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Persona: Philosophy of Man [IC/PG-16/No Longer Accepting]

A Dad RP Fantasy Slice of Life Action Co-hosted by Saiku

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#101
Hakima

Hakima

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Tyler was heard approaching long before he was seen. He blasted down the road with his exhaust roaring, loud enough to rattle what windows remained in the abandoned houses in the area before pulling to a stop beside where he saw the group gathering. “All of you walk? Really?” he asked as he stepped out of the car. He was already regretting his decision to show up.

 

Pipsqueak was wearing a short skirt and a raincoat, and the punk girl looked more ready to go to a concert. The quiet dude didn’t look much more prepared himself. Tyler sighed and swung around to the trunk of the car, popping it open and pulling out a handgun. He dropped the magazine out with a quick click, made sure it was still loaded and then popped it back into place.

 

After that he tucked the gun into the back of his jeans and pulled out a wicked looking knife, sliding that into his pocket and turning to face the group. “Hope you all brought some kinda weapons, ‘cause I didn’t bring an armory with me.” He shoved a handful of bullets into his pocket as he said this.

 

From under the bottom of his left pant leg, an ankle monitor flashed.


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Danger Is My Middle Name

#102
Yui

Yui

    The Yurricane

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"Oh, hello there."

 

Haruka's attention swiveled to the voice of some other girl. Haruka recognized the face as being one that had been with her on the island, but the finer details escaped her. Not because of poor memory or anything, but simply because Haruka didn't care who this person was. "Cute coat." Or that they approved of Haruka's raincoat. She never liked this thing in the first place, but it was simply more convenient to bring it if the alternative was probably getting rained on again.

 

"It isn't here to be cute; it's here to keep my dry," Haruka curtly responded. And then there came another girl, seemingly dressed more for being able to move than not getting wet. Not to mention the massive backpack she'd brought along. Suddenly, it was beginning to feel like Haruka had come here too early, if everyone else would be showing up around this time. It also began to feel like she was an idiot for not bringing something like that backpack herself.

 

"Yo! Are we early, or the boys late? I left class a bit early and dropped by a few shops... Might have overdone it, but I figured if we're gonna do this, it could be dangerous to go out there half-assed."

 

"That's... not a terrible idea." Actually, it was a pretty good idea! She just didn't want to say it so directly. She almost said it, but just before she could get her mouth open to say the words, someone else had arrived. Also, the freakishly tall guy had appeared at some point. He was pretty quiet, and that may have been why Haruka failed to notice him at first. The other boy, however, was a more vocal sort, not that that was a particularly high bar to pass or anything.

 

“All of you walk? Really?”

 

"Walking is good for your health," Haruka retorted. "You shouldn't diss healthy life choices, even if they're inconvenient ones that take up a lot of time only to have to wait because you're the first person to get here and there are still plenty of people that haven't shown up yet if they even plan to."

 

“Hope you all brought some kinda weapons, ‘cause I didn’t bring an armory with me.”

 

"That's what Paul's for." If Paul kept using his magical buddy in fights, Haruka would be able to pay attention and try to figure out just where they came from. And then get one of her own.


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stuff I've won

#103
Chaos Sonic

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End of Tryouts

 

The game had come to an abrupt end. Despite a seemingly quick pace and only ten minutes shaved off of the clock, the veteran players had defeated the rookies, 15-10. Coach Overton gathered everyone into a huddle on the sidelines, leaving the veterans to his left and the rookies to his right.

 

"Alright, this was a good start," he said with a satisfied grunt. "Looks like we'll need to really work on fundamentals and get you all working together again. Each of you rookies will be hearing from me later this week as we move forward with other tryouts. The last day is Thursday and I'll make my decision on Friday. If you hear from me, it's safe to assume you've been chosen. I'll be doing practices and tryouts Tuesday after school and Thursday after school. You're not obligated to show up since you've played already, but multiple tryouts are allowed. It also looks better on your sheet. Keep that in mind."

 

Harper nodded silently to himself. Hills and the others remained quiet.

"Most of the time I'd take it to a twenty-one point game, but the girls need the gym this evening for tryouts too. They'll be filling in about twenty minutes from now. So, I want your sweaty asses out of my gym pronto. Let's go, let's go," Coach Overton demanded. He ushered the veteran players back to the locker room as the new players were dismissed on their own. "See you all later this week," Overton said, waving the new players away.

 

Friday is the decision...alright. Jason thought, nodding as he sighed softly and started to grab his things and head out. Means I can kinda focus on tomorrow then without any problems...hopefully.

 

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8/28

Operation: Island Party

Tuesday

Afterschool

 

The next day went by surprisingly fast for him. Of course, there was slight altercations with some of the basketball team (led by Ivan of course), but he was lucky that Brock kept him in line. After all, out of the group, Brock usually was the one to keep Ivan's leash short when it came to him firing his mouth off. For that, he was thankful for.

 

And right now, not even the rain could get him down as he made his way to the meeting place that Paul was wanting those who went to the island to go to. With his hood on over his head, his earbuds in his ears, Jason made his way.

 

"Hey mom. I'll be late coming home tonight. We got some stuff going on at the club so I'm going to need to stay with them for a little while." Jason sent a quick text to his mom, knowing good and well he didn't want to text Gary, the damned drunkard.

 

"Kk Jason. Dinner will still be here waiting for you when you get home. Be safe getting back home after your club's activities."

 

Be safe...yeah, she doesn't know at all what 'Be safe' right now will entail... he thought, finally arriving at the place and seeing people already gathered. He remembered Piper, Reno, Avery, and Tyler right off the bat, however the other two (Quinn and Haruka) he didn't remember their names specifically.

 

"Looks like Paul isn't here...so I guess that means I'm not late, huh?" he chuckled, removing one earbud from his ear.



#104
Dad

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Tryouts
 
Paul let the bleachers empty and filed out of the gym last with his hands tucked into his pockets.  He was confident that Jason would make the team, but he would get more details from Kevin later.  He had to hurry home now.  It was getting late and Paul knew he had to prepare for tomorrow.
 
"Jason!" he called out as he headed to the exit of the gym.  "I'll see you tomorrow, after school!"
 
Before Jason could reply, Paul was jogging away.  He didn't want to miss the bus.
 
 
"Hey, ma?" Paul said as he walked through the front door.
 
"Hey, baby.  How was school?" Ms. Brown asked.
 
"It was fine.  But, uh, I'm gonna be gettin' home kinda late tomorrow," he said quickly.
 
Ms. Brown was in the kitchen cooking dinner and peeked over her shoulder through the kitchen doorway at Paul.  "Oh, you are?" she said, implying that Paul had not queried about this sudden late evening previously.
 
Paul nodded as he walked into the kitchen.  "Yeah, I'm uh, gettin' together with some friends.  We're gonna kick it for a bit.  But I'll be home tomorrow night, for sure."
 
Ms. Brown shook her head.  "Paul.  The school year just started.  Now, I'm glad you're making friends and all, but I don't want you slackin' off.  You don't have time to play games.  You just came from a party this past weekend.  Now you're goin' out on a school night?"
 
Paul sighed.  "Ma.  I'm a straight-A student.  You know I keep my shiiii--uh, stuff together.  You know I do," Paul said, catching his tongue in front of his mother.
 
"Your shi-uh is right," Ms. Brown mocked, looking over her shoulder again.  "So what are y'all gonna be doin'?  What does kickin' it imply?"
 
"Just hangin' out.  It's gonna be me, Jason, and a few others.  We'll probably just end up playing some ball or something for a few hours."  Paul was lying through his teeth.  He hated lying to his mother.
 
"Alright, now.  You just make sure you bring your tail home.  You better call me.  Don't have me leave my house lookin' for you," Ms. Brown said sternly.
 
Paul chuckled.  "Yes, ma'am.  I'll text you after class tomorrow and then when we're wrapping up, as I'm on my way home."
 
Ms. Brown sighed.  "Alright.  Go get your sister.  Set the table, dinner's almost ready."
 
 
Gameday
 
Tuesday seemed to drag on during the school hours.  Paul was itching to get out of class.  He had almost lost focus when he was called on to answer a question in class.
 
"Mr. Brown!" barked his American History teacher.
 
Paul sat up straight and looked ahead.  "Sir?"
 
"According to Chapter Two, the U.S. Federal Government adopted a specific kind of tariff in 1828.  It was used on imported manufactured goods.  What was the name of this tariff?"
 
Paul thought carefully.  He remembered reading this while doing homework just last night.  But he only glanced over it!  
 
