Persona 3: The Broken Tower

Chapter 5: Anger

They went to Tartarus that night, this time Tsukiyo decided to step down for this mission and allow Akihiko into the party. Now, he stood next to Mitsuru with her radio device active. "I'll try to scan the floors above you, hold on…" She stated before concentrating on the device.

He can see the sweat dripping off her brow as she tries to scan the tower, "…It's no use… Sorry, I can't get a clear reading. I may have reached the limit of my ability…" She tells the group, "Sorry, but can you continue to the next floor?"

[Understood] Minako replied back.

Mitsuru sighed as she wiped the sweat off her brow. "You okay?" He asked.

"Yeah, this is the best I can do for now, anyway." She sighed, "But, the Shadows' numbers are increasing… They are getting stronger too… We need to find a more effective way of defeating them…"

"…" He kneeled down next to her, "Mind if I try out something?"

"Huh? What is it?" Tsukiyo placed his hand on the device. And then he closed his eyes and concentrated. "Hey, can any of you hear me?"

[Huh? Tsukiyo-san?] Junpei replied.

[Tsukiyo, how are you able…?] Akihiko asked.

"I thought I might be able to do this…" He stated, "On those times when we approached the guardians, I felt their presence for some reason. By the way, I sensed one of them somewhere above where you guys are."

[Can you tell where?] Minako asked.

"No, I can't really make out the proper location." He stated out, "Make sure to keep your guard up."

[Understood.] She replied.

"…To think that you possesses the same type of Persona as me…" Mitsuru stated in surprise, "Is this why you choose not to go to the frontline tonight? To test out your theory?"

"That's one of the reasons." He stated, "Another is that I'm not in the mood to go dungeon-crawling tonight…"

"So…you got lazy then…" She stated, "*chuckles* That's just like you."

After a while, they manage to reach to the guardian's floor, Tsukiyo can sense it as he took over Mitsuru's point for the moment. He can't really tell what's going on, but he can tell it was a tough fight. "Its Arcana is Empress! Be careful, it's a strong one!"

He didn't know what went down in the fight, but they manages to win and made it to the second blockade.

[It's a dead end.] Akihiko stated.

"I see… Come back to the entrance. Good job making it so far." He stated.

[Also, we found a strange document here.] Yukari stated.

"Really?" He asked, 'Is the same as the previous one…?' "What's on it?"

[Huh? Oh, um…] She starts reading it out, [Let's see…: {Weird… Kirijo's Ergo Research branch plans to build a lab on this island. I wonder what for…} that's all. But… Ergo Research?]

'Could it be that lab that Mitsuru told me about…?' He thought.

[Tsukiyo-san? You there?] Junpei called out.

"Oh! Y-Yeah, just thinking about something." He tells them, "Let's hurry up and head back, the Dark Hour is almost over."

[Yikes! Don't remind me!]

After a while, they came back to the entrance and they left Tartarus for the dorm.


The weekend move passed faster than Tsukiyo could imagine. When school week starts again, he check out the exam results by the corridor. 'Looks like my grades are just as average…' He thought, "Oh, Mitsuru's the top of her grade, as usual. And Akihiko…?" He checked the list once more, "Huh… I'm actually higher than him…"

After school, since Mitsuru has duties at the Student Council, he returns to the dorm on his own.

The past few days have been a blur, mostly he just stayed by the tree after school to read up his textbooks and a few books he bought during the weekend.

However, during one of these days, he was just sitting at his seat in his classroom reading his book, when he heard someone talking.

"Hey, did you hear?"

"Huh? About what?"

"A girl of class 2-E went missing."

"Wait, for real?-!"

"Oh please, that is just another baseless rumor…"

"Not just that, I've heard another girl of the same class was found unconsciousness outside the school gate this morning!"

"Oh yeah, I've heard of it when I came to school. She is still unconscious now, isn't she?"

"Dude, that is just crazy… What's going on with this school this year?-!"

'2-E…' Tsukiyo thought, 'Isn't that the same class as Fuuka Yamagishi…?'


