Griffin, actually." Said Roy. "I'm the landlord of 5 Soejima Road, Miss Asahina is the caretaker. No, I am not Miss Asahina."-
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["I'm not actually a cat. You know how Hello Kitty is not a cat despite looking like a cat? I'm like that. A human being who looks like a cat."-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["I'm a Persona user. Have been for thirty years. I'm glad to finally meet all of you properly."]
[12:11] <Ai> "…If… and she… and. …But…" Ai just sort of locked up. "…The truth is cruel…"
[12:12] <PersonaGM> ["Sure, aight."]
[12:13] <Dinah> Dinah just sniffed and tapped her cigarette, seemingly uncaring that a cat was talking to them right now. "I knew you weren't Box Lady. But what the hell is going on?"
[12:14] * Hideki stared blankly at the talking cat. He really was magic! And yet, so many weird things had happened today that maybe he was getting numb to them? "So. Your, uh, introduction's raising so many more questions now."
[12:15] <Sachiko> Sachiko looked visibly relieved as the theory was debunked, but nodded as the others broke in. "No kidding."
[12:15] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah? Yeah, well, you wait. We're barely scratching the surface." Said Roy. "I'll give you the nuttiest shell I can."-
[12:15] <Ai> "Ones I had already started to… to answer!" She then whined again on seeing that look of relief. As if Sachiko's world being more sane was a bad thing! Or. Probably not quite that.
[12:16] <PersonaGM> ["Just slow down there, Yoshino. Best if you get it straight from the horse's mouth."-
[12:18] <PersonaGM> [Roy sat. "So to use a real rough metaphor, this 'sea of chaos' sits under reality. All kinds of forces work to push random emotional energy together into Shadow form, but none is more powerful or reliable as repression. Repression forces emotions into Shadow form."-
[12:19] <PersonaGM> ["But repressed emotions need to be acknowledged, and the more they're ignored the harder they fight. That's the driving energy in this place, and guess where it's driving it? Upwards. Into reality."-
[12:19] <PersonaGM> ["The Sea of Chaos is bleeding into reality at a slow but steady pace, and the more it bleeds, the more our reality begins to look like this." He said, gesturing with a paw at the dilapidated waxworks. "I sealed it 30 years ago, but the seal's far weaker and shit's going down."-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> ["I can't get into the specifics right now, but it looks like that black-jacketed guy we saw earlier has some connection with the Sea of Chaos. Enough to throw us down into the Library of the Endlings. If I had to guess, they were Yi's contact- they lured her here in order to throw her in."-
[12:21] <PersonaGM> ["Within a week, no one would remember she existed. Our perception of reality would change to accommodate that. Any memories of her would be filled in with something else, and her actions… Poof. Up in smoke."]
[12:24] <Hideki> "He didn't succeed, right? She's not actually down here…?"
[12:25] <PersonaGM> ["The last I saw of her she was stabbing the guy and shoving us down a flight of stairs. So… No, I don't think so."]
[12:26] <Hideki> "Whew. Alright, Ji-Hu!" Hideki gave a proud little fistpump.
[12:28] <Sachiko> "Pretty good," she admitted. "A lot of effort to go to to remove a student, though."
[12:28] <Ai> "…Sure, she's safe, but." Ai blinked. "…Uh hey, Griffin, what… do you quite mean by actions? I. Is that 'up in smoke' a metaphor for the… the literal actions? L-like you could just undo everything she ever did and even change the effects…?" She sounded disquieted about this, by a lot. "Who would do something like that? …WHY would someone…" Blink blink.
[12:29] <Ai> "…Is someone trying to get a threat to Asaka out of the way? …But wait her actions were… Are they trying to undo the video…?"
[12:29] <Sachiko> "Seems like it," Sachiko said. "It's a good working theory, anyway."-
[12:30] <Sachiko> A pause as she glanced at Roy. "She doesn't have a Persona, right?"
[12:31] <PersonaGM> ["She doesn't." Said Roy. "She just has an instinct for trouble."-
[12:33] <PersonaGM> ["Look, I want to talk about Asaka at some point. Shit's going down with him, and for the record, yeah, Yi were erased, then the video… I dunno, maybe someone else would make it, but most likely it'd just be erased too. Or people would forget, to be exact." Said Roy. "But time works badly in the Library of the Endlings. I dunno how long we've been down here, and it's possible that days have passed outside. We need to leave."]
