Chapter 2: Tower Arcana
The sun shone into his room, Tsukiyo slowly opened his eyes. 'Ugh… my head…' He looked over to the clock, the blurry round object on his table. He scrambled around his bed for his glasses, before checking again.
He sighed in relief, 'At least I'm not late…' He got off his bed and changed into his school uniform. Checking his table, he couldn't find his contacts, 'Huh?' He looked all over his room, but to no avail, 'What the heck?' He sighed a little before putting on his glasses.
"First time for everything, I guess…"
'This may be the last time I'm doing this…' He mentally grumbled. It turns out, just by wearing his glasses to school, he attracted quite a lot of attention. Especially from all the female students. He can't remember how many times he saw the group of girls, both second years and third years, followed him all around the school. 'Now I know how Akihiko felt…'
He sighed a little as he take off his glasses to clean the lens. It is now lunch break and he is at his favorite spot, the persimmon tree, eating his lunch which consists of a melon bread. His mind wondered back to last night, "Man I don't want to remember…" He muttered, 'But what was that last night? It was loud and sharp… Like something dangerous is released…'
He sighed a little and munched on his melon bread yet again. He opened his phone to check the articles, "Nothing new…"
Finishing his bread, he left his favorite spot to head for his next class. He walked along the hallways, before bumping into Akihiko. One of his arms is a sling much to Tsukiyo's surprise. "Huh? What's with your arm?" He asked.
"Oh this?" He asked, "This is just a bruise."
"Bruise…?" Tsukiyo sighed, "I know a broken arm when I saw one, Akihiko. What is it this time, got into fight?"
"I guess you can say that." Akihiko said, "Now I have to keep off training for a few weeks… What a bummer…"
"Hey… is Minako alright?" Tsukiyo asked, "I didn't see her in school today. You stayed in the same dorm with her right?"
"She's… in the hospital…" He stated.
"I-It was… a-a… an accident!" He stated, "S-She… fell down some stairs! Yeah! That's right!"
"Fell down… some stairs…?"
"A-Anyway, there's no need to worry! She's doing fine!" The silver haired senior said before walking away as fast as he can. Tsukiyo sighed a little, 'You really can't lie, can you…?' He thought before heading towards his class.
A few days later, and no sign and word of Minako. Tsukiyo is getting pretty worried and has asked both Mitsuru and Akihiko about this multiple times, both of them just assure him that she is fine and not to worry, 'If you want to not worry, at least be truthful about her condition…'
After to no avail, he gave up and hope for the best for her.
Now, he is in the debate in the Kendo club about the position of captain. He was planning on resigning so he could focus more on his studies but the seniors doesn't want that and want him to be the new captain as the previous one has graduated.
"Come on, Tsukiyo-san! You have to be the captain. You're the only one that fit that position in this club." One of the seniors tells him.
"For the last time, no." Tsukiyo sighed, "I need to focus on my studies this year, and I decided to resign since last school term. I thought I've told you all that."
"B-But, you're our club's strongest combatant! We can't afford to lose the nationals this year!" Another of the senior cried.
"You have Kazushi, and let's not forget Hayase. They are impressive as well." He added, "It's not like the club will lose just because I quit."
"Amagi-senpai! You can't leave! Who could fill in the gap you have left?-!" A junior cried.
"I'm pretty sure someone will fill in that gap just fine." Tsukiyo stated, "Anyway, my decision still stands. That makes today my last day."
"…You're really set on this, huh?" Kazushi, a teen with short spiky black hair and dark grayish brown eyes stated, "Damn. It's definitely going to be less exciting without you…"
"You have Hayase to compete with, right?" His senior tells him.
"But it was always my goal to beat you in at least one match!"
"…" Tsukiyo walked to the mat, picking up one of the helmet before putting it on, "Then let's have one match, our last match."
"…You're on!" Kazushi said with vigor before rushing to the mat as well.
"Oh man, I lost again!" Kazushi cried out, "I guess your record will never change."
"I don't really care though…" Tsukiyo sighed, "But you have improved. I nearly thought I was in trouble there for a second."