"The Tariff of... Abominations?" Paul said with an accented question on his words.
 
"That's right, Mr. Brown.  The Tariff of Abominations was adopted in 1828 on imported manufactured goods, as a way of protecting industry around the country.  However... "
 
Paul felt a tad bit smarter for answering that question correctly.
 
 
Familiar Faces
 
There was a sudden uproar of noise behind them, even in this slightly dreery weather.  Still clutching his can, Seer listened to the conversation of the acquaintances he had met only three days prior.  They had returned.  But there was one person in particular whose presence made even him stir.  The tall, silent one.
 
Three people began to move silently from the darkness of the abandoned homes, but they were stopped as Seer raised a hand.  Seer smiled warmly in the darkness.  "Reno Howard," he whispered aloud.  "We will see him again.  We should thank him for his charity.  It did not go unnoticed."
 
The three shadows slunk back into the floor, and Seer turned his eyes to other matters.
 
 
Prepare for Trouble
 
Paul had spent the previous night "preparing" for this big day.  It was like he was about to lose his other world virginity.  At least one of his virginities would be gone.
 
He had packed an emergency medkit, gifted to him from his aunt.  He also packed several non-perishable snacks, water, a fire making kit, and last but not least, a weapon.  There was a sturdy walking cane his grandfather had left behind after he passed.  Paul was no staff master, but he could beat someone over the head with this walking cane and easily give them a concussion.  Best of all, it folded into smaller parts so it easily fit into his bag without being noticed.  
 
Was he overprepared?
 
Probably.
 
Did he regret it?
 
Nah.
 
Paul had ridden his bike to Kevin's house and asked his parents if it was alright for him to park it there.  Kevin was okay with it, and so were they.  He walked from Kevin's house over to the meeting spot where Tyler, Reno, Jason, Avery, Haruka, and Piper were all gathered.
 
"Sorry I'm late," Paul said, lowering his hood.  He was extremely grateful for hoodies.  "Aren't we missing someone?"
 
Quinn wasn’t there.  To be honest, Paul had forgotten the young man’s name.  But not his face.  “Yeah.  The other dude.  He wasn’t too keen on comin’ back.  But then, none of us were at first,” Paul thought out loud.  “He can come back if and when he’s ready, I suppose.”
 
Paul secured his backpack on his back.  He had left his books with Kevin as well, just to make sure he had plenty of room in his bag.  He withdrew his cell phone from his pocket and slowly approached the Dial Zone.  Thankfully, everyone was already gathered around the point.  Paul peered down the street quickly to ensure that no passersby would see them vanish into thin air. 
 
“Ready?” he asked to everyone.
 
Without waiting for a reply, Paul dialed the resort line.  There was a crackling in the air as the call went through.  Each person would feel an immense pressure overtake them, and a tingling sensation in every fiber of their body.  They were pulled upward with great force as a pulsing headache ran through their skulls.  Their hair stood on edge just as they were propelled upwards.
 
 
“Welcome back to Origin Island Resort,” said a woman’s voice.  She sounded as though she did a lot of commercials.
 
It took Paul a moment before he could stand up straight.  He still wasn’t used to being projected in and out of other worlds.  Anyone who was, probably wasn’t human.  As he gathered his composure, Paul laid eyes on the jungle that led back to the hotel.  A number of the trees were still trampled over from the sudden battle that had occurred the first time they stumbled upon this place.  This led Paul to believe that whatever happened here was permanent.
 
This made him nervous.  It also made him excited.   “Let’s go see Georaldo,” Paul announced, and he began to march his way through the jungle.
 
 
Inside the hotel lobby, Georaldo was at his post, waiting for his guests.
 
“Masters!  You’ve returned!” the shadow said with glee.  “It’s so very good to see you again.”
 
Paul approached Georaldo quickly.  “Sorry Georaldo, but we didn’t come to see the sights.  I came to get answers.  And if my guess is right, then I need to speak to your manager.”  Paul silently regretted those words.  “Speak to the manager?  What!?”
 
Georaldo audibly gulped.  “Well, Master Paul, I actually am the manager.  But, if you’d like to speak with the owner,” Georaldo paused for a moment.  “You can find them on the top floor.  Floor twelve.”
 
Paul nodded.  “Then that’s where we’ll go.  Thanks, Georaldo.”
 
“Master Paul, wait!  Please, wait.  There are a few things you should know about the hotel,” Georaldo said quickly.  “Please, allow me to take a few moments of your time.  Sit, sit.  This won’t take long.”
 
Paul shrugged and plopped down onto a rather comfortable elongated couch that sat eight people.
 
Georaldo stood in front of the sofa and, from thin air, produced a standing chart.  “This world is populated by a race of creatures called Shadows.  Of those shadows, there are two types:
 
Monster Shadows and Anomaly Shadows.  
 
Monster Shadows, as their names state, are monsters of this world.  They are highly aggressive and will not hesitate to do you harm.  Their numbers can be deceiving, as multiple monsters may hide among a single Monster Shadow.  These Monster Shadows may also take on multiple forms.  From animals in your world to bizarre entities like myself.  Leave their forms up to your imagination, but I can assure you, you will almost always be surprised.
 
In addition, Monster Shadows can use a wide variety of attacks.  They are incredibly dangerous and their threat levels may vary.  Some Monster Shadows will glow with a red hue.  This indicates that they are either great in number or great in strength.  It’s also possible that they are great in both number and strength.  Red Monster Shadows are among the most dangerous of Monster Shadows.  
 
Yellow Monster Shadows should also be approached with caution.  While they are not as powerful as Red Shadows, their strength may match your own.
 
Blue Monster Shadows will also appear.  These shadows are much weaker than yourself, but the chances of encountering them is low.”
 
Georaldo flipped to the next chart which held a picture of himself and the Nurse Shadow they had all encountered previously.
 
“Anomaly Shadows are shadows like myself or the Nurse in your Safe Rooms.  We are intelligent, non-hostile shadows.  We are few and far between, but we will often be able to offer you assistance of some kind should you encounter us.”
 
Georaldo flipped to the third chart.
 
“The entirety of the hotel from the second floor up is populated with Monster Shadows.  This also includes the hotel grounds and the rest of the island.  You should be wary at all times that you are not near the Dial Zone, the hotel first floor, or a Safe Room.”
 
There was one final chart, and Paul sighed.
 
“Last, but not least, there are many treasures among the islands, and some are even in this very hotel.  Should you encounter any valuables, you are free to keep whatever you find.  We only ask that you use it for your own well being.  You may notice chests lying about.  Some of them may be locked.  Some of them may be open.  Some of them may not be chests at all.  Take caution.”
 
Georaldo snapped his fingers and the charts vanished.
 
Paul rubbed his head.  “It’s a lot to take in, but I think I get it.  So uh, does that mean that the owner, on the top floor, is a Monster Shadow or an Anomaly Shadow?” Paul inquired.
 
Georaldo hesitated to answer.  “I’m afraid, Master Paul… that the owner is something else entirely.  Even we do not have an accurate title to reflect them.  We have simply attributed them to being a form of Divine Anomaly Shadows.  It’s best to approach carefully.”
 
“Divine?  Like gods?”  Paul nodded as he thought to himself.  “And where can we get to the second floor?”
 
Georaldo walked back over to the front desk and began rummaging through it.  “Just a moment.  I believe I have--aha!”
 
From the desk, Georaldo produced a dusty map.  “I’m afraid this one only covers the first floor, but I’m sure you can find other maps and their keys scattered throughout the hotel.”
 
Paul took the map and carefully rolled it up.  He slid it gently into his bag for safekeeping.
“Thanks.  Oh, uh, Georaldo.  One more question,” Paul said as his curiosity began to get the better of him.  “Have you ever actually met the owner?  Face to face?”
 
Georaldo shook his head.  “No, Master Paul.  No one has.  They have presided over this hotel for some time now but no one has met--wait a moment.  There is one person who’s met the owner.  And I believe they’re lazily sleeping the day away on the second floor.  Why, ever since they met the owner, they’ve been quite docile.  This has led me to believe there was some violence involved.  But, if you run into them, you’ll know.”
 
Paul straightened his bag on his back and began walking further into the hotel.  “I’m not sure I like the sound of that.  Thanks, anyway,” he said, waving to Georaldo.
 
“Have a safe journey!” Georaldo wished to his guests.
 
 
Paul led the others down the same dimly lit corridor as before, passing his own portrait and the empty ones beside it.  Ahead of him was a dusty spiral wooden staircase with deep red carpet sewn into the flooring and every step.  Dirty gold trim lined the twisted railings, taking the eye up to the second floor.
 