[12:34] <Dinah> "Ain't like any of us wanna stay."
[12:35] <Sachiko> "You might when you hear about the exit."
[12:35] * Ai muttered something not unlike a curse, but sounding more like a barely-words worry mantra. Before… "…You said something about it. W… what's the deal?"
[12:35] <Hideki> "Can't be that bad, right?" Hideki was still kind of glowing.
[12:36] <Sachiko> "We need to go through that worm," Sachiko said. "Like, quite literally through it."
[12:37] * Ai …felt her stomach turn. "…Can it at least be dead for that?"
[12:37] <Sachiko> "I don't really think we'd do well if it was alive."
[12:38] <Ai> "Given everything in the past few days, and the uh. Failures just now I uh." She poked her fingers together with a shifty glance. "Am not making too many assumptions."
[12:38] <Ai> "E-even about laws of physics."
[12:39] * Hideki lightly snapped his fingers. "I have an idea. Let's look for another way out! Any other way out."
[12:41] <Dinah> Dinah frowned and shot something of a glare over toward Hideki. "They just said that's the way out. We all got just got those things and magic and shit. We can kill a worm."
[12:42] <Sachiko> "No other way out," Sachiko said plainly. "My scans show no other exits, and Roy verifies it. We have to kill the worm to leave."-
[12:42] <Sachiko> "No point wasting time."
[12:42] <PersonaGM> ["Yep."-
[12:42] <Ai> "D-didn't everyone stab themselves and bleed ink and … o-other really wild stuff? How is, after all this, h… hunting a monster worm and using its corpse like a sleeping bad a-anything worse?! Desperate times call for desperate measures! I've already learned that since the first day of school…"
[12:43] <Hideki> "Killing it isn't the issue here," Hideki pointed out. "The problem is that this is gross as shit."
[12:44] <PersonaGM> [A grimoire appeared in the air in front of Roy, opened to a middle page. As the others talked/'talked', he peered at it, then closed his eyes. A blue mist rose around him, shrouding him from view. When it passed…-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> [Gone was little kitty. In his place was a large, sleek, black metal suit of power armour, in the form of a muscular, threatening panther. His head was now level with the others when he sat.-
[12:47] <PersonaGM> [He raised a paw and unsheathed long, vicious silver claws. "As I thought- I've been weakened. A lot weakened. It's almost nostalgic."-
[12:48] <PersonaGM> ["Here, you're all a little wiped from waking. Have some of this." Little spray bottles emerged from his grimoire. "Just point it in your mouth and spray."]
[12:58] <Hideki> "Badass." Hideki eyed the armored cat, then took one of the bottles and sprayed as directed. How was it?
[12:58] <Dinah> Taking one and looking it over, Dinah lifted a brow toward the new JC and rolled her shoulders. Pulling her cigarette out, she sprayed whatever it was into her mouth as instructed, waiting then for the effect to set in.
[12:58] * Ai …most definitely stared at the spraybottle with ample, ample doubt. …But then after a few more seconds, psyched herself up enough to just.Use It. And braced.
[12:59] <Sachiko> "Been a while since you used it?" Sachiko asked. She waited until the others tried their sprays and then tried her own, provided none of them had dropped dead within ten seconds or so.
[13:00] <PersonaGM> [No one died. The spray tasted like very refreshing water… And a moment later they felt a strange, pleasant, airy sensation. Their spirits were lifted!-
[13:01] <PersonaGM> ["A little bit of that." Said Roy. "But that black-hatted punk got me good. I don't know what with, exactly, but it's left some permanent marks."-
[13:01] <PersonaGM> ["Still, five versus one, and the worm is on the way. Are we ready?"]
[13:03] <Dinah> She replaced her cigarette in her mouth after the spray, inhaling and letting out a puff from the other side of her mouth afterward. Cracking her knuckles, she nodded a bit. "I am."
[13:09] <Hideki> "So we're really doing this." Hideki didn't look remotely thrilled. He flipped the empty bottle in the air once or twice and frowned.
[13:09] * Ai nodded as well, drawing her bow up from where it was strapped. "…Let's do this."
