Part 37: Entry Thirty-Two: October 17th, 2009
Entry Thirty-Two: October 17th, 2009
Music: Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
It's been a few weeks since Shinjiro died, and everyone's still bummed, myself included.
The day after it happened sucked ass.
Not only did we have to go to school after Shinji died, we had to attend the school's pathetic excuse for a memorial service. It was almost insulting.
Principal: He had a lifetime of opportunity ahead of him...as educators, we are to blame for ignoring his silent calls for help. We lost him to violence before we had a chance to help him realize his true potential...forgive us. Forgive us for our negligence...
Senior: I don't even know who this Aragaki guy was...I heard he never came to school. ...Prolly just some punk. Anyway, I gotta get home...I have to study for my mock-exam. ...Hey, you guys know who Aragaki is? Wait, you're not seniors, so how would you know? Anyway, can you believe this? Scary, huh?
Senior: Huh? ...what're you doing?
Ms. Toriumi: Iori, sit down! ...I'll never heard the end of this.
Yukari: Just ignore them, Junpei...hey, have you seen Akihiko-senpai today? He was absent this morning...I wonder if he'll show up at all. I hope he's okay...
Mitsuru came to class during lunch and told us about a meeting we'd have that night, though none of us was really surprised by it - something had to be done about Ken.
I blanked after school that day and had a vision as usual. Akihiko went to visit Shinjiro's memorial.
Akihiko: I had the usual for lunch...ramen tastes a lot better when you're cutting class. Make sure you invite me next time...
Akihiko: Why are you always like that? You're so stubborn. Put yourself in my shoes for a change...
Akihiko: I guess you're right...I was too obsessed with power...ever since I lost Miki, that's all I've cared about. I thought that if I was strong enough, I could protect anyone...
Akihiko: But I was so focused on fighting that I didn't notice anything else! It didn't matter how tough I was! Look what happened!
Akihiko: ...yeah, I know...crying won't change anything, will it? Alright, Shinji...
Akihiko stood up a new man...
...and he was ready to finish what we'd started.
Even his Persona evolved, reflecting the newfound power in his heart.
With that, Akihiko headed back to the dorm.
As for me, I went to hang out with Mamoru that day.
Mamoru: Yeah, just...need more training...let's go in, yeah? I'm thirsty!
Mamoru: I used to come here a lot with my teammates, but...they wouldn't come now, even if I invited them. I don't really get along with people who don't take the club seriously. It jacks up practice, y'know? It's a lack of concentration. I used to love it there...I spent all my time practicing in Track Team...everyone else in Track Team and I always had so much fun.
Mamoru: I'll just have to surpass them. Get even better than I am now...
He's a lot more dedicated to Track Team than I am...
...I don't think I'll mention that to him, though.
That night, we had our meeting.
Mitsuru: We need to discuss how to deal with Amada...I've already consulted the Chairman. Aigis, bring Amada here.
Fuuka: It's my fault...when Shinjiro-senpai told me he'd be late, I thought it was strange, but I said nothing. If only I'd listened to my intuition...
Yukari: Don't be so hard on yourself, Fuuka.
Mitsuru: It's not your fault. If anyone should have realized it, it should have been me.
Junpei: I knew this wasn't a game, but I never thought it'd end up like this...
Akihiko: Shinji's last words were, "This is how it should be." He was a hell of a guy...he even faced death head on. That's why, from this day forward, I'll face things head on too.
Junpei: That's cool, man...
Aigis couldn't find Ken, which presented a problem.
Yukari: He's not?!
Aigis: There are indications that the window has been pried open.
Yukari: Wait, Fuuka! Do you know where he is?
Fuuka: Well, no, but we can't just let him go off his own, right?!
Yukari: So where do you plan on looking?
Fuuka: I don't know, but we have to find him! He must feel so alone...
Akihiko: Let Ken do what he wants. Bringing him back won't change anything, and we can't keep treating him like a kid.
AKihiko: It's his choice. He's the only one who can decide how he's going to live his life. The same goes for all of us...
After school the next day, I hung out with Mamoru...
...and that evening, Elizabeth called to tell me that more of Tartarus had opened up. I didn't feel ready to go just yet, though...
