Part 55: 6/21-6/25: The Face Of The Devil
Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain-
He prolly thinks his money’s just gonna come rolling in.
He does have the upper hand on us, after all…
If that picture got out, who knows what would end up happening to Maaku…
Guess worst-case scenario’d be he gets expelled.
No, there is a more serious alternative… He’s currently under probation, meaning… …I’m so sorry. This whole situation is my fault.
C’mon, stop that. I mean, you’re the one who’s in the most trouble right now.
For sure. Even the police are having trouble with that bastard. We’ll be heroes if we catch him!!
High risk, high reward…
You’re all so positive…
Hm… In a way, your recklessness is the only reason we are now able to pursue this change of heart.
Totally. We’re in deep shit, so we’re gonna do whatever we can to get out of it.
I… never thought of things in that way before.
It is quite strange hearing something so positive from Ryuji.
All right, leader! You can decide when we meet up!
When your position changes, your view of the world changes too. It’s a shift in cognition. In any case, we’re in big trouble if we can’t change Kaneshiro’s heart. Let’s do this.1
We get those 20 Mental Flosses we ordered, which cure Forget. We probably won’t use more than five of them, but whatever.
At an event in the city, several people started feeling nausea and were taken to the hospital. The health department suspects food poisoning and is carrying out an investigation.
You should be careful too. Even phantom thieves would get dragged down by a stomachache.
What’s with all the weird food shit that’s been happening on the news?
If we head back to Shinjuku, we can buy some Mega Fertilizer for our plant. It’s pricey, but worth it.
We then head over to the diner. Maaku gains Guts +1 and Knowledge +3.
We even make it to Rank 3 Knowledge. Once we finish the Palace, we’re set to hang out with Makoto.
Anon: i hate Akechi, so YES???
Haven’t there been a lot of pictures leaked lately?
Want me to get you a job? It’s real easy.
So many weirdos lately… Is it that psychotic breakdown thing?
Been hard to meet my quota… I gotta find some suckers.
Anon: of course not. done
Anon: they’re allies of justice
Yeah, I read something about that online. The beautiful fortune teller, or something… I hear she’s pretty good. A lot of people say her predictions came true.
Some say she can divine your very destiny. Maybe she can tell me who my soulmate will be… …I think I’ll pay her a visit.
A fortune teller in Shinjuku, huh… Didn’t we see her when we met with that journalist? She seems pretty popular. She said she’s there at night. Should we pay her a visit, too?
Music: So Boring
He’s been demanding money, but I choose to ignore those messages.
Is that OK? Have any scary men shown up at your house?
Kaneshiro still has the photographs in his possession, remember?
As you should be. Just like Yusuke said, those pictures are bad news for us.
We will need to change Kaneshiro’s heart as soon as possible.
Agreed. I will do everything I can to help.
Say, you ever think about working at a host club? A host like you could make a lotta money!
No thanks, I’ve seen this anime, and I’m not in the mood for wacky shoujo hijinks.
What? Underage? I thought you were so much older. You’re so mature for your age! Hehe!
Further down, we see this… mascot. It reminds me of death.
Music: Tokyo Emergency
I don’t think my bond with Ann will deepen just yet…
Inokashira Park? OK. I like it there too. Let’s go!
Music: What’s Going On?
I honestly enjoy just relaxing like this. It makes me think of a picnic… And now I’m craving sandwiches.
See, I think this would be a horrible thing to say to a female friend, but…
The game disagrees.
Then, is it OK if they’re the sweet kind? With whipped cream and custard inside…?
Anyway, it really is quiet here… I know! Let’s take a walk! I want to see what else is around… Want to come with?
I don’t think my bond with Ann will deepen just yet…
Thanks for today. See you!
Music: Beneath the Mask
She must have some kind of trick. Maybe we should check it out…
Wow, we’re really high up! The view from the observation deck feels like you’re walking on air!
I’m afraid of heights, so the street stalls in Asakusa might be a better fit for me… Hahaha.
You’re gonna use that one!? You must really care about this plant!
The Mega Nutrients we got from Shinjuku are even better than the ones we can buy at the flower shop Rafflesia, and Maaku gains Kindness +3.
And he ranks up for it.
Hey! You c’n tell, rrrright?
Aww, doncha be like that… burp Here, I’ll do anozher of my impressh… impressions. Thish one’s Akechi-kun, booooy detectivvve. “Hi, my name’s Goro!” Goro-ro-ro! Roro! Roro. Roll roll!
Another straight boy? Oh, you shameless homewrecker!
No, it’s not like that. I’m talking about a boy I saw on TV! Akechi-kun!
No way, you’ve got the hots for him too!? Stop it alreadyyy!
Man, everyone wants Akechi.
