A Return Trip Home

AN: Here we go again... This story contains characters of Kate's creation and of my creation. All other characters are either copyright of their owners. Thanks go out again to Kate for letting me use her characters! Please, e-mail all comments to FrankMayn@comcast.net

"Finally..." Diane muttered as she emerged from the ruins. "I'm jes glad ta git out of there..."

"What's wrong, Diane?" Alex asked his sister as he too emerged from the concealed stairway.

"I thin'... yeah... Storm Caller wasn' powerful enough down there... Before we take on th' Snow Queen, I'd like ta get some new ammunition..." Diane pumped her shotgun to release the last spent shell that was still chambered.

"You're still using the GoldPacks that I gave you?" Frank asked he emerged from the ruins. After he came out, the rest of his group was soon on his heels, taking in breaths of fresh air.

"Yeah... why? Is there somethin' stronger?" Diane asked, tail waving innocently. However, Frank didn't catch that.

"Well, yes. My SilverPacks are stronger... and then there are Dead Ends, and Whispers. Those bullets are rare... Either a high level Persona has to be released, or there's a chance a high level demon could drop them."

"Really..." Diane said innocently. "Is there a chance tha' one of th' stores her might be carryin' them?

"Well... yeah, I think..." Frank answered.

"Actually..." Brad said as he turned to the two. "There's a chance... I mean, the Rosa Candida and the Parabellum have been acquiring new gear as time passes... See, the stores in Joy Street were sucked into the same place as the school."

"Thank you Brad..." Diane replied as her tail flicked about. The woren turned back to Frank with the cutest look she could manage.

"Frank..." Diane said sweetly as her tail waved about.

Instantly, the Persona User in question ceased up. He slowly turned to Diane. "Er... um... yes???" Frank stammered out.

Diane looked at the Persona User and batted her eyelashes cutely. "Ya know... I nearly hurt mahself in there when Storm Caller wasn' strong enough... Could ya..."

"Ah... um... er..." Frank stammered, as he began to turn a bright shade of red.

"Meow! He looks like an apple! Purr..." Neko-Chan stated before giggling in a cute, kitty like way.

"Ah... could ya please, Frank?" Diane asked before letting out a low, throaty purr at the Persona User.

Frank became an even brighter shade of red, which brought about a lot of giggles from his friends, Janet included.

"Tellka? What's wrong with Frank? Why is he so red???" Kate asked, full of confusion.

Tellka chuckled. "Don't worry about it Kate... Just don't worry about it..." Tellka continued to watch Frank and was thoroughly amused. The way her tail was moving was proof.

"Ah... uh... okay Diane... I'm sure that all of us... er... ah... could use stronger ammo..." The Persona User finally managed to get out.

"Why thank ya Frank..." Diane said sweetly before purring again.

"Love... Frank's in no condition to take us to the next place..." Ellen said as she held back a chuckle.

Alex's tail continued to wave in amusement. "I see, hon! What I want to know is how she does that... Anyway... Ellie, why don't you take lead for a moment? Just until Frank recovers..."

Ellen cleared her throat. "All right then... shall we get going? I think the best place would be the Sun Mall... there's a portal to the Velvet Room there, along with a Parabellum store. We can get what we need there..."

"Ellen's right..." Yuki replied before placing her knives back into her jacket. "We've got to get going... Now that we've got all five shards, we can end this!"

"Besides..." Janet added. "Some of us want to go home... Our parents must be worried..."

Ellen nodded. "Right... so, let's get going, shall we?"

The group of adventurers began to follow her. Kate and Tellka had to help Frank, since he was still beet red and was in no condition to move, thanks to Diane exploiting his little weakness once more.

In no time flat, the group made it to the Sun Mall. No one noticed that a small, white demon dressed in jester's clothing was following them.

Once inside the mall, the group sat down on the benches that overlooked the fountain in center court.

"So..." Frank said after finally regaining his senses. "Let's head to the Parabellum first... Diane and I will go... Let's see... Three boxes of twelve gauge shells... some 9mm rounds for Janet and Brad... and a box of... Ellie, what calibur is the 133Mouse again?"

