Well, I’m really not sure how, but I have made the final for 2019’s Blogger Blitz championship! Taking these short stories about Persona 5s Morgana and Ann this far has been an absolute pleasure for me and, win or lose, it’s been a great honour getting here!
With that said, let’s take a look at the mission statement:
“The time has come for that most special of nights, the part of the high school experience which some long for and others dread – prom. You and your ship have agreed to go together and have made vigorous preparations for the night of the dance. Unfortunately, the forces of darkness have other plans. The night of the prom, you are attacked by a cognitive/mirage being who represents the insecurities that you feel regarding your relationship. Show us your fears about your Ship and show us how you overcome them – and their shadowy harbinger – to save the prom and have the night of your young life.”
Written Report of the “Carrie” incident, 20XX.
Interview led by Detective Inspector Yuji Gaomon (hereby referred to as YG), witnessed by Sergeant Hironobu (hereby referred to as SH).
Ann Takamaki – Shibuya Academy student, 16 (hereby referred to as AT)
“Morgana” – What appears to be a cat-like creature (hereby referred to as M) (why is nobody bringing this up!?)
YG: I’ve never spoken to a giant headed cartoon cat before. You from around these parts? Or did you come along with whatever caused so much chaos tonight?
M: Well, I’ve never spoken to such a sleazy looking human before so I guess we’re about on par here, aren’t we?
YG: Perhaps, Mr. Morgana, you should just answer my questions, otherwise I’ll throw you to the Otaku in Akihabara and let them fight over you.
(SH: At this point it is pertinent to mention that M was unable to hide their absolute terror. As an Otaku myself I couldn’t blame him, he’d look lovely next to my Gundams!)
M: Let’s not get too hasty here, detective, those nerds would tear me to pieces! I’ll talk, so long as Lady Ann is okay! You’d better not be good cop/bad copping her!
YG: Miss Takamaki is fine, we don’t use Hollywood policing tactics here. Now, can we begin?
M: I’m going to trust you, but you’d better not be lying!
So, it was a night just like any other here in Tokyo. Except, as Lady Ann and the rest of my friends were constantly reminding me, it was prom night! Know what that is?
YG: Thank you, Mr. Morgana, but I am aware of what prom night is, get on with it.
M: Jeez, prickly. Okay, where was I?
Ah yes, it was prom night at Shibuya Academy. Lady Ann and I were all arriving at the entrance to the school, I was myself in regular cat form and hiding in her bag of course…
(H: Seriously, why is nobody batting an eyelid at the fact that.. Oh never mind!)
M: Obviously “big headed cartoon cats” as you so politely put it, were not something that the average excited high school graduate would ordinarily see around. Okay, I see your face scrunching up there, I’ll get on with it! So there we are, Lady Ann looking stunning in a red dress and myself feeling very cosy snuggled in her matching bag. We were soon into the gymnasium, which seemed a much happier place since that old pervert Kamoshida up and left, let me tell you he was a…
(Let it be recorded that Detective Goemon chose to leave the room at this point and begin the interrogation of Miss Takamaki.)
YG: I imagine you’ve had quite the evening, Miss?
AT: I’d say so, yes! I’ve already told the other policemen, we’re not criminals, we haven’t done anything wrong!
YG: Calm down, Miss Takamaki, we just need to know the facts about what happened at your school tonight. Your… friend back there, he talks a lot, doesn’t he?
AT: People don’t usually er, hear him speak… things have been weird recently! Look, we have no idea what’s going on, we just survived tonight!.
(H: She’s not kidding, this isn’t exactly a normal night in here either…)
YG: Yes, I’m sure Miss. What happened when you got to the school?
AT: The first thing I noticed was how wonderful it all looked, made up to look like Ancient Rome! Pillars, banners, lots of papier mache frescoes, oh it was beautiful!… And the food! The cakes! Needless to say, oh that buffet table… oops, where were we?
We had a dance and otherwise did what I suppose any average high schoolers would do. After a while our friends decided to go to Big Bang Burger, but we stayed a little longer to enjoy the atmosphere.
YG: And Morgana stayed with you, right?
AT: Of course, he was nice and cosy in my bag, eating vol-au-vents. Besides, he’s a very loyal friend!
YG: Of course, I didn’t mean to cast aspersions on his character. We just don’t see many.. Folk like him around here.
AT: Good, because he’s a good soul, even if he does seem a little unusual! Anyway, shall I continue?
Anyway, we were getting our groove on under the disco ball when things got very strange again! The dance floor was suddenly wreathed in this strange, black smoke, the music faded away and then, well, that’s when we hear the voice as clear as day, even over the sounds of all the screaming…
YG: And, what did it say?
AT: It said:
“The battle of the epics is almost over, this is the last story,” Then…
YG: Let’s pause for a break there, miss, I could kill a coffee right now.
(H: It was at this point that we made a drink and went to visit Morgana, who had inexplicably turned into a cat!)
M: Oh, it’s you two again. I wondered when you’d show up. Whatever power was maintaining my Metaverse form seems to be fading, that’s why I look like this now.
YG: I’m not even going to ask what any of that means! Tell me about the “battle of the epics”.