[13:11] * Sachiko just nodded, testing her right side to make everything was working as it should out of habit. She seemed to be moving easier since summoning her Persona, but she still didn't trust it.
[13:19] <PersonaGM> [They felt it before anything else. A thud-thud-thud-thud throughout the 'walls' of this place that rippled in their stomachs. Then they heard the noise, of twisting metal and crunching rock.-
[13:19] <PersonaGM> [Then at the far end of the room, they saw it- huge industrial blast doors denting, then buckling, then splintering into a thousand pieces as a great worm burst through, acids dripping from its maw.-
[13:19] <PersonaGM> [Roy perked up. "Oh, a little'un! This'll be easy!"]
[13:52] * Ai shook her head, finding something… something wrong about this thing. When the others were attacking, there was… something about how the worm moved that put her at ill ease. So… while her bow was raised? Ai… ended up, instead, dashing off towards a pillar to take cover! "Is it not… trying to defend itself? I don't like this."
[14:21] <Sachiko> "Give me a moment."-
[14:21] <Sachiko> Shadow swirled around Sachiko as Faust appeared behind her, its cloak swirling to swallow up Sachiko entirely. From the inside the cloak was translucent; Arcane words and symbols were drawn around the worm, and more were forming with every passing second. {Hah! I can see where it's weak.}-
[14:22] <Sachiko> The branches that formed Faust's arms creaked and snapped as it made a broad gesture, and a second later a column of pure shadow fired towards the charging worm.
[14:23] <PersonaGM> [And the response from the seemingly languid worm was telling.-
[14:24] <PersonaGM> [The Amnelid shifted almost faster than the eye could see, leaving a blur trail through which the shadow column passed through harmlessly. The worm curled on that same momentum and leapt through the air.-
[14:25] <PersonaGM> [It slammed Hideki to the ground as part of its fall. A moment before it did, Dorian shoved the Narcissus-Persona through the mirror, taking most of the blow for him.-
[14:25] <PersonaGM> [But before Hideki could stand, the worm began thrashing wildly around, only narrowly missing squashing Hideki's head. Gobs of spit and strangely odorless acid sprayed around Hideki.]
[14:33] * Hideki cursed, shielding his eyes with his arm and rolling about, trying to find his footing. Miraculously, his hat remained on his head throughout it all, from the first blow to his standing back up. "Gaaaah!!! Take this, you shit!" -
[14:35] <Hideki> He slipped nimbly behind the thrashing creature, held his breath, dropped his shoulder, and then body-checked it! -
[23:36] <Hideki> "How's your own medicine taste?"
[15:13] <Dinah> Hideki wasn't the only one piling on, as Dinah saw herself on the other side of it, her fists tightening against her knuckledusters. Yelling, she threw out punch after punch, though the impacts didn't really seem to…well, impact. Not nearly as satisfyingly as they had with the Mothmen anyway.
[15:16] <Ai> But then Ai noticed what was happening. "…Trying to set it up…? Okay. I can do that! I know one thing you /definitely/ can do, persona." At which point… Ai nocked an arrow. Yet, when she did? An aura of light glowed from behind her - and the arrow became ephemeral, a ghost image, while behind the girl, Mami appeared, wings lifting her high… and the threads glowing around their hands to form. To form… A gigantic cannon. And Ai
[15:16] <Ai> was now beaming. "I never imagined I'd actually do this but. Alright…!" She loosed the arrow, which … hit the damp water? It left a small flower, glittering with golden motes. "Tiro…~" And Mami's cannon glowed golden with a building shot, before… the hammer fell. "Finaleeeeee!" And on the point Ai marked? A massive shell of shining light impacted the river at an arc, exploding out in a wave of force that threatened to sear
[15:16] <Ai> the worm like a well-done steak!
[15:24] <PersonaGM> [The worm let out a hoarse 'hurrrrg!', and began clumsily bowling itself away…]
[15:24] <Hideki> "…" After the light subsided, Hideki popped the creature with his impressive walking stick. Just to see if he could. Apparently, he could!
[15:25] <Ai> Yet. Ai was only more pleased when she realized it dodged. "Ehehehe… Gotcha."