“Never known a hotel these days to not have elevators,” Paul thought aloud.  He would’ve liked to go straight to the top floor to speak with the owner.  The sooner he got his questions answered, the sooner he could get back to his old life.  And yet, this adventure stirred another side of him that, if he were honest with himself, did not want to go back.
 
Paul climbed the creaky staircase and eased toward two large, arched wooden doors with black steel handles.  Paul gave the door a good pull.  It was incredibly heavy.  He managed to heave it open and gave way to an entirely new aesthetic in the hotel.
 
The dark, plush lavishness of the first floor had not been carried up to the second floor.  It was instead replaced by a dingy sandstone which made up the floors, walls, and ceilings.  Some of the tiles were badly cracked, while others looked to be brand new.  The halls were littered with candlelight on sturdy torches on the walls.  
 
“Hmm.  This isn’t so bad,” Paul thought aloud as he pulled the map from his bag.  “Now, where do we go to get to the second f--what was that?” Paul asked rather quickly, bracing himself against the wall.  He could hear footsteps and a low growl.
 
Paul began to rummage in his bag for his cane.  He felt around quickly for it.  He had to defend himself.  “Where is it!?” He thought to himself.  He felt something cold and metal and Paul dragged it out of his bag.  It wasn’t until he realized he cut his hand open that Paul looked down and examined what he was holding.  He had latched onto what should have been his grandfather’s foldable cane.  Instead, he produced a lengthy staff made of wood with a vicious blade on its end.  He must have cut his hand trying to remove it from his bag.
 
“What the hell?” Paul thought.  He had no time to figure out what was happening.  He only knew he had to prepare for whatever was at the end of this corridor.
 
The footsteps were soft, as if the approaching thing was barefoot.  That could only mean…
 
“Shadow,” Paul whispered over his shoulder.  He clutched his weapon tightly and prepared to engage the enemy in combat.
 
A foot rounded the corner and Paul sprang forward anxiously to attempt to get a drop on his foe.
 
“Whoa, mate!  Watch where you’re pointin’ that!” said a surprised voice.
 
Paul stared down at the voice to see a wolf staring him in the face, or what seemed like a wolf. Paul was sure their fur wasn't normally blue though. It stood on its hind legs, around as tall as Paul himself,  and seemed to be wearing a jumpsuit that would remind them all of an infamous wrestler.
 
Paul quickly backed away and pointed his staff’s bladed end at the animal.  “C’mon you fuckin’ monster.”
 
The wolf tilted its head and pinned its ears.  “Now that’s just hurtful, bruv.”
 
Paul remained cautious.  “Well!?  Are we fighting or what!?  C’mon, Shadow!”
 
The wolf scratched its head with its front paw and shook its fur.  “Do I look like a fuckin’ Shadow to you?”
 
Paul did a double take.  “You… you’re not a Shadow?”
 
The wolf growled.  “I’m a fuckin’ wolf! Majestic and proud, not like a fuckin’ Shadow,” It quickly lowered its guard and let out a stiff yawn.  “I get up to go and take a leak and you’re standin’ there with a bloody spear in my face!  Outta the way, ya damn kid!  Before the real shadows eat ya up.”
 
The wolf trodded past Paul who stood looking dumbfounded.  “Are you the one Georaldo told us about?”
 
The wolf stopped and turned around.  “You been talkin’ to Gerald?  Damn Anomalies.  Lettin’ anyone with a stick in the hotel.  What’s he sayin’ about me?”
 
Paul breathed a sigh of relief.  “Just that you’re lazy.”
 
“Oy, I resent that! After all, I was the one tryin’ to stop this bloody island from sinking, ya know. Just because I took a small break don't mean I'm lazy, ya hear?” He shook his head as he stretched, bones cracking as he did. “Now, what's the lot of you doing in this bloody hotel anyways?”
 
Paul shrugged.  “I’m trying to figure that out.  We ended up here by accident and when a lot of inexplicable crap started happening to me, I just got this deep gut feeling that this is where I would find my answers.”  Paul lowered his weapon.  “Sorry for startling you uh… what’s your name?”
 
“It's Grendel, all around badass extraordinaire,” Grendel replied, rubbing his shoulder. “As for you, mate, that answer was nice and deep, very moving, sent shivers down to me tail,” the wolf's sarcasm was quite evident in his voice as he continued, “And that spear is nice and all, but without a Persona, you ain't gonna make it past the second floor, let alone the top of this here hotel. So leave this to the professionals, yeah?”
 
“Hang on, hang on.  Persona?  I got one of those.  I’m just not one hundred percent sure on how to use it yet,” Paul quickly explained.  “I just--I started having weird dreams about some guy named Igor and a Velvet Room and then boom, here I am on this damn island where the orb that popped up in my dreams was being ripped outta my chest.  Then a magical African dude tells me he’s a part of my soul and his name is Shango.”
 
That was probably the most convoluted mess of an explanation Paul could have given.
 
“Shango, huh? That's a pretty good name for a Persona,” Grendel admitted. “I dunno who this Igor is, but damn that name annoys me almost as much as Gerald… anyways, if all of ya wankers had Personas, you should have just said so. Still, not being sure how to use it would be an issue. Let's fix that now, ey mate?”
 
Grendel's body began to be surrounded by a blue aura, a wide grin on the wolf's snout as he spoke his next words. “Come forth, Beowulf! We gots some new kids to teach,” a tall figure appeared behind the wolf, decked out in black armor and an oversized claymore resting on its shoulder. The face of the persona was obscured by the shaggy blonde hair it had. “Alright wankers, now you're gonna have to beat me in a mock battle if the lot of ya want to get to the next floor. Come on!”
 
Faced with this new, powerful foe, Paul was quite intimidated.  “You’re, uh, a little excited about this aren’t you, Grendel?” Paul asked as he nervously took a step backward.  “Okay,” he said nervously.  Paul squeezed his left fist tightly as he recited, “Persona.”  Oddly enough, nothing happened.  
 
Paul opened his left fist and he could feel the orb in his hand again.  “Uh…” he muttered, looking down at the Lotus Crystal and back up to the Persona that Grendel designated as Beowulf.  “Hell of a handicap,” he thought aloud.  Paul tried again.  “Persona.”
 
Still.  Nothing.
 
“Oy, I see your problem, amd it's a simple fix,” The wolf stated as it bounced on its toes. “Now, I know that there orb looks pretty and fancy, but it's also holding ya back. Pull it out, and smash it it with all ya got!” the wolf explained.
 
Paul listened intently to Grendel and grasped the orb tightly in his hands.  He could feel the tickle of the fire beneath its glass surface.  He was right.  This orb was keeping Paul from accessing his maximum potential.  Paul grasped the orb more and more tightly until it was crushed in his hands.  As it shattered, Paul recited with more emphasis, “Persona.”
 
There was a crash of thunder that shook the floor, and before Paul, Shango appeared once more.
 
He stood floating, silent, brooding.  Shango looked over the battle and his eyes landed on his opponent.  Paul, however, was unsure of what to do next.  “Okay.  Okay!  That’s it!  N-Now what?  How do I get Shango to… swing his hammer and stuff?  Do I just--Shango, swing your hammer!”
 
Shango didn’t move.
 
“Ya lucky yer new, otherwise Beowulf would have stabbed ya by now,” Grendel muttered. “Of yer don't know what yer own Persona can do, then why don't you ask ‘im yourself? Then you can tell your Persona to do those moves it knows,”
 
Paul stared up at Shango and posed a question.  “Shango.  What abilities do you have?”
 
Shango turned around to Paul and began to verbally list his known skills.  “My skills include Kouha, Lucky Punch, and Sukunda.”
 
Paul rubbed his chin.  He was interested in all of these things, but he wasn’t sure what any of those skills did.  “Can you explain your skills to me, Shango?”
 
Shango nodded.  “Kouha is a Bless attack.  It deals a minor amount of Holy damage to a single enemy.  Lucky Punch is a Physical attack.  It deals miniscule physical damage to a single enemy, with a chance to knock them down.  Sukunda is a technical skill.  It reduces the speed of one foe.”
 
Paul listened closely.  Should he start off aggressive?  No.  Not against someone with so much experience.  He should be more tactical.  “Alright then.  Sukunda!” Paul demanded.
 
Shango nodded and began to twirl his hammer in his left hand.
 