A couple days later, the rumors are already spreading all over, even some crazy ghost story about one of the missing girls supposedly to be dead and her ghost haunts the school, getting revenge of the bullies that caused her 'death'.

Tsukiyo was getting worried as well. He hasn't seen Fuuka in days and that girl falling unconscious the day before is causing him to make an assumption that he didn't want to.

One night, in the lounge at the dorm where everyone has gathered for dinner. It was the start of June and the change of uniforms into their summer counterparts. Everyone is their one version of their summer uniform, usually the short-sleeved version or just the standard short-sleeved uniform shirt.

"Hey Yuka-tan, have you seen the posts on the students message board?" Junpei asked her, "You know how last week, that girl was found by the front gate? Well, there's this rumor that it was an angry spirit from this one ghost story."

"H-Hey! C-C'mon… nobody believes in that stuff?-!" Yukari cried out, "R-Right…?"

"So, what is this ghost story about?" Mitsuru asked.

"Wha-?-! It-It's probably made up… So why bother?-!"

"I'm interested. Go ahead and tell us." Akihiko stated.

"Same here." Tsukiyo added.

"Uh…"

Junpei leaned forward, pulling out a flashlight who-knows-where and shines it under his face, "Good evening. Welcome, to [Junpei's Believe It, or Don't]… There are many strange things in this world… According to one story… 'If you get caught at school late at night, you'll be devoured by a maniacal ghost that roams the halls!"

'Huh…' Tsukiyo thought.

"This other day, this friend of mine… let's call him Shu…" He continued, "He said to me, "Junpei, I saw something strange." He sounded serious, so I asked him what he'd seen. He said it was about the girl in 2-E…He claims he saw her go into the school on the night of the incident. I could not believe. She's not the kind of girl to be out at night…"

"But Shu was as white as a sheet. He insisted it was true… Then, it hit me… That ghost must've tried to make her its dinner! And that's why they found her lying on the ground by the gate! I felt a chill run down my spine, and I broke into a cold sweat… Yes, there are strange things in this world… Believe it…or Don't~!"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…What do you think, Akihiko?" Mitsuru asked.

"Huh…? Not one word about my frankly amazing performance just now…?" Junpei asked.

"I think it's worth investigating." Akihiko stated.

"…" Tsukiyo remained silent, completely in a daze.

Junpei then notices Yukari shaking slightly, "Wow, I didn't know you were afraid of ghosts, Yuka-tan. That's kinda funny."

"Hey, watch it!" She cried out, "…F-Fine, then let's investigate. We'll each ask around for the rest of the week. I'll prove to you that the ghost story is just an urban legend!"

"I appreciate that. That story is a bit unnerving…" Mitsuru stated, her face a bit pale.

"Huh…?"

Akihiko then notices his friend in a daze, "Tsukiyo, you okay?"

"Huh? Oh! Sorry about that." He stated, "I was thinking about something…"

"…Know any that could triumphs this one?"

"Lots, but I'll rather not state any." Tsukiyo stated as he got up from his seat, "…But I'll consider sleeping with one eye opened tonight. I've heard stories like these can attract the ghosts."

"W-Wha-You just messing with me, Amagi-senpai…!" Yukari dryly laughed, "…R-Right…?"

"Who knows…?" He sighed before heading upstairs, "I'm going to bed. Night."

"Oh, good night, senpai." Junpei greeted as the senior disappears up the stairs. "…Is it just me, or has he been spacing out the past few days?"

"He was always thinking about something every time I came home as well…" Yukari stated.

"I'm sure he has a lot of things to worry about." Mitsuru stated.

"But I think you better keep his advice to mind." Akihiko stated, "He's pretty accurate when it comes to occult stuff."

"W-Wait, are you serious?!" Yukari cried, "Oh man, I don't think I can even sleep now!"


The past week flew passed him quite quickly. He decided to investigate this rumor, trying to find out where it originates from. Checking around the school websites and forums, he barely were able to short-list the amount of people that could spread it. But talking to them wasn't enough, although he did get some nice ghost stories from it.

