GYM: The Graveyard Shift
Click to go to bottom
[The sound of a vacuum reverberates through the empty GYM as glimpses of Kalib can be seen cleaning the staff room. Cleaning supplies are sprawled out atop the counter, allowing him to fetch tools with relative ease. The sign on the door is flipped to close, yet the door was unlocked and the lights were all on. The vacuum stops.]
"Whew! Geez this place gets dusty real quick."
[Wiping a bead of sweat from his cheek, he walks out to the counter and basks in the silence. His face remains still as he loses himself in thought.]
The first to arrive would be Alice, her persona touching down in front of the gyms as she hopped off of it and hurried over to the doors in order to open them. Her persona would manage to fit through the doorway, Lowe still in its arms, as Alice followed it inside and went up to the counter.
Kalib! Oh thank goodness you're here, get me some water or something! Also some weirdo is following me and I don't know what he wants!
Getting her words out as fast as she can, she'd find a chair, a couch, whatever she can so that Lowe can be set down upon it. If there was no such commodity she'd simply have Seraph set the boy down on the counter Kalib had been standing at.
Bumping open the door, Emerson pokes his head into GYM, looking around the room, before setting his eyes on Kalib at the counter. He smiles before he brings himself inside and takes a seat.
Yo, Kalib, how goes?
*Aki enters the gym, holding a water bottle and
Been a while since I've been here...
It changed a lot.
A man in red walks up to the door, he'd stare at like it's some snake waiting to bite him at any moment... Some foul horror from beyond the grave that wants him dead, Hitler himself once again brought back from the dead. He stares as though his life could end if he chooses wrong, to enter or leave... Upon seeing others walk in, he'd decide to follow after them. A look of shock crossing his face as he sees Alice carrying Lowe, what in the fuck happened?
"Okay, I come by to see about some business, and suddenly you're dragging Lowe around, being followed by somebody, and Em's here which is really rare these days. What is even going on tonight?"
He looks around curiously, any lightness his voice might normally carry gone. His usual slightly mocking demeanor replaced with an entirely serious one... Geez, what a night to be out and about.
Eito comes in from upstairs, carrying a cardboard box. He is visibly excited.
He sits down next to Kalib, waving at those entering and starts opening the box with one of his knives.
His excitment lessens upon Alice's request.
He turns to look at Kalib.
"What am I supposed to do in this situation?"
(edited by Eito)
Nago shortly follows after Alice, his expression grim. He surveys the area for Lowe and Alice, and shortly finds them. He rushes over, and reaches into his rucksack, pulling out a cloth, and a canteen.
"You should have waited when I asked, his condition is unstable to say the least. He needed emergency treatment long before we arrived here."
He pours the water in the canteen onto the cloth, and holds said cloth to Lowe's forehead.
"A-Ah! On it!"
Startled by the sudden appearance of the trio, and moreso Lowe's condition, Kalib hurries to fetch a few bottles of water as Seraph sets Lowe on the couch in the lounge. He returns to the pair with the water before noticing Em.
"Um...well Em is pretty weird..."
He turns to Em with a sigh.
"Don't stalk people. It's creepy. Also hello."
With that resolved Kalib turns back to see Lowe's condition.
"The hell happened?"
*suddenly appears with a toaster in her hands*
Wow, fucking time machine. Oh hey GYM. Meh, I need to try out some new moves I made up a few days ago.
Ah, you came here? I suppose that makes sense.
FH would emerge from the dark, wispy portal he seemed to be able to create, and stops at the couch. He's standing up this time, and notably holding the little strand of cloth Lowe always wore on his arm before fights.
Do not waste our time nor your energy with healing him. You've been carrying a corpse all this time. All I did was repair it. Without this, the boy is as dead as can be.
He straightens his tie, looking at the crowd that had gathered.
...I believe I owe you lot an explanation, no?
"I-I don't even know! When I arrived he was fighting someone a-and then he died but he's not dead and then he- Gah, I don't know!"
Alice is in somewhat of a tizzy considering the condition her friend is in. She had no reason to trust Nago but once she saw him doing something somewhat helpful she decided he was only trying to help and let him do his thing. She was hoping, more than anything, that Lowe would wake up as that'd be all the reassurance she'd need but that might be a while off for all she knew.
If I hadn't gotten lost like a moron maybe I could've helped him... Sir you were there, who even were those people?
She directed her question to Nago. Considering how close he was to the action she figured he might at least know something she didn't, maybe even give a description of the man that had done the execution.
A man with dark black hair and pale skin would slowly open the door before walking into the GYM. His eyes would be a deep shade of red with the outermost pupils being like gears slowly turning. He wore a green coat with shiny metal armor underneath, the color of copper. Finally in his hand was a staff with the blade of the sickle on the end.
"I felt something pestering the flow of time here. Has someone been messing with that which I hold so dear? I may have to erase them if that's the case. Can't have an inconsistencies..."
I have done no such thing, you can't prove it, nope.
*Suddenly disappears in a puff of smoke*
Nago's brow furls into a concentrated state as he tends to the boy.
"I was there. I do not know the people. There were three present. One wielding an axe, another pretending to be innocent, and the last standing over this man's corpse. By all counts he should be dead. That man, the one with the cloth. He repaired this boy's body. If it is as he says, it is not his life that has been returned."
Em raises an eyebrow before noticing Lowe and his poor condition. He walks over, hovering around as people try to help the boy.
That's... Lowe? I've heard the name flying around generally, I don't remember if we've met...
He looks around, before stepping back from the group. He looks over at FH.
A corpse... That explains the lack of power I feel.
And yeah, seems to me you definitely owe a few people an explanation.
*Aki gets at the side to some machines and starts training*
Guess they have better things to do, I'll just watch for now what is happening.
Eito shimmies over to Kalib, whispering to him.
"Sensei, I wasn't exactly tought how to deal with corpses..."
"What do we do?"
"Oh right, condition! Uh, I can help with that, so don't worry too much guys..."