M: Would if I could, but I’m afraid even I can only grasp certain elements. Whomever that voice belonged to, I reckon they’ve been toying with us, and others, before the prom. First there was the forest, the pink haired woman, whom we crossed paths with again in Hawaii, This presence was behind that, too. I can see you’re getting lost here, I know these things are too advanced for your simple minds.. Most of the creeps and losers we fight come from the Metaverse, a world shaped by our cognition, yet the thing that attacked us tonight, it wasn’t following the rules. There was no warped heart conjuring that… thing!
YG: Simple minds? Do I need to remind you that there are thousands of nerds in Akihabara who’d love to meet you?
M: Whoa, hey now, I was only joking! And I am not a cat!
Anyway, after that voice revealed itself, the real horror began. I couldn’t see Lady Ann anywhere, nor any of the other, less beautiful partygoers for that matter. I was getting a little worried, calling her, pushing through that fog… and then it cleared, as if a big fan had just blown it all away, and the awful, truly horrible apparition that stood before me, oh boy!
YG: Tell me about the apparition, and where was everyone else at this point?
M: Well, I don’t know what to tell you, all the other partygoers had simply up and vanished! We were in the Metaverse version of the school at this point, it’s all a blur to be honest!
Anyway, the monster. It had Lady Ann captive, bound in chain at its feet. It looked like…. Well, it looked like a giant, evil version of me! It must have been about ten feet tall, with big fiery eyes, all these big pointy teeth.. it was clearly some monster borne of my insecurities, I can see that now. But back then, I was truly terrified.
YG: That does sound quite… terrifying. Why would this presence manifest as a giant version of you, with Miss Takamaki as it’s captive, though? I’d just manifest as a nuclear bomb or a tank and…
M: Cos the Metaverse, and all who dwell within it, feed on your fear and discomfort. I’m talking on a Freudian, deepest darkest thoughts kind of way.This giant, gross version of me,l I suppose it represented how part of me sees myself sometimes. As in, am I just some gross… animal, is my love for Lady Ann twisted?
Anyway, it worked very well! I was frozen to the spot with fear and revulsion! I remember it mocking me, saying I was nothing but a twisted little freak, that Lady Ann would never love me like I loved her…
YG: Yes, I think seeing my worst fear would do the same to me. Tell you what, I’m going to let you get your thoughts in order whilst I have a brief chat with Miss Takamaki.
(H: A few minutes later, after the detective inspectors’ routine cigarette break, and we are back with Ann Takamaki).
YG: I’ve just had a very interesting conversation with your friend, who seems to have turned into a cat. He described the monster that attacked you, made from his darkest fears. He says you were chained at its’ feet, is this correct?
AT: Well, not exactly.That version of me was part of the Shadows’ deception, nothing more. I was standing not far away, overcome with fright at such an awful thing!
YG: Did it take a different form for you? Morgana claimed that these apparitions can change shape to match your worst fear?
AT: That’s right! For me it was my friend, Shiho, except she was…dead, shuffling like a zombie from a cheesy movie, accusing me of killing her as she came ever closer!
YG: Shiho? I seem to remember this case from Shujin a while back. I believe that she was assaulted by a teacher and tried to take her own life? Why would your… subconscious accuse you?
AT: I blamed myself for a while, for not standing up to that teacher back then. But we did in the end, and justice was done by the Phantom Thieves not long after. I don’t feel that way any more!
YG: I am glad to hear that, Miss. Though I do wonder what became of those Phantom Thieves. Anyway, what happened next?
AT: Well the first thing I saw was Morgana, just visible in the fog, he looked so frightened and hurt at the Shiho ghost. Though I could tell he was seeing something very different to me! Even though I was so scared, just seeing my friend like that… it gave me strength! I knew I had to snap him out of it.
YG: So how did you take the fight to such an awful being?
AT: Music! I saw the DJ booth nearby and I just somehow knew what to do! I dived over to it, keeping my distance from the Shadow, and hit play on the first song I could see!
It was Canned Heat, by Jamiroquai, exactly what we needed to break the spell! The song started, my prom dress transformed into my Metaverse outfit and I knew I could do anything!
(H: Here we go again! Why is nobody asking questions about things like “Metaverse Outfit”?)
AT: Even as I shouted to get Morganas’ attention, the monster changed! It spun up into the air, losing its Shiho form (and I am guessing whatever Morgana saw’s form too!) nd turned into… a big book and quill.
YG: A… what? Not some kind of demon or something?
AT: Nope, it was a book and quill! I don’t know exactly what it was, but I think it’s been manipulating events for a while, things have been so weird these last few weeks,
Anyway, once the music had broken the spell, Morgana and I could take the fight to it, exactly how any prom based battle should be, under the disco ball! It threw fireballs at us, used the quill like a sword, kept trying to summon old enemies (including the pink haired woman!) but we kept shooting, whipping and slashing at it, pushed on by those disco beats until, at last, it finally fell to the ground.
As the music faded and the fog began to clear, we stood over that weird, giant book. I remember Morgana saying “I can quite honestly say I have never gone to battle with a shape changing dictionary!” I guess the Metaverse let us go at that point, the gymnasium shimmered and shook and I was back in my dress, Morgana was back in his cat form too. I can’t explain it now but we knew it was over at last. I barely had time to read the weird phrase on the books’ open pages as it faded away.
YG: And what did the book say, Miss Takamaki?
AT: It said…
“Thank you for taking part in the Battle of the Epics, may victory favour you!”