“There ya go, you're gettin’ it,” Grendel praised. “Now, ol’ Grendel's going to take it easy on ya at first, okay?” He said as he reached to his back, pulling off a folding chair that was strapped to his back. “You don't always got to use your Persona for battle. If you just need to feel out your enemy, give ‘em a good wack!” He commented as he ran forward to smack Paul with his chair.
 
Paul was thrown back as the chair crashed against him.  “Ow, shit!” he groaned.  “Wha--I thought you said mock battle!”  Paul got up, annoyed that he had just been smashed with a chair as though he were in a professional wrestling league.  Paul drew forth his Nguni Blade and ran at Grendel aggressively.  He flipped the blade around and promptly smacked his opponent over the head with the blunt end.  He quickly returned to Shango’s side, satisfied with the retaliation he had delivered.
 
“Hey.  Wait a minute.  Do shadows fight like this?  Is that why you’re doing this?” Paul questioned.
 
“Shadows can fight in all kinds of ways,” Grendel stated. “Using magic, hittin’ ya, yada yada,” he waved a hand. “And while usin’ yer Persona makes most fights easy, it ain't easy on your mind or your body, so you can't just depend on ‘em.” he shrugged. “You'll get better at it though as ya do this more, so don't worry.”
 
“That’s good to know.  I guess when Shango told me he was an extension of my soul, he was being literal,” Paul said as he examined Shango from the ground.
 
“So.  To conclude,” Paul began.  “My Persona can use a variety of attacks.  Once I know what those attacks are, I can issue a command.  It’s possible to overexert myself--which only makes sense--and I don’t necessarily have to use my Persona for every attack I make.”
 
 
“You're a quick learner,” Grendel commented. “Let's see… oh yeah, blocking is very important. If you see someone winding up for a big attack, blocking will help you stay alive, and also makes instant death curses more likely to miss,” he rubbed his snout in thought before shrugging. “That's all I can think of at the moment,” he looked past Paul to address the others. “Oy, all you wankers got that? Even the ones in the back? Good. That's Grendel's school of Not Dying for the lot of you.”
 
Paul breathed a heavy sigh.  He had been concentrating pretty hard on keeping Shango around and active.  He took a deep breath and Shango dissipated, waiting to be summoned again.
 
“I appreciate your help, Grendel,” Paul said as he continued down the long corridor of the second floor.  “Hopefully it will help on my way to see the Owner.”
 
Beowulf vanished from Grendel’s side as Grendel blocked Paul’s path.  “And what are you doin’ goin’ to see someone like that?”
 
Paul stopped.  “I have questions.  A lot of questions that need some damn good answers.  And I suspect I’ll only get ‘em from the person in charge.”
 
“Listen, kid,” Grendel said as he planted his paws firmly on the floor.  “I dunno you.  I don’t really care what ya do.  But I’m warnin’ ya.  You go and see the Owner, you won’t come back.  He’s a right nasty individual.  Lots of power.  He’s dangerous, dammit.  And a kid like you with no experience doesn’t need to go chargin’ to the rooftop to talk to ‘him.”
 
Paul folded his arms.  “I’m not goin’ there to pick a fight.  I’m only goin’--”
 
“It doesn’t matter to him!  You’re gonna get yourself killed, ya fuckin’ moron!” Grendel snapped.
 
Paul looked behind him to the others, then back to Grendel.  “Then you can protect them.  And I’ll go by myself.”
 
Grendel growled, gritting his teeth.  “Grrr--fine!  Fine.  I’m comin’ witcha.  But the minute this gets nasty, you turn your tale and you get the hell off the island.  Deal?”
 
Paul gave Grendel a pat on his head.  “Deal.”
 
Grendel let it slide this time.  “You ever pet me again like I’m a bloody house dog, and you won’t be keepin’ that hand.”
 
 

 
Primary Objective(s):
 
  • Clear the second floor of the hotel.
 
Secondary Objective(s):
 
  • Meet the Owner.
  • Discover new Strengths.
  • Find a map key.


#105
Yui

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Ah yes, the island. Haruka's favorite place. She simply adored all the bloodthirsty monsters aiming to kill her, the miscellaneous freaks that worked at the hotel, and of course, everyone else gathered with her. And let's not forget the piles of information Georaldo had decided to hit the group with all at once. As much as Haruka wanted to ask questions of her own while Georaldo was spewing out information, for some reason, she found herself unable to speak. As if some cosmic force was urging them to not dilly-dally and just get on with it. A similar situation occurred when Paul was fighting some wolf-man named Grendel. Haruka wanted to speak, yet for some reason - even though there was the time and the opportunity more than once - no words escaped her mouth. This was frustrating.

 

If I ever meet whatever made that happen, I've got some harsh words for our mystery being.

 

“Grrr--fine!  Fine.  I’m comin’ witcha.  But the minute this gets nasty, you turn your tale and you get the hell off the island.  Deal?”

 
“Deal.”
 
“You ever pet me again like I’m a bloody house dog, and you won’t be keepin’ that hand.”
 
Grendel's not all bad... kind of. He's a meathead and too aggressive. Yeah, he's all bad. Just like everyone else. As the team - now featuring Grendel - entered the second floor proper, Haruka's important question came to mind again. Personas were an extension of the user's soul, and they had a variety of skills and abilities that could be used in combat, but it was important to not rely entirely on them. That much she learned by watching the two go at it. However, there was still one thing she didn't quite understand.
 
"How do you get a Persona anyway? How come Paul here gets Shang-Nohair, you get some pretty boy with a sword, and the rest of us get nothing?" Was there some kind of form she  had to fill out or something?
 
"Oh, well, I know the best way to answer that, luv," the wolf commented. "Ya just haven't yet reached a point within yer soul that would birth the Persona within ya. That is, if it is with in ya. When that time comes, yer Persona will call out to ya. And ya will know its name."
 
"What sort of Disney movie bullshit is that?" Was this an anime? Was that how this worked? But if that was the case... "Let's say I'm in life-threatening danger. Would that help me reach a point within mah soul?" she asked, very obviously mocking Grendel's accent near the end, and not doing a very good job of it.
 
"The hell's a Disney? The hell's a movie?" Grendel asked as he rubbed his snout. "Well, it could help. It's how most people do it."
 
"Got it." Turning her attention to Paul, Haruka said "I'm going to try to find that key or whatever. Don't follow me, and definitely don't cover me if I'm in trouble." Then her gaze turned toward Tyler. He'd brought an actual gun. "That goes for you too, got it? I don't care how cool that gun of yours is; don't use it to protect me." And with that, Haruka started forward, ahead of the group, to begin her search for the mystery key. She'd awaken her Persona one way or the other, even if she had to do it by force like this.
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#106
Chaos Sonic

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Return to the Islands

-A Few Moments Ago-

 

Jason groaned as he held his head after the initial return to whatever this world was, prompted by Paul. He sat up and shook his head slightly, before finally trying to bring himself up onto his feet. "J-Jeez...I-I honestly don't think I'll be able to ever get used to that..." he sighed, surveying the area a few times. Looked like everything was going smoothly for the moment...

 

“Let’s go see Georaldo.”

 

"Creepy hotel, here we come..." Jason said with low energy as he pumped his fist slightly into the air. He wasn't 100% ready to go back to that creepy hotel with the nurse and Georaldo, but still...it was better than staying out here with the dark, freaky-ass creatures. Lesser of two evils...

 

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“Masters! You’ve returned! It’s so very good to see you again.”

 

"Hey G." Jason waved with a smile, deciding to just call Georaldo by that. It was a bit easier for him to remember.

 

About this time, Paul requested to see the owner of this "illustrious" hotel, to which Georaldo only said they'd find him on the twelfth floor. Then the strange man had them sit down and have a in depth conversation...or rather a lesson on what these so called "Shadows" were and what they were to expect. Needless to say, Jason did happen to doze off at least once or twice...but he figured at least Paul or someone would be able to give him some cliff-notes or something.

 

Nevertheless, once Georaldo was finished his explanation, he sent the group off with a map or rather a part of a map and instructed the group to try and find other maps and their keys. Didn't seem to hard. Thus, their mission began!

 

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The Howling Epic Begins

-Present Time-

 

-BGM-

 

“It's Grendel, all around badass extraordinaire.”

 

This...was a talking...wolf pup...wrestler...thing. Jason was pretty much at a loss for words. He could only keep blinking as he looked at the creature. This was one time he hated the fact that he was a dog person, because he had the urge to say that Grendel was: "So adorable!!!". Thankfully, he held his tongue, especially when the creature summoned up his own Persona: Beowulf.

