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Persona: Worlds Under War

Chapter Text

March 27, 20XX

Location: Yoshizawa residence
Time: 0715 hours

 

"A large manhunt is now issued against Kirijo Corporation president Mitsuru Kirijo, United Front of Japan member Kenzo Manahashi, and several other cohorts after a terrorist attack has occurred in the Platinum Star Sponsorship Ball which Kirijo herself was one of the top benefactors of the event. Witnesses claimed that Manahashi was after Ren Amamiya, the boy who gained fame for overturning a case against Masayoshi Shido; Sumire Yoshizawa, a rhythmic gymnast who has recently won several events and is the confirmed love interest of Mr. Amamiya; Goro Akechi, the long-dead Second Detective Prince who fell from grace after being involved in a series of murders under Shido's orders; and Yu Narukami, an up-and-coming private investigator known for assisting Inaba Police in the arrest of now-deceased psychopath Tohru Adachi. Manahashi and Kirijo are now held responsible for the deaths of over 90 people, including children..."

"Jeez, girls." Shinichi rubbed his temples in disbelief. "You just had to make things harder than I thought."

"Sorry, Dad." Sumire scratched her head. "It just happened all of a sudden."

"An earlier report stated that Hiroshima Mayor Takasi has been murdered in his office a few days ago after he was somewhat struck with a large cylinder to the torso in his sleep. Suspicions went to Kirijo's Anti-shadow Countermeasure Service, who were supposed to be responsible for maintaining Hiroshima from the recent kaiju attacks. Kyoto Police released a statement that Kirijo equipment were spotted in the University of Kyoto as she has now gained the title "The Executioner" for her sudden authoritative actions and merciless demeanor in public."

"So, Sumire.... you owe Coach Hiraguchi two weeks of training?"

Sumire smiled and laughed awkwardly as she slumped down her chair.

"She's in trouble big time." Kasumi blurted out smugly.

"Thanks, Kasumi. Real helpful."

"So what will you do for the rest of the day, Kasumi? It's obvious you will garner too much attention if you go with her to Shujin." Shinichi asked her strictly.

"Well, Sumire said that Coach wants me to watch her. Then I have to give out my judgment about her performance."

Shinichi felt dumb and remembered about the Olympic qualifying rounds after Hanaki spoke about it.

"I forgot that was next month."

"Is the school treating you kindly after what happened, Sumire?" Her mother asked since she became aware of her daughter's involvement over the past few weeks.

"Yeah. Despite what's happening, they're not bullying me or anything."

Kasumi looks at the clock and gestures her twin to finish up. As Sumire went to shower, Kasumi kept her eyes on the family photos as Hanaki whispered to her.

"You miss them, do you?"

Kasumi nods her head and looks at the star in her hand.

"After all this, I'll make sure everyone in my world comes back. You, Dad, Akira, Sumire..."

She began to feel arms wrapped around her.

"You'll get them back. I believe in you with the greatest intentions."

Kasumi smiled as she hugged Hanaki back. Shinichi returns with her disguise.

"Remind me how on Earth did you manage to portray a blind German-Japanese girl, an indie singer, and now... a gymnastics judge without garnering attention."

"A Phantom Thief never reveals the secrets."

"I thought it was magician."

The family chuckled as Sumire finished up bathing and dressing up for practice. Kasumi picks up the rifles and stashes them onto Maruki's taxi.

"You're not serious on bringing the guns into school grounds, right?" Maruki frowned in concern.

"Just in case we run in to any enemies. Otherwise, the guns stay inside." Sumire reassured him.

"That doesn't sound fully reassuring."

 

Location: Shujin Academy
Time: 0800 hours

 

Ann, Ryuji, and Futaba watch the gates in the alleyway while Yusuke, Haru, and Makoto pretend to be bystanders taking a drink in the vending machines as they wait for Sumire to arrive. The gymnast arrives in the short passageway to Shujin as she notices the group present.

"Hi, guys!" She gave out a warm greeting.

"Hey, Sumire!" Ann approached her and gave her a slight hug. "I'm still sorry for my outbursts back in the TV station and in the Platinum Star."

"It's fine. What brings you guys here though?"

"Well," Ryuji tried to come up with an alibi, "we just miss Shujin, y'know? It felt empty leaving the place behind despite what happened there."

"Yeah, I mean when I moved to New York to continue there... I felt like an outcast again."

"I see. Well, I gotta head for practice."

"Is it okay if we watched you in practice, Sumire-chan?" Haru asked before Kasumi began her act again.

"YOSHIWAZA!"

Everyone turned and saw Kasumi in a new disguise: a black, shoulder-length wig, a brown blouse with a heart logo in the center, a purple knee-length skirt, high-top boots, and the usual sunglasses, but they are now round.

"O-Oh, Miss Amano!"

"Tardy already. You were supposed to be in the gym at eight o'clock sharp." Kasumi made sure her voice wasn't too light but not too deep. Her strictness is spot-on though.

"Sorry, ma'am. And it's Yoshizawa, not Yoshiwaza."

"Hmph. Skedaddle it already! I will not tolerate any distractions in your presentation."

Sumire made a run for it as the Thieves gave way for Kasumi to march towards the gym.

"Jeez, that bitch is scary." Ryuji spoke as he received a stone to the head.

"I HEARD THAT, YOU DELINQUENT!"

"WHAT WAS THAT, BITCH!?"

"Ryuji, quit making a scene!" Makoto scolded him as his temper went high instantly.

 

Meanwhile, Kasumi and Sumire let out a phew as their cover was successful and made their way to Coach Hiraguchi, who is standing by the door waiting for someone.

"What on earth are you wearing, Kasumi?"

"A disguise. I got it from that old game called Innocent Sin and dressed up as the female protagonist."

"Even you are influenced by video games. Yet the style suits you.... except for the skirt."

Sumire pumped her fist while Kasumi clicked her tongue.

"I win."

"Shut up."

Kawakami arrives with the keys and tosses it to Coach. She greets Sumire and Kasumi (who she thinks is a judge) as she made her way back to the faculty.

"Alright, ladies. Get dressed. I wanna see how you two can try competing."

"Huh? But Kasumi isn't okay after her injuries." Sumire panicked.

"It's fine. Just wanna try to let you know that even when I'm injured, I can rob ya of your glory."

Sumire noticed the tone of her voice and grinned. "You're on!"

 

Inside Shujin, the group stays in the courtyard and wait for Sumire to be finished.

"That Miss Amano seemed rather intimidating." Yusuke tried to drink his 1-UP while his hands shook.