He then checked with the class roster of 2-E, that he asked Mitsuru to help him gather since he doesn't trust Ekoda. 'He is definitely hiding something… But my priority is this rumor.' With it, he found the name of the girl that was found outside the school. Sadly, the roster didn't come with the picture so he can't confirm his suspicions.

'A dead end…' He sighed, 'But Fuuka is missing too… I was afraid of this…"

Friday arrives, and the juniors all gathered at the lounge to share any information gained. Tsukiyo was coming down the stairs when he heard them talking, and he hid atop the steps to he listened on their conversation.

"Okay, as we agreed on Monday, we'll now hold a meeting to discuss what we learned." Yukari announced.

"Wow, you're really into this…" Junpei stated in surprise.

"Of course. I got lots of good info." Yukari stated, "It turns out no angry ghosts were involved."

"Tsukiyo-san really spooked you good, huh?" Junpei chuckled.

"N-No! That's not why!" She cried, "Hmph. To start, let's talk about how this rumor got started… Since the girl was found on school grounds, there's at least one similarity to the ghost story. But, why did the rumor spread so fast, if this was the first time anything happened?"

"It was the third time!" Minako cried.

"Correct!" She stated, "But yeah, I was surprised when I found out the reason… Over the next few days, there were two more similar incidents. All three victims had to be hospitalized. No wonder people were talking. Next, the victims are in different classes, and they don't seem to be connected. However, they did have one thing in common. What was it?"

"What is this, a quiz show? Do you know, Minako?" Junpei asked.

"They hung out together!" She stated.

"Yup, that's right!" Yukari said, "Not just once or twice, either. They got in with a bad crowd, and were always hanging out late. It can't be just a coincidence… so, to find out what happened, we're gonna do some field research."

"Field research? Are you kidding?" Junpei looked at her in shock.

"Yeah, there's this one place where the three victims were regulars."

"Wait, y-you're not talking about that place behind Port Island Station, are you…?"

"Oh, so you're familiar with it?" She asked. He flinched a little, "Are you nuts?-! That place is dangerous! I've heard many nasty rumors about that place!"

"Is that so? Well then, we should all go together." Yukari stated turning to Minako, "You'll come, right?"

"Of course!" She stated.

"Thanks!"

"Forget it… that place is bad news, man!" Junpei cried, "Aren't you getting way over your head with this?"

"Up to now, all we've done is take others." Yukari said, "Does that feel right to you?"

"W-Well… I know what you mean, but…" He muttered, "Man, did you have to say it like that? I guess I don't have a choice, do I…?"

"Okay, we'll go tomorrow night, then." Yukari tells them.

Tsukiyo remained up the stairs, looking at the three juniors. 'Those three… Takeba is going to get them killed… She really have some issues…' He then yawned, 'I'll deal with them tomorrow… Now is time for bed…'


The next day, Tsukiyo checked with the missing girls' profile using Mitsuru's authority to get their pictures at best. 'I can't believe I didn't think of this in the first place… I need to keep my head out for more rumors next time…'

When he saw their profile pictures, he knew exactly who they are. They are the group of bullies picking on Fuuka.

'Looks like my intuition was correct…' He thought as he exited his classroom between periods. He knew what he need to do.

He made it to the classroom of Natsuki Moriyama, the girl was easiest to find as he just asked around about a junior with ganguro make-up, catching her just as she was leaving her classroom. He notices her pale complexion despite the thick tan make-up, and her eyes always looking around, paranoia at its fullest.

'She definitely knows something.'

"Natsuki Moriyama!" He called out, the girl jumped a little in shock, turning towards him in shock, "I've been looking for you."

"H-Huh? A-Aren't you…?"

"I wanted to know what happened the week before." He tells her, "And, what happened to Fuuka last week."

"Ah! I-I…!"

"The three girls in the hospitals… they are your buddies, right?" He asked, "And you are picking on another girl, Fuuka Yamagishi. She has been missing for more than week now, the same day the first incident happened. You guys did something, right?"

"N-No…! It's not…!"