 

Even he's got one of those things? Jeez... he thought, before seeing Grendel and Paul go at it for a moment, almost like this was a whole tutorial situation.

 

“You ever pet me again like I’m a bloody house dog, and you won’t be keepin’ that hand.”

 

...duly noted... Jason thought, seeming a bit disappointed at the reaction the wolf creature had in regards to being pet.

 

The group was continuing on, when Haruka started walking off ahead and away from them...sprouting some crazy stuff on no one following her and that she was going to not want any sort of back up or protection. Oddly enough, this seemed like something that gamers would call: a stupid move. It was pretty clear that the party was a bit stronger in numbers, sooooooo that would've been the smart move.

 

"Don't you think you should stay with the party?" Jason called out after Haruka.

 

"You heard the mutt; danger means Persona. I'm not about to let the boys take all the credit."

 

"...that's not the best way to get stuff done though." he muttered, shaking his head slightly. Regardless, he tossed his hands behind his head, before glancing down at Grendel. "Hey...uh, Grendel right? Have you been on this floor yourself?" This probably didn't hurt as a good question to ask. Hell, if someone had been up on this floor, then they might be able to find things a bit quicker.

 

"Ha, this floor," Grendel barked out a laugh. "I've been to every floor here, kiddo!"

 

"Okay, then that makes things easier." Jason chuckled with a smirk. "So, which rooms have a map that you know of?"

 

"Okay kiddo, use your head. If I found the map, why would we need to find it?"

 

Jason was silent for a moment, before sighing with a shrug. "Well...damn. It was worth a shot..." he glanced over at Paul. "Any plans so far, Paul?"



#107
Hakima

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Tyler was never someone anyone had considered noticeably intelligent. He struggled with math and even when he focused on reading he got the letters all jumbled up, turning what would be a ten minute project for someone else into an hour long slog. It had never bothered him that he wasn’t great at school, though, because he had his own talents. He knew how to survive.

 

He hung near the back and listened to Georaldo explain how the place worked, and he memorized as much of that information as he could. There were two types of “Shadows” and it was a difference between beasts and the guy they were talking with. The former category was split into three types; red was the type to run from, yellow the type to scrap with, and blue the type to stomp out.  The hotel had twelve floors and it was more a dungeon than a hotel. The owner was on the twelfth floor and he was apparently some sort of pissy God that wasn’t all that benevolent.

 

Funny, Tyler thought. I’ve never known a God to be kind. Wonder if this one has a cult too.

 

 

Tyler wasn’t sure what to think of the second floor. It had dropped all pretensions of being a hotel and turned into a straight-up dungeon. The red carpets, plush furniture and hotel staff had been exchanged for sandstone, winding hallways, and a talking dog. ...Correction. A majestic fuckin’ wolf. Tyler wasn’t sure if he found it funny or infuriating that a wolf was talking down to them.

 

Regardless the mutt gave Paul a much-needed rundown on how to summon Lightning Mcree. Break the gem in his hand, his Persona showed up. Simple enough. Disregarding the fact that a wolf was talking things were just starting to make a lick of sense when Pipsqueak decided to run off on her own, hoping to almost die so that she too could summon a God for the low low price of a near-death experience. She even zeroed him out and said to not follow her.

 

Tyler waited for her to disappear down the hallway before he snorted and snatched the gun out from behind his back. “Yeah, fat chance,” he grumbled before he took off after. It didn’t take him long to catch up with her much shorter legs. “So lemme get this straight. Your plan is to run off on your own and almost die to potentially unlock one of those Persona? For someone who acts so much smarter than everyone else that’s awful fuckin’ dumb,” he said, coming to a stop in front of a door at the end of the hallway.

 

There was a path to their right but Tyler leaned against the wall and waited for Haruka to move. “You ain’t really ever been in danger." It wasn't a question. "I can tell from the way you’re so eager to throw yourself into it.” He glanced from one end of the hallway to the other, watching for any movement while holding the gun loosely in his left hand.


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#108
Yui

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“So lemme get this straight. Your plan is to run off on your own and almost die to potentially unlock one of those Persona? For someone who acts so much smarter than everyone else that’s awful fuckin’ dumb.”

 

"I know what I'm doing, okay? It's risk and reward, and it's not like I'm stupid enough to actually get myself killed." As Haruka led the way around the locked door, the hallway turned and came to a T-joint. Down to her left... well, she couldn't see all the way down there. Probably because that direction had some turns of its own.

 

“You ain’t really ever been in danger. I can tell from the way you’re so eager to throw yourself into it.”

 

"That's..." Haruka thought back as best she could, to any time she may have been in danger. Since the start of the school year, the most "in danger" she really felt was getting a high-speed car ride from the very person saying Haruka had never been in danger. Anything else, besides the first trip to the island? Nothing came to mind. "...not entirely wrong." Past danger or no, Haruka wasn't about to rush down that long corridor to her left. Especially not when, just to her right, there was a much closer and unlocked chest. She opened it up, and found some sort of map key. This must have been what Georaldo was talking about earlier! Haruka turned triumphantly, holding the map key out for Tyler to see.

 

"And just like that, I've already done a great service for those other chumps," she said, a smug grin on her face. Tapping her temple with her free pointer finger, she added "It's all about intuition; you really shouldn't underestimate a young lady. Let's bring this to the others; I'll memorize it on the way back." With that, Haruka led the way back along the way she'd just come from, staring intently at the map key as she moved along.

 

"We're still within shouting distance. A blind rat could have found that," Tyler said, but he pushed himself off the wall and followed her regardless.

 

"You're just jealous because if you stuck with everyone else you'd never find it." Soon, however, the two had been reunited with Paul, Grendel, and the rest of them. Had... had they even moved since Haruka left? They were still standing in roughly the same place. Or could it be that she'd just been gone an extraordinarily short amount of time? Whatever the case, Haruka held out the map key, and said to Paul in particular, "Found it. Let me see the map for a second."

 

Paul handed over the map without issue. "Good find. You must be pretty hyped."

 

"Mhm." Haruka laid the key over the map, looking at the two together... when an idea struck. She held the map and key up against the wall with one hand, and fished her other hand into the pocket of her raincoat, pulling out a phone. "And just because we have no service, that doesn't mean I can't do this." Haruka dug through the rather pitiful list of apps, picking the camera. She lined the phone up just right, and took a picture. She then handed the map and key alike back to Paul. "Don't lose them. You're not borrowing my copy. I'm going back that way again, and..." Haruka looked toward Tyler. "And I guess he's tagging along. Not like I can stop him."

 

And with that, Haruka turned, and continued back. While she did tuck her phone back into her pocket, Haruka afterwards began undoing the buttons that ran up the length of her coat, revealing the basic black shirt and short white skirt beneath. "I never liked this thing," she commented, more to herself than her one-man audience, as she got to the T-joint once again, this time turning left and starting down the hall. "The material bugs me, pink is a stupid color, and it looks like something some pre-school brat would wear. But it has pockets and it beats getting rained on, so that's something. Not that it would rain inside or anything."

 

"I'm more wonderin' why you decided to wear a skirt," Tyler shot back. "What? Don't own any shorts?"

 

"Not really. I've never liked shorts so I never bought them. Simple as that." As the two continued around a couple turns, then further down the hall, they were met with a Shadow. Not the friendly anomaly type like Georaldo and Grendel either. An enemy Shadow! Just what Haruka was hoping to find! As she stepped closer to take a better look at them, two monsters emerged from the shadow, lunging toward her. Haruka - being a smart girl with no way to defend herself - did the logical thing. She turned around, and started running.

 

"Catch me if you can, freaks!"


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#109
Hakima

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Tyler rounded the most recent corner Haruka had vanished around only to be almost bowled over by her. “What? You see some--” he didn’t finish the sentence because he looked over her shoulder and saw what he assumed were Shadows shambling towards them. “Damn it! Shut up and stay behind me!” he growled, pushing past Haruka and raising his gun. He fired three times in rapid succession, and each gunshot was a thunderous sound that reverberated around the halls and left his ears ringing.

 

The Shadows didn’t even slow down. The impact of the bullets blasted three holes into the creature but they rapidly knitted themselves back together, good as new. Tyler’s grip on the gun tightened. “Shit! Shit!” He squeezed the trigger again and again to the same effect. “What the fuck?!”

 

He was panicking. He wasn’t used to that. He was usually good under pressure. Tyler managed to find his center when the Shadows were just a few feet in front of him. Pipsqueak had already started to bolt down the hallway as fast as her small ass legs could carry her, leaving him alone with those f***ing Shadows on his ass. He dropped the still smoking gun and snatched the wicked-looking knife out of his pocket, flipping it open and brandishing it toward the Shadows.