"Dude, I feel bad for Sumire. Getting grilled on by her AND Hiraguchi." Ryuji stated.

"What's wrong, Ann-chan? Are you thinking of something?" Haru watched her friend look at the sky.

"This place gave me good and bad memories. I just don't know what to feel right now."

Ryuji and Makoto look at her as she shifted her gaze from the sky to the rooftop to the gym until returning her gaze to them.

"I guess you miss the feeling as well, huh?"

"Huh?"

"Ann, you're the only one who is far away from us. You're probably in a dilemma in regards to your decision back in the last school year." Makoto pointed out. "Your dream was to be a model and an inspiration, right? Are you beginning to regret it?"

"No, I don't regret it at all. But sometimes I get thoughts about how we could run around doing God knows what as we show how much we enjoy our company."

Yusuke and Haru then shifted their ears to Ann as they began to listen to her.

"The Phantom Thieves business is my big break, yeah. And it did help me get close to you all as well. But.... I don't know to say this..."

Futaba turned to hear her.

"I'm quitting the Phantom Thieves after this mission. If there are any more Shadow attacks, I am not gonna bother volunteering in helping anymore."

"Ann!"

"Ann-chan!"

"What are you saying?"

"I can't inspire people as Panther all the time. When they look at me as Ann Takamaki, they see me as a person who would dare to challenge the modeling world. But when I'm Panther... there is more praise to that than towards the real me."

"Look, Ann...."

Ann's expression went down as she balled her hands into fists. "I want to show others my strength not as a vigilante of justice anymore. I want to show them how a normal, mixed girl can show others and prove them wrong about their judgments without the need of the Phantom Thieves."

Makoto kept quiet. Understanding Ann, she was here for a week to have fun and go along their minor mission. But as the going got tough, she couldn't bear to witness herself falter all the time. Emotionally, she feels betrayed by Ren the most. Physically, she may not last another week and she is needed to go back home. Mentally, she repeatedly gets confused or troubled at every new knowledge obtained in their shenanigans.

The group then notices Sumire exit the gym and approach their way.

"You guys really miss coming here, huh?" Sumire went on to grab a Arginade and drank it.

"It's nostalgic, in a way." Haru said.

"Sumire-chan."

Sumire looks at Ann, who still sports the downcast emotion. "Can we talk later? Alone."

"Um, sure. Does 5 pm sound good?"

"How about an hour earlier?"

"Then 4 pm it is."

Ann hummed as Sumire returned to practice.

 

Location: Sunrise Residences
Time: 0934 hours

 

"Kana's gonna kill me, man."

"Yeah, she will. Now git!"

"You don't need to kick me, Shiho."

"You stole my bed last night! Thanks to you, I had to be Ren's official dropkicker last night!"

As Ren watched the bickering of Shiho and Daisuke (who is about to return to Nayami), he receives a text from Kasumi as he receives a photo of them practicing as well.

Uninvited guests by the courtyard of Shujin. Meanwhile, guess who won. ;)

Ren then informs Shiho to gear up. When Shiho asked why, this was all he had to say.

"The twins are compromised. Ann and company are trying to get answers from her at this point, and letting Kasumi fight them again is a bigger risk."

Shiho nods as she goes back to her room. Daisuke then wondered what's going on, but Ren ordered to go home as he whistles at Morgana.

"I'm not a dog, you know." He spoke with annoyance.

"Head over to Shujin and lure Ann and the rest outta Sumire's tail. Make sure you lure them away from our objectives."

Morgana nods and pounces down to the lower floor as he races to Shujin. Ren then begins texting everyone in his new group chat.

 

"True_Trickster: Everyone, change of plans: we're gonna have to do our duties now.

CandyCounselor: Is there a particular reason on changing the plans?

True_Trickster: Makoto and company tailed the twins upon arrival in Shujin.

DeadPrince6/2/98: Well, how inconvenient of them.

CandyCounselor: Bold of you to assume it's them who is in inconvenience.

VolleyBirdSuzui: Morgana has been sent to get rid of them. We gotta move fast.

True_Trickster: We'll be two hours early from our window. Let's just hope Iwai-san managed to fix the chopper."

 

"You still worry about the broken windshield?" Raoul spoke in a mix of amusement and irritation.

"I just don't want that thing to break."

"Pfft. I wonder what will be their reaction when they realize we own a helicopter."

"Yeah, I ain't telling them shit."

 

Location: Shujin Academy
Time: 1118 hours

 

"How long has she been in there?" Ryuji tapped his foot impatiently. It's been three hours since they waited for Sumire to finish her practice. Ann strays off and ends up in the rooftop, looking through the fence at the very spot where everything began.

"Are you sure you wanna ditch your duties as a Phantom Thief?" Celestine challenged her dilemma.

Ann laughed absentmindedly. "Wow, it's as if I can hear my Persona talk to me."

"I am, you ditz."

Ann looked up and saw Celestine hovering above her, causing Ann to fall and land on her butt.

"SHIT!" 

"First time talking to you, and I already feel unwelcome. How sad."

"You can't just pop out of nowhere! You're a ghostly version of me, after all!" Ann pointed her finger at her Persona, who just lowered her sunglasses and stared at her before returning.

"Sorry to do that. Wasn't really sure on how to approach you."

"It's fine."

Celestine looked at her with studious eyes and spoke out softly this time.

"You really want to leave your life as a Phantom Thief?"

Ann bit her tongue as she isn't sure of her answer. "Well, yes and no. I guess."

"The lack of certainty in your words means you have the moral dilemma of it, correct?"

Ann nods as she tries to get back up. Celestine then gives her a brief warning.

"Your team is at risk, for the truth you are looking for will be the one to break you."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Celestine disappears before her, giving her a view of Morgana looking for them in the courtyard. She sprints back to them and alerts them of Morgana, who is perched up by the practice building's entrance.

"Mweheheheheow! Being here feels nostalgic!" Morgana exclaimed as he witnessed Makoto rushing towards him.

"Morgana!"

"Mona, what are you doing here?" Ryuji dumbly asked.

"Aren't we supposed to detain him?" Yusuke just had to spill it.

"Detain?"

"Damnit, Inari! You and your big mouth!"

"Detain!? Never!" Morgana sprints under their legs as they proceed to chase him down.

"Hey, Morgana!"

"Get back here!"

"Mona-chan!"

Peeping through the door, Kasumi hisses a victorious yes as she then looks at Sumire performing her last routine.

 

Location: Akihabara
Time: 1130 hours

 

Never would Goro Akechi thought that looking for new earpieces would be difficult to do in Akihabara. Although Maruki is enjoying his trip down the district, Akechi becomes more irritated by the minute.