[15:26] <PersonaGM> [The power-armour clad Roy leapt backwards, then charged past Sachiko in a blur. He leapt up, grabbed the worm around the back of its neck with his teeth and slammed it down. "Kurata! Get it now!"]
[15:34] <Sachiko> {On it.}-
[15:34] <Sachiko> Yet more creaking as Faust's arms turned in wide, semi-circular motions in the air above Sachiko, who finished the gesture with a sharp clap of her own. As the sound rang out, lances of darkness punched out of hazy portals in the air above the worm, pinning it to the ground and setting it alight with cold, violet fire.-
[15:34] <Sachiko> {You're done!} Inside Faust's skeleton, the shadow demons clapped and cheered and hooted with delight.
[15:36] <Ai> Which lead to Ai nocking another arrow. "Kurata-senpai, it's open! Are we gonna do this?!" With a certain fire in her voice.
[15:37] <Sachiko> {Just kill it already!}
[15:52] <Dinah> The battle ramped up fast, with an explosion slamming against the worm and Roy running out not too far after to draw an attack that saw it pinned down, unable to do anything. "Let's do this!"-
[15:57] <Dinah> At first, it started just with a flurry of blows, each punch sending her knuckledusters deeper into the worm's flesh as her rage grew stronger. Flicking her cigarette out of her mouth as her hand drew back, she caught it between her middle two fingers as Montag appeared behind her. Her fist lunched forward then, the flame on the cigarette burning hot and brightly, erupting as her
[15:57] <Dinah> Persona's rifle lit up just the same. Both her final punch and the blast of flame from Montag's flamethrower hit at the same time amidst a loud roar of fury from the young woman.
[16:03] <Hideki> Hideki tipped his hat as if to protect his eyes from the glare of the flames as he stepped up to the creature, wound his cane up with both hands like a baseball bat, and slammed it into the massive creature hard enough to lift it off the ground! He juggled it there for a few more strokes before letting it crash back down to the ground, skipping away to avoid being flattened. -
[16:05] <Hideki> All the while, the ghostly image of his persona hovered behind him, helpfully sipped from a wine glass and creased his lovely face into a vaguely disdainful expression.
[16:08] <Ai> Ai nodded firmly, her blast having done its job… before it was time to end things! "But, okay then!" …And then with an explicitly unnatural bound? The girl leapt up, taking two steps up one of the pillars of the room, then jumping even higher while holding that nocked arrow! Around her, golden wisps like wind - or ribbons…! - floated around her, Mami flying in the background as they flowed around Ai. -
[16:09] <Ai> She released the arrow, whose tip gleamed like a sun, and all around it, the images of more of those muskets faded in, firing shot after shot of pure-white divine energy to match the streaking arrow! The utter shelling of the place almost made it hard to notice, but… -
[16:10] <Ai> - …The arrow neatly cleaved into the worm's head on its final landing after Hideki's juggle combo (CURLY MUSTACHE!), and… just went out the other side, its flight catching the outer flesh and… pinning it? It… it looked grotesquely like a hide being stretched for tanning.
[16:19] <PersonaGM> [Finally was Roy, who had leapt clear of the onslaught long before it began.-
[16:20] <PersonaGM> [He drew a paw back and slammed it on the ground. The air shimmered around them, then began to spin like cards being flipped. For a moment, they were in a dense, dark rainforest…-
[16:22] <PersonaGM> [Blue fog flew up around Roy, and a glimpse of a shape appeared above him- a tall, sleek humanoid figure wearing a black bodysuit that caught the light and gleamed like obsidian glass. It had silver claws, and its helmet- built right into the bodysuit- was like a cat's.-
[16:22] <PersonaGM> [Then it was gone.-
[16:23] <PersonaGM> ["Black Panther!" Roared Roy. The shape reappeared, but this time in a tree; they had hardly time to process the image before the Persona lunged, slashing through the Worm's side in a single dash.-
[16:24] <PersonaGM> [A second appeared, then a third, fourth, fifth… Up to twelve Panthers, all dashing through the worm. The twelfth slide-tackled beneath the worm and scissor-kicked it into the air.-
[16:25] <PersonaGM> [The other eleven- and Roy- placed hands around their mouths and shouted in unison. Visible waves of agonising sound split the smoke around them and shook the worm like a dog catching a mouse. The worm swelled, trembled- then exploded open, bloody gouts shooting in every direction…-
[16:25] <PersonaGM> [… Before turning to smoke seconds before landing on any of them.-
[16:25] <PersonaGM> [RAINFOREST. A THRONE. ROY SITS WITHIN.-
[16:26] <PersonaGM> [ THE KING HAS RETURNED!-
[16:26] <PersonaGM> […-
[16:26] <PersonaGM> [And then they were back in the waxworks.-
[16:26] <PersonaGM> [Of the worm, only large gobbets of flesh remained, scattered around the area. There were identifiable organs, but only barely.-
[16:27] <PersonaGM> [The air smelled even worse than it already had.-
[16:27] <PersonaGM> [Fortunately for them, hanging in the air was an entrail, that curled into a comfortably large portal ring.-
[16:27] <PersonaGM> ["Whew. There we go." Said Roy. "Thanks. That was a good chance to see how y'all fight. And your Personas too, naturally."-
[16:28] <PersonaGM> ["I… Think there's something weird going on with 'em, and none of you seem to be wild cards, but we really need to save the conversation. We should get going."]