 

Think. Think. The gun hadn’t worked, the knife wasn’t going to either. He threw himself backwards and just barely managed to avoid the claws of the Shadow, but as it was they managed to rip apart the front his tee. He was suddenly glad he always wore baggy t-shirts.

 

Bright side, he was still uninjured.

 

Down side, he still had no game plan.

 

Why hadn’t anyone thought to mention the gun wouldn’t work? Hindsight was twenty-twenty.


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#110
Dad

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It was in what should have been Tyler’s final moments that the shadows which pursued him - Succubus and Incubus - shielded themselves as they rounded a sharp corner.  Tyler would find himself breathless, unable to swallow, and blinded by an incredibly bright light which emanated from his throat.
 
A crystal sphere formed in his throat, and with it, incredible pain.  The light dimmed, and the Shadows were free to pursue Tyler to his death now, lest he acts.
 
Tyler stumbled and crashed into the wall in front of him. His throat was closing in. He gasped for air but he couldn’t get any to his starved lungs. He was barely holding himself up with one hand against the wall, and his other hand shook as he clawed at his throat. His fingernails brushed up against something smooth and cold, near the center of his neck, but his hand was shaking too much to try and tear it free. 
 
Cornered, no better than a dog. Is this the way you’re going to die?” an unfamiliar voice rumbled.
 
 
Tyler dropped to his knees and clawed at the gem in his throat with both hands, frantically trying to clear his airway. “Rage, boy. Rage, and let no man or beast determine your fate for you as long as you still have a breath in your lungs.” 
 
He could hear the Shadows coming up behind him. Bile rose up in the back of his throat---no, not bile, it was saltwater. All Tyler could smell was the brine of the sea, and the rest of the noise in the hallway was drowned out by the deafening sound of waves crashing into the shore. “Everyone is already so sure you’re sailing down the wrong path. Form a pact with me and show them that the only path is your path.”
 
The crystal was starting to budge. Blood and brine stained Tyler’s hands but he tore at the gem again with renewed strength, and with a sickening rip, it finally broke free. Tyler screamed so loud that anyone within the floor could have heard it, throwing his head back in agony.
 
I am thou, and thou art I…Give no quarter and accept none in return!” The Shadows were within striking distance now. Tyler pushed himself to his feet, breathing heavily, and stared them down. 
 
He raised the crystal to his mouth and, with one move, bit down hard, shattering it into a thousand pieces. An overwhelming energy from him, and a whirlpool of water surrounded his figure, blasting the Shadows away from him. 
 
When the vortex died down, Tyler was standing, drenched to the bone and covered in blood, with a ghastly ship floating above him. It was much larger than Shango had been, barely able to fit inside of the hallway, and somehow it seemed to smile in the dim light. 
 
“Looks like you weren’t expecting this,” Tyler panted, facing the Shadow. “Don’t worry. Neither was I.”
 
Incubus and Succubus looked on, still hungry for a kill.  Without hesitation, they engaged Tyler by his lonesome.


#111
Yui

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As Haruka got to the corner of the hallway, about to turn, she realized the footsteps she'd heard weren't following her anymore. Had they stopped chasing her? She turned to look behind her. Tyler wasn't with her either. Meaning... he'd stayed behind with those shadows. That idiot!! In a best case scenario, he'd completely wreck Haruka's plan! In a worst case scenario... he'd die. Something about that thought - perhaps as a part of human nature? - compelled Haruka to turn around and help him. If he died, surely there would be someone that mourned for him. Even if it was just a friend, or an odd relative. Somebody would grieve, and although she didn't like the boy all that much, Haruka wanted to prevent that if she could.

 

Just as she was about to take her first step back toward where she'd ditched Tyler, she heard a scream. Definitely his, and definitely in agony. Oh no. Haruka's pace increased significantly, expecting to find a bloody and battered Tyler, who while looking ripe for some intense yaoi fantasizing, would be in a situation a bit too dire to allow for that. What she found instead was...

 

“Looks like you weren’t expecting this. Don’t worry. Neither was I.”

 

Anger welled up in Haruka's heart, and rage-filled tears welled up in her eyes. This was her plan. Her moment. Her Persona summoning. And yet, just like that, it was stolen away from her. Pointing an idignant finger at Tyler, Haruka let her feelings loose. In that particular moment, she was just angry enough to not even worry about speaking English.

 

<Hey, you stupid bastard!> she started yelling, in her native Japanese. <Why didn't you run!? Was it really that hard to trust me or that I knew what I was doing!? Did you want to try dying like some kind of punk hero in here or something!? Because you failed at that too! This was supposed to be my moment, but because you couldn't just run with me, my perfect opportunity got thrown into the garbage! I sure hope that stupid boat's a better shot than you were with that gun, because if you lose this fight and those Shadows don't kill you, I swear I'll do it myself!>

 

Then her finger moved to point past Tyler, at the Shadows attacking him and his Persona. <What are you waiting for!? Shoot them! Use that Persona damn well because now I need to find another good chance to get mine like I would have just now if it wasn't for you!>


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#112
Hälō

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Piper took in the Grendel's lesson in silence. Hanging on ever word as he and Paul both showcased their persona, and even finding herself swaying and gasping in amazement at the spectacle. This strange power was truly beautiful, and it made the flames of her passion dance with new excitement. 
 
"Hi there!" When the lesson ended Piper appeared at Grendel's side with sparkling eyes and an enamored grin that stretched from ear to ear. "Aren't you the most helpful little man..." She cooed at the wolf whilst producing a pack of jerky from her massive camping bag. She watched Grendel takes a step back, clearly startled at her cheery, excited approach.
 
"Hey!  I'm a predator!  You can't go approachin' me all--!  Wait, what's that smell?" He paused as a meaty treat was produced.  
 
"It's jerky... here have some!" Unwrapping the morsel from it's packaged, Piper extended it to Grendel thankfully. "You didn't even have to, but you wen't through all the trouble just to help us out..."
 
As Piper extended the jerky to Grendel, he snatched it excitedly with his teeth.  With a full mouth he replied to Piper, "You n' I are gonna get along, lass."
 
"Oh my god, he called me lass!" Piper smiled warmly at the wolf whilst reaching up and gently stroking it's neck. "I'm Piper by the way..." The girl beamed with warm friendly energy, but that quickly faded as the sounds of conflict came from further in dungeon.
 
Springing to her feet, Piper suddenly dashed towards the sound, only barely managing to glance toward Avery and Paul before she entered the next area. "Guys we have to help them!" She could only tell for sure that Avery and answered her call, and after a short travel the two girls quickly fund themselves at the scene of the battle, with Tyler's persona looming menacingly against two shadows. 
 
"Hey no fair, I wanted to try next...!" Piper shouted over to Tyler as she halted her advance. "Are you guys ok?!"

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#113
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Since they had arrived back at the hotel, Avery had reached into her bag and pulled out what appeared to be a notebook. As Georaldo had given them a large explanation on the different types of shadows and the different things they were likely to encounter in the hotel, Avery was absorbed in her notebook. Writing down at rapid speed, the girl put in an entry for everything that she was told, eventually closing the book shut and pulling out a new one. As she wrote in that, the group eventually made their way upstairs, Avery merely looked around the room they had entered, finding herself a bit breathless before being immediately spooked by the wolf that had appeared before them. Hiding behind the rest of the group when it showed up, the girl seemed to be both incredibly relieved and excited as it revealed itself to be a friendly talking wolf...with an accent. This settled to her more neutral expression, only to be followed by another instance of diligently taking down notes as he went on to explain the concepts of Personas and fighting with them. 

 

The girl seemed to be furiously taking down notes, only to finally close it up as she made on last note of the wolf Grendel taking the jerky presented to him. It was then that the sounds of gunfire could be heard resounding throughout the halls. Without needing to be told twice, Avery followed Piper quickly along with them. When they traversed through the halls, the next thing that Avery was able to hear was the sounds of angry screaming that she could not actually understand. 

 

Upon seeing the two demon looking creatures facing off against the floating pirate ship, the girl stopped in her tracks. Her mouth went agape, eyes wide and arms trembled. The girl seemed to be frozen for a few moments, only for her mouth to slowly stretch into a smile as the girl hurriedly dove back into her bag. Grabbing a notebook out, the girl began to become more focused and furiously seemed to try and record what was in front of her, only to stop as she realized these would end up as crude sketches. Thinking it was no good, the girl paused as her eyes were directed elsewhere. 