"Goddamnit, we're not gonna find a store that sells military earpieces!" He shouted in frustration.

"Calm down, Akechi-san. We don't wanna attract a lot of attention." He reasoned with him as they approach another gadgets store.

"Uh, excuse me."

Maruki called the attendant's attention. He was shocked to see that it's...

"Rumi?"

"Yes, can I help you?"

Ah, Takuto Maruki's old flame. The catalyst of his pursuit to the guidance towards happiness. The reason how got hellbent on creating an alternate reality. After his reality broke, Rumi suffered a huge case of PTSD since her family was murdered. Again.

"Doc."

"I know." He whispered to Akechi as he talked to Rumi once again. "Um, do you happen to have earpieces similar to these?"

Looking at the earpieces on his hand, Rumi informed them that there are a few stocks available.

"We'll take 9 please."

"Of course! Please have a look at our dazzling merchandise while I get your orders."

As she walked to the storage room, Maruki sighed deeply. "Of all people, why her?"

"It still seems she doesn't recognize you despite this being the true reality." Akechi emphasized as Maruki only had one guess.

"It seems she moved on. I may not know if her smile right now was genuine or out of presentation, but I already know that Rumi would be happy without me."

"I didn't need the details to that, but whatever." Akechi faked a vomit, much to Maruki's annoyance.

"Maybe Amamiya was right. You really do lack the sympathy for anyone."

"And yet here I am, ready for a new life." He spoke sarcastically.

Rumi returns with the earpieces and guides them to the cashier. As Maruki was going to reach for his wallet...

"OH MY GOSH! YUKARI TAKEBA IS OUTSIDE!"

"PINK ARGUS IS MVP!"

Yukari's presence outside made fans of Neo Featherman run wild, bringing along with them Akechi by accident. The only people left were those who didn't care about Yukari, and those who are just buying necessities.

"That was... awkward. But surprising that the actress is in good shape despite yesterday's news." Rumi commented as she waits for the payment.

Maruki grabs his wallet and gives her 40,000 yen. "Y-Yeah. I was kind of there when she fought off Mitsuru Kirijo."

Rumi then gives him the change, but stares at his eyes for a few seconds before speaking up. "Have we met before?"

Maruki shook his head gently as he began to sweat. "N-No, we haven't. It's only the first time I've seen someone as beautiful as you."

She blushes at the comment and greets him a great day as he leaves. As he begins to look for Akechi, he finds him hidden next to a dumpster with his clothes marked by footprints. Yukari jumps down from her hiding spot.

"Sheesh, I can't catch a break."

"I can tell."

Akechi woke from his daze and stands up quickly. "If it's alright with all of you, I can go buy new clothes to replace these fresh rags."

Maruki gives him cash as he runs to the clothes shop across the alley. Yukari notices his cheeky grin.

"Did something happen during your supply run?"

"Yes. Yes, it did."

 

Location: Shibuya
Time: 1241 hours

 

Kasumi and Sumire, along with Coach Hiraguchi, alight from the train as they make their way to the square where they part ways. As the twins leave, Hiraguchi gives off a small smile.

"Never seen them so happy. I miss the real Kasumi, though." She muttered as she goes to her train.

The twins then travel to Untouchables where they plan on customizing the existing weapons to Iwai, but instead of the grumpy man they find his goofy son.

"Um, h-hello there, Yoshizawa twins."

"So you know?"

Kaoru nodded. "You here to change a few things?"

"We just need more perks."

Helping out Kaoru in customizing the guns further, Kasumi impressed Sumire by how she managed to attach and detach every part of the gun for upgrades.

"Amazing."

"Jelly?" Kasumi teased.

"N-No!"

In just thirty minutes, they were already done. Right on time for Iwai to arrive back.

"I was out for an hour. What did I miss?"

"How'd you know I was the other Yoshizawa?"

So Kaoru told them. "The beauty mark. I read magazines and newspapers a lot, and that right there..." he poked Kasumi's cheekbone. "... is something that would stand out like hell."

Sumire looks at Kasumi, who just nods and gives him an impressed grin.

"It took thirty minutes, Dad. Kasumi-san here did most of the handiwork."

"Th-Thirty minutes!?" Iwai dropped the paper bags of groceries and other stuff. "She just beat Ren's record. Fuck."

"How long did it take for him?" Sumire asked.

"Thirty-one minutes."

Suddenly, they hear noise coming from the alley outside of Untouchable. Iwai tries to investigate, but Kasumi and Sumire stop him after they hear a cat screeching and teenagers yelling.

"You'll never get me alive like last time!"

"You effing cat! Get back here!"

"Mona, wait! We just wanna talk!"

"What the fuck was that?" Iwai stared at the door dumbfounded as Kasumi volunteered to fix the outside area.

 

Location: LeBlanc
Time: 1308 hours

 

"Out doing Phantom Thief business again?"

Sojiro's fatherly tone asked Ren as he brews some coffee while he cooked the curry.

"Yeah. This is gonna be one hell of a mission."

"I still wonder why you're not letting Futaba in on it. Or anyone from your group, for that matter."

Ren froze for a second. He knew they were having meetings, but having the meetings be frequent meant that they really want him to talk.

"It's too dangerous for everyone to engage."

Sojiro's tone went strict. "What makes you any different?"

"I'm not." Ren responded sternly. "I'm protecting them for their own good."

"By shunning them away?"

"I got Morgana (that cat?), Sumire, Maruki, Akechi, and Shiho to back me up." Ren did not mention Kasumi at it would be too complicated to explain and would take up too much time to cover. Two names that were mentioned gave Sojiro a reminder.

"By the way, Maruki and Shiho were here the other day. The girl poured her heart out instead of telling her thoughts on the Phantom Thieves. Hoo-boy!"

Ren groaned as he could imagine what advice he gave her. "What did she say about me?"

"How you were so eager to keep her company a lot. And how your charm and heart got the best of her, even after she figured you were dating someone already." Sojiro groomed his goatee as he explained.

"Did anyone walk in to hear her?"

"Your girlfriend did, but she was okay with it as long as you don't double-cross her." His tone is stricter than usual.

"Relax, Boss. I know what I'm doing." He finishes brewing the coffee and places them in a few thermos.

"Ann-chan's been worried about you the most."

Ren shifted his body to Sojiro as he inquired more.

"What did she say?"

"I can't tell, but she keeps changing her mood. From resentful to caring, then from angry to wistful. If I were to judge her behavior, she may have reached the level of loving you as much as Yoshizawa does."