He trails off upon seeing FH, fucker feels like some kinda god or something. Oh well, that makes so much sense, the frigging cloth is what keeps him alive of course.
"Alright then Mr god or something that seems like one, I'm quite curious how all this works. And about what the hell has been happening, anyways..."
He'd stare at FH, piercing eyes dancing with a burning flame as he speaks.
"I'm guessing he won't be dead much longer right? For some reason, I have this feeling you're here to remedy that.''
*Wakui, walked into the GYM. He ignored everyone and goes to the punch bags to begin his training himself*
The man would opt to leave seeing as his work here was done. He would simply walk out the door seeing no need for teleportation when there's a goddamn door.
*suddenly appears again in a puff of smoke*
Wait a minute...this is a space machine? Since when!? Which means...this isn't my Nexus...huh...oh well, I'm sure not much has changed here. Still, fucking time machine is suddenly a space machine? Did Marisa do something? Meh, whatever. So long as I get some training done, I'm good.
*Star proceeds to go left weights...for some reason...*
Well, where to begin? I suppose I should start with his condition. This boy was murdered. By a shadow, created in his image.
He would point at Tatsuya as he spoke.
Thank The Crawling Chaos for that much. However, this is not the first time the boy has met his end. The first, was quite some time ago. In truth, this boy is from another reality. One far off from this one. His old name and life are...irrelevant. What is relevant, is that he lost his parents to a locomotive accident, and he perished in the same way. He was revived, and brought into this reality by my master. His reasoning...is part of who he is.
He is an entity similar to Nyx, though astronomically more powerful. You may call him Phobos, the God of Fear. Though, it would be more accurate to say he is the very concept of fear given form. Though, he cannot directly interfere with this mortal plane. It is similar to asking any of you to directly influence the cells making up this floor. Asking you to become a one-dimensional being. Simply put, impossible. As such, I am his hand. Given form in this world, I took the name F.H. I based it on a novel I read long ago, since I was never given a true title or name. I carry out his will, furthering his goal. That goal, is to force humanity to experience as much fear as possible, and eventually aid them in overcoming it, and growing.
You see, Phobos is enamored with humanity. While the greatest producers of fear, they are also capable of the most growth thanks to that fear. We want to see humanity face what scares them, and overcome it. We brought this boy, who met his end cruelly, to a world full of magic and wonder he had never witnessed. We gave him a new identity, a new name...unfortunately a result of Phobos' twisted sense of humor. We gave him a way to combat his fear, utilizing what scared him the most as a weapon.
He holds up the black cloth, the trigger for Lowe's power.
We...uncreatively dubbed this The Black Band. It allows the boy to use his single greatest fear, the thing that took his life, as a weapon. It pains him to activate, which makes him fearful of combat. Yet every time, he overcomes that fear and fights. Whether for sport, or those he cares about. He always desires to move forward. This was the best outcome we could have hoped for. All of this effort, this revival of a random child, is to see how humanity truly can overcome their fear. His death...is something we cannot allow right now. He is close to reaching his peak, and when he reaches that point, his fate will be his to decide. As such, I, and Phobos wish to see him live again.
Nago nods silently.
"This 'God's' wish is to strengthen humanity through their own fears? While not unfounded in logic... such a method seems... forced. If you will. I will not pass my judgement as to whether these actions hold merit, but you intend to save this boy from death yes? If so, I shall not impede your efforts, but I shall take it upon myself to protect him. Fear alone shall not take humanity's reins."
Alice looked to Tatsuya as FH pointed him out. She had fought alongside Tatsuya before and seemed to at least have somewhat of an understanding of shadows but even then she still gave Tatsuya a look of distrust. She might know better that he wouldn't have really had a hand in it, especially since Lowe had expressed a fondness for him, but the idea of a Shadow Tatsuya triggered her. Of course, as FH went on, her thoughts became more focused on Lowe as she looked down at him from above. She had been standing over him and beginning to frown as his backstory was given as well as his purpose.
"What a terrible fate... I don't think anything that has or even could happen to me can rival that. I guess I should be thankful someone like you watches over him. Something akin to a guardian angel I guess."
Continuing to silently reflect, it wouldn't be until she took her eyes off Lowe and placed them upon FH that a heavy question popped into her head.
"Does he know about this? About you and Phobos and everything that happened to him before?"
Flames dance around the man, the air itself heating up as he clenches his fists and glares up at the roof of the GYM, Crawling Chaos again? Tch, what a pain in the ass... And which part of that idiot was it this time?
"Nyarly's doing something huh? What exactly are we dealing with this time, a shadow? A Persona-user perhaps... Gah, whatever the case I'll put an end to it sometime that's sure."
That done, he'd simply listen to the rest of this little speech... A god huh? Well, as long as he's not out harming people or something... Geez, what kinda god has nothing better to do than this crap? Well, means he's likely not doing too much either.
"That's... Quite the tale, even I find this a bit strange, and that's saying quite a lot in my case honestly... And I'm inclined to agree with, wait who are you are? Tatsuya Suou myself, and we haven't met."
He'd look at Nago, the man raises good points... Forced, is a good way of putting it. But, what's this guy's deal anyway? And then there's Alice, why's she looking at him like... Is that it? Come the hell on, would there really be another one of those stupid things? He'd look at her, his eyebrows raised to express curiosity.
"Judging from the look on your face, I can take a guess as to what did this. Me, in a sense yeah? Wouldn't be the first time that bastard made a Shadow outta me, and don't get us mixed up. Those things aren't like the TV's Shadows, they're inversions mixed in with all the world's evil, pure darkness is a good chunk of what makes such things who they are. If my guess is right anyway."
(edited by Tatsuya)
A shadow made by Nyarly... been a while since I've seen one of those. That said, that was before they were... properly made.
He glances at Tatsuya, his attention then shifting to FH.
All right then, "Effayche", what's the point of telling us this. You could've easily revived the kid and left by now, but you haven't. Is this just for dramatic effect, or is there more to this than you're telling us?