"Um..." Ellen said as she pulled her rifle from her back. She ripped the magazine free and looked at the bullets.

"5.56 NATO or similar... Does that help?" Ellen asked as she replaced her rifle.

"Yeah... thanks Ellen... C'mon Diane, we've got things to do." Frank said as he motioned for the weapon crazy woren to follow him.

Diane and Frank made their way to the Parabellum. The Persona User could have sworn that he had heard an excited purr coming from the woren.

Hoo boy... I don't know if it was a mistake to bring her here...

Frank opened the door to the gun shop and let Diane in first. As expected, she acted like a kid in a candy store, only this was more like a woren in a weapon store. The Persona User chuckled as he watched Diane run from rack to rack, testing each gun happily.

Okay... Guns and Diane just seem to go together... She's handled herself well with the shotgun I gave her...

"Um... Frank?" Diane asked.

The Persona User turned, and noticed that Diane was now hefting a massive machine gun weapon that sported six rotating barrels. Frank raised an eyebrow at the weapon before sweatdropping.

"Wha is this thin'???" The woren asked as she eyed the sleek barrels of the weapon.

"That's a gatling gun... As it fires, the barrels rotate. It's a cross between the weapons Ellen uses and the ones Brad and Alex use..." Frank explained.

"But mah bro isn't usin' a gun at th' moment..." Diane explained.

"Not your brother, but another friend of mine... Alex Meyers. He uses submachine guns like the ones we've seen Tammy with. That weapon basically combines the speed of a machine gun with the sheer power of a rifle." Frank explained. He noticed that Diane was quickly taking in the information and was thinking about something.

She's got a good head about weapons... like what Jess saw in me when she took me in... I wonder...

"Speaking of Alex..." Frank said as he eyed the massive gun. "We're about to go up against something terribly big... and he's still unarmed... And we've got enough cash from all the demons that we've had to exterminate..."

"What're you sayin', Frank?" Diane asked as her tail lashed about.

"Alex needs a gun... That should do..." Frank said as he pointed to the gatling gun.

"Aw... c'mon, Frank! At least let me have this one... Please?" Diane said sweetly. She didn't catch him off guard though.

"No. There's a good reason too. I know you're athletic and such, but the way you're built... Alex has a better chance of standing when the kick of the gun..."

"Okay... okay... Ah git th' point..." Diane said as she shook her head. "Anyway, let's get th' bullets fer our guns..."

Frank nodded and approached the clerk with Diane in tow. She was still carrying the gatling gun and was purring in appreciation. After making their purchases, both the woren and the Persona User left the store and checked on the ammo that the clerk had given them.

"Okay... Let's see here..." Frank said before unlatching a metal shotgun shell case. The Persona User pulled out a jet-black shotgun shell.

"This is a Whisper... It's the strongest shotgun shell out there... Besides being packed with heavy gunpowder, it's got some magic in it to paralyze an enemy completely." Frank explained before opening another shell case.

This time, the Persona User pulled out a granite gray shotgun shell that had a rock like pattern to it.

"Okay... these are Dead Ends... they're just a tiny bit weaker than the Whispers... but these have magic in them to turn an enemy into stone... Okay Diane, ladies first. Which one would you like? I've got two boxes of Whispers and one box of Dead Ends..."

Diane placed a finger to her chin and thought about it for a moment.

"Ya know... as tempted as I am to say I want th' stronger ones... but after bein' turned into a statue once... I'd like ta turn th' tables... Gimme the Dead Ends, Frank..." Diane said with a grin.

"Here you go... all yours..." The Persona User replied as he handed the case to Diane. The woren began to purr as she loaded the shells into the bottom of her gun.

"Oh yeah!" Diane said energetically as she pumped her twelve gauge to chamber a round. "Much better!!!"

Frank just chuckled at his friend. "C'mon... we've gotta get back and give this stuff to the others..."

Both of them made their way back to center court with their purchases. Janet received some Whispers for her Beretta, Yuki loaded some Whispers as well, while Ellen was the recipient of some Dead Ends for her rifle.