"And for Makoto and Haru? I had an idea I stole their hearts at some point." He showed off his signature Joker grin as he joked.

"Getting cocky now, are ya?" He laughed as he placed the curry in food containers. "Well, Niijima gives you the most respect while Okumura praises you more than insulting you."

"As expected."

Sojiro placed the pot down and opened his arms for Ren to hug him. "Take care of yourself, kid."

"Take care of them for me, Boss." he said.

After heading up to his old attic to grab some stuff for crafting, Ren bids Sojiro farewell as he rides the train back to Shibuya to return to Suidobashi.

 

Location: Harajuku
Time: 1501 hours

 

After Ren arrived back in the condo unit, it was Shiho's turn to do her job as she began to look for several costumes to try on that could help in her disguise towards infiltrating Kirijo Fortress. Her ideas went from simple to wild as she roamed around the entire place to look for the perfect attire.

"Should've went to Harima Mall instead of here." She groaned. After a few minutes passed, she gave up and informed Ren that there were no good costumes for her.

It's okay. We'll just have one from the Metaverse.

"Do I really have to be the bait? It's obvious that a bait with a machine gun is not suitable." she texted.

Then why is your Thief outfit a spy suit? she can hear the smug teasing in that text.

"Jerk. Give me another role."

Alright, alright. Head back to the condo. We'll discuss further there.

"Shiho?"

Shiho turns around to see an exhausted Ann and Ryuji. Morgana must have spent the whole day making them look like idi- WAIT. DAMN THAT CAT.

"Shiho!" Ann marched towards her with Ryuji following behind.

"Shit." Shiho started running to the station.

"SHIHO SUZUI, GET BACK HERE!"

Shiho began bumping into people as she started evading any blockades or obstacles that would benefit Ann and not her. She began calling Ren as she kept her eyes on the road.

"Shiho? What's-"

"I've been compromised! Ann and Ryuji found me!"

"Damnit, can you make it to the trains?"

"I could."

"Get on the train and head back for Shibuya. If the others find you, make your way to Odaiba ASAP. I'll contact with the others after we end." He instructed her with careful consideration. This was not around Plan A to Z. This is around AA or whatever, on Ren's book.

Shiho catches the train on time and immediately makes herself hidden. Ann and Ryuji enter the same train as it makes it way to Shibuya.

"Damnit, where'd she go?" Ann snarled.

"You for real? That was Shiho?" Ryuji panted as he asked for confirmation.

"Aside from Ren, I'm the only person who saw her with her hair down. And I'd be damned if it wasn't her."

What they don't know is that Shiho is literally right behind Ryuji, hiding by using a yuri manga to ward them off. As the train reached Shibuya and opened its doors, Shiho dashes forward again as Ann and Ryuji resume chasing her down. This time, Shiho uses the earpiece to contact Morgana.

"Morgana, you moron! You led them to me!"

"What do you mean?"

"You led them to Harajuku!"

"I thought you were in Kichijoji."

"I'm gonna kick your ass later, but for now get Ann and Ryuji off my ass!"

"Roger that! Time to show my love for Lady Ann!"

"You desperate romantic."

Shiho bumps into Yusuke, who initially isn't chasing her.

"Ah, the assistant in my painting! What a surprise seeing you here."

"YUSUKE, HOLD HER DOWN!"

Yusuke's attention was drawn by Ryuji's yelling, causing him to let Shiho continue running towards the Underground Mall.

"Damnit, Yusuke!"

"What did I do this time?" Yusuke innocently asked.

"That was Shiho! She's working for Ren!' Ann angrily gripped his collar.

"You could have just reminded me through text rather than yell out like just now."

"This is no time for arguing!"

Ann's temper is now at a boiling point. As they arrive in the Underground Mall, they split up to look for her. Ann had an idea though.

"Celestine."

"My dear charmer."

"Find Shiho for me around here. You can see her, but she can't see you."

"Good idea."

Unfortunately for Ann, Shiho had the same idea.

"Nora."

"My lady."

"Check if Ann and the others are off the area."

"At your service."

Celestine and Nora wandered around until they collided. Both girls felt their presence as Shiho tenses up with Ann in pursuit. Entering the girls' comfort room, Ann began to mock her.

"Hmmm... I wonder where that best friend of mine went."

Shiho held her breath as she hid in the last stall. Ann began looking at the bottom space of the stalls to see if anyone is in them.

"I dunno. Should I even call her a best friend when she is doing something behind my back?!"

Ann's tone went very aggressive. Shiho began to sweat as she finds herself in front of Ann.

"Especially when she's trying to throw me off her trail like now!"

Ann kicked the last stall, revealing no one inside it. Shiho escaped quickly, but was startled by an orange-haired girl who used a stall to download a few stuff.

"Boo!"

Shiho jabbed Futaba in the face and swung the stall door, smacking Ann in the face as well.

"What were you doing in there, Futaba!?" Ann growled as she rubbed her forehead.

"Was looking for illegal research, okay!?" Futaba defended herself while readjusting her glasses. "That chick can punch hard."

"That was Shiho! Come on!"

Ann and Futaba run out of the comfort rooms to see Ryuji and Yusuke on the ground.

"What happened?"

"Suzui kicked my nuts while she headbutted Yusuke."

"Her head was made of steel."

"Up and at 'em, Inari!"

Catching back up to the surface area, the quad finds Shiho taking the route to Odaiba. Futaba pulls out her phone and calls Haru.

"Haru! We found Ren's teammate!"

"Where is she?"

"She's heading for Odaiba. We need transpo ASAP!"

They hear a car horn behind them as Makoto and Haru are already inside.

"Get in!"

With everyone on board, they drive their way to Odaiba to catch up with Shiho.

 

Meanwhile, in the train...

"Fuck.... I hope they aren't taking this train." She breathes intensely as she felt a pain in her knee.

"Not again."

As she rested, she turns her head to see the news channel on the monitor telling the public that there will be sudden rain later.

"As far as Odaiba goes, I wouldn't mind diving into the water to hide."

 

Back on the road, Makoto honks the horn aggressively.

"Goddamnit, traffic fucking sucks!"

"Would you like me to dash forward and see where out target is?"

Makoto blinked thrice as she looked at the others. "Did someone say something?"

Everyone shook their heads.

"Come on, my man! Take up the Queen's orders and we shall conduct a search."

"Eh? You said something, Yusuke?"

"I didn't say anything at all."

"Are you for certain they can see us, Celestine?"

"Ah, William. Better be patient for now. You can contact them after the little skirmish is done."

