Part 37: Bonus: Just a Dream
Bonus: Just a Dream
Reality had been saved, but at what cost? The team separated; Tatsuya, Maya, and the others lost their memories of the "Other Side"; everything went back to what passed for normal in Sumaru City.
But every so often, Maya would feel odd before she went to bed. Tense, perhaps. As if something was still unfinished. She never could place the feeling.
On those nights, she would dream...
Igor: This room is currently connected to an undeveloped labyrinth created by our master, Master Philemon. Master Philemon intends to test your abilities once more through this labyrinth. First, find the "Vortex of Light" hidden within the labyrinth. That is the key to conquering it. It is your choice as to who joins you. Now, go...I am supporting you from the shadows.
In her dreams, Maya journeyed with her friends Baofu, Ulala, and Ellen. She also brought Nate along. Though they'd barely been acquaintances during the adventure, she had the feeling Nate would come in handy.
Maya commanded the incredible power of Satan himself...
...Ulala controlled Siva, one of the incomprehensible trinity of gods in Hindi mythology known as the Trimurti...
...Katsuya used Brahma, another of the Trimurti...
...Ellen controlled Vishnu, the last and most powerful of the Trimurti...
...and Baofu possesed the unstoppable might of the fallen angel Lucifer.
The group spoke with the staff at the Velvet Room before they left, hoping to gather some information on where exactly they were.
Looks like they'll be searching for Vortexes of Light.
Maya was in for a shock as she left the Velvet Room - the labyrinth that Igor had spoke of looked almost exactly like Seven Sisters High School!
The biggest difference was the ever-burning flames that blocked the group's entrance to several of the rooms and staircases.
The only door aside from the Velvet Room that wasn't blocked with a fire was room 1-A, in fact.
As Maya stepped inside, she found herself transported to a giant, sand-filled temple.
The demons inside were more ferocious versions of the ones that the team had dealt with early on in their quest. The team had a trick up their sleeve to deal with them, though...
Maya and Baofu called upon the awe-inspiring power of Satan and Lucifer simultaneously...
...and a massive surge of arcane energy known as Armageddon reduced the demons to their component atoms. No demon could possibly hope to resist the ultimate Fusion Spell.
Maya noted with some amusement that Nate and Ellen, despite acting like great friends in the real world, didn't really know how to work together in battle, so they'd usually opt to deal with demon contact by themselves.
Nate, for instance, would try to sway the demons to his side through long, boring speeches.
Before they attacked the sand temple dungeon, they stopped by Trish's Fountain, which was apparently now both a recovery center and item shop.
As Maya found out, Trish had severely overpriced her items as well; they cost ten times as much as the same item in a Satomi Tadashi shop.
Nate: Absurd fees and expensive items...they say that greediness knows no bounds, but hers is truly boundless...
Ulala: Selling items in a place like this...where does she get that stuff from?
Baofu: Is that fairy in cahoots with Satomi Tadashi? That background music may even become a hit song soon.
Ellen: I've been wondering from before...what is the "recovery market" Trish keeps speaking of? The fee never stops rising...
With their supplies refilled, the party headed back into the sand temple in Room 1-A. Despite a number of shifting sand currents that acted like conveyor belts, the temple was easily navigated, and it wasn't long before they found the Vortex of Light.
When they stepped into it, Philemon congratulated them, then opened a door...
...to Room 1-D.
Inside Room 1-D, Philemon spoke to them again.
Philemon: From here on, you can only run forward. Of course, you will not be able to stop in the middle. Using the R/L buttons to change your viewpoint, I want you to escape this labyrinth in under three minutes. Of course, failure won't be tolerated. When you are ready, open the door in the back.
Even though she could only run straight ahead, Maya didn't find this maze too difficult. There were several designs on the floor - Maya was sure to avoid them, because if she stepped on one, she'd be sent back to the beginning of the maze.
With some perseverance, the party got to the next Vortex of Light.
Philemon was pleased with their success, and opened the door to Room 2-A, which was furnished like Club Zodiac in the real world.