He sighs, leaning over onto a wall, and beginning to spin a small ball of light which appears on his palm.
On another note, I agree with the whole, "growth by fear," thing. While reviving the kid like that's a bit... questionable, definitely see where he, er, you're coming from. Fear drives a lot of us... and if we can overcome it, we grow.
Although, the lack of overcoming it... it could easily drive someone into despair, if not death. This is certainly a risky tactic, Phobos.
FH sighed, deciding to take each concern one at a time before continuing.
Well, he is more specifically made from the soul of another you, Tatsuya Suou. The one who wore the sunglasses often. The one who met his end at your blade.
No, the boy has no knowledge of his past. Not his parents, his name, nor his original death. We gave him an entirely new identity, and gave him some inkling of false memories. That part was done by an ally, actually. Either way, he doesn't have complete memories. Enough to never even think about it himself, but if you were to ask about his past in detail, he would likely draw blanks. The ultimate goal is for him to be informed by me once he has experienced enough growth, what he wants to do from there is on him.
We are well aware of the risks of this plan, but to see how humanity can further grow, and to see how each individual reacts to and eventually conquers their fear, it is a risk worth taking. If the boy were to give in to despair, then he would be a failure, and we would simply move on to the next subject.
I do not claim Phobos to be a benevolent entity. Sometimes, you humans need a push. He, and by extension I, do what what we see fit to achieve our goal. Nothing more. We must incite fear for you to overcome it, and to maintain our power. Have you ever noticed how those without the potential can interact with and even directly influence Personas? Phobos. This action took quite a lot of effort, but it worked exactly how we wanted. The regular humans in this reality fear those of you with power. The more fear humanity holds, the more power Phobos and I possess. He normally isn't strong enough to incite a change like this, but the presence of a very particular annoying goddess has given both he and I immense power.
I am far from kind either. In fact, were it not for my own desire to see this through to the end, this boy would still be a headless corpse. My motives do not matter, only what happens now. I'm only informing you all of this in the hopes you'll pass it along to him. If he learns that he may very well gain what he never knew he was missing, then he'll be more likely to pursue the goal we have set for him. In this case, the overcoming of his fear. The fear of locomotive trains, the fear of being worthless, and now most recently, the fear of those he loves perishing.
He'd been referring to Alice with that last bit.
In his final moments, he feared not for his own life, but yours. Human relations give you all more to fear, but also the means to overcome even greater fears. It's a lovely thing, human friendship.
He holds the band over Lowe, before it suddenly snaps into place coiled around his arm, and tightens around it.
The scars on his arm are all that remain of his old life. In time, he will learn the significance of those scars. That comes later though, for now he should rest. With the band returned, he should awaken if given time.
(edited by -F-H-)
Tatsuya stares at the man... Danksuya's soul huh, Christ that death is just one grand fuck up, but there are no words to be said, only a frown on his face as he Silently takes things in. right up until he reaches the bit about Personas interacting with normies, Tatsuya would feel the need to chime in at that point. Looking rather puzzled by this news.
"Hasn't that always been the case? A friend of mine used to use his in frigging schoolyard brawls back in the day... Geez, are these new kids who don't know Philemon so weak they can't even call their power up without some altered reality around them or something?"
That sounds wrong, but he's not sure how newer Persona users work really. Until coming to this madhouse where things shift like water, he'd never known any. For now, he just raises a hand to his chin curiously, he'd wait until FH finishes up his little speech, before finally deciding to add in a few words of his own.
"I'm rather inclined to think this idea's a bit mad. But, I can't say it's entirely without merit, and I won't interfere with your little test... As for fearing over the lives of others, of course he did, not like worrying about your own life gets ya anywhere... A lovely thing indeed, now I guess that I'll try some healing if only to see what it does."
Light bursts around him, a tall featureless figure made from light takes shape behind Tatsuya.
Waves of healing magic would rush from the thing into Lowe, Tatsuya himself just watching curiously as the Salvation does its job. Finally, Hyperion would vanish once again as he leans on a wall with his hands in his pockets, casually looking around the room. He'd speak a bit louder this time, making sure everyone in the room can hear him as he glances about at them.
"So, I guess I'm curious if anyone has questions for me either... That Shadow may have been made from the other me, but I doubt Nyarly left out my memory either. If you want to hear about the first Shadow he made from me, or what I think this one will do? Now's the time to ask."
He taps his foot at Tatsuya's response.
Personas, and magic in general is a fickle matter. The same kind of ability can differ greatly depending on the reality it originates from. For example, I doubt you've ever had experience with your own Persona attacking you. To make the short of it, some variations of your ability require special conditions to even be invoked, and even then those without the potential to wield it themselves simply can't comprehend the existence of it. Phobos undid this restriction in this reality, what you all dubbed a "Nexus", if I recall correctly. Even with your experience, do not consider yourself a true expert, Tatsuya Suou.
FH reached into the inner pocket of his jacket, producing a cigarette and lighting it simply by flicking it in his hand.
On that note, the creature wished to be called your surname. I would advise avoiding using it for the time being, despite the obvious difference in your age, he is still you to an extent. Be wary that his actions do not fall back onto you. Though, truthfully...
He puffed out a bit of smoke, it was unnaturally black in color, and formed a skull-like shape entirely on its own.
...I don't much care what becomes of that. If I did, I likely could have taken the creature myself. It is mighty indeed, and were it not for the appearance of the aforementioned goddess, it would likely outclass me in power; but as it stands he is no direct threat to Phobos' plans, nor my own so long as the boy stays away from him. Though, knowing him, I imagine he'll go right for that thing, requesting a rematch.
(edited by -F-H-)
Tatsuya shrugs. He's well aware of not knowing everything and given what he does know and the things he's dug up about their methods of gaining power? It actually makes sense how these things vary, and it's also true that anybody with just one didn't gain it from a god... Bah, he's getting off topic.
"Yeah, the shadow is quite powerful I'm sure... But let's not focus on that too much. Nor on the details of magic, we've both got bigger issues right?"