Huh? I’m fine. Yes, I know there’s been some weird incidents lately. Of course, I’ll be careful. Don’t worry about your big sis, she’s not going to let herself get tricked again. I promise. Once I become a singer I’ll make that money back and then some. No, I won’t be home for a while.
Sure, why not? I could use a laugh.
Music: My Homie
Anyway, my name is Chihaya Mifune. I will be reading your fortune today. You can begin by telling me your name.
I suppose I could attempt to divine it if you’d like. Let’s begin with your last name. Is it Yamamoto…? Or maybe Mishima? Or perhaps… Hamiru? Hmmm, this may take longer than I expected.
Ah, Maaku Hamiru-san… I see. Your name is quite lucky.
Being a Jedi is certainly lucky, I agree.
That aside, what type of consultation can I interest you in today?
Well, um… I use tarot cards to foretell the future. Now then, let’s start with an initial reading to test the waters of your fate. O divine power… Bring forth this boy’s fortune! Your first card is… Hm, I see. As for the second… Oh! Next is…
I see. There seems to be new wealth in your future. Your financial fortune is looking good today. This wealth of which I speak will come… from your house. Head home without detour, and precisely five thousand yen will await you there!
That’s… awful specific. That’s not generally how this cold reading shit works, is it?
As you should. Fate is absolute!
How strange, Hamiru-san, the general flow of your future seems to indicate… Ruin…? And an inmate, locked away in a lonely cell…
You seem to be a good person, Hamiru-san… but are you perhaps mixed up with the wrong crowd?
If Ryuji’s the wrong crowd, I don’t wanna be right.
Beyond that… My… It seems… continuing on your current path will lead to your death.
I cannot offer advice to that end… Hm. If the divination is coming to me this clearly, the truth of it is simply undeniable.
Although… Now that I think about it, there may be a way you can attempt to counteract your destiny.
With its power in your control, you can avoid even the most unfortunate of futures… probably!
I typically only recommend this to my more experienced customers, but your situation is too dire to ignore. You see, the stone itself is imbued with an aura of joy that will sap away all the horrible energy surrounding you.
This sounds almost too good to be true! Please, tell me more!
All you need to do is keep it wrapped in cloth and be sure to recharge its power in moonlight every three days.
Ha! All right, lady. Nice try, but I’m hip to your scam.
I-It’s legitimate, I promise! So… you really don’t want it? What a shame it will be to see the flames of youth snuffed out so soon… Well, come see me again if you change your mind. I really can help you, if you’d like.
Music: Break it Down
Hey Maaku, how’s your pocket money situation been looking?
I’ve got 163,000 yen on ha–I mean, I’m fuckin’ broke, duder.
Hahaha, you’re hopeless!
What? Is this… five thousand yen!?
I won some money from the lotto, so I don’t mind sharing my winnings.
See, I can be nice sometimes. Anyway, make sure you close up the shop like always.
Hey, so… does this mean that fortune teller was right…?
No. I refuse to acknowledge this. Let’s just forget this ever happened.
She even got the amount spot on! Maybe that Chihaya lady can seriously read into the future! Wait… This is bad! Didn’t she say you’re gonna die!?
This actually works out perfectly, because I’ve always said I’d sooner die than believe in fortune-telling.
Come on, we need to go talk to her again and figure out what to do! And maybe I can have her read my compatibility fortune with–
U-Um, never mind!
It seems like Chihaya Mifune can actually see into the future… Maybe I should go back and have her read my fortune again… And there’s the Holy Stone too… She said it costs one hundred thousand yen…
This is insane. In the bad way.
Music: Everyday Days
Arsene always thwarted his pursuers, leading them around by the nose. He’s so cool! It seems this novel taught you about the kind of wits and tricks you’ll need as a phantom thief!
Maaku gains Knowledge +3.
Music: So Boring
Speaking of rain, did you know that the teru teru bozu was originally female?
What on earth???
Oh, that weird rain charm thing.
According to one theory, it came from a Chinese paper doll of a girl—the “Sao Ching Niang.” When it came to Japan, it looked like a monk praying for sunlight, and became male. In the history of the world, it’s not uncommon to twist people’s genders for politics or religion. Now then, Hamiru-kun, please look at this picture.
Correct. You must be quite a history buff to know about Pope Joan.
Nope! It’s a complete coincidence!
As such, she was a legendary figure, sometimes thought of as an anti-church symbol.
Maaku gains Knowledge +1.
According to the legends, Joan was a cross-dressing girl brought from Athens to Rome. Praised throughout the city for her wisdom, she was eventually chosen by the people as pope. However, when it was discovered that she was a woman, she was stoned to death. This incident was regarded a taboo by the church. As a result, Joan was stricken from history books.
As long as they can do the job, it doesn’t matter if they’re man or woman. Sheesh, some people…
First things first, let’s trade in our old book for a new one.
What do you plan on doing today?