[16:35] <Ai> "…" Ai had opened her mouth as if to comment about that wild card thing. But then shook her head and decided to just… Head towards the ring. "This has been a… uh." She paused. "A…" But then the girl glanced back at the others, sighing. "…Weird heck of a day." At which point, she jumped through the guts…!
[16:37] * Sachiko jabbed an accusative finger towards Roy. "I won't be letting you keep playing coy when we're out of here."-
[16:37] <Sachiko> And then she followed Ai through.
[16:39] <Dinah> Despite the carnage around them, Dinah looked almost at peace after the worm had been killed. Letting out a sigh, she rolled her head to crack her neck. Though just as quickly, she took on a thoughtful expression for a moment and then visibly soured.-
[16:41] <Dinah> Fishing out a new cigarette, she went for her lighter but stopped, flicking her finger only to see a small flame hover over it. Grinning just slightly at that, she lit up and hopped through the rin herself.
[16:44] * Hideki wasn't long behind. No speculation, no cute tricks or accusations… just a look over his shoulder at his surroundings and a beeline for the portal once he had a chance for it.
[16:46] <PersonaGM> [And so it was that Hideki and Roy, the last ones through, would have a chance to see the worm move.-
[16:46] <PersonaGM> [Or rather, a piece of the worm. A large, fleshy meaty organ began to squirm uncomfortably.-
[16:47] <PersonaGM> [The organ began to glow. Then it split in half as though cut with a knife.-
[16:48] <PersonaGM> [A handful of razor-sharp vines burst outwards into the air, and with it the shape of an overlarge man- tall, incredibly muscular, with long black hair and surrounded by green forest vines that curled around his body like clothes. He swung out on them.-
[16:49] <PersonaGM> ["GAAAAAAAAASP." cried a new voice as a human- the evoker of the Persona above- emerged. A boy, only a little younger than Hideki. He was half-naked, wearing a cheetah-print sash around his waist, snakeskin boots, and the head and pelt of a gorilla over his face and shoulders. His skin was white and his body was quite scrawny.-
[16:49] <PersonaGM> [He clicked his fingers. "Tarzan, that's enough."-
[16:50] <PersonaGM> [The Persona vanished.-
[16:51] <PersonaGM> ["Tilottama!" he cried, and a new, entirely different Persona appeared- a beautiful, heavenly maiden of India, surrounded by water and musical instruments.-
[16:51] <PersonaGM> [The boy generated small pools of water with his hands, which he threw over his body. "Ick." He said as he washed the blood and guts off.-
[16:52] <PersonaGM> ["Gee, thanks for the help." He said irritably, staring at Hideki and Roy.-
[16:52] <PersonaGM> ["I overheard you, by the way, and so you know?" He said, reaching for his gorilla pelt and pulling it off.-
[16:53] <PersonaGM> [Curly blonde hair, slicked back in a most unconvincing manner.-
[16:53] <PersonaGM> ["Your wild card is right here." Said Adrien Delacour, shaking his hair out vigorously.]
[16:53] <PersonaGM> -FIN-

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