"Tsukiyo Amagi-kun, stop pestering your junior at once!"

He stopped when he saw Ekoda walking towards them.

"M-Mr. Ekoda…" Natsuki muttered in relief.

"I do not care what reasons you have, I will not appreciate you bothering my student." He stated angrily, "Need I remind you of your past records?"

"…" Tsukiyo looked at him, before sighing, "Fine…" He walked away, leaving the two of them at the corridor. 'So Ekoda and Natsuki are connected… That means that the thing that Ekoda is hiding is…'

He spend the rest of the day trying to figure this out, and soon school was out and evening came.


Tsukiyo left before the three juniors got back, heading towards the back alley of Tatsumi Port Island. The sun has set for the past hour, the several delinquents all there just chatting and smoking. He changed into his casual wear for the summer, a simple grey t-shirt with navy-blue jeans and brown sandals, in order to blend in with them.

He looked around, before finding the persona he was looking for. Walking towards him, he leaned down by the wall facing him, "Hey, Shinjirou."

The tall teen looked at him coldly, the post-teen male with steel cold grey eyes, dark shaggy hair covered by a black beanie with a metal plate in the front wearing a dark red coat covering his entire body except his legs showing the black pants and shoes.

"What do you want, Tsukiyo?" He gruffly asked.

"Just to say hi." He stated, before taking out a photo, "And to check with something. You hang out here often, right? Do you know this girl?"

The taller male looked at the photo presented, "Hm… I think I did saw her once… hanging out with few others. Why? Did you need something from her?"

"Shinjirou, did you hear them brag about something when they were here?" He asked him, "Or about someone?"

"…Is this about that incident in school I heard about…?" He asked, getting a nod, "Well…"

"Hey, you!" They heard one of the ruffians shouted out, turning their attention to find what Tsukiyo wasn't hoping to see.

Minako, Yukari and Junpei all stood there in their summer uniform confronting one of the many ruffians in the alleyway.

"Aren't they…?" The taller male wonders.

"I was hoping for Junpei to talk them out of this…" Tsukiyo groaned.

"You know them?" Shinjirou asked.

"They are the juniors of SEES." He stated, he noticing the tall male flinched a little at the last word, "Yes, I know about SEES, and I know that you were once part of it. Akihiko and Mitsuru told me once."

"Tch…" He turned his attention to the three younger teens, "I think they are in trouble." He pointed out, Junpei already fallen on the ground grunting in pain.

"…" He sighed before walking up towards them, "Hey, that's enough." He stated firmly as he walked up towards them, "They just made a wrong turn and ended up here. I'll tell them to leave right away, so leave them be."

"Huh? Who do you think you are, dumbass?-!" The punk shouted as he walked up to him all cocky, "You want some too?-!" He punches him, Tsukiyo took it to his forehead hard, causing him to stumble back a little, "Ha! Take that, punk!"

"That hurts…" The senior grunted, his hand on his face as his eyes glare down at them.

"H-Huh?"

"I said that FUCKING HURTS!" He punches the guy in the face so hard that his nose broke under his fist, he fell down on the ground hard clutching his broken nose.

"S-Shit! Y-You just crossed the line!" The punk shouted, "You think you're going home alive?-!"

Tsukiyo picked up a broken metal pipe on the ground, swinging it down on the floor hard it making a loud ring, "You want try me, IS IT?-! HUH?-!"

"Uh… S-Screw this!" He shouted as he stepped back.

"Hahaha! What a loser!" One of the female punks in the alley laughed.

"D-Damn you…!" One of the other punks shouted, "You're Shinjirou's friend, aren't you! That means you're from Gekkou High too!"

"You better grow eyes in the back of your head!" That punk shouted, Tsukiyo glared at them as he smashed the pipe on the wall hard, denting the pipe slightly startling the punks before they ran off scared.

Tsukiyo took deep breaths as he tossed the pipe aside, "…"

"Oh man… Senpai, that was awesome!" Junpei cheered, "I guess even the punks on the street know to fear THE Gekkoukan Samurai~!"