At that statement, he'd look over toward Lowe.
"Speaking of rematches? You do know that if our new "friend" is in good old Nyarly's world... You won't be able to bring him back if he loses again, not unless a war with Crawling Chaos sounds fun. If so, by all means, please start it, I'm happy for anyone to piss that bastard off."
He'd then pause, flicking his lighter and watching the flames burn upward.
"That being said, either way, I'd prefer he doesn't die again wouldn't you? So, I'm assuming you don't want him seeing you... In which case, you should leave. I'd like to chat with Lowe about that Shadow, and some... Other issues I'd guess he'll have."
Tatsuya trails off at that, snapping his lighter closed and storing it away as he stares at the young man. Dying is something he's never done, but he can't imagine it'll have left the guy overly willing to get up and fight again... Best to try and help out there, he may not have died. But he does know a thing or two about everything going to hell.
He nodded at Tatsuya's observation.
Right you are. Though, I don't believe Phobos would take kindly to me intervening again anyhow. It took quite a lot of convincing on my end to give the boy this next chance. I do hope he won't waste it.
He stashed his hands in his pockets, walking a bit away from the group, before turning his had back one last time.
I leave him in your care. I do hope he doesn't perish again. Good day.
...and with that, there was nothing.
...Almost as soon as FH departed, Lowe had begun to stir. The healing from Tatsuya had a hand in it, but the band that gave him both power and life had been returned. He woke slowly, sitting up steadily, and not fully standing up yet.
...Ugh, my head. W-what the hell happened?
He looked around the room at the familiar faces surrounding him.
A-Alice? Are you okay, that b-bastard didn't get to you did he?...Kalib, Tatsuya, you guys are here too?
He didn't really recognize anyone else, but acknowledged mentally that they were indeed there.
...Guess I got my clock cleaned, huh? Musta' lost consciousness at some point during the beating he gave me, ugh.
The boy rubbed his head, his memories obviously fuzzy.
Tatsuya begins to correct Lowe, only to realize that he doesn't really need to... After all, the kid is still well aware that he lost, the level at which he did so doesn't matter quite as much.
"Yeah, something like that pal... So, from the looks of it, you feel awful right?"
Tatsu sighs, how to go about this subject when Lowe isn't entirely aware what happened... He needs to know how the other one is fighting if he's going to offer any useful advice.
"Alright, this might be a bit much... But what can you tell me about "Suou"? He's a shadow, no doubt made by Nyarly, but how's he fighting?"
He'd then pause, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly and looking less serious for a moment.
"And uh, I'm not the best at that kinda stuff, but if you wanna talk about anything then I'll listen...''
Suou...? Oh, right...that other you.
He was trying to speak slowly, his head was throbbing.
He...claimed to be tougher than you. Don't know how accurate that is, since I've never fought you at your best. He's...a tricky bastard. He had that placed rigged from top to bottom with traps. He was...visceral in how he fought. Took pleasure in ripping things outta ya.
He lurched forward, his headache getting the better of him.
Ugh, that's...all I got. Sorry. W-what about you guys? What's with the funny looks?
Visceral... Traps. That's Tatsuya, all things considered, it seems like he's pretty much fighting the same way as the real deal.
"That is, grossly akin to my own style when I truly want somebody dead. I don't really like doing that, unlike this one. But beyond that... Tricky as hell and visceral is a pretty good sum up of my own style.
He then grimaces at that question... Jesus Christ, fine he might as well tell the damned truth despite his brain, he's honest at heart anyway.
"Lowe... How do I say this, um..."
He's actually struggling for once, the normally calm and unflappable Tatsuya, rubbing the back of his neck and stalling to evade speaking.
"To say it gently? You uh, were dead for a bit there pal... Nobody else got hurt though, so that's good right?"
The forced smile on his face is a transparent attempt to cheer Lowe up, hopefully, it does something regardless.
Alice had been present for the exchange between FH and Tatsuya but she was concerned less about the technicalities than about Lowe's well-being. She was thankful for the recovery Tatsuya provided but was still somewhat worried as even that didn't seem to stir him. Finally though, Lowe would awaken and Alice would smile. She was short of words for a while until Tatsuya came off as blunt as ever.
"Couldn't have said it better myself Tatsuya... really. I didn't really see what happened during the fight but I arrived for the... well, finale. It was terrifying at first but something happened and I was able to bring you here in one piece."
The fact that she doesn't specify the intervention from FH means she might not know whether or not it'd be best to tell Lowe. At the very least, it'd be a good idea to make sure his head stays on his shoulders for a little while before dropping the deep stuff.
Lowe stayed quiet for a moment, before looking at the pair with confusion in his eyes.
He looked like he wanted to contest it. He was alive after all. His hands twitched. His mouth went open, then closed. His mind was saying that was stupid, he was alive after all. There was a nagging in the back of his head though. Something yelling at him. Almost instinctively, he reached behind him, and placed a hand on the back of his neck. Nothing. That wasn't enough though, so he took out his phone. He brought it up to about eye level, using the screen to get a look at the back of his neck. While the front was good as new, the presence of a new black scar on the back of his neck, roughly the width and length of one finger was concerning. Lowe dropped the device, his eyes going wide. He lurched forward again, his blood running cold. They were right. He HAD died. He had been murdered in cold blood.
...How? How am I...?
The pain came rushing back to him, tears welling up in the corner of the boy's eyes. He looked at the group, his emotions getting the better of him as the volume of his voice raised.
(edited by LoweComotive)
Tatsuya sighs... He expected this to be the reaction, but jeez what can he do... Gah, this is weird.
But he'd walk up to the boy, offering him... [i]A hug, much to Tatsu's feeling of strangeness, but he'll do it regardless.[/i]
"I don't have all the deta- no, I can't give them all right now, not sure if it's a good idea. But somebody brought you back, and he said it won't happen again, Lowe. You are lucky beyond all belief at the moment..."