"…I'll definitely live up to your legend, Amagi-senpai." He stated firmly, "I'll inherit your legacy!"
"I'm sure you will…" He said, before walking towards the locker room.
"Tsukiyo-san!" All the members of the club all stood in one row.
"THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE YEARS!"
"Yeah." Tsukiyo stated monotone as he waved one hand out to them.
The senior sighs as he left the café. 'Working at the café is exhausting. But man, what's in the coffee that makes it so incredible…?' He then took notice of a familiar person, a certain baseball cap wearing junior with an albino shiba inu nuzzling his leg.
"Hey." He greeted him as he walked up to Junpei, "Fancy meeting you here, Iori."
"Oh, hey. What's up, Tsukiyo-san?" He asked him, "What are you doing out so late?"
"Just ended my job at the Chagall Café." He tells him, "What about you?"
"Oh nothing. Just doesn't want to be at home right now." Junpei sighs.
"Trouble with your parents?" He asked.
"It's nothing you should worry about." Junpei tells him, "But then again, this is the first time I saw you outside of school."
"This is the second time we met." Tsukiyo reminded him.
"Oh, right." He chuckled. The senior then kneeled down by the dog, "Wait, aren't you that dog from the shrine?" He asked it.
"Comforting the poor guy?"
After standing up, Tsukiyo opened his phone to look at the time, "It's almost midnight…" He kept his phone, "Well, I got to go."
"Hey, mind if I walked with you part of the way?" Junpei asked, "The way to the dorms is the same way to my house partway."
"…Sure, why not?" Tsukiyo stated. As they walked away, the senior turned to the dog, "See you next time."
They both left the mall, walking in the streets in the night illuminated by the street lamps alone. He looked up at the moon, an ominous feeling rolled down his spine. 'I have bad feeling tonight…'
"You okay, Tsukiyo-san?" Junpei asked, "You looked real pale."
"…It's nothing." He tells him.
"Could it be that you're scared of the dark?" The junior teased, "Man, you're like a little kid."
"Ugh… why do people just make random accusations about me like this…?" He sighed.
"Oh, the convenience store." Junpei stated pointing out said store, "Mind if I buy some drinks?"
"…Go ahead." The baseball wearing student rushes into the store. Tsukiyo sighed a little as he took out his phone to look at the time.
'Getting close to midnight…'
"Sorry for the wait!" Junpei shouted out as he came back with a plastic bag and two cans in his hands, "You can't have drinks without snacks!"
"…You really don't want to go home just yet, huh…?"
"Guh!" Junpei looked down in shame, "Y-Yeah…"
"…What snacks you have?" After splitting up the amount of snacks between them, they lean against the wall as they drank from their cans. "Hey, Tsukiyo-san." Junpei asked.
"Do you think… that I could become like you?" He asked the senior, who took a sip from his soda can.
"Why would you want to?" He tells him.
"No, it's nothing." Junpei sighed, "…Do you ever thought about this before? About having a skill that no one else have?"
"…Yeah, I guess…" Tsukiyo than proceeds to drink his can dry, before tossing it at the garbage bin, "Why are you asking?"
"Oh, no reason." Junpei chuckled slightly, "Just that silence with you can get really awkward really fast…"
"Yeah… Akihiko did say something like that once…" He muttered.
He blinked, the world now in the shade of green. The street lights are off, the convenience store is blacked out with the coffins at where the cashiers are supposed to be along with any passerby at that location. He looked up at the sky, the moon shaded eerily green too. 'This is the first time I'm outside during this time…' He then notices the tower in the horizon, a building out of a weird painting, 'Was that tower always there…?'
"H-Huh?-!" Tsukiyo looked to his side, surprised that Junpei is not a coffin, he dropping his juice can in shock, "W-What's going on?-! W-Why did it become green all of the sudden?-! A-And… w-what's with those c-coffins? T-This is too strange! God damn it, what is happening here?-!"
"Iori, calm down!" The senior tells him.
"H-How could I be calm?-!" He cried, "W-Wait… is this b-blood I'm stepping in…?"