Philemon: You have fought against many foes before you came here. I am sure that none of them were easy. A person's heart tends to remember bitter memories more vividly. Those memories will hinder your way from here on. My other half will awaken all the bitterness of the battles...the struggles that you have experienced. Now go. Overcome the hardship of having limited places of recovery, and sever your accursed memories.
There were no demons in the dungeon, but the party found butterflies flitting about...
...which triggered battles with demons when examined. Even these demons stood no chance against the power of Armageddon, however; the party wiped them out and continued.
Shadow Maya appeared from one of the butterflies, but Armageddon took her out as well.
Even these new demons, which looked like hulking humanoids wearing masks, didn't stand a chance against the party's dark power.
The Metal Guru was another new demon, who fell just as easily as the others.
It wasn't hard to find the Vortex of Light here; they grabbed a Material Card called the Lily on the way out.
Defeating the Zodiac dungeon opened up the Room of Seal back in the sand temple...
...which revealed another Vortex of Light after a short walk.
Room 1-B was next; this room looked like a subway tunnel.
It was just a straight shot to the end of the tunnel and back; at the end of the tunnel, the party found a Golden Butterfly in a box. While they didn't have any use for it, they felt as if they'd accomplished something by finding it.
The demons in the subway tunnel all had one thing in common - they used the extremely annoying attack Hula of Misfortune, which stole the party's money. Fortunately they'd already loaded up on supplies earlier, so the loss wasn't anything but a minor aggravation.
Inside Room 2-C, which was also unlocked, they ran into a strangely familiar man with a sword.
Man: Who are you? I do not know who you are, but could you tell me...Where am I? WHO am I? Why am I carrying this sword? I cannot remember...I came here for a reason, but I cannot remember why...if there was some kind of chance that I might regain my memory...not having one's memory is a sad thing.
There was an entrance to a cave behind the mysterious man; inside, they looked around for items that would help the man regain his memory. Though they found a set of Amber Eyeglasses, these didn't seem as if they'd do anything for the man; Nate kept them for himself instead.
The first item they found was a mysterious book titled In Rakech.
Shortly thereafter, they found a Black Butterfly. This also seemed useless, but it was nice to have regardless.
The Knife was next...
...and shortly after, they found the Black Lighter. With the book, knife, and lighter in hand, the party headed back to the man.
The man recognized the book immediately.
Man: It's just a little, but I'm starting to remember...gu...gugu...I remember bits and pieces...I came here to do something, but as far as what that something was...?
He recognized the Black Lighter as well.
Man: T...that Black Lighter? I know that. That's mine. I'm remembering...I'm remembering...But...who am I? I still can't remember that....gugugu...just a little more...just a little more and I'll remember...and then...
The final item was the Knife, and it brought the rest of the man's memory back...
It was Tatsuya Sudou, of course. Maya wondered why she bothered.
Tatsuya Sudou: I can hear them! The Voices! Voices...voices...voices...voices...voices! Voices are telling me to do this! Telling me to burn this world to ashes...hya...hahahaha! All will become ashes! Hyaha!
The man left, and Maya followed him; outside, she found that he had made good on his threat. Maya had to hurry and do something.
In Room 2-B, which looked like a factory, Maya found every Persona-Demon she had dealt with in the real world. Convenient, but none of these demons could match the sheer power controlled by her party in this world.
She also found another Vortex of Light.
The room that Philemon unlocked next contained a strange jizo statue. A set of Japanese characters was written on it; despite being Japanese herself, Maya found that she didn't understand. What a strange dream.
Nearby jizos, however, helped her piece the puzzle together.
Back in the main hall, she found a mysterious door...
...and she used the knowledge of the jizo statues to answer the riddle it posed. It was PHILEMON, of course.
Inside, she found herself in the Velvet Room once again. Igor provided more information.
Igor: It is a false world where reality and fantasy mesh. But you should know a world that is very similar to this. It is the world which you experience within your sleep...yes...it is a "dream". This world created by Master Philemon can be called the "Relic of the Collective Unconsciousness". It resembles a dream. What this means, I shall leave for you to decide. However, just as a dream has an end, this world also has a conclusion. This is the center of the labyrinth. You have halfway to go. Good luck. Yes, yes, one final warning. Once you leave this room, you will not be able to use it for awhile. Leave with care.