"DO NOT CALL ME THAT, ASSHOLE!" The senior shouted, startling the three juniors. He then realized what he did and turned away from them, "S-Sorry… I… I just…"

"You lost your temper there, Tsukiyo." Shinjirou stated as he walked up to them, "Aren't you guys those guys in Aki's room at the hospital that day? You are a bunch of idiots! Get out of here. This place isn't for you."

"Wait! We came here for a reason!" Yukari cried.

"That doesn't mean you should take this risk." Tsukiyo tells them, his emotions now in check, "Takeba, you're smarter than this. But you are an idiot this time. Junpei is smarter than you when he warned you. You should have listened to him."

"W-Wha-! You're joking, right?" She said.

"And Minako. You're the leader, aren't you?" He added, "You shouldn't have agreed to this plan at all. That's a terrible idea at all. You should have stopped them when they brought it up last night."

"I'm sorry…" She apologized.

"Wait, how do you know we thought of this last night?" He asked.

"I've overheard you talking." He tells them.

"You spied on us?-!" Yukari cried.

"Overheard." He tells her, "There's a difference."

"Y-Yeah! B-But…"

"Let's focus on the goal at hand, shall we…?" Junpei tells them, "Say… why are you here of all places, Tsukiyo-san?"

"I was asking Shinjirou about the girls that were hospitalized." He tells them, "So, Shinjirou, before you were interrupted…?"

"Yeah. Those girls were always here talking shit every night." He stated, "Bragging about the things they done to a girl named Fuuka."

"Fuuka…?" Junpei wonders, "You mean Fuuka Yamagishi, from 2-E? They were picking on her?"

"Looks like I was right on that." Tsukiyo stated.

"That's why people are saying that it's Fuuka's spirit in that ghost story, the one that caused those girls to be hospitalized." Shinjirou added.

"Fuuka's spirit…? Wait, what do you mean by that?-!" Yukari cried.

"Fuuka Yamagishi has been missing from home for more than a week now, ever since the first incident." The shorter senior explained, "I've checked with her house a couple of days ago, so it's true."

"People are saying that she might be dead…" The taller senior added.

"Are you serious?-!" Junpei cried, "I thought she was out sick… But, she's missing?-!"

"So much for the ghost story…" Yukari stated, "Mr. Ekoda is the homeroom teacher of class 2-E, right? Does he know about this…?"

"I think he do." Tsukiyo stated, "I've checked with the last of the girls in the group, Natsuki Moriyama of the same class, this morning. He stopped me from questioning her any further. Not just that, she was acting rather paranoid."

"I guess we know who our next target is." Minako stated. "Thanks for the info, senpai."

"…I did nothing." Shinjirou muttered.

"Um, thank you very much." Yukari thanked him, before turning to Tsukiyo, "And… uh… thank you too, Amagi-senpai… For saving us back there…"

"But… Man, you were terrifying…" Junpei stated out.

"Yeah… I'm… truly sorry about that…" Tsukiyo muttered, "That was something I didn't want to show to anyone…"

"No, uh…"

"Let's head back to the dorms for now." Minako tells them.

"Yeah, let's." He stated, "I need to cool off my head…"


The next morning, Tsukiyo remained in his bed, looking up at the ceiling. His mind thought back to last night, about that one slip of his anger at the delinquents at the alley.

'I just revert back… Just like that…' He thought, 'I thought I have that under control… yet I…'

Someone knocked on the door loudly, getting his attention, "Tsukiyo, you up?"

"Akihiko?" He opened up the door, the boxing captain indeed in front of him.

"You free today?" He asked.

"Yeah, why?" He asked.

"Well, the morning is still early." He stated, "Want to take a jog with me?"

"You want me to jog with you?" Tsukiyo stated, "No, not going to happen."

"Huh? Why not?"

"I've seen your training regimes." He stated, "I am not willing to take my chances with it…"

"Relax, I'm not going to go too far." Akihiko stated, "We're just going to jog across the bridge and around Tatsumi Port Island couple times before heading back to the dorm."