'This is bad… usually when there's someone out of their coffins…' "Iori, it's not safe here!" Tsukiyo stated.
"We got to-" Tsukiyo then heard something he did not wish to hear at all. The voices are back, and this time is quite clear.
"Death is here."
He turned around, to find the black goo creatures crawling towards them. Not just them, similar creatures appeared alongside them, ones that looks like a floating tiara with long flowing hair and an eye mask, and ones that looks like a large glove with a mask attached to the top of the glove.
"W-What are those things?-!" Junpei cried out.
"Like I know!" The senior cried as he and his junior tries to make a run, only to find another group behind them as well. Looking around, they are surrounded by the creatures with no way out.
"Not good…!" Tsukiyo muttered as looked around in panic, breaking into a cold sweat.
"Oh shit, are we going die here? Without anyone knowing…?" Junpei stuttered, "N-No! It can't end like this! There's so much I haven't done yet!"
'Die…?' Tsukiyo muttered, his mind going blank with only one image in his mind. A girl being pushed off the roof of a building by a man in a suit, 'No… not like this… that guy is still…'
"GAH!" His mind suddenly throbbed painfully, his skull feels like it is being pulled from all sides.
With a loud scream, his dull black eyes glowed blue before the sound of glass can be heard, glowing shards break through from the back of his skull, as they reformed into a large figure cloaked in black mist. It raises up its large sword and slices through all the creatures with one strike, killing off most of them in one swing.
Junpei looked in shock, fearful of the thing that has spawned from his senior. Tsukiyo screamed out again in pain, this time the figure raised its hand and cyclone of wind blew the remaining creatures away before a red visor glowed from within the fog and all of the creatures are burned away in a burst of flames.
Soon, all the creatures are destroyed, disappearing into wisps of black mist.
The figure that appeared, sheathed its sword on its back, before disappearing in a glow of blue light. Tsukiyo panted, emotionally exhausted from the incident as he tries to keep his consciousness from fading. Junpei is on the floor, shaking in fear with his eyes not breaking contact from his senior.
"T-Tsukiyo-san… w-what was…?"
"…" Tsukiyo looked dazed, looking up at the empty space as if he was trying to see something. At that moment, footsteps can be heard. Soon, a person can be seen, he recognized that silvery white hair from a mile away, "Damn, Akihiko… is this the secret you kept from me…?" He muttered before falling over and collapsing onto the ground.
"Tsukiyo-san!" Junpei cried.
Akihiko soon arrived on scene, surprised to find Tsukiyo on the floor unconscious. "Tsukiyo!" He cried out as he kneeled down next to him, his non-bandaged arm gently shaking him but not getting response. "Damn it…why you, of all people…"
Tsukiyo slowly and weakly opened his eyes, meeting a white ceiling. 'A hospital…?' He felt his arm is penetrated by something, raising it to see the needle that he assumed is connected to an IV drop. 'What happened…?' He tries to recall, the throbbing in his head isn't really helping but he manages to remember parts of the incident, 'Ah right, I was outside when that phenomenon happened with Iori…'
'Then… my head starts to hurt… and then…'
His headache came back and he clutched his head with both hands in hope of easing the pain, "Guh…" He groaned a little, before sighing as it went away. The door to his ward slides opened, and Akihiko walked in.
"Glad you're awake." He stated.
"Aki…hiko…?" He groaned a little as he tries to get up, "What… happened…?"
"You lost consciousness." Akihiko stated, "I was nearby so I managed to get you to the hospital. The doctor said you're just exhausted and needed rest."
"How long was I asleep?" Tsukiyo asked.
"Um… about two weeks…" He tells him, "Today is the start of May."
"I was asleep for that long?-!" He cried.
"Yeah, you were completely out cold." Akihiko chuckled, "But I'm glad you're awake now. We were worried that you might sleep through the first term. But considering you, that's possible."
"Ha, ha…" Tsukiyo laughed dryly.
"Well I better get back to my ward. Shinji is waiting." He stated.
"Shinjirou is here?"
"Yeah, just wanted to ask him about the Apathy Syndrome victims." He explained, "Oh, and… um… about what happened that night… It will all be explained later tonight."