"Alex... we thought about what we're going to go up against... So we got you a weapon... Here." Frank explained as he handed the massive gun to him.

Alex's eyes went wide as Frank showed him the Gatling Gun. "Um... thanks? I don't know what to say..."

"Jes take th' gun, ya dummy! He's givin' it ta ya!!!" Diane yelled at her brother.

"Okay... okay..." Alex said as he hefted the massive weapon. "How does this thing work?"

"Well... It uses 7.67 rounds... stronger than what Ellie's using... You just drop the rounds in the box up here, and pull the hammer back. As it fires, the barrel rotates..." Frank explained as he handed a box of Whispers to Alex.

Janet took a look at Alex's new weapon before unholstering her Beretta. She looked at the 9mm, then at Alex's weapon before sighing again.

"Ladon..." Janet muttered. "Why do I always get the weaker things..." Without thinking, Janet twirled her handgun and holstered it.

"Anyway..." Brad said as he slammed a fresh clip of Dead Ends into his machine pistol. "Shouldn't we get to the Velvet Room?"

"Myah... Brad's right... That mirror needs to be fixed to its normal state... magical... SHINY!!! Meow!" Neko-Chan said before holding her hands together and getting that kawaii look.

Frank chuckled. "Brad and Neko-Chan are right... let's head to the Velvet Room..."

"And where exactly is this Velvet Room???" Janet asked.

"It's across from Judgement 1999: Arcade and Casino..." Frank replied as he lead his friends to the place in question.

"Tellka... Look! It's..." Kate started as she looked at the blue double doors.

"The same doors that appeared in the armory..." Tellka said thoughtfully. "I suppose that this time... we'll actually get to see what was behind there..."

Frank opened the double blue doors and let his friends into the Velvet Room.

The room was, for a lack of better words, blue. The walls were painted in a deep, royal blue that had darker blue stripes going vertically down each wall. Each adventurer could feel the plush, royal blue carpet underneath their feet as they slowly walked into what seemed like another world. At a dark blue, grand piano was the piano player, Nameless.

Nameless: The pianist of souls. He looks to be about twenty something. He's wearing a white dress shirt with a black bowtie, and a pair of black dress slacks. He's always seen with a blindfold made of rich, purple velvet. No one knows if he is truly blind... not even Igor. Nameless has the ability to read a person's soul...

Beside the piano was a woman wearing a rich, black dress. She seemed to be wearing an elaborate head dress along with some purple eye shadow. The woman seemed to carry a look of sadness. Despite this, she was constantly there, singing her heart out at the microphone that was set up. Her name? Belladonna.

Belladonna: The Opera Singer. She seems to have sympathy for anyone who comes to her with problems. She is constantly singing, as that is her one true passion. Despite always looking sad all the time, she tends to look at people with a kind heart.

Finally, sitting in the center of the room in a fancy chair was a sinister looking man who had a big nose. He was wearing a well worn black suit and seemed to regard the Persona Users and their friends as people he had known for a long time. He is Igor, keeper of the Persona.

Igor: The keeper of the Persona, also the master of the Velvet Room. He is the one that can use spell cards and other such items to hear the souls of those who want to help the Persona Users. He seems to know a lot about things in any world that there is a Persona User...

"Welcome to the Velvet Room..." Igor said as he stood up to greet his visitors. "Please... show me your Persona..." With that, he took a deep bow to greet all of them.

"Ladon..." Janet said to no one in particular. "This place... it... it makes me feel... Like all my troubles have just gone away..."

"Wow..." Kate said as she scooted closer to her boyfriend. "So... this is where..."

Frank nodded as he placed an arm around his girlfriend. "Yeah... it's changed a little bit though... it's been redesigned... But... yeah. It's where Katt and I met."

"Hello again, Igor..." Ellen started as she approached the Keeper of Persona.

"Hello again, Ms. Johnson... and you as well, Mr. Maynard. I also welcome all of you to the Velvet Room... I suppose that all of you are here, concerning the shattered Holy Mirror?"