Ryuji slumped on the seat. "I'm beginning to hear things."

 

Arriving in Odaiba, Shiho rushes towards Ren and the crew and warns them about their Personas' extensive assistance.

"It seems we should separate from your flesh in the meantime to keep the heathens at bay."

"For the most part, yes. But what about Maruki? He has no more Persona - hell, we are standing at what used to be his Palace!"

"Patience, my prince. We will coordinate with each other to buy you time for defensive formations."

Akechi growled and loaded his gun as Ren makes him put it down.

"We're not killing them. Remember what Narukami proposed to us."

Defeated, Akechi puts the gun down and glares at Shiho. "Then why does she get to hold her gun?"

"I'm doing this for warning shots, Akechi. Unlike you, I'm not homicidal." Shiho spat back.

Sumire looks at Maruki and asks him to hide in his taxi in the meantime. He complies and wishes them luck as everyone began forming.

 

Time: 1600 hours

Makoto and the rest finally arrive in the district after cursing at the traffic and toll roads. Watching the train station, they began circling around as they look for Shiho. Unbeknownst to everyone, Morgana was inside with them as he waited for the right timing. Ann spots Shiho walking out of the station and orders Makoto to gun it, but they suddenly stop in the middle of the road.

"What the f- Why did we stop?!"

Haru looks outside from the window. "Our tires are popped!"

Forced to go on foot, they chase down Shiho again. Said person runs once again as she leads them to the unfinished Odaiba construction.

"She's slowing down!"

"We got you now, Shiho. No more r-"

Morgana lunges at each one of them and begins to screw around with them, angering Ryuji further.

"YOU FUCKING CAT!"

"Come and get me, monkey boy!"

Morgana met up with Shiho as they spot Team Makoto in close range and enter the area. With the uncertainty and unpredictable layout of the place, Ann attempts to use Celestine to scout for them. Her Persona recruits the others as they are not yet operationally connected with their users.

"Switching to the heartbeat detector!" Futaba pulls out a device and slowly walks so she can get their heartbeat locations.

"Come on... come on...."

Ann felt something off as the Personas returned empty-handed.

"This place is almost like a labyrinth of emptiness." Makoto commented on how hollow yet complex the layout of the site is.

"This stupid thing isn't getting any heartbeats!" Futaba was getting impatient.

As they turned to the next corner, they spot Ren sneaking around.

"Ren-kun!" Haru alerted everyone.

"Damnit." Ren began to run and perform parkour to escape them.

"Ren Amamiya, you have a lot of explaining to do!"

"Sorry, Ann, but this is a kiss-and-tell secret only."

"Asshole!"

As they reached the open area, Ren attempts to book it faster until Makoto fired a bullet onto his path, causing him to stop.

"YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE THIS TIME!" Makoto aimed her Colt Python at him. Ren raises his hands up and turns around to look at them.

"Guys, I can explain..." He started.

"It better be a good explanation, dude! You've been duping us for quite some time now." Ryuji made his move as he pulls his SPAS-12 at Ren.

"Dude, you're not gonna put me on Hold Up, are ya?"

"You left us no choice, Ren-kun." Haru pulled her M79 GL.

"Yusuke, bud. Help a guy out?"

Yusuke pulls out his H&K 416, but remains quiet as he shifted his gaze around his environment.

"You have no idea how much trouble I'm getting into..."

"And you had enough balls to bullshit on us when we wanted the truth." Ann points her dual VZ61 submachine guns at him.

Ren sighed in sadness. "I was hoping we'd do this the easy way....." He opens his hands, then closes it to a fist. "I guess not."

Machine gunfire began to scare the Thieves into finding the shooter before Ryuji gets kicked by Akechi, Morgana pounces on Futaba, Sumire charges at Haru, Kasumi tackles Yusuke, and Shiho ambushes Ann, leaving Ren to go one on one with the Queen.

 

Ren vs. Makoto

Shiho vs. Ann

Akechi vs. Ryuji

Kasumi vs. Yusuke

Sumire vs. Haru

Morgana vs. Futaba

 

Amidst the confusion, Makoto was not quick enough to see Ren jab her face and disarm her.

"Makoto, stand down. That punch is just a warning shot."

Makoto recovers and cracks her knuckles. "Better make me stand down, Ren."

Ren begins to avoid Makoto's aikido attacks and counters them with his mixed martial arts skills. Block after block, hit after hit... both the leader and the lieutenant went at it without hesitation.

"Ow!" Makoto takes a kick to the ribs before faking a haymaker at Ren.

"Caught ya!" Ren then felt his jaw in pain after a strong uppercut. "Damnit."

"You wanna talk now? Or get hurt even more?"

Seeing Makoto pull out her brass knuckles, Ren chuckles to himself. "Best of both worlds, Makoto. Come on."

 

Fists against feet, Shiho and Ann clash against each other as the latters guns went berserk and clicked.

"Damnit, Shiho!" She breaks free from her lock and goes into a fighting stance.

"Ann, this is for your good. Step down right now." Shiho raises her hands.

Ann, however, is not gonna back down to just a simple surrender from her best friend. The very best friend who worked as a Phantom Thief behind her back.

"So you really are a Phantom Thief now? I thought I was your best friend, Shiho."

"Call me Diamond, Panther."

Ann grimaced in anger as Shiho grinned in arrogance. "Let me show you what I got."

Closing her hands, Shiho blocks Ann's somersault and fires back with a right hook, which was blocked by Ann. They clash legs as they deflected their kicks.

 

Akechi kicked Ryuji in the leg to send the shotgun shells flying upward. Ryuji swings the shotgun and hits Akechi in the face.

"Howdja like that, asshole!"

Akechi smoothly stood back up and cracked the joints that held him back. "That was just a warm-up."

"So howdja return from the dead?"

"Ask Ren that, you idiot. I'm not some know-it-all entity."

Ryuji then gritted his teeth as he shook off the lingering pain in his leg. "Same old self-condescendin' bastard."

Akechi let out a smug but sinister grin. "Call me shameless, if you must."

Ryuji launches a fist while Akechi raises his leg as both managed to hit each other critically.

 

"So we meet again, Millee." Yusuke coldly stated as he recovers from her tackle.

"I'm starting to get tired of that name." Kasumi sighed. "But then again, so is this disguise." She removes her disguise to reveal her gym attire from earlier. She retains the wig, though.

"So you had your training like this?"

"In a way. Hit me with your best shot, Fox." She calls him out.

Yusuke uses the walking stick and swings it at her. Unfortunately for him, she dodges his attacks as his body physique, matched with the crude piece of wood, wore him out faster than he can say Masukukaja.