I also had another vision that evening - this one was of Ken at the Port Island hideout.
Akihiko showed up before long.
Ken: To this day, it's still on file as an unexplained accident. That's why I wanted to make it clear...I thought that's what she would have wanted. Maybe then she'd finally be at peace...
Ken: And once again, I'll be left behind...
Akihiko: The dead are never coming back. You have to accept that. You're on your own now...
Akihiko: I'm not here to drag you back. You can stay in this place until you die, if that's what you want.
Akihiko walked off, leaving Ken to his thoughts.
Ken: I've known it all along; I've just been lying to myself. I was consumed by hatred...I couldn't face the thought of being alone...but that's exactly what happened...
Ken: ...I've made up my mind.
Ken reached a resolution, just as Akihiko had...
...and again, his Persona evolved to reflect that.
Back at the dorm...
Mitsuru: Yes, it has.
Junpei: So where's Akihiko-san?
Fuuka: He said to leave Ken-kun alone, but I don't know. Maybe we should look for him...I can't wait any longer! I'm going right now to--
Fuuka: Thank goodness...I was so worried...
Ken: You were?
Mitsuru: Amada...are you able to fight?
Ken: Yes. ...I won't run off again.
Junpei: You sure?
Ken: I'm positive.
Fuuka: It's alright...we can trust him...
Yukari: ...Geez, don't make us worry like that, okay?
Mitsuru: Alright, I'll talk to the Chairman. Get some rest.
Aigis mentioned that she had noticed Ken and Akihiko's Personas evolving, and that it may happen to the others as well.
That night, Pharos paid me a visit.
Pharos: Can you believe it's already autumn? It'll be winter before you know it. You seem tired. Did something happen?
I told him what had happened to Shinjiro.
Pharos: Until recently, this was the same to me as the blowing of the wind. But now I see things differently...for the first time, I have a friend.
Pharos: It's drawing near. Don't you sense it...? We are kindred spirits, you and I, so why is it that only I can remember? This is a heartrending matter...
Pharos: Forgive me if I have said anything peculiar today. ...Perhaps it is the change of seasons. Of course, our friendship remains steadfast. Well, I shall bid you farewell for now. Goodnight...
"The Fall"? I've never heard of it before.
I guess it must be what we're fighting to prevent by defeating the Shadows.
The next day, I hung out with Mamoru again.
Or I tried to, anyway.
I ended up waiting for a good fifteen minutes or so before he called my cell.
Mamoru: I just feel bad, since I'm the one who asked you to hang out...but actually my mother passed out.
Mamoru: I guess she fainted from exhaustion, since she works from morning through the night...this is my fault! ...But it's true! Look at all the trouble I cause her...what?!
Mamoru: Dammit! Why can't I do anything?! ...Look, I'm sorry about today. I didn't mean to cause even more trouble. But at least you answered your phone...and talking kinda helped. A little.
Ugh, his life's already hard enough...
...he doesn't need anything else happening to him.
That night, I had Fuuka tell me about Akihiko and Ken's new Personas. Polydeuces had evolved into Ceasar, for instance, giving Akihiko access to more powerful lightning attacks, better healing, and mass support skills.
Nemesis had become Kala-Nemi, a goddess of time with more powerful healing, attack, and light skills.
The next day, I went to see Mamoru once again.
We went to the shrine to talk.
Mamoru: I just left from the hospital. I still have to pick my sister up from preschool, go shopping, cook dinner, do the laundry...I've got so much I have to do. This is the kind of stuff Mom had to do every single day.
Mamoru: Even with the scholarship, I don't think we can afford college. I mean, what about living expenses? My family can't even pay their own...just like Dad, now Mom can't earn any money either...I'm gonna have to support them. I don't have any choice but to give up on Track Team...
I told him not to give up - there's always hope as long as you keep trying.
Mamoru: I'm going to take part in the meet! I devoted a lot of my life to Track Team. I'm going to take all that experience, apply what I learned, and achieve victory! I'm glad we could talk, I feel a lot better about things now. Thanks to you, I have a goal to aim for.
So even if he competes and wins...
...he still won't be able to go to college? That's horrible.