 

Her expression seemed to become far more calm, though still in a slightly nervous fashion. Looking towards Piper, the girl presented a pen and notebook towards her, asking, "oh, um, can you draw this for me? The uh, monsters, that is."

 

"There's that look again..." Piper was clearly confused, but took the paper and pen regardless. "L-Like right now?!"

 

"Um, yeah," Avery seemed a bit confused by this reaction. though still added, "it's uh, best to draw a  subject live, right?"

 

"Um, right?"  While Piper was skeptical of the girl, she still quickly got into drawing the beings before her. With great speed and style Piper went to work, glancing up for a quick reference every now and then she shouted out,  "Get 'em Tyler!"

 

Avery seemed to pause once more, seeming to be lost in thought before adding, "yeah. Good luck." 


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#114
Chaos Sonic

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First it was Haruka and Tyler...and now Piper and Avery were walking away from the group. Jason was about to say something, to them, but apparently they WERE using the Buddy System. So right now, that was four people going off in that direction...meaning it was leaving himself, Paul, and Reno...annnnnnnd the small wolf guy.

 

"Jeez...they really don't know how to not split the party up, don't they?" Jason groaned with a sigh, looking over at Paul. "Any thoughts Paul? Do we follow or do we go a different way?"

 

"No sense in splitting up. Let's go!"

 

He was a little uneasy by just blindly following the others in this direction, but then again, it would reunite the group up. And there is a power in numbers, so nevertheless, Jason followed the others around the corner. However, he stopped suddenly with Paul and see what was unfolding in front of the young man. Shadows...and apparently Tyler's...ghost ship...?

 

"Wait, did...is that?" Jason started, his eyes still glued to the ship that was above. "Dude...is that one of those Persona things? ...I thought they were supposed to be...ya know, humanoid!"



#115
Hakima

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Tyler couldn’t describe the feeling of summoning his Persona. It was like… a piece of the puzzle he hadn’t known was missing suddenly fell into place. He was whole for the first time in his life. Any fear the beasts had managed to instill in him before melted away when he stood under the banner of the fearsome battleship.

 

The Succubus and Incubus rushed him. Tyler started to move but nearly tripped, thrown off balance by an unexpected weight on his ankle. He looked down and was shocked to find that his ankle monitor wasn’t on his leg anymore, replaced by a thick iron shackle with a long chain dangling from it, attached to a heavy as hell metal ball. “What the f*ck?”

 

In a panic, Tyler grabbed the chain and swung it behind him wildly. The ball lifted up from the ground with a whoomph and forced the shadows to back away, spitting and snarling. Tyler pulled it back to his side but kept his grip on the chain. It wasn’t a bad weapon.

 

He swung it back and forth in front of him slowly, squaring off with the shadows, but was interrupted when Haruka showed up to start shouting in what he assumed was Japanese. “Shut up!” he snarled loudly so she could hear him over the shouting. “I saved your stupid ass life!”

 

The anger he was feeling bubbled up inside him, spreading throughout him, and then suddenly Blackbeard’s voice rumbled across the chamber. “Sukukaja…!” The same swirling vortex of saltwater that had blasted the shadows away from him the first time surrounded him again. A rush of adrenaline that he could only think to compare to shooting up swept over him; the shadows seemed slower, his vision crisper, his muscles stronger.

 

The rest of the crew he had come to the hotel with started to trickle into the hallway, but he wasn’t listening to them. The Incubus flapped forward and slashed him across the chest. His claws seemingly phased through him without cutting him, but Tyler gasped and stumbled back all the same, and the incubus planted a foot on his chest and launched himself backward, causing the gearhead to slip even further.

 

Tyler found his footing and growled. His anger burned white hot again, and then something took the edge off of it and Blackbeard’s voice shook the walls. “Psi…!” Tyler would be unable to see it but the demon ship would suddenly rise higher into the air, eyes swirling with red fire and maw gaping with hunger. “Demons make for a good meal...!”

 

The Succubus clutched her head and backed away from the Persona’s demonic visage, scratching at her ears in an attempt to drown out his voice. She was reduced to a cowering mess. Tyler didn’t hesitate to launch another attack in the moment of weakness, spinning the ball and chain around a few times to gain momentum and then launching it across the hall at her. It smashed into her torso and knocked her out of the air, sending her skidding across the ground before rolling to a stop in a heap.

 

The Incubus rushed forward and slashed him across the chest before Tyler could finish the Succubus off. He was struck by the same phantom pain, suddenly short on breath. He swung wildly with the ball and chain, forcing the Incubus to flap wildly to get out of the way.

 

“Stop doing that you bastard!” he bellowed, surging forward, and this time Blackbeard moved with him. The ship sailed past him and crashed into the Succubus, crushing her into the ground. She threw her head back in one last screech and then dissolved into shadows, scattering into a thousand pieces.

 

Tyler looked over his shoulder toward the gathering crowd. “Paul! Stop gawking and help me out here!” he yelled while the Incubus was still on the back foot. He was noticeably winded and looking much paler than he had a few moments before. Paul was seemingly still too stunned by what was going on to summon his own Persona, though, the gearhead found out quickly.

 

The Incubus closed the distance and laid into him again. Tyler gasped and was forced onto one knee, planting his fist into the ground to support his weight. “I… said… stop… doing… that!” Once again Blackbeard seemed to draw strength from temper suddenly flaring.

 

“Psi…!” he thundered in his impossibly deep voice that seemed to echo all around the hallway. Fire filled his glassy eyes and a harsh wind rippled his tattered sails, and Blackbeard brought the force of his presence bearing down on the shadow. "Send a grunt to fight a captain. Pathetic...!" The demon howled in pain but proved resilient enough to rally and slash Tyler again, this time raking his claws across the boy’s face.

 

Tyler’s vision flickered, and the whirlpool of water that had surrounded him since the start of the fight faded suddenly. “F*ck you!” he spit at the shadow, and Blackbeard rammed the Incubus hard enough to throw it across the hall and into the wall. It dropped to the ground, twitching, and Tyler threw his ball and chain forward and crushed it. It faded away much like the Succubus, but as the shadows dispersed this time, they left behind a smooth and rather expensive looking pearl slightly larger than a baseball.

 

Blackbeard winked out of existence without warning, and Tyler almost collapsed. “Thanks for the help, guys. Really, I appreciate it,” he tried to grumble but it came out sounding more like a wheeze. He pushed himself to his feet and shuffled toward the pearl, his ball and chain dragging behind him loudly.

 

“Here. Consolation prize,” he grunted, tossing the Large Pearl toward Haruka and then sagging against the wall long enough to catch his breath. He was exhausted.


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#116
Alaina

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Avery's eyes and expression were laser focused on the fight before them. Every time either Tyler or the shadow did something, she seemed to go back to her book and write at a furious pace, taking notes whenever something new happened. Once it was all over and done with, the girl closed her notebook, before putting it back in her bag. Looking towards the victor of  the fight, there was a smile on her face, though it was mild and soft, as she gave a small round of applause to him. "Good job on the fight, Tyler." Turning to face Piper she seemed like she was about to say something, but paused, before finally saying, "and um, thanks. You can uh, keep the book until we like, leave. Just in case we run into something else. You know." Avery's eyes moved towards the book, lingering there for a moment, before she just awkwardly shuffled away and looked to everyone else to see what their next plan of action was going to be. 


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#117
Smug Sultan Saikazo

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Grendel never had much company around in this place. It was always Shadows, and he would smite them down. They might beg for their lives, or try to give him gifts, but it wasn't like he had them over for tea every night, talking about their bloody feelings. So these humans were the first real company he had for as long as he could remember. Some was pretty good, like that one girl that gave him food. She was pretty cool. But then there was people like the little girl that just seemed to have a death wish just to summon a Persona. Maybe he should have told her that trying to force a Persona summoning could have dire side effects.

Nah, she'd find out eventually.

 

However, it seemed that the stupid one with a gun had awakened his Persona. That was good, it seemed there was talent among this group after all. This one was a boat, which was odd. Still this was shaping up to be an okay team. Maybe he would have to start learning everyone's names. He walked up to Tyler, looking him up and down. 

"Not a bad Persona," He finally said. "Psi is a decent element, ya know. Mind powah and all," He turned and looked back at the group. "So we got three Persona users. Whatcha all wanna do?" 

 

Reno was quiet was he watched everything go down. He didn't know what to do, how to summon his Persona. He wanted it, but... what should he do? Throwing himself into danger didn't seem like the best idea. Then again, getting his Persona wasn't the most important thing right now. Right now, it was trying to find their way to the next floor.