Luck indeed, what even is there to say after this? To just shrug it off and keep going? Hah, unlikely at best.
"I can't say I've died, but I can say that shit's gone wrong before... If I had to guess, you're feeling kinda like the world is crashing down yeah?"
"Uhm, Lowe? Are you alright?"
Alice wasn't quite sure what she was expecting but his behavior was worrying her a little. Once he started to lose it she'd frown once again. She wasn't quite sure how to approach him now but still tried her best with words.
"C-calm down you're okay now! I know it must be scary and weird that you don't even remember it but we won't let it happen again, I promise! It still stings that I couldn't save you the first time but... I'll be your guardian angel from now on."
In an attempt at reassurance, she'd place her hand on Lowe's shoulder. She didn't want to push her luck too much but she did feel a little silly once Tatsuya came right up and hugged the kid... as well as maybe a little something more. Perhaps jealousy would be the right word for it.
Lowe stayed silent through the pair's acts of comfort, he didn't have anything to say. It wasn't until something Tatsuya said fully resonated with him that he'd snap.
...What? What the hell do you mean?
He stood quickly, grabbing the older man by his collar and glaring at him with widened eyes.
WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T GIVE ME THE DETAILS?! I DIED! AREN'T I OWED SOMETHING?!
He'd quickly let go, his anger getting the better of him as he drove a punch into the wall behind him.
What the hell's all of this even been for? All this work, improvement, all of this effort to try and become a better fighter, a better person. WHAT THE HELL'S THE POINT?!
He punched the wall again, and a third time, then a fourth.
SO I CAN DIE JUST LIKE THAT?! SO ALL THAT EFFORT CAN GO TO WASTE?!
His knuckles were bleeding by this point, and the boy dropped to his knees.
...I knew all that effort was wasted on me. I...I knew I'd fuck it up when it mattered the most. Sounds about right for me.
Tatsuya doesn't react, despite his instincts telling him to knock the boy right down to the ground. He'd simply allow the young man to rant. He'd speak up, calm and collected once more...
This he's more prepared for honesty.
"Yeah, I think so too... Vaguely put, some "God of Fear" calling himself Phobos did it, or his agent anyways. I can't say why he's interested in you, but he is. The reasoning of such beings is beyond me, but he seems non-harmful."
Finally, he'd watch the blows slamming into walls... Go to waste? What the hell kinda crap has he been smoking anyways? Tatsuya's eyes burn with fire, the man walking closer to his sorta student and glaring a bit.
"Is that what you think? That it's all for nothing... Guess what Lowe, people fucking die, once upon a time I saw Maya Amano get cut down by a spear through the heart because we all let our guard down for five fucking seconds. Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey, all know that it shall come... But even if life must end in death, to live without hope is pointless, only then shall a life be remembered, spoken of fondly by those still alive."
Tatsuya sighs for a moment, reaching down and pulling Lowe up from the ground. If looks could kill, Lowe would be dead all over again.
"Don't give me some crap about being useless or fucking it all up. Even I can die just like that, one bullet in the right spot is all it takes... The shit we deal with isn't easy, and it's sure as hell not safe."
Tatsuya walks over to a ring, his eyes now burning in the literal sense, fire dancing all around the man as he looks over at Lowe.
"Effort is never wasted, so long as one is willing to put it in then they can always grow. Something like what you fought? If he's as strong as he says, and I don't think he was lying... No one person could kill that, not without being far stronger than people like me, or Kazuya, or anyone else we know. But enough talk, come and show me how much you really have improved, then we'll see "wasted" that effort was!"
It's clear from his tone and the way he's reaching up to his blade, the man's pretty unwilling to take no for an answer... He's got something to prove here, after all, there'll be no holding back this time around.
Upon seeing that Lowe was getting a bit more physical, Alice would stand and back away from the two of them. She had no intention of catching a stray blow should it come to that, luckily it didn't. It was disheartening to watch her friend go such a traumatic time but she trusted what Tatsuya had to say. That is, until he mentioned Phobos.
"Tatsuya don't bring that up! I'm sure they kept this all a secret for a reason, it'd be best if it stays as such for now."
She was urged to approach Lowe when he fell to his knees, wanting to remind him that she is still there and is still caring, but by the time she stepped forth he was already, presumably, back on his feet thanks to Tatsuya's efforts.
"I uhm... don't really have the same experiences with death as Tatsuya but your efforts are never in vain when put forth for others, making whether you live or die irrelevant! That is why you try so hard, isn't it? I thought it was at least."
Obviously being helpful is much harder than it seems as Alice just sounds like a walking ball of cheese at this point. She'd rub the back of her head nervously, hoping Lowe's response would be somewhat reassuring that her own efforts weren't in vain. Once Tatsuya walked over to the ring, however, she'd chime right in again.
"Aw come on you're going to have him fight at a time like this? He just woke up after having been brought back from death, give him a break."
Lowe watched as Tatsuya waltzed into the arena. Never a slow moment for that guy. Still, they were both right. He couldn't help but smirk a bit in spite of the situation. He pushed off of his knee, and looked out at Tatsuya.
Nah Alice, it's fine. I should rap him in the jaw for that speech anyway. I swear, it's like you pulled that from a book or something.
He glanced back at the obviously nervous Alice, and took a step toward her.
You guys are both right, no sense beating myself up now. I try so hard not just for me, but to protect the people I care about. People like Tatsu, and Kalib, and you.
At that, he'd pull the shorter girl in for a hug, rubbing his non-injured hand on her head.
Sorry to make you see all that. I can't imagine what it was like, I'm sure you were scared too. I won't be so pathetic next time as to let that happen again.
He let the girl go, and stepped toward the arena.
With that, he grabbed the railing and lept over it, now in the arena proper and staring his mentor and closest thing to a father figure he had here in the face.
I hope you don't plan on pulling your punches. Just seeing your face, it reminds me of that guy a bit. Pisses me off. Could be cathartic to smack you around for a change.