So you wish to take advantage of our deal. I understand.
What kind of card do you want Yusuke to duplicate for you?
We choose Rakukaja. Where did I get all these skill cards? I got them from another of the free DLC packs like the filthy cheater I am! Don’t worry, I probably won’t end up using most of these and I’ll likely forget I ever gave him this one in the first place.
Now, we want Yusuke to have Baton Pass before the next Palace, so let’s hang out with him.
Are you sure we have time for that…!? What is your goal here?
Hm… You are correct. A nice break is necessary at times. I would like to speak with you about the painting I developed in Mementos. Do you have time?
It’s good to take a break every so often. Do you want to hang out with Yusuke?
chuckle I hope you do not find it too disturbing. Wait for me at Leblanc. I will bring the painting over there.
Music: What’s Going On?
How on earth did you get this giant thing here on the train, for one? Second, it’s raining!
I would like your honest opinion… if you would.
But… is that truly all you have to say about it? I would like something more concrete. A four hundred word review should serve that purpose nicely. Regardless, this is how I choose to interpret the idea of “desire.” It is the foul charm held deep within the abyss of the heart… To be honest, I believe my ability to capture desire so elegantly is all due to our Mementos foray. I have grown to understand the intricacies of the heart in a way I had once thought impossible… Maaku… I intend on submitting this piece to an upcoming public art exhibition.
More importantly, it shall be the spark that revitalizes my slumbering art career!
Hm, I’m sure this will be a most sensational experience for those who opt to undergo it. A raw, unbridled look into the depths of the human psyche… And I was the one who was able to bring it to life, all thanks to your assistance.
Nope, can’t see any flaw with this plan.
You have my sincerest gratitude.
I feel like my bond with Yusuke is growing deeper…
All right, we got what we came for.
Hm… I deeply anticipate the public reaction at the exhibition. But for now, I should be going. My apologies for disturbing you. Farewell.
I walked Yusuke back to the station…
Music: Beneath the Mask
It’s an interview with some kid from school. “Boy M tells all: Rampant abuse in the Kamoshida case!”
…Guess it might be him after all. I mean that Phan-Site thing’s been a huge help too… It’s prolly fine to leave him be. He ain’t doing us any harm. Seeya later.
That article… Do you think the reporter we met at Crossroads could have written it?
Just as I thought. The author is listed as Ichiko Ohya. …I see. This article might end up being useful for us.
If the Palace ruler sees it and his cognition of the Phantom Thieves changes… Hey, Maaku. We’d be missing out if we didn’t use this to our advantage. If we have her paint us in a positive light, public opinion of us will change for the better! You should go try and get her to write some more articles about the Phantom Thieves!
Consider the following… A: Paying a machine fake money/B: Ordering food without money/ Which one of these counts as fraud!? You be the judge!
The correct answer is… B! Ordering food when you don’t have any money!
Fraud involves deceiving a person. That’s why ordering food when you don’t have money counts as fraud. If you use fake coins on a vending machine or at the coin laundry, it’s considered larceny.
Do Japanese quiz shows just have lawyers on hand to explain things?
So doing a dine and dash is actually a fraud? Whoa, I should watch out for that…
Since when have you paid for anything?
It feels like I’ve improved my Knowledge.
Maaku gain Knowledge +1.
Yeah, yeah—the mafia. Relax, the city’s perfectly safe.
So is the country, thanks to Taro from next door!
You mean that idiot dog who plays with anyone who comes near him? Real good guard dog.
I know a job that’ll make you rich. I can hook you up, but you’ll hafta legally erase yourself.
When can I start?
Nahhh, I’m just messin’ with ya… chuckle I love it at night… I get to cut loose n’ be free.
Over in Shinjuku, we head back to the shady bookstore.
This is, unfortunately, the only thing for sale.
Back to Crossroads!
Don’t blame me if you get eaten alive, OK?
How much did I drink today? What time is it? Ah, who cares. …Wait, I care.
She’s so drunk that she hasn’t even noticed you’re here. If we have her write articles, it’ll have an effect on the Metaverse. We might be able to use her if we do it right. Should we try forming a deal with Ohya?
Keep in mind that she’s drunk. Now, do a good job negotiating, OK?
Oh! It’s you!
I love this line read. She sounds so goddamn happy.
…Please, have a seat.
Or maybe… you’re just falling in love with me, hm?
You’re thinking of Alex Navarro.
No? Well, then you at least have some news on the Phantom Thieves, yeah? Thank god… My publisher just assigned me to be the beat reporter for the Phantom Thieves. Man… this will reaaally help me out.
Are you seriously going to use this child as a source of information?
Oh, don’t be such a killjoy. These kids nowadays know about things we adults don’t have access to. Besides, what’s most important is that I now have a reliable third-party source for my stories.
So, what do you want from me this time? Information about someone? Cold hard