"You better…" Tsukiyo stated, "Ugh… just remembering that night is giving me a migraine…"
Later that evening, after Tsukiyo was discharged from the hospital, he sat near the lounge with surprised that his suitcase is with Akihiko and Mitsuru as they walked in, along with a middle-aged man in a beige trench coat over a black turtleneck with glasses. "Good evening." She greets him, "Glad that you're alright."
"So Mitsuru is part of this as well…" Tsukiyo sighed, "Should have figured…"
"You probably has a lot of questions, and I'll try to answer them." The man stated, "Oh, I better introduce myself. I'm Shuji Ikutsuki, Chief Director of Gekkoukan High. And Chairman of the Iwatodai Dorms."
"It's a pleasure to meet you." He greeted him, 'This guy…'
"Now then, do you believe me if I told you that the day is consists of more than 24 hours?" Ikutsuki asked.
"You're talking about that phenomenon that happens on the stroke of midnight, right?" Tsukiyo asked, "The sky turned green, any electronic devices stopped functioning, and people becomes coffins. …Did I get them all?"
"That's… exactly what I meant…" The chairman said surprised, "So you have experienced this for a while?"
"Almost a year." He stated.
"You managed to survive the Dark Hour for a year without a Persona?" Akihiko asked, "Not sure whether you are lucky or unlucky."
"I stayed in my room when this happened." Tsukiyo explained, "That night was the first time I was outside when it struck. And… Persona? Dark Hour?"
"That is the power you used that night." Ikutsuki explained, "We called them Persona. It is the only way you could strike back at those creatures. We call them Shadows."
"And the Dark Hour is a hidden time between days. Normally people won't know about it, since they are asleep in their coffins." Mitsuru explained, "Only people like you and us are able to function during that time."
"So I have this ability that allow me to move during this Dark Hour?" Tsukiyo asked.
"Now then, Tsukiyo-kun." Ikutsuki said, "We would like to recruit you into our group. We are the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, SEES for short. On paper, we are officially a school club, but our true mission is to defeat and eliminate all the Shadows."
"You've seen the news, right?" Akihiko asked, "All those incidents, most of them were caused by them."
"Shadows can only be eliminated by a Persona-user." Mitsuru explained, "So, only we are capable to fighting them."
"And I have this ability…?" Tsukiyo muttered, "S-Sorry… give me a minute… this is just too much…"
"It's pretty overwhelming, isn't it?" Akihiko stated, "I know how it feels."
"So, we were hoping for you to join us." Ikutsuki stated, putting a small metal briefcase on the table. Opening it, it revealed a silver gun with a red armband with the initials: SEES in black.
"…" He looked down at the gun suspiciously, "…So you're telling me to join what basically is a combat squadron that kills creatures in a hidden time with a power that I so happened to possess."
"Pretty much." Akihiko said, "But it sounds much more troublesome the way you said it."
"So, are you in?" Mitsuru asked.
"…There still something you're not telling me, isn't it, Ikutsuki-san?"
"Tsukiyo?" Akihiko looked at him with an eyebrow raised, "What are you…?"
"…But I guess you have your reasons not to…" Tsukiyo sighed, "All right, I'm in."
"Thank you, I appreciated it." Mitsuru said with a small smile.
"Welcome aboard." Akihiko chuckled.
"It's not like I have much of a choice here…" Tsukiyo muttered.
"Well then, good thing we brought your stuff with us." Ikutsuki chuckled, "Come on, we'll bring you to the dorms."
After a long drive, they came to an old looking four story apartment. "The Iwatodai Dorms…" Tsukiyo mumbled, "Wait, wait, wait, wait… does that mean…?"
"What is it?" Akihiko asked.
When they opened the door, they are greeted by three students, all who Tsukiyo recognized.
"Oh, welcome back, Mitsuru-senpai." Yukari greeted, "Huh? Amagi-senpai?"
"Tsukiyo-san! You're awake!" Junpei greeted joyfully, "Man, I was worried about you! That was one heck of a coma you were in."