Igor's words encouraged Maya and the party, and they continued with renewed vigor.
Inside the next room, which looked like Sumaru Castle, they came across a Meteor Gate.
When they tried to open it, a strange, enthusiastic man stopped them.
Hell yeah they wanted to clear it!
Hell yeah they wanted to meet him!
Chupiler: Now, this dungeon is larger and harder than the dungeons of the story! But you got all the way here, way too strong! But it's even harder up ahead. That's because to pass this dungeon, you need more than muscle power, you need brain power too! So let's give it a try! Chupiler's Persona Quiz! If you don't get it right, you'll be stuck here forever!
Maya giggled to herself. She didn't talk much, so most people didn't realize she had a photographic memory. It was like she took screenshots in her head of everything that happened.
A question like this was a piece of cake.
Chupiler: Twice in the Sanitarium, 8 times on the Blimp, and, this is hard, 21 times during the Affinity Reading. For your information, he said it several times in this Extra Dungeon, but I said in the story so that doesn't count. But still, you got mad memory skills to know that one! You're one crazy gamer! Well then, I'll open the gate for you!
It wasn't long before they ran into the next Meteor Gate with another question.
It was no problem for Maya to answer it - she had to put up with the bitch every day for years.
Chupiler: Why does she hate Maya so much? Is she jealous of Maya's popularity? Well, I'm glad that she didn't become a Joker. I'll unlock the door. You may now proceed!
The next Meteor Gate asked Maya what her own favorite food was. What a silly question!
Chupiler: But they barely talk about it in Eternal Punishment. You're pretty good! Open sesame! You may now proceed!
Question four was also no problem.
The demon was Mussie, of course.
Chupiler: Let me unlock the door. You may now proceed!
Maya thought back, and the answer came easily.
Chupiler: Did you answer which flower was compatible with the Purple flower? It's Blue, right? ...wait a moment, was it? W-well, anways, you answered my question correctly, so I'll unlock the door. You may now proceed!
Maya giggled again. She usually took her memory for granted.
The Vortex of Light was behind the final Meteor Gate.
The pathway to the fourth floor, where Maya had been summoned by Philemon, was blocked by a huge metal plate. A strikingly familiar male student stood in front of it.
Male Student: Ah, please don't take this wrong. I'm sane and I'm not joking around, either. How should I explain...I came to this world when I came out of 3-B to come home. See this metal plate and how old it is? In the world I know of, this was just installed. That's how I figured out that this was the future. Probably something in 3-B is creating a time slip, but I can't return because of the flames. Can't you do something about the flame with your powers? If you can't, then your friend, even a god or demon would suffice! I don't have time to be in a place like this...finals are coming up...ugh, what am I supposed to do...
A nearby door seemed to hold the answer to getting rid of the fire, but a strange voice kept the door held shut.
Voice: There's no need to be here, HO! Uh...who are you, HO? What do you want, HO? I don't like talking to people, HO! That's why I'm hiding, HO! Please leave me alone, HO! If you need help, ask Jack O'Lantern, HO!
Maya didn't have any better ideas, so she went back to the area with the Meteor Gates and wandered around fighting demons. She met some strange foes there, such as Alice, a little girl who turned out to have incredible psychic powers - the party was nearly defeated by her spells.
Before long, though, they met Jack O'Lantern and asked him for info.
It looked like they would have to find Jack Frost and talk him into helping out.
The first Jack Frost they found was pretty cooperative...
...but the next one was a bit tougher.
He wanted the party to answer a quiz before he'd help out.
Eyes, of course!
This would be easier than Maya thought.
You can grab all of those by yourself - just grab your OTHER wrist.
This Jack Frost was trying way too hard.
Well, there were some stars that were bigger than the Sun...
You don't yawn while you're asleep, that's silly.
The last question was all it took, and the Jack Frost gave in.
The next Jack Frost fell victim to Maya, Ulala, and Ellen's charms, and went straight to work.