"What? Getting as slow as a snail now?" She went off-guard and gets hit by the stick in the same area where Akechi kicked her days ago.

"It seems that this is how old men fight."

"Gee, ya think? Fucking idiot." She performs a sweep kick on him as she holds her jaw temporarily.

 

Haru's grenade round flies above Ren as Sumire charged at her. Haru is enraged as she picks up a shovel nearby.

"You've tested my patience long enough, Sumire-chan!"

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Haru-senpai." Sumire cockily replies before her eyes widened at what happens next.

Haru swings the shovel as Sumire dodges it.

'You've been very selfish with Ren-kun lately... Didn't your family teach you how to share?!"

Another swing.

"Haru-senpai, we're protecting you all from danger! Don't you all understand that?"

Sumire's eyes widened again as Haru slammed the shovel near her and breaks it in the process.

"You should have been telling us the truth from the start."

Haru swings the broken shovel, but Sumire kicks it off her hand as she dares her to go fisticuffs.

 

"STUPID CAT!"

"DEVILISH INKLING!"

Futaba attempts to shake Morgana into spilling the truth, but Morgana's cat form forces Futaba to go for measures she would call hilarious.

"Quit making me turn around in circles, Mona!"

"That's your own fault!" He arrogantly left Futaba dizzy as he softly pounces off her.

 

Blow after blow, Ren and Makoto still went at it with their combat movesets. Ren made sure she wouldn't get hurt entire as she is still feeling the pain of yesterday's incident.

"I hope you're happy about abandoning us." Makoto angrily yelled as she tries to perform a roundhouse.

"Does it look like I'm happy with this!?" Ren responded as he blocks her kick and pulls her in for a sucker punch.

"Then why won't you tell us the truth?!"

"You can't handle the truth this time!"

Makoto finds an opening and begins throwing a flurry of fists onto Ren's torso. Trying to stop her, he slaps her ears that temporarily rung her ears.

"That was a dirty move!" She complained as she held her head.

Ren spat a few blood. "So were your punches, Fist of the Phantom Star."

 

Ann receives a kick to the face from Shiho, who has already gained a black eye from Ann's fist.

"You hit harder than I thought." Shiho lamented.

"I've gotten stronger, remember?" Ann bragged.

"Pfft, I'm still landing harder hits than you, fish sticks."

"You'll eat your words, Suzui."

Ann intentionally kicks Shiho in the knee, who winces in pain as she jabs Ann in the gut.

"Ow, my stomach!" Ann goes down on one knee, holding her torso.

"Your fault for kicking my knee!" Shiho tries her best not to fall down.

 

Akechi and Ryuji square off as the two of them already showed bruises and blood.

"Never knew you were soft, Akechi." Ryuji taunted.

"I was being merciful. You prefer me being psychotic?" He flashed a look that scared Ryuji in a way.

"Uh, n-no." He shifted his position. "Just don't try to kill me."

"That was the plan all along."

Catching the blonde off-guard, Akechi kicks him in the face before noticing Ryuji catching his foot upon impact. The charge commander of the Thieves then pulls him in for a hammer fist in the face, sending Akechi down to the ground. Akechi hisses as he kicks Ryuji in the groin in retaliation.

 

Sumire gracefully evades Haru's kicks, which she is surprised at how strong she was after breaking a hollow cement block next to her.

"How are you this strong? You're full of surprises, Okumura-senpai!" She spoke.

"Sumire-chan, I know you're trying to distract me." Haru figured out her ploy.

"And here I thought, it would work." Sumire sighs as she takes a few steps back.

Haru notices her backing up and grins as she approaches her.

"Okumura-senpai, please... I don't want to hurt anyone...." Sumire tries to talk her out of it.

"Don't worry, Sumire-chan. I promise I'll be very gentle."

Before Haru can strike, Sumire pulls out a ribbon and dances her way to her back as she ties her wrists and leaves her tied to a rebar.

 

Yusuke and Kasumi continue their brawl as she is about to be overpowered by his speed.

"It seems the tables have turned for our fight in my favor now." Yusuke boldly declared as she lands a kick onto her face. The beauty mark is revealed again as Kasumi backhands Yusuke in the ribs.

"Didn't Madarame ever teach you not to be violent towards women?!" She growled in anger.

"How did you know what Madarame told me!?"

Kasumi already grew tired of running and hiding, so she pulls out a gun and aims it in front of Yusuke.

 

Everyone stops fighting as they watch Kasumi pointing the gun at the blue-haired boy.

"Just what the hell are you doing?" Ann barked as Shiho backed up to Kasumi's side.

"You all don't know how to take a hint, huh?" Kasumi spoke in her own voice.

"We can't fight with our guns, but YOU can?"

"Wait, your accent dropped." Yusuke pointed out, upsetting Kasumi more.

"Of course it fucking dropped."

She removes her wig and reveals her brown hair. Taking off her eye contacts and makeup, everyone on the original team was in shock.

"K-Kasumi Yoshizawa!?" Futaba yelled as Morgana scurried back to Ren's team, who have already convened alongside Kasumi.

"What's going on!?" Ann demanded answers now, and so they shall receive.

"Yes, I'm Kasumi Yoshizawa. The supposedly-dead Yoshizawa twin.... and the surviving one."

Ren stepped forward and explained.

"The Kasumi Yoshizawa you know is not alive. This Kasumi is from another world..." He paused as he stares at them. "A world where we all died."

Suddenly, everyone's anger dropped.

"D-D-Died?" Haru stuttered in fear.

"I call your bluff, you faker!" Futaba points at her with accusation.

Kasumi spoke. "You already knew by now about the Sacrificial Lamb project, right?"

"How did you know about that? Was that based on your disguise yesterday or you already knew about it for quite some time now?" Makoto seriously inquired. This is what they had in mind, but the fight was quite unexpected on their part.

"The Sacrificial Lamb project entails the idea that it will use a Persona user's energy and power to permanently seal the barrier between this world and the Shadow world. According to what we found on the files and hieroglyphics, the process begins on a midnight of full moon where any Persona user being nominated will have a little chance of survival."

Sumire watched Kasumi's finger as she keeps it off the trigger. But considering that this version of her sister is impulsive at times, she holds her hand to keep her collected.

"As of yesterday, our intel was updated. Rather than have the users be at the maximum of 15, only the Wild Cards' powers are required since they can withstand enough pain to deliver the goal into success."

Makoto looks at Ren, her eyes telling them that she is beginning to worry. "Why didn't you say this to us? We could have helped!"