"Why is Amagi-senpai here? And the Chairman too." The brunette asked
"Good, you're all here." Ikutsuki stated, "Allow me to introduce our newest member."
"Nice to meet you all, again." Tsukiyo said tiredly, 'Sometimes I wish I was wrong for once…'
"Nice to meet you again too!" Minako greeted.
"Wait, he is part of SEES now?" Junpei asked before pumping his hands up in joy, "Sweet! I always wanted to see the Gekkoukan Samurai in action!"
"I see that title still hasn't left you." Akihiko said with a smirk.
"Don't remind me…" He groaned.
"Wait, does that means that…" Yukari asked.
"He has the potential, yes." Mitsuru explained, "He awaken to his Persona two weeks ago as well, the same time Akihiko found Iori."
"Although, could that thing be considered a Persona…?" Junpei asked worriedly, "I mean, that thing is all dark and shadowy, and Tsukiyo-san looks like he was in pain when it came out."
"…Don't remind me, please…" Tsukiyo groaned, "God… I feel the migraine coming back…"
"Probably because it was brought out unconsciously." Ikutsuki stated, "But with an Evoker, it will show its true form."
"Evoker?" Tsukiyo asked.
"The gun you were given." Akihiko stated.
"Hey, why don't we go to Tartarus tonight then?" Junpei suggested, "That way, Tsukiyo-san could get some first-hand experience."
"Probably not the best idea." Mitsuru stated, "He just woke up, so he need some rest."
"I think he rested more than enough, though…" Yukari stated.
"I don't mind." Tsukiyo stated, "I'm curious about this Tartarus thing too."
"You heard the man." Junpei chuckled, "Let's go!"
"Are you sure, Tsukiyo-senpai?" Minako asked worriedly.
"I'll be fine." He tells her, "Besides, I need to move my body more. Being in a coma really stiffen up my muscles… But thanks for asking."
"Pretty sure it's all the time." Akihiko stated, "Lazy-ass."
"At least better than someone that overworks himself to injuring." He countered.
"Cut it out you two…" Mitsuru sighed, "Geez, act like seniors for once…"
After changing into their uniforms and exiting the dorm, they made their way to the gate of Gekkoukan High. "Um… why are we at the school?" Tsukiyo asked.
"Just wait." Junpei said chuckling, "You're in for a surprise~"
"…What do I get this feeling that I'll regret it…?"
At that moment the Dark Hour emerges, the ground shook. From the school grounds, a large building starts to rise up from the concrete. Mix mash of different architecture rose up piling on top of each other in the most impossible way, until the form into a large tower that seems to pierces the night sky.
"W-What…?" Tsukiyo looked in shock, 'I-It's the same tower as back then!'
"This is Tartarus." Mitsuru explained, "The labyrinth that only appears during the Dark Hour."
"L-Labyrinth?" He stuttered, "N-Never mind that! What's going on here?-! How did a fucking tower appeared in our school?-!"
"We don't know, that's why we're exploring the tower in the first place." Yukari stated.
"This is the nest of the Shadows." Akihiko explained, "It is where they all emerge from during the Dark Hour."
"Nest?" Tsukiyo blinked, "Wait, wait, you mean that the Shadows' birth place is our school?-! How come I didn't notice?-!"
"It's only natural that you didn't notice it, since it only makes an appearance in the Dark Hour." Mitsuru explained, "Normal people wouldn't notice. Let's go in."
They entered the tower through what was previously the front gate, arriving in a big room with marble floors and pillars and stairs that lead into a large clock with a small opening where the stairs are. "W-Whoa…" Tsukiyo muttered.
"I know, right?" Junpei chuckled.
"Welcome to Tartarus!" Minako chuckled.
"Thanks, I guess…?" Tsukiyo muttered, "Hey, how high is this tower anyway?"
"We don't know that either." Akihiko stated, "They only managed to get up to the first guardian."
"From what I can tell, the tower is split into different sections, each section being guarded by several guardians situated at different floors of that section." Mitsuru explained, "We only manages to get to the first guardian so far."
"That eagle thing isn't easy to take down." Junpei stated.