The next Jack Frost asked them yet another quiz. Maya was getting tired of this game, so she just told him that she didn't know.
No, she didn't like building snowmen, she liked to put fires out!
Maya had gotten so exasperated that she couldn't even remember what she wanted the Jack Frost to do.
Success! All four Jack Frosts would be able to pull it off.
Voice: Huh? My friend's putting out a fire, HO? There's already 4, HO? Uh, um, then I'll go too, HO! Everyone, I'm coming, HO!
The Jack Frosts succeeded in putting out the fire...but at what cost?
Behind the door that had been blocked by fire, Maya ran into a female teacher.
Teacher: I promise you that I will continue and complete your research! Ah...huh...who are you? Huh? This metal plate? Oh. There was an accident on the upper level. It's dangerous, so we closed it off. It's for the students. And for me to separate from my weak self, as well.
Maya vaguely remembered hearing about a suicide on the top floor of the school in years previous...
Teacher: What?! Remove this metal plate?! Weren't you listening to what I said? It was just installed! Forget it! ...ah, but wait. Let's see. Depending on the conditions, I'll think about it. I'm about to start research on a discovery that will change history. But for that, I need funds. If you're willing to invest some money, then I'll take this metal plate off for you. How does that sound?
She didn't have any other choice, so she agreed to invest.
Wait, what? This wasn't part of the plan!
Five million yen?! That was crazy! But Maya didn't have any other options, so she went to check out some other rooms for money.
Inside a particular room, she found the Gate of Separation.
It looked like she would have to leave someone behind, so she told Ellen to go wait at the Velvet Room.
Gate: Your separation shall be rewarded with the opening of this gate. Now pass through.
She found a Tenshou Coin behind the gate. One coin? That wasn't going to help much...
More gates followed - she didn't have any choice but to leave Ulala behind.
Behind this gate, which opened for her easily as she was alone, she found a couple more Tenshou Coins. Past another gate, she found a couple more - she had five by the time she reached the Gate of Victory.
Gate: Art thou here to pass me? Then thou art a warrior! My rival! Muahaha! Tonight, I shall see fresh blood!
The door conjured up a strange beast known as Yog-Sothoth...which Maya crushed unceremoniously with Satan's power.
Behind the door she found the White Butterfly. She picked it up, went back to the Velvet Room to get her party back together, then went to Trish's to see what the deal was with those Tenshou Coins.
They sold for a million yen each! The irony stunned Maya.
Teacher: Kyaaaaaa! I can't believe you actually have that much money! It's amazing! Okay, then as promised, I'll take the plate off for you. But the workers already left, so it's going to take some time. Be patient.
Time was no issue - she just stepped back through the door and into the present. As she approached the newly-removed metal plate, however, she felt a powerful resonance, more powerful even than Nyarlathotep's. Philemon was waiting. She ascended the staircase and entered his chamber.
Philemon was looking for a fight; Maya and friends were ready to give him one he'd not forget.
As the battle began, Maya and Baofu combined their powers and called upon Armageddon...but something went horribly wrong.
Philemon stopped the attack effortlessly, then turned it back upon the party. They felt themselves being torn apart...
...but then awoke outside Philemon's chamber. It had been a vision of sorts...a warning. They would have to fight Philemon on his terms.
Philemon respected the party - he knew what he was dealing with.
In combat, he summoned a Persona - himself - to unleash unthinkable power upon the party.
Photon Cannon, for instance, did incredible physical damage to the team.
Eternal White did magical damage - it was so powerful that Philemon actually warned the team before he unleashed it.
Spectra Force randomly selected an element and cast it on the party.
Guard Punish did Almighty damage to the team; they were unable to counter this attack, so they were sure to heal whenever it was cast.
Maya used Satan to keep the party healthy while they cast their most powerful spells to overwhelm Philemon.
When a member fell, somebody else would use an Incense of Life to bring them back, and they kept fighting. The battle was tough, but eventually they prevailed over the incarnation of the unconscious.
They had done it - it was time to wake up.
As the first rays of the sun warmed her face, Maya smiled. She knew she'd no longer feel as if she'd left something unfinished.