"Since we have three Personas, why don't we split up?" Reno suddenly commented. "Paul and Tyler can take a group down this hallway, and Grendel can take a group down the other back near the beginning. We'll cover more ground that way, and the smaller groups would help people... keep an eye on the more reckless people,"


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#118
Dad

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When Paul and Jason rounded the corner after chasing Piper and Avery, the last thing he expected to see was a ghost ship hovering over Tyler.  He had unlocked the power of his soul.  The power they called "Persona".  Paul, being on the opposite end of this spectacular event for the first time, was absolutely dumbstruck.  His jaw fell agape, his eyes widened and he stood shocked before the battle that was occurring. 

 

“Paul! Stop gawking and help me out here!” 

 

"Huh--!?  Wha--!?" Paul muttered.  He was too amazed to move.  What a predicament.

 

Thankfully, Tyler was successful in his battle.  He had succeeded in his battle, slaying two shadows alone.  When it was over, Tyler collapsed from the strain of doing battle alone and having been worn down by the enemy.  It was an impressive feat, nonetheless.  As the battle subsided, Reno and Grendel joined the others, bringing them all back together for a brief moment in time.

 

"That was wild," Paul commented.

 

"So we got three Persona users. Whatcha all wanna do?" Grendel asked.

 

Reno chimed in right away.  "Since we have three Personas, why don't we split up?"

 

Paul nodded.  "That might work, but--."

 

"Paul and Tyler can take a group down this hallway, and Grendel can take a group down the other back near the beginning. We'll cover more ground that way, and the smaller groups would help people... keep an eye on the more reckless people," Reno suggested.

 

"I'm not sure about that.  I'd normally suggest sticking together with all the Scooby Doo I've seen, but it couldn't hurt.  Grendel's got a lot of experience it seems, so we can afford to split the pack.  My only concern is how we would reach each other if someone is in danger.  If Grendel gets hurt or Tyler and I get hurt, then what?  Only Grendel knows how big this floor is.  We might have a map, but there's no telling what's not on here," Paul argued.

 

"But we should still keep going.  We're already headed this way," Paul alluded to the hall they were in.  "So unless you all really wanna split up, I'm gonna keep pressing forward."

Paul patted Tyler on the back in congratulations.  "Good shit out there, dude."

 

He pressed past Tyler and marched forward.  "Let's see if we can't find the way up thanks to Haruka's map."  Paul pulled his cellphone from his pocket an opened the map he received from Haruka.

 

"Okay.  We came... this way.  West.  There's a split up ahead.  I'm gonna go north and nab that key.  There's a door behind us that it happens to open.  So let's see what we find."

 

 

Upon reaching the split in the hall, Paul ducked against a wall and hid.  He could see a glowing red shadow ahead of him.  It's aura was heavy and reached Paul from quite a distance.  He could sense the power within this enemy.  Why were they encountering such a strong shadow so soon?

 

"Tyler.  Grendel.  If we want that key we have to fight for it," Paul stated the obvious.  "When you're ready."



#119
Yui

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"Hey no fair, I wanted to try next...! Are you guys ok?!"
 
<DO WE LOOK OKAY!?>
 
Even if he took a beating in the process - and Haruka meant like, a serious beating - Tyler had fought both of the enemies and triumphed. Physically though, he probably wasn't okay. Haruka, meanwhile, wasn't okay emotionally. So as a matter of fact, the answer to "are you guys ok?" was a resounding no.
 
“Here. Consolation prize.”
 
As if it would somehow make her feel better, Tyler tossed some sort of pearl that one of the enemies had dropped to Haruka. She caught it rather clumsily, and gave it a look. The girl briskly moved over to Tyler, and put the pearl down next to him. "Keep it. I want to yell at you later and I'd feel bad doing that if you gave me a present." With that, she returned to the group, just as Grendel was asking about what the rest of the party wanted to do now that they had three Persona users. That third one should be me though.
 
"Since we have three Personas, why don't we split up?"
 
"That might work, but--."
 
"Paul and Tyler can take a group down this hallway, and Grendel can take a group down the other back near the beginning. We'll cover more ground that way, and the smaller groups would help people... keep an eye on the more reckless people,"
 
"It's not recklessness," Haruka sharply retorted. "It's oppar... o... taking advantage of a good chance."
 

"I'm not sure about that. I'd normally suggest sticking together with all the Scooby Doo I've seen, but it couldn't hurt. Grendel's got a lot of experience it seems, so we can afford to split the pack. My only concern is how we would reach each other if someone is in danger. If Grendel gets hurt or Tyler and I get hurt, then what? Only Grendel knows how big this floor is. We might have a map, but there's no telling what's not on here. But we should still keep going. We're already headed this way. So unless you all really wanna split up, I'm gonna keep pressing forward."
 
Haruka looked at the map on her phone. The nearest enemy shadow was in the very direction Paul was going. She followed, to take a look. Red shadow. Those were the ones to try to avoid, right? As much as Haruka approved of her plan for force her Persona out, this probably wasn't the shadow to try it on.
 
"Tyler. Grendel. If we want that key we have to fight for it. When you're ready."

Haruka pointed south, the other way down from the split. "I'll go that way while you get the key." Then, with a much sterner tone, she continued "Do. Not. Follow. Me. Is that clear enough for everyone? Yes? Good." Without waiting to leave much room for argument, Haruka started south. This time for sure, she'd encounter an enemy shadow, summon her own Persona, and it would all be on her merits. Not someone else's idiocy.


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#120
Chaos Sonic

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Those Eyes

 

"When you're ready."

 

Jason decided to follow Paul and the others, only to see them all stopping and noticing a red shadow glowing in the room there. This one, least to him, didn't exactly seem a huge deal right now. He moved up towards Paul, not exactly hearing what his plan was. "Paul, cover me for a second. I'm gonna sneak around that thing." he whispered, and before anything else was said, he was already walking out and acting like he was in some sort of spy movie. This shouldn't be too hard...besides, I'm quick enough to hightail it out of here in case things go south. Jason thought with a smirk.

 

"No, Jason, wait--!"

 

But it was too late...there went Jason. There came a grunt almost immediately as Jason stepped out of the darkness and rounded the corner. A behemoth of a shadow, towering at least seven feet, sniffed the air excitedly. There was something delicious close by. However, it had not spotted Jason.

 

Jason was surprised that this was working so far. He kept quiet and continued to slink along the wall to keep out of the Shadow's sight. So far...so good... he thought, swallowing hard as a small lump formed in the back of his throat.

 

-BGM-

 

The shadow turned around, staring Jason right in his eyes. The creature's blackness was beyond understanding, but its budding red eyes spoke clearly. It was dressed in kahki shorts with dozens of pockets, a dirty brown vest with a magnifying glass poking out of its breast pocket, and a sunhat to complete its ensemble. It was... an archaeologist shadow? As it laid eyes on Jason, the shadow raised its hand, revealing an impossibly large and totally impractical ten foot shovel. And it was about to bring it down on Jason's head.

 

Jason was dead still when the shadow turned towards him and his eyes met it's. From what anyone else could see, he turned about fifty shades of pale white and he could feel himself trembling. The look in this shadow's eyes...he swore he had seen them before. But it wasn't until the shovel was almost on his head that he finally snapped from his thinking. He dove onto the ground and scrambled away from it, terrified.

 

The shadow continued stomping toward Jason, lifting its shovel and trying to smash him over the head. Its pursuit was relentless. It was not until there was a violent clang that rang out above Jason's head that he would feel the world around him changing.

 

"Jason, what the hell!?" Paul exclaimed. He had summoned Shango on a whim to catch the shovel But to Jason, Paul's voice seemed so far away. It was as though he was going deaf. And then, Jason heard a voice.

 

This voice was muffled, but it caused his head to tingle. The tingling quickly turned into an incredibly powerful headache that would throw Jason to the ground. Jason knew someone was speaking to him, but he could not make out the words. Because he could not respond to the voice, it reached out in his stead, briefly appearing as a giant above him. An unidentified arm latched onto the shadow's shovel and yanked it away before disappearing. Jason's headache would subside, and his hearing would return to normal.

 

Jason was silent, shaking off the headache as he stood behind Paul who was trying to usher him out of the way. "...I-I'm sorry..." he said, still looking freaked out. He held his left wrist and shook his head. "...I-I'm sorry..." he said again. Now he remembered where he saw eyes like that before...it was the look he gave him that day.






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