"No point in worrying about that now." Akihiko stated, "Why don't you enter it and see for yourself? You should get a feel for it first. Do you know how to use an Evoker?"
"You mean the gun?" The new member asked pulling out the silver gun from its holster, "It IS a gun, right?"
"Not exactly." Mitsuru stated, "I think it'll be easier to show it to you. Minako, if you don't mind?"
"Sure thing, senpai." The girl pulls her gun out of its holster, before pointing it to her head with her spare hand on her chest.
"W-W-Wait! What are you doing?-!" Tsukiyo cried.
She pulls a trigger, and a sound of a gunshot followed by shattered glass, as glowing shards of glass appeared behind her and formed into a large figure, a humanoid that seems mechanic in nature with flowing locks of orange hair with a red scarf around the neck, a radio speaker built into it abdomen and a heart-shaped harp on its back.
Tsukiyo looked on in shock, 'W-What on earth…?'
"This is Orpheus! My Persona!" Minako smiled.
"That is a Persona." Mitsuru explained as the figure disappeared, "It is the power of the heart that we uses, a manifestation of the soul. The Evoker is a device that allow us to draw out this power."
"So… I have a similar power…?" Tsukiyo asked, looking down at the gun in his hand, "And… I called it out by shooting myself… what a weird way to start the semester…"
"Why not give it a shot?" Minako asked.
"In killing myself…?" Tsukiyo looked at her weirdly, before looking back at his gun. He sighed before taking a deep breath and closed his eyes. Anxiously, he raised his gun up trembling as he placed the muzzle under his chin on the right side.
"[ - ]"
He hear the voice again, but this time, his mind isn't hurting. Time seems to halt, as his mind turns completely blank and the words flow out of his mouth normally, "Per…so…na…" He pulls the trigger and he felt a familiar rush of power as the glass shards burst out of his head, reforming behind him.
This time, the figure is more visible. It is a large mechanical suit of armor, like ones of the medieval times, black armor plating all over it with black visor with a red line in the middle with his arms folded in front of him, a zweihander on its back that has a silver blade and guard, and red handle. Another thing is that its feet is like stumps, with no actual foot.
"I am thou… and thou art I… From the sea of thy soul I've come forth…""I am the Knight of the Lake… Proud Knight of Camelot: Lancelot!"
Its voice boomed in his head before slowly dissipating like Orpheus. At that brief moment in time, he somehow is able to know what kind of abilities it has. 'Cleave… Garu… Agi…?'
"Wow… you did way better than I expected…" Mitsuru stated, "Then again, you did survive the Dark Hour for almost a year."
"By hiding in his room." Akihiko stated.
"Hey, what was I supposed to do?-!" Tsukiyo cried.
"Fight, you coward."
"What was that?-!"
"Either way, you proved you can use your Persona properly." She added, "I see no objections in him joining the frontlines."
"Really?" Yukari asked, "Wait, does that mean he would become our leader now?"
"Huh?" Akihiko looked at her curiously.
"I mean, he is the only senior that could fight at the moment, since Akihiko-senpai is still injured and Mitsuru-senpai needs to be on support…" She stated.
"I think the leadership should remain with whoever is in-charge in the first place." Tsukiyo stated, "I'm still inexperienced compared to you three."
"I agree." Akihiko stated, "If this guy is the leader, you're all goners."
"No complains here." Yukari said.
"And you, Iori?" Mitsuru asked.
"Huh? Oh, yeah! S-Sure! No problem!" Junpei stated.
"Well then, it's settled." Mitsuru stated, "Minako, you will resume your duties as field leader."
"Got it." Minako stated.
"And here, I got this for you." Akihiko stated giving Tsukiyo what appears to be a bokuto sword in a form of a chokuto, "You're more used to a straight sword, right?"
"Yeah, thanks, I guess…?" He muttered as he took the sword and swinging it down a few times to get a feel of it, 'Here I thought I could get away from Kendo…'
"Let's go, Tsukiyo-senpai!" Minako called out.
"Alright!" Tsukiyo replied as he walked up the stairs.
"Tsukiyo!" Mitsuru called out, "Be careful."