"…That's close to an entire marathon, Akihiko…" He muttered.

"Well, you in or not?" The boxer asked.

"…" He sighed, "Very well… I need to burn off some steam anyway… And I doubt you will leave until I agree."

"Great! I'll see you downstairs." He tells him as he ran down the stairs.

"…It's at least better than staying in my room all day…" He muttered as he took his clothes and went to the bathroom. After finding out about the CCTV system, he refuses to change in his room at all in fear of being filmed by people.

He changed into a more sports-like attire, white sweatshirt with grey shorts and meet Akihiko downstairs, him in a similar attire as they ran out of the dorm.

Tsukiyo could manage to keep up Akihiko all the way in the jog, almost falling behind which prompts his friend to slow down for him a few times. They took a break at a park on Tatsumi Port Island, the ex-Kendo member tossing a bottle of water to the boxer who catches it and opening the drink.

"It's been a while I've jog around like this…" Tsukiyo panted as he opens his bottle.

"You need to exercise more, Tsukiyo." Akihiko chuckled.

"Yeah, yeah…" He muttered as he drank his bottled water.

The boxer stood up from the bench, "You know, Shinji texted me last night."

"Hm? Shinjirou did?" Tsukiyo asked, "About what?"

"About you, apparently…" He stated, "He stated something about you almost getting in a fight, and want me to help you with something…"

"…Is that why you asked me out for a jog?" His friend asked.

"Think of it more like bonding between men." Akihiko said, "Sure we're not close friends, but we know each other for the past three years. And we're part of the sports group at one point."

"That's true…" He muttered.

"You know… Shinji mentioned something about your anger." The boxer stated.

"Ah yeah, that was a thing." Tsukiyo muttered, "But you guys have probably read through my files before you came to recruit me, right?"

"Nothing get by you, huh?" Akihiko chuckled, "Yeah, we read it. We know about your anger management issues."

"Then you also know why I transferred here in the first place." He stated as he stood up, "…Last night, I nearly walked down that path again. I've almost return to what I wanted to avoid becoming…"

"But you stopped, didn't you?" The boxer added, "If what the files says are true, that mean you didn't went back. You're not what that thing in the files says you are!"

"I lost my temper when he punched me." Tsukiyo muttered, "I even broke his nose…"

"Anyone will!" Akihiko cried.

"Then I threatened to hurt everyone there with a pipe!" He shouted, "That's something a gang member would do!"

"That does not mean…!"

"I WAS WILLING TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYONE!" The ex-kendo member shouted back at him, huffing and panting a little. The boxer looked at him startled, his friend sighed as he sat down on the bench with his face on his hands, "I'm… really sorry… it's just…"

"You have a lot in your mind, huh?" Akihiko asked, he nodded in response, "Tsukiyo, you remember what you told me the first day of the semester? That's the same for me as well. If you ever need help, or someone to lean on, you can look for me. I doubt Mitsuru is capable of lending a shoulder to anyone."

"…Thanks."

After their run, they went back to the dorm.


The next day, Tsukiyo received a text from Mitsuru, telling him to meet her at the student council's room. Arriving at the appointed location, the red-haired student council president is there. "Ah, you made it, Tsukiyo." She greeted.

"So let me guess, you're going to grill Ekoda for answers." He stated.

"Exactly." She nodded, "If there is one person who knows about Fuuka Yamagishi's disappearance, it has to be her homeroom teacher, Mr. Ekoda."

"…No, there's one more." He pointed out to her, "Her classmate, Natsuki Moriyama. She's part of the group that harassed Fuuka since the start of the term, the same group of girls that landed in the hospital over the past week."

"You think she might know the reason?" Mitsuru asked.

"Not completely, but we could use her to get answers out of Ekoda." He stated, "He was basically hiding the fact that Fuuka was missing this whole time."

"I see. So I guess we better look for her." She pointed out.

"Indeed…" Tsukiyo nodded, "Let's start with her classroom, Class 2-E."

They made it to the classroom, Mitsuru entered and asked one of the students there for Natsuki, "Oh, Moriyama-san isn't here. Mr. Ekoda asked her to go with him after homeroom to the faculty office."