Pulled from a book... Hey, he'll have you know that he actually came up with that bastard on the spot... He thinks. Either way, he smirks at the boy.
"Such meanness, I worked on that for uh, a few minutes before I started talking ya know!"
As Lowe steps in however, his face goes a bit serious again. Like he said, no playing around this time.
"No. That wasn't the idea here... But don't expect me to get knocked around too bad, that bastard may well be stronger. But I'm no pushover!"
At that, Tatsuya rushes. As Lowe would note, he's not as fast as the other one... But he's still fast enough to be right by the boy in five seconds, his blade burning up with flames as the man stabs it at Lowe, the viciousness of his strike leaving it clear he's doing his best. Rather than simply stopping there, however he spins around with it in hand and sends a circle of fire rushing out from his position.
"I wonder how I compare, don't you? I can't deny that this is in some part, just me being curious!"
So you're just that cheesy on your own? Noted.
Lowe jumped out of the way of the lunge to his left, and had to put his hands up in a cross shape in front of himself to eat the fire attack. He cringed a bit at the pain, but he was still on his feet.
Alright then, let's do th-
Lowe places his teeth on the buckle as usual, but he found himself hesitating to yank it off. Something about this atmosphere, the fight, it terrified him. He just couldn't do it. The initial pain from activating his powers, the ability to control his own fear, it wasn't able to manifest. Above the arena, visible only to those who looked for him, a man sat with his legs crossed, in an ornate silver chair watching the events unfold.
Tatsuya just stares for a moment... He'll have to say something, but he's not going to let up now,
not after promising to get serious.
"I suggest focusing Lowe. I won't hurt you too much, but this fight isn't ending till somebody wins... Now, seeing as how you've done nothing, I guess I'm still very much in control of this one yes? I should keep it that way, Hyperion."
The towering figure of light forms behind him, waving its hands over Tatsuya as a glow engulfs the man, Heat Riser kicks in and the summoner grins to himself. He'd move faster now of course,
and quickly stow his blade for a moment, instead a pair of gauntlets forms form hardlight and he aims a quick jab to Lowe's face, striking from the left side. Before following up by delivering a low kick at the right foot, aiming to set Lowe off balance.
"I know you're better than your fears, the real question is... Do you know that?"
Lowe was knocked to his stomach by the series of blows, and gritted his teeth.
My fears, huh?
He struggled to his feet, and looked Tatsuya square in the face.
Before, the way I fought was by forgetting fear. Casting it aside and pretending it wasn't there; but is that really the way to do it?
He looked at his banded arm, before clenching it into a fist and aiming a hook for Tatsuya's face.
It's not a bad punch, he's putting in a bit of effort to block... But given how much faster than normal he is, the man still blocks easy enough. Lowe's fist slamming into the armored right hand of his foe.
"So that's what you did huh? No, that's not the way to do things..."
Tatsu attempts to press his palms into Lowe's chest. And the gauntlets quickly break apart into a pair of energy blasts, he then smirks at the boy and crosses his arms, a stone cold expression spreading across the man's face.
"Fears are there for a reason Lowe, and it ain't about being able to act like you've got none or something... Nah, nah, it's about being able to look those fuckers dead in the eye, be scared as hell. And still keep going anyways, because just ignoring it? That only makes it worse when you inevitably have to face them."
Lowe was sent spiraling backwards, rolling along the ground before skidding to a stop. He struggled to stand yet again, and looked down at his arm.
...You're right. Pretending my fears aren't there, saying they're conquered and acting tough, all that's doing is running away. To be really tough...
He grabs onto it again, this time the actual cloth itself, unraveling it from his arm. It stayed attached, but only by the bit clasped onto his arm by the metal buckle that it wrapped around. The cloth flowed freely off of his arm, still attached, still there, but not constricting him like before.
...to be really tough, you gotta move forward with them, hell, in spite of those fears.
He looked up at his opponent, and thrust an arm forward. This time, the familiar sound of a roaring train came out, and rushed toward Tatsuya, but it stopped. It came to a screeching halt right in front of him. Lowe smirked. For once, he was fully in control. There was more to this than show-boating though, as almost too quickly to see, a portal appeared just above where the first train had stopped, and another fired downward at Tatsuya, at an angle. Both would vanish immediately after.
Tatsuya smiles at his... Friend? Student? He's not really sure, probably a bit of both. either way,
he's glad to see the kid's starting to get it down.
"Now you're figuring it out! Alright then... I guess I'll show off some more too."
The man starts to reach down for his Evoker, only to see a train rushing straight toward him. He'd leap backward as Hyperion takes his place, quickly tossing up a wall of hardlight in the path of Lowe's attack. Tatsu would almost relax upon seeing it stop, but he's not foolhardy enough, instead, the second train slams into his Persona's shield, only being slowed down a good bit before smashing through and sending Hyperion flying backward.
"Phew, alright then... I can't keep this up for very long, but uh I've gotten a bit better at this little trick lately. Heh, I think it might be needed more than just showing off!"
He reaches down to his waist, a fake gun rushing to the man's head and the trigger reeling backward. Hyperion vanishes, two new figures taking its place. One is a large old man, white hair and beard can be seen on his face, and he's more muscle than anything else. Secondly, a man with purple skin and golden armor. An impressive looking spear is held in his hands as well.
"Dagda, Odin, let's go!"
Dagda thrusts his hands out, and a huge wave of water surges forth toward Lowe. Regardless of if it hit or not, the GYM's floor is now mostly covered in water... Something Odin quickly takes advantage of, he'd rush Lowe in a blur. Stabbing his spear down toward the boy's left knee in fact,
regardless of hitting though, he tries to keep going some more and make contact with the water on the floor. Lightning arcs from his hands and down through the weapon, it would then quickly spread through the water upon the floor and cover the ground in crackling arcs for a bit before being boiled away by the heat.
"I don't have a name for it, but that's a fusion spell I've worked out. Pretty simple, but hard to dodge no?"