He nodded, before following the second years into the clock.
When they reappear on the other side, Tsukiyo was surprised by the green shaded checkered walls and ceilings along with some small slight blood stains on the floor.
"So this is Tartarus…" Tsukiyo muttered.
[Tsukiyo, can you hear me?]
"W-What?-! M-Mitsuru?-! How are you…?-!" He cried out.
"It's her Persona's ability." Yukari explained, "She is our coordinator for our time in Tartarus."
[Tartarus's layout change every night, so one is necessary. It looks like the Shadows in this area isn't that strong. Perfect for teaching a new member]
"Alright, watch and learn!" Junpei said as the first groups of Shadows, the hand-like creatures charged towards them as the flying crown creatures flew straight towards them, "They are small fry, so it'll be breeze!" He swings his nodachi sword and cuts down several in front of him. Yukari fires an arrow from her bow that kills one of the flying crowns, and Minako swings her naginata at the goo monster killing it.
Tsukiyo looked at the Shadows rushed towards him, "I guess I have no choice in the matter, huh…?" He held his sword with both his hands and slash down at the Shadows, killing it before following the group further in. As they ascended the floors, they ran into small hordes of Shadows rushing towards them that they effectively dealt with without use of their Personas.
It is until they reached the tenth floor that it got tougher. When they entered the tenth floor, Tsukiyo sensed something terrifying. 'What is this…?' He thought.
"What's wrong, Tsukiyo-senpai?" Minako asked worriedly.
"No, it's nothing…" Tsukiyo assures her.
[I detect 3 Shadows in this floor's central area. Once again, you'll be facing a new type of enemy so stay alert.]
"The second one, huh?" Yukari muttered.
"Alright! Let's finish this boss and move on!" Junpei cheered.
"Let's go, everyone!" Minako cheered.
"Man, you two are two peas in a pod…" Yukari groaned.
"Their personalities line up, that's for sure." Tsukiyo stated before sighing a little. Following Minako's lead, they explore out the floor a bit more, including activating the teleporting device just in case. Turning one corner, they met into three hand-like Shadows, pink gloves with a diamond ring on its index finger.
"It's the Guardian!" Minako cried, "The Dancing Hands!"
[You can win! I'm sure of it!]
"Right! Let's get things started!" Junpei smirked pointing his Evoker to his head, "Hermes!" He summons out his Persona, a humanoid figure with roman featured helm with wings on its sides, large golden wings connecting its hands to its legs, metal gauntlets and boots along with a black outfit. It charges towards one of the Hands to try and cleave through it with its wing attachment, only for it to be grabbed by it before tossing it to one side, crashing it to the wall as it dissipates.
One of the other snapped its fingers, fire erupted and bursts towards the rest, hitting Junpei, "Iori!" Tsukiyo cried.
"It's fine!" The baseball loving student chuckled, "Fire has little effect on me!"
"Io!" Yukari cried out placing her Evoker between her eyebrows and summoning her Persona, a large ox head with a lady chained on top of its head with golden locks of hair and in a pink dress, "Garu!" The Persona spread out her hands, a cyclone erupted from under one of them, having little to no effect, "Wind is no good!"
The Hand snapped its fingers yet again, lightning strike down at Yukari who cried out and fell down on her back.
"Not good!" Tsukiyo cried, as he used his Evoker, "Lancelot!" He brought out his Persona, the knight appearing behind him, "Um… Agi!" It raised its hand out as its visor glowed brightly, a burst of fireball blast straight through to the Hands, it took little to no damage in their eyes, "No good! Fire is not working either!"
It crawled towards Tsukiyo and swats him away into the wall hard, "Ow! T-That hurts…!"
The Hand then snapped its fingers, causing a cyclone to burst from under him and blasting him back slightly into the wall again.
"Amagi-senpai!" Yukari cried.
"I'm fine! That didn't hurt that much!" Tsukiyo called out.
"Take this!" Minako cried out as she pulls out her Evoker, "Persona!" She summons out Orpheus, the robot proceeds to use its lyre to slams straight down at one of the Hands, knocking it back onto the ground.
