Meet my umbra.
Welcome to the Dark Hour, the twenty-fifth hour of the day.
[image1]I sense you have already survived the Shadows that appear during this ghastly time, monsters who feast on ripe human minds past the cover of midnight. You show much courage, scampering through streets splattered with blood, through air that is thick with the scent of flesh. But your power has only just awakened. Your Persona is still young and fragile, so ruthless and fresh.
Oh, sorry, if I disturb you. We have been expecting you for a very long time. Please have a seat. You are safe here in the Velvet Room.
You may call me Igor. And this is Elizabeth, my yellow-eyed assistant. We are most delighted to have you. So please set your Evoker gun aside. You need not summon your Persona here.
Besides, there is plenty of time to shoot yourself in the head later.
You probably wonder why you, an ordinary high-school boy seemingly plucked straight from an ordinary manga, have such an extraordinary power. The last thing you worried about was acne and whether that girl would notice. But surely, you’re not alone. Your classmates, your friends, are waiting just outside this room, waiting to show the strength of their Personas as well. And I’m sure you’ll find others who have the potential.
Defend them well, for they protect you of their own free will. It is their choice whether to heed your orders in battle, as true friends are not slaves. But you need not worry. You can trust them well enough. Experience is all they need to learn how to fight, how never to cast fire on a fiery demon more than once.
Be grateful for this, as Shadows are formidable, no matter how small. If they catch you on the field by surprise, you will pay dearly. So strike them from behind before the battle begins and exploit their weaknesses for more opportunities to attack. Before they exploit yours much the same.
[image2]But never forget that you are all plagued by your human bodies. You will all need to be awake and healthy if you are to conquer Tartarus, the haunted, ever-changing, and magnificent spire your school transforms into. Ah, the beauty of the Dark Hour.
So take excessive bathroom breaks and sleep in class, if you don’t already.
But you are not your friends in one regard. You, my boy, are a shape-shifter – a chameleon. You can wield the powers of more than just one Persona, of terrifying and unimaginable might. And I shall aid you in this quest with utmost pleasure. Bring me two, even three or more Personas left in the spoils of fallen monsters, and I shall fuse them together into wondrous forms. Odin, Thor, Susanoo, Vishnu, Beelzebub, Satan – no pantheon in this world is beyond your reach!
Yes, I can smell your unearthly success. The scent may be weak now, but it will be potent with time. This, I promise: you will command the gods.
Under one condition…
Your Persona’s strength is rooted in your psyche, built only by your mind and your bonds with others. It would do you well to bolster your Academics, build on your Courage, and cultivate your Charm, if only to acquire friendships that will awaken your true power.
…You must develop.
Talking actually matters. It is this web of Social Links which secures your Personas, fastens them with strength. Spar with the captain of the Kendo team, buy a brand bag for your girlfriend, learn from the cunning businessman – leave no stone unturned if you can.
For time is precious, as routine as it may seem, and some stones left unturned may remain so forever. So take all the time you need to decide what you will, but know that you are to blame for how you spend it. Every full moon, a fierce Shadow will arise from the darkness to test you. How often you train in Tartarus, nurture your relations, do your homework, wander about the stores and cafes in the mall, and visit us (*grin*) shouldn’t be too hard to manage.
You are a student.
[image3]Sorting out the noise, chatter – the daily buzz – while idly spending the time you have left on this earth should be second nature by now. That’s what headphones are good for, especially with a daring tracklist all prepared. Rap electronica battle music. Songs with lyrics in the daytime. Surely, you wish you could tune out the lectures from your teachers and the stale voice of the chairman, as well as every time your friends exclaim how many enemies there are or that a moving monster isn’t dead.
Still, if that is your only complaint, then you wouldn’t have made it here. You may think the Dark Hour to be a fabrication, twisted with rules and philosophical hogwash. But that isn’t far from school, is it?
I suggest you not think about it. It’s hardly fun to contemplate kookiness – my long nose or your Id.
Besides, you have a gun. Use it.