Lowe jumps to his right, narrowly avoiding having his leg impaled, instead only cut along the front. The boy smirks, throwing a hand downward, and launching himself upward with a train. It stops mid-rise, hanging there like a platform. Something else it never did before now. The boy stands on top of it, looking down at the summoner and his Personas. He taps his foot on the metal vehicle, still smiling.
I don't know jack shit about spells, or Personas, or any of that stuff. I just smash things with trains, that's my lot in life. Still, all that time ago, you said I needed more strategy. Just chucking the things wasn't getting me too far. I never could make them stop though, much less control them well. I mostly flung them, and they'd stop whenever they felt like it; but would ya look at me now? Wonder what the sudden change is all about?
He held out one hand, small portals that usually signaled the launching of railroad spikes emerged around him, but they didn't stop there. At least fifty of these things spread outward along the arena, surrounding both combatants.
Well, whadda ya know, looks like dying gave me some new toys to play with. Or...maybe it was what happened after?
The portals would fire, one spike for each one, all at once and all converging right onto Tatsuya.
Tatsuya looks up at the boy, damn and here he was hoping to avoid resorting to anything too over the top... Well, he's got a little bit left before they break, no need to go all in just now. Odin flies upward, an electric bolt blasting from his left hand and rushing right at Lowe's train, hopefully, it would spread along the metal and rush upward into the boy.
"Yeah, that's a pretty impressive trick there... Heh, at this rate I might actually lose here ya know? But, don't count me out quite yet. I've got plenty more where that came from!"
True to his word, he'd pull out another trick this time. Dagda rushing to the man's side and raising both arms toward the sky, waves of water surge forth from him and form a large dome around the pair, the only dry bits being a small pocket inside it for Tatsuya to breath. A neat thing about water, it slows down projectiles greatly. A few would make it inside regardless, one even landing in Tatsuya's left arm and causing the man to groan as he pulls it out. Mostly though, his "Shield" blocks enough.
"Of course, I wouldn't waste all this energy just for a fancy defense you know that right?"
The water breaks apart, rushing across the field and taking the form of small blades, knives really. About 20 of the things fly toward the boy. 5 each, from above, the front, left, and right. By this point, if Lowe looked he'd note that Tatsuya's actually breathing a bit heavily, he's clearly putting real effort into these attacks.
Lowe hung on for dear life, urging the train forward as it obeys, flying straight ahead and right into the bunch of knives before him. Lowe eats a few of these head on, as well as that bolt from Odin; but he tanks through it. He wills the train to disappear as he gets closer to Tatsuya's position, and is in midair right above him in a matter of seconds. He brings a fist back, and punches the air, aiming at Tatsuya. Right on cue, a train appears alongside his fist, and slams down on Tatsuya's position.
Tatsuya slams his blade into the path of a fucking train, shockingly he'd still be sent flying from the attack, the man slamming into a wall and falling down. Despite that, he stands back up and laughs. A genuine grin crossing his face as he looks over at Lowe.
"Geez, that hurts like hell! Of course, I've had worse before. But I don't want to make a habit of taking blows like that... I'll bet it all on this one, so don't let me down Lucifer! Satan!"
The Personas blur away, instead, a black demon with red eyes and large wings takes the place of Odin. Some large dark blue beast with too many arms and wings replacing Dagda, energy begins to flow between the two as Tatsu's body gains a white aura around it.
"Armageddon, non-lethal version!"
Vast waves of Almighty magic form a large weapon. A greatsword with a blunted edge, the magic it's made from seeming just a bit less damaging than usual. Then, the two beasts grab hold of it and rush toward Lowe at lightning speed, their weapon swinging around them as the Personas move in perfect synch. They'd attack the boy 4 times, once from behind, again from the front after dashing past his back. A blow that slams down from above his head. And finally, they fly to the air in a blur, quickly tossing the weapon down towards their foe.
"Now, ignite your rage and shower our foes with it!"
Rather than fading away, the magic bursts outward around them. A deafening boom sounding out as a massive white light engulfs the GYM, Lowe would no doubt feel the heat and a huge amount of force slamming into him from the attack. Despite that though, it wouldn't turn him to ashes like a usual Armageddon, at worst the boy would be left knocked out and without a wound, magic can't heal... He may have said he wouldn't hold back, but some attacks are a bit much to use full force regardless. And finally, the Personas vanish in a shower of light. He'll need a moment to get just one again, and two's out of the question for a while.
Lowe watches as the monstrous Personas appear. Lucifer and Satan. He can't help but chuckle, and tug at the cuffs of his jacket.
You goin' all-out with those two, eh? Sounds like the perfect odds for me.
He throws his arm behind him, right as he sees the two move toward him. He launched a train forward from behind him. He didn't hit the personas, nor Tatsuya. He hit himself. He smacked himself dead in the back with that train, but it didn't seem to hurt him at all, just send him forward. He sends himself flying across the arena as the duo of Personas decimate the train Lowe had just been in front of. Just as the two would prepare to detonate their makeshift weapon, he would reach his target, who was undoubtedly winded from initiating an attack like that. Lowe grabs Tatsuya as he rushes past him, using his momentum to whirl around, and slam his own back against the wall while never letting go of Tatsuya. He'd scream as the attack concluded, hoping to put as much between him and that explosion as possible, or at the very least, Tatsuya.
Nomrally speaking, Armageddon would cover the entire building... Thankfully for Lowe, this held back version stops just short of the two, Alice only being spared damage thanks to the fact that it doesn't hurt those he isn't aiming at. What's less lucky for Lowe, is the annoyed Tatsuya he's grabbed hold of.
"Yare yare, don't be dodging that one man. Now I gotta get dirty."
Tatsuya reaches into his coat with his left hand, he'd casually flick the pin of an incendiary grenade inside it. The image of Apollo flashing in his head for a moment as he does so, he can't summon, but it'll still protect him. His right however presses into the boy's stomach. Won't hit anything vital, but his silver revolver forms in his hands and Tatsuya fires off a pair of shots, the bullets rushing right into his foe at point blank range. Just before a wave of flames bursts out of his coat and engulfs the two, Tatsuya not even feeling it as he tries to back away from the boy and take aim with both hands now.