Ren's tone went icy as he lectured them. "And get you killed in the process? No! After what Kasumi told me about what happened in their world, I am not going to allow that to happen in our world."

"And for the most part, it seemed he need a team to remain subtle in the operations we have undergone."

Ann didn't hesitate to object. "But your appearance on TV and in the Platinum Star weren't subtle!"

"It was to confirm that Kirijo Corporations are not handling their business like they should. They claim safety and security when they were the ones responsible for summoning the Shadows to the real world without merging both!"

"And you'd expect us to standby? Dude, you're our goddamn leader!" Ryuji howled in fury.

"I ordered you all to stand down! Now look at what's happening! Risking your own goddamn lives against my orders."

"Orders that deviate from what our duties our!"

Kasumi snapped. "IF HE HAS TO PUT A BULLET ON ALL OF YOU TO FOLLOW HIS ORDERS, HE WILL!"

"Shut up, fake Yoshi-" Futaba stopped after Kasumi fires at her spot. "I give up! Don't kill me!"

"Kasumi, calm down." Shiho comforted her, but Ann brought out the elephant in the room.

"And speaking of which, SHIHO, why the hell did you keep all of this a secret to me?"

"Oh, me keeping my secret identity isn't allowed while you can?"

"The hell is that supposed to mean?!"

"You should have told me the truth about you guys being Phantom Thieves! The vigilantes of justice against an unfair injustice. The epitome of heroes going against the world to save it."

Ann looked as Shiho continued.

"I only became a Phantom Thief for only a week... yet it feels like a lifetime fighting side by side with Ren, Morgana, Sumire, and Akechi. You wanted to inspire people, dontcha Ann? You inspired me, and that's been the best thing you've ever done for me."

"Shiho, I-"

"So please.... let us return the favor and do this job for you guys." Shiho calmed down as the machine gun he hid drops to her hands. She aims it directly at them. "Even if it means putting you all into retirement by force."

Ann felt the regret in Shiho's warning. Ryuji then spoke up with an upset expression.

"So you're breaking us all up? Is that what you're trying to say?"

"It's a suicide mission, Ryuji. I can't have everyone die because of my actions."

"But you're bringing my best friend with you to that suicide mission, Ren!"

Akechi chuckled at their protests. "You all don't get it. He needs our skills and not yours in this mission, so fuck off already!"

"We didn't ask you to speak, dipshit!"

"Care for a rematch then?"

Ann approaches Shiho. "You do realize that if you die this time, it's all on you. Right?"

"Just fuck off, Ann. I know what I'm doing, and I don't hesitate in making these tasks happen."

Sumire decided to join in the argument. "I know you guys are being upset by all this... and I know you are all eager to assist us in fighting Mitsuru and her men, but I'm gonna have to stop you right here."

"Sumire-chan?"

"Kasumi here is from a world where we all died. And the men responsible for our deaths are already here on this Earth to expand their reign of terror. Kasumi is the last surviving Phantom Thief, and maybe the last surviving Persona user. She has enough survivor's guilt to hold on to as she is fighting to save our world when she couldn't save theirs."

Yusuke holds the stick in his hands and goes for uncharted territory as he looks at Kasumi. "So this was made by me in your world?"

"You carved it for Madarame on his birthday. When Akira told me that he used that stick to beat you when you couldn't give him an artwork..."

Yusuke drops the walking stick as he was mortified of the revelation. Makoto accuses her of trying to scare them off. Kasumi continued.

"You won't believe me? Let me run down how everyone right now died in my world: Haru Okumura was assassinated by a car bomb along with her father during Christmas..."

Haru then wondered. Killed with Father on a Christmas day?

"... Shiho Suzui hung herself after getting raped by Kamoshida..."

Ann looked at Shiho in front of her. Shiho can barely keep up with her anger as she tightened her grip on the gun from hearing how she died in Earth XX.

"... Morgana was murdered by police. He was never a cat in my world to begin with..."

For obvious reasons, Morgana was surprised by her statement. I forgot about that.

"... Ann Takamaki committed suicide after remembering Shiho's death..."

Ann now looked at Kasumi, who was shedding a few tears while keeping the pistol pointed at them. I killed myself?

"... Yusuke Kitagawa and Ryuji Sakamoto died fighting Kirijo soldiers in the ruins of LeBlanc..."

Ryuji releases his fist and placed his hands in his pocket. Damn, I went down either like a boss or like a wuss.

Yusuke looked down on the stick. My own demise was due to my inability to fight in the real world?

"... Makoto Niijima, Goro Akechi, and Futaba Sakura died while covering me to safety when Kenzo Manahashi terrorized our escape...

Akechi kept his cool as he did anticipate his counterpart's death. Makoto looked at Futaba, who was attentively listening.

I ended up like Dad. Fighting evil in the name of justice does have its flaws.

I don't why, but I feel like this Kasumi is being truthful. But still... why did I die?

".... Sumire Yoshizawa committed suicide by truck after I failed to b-b-b-be her sist-t-ter..."

Everyone then sees how broken Kasumi still was, with Sumire holding hands tighter.

"....A-a-and Akira Kurusu... the love of my life... my shining light in the darkness.... died saving us all from Maruki's false reality that we were under for a year."

Kasumi drops the gun and shakes her head to shake off the feeling. Futaba speaks up after she finished.

"I never heard Ren's name mentioned."

"That's because Akira is Ren."

The original Thieves turn to Ann, who finally understood what their mission was. "You told me that your song was based on losing the person you loved dearly. But from hearing your story now... you lost all of us, with Re- I mean, Akira being your biggest loss. No wonder you used our code names instead of our real names."

Kasumi nods her head as she wiped off the tears.

"You want us safe, right?"

She nods her head again. Ann walks up to Ren.

"Ren, I-"

"It's okay. You're gonna try and tell me not to get killed like always, right?"

Ann looked at him with a baffled expression. Did he just read my mind or am I getting too predictable?

"Yeah."

"I can't promise you that, though. We're fighting a group of Persona users siding with Mitsuru, so the odds are higher."

Ryuji broke his silence. "So that's it? You're really putting us out of commission. For good."

Sumire faced them with serious eyes. "I'm sorry, Ryuji-senpai, but it is the only way to ensure your safety as well as ours."

Akechi added his remarks. "Although I would advise Ren to have you on standby, that wouldn't be the case if we were to fight someone who has a sudden Wild Card nature that can murder us if not the military."

Makoto asked, curious at what Akechi meant. "Wild Card?"