"All right! That worked!" Yukari cried, "It must be weak to strike attacks!"
"In that case-!" Tsukiyo ran towards it and strikes down at another of the Hands, knocking it down with its brethren. Minako summons out Orpheus again and it bashes its lyre on the last Hand, knocking it down with the rest.
"This is our chance for an all out attack!" Yukari stated.
"Let's do it!" Minako called out as she brandish her glaive weapon. The command issued, everyone charged towards the Hands, knocking them down for the count with their respective weapons. The Hands managed to get back up but weaken, "Last stretch!" Tsukiyo shouted out as he summons out Lancelot yet again "Cleave!" The knight swings its sword and slashes down at the hand, killing it.
"Go, Orpheus!" Minako summons out her robotic Persona, it cried out as the speaker on its abdomen turned on, a burst of fireball erupted and blasts another of the Hands, killing it as well.
"Let's go, Hermes!" Junpei summons his Persona as well, it flew straight at the Hands and slashes its winds attachment at the last one, slicing it in half.
"There goes the Guardian…" Yukari sighed in relief.
[Good work! We managed to clear another area.]
"But man… I'm exhausted…" Tsukiyo panted before grunting in pain as he touched his bruise around his gut, "I'm definitely going to feel that tomorrow…"
"Let me help you with that." Yukari stated as she summons out Io, "Dia!" The Persona unleashed a green healing aura around him, his pain slowly fading away.
"That was… rather amazing…" He muttered, "Man, these Personas are amazing… Wait, if this is possible, why didn't you use it on Akihiko's arm?"
[There are limits to a Persona's ability. A Dia spell can't heal broken bones, the best it could do is heal up bruises.]
"I guess that make sense." Tsukiyo stated. He then saw Minako and Junpei sitting on the ground panting for breathe, "You guys okay?"
"Yeah, just exhausted…" Junpei stated panting, "I know that we get much exhausted during the Dark Hour, but still…"
"Really? I'm feeling quite fine, actually." He stated, "Slightly fatigued, yes, but not exhausted."
"What?-!" The junior cried out, "Man, the jocks-types are really something else…"
[Even so, I suggest you come back for now. It's not a good idea to carry on till we're exhausted. Besides, the Dark Hour will be ending soon.]
"Say, what would happened if we're in Tartarus and the Dark Hour ended?" Tsukiyo wonders, "Do we… get trapped here until the next Dark Hour…?"
"We… never really thought about that, honestly…" Yukari stated shivering.
"Y-Yeah! Let's go already!" Junpei stated as he ran towards the teleporting device.
"And… there he goes…" He sighed, "Well, shall we go?"
"Yeah, we should." Minako nodded. With that said, they went to the teleporting device and warped back to the entrance.
When they ended back at the entrance, they were greeted by Mitsuru and Akihiko standing there waiting, "Welcome back." He stated, "So, how was your first night as a Persona-user?"
"It was tiring, that's for sure…" Tsukiyo stated, "But that rush of power can get rather addicting…"
"But I'm glad you manages to handle yourself in there." Mitsuru stated.
"You handle the sword like a part of your body!" Junpei stated cheerfully, "Just what would you expect from the Gekkoukan Samurai!"
"Can we please stop using that title already…?" Tsukiyo groaned.
"It has already left an impression in the school's history, I'm afraid…" Mitsuru added, "Even if you quit the Kendo club, that name would stuck with you for the rest of the school year."
"That was what I'm afraid of…" He sighed.
"Wait, so that rumor about you quitting the Kendo club was true…?" Junpei asked, "Seriously?-!"
"I need to focus on my studies this year, so I can't go to any club activities. So I might as well quit, to avoid affecting my GPA."
"So you're the study-hard student as well?" The junior stated, "Man, there is a lot of things I don't know about Tsukiyo-san."
"The more you know, huh?" Yukari stated.
"Come on, let's head back to the dorm." Akihiko stated.
As they left the tower, the Dark Hour ended and the tower disappeared into nothingness. Tsukiyo looked back at his school, his mind already thinking and a slight smile on his face, 'This is going to be an interesting school year…'