Diane chuckled. "Hey Alex... he sounds kinda like Mrs. Wireman, don't ya think?"

Alex just nudged his sister while he continued to listen to Igor.

"That's right... We've got the final five pieces... See?" Frank pulled out the shard he had picked up in the ruins. On cue, Brad pulled out the one they had recovered in the museum, Tellka pulled out the shard that she had collected in Lunarvale General, Ellen unzipped her pack and pulled out the piece that was in SEBEC, while Janet carefully took out the shard that she had picked up beneath the subway system.

Igor nodded. "Perfect... now all that is left is to fit them into the frame." He snapped his fingers, and a mirror appeared before the Persona Users. The mirror in question was a full length mirror, with parts of it missing.

"Okay... so how do we go about this?" Alex asked before scratching his head.

"Simple. Just walk over to the mirror, and the shard will reform into its proper place within." Igor answered.

Brad walked to the Holy Mirror and held his shard up. The piece glowed for a moment. The Persona User let the shard go and it flew into the frame, fitting seamlessly with another piece. The crack closed itself, and it was like the mirror hadn't even been broken.

Tellka was next. With some urging from Kate, the older woren grumbled as she made her way to the mirror. Like Brad, she too held the shard up. As it began to glow, she let the piece go. It flew into the mirror, and melded with the piece Brad had just replaced.

"Ladon..." Tellka muttered as she made her way back to where Kate was. "That has to be, by far, the STUPIDEST thing I had ever done!"

Kate giggled. "Tellka... Just don't worry about it..."

Ellen was next. She approached the mirror with her shard, and it to, began to glow. She tossed the shard up into the air and it fused with the piece Tellka had just put in.

"Love..." Alex said while his tail waved around. "You didn't have to be so dramatic about it..."

"I know hon..." Ellen said with a chuckle. "I just couldn't help it though..."

Janet regarded the mirror for a moment. She looked at her reflection as the piece she held began to glow.

Ladon... I look like I've been through a lot... and I have... I can't wait to get home... But still... Frank and the others... they're good... They're nothing like I thought they were...

"Janet???" Yuki asked her friend.

The Windian shook her head and turned to Yuki with a smile. "It's nothing... just thinking about a lot of things..." Janet turned back to the mirror and slowly released the shard. It flew to a corner and melded with the other pieces.

Finally Frank was the last one. He approached the mirror, and began to look at the piece in his hand.

My ticket... home... Yeah... I've got nowhere to go here... Windia's my home now... With Jess, my friends... Kate...

"Frank? Are you okay???" Kate asked her boyfriend as she walked up to him.

"Yeah... I am... Just... thinking..." Frank said quietly as a small tear fell from his eye. "Kate... thanks." The Persona User then planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. Kate gave him a hug and a smile, which Frank returned. The Persona User approached the mirror and released his shard, which flew into the other corner, fusing with Janet's piece.

The mirror began to glow brightly. Anyone who was sensitive to magic at the moment could feel the surge of power coming from the reassembled mirror. The mirror seemed to die down as instantly as it lit up.

"So... what now?" Janet asked.

"Simple, child." Igor started. "The mirror will remove the Snow Queen's presence from Saeko Smith. All you have to do is bring it there and use it on her."

"Wait... let me get this straight..." Janet started. "We have to carry..."

Igor shook his head. "You do not have to worry about carrying anything... Watch..."

The Keeper of Persona snapped his fingers, and the Holy Mirror morphed and shrank into a white compact.

"Hey..." Frank said. "That looks like..."

"Ms. Richard's compact? I made it to look like that on purpose... When you need to, there's a hidden switch on the bottom that will expand it into the full mirror." Igor explained.

"Okay..." Frank replied as he picked up the compact and slipped it into one of his jacket pockets.

"I wish you all the best of luck. And above all, please be careful... The Snow Queen is not one to be trifled with..." Igor explained to the group of adventurers.

"We'll be careful." Ellen started. "Igor... thanks."

All the Keeper of Persona did was offer a nod to the group before they left.

Finally... let's end this... Frank thought to himself as he closed the double doors behind his group.

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