"The man, Kenzo Manahashi... he was associated with Shido back in the old days, and his counterpart in Kasumi's world is far deadlier than our version. He nearly killed us during our short mission in Hiroshima."

Shiho kept her eyes on Ann as she lowers the machine gun. "How much more convincing do you want?"

Ann turned to Shiho and walked to her at a closer and safer distance. "A few more." Both girls returned to showing anger at each other.

"Then there's Maruki's counterpart. His false reality lasted for a year, and he has his Guiding Tendrils in his power. He can kill anyone with them without warning."

Futaba looked at Ren, now feeling sadness. "We can't convince you to let us join... at all? Even after all the missions and hardships we went through?"

Ren nods as it was his turn to announce. "This will be my final mission as Joker. After that, I'm retiring from the Metaverse warfare for good."

Yusuke pointed something out. "Funny. That's what Ann said as well."

 

After silence blew around them for minutes, Haru gave off a sad face and turns to the exit. "Let's go, everyone."

"H-Haru?" Makoto was unsure with her sudden mood.

"Ren-kun's right. And so was Sumire-chan. We can't be fighting this war if we'll end up losing."

Futaba objected. "But what about the plan tonight?"

Ren, Shiho, and Sumire asked in unison. "Plan?"

"No point in hiding it now, Futaba-chan" Haru advised her as she stops by the doorway.

"We're infiltrating Kirijo Fortress while Yusuke gives her the nude painting he made."

"And it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for you, Suzui-san."

"Shut up." Shiho sighed, remembering the night her eyes were not innocent anymore.

"So Haru, Yusuke, and I will be going to Kirijo-san to gather info." Makoto sighed in defeat. "We'll relay the intel we gathered and retire for good."

"Guys, I-"

"Ren-kun, I'm gonna agree. I'll retire as well after we get information from Mitsuru. I hope this will help you entirely."

Haru wiped off a few tears as she, Makoto, Futaba, and Yusuke leave the area. Ryuji approaches Ren and punches him in the face, prompting Makoto and Haru to scold him.

"So much for being my best bud, man." he growled in a low voice.

Ren stood back up and jabbed Ryuji in the jaw. "Now we're even."

Morgana finally spoke up. "Should we head for the chopper now?"

"CHOPPER!?" Now everyone was suddenly peaked.

"You dunno when to keep your mouth shut, cat." Akechi said as he facepalmed.

"Not big enough for the 12 of us, anyway." Ren admitted. "And it's still on repair."

"For just a tiny crack in the windshield though." Shiho pouted at Ren.

"Dude, you abandoned us, made us disband, now you're gonna cruise along with your new team in a helicopter?"

Ren felt how upset his friends were, and remained quiet instead to avoid more arguments.

"See ya, Amamiya. And I definitely don't wanna be ya." Ryuji turns and leaves the place.

"Shiho, can I have a word with Ren?"

"Not when I'm in front of you."

"God, how much more of a bitch can you be?" Ann was getting annoyed.

"You lost your faith in Ren as a leader, and in me as your best friend. I can be a bitch when I want to be, Takamaki."

Ann stepped back after Shiho called her by her last name instead of the usual 'Ann'. She looked at Sumire instead.

"Sumire, can I borrow your boyfriend for a bit?"

"Why?"

"I just.... want a word with him. In private."

Ren gestured Sumire to wait for him by their exit as the rest made their way out of the site. Ren then turns to Ann, who held her arm and looked on her feet.

"About earlier.... I just want to apologize on behalf of everyone."

"Why?"

"It's just that... we miss you, you know? And I know you're trying to protect us from whatshisname and Kirijo-san. But couldn't you have been more straightforward and told us that you were going to be busy and let us help you without the need for our powers?"

Ren looked at her and felt guilty. Maybe he was being overprotective with his methods.

"And we're still friends, remember? At least let us have some time together..."

"With the way everyone acted, this entire day is a roller-coaster of emotions now."

Ann looked at him dead in the eyes. "If you can't promise to keep yourselves safe, at least promise me one thing."

"What's that?"

"Don't lose sight of us. We're gonna be struggling in forgiving you, but we'll make sure that whatever you to make up for this mission of yours should be enough."

In an act of impulse, Ann puts her lips on Ren's as they kiss. Sumire's eyes widened, then she furrowed her brows in anger. After their kiss, Ann looked away from Ren and cast her gaze at Sumire.

"I, uh-"

"I'm sorry, Ren. I'll, uh, go talk to Sumire... even if I will be slapped twice or thrice."

"Ann..."

Ann leaves to goes talk to Sumire about what she and Ren discussed. Surprisingly, she only received one slap in the face as she enlightened Sumire about a few things as well.

"Something off your chest, huh?"

"I'm really, really sorry, Sumire-chan. It's just-"

"I get it, Ann-senpai. You still have feelings for him. But you should have told me you wanted to make out with my boyfriend."

"I wasn't making out with him. Hell, I know that my kiss to him is empty. You're his girlfriend after all, and I'm just the half-jealous admirer."

"I forgive you for that. Just... don't do that again after something like this. Nor will you do that coz you feel like it. Okay?" Sumire was already upset, but she had to be careful in how she scolds Ann.

Ann nods and gives her a small awkward hug as she wishes them luck. After leaving the area, Sumire slaps Ren twice.

"I knew it."

"Why'd you let her kiss you?"

"I didn't know, okay?"

Sumire crossed her arms and sighed. "She apologized for it anyway. So let's not dwell on it furthermore."

Reuniting with Akechi, Shiho, Kasumi, and Morgana...

"Man, Narukami was right. We convinced them that the mission is entirely dangerous." the cat said somberly.

"I know I have every right to be mad at them, but... I feel a bit sorry for them, too." Shiho lamented.

"I know we have to apologize to them, but we are already behind schedule." Akechi reminded them as he remembered something. "Okumura, Niijima, and Kitagawa will be doing us the favor then. And if ever they end up in trouble, we can just simply pick them up with the chopper and bring them home."

"That's quite considerate of you, Akechi."

"I am a human being, Suzui. I am still capable of feeling emotions."

Kasumi stared at Ren and Sumire. "Were we too harsh on them?"

"We might be." Ren scratched his head as he admitted. "It's my fault I kept them in the dark."

"I had a lot of things to tell them, but I'll save it for another time."

"When this is all over, Kasumi." Sumire pats her shoulder before hugging her. "We'll make sure you hang out with them even for just one day."

"Shall we go now? We still have a mission to do, and a side mission to stay patient for."

At Morgana's heed, the new Phantom Thieves set out for Suidobashi to re-plan and reorganize themselves.