"What? Why?" She asked.

"I don't know. She didn't tell me."

"Mitsuru, let's head to the faculty office." Tsukiyo tells her, "This is what we need to corner Ekoda."

"Good idea." She nodded. They bid farewell to the student and took to the faculty office. Once they made it, they overhear Natsuki asking Ekoda about news on Fuuka, the man stated that there's none but assures her that they will keep looking and tells her not to say a word of this to anyone and the authorities.

"I was right… He is hiding the fact that Fuuka is missing…!" He stated.

"Indeed, leave the rest to me." She tells him, "I'll handle the questioning." He nodded and the two entered the room, "Mr. Ekoda, may I have a word with you?"

"O-Oh, then I-I shall…"

"Natsuki Moriyama, we wish to ask you as well." She added, startling the second-year student, prompting her to sit back down on the chair.

At this moment, the door opened once again, Yukari, Minako and Junpei walked into the office, "Oh, Mitsuru-senpai, Amagi-senpai." Yukari greeted, "Why are you here?"

"Same reason as you." Mitsuru tells her, "Mr. Ekoda, I'm here to ask you about a student named Fuuka Yamagishi."

"N-No!" Natsuki cried out, "I-I… never thought it'd turn out like this… Fuuka…"

"Wait, you're that girl…" Yukari pointed out.

"Who?" Minako asked.

"She's part of the group of girls I saw last week, the ones that are sent to the hospital." She explained.

"What did you do to Yamagishi?" Mitsuru asked.

"Hold on, Mitsuru. This isn't an interrogation." Ekoda tells her, before glaring at Tsukiyo a little, "Natsuki, you don't have to say anything if you don't want to. You wouldn't want to give her the wrong idea."

"But it's best to come clean." Tsukiyo interjected, "If you keep quiet, we won't be able to help you."

"Quiet, Tsukiyo! I'm still not happy with your interrogation of her last week!" The teacher stated firmly.

"F-Fuuka… she…" Natsuki muttered, "She always looked so frazzled whenever I gave her a hard time… then I realized… she's an honor student, but deep inside, she's just the same as us. I knew exactly which buttons to push…"

'Harassment…' Tsukiyo thought angrily.

"W-We were just messing with her that day too!" She cried out, "May 29th… we took Fuuka to the gym… and locked the door from the outside…"

"What?-! You locked her in?-!" Junpei cried out, Mitsuru putting a hand up gesturing him to control himself.

"That night, Maki returned to the school alone." Natsuki added, "She was afraid we'd get in trouble if Fuuka committed suicide."

"But she never returned, and was found next morning unconscious by the gate." Tsukiyo concluded.

"I-I went to the gym to let Fuuka out, but the door is still locked… So I opened it and went inside, but she wasn't there…" She continued, "We all freaked out! Starting that night, we all went out looking for her. But every night, another one of us went missing… and they each ended up like Maki!"

"I see…" Mitsuru muttered, "By the way, Mr. Ekoda… All this time, you've attributed Yamagishi's absences to 'illness'. But in reality, she was missing. You must have been aware of that. What was your intentions?"

"I was thinking of the students, of course." The teacher explained, "You children may not understand, but we have to consider the future of everyone affected."

"In other words, you chose not to do anything to save your own ass." Tsukiyo growled.

"Do not misinterpret my words!" Ekoda shouted, "I did it with their best interests in mind! I wouldn't want her records to be stained by something like this. Her parents agree!"

The senior glared at him turning to the teacher with fists clenched, "To protect your career, you are willing to sacrifice your students." He stated out, "This is more than just their reputation! One of them could actually be dead! If that happens, how are you going to answer for that?!"

"I don't think you have any right to say that, Tsukiyo Amagi." Ekoda stated, "Need I remind you of your records? Do wish to add insulting the teacher into it, do you?"

"Grr…" Tsukiyo growled, "If I could, I'll…"

"Tsukiyo, that's enough." Mitsuru stated out, "Mr. Ekoda, for failing your responsibilities as a member of the teaching staff, you will be punished."