"I've been fighting fair so far, if at my hardest... But, I guess that won't really work on you anymore eh?"
Lowe cries out at the bullets piercing his torso, and holds one arm over the wound. He's engulfed in a quick burst of fire, but his free hand doesn't let go of Tatsuya as he looks at him dead in the face.
You know...cough...it's funny. I always envied your resistances. I never got easy outs like that. Well, turns out...
A large portal appeared on either side of the pair, one behind Lowe, the other behind Tatsuya. Doesn't take a genius to figure out what he has planned.
...all I had to do was change my mindset.
A train comes from either side of the two, smashing the two together. In spite of that, Lowe only seems to be in mild discomfort at being so uh...we'l say "close" to Tatsuya while the two are sandwiched between two giant hunks of metal.
The attacks slam Tatsuya around, two trains is... Still not the worst thing that's happened to him,
but it's pretty high up there all things considered. Thankfully for him, by this point, he's back in action, despite having to stumble up after that attack.
"Yeah, they're pretty handy to have... But I guess you'll figure that out, now then LET'S BURN APOLLO!"
Given that cry, Lowe would hopefully expect a burst of flames to rush at him or something... What he likely won't expect, is Hyperion's featureless humanoid shape to form behind Tatsuya,
a blast of light rushing directly into the boy's eyes, as though a flashbang just went off inside them. Followed by Tatsuya quickly rushing towards him, he'd aim to knee the boy's gut viciously.
Followed up with quickly trying to press his palms into Lowe's head light magic flowing through them and blasting out as raw blunt force.
Lowe grunts in shock at the flash, and instinctively brings a hand up to shield his eyes. He takes the brunt of the knee, right where the gunshot wounds were. He would have blacked out from the pain if not for having experienced just a tad worse and being in combat mode. Before Tatsuya can blast Lowe, he places a palm on Tatsuya's chest, and cries out.
Just go down already, you stubborn old geezer!
Lowe goes flying backward, both from Tatsuya's attack, and launching a train point blank at the older man. He flies through the air briefly, before rolling along the ground.
"Stubborn old geezer!? Hah, I should be telling you to go down already, stupidly reckless kid!"
Hyperion rushes forward, the Persona calling up something akin to a towershield and slamming it into the train... Despite pushing with all his might, he's just sent flying back after slowing it down a good deal, that still lets Tatsu dodge, however. He'd call up his gun once again, taking aim with both hands and firing 3 shots, one aimed where the boy currently is, the other a few feet in front of him. And another on a wild hair flies above in case Lowe goes up again.
Lowe does the best thing he can think to do and rolls backwards, the first bullet piercing his leg. He avoids the other two, thankfully. He struggles to his feet, punching his knee, and looking at Tatsuya. He can't help but smile, and then start laughing.
Geez. Any sane couple of dudes woulda stopped a while ago. Guess neither of us are very normal, eh?
He laughs a bit more before steeling himself, and drawing his own gun. The simple, easy to handle handgun Tatsuya had given him some time ago. Despite receiving the upgrade, he could never really part with the old one. Smaller portals signifying the railroad spikes would appear and surround Tatsuya again, though significantly less than before.
Let's see you dance, old timer!
The spikes would fire out, and if Tatsuya tried to dodge, he'd fire at him as he did so with his revolver. This technique, with the spikes was more so meant for setplay than actually harassing someone with the projectiles. That's what the gun was for.
"Yeah, but quitting just ain't our style now is it? Heh, I wouldn't have it anyway but this honestly!"
Tatsuya... Laughs along with the boy, Hyperion barely holding itself together as it rushes to him. He could do something sane, or he could beat the kid at his own game of madness... Maybe, Either way, the man leaps into the air, taking a few spikes is fine, his Persona floats upward, quickly slamming its fists into him and sending him even higher up. He'd draw the sword from his back as flames light up around it, finally reaching the top of the roof, and kicking off the damned thing right toward Lowe with a stab. Even if he misses, the flames would burst up in a dome, covering about 10 feet upwards and 15 around them. At that point, Tatsuya's more going through sheer force of will and magic than anything else.
"But geez, you've gotten... Pretty damn good, not sure how much longer I can keep this up ya know... Might be better to call it soon, honestly."
Lowe threw his fist upward, a train flying toward Tatsuya as he descended. The two would clash, hell Tatsuya would cleave through the damn thing, well more than halfway. Car after car, all cleaved right through in hopes of getting to the boy behind it. Lowe was ready though, and unless Tatsuya made any sort of effort to jump out, it would explode pretty violently thanks to the dome of fire Tatsuya made on impact. Thanks to his resistances, the most he would probably be is thrown backwards a ways. Lowe himself looked up, as bits of charred and horribly bent metal rained down from above.
Maybe you're right. I got a feeling we're both nearing out limits here.
Tatsuya nods at the boy, it's been a good fight to say the least but neither of them has that much to prove anymore. Instead, he'd sheath the sword, Hyperion casting Salvation one last time to heal what it can of their wounds... And bursting away into light, no longer able to maintain its form.
"Yeah, I'd say that we both did well..."
He grins at the boy and stagers over, still able to stand despite all that he's put himself through.
Finally, the man offers Lowe a handshake for a moment.
"I guess you're my rival now too huh? Well, can't start slacking off and let you overtake me now Lowe! Next time we fight, I'll be even better!"
*It was a long day for this interesting Gunner Pantheon... well it looks like a bomber Pantheon due have two normal arms and no blaster arm*
*The Pantheon was hiding alleyway to alleyway until he reached the GYM, seeing no alleyway in sight, the Pantheon enters the GYM*
Lowe wipes his forehead. In truth, he was exhausted. He declines the handshake, instead bumping his own fist against Tatsuya's, and sighing.
Damn right. Next time, we'll determine a sure winner; and you won't have to pull any punches either.