I felt like he needed some support, so we hung out again the next day.
Mamoru: Think I should bring some home? ...Wait, I don't have any more money. Oh, by the way, about my mom...she gets to come home from the hospital soon! Hopefully I can help her a bit more, since I finally got the hang of taking care of everyone.
Mamoru: One of 'em offered to pick up my sis from preschool. Everybody's been worried about me. I mean, I thought I was the only one who cared, and I ended up ignoring everyone else there. And after all that, it was probably my fault nobody seemed focused on winning.
Mamoru: This is just great. I mean, i already totally loved it. Oops, guess I kinda started rambling there...I gotta run. And don't forget...I can focus on training again cause you've got my back! So thanks, buddy.
It's good to hear that things are looking up for him...
...but I hope there's no sudden downturns or anything.
I hung out with him again the next day.
After that was a Sunday, so I went to see Akinari.
Akinari: He was born in the calm forest of green, but he turned out to be pink. He's so visible that he can't hunt for food easily, so he's always especially hungry. The other animals dislike him and consider his coloration disgusting, almost like he's cursed. So he started living alone, but then he made a friend.
Akinari: So the bird would stand on the pink alligator's back and practice its flying. It's embarassing to talk about, but I'm writing it for myself, so that's what matters. Maybe I'll be able to show you the entire novel someday.
AKinari: I wanted to write an upbeat story of my own to cheer me up. Maybe if I can find some meaning to life, I can put that in my story. When I write...I can see you in my mind. It seems as if you're telling me not to die just yet...
Well of course I don't want him to die just yet.
Preferably he'd never die at all...
...but it just doesn't look that way...ugh. Poor Akinari.
The next day was a holiday...
so I went to go hang out with Mamoru again.
Mamoru: I got first place, of course! This maens my sports career might be over for real. Makes me feel a little empty, you know?
Mamoru: I'm going to earn enough money to support my family. i think that's my responsibility now...got one picked out and everything! My father had connections at a car factory, so I'll apply there. Thing is, it's pretty far away.
Mamoru: I always blamed school or my family for everything. I didn't want to face the fact that I was responsible. I really lucked out, y'know? If we hadn't met, I'd still be a jerk. I won't forget you.
It struck me that I kept on losing friends left and right...
...my life is a goddamn mess.
The next day, exams started.
They were a piece of cake...
...even though they took forever.
I saw Mamoru for the last time this afternoon.
Mamoru: My mother started crying, and she kinda blamed herself, but I want to support them. This is a new beginning in my life. It won't be easy to leave this ramen, though...best in town. Hey, I gotta go...
We went out to the station together so Mamoru could catch his train.
Mamoru: Sometimes I get pretty pissed that he's not around anymore. My lfie wouldn't have had to be so complicated, y'know? I could've enjoyed Track Team more...could've been a normal kid. But blaming Dad like that, it's just another way to run away from my problems.
Mamoru: As long as you have the key, I'll be able to stand on my own two feet, so next time we meet I can still be proud of myself.
And that was it.
His life hadn't turned out the way he'd planned...
...but he's going to make the best of it. I respect that.
(Lucifer is a powerful archangel who led a rebellion against God and fell from Heaven. Many Christians now equate him with Satan.)
With that, Mamoru shook my hand one last time, and left. I went home too, and now here I am writing. Shinjiro, Mamoru...wonder what'll happen if everyone leaves. It's pretty depressing, actually...I think I'd rather go to bed than think about it anymore. Bye, guys.
Coming up in the next entry: Tartarus and Social Links!
(Mamoru and exams are both done, so we need new Links! Vote away.)
Magician: Kenji, the classmate
Priestess: Fuuka, the SEES member
Emperor: Hidetoshi, head of the Disciplinary Committee
Lovers: Yukari, the SEES member
Chariot: Kazushi, the Track Team member
Justice: Chihiro, the treasurer
Fortune: Keisuke, the art club leader
Strength: Yuko, the team manager
Hanged Man: Maiko, the grade schooler
Temperance: Bebe, the foreigner
Devil: Tanaka, the "celebrity"
Moon: Nozumi, the Gourmet King
Sun: Akinari, the dying boy