"W-Wha- I-I was just…" The teacher stuttered out.

She then turned to Natsuki, "About your friends… did you notice anything unusual before the incidents? Anything at all?"

Natsuki thought for a moment, before realizing, "They all heard a voice… A creepy voice… Right before each of them went missing. They said it was calling their name."

"Oh, man…" Junpei muttered.

"Senpai, could it be…?-!" Yukari cried as the two seniors walked up to them to avoid getting heard by the teacher and Natsuki.

"It's them… no doubt about it." Mitsuru stated, "Until now, there was no way of knowing how or why some people are conscious during the Dark Hour… But it's the voice; it draws them in. It's not a random phenomenon. This whole thing has made me realize… they're clearly targeting humans. Shadows are the enemy of mankind."

"If considering the past incidents to mind…" Tsukiyo muttered, before turning to Natsuki, "Natsuki, you better stay in our dorm tonight. It's the safest place."

"I agree." Mitsuru nodded, "If you hear the voice, tells us immediately. And don't leave the room, no matter what. If you can do that much, you should be okay."

"W-What about…"

"Leave Fuuka to us." He assures her, "Don't worry, she'll be alright. We'll make certain of that."

The girl nodded, "Fuuka…"

"Arisato. Iori and Takeba too." Mitsuru stated out, "We'll meet after school in the student council room to discuss tonight's operation."

"T-Tonight?-!" Junpei cried.

"We're going to rescue Yamagishi. If my guess is right, she's still in the school." She explained.

"U-Understood!" Yukari nodded.


After school ended, all the active members of SEES gathered at the student council room to await their briefing. Every one of them has a stern face, "Tonight, we will infiltrate the campus." Mitsuru explains to them, "Our objective is to rescue Fuuka Yamagishi."

"Um… I don't get it. Is Fuuka inside the school somewhere?" Junpei asked.

"Think about it." Tsukiyo explained, "Ten days ago, Fuuka was locked in the gym by Natsuki Moriyama and her friends. The next morning, she was gone. In between the time frame, something happened to caused her to disappear from the school entirely."

"Something happened…?" Minako wonders.

Yukari wonders, "Well… at midnight, this place turns into…! You don't mean…!"

"Exactly." He nodded, "She probably wandered into Tartarus since that night."

"H-Hold on, that ten days ago!" Junpei stated out, "That would mean…"

"Not necessarily." Akihiko stated, "We can't just to conclusions. Tartarus only appeared during the Dark Hour. So, what about the rest of the day?"

"Now that you mention it…" Yukari muttered.

"This is only a theory, but I think time may function differently with respect to Tartarus." Akihiko stated, "So, even though it's been ten days for us, perhaps only ten hours have passed for her. It's possible that she's alive."

"Wow, you think so?-!" Junpei cried, "Uh, but… the Dark Hour is pretty brutal… We barely handle an hour; how is she gonna last ten?-!"

"That's true…" Yukari agreed, "And, even if she is alive, we might not be able to get to her…"

"So you're going to let her die, is that it?-!" Tsukiyo cried out angrily, shocking those present, "I have a theory. If we use the gym, we can enter Tartarus the same way Fuuka did, probably close to where she is at. That's our best short in saving her."

"Is that even going to work…?" Yukari asked.

"Honestly, I have my reservations." Mitsuru stated, "If something goes wrong, you could all end up lost in Tartarus too. But…"

"If there's a small chance that we could save her, I'm taking it." Tsukiyo stated firmly, "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I let her die without at least tried to save her…"

"…I'm with Tsukiyo on this." Akihiko stated, "I'd never forgive myself if we didn't try."

"Senpai…?" Yukari was stunned by how determined her two seniors are.

"…Alright." Mitsuru sighed, "We're aware of the risks, but we can't just leave her there."

"I agree." The archer nodded, "And we won't know until we try."

"Cool! We get to sneak into the school!" Junpei cheered, "Heheh… In that case, I know just what to do~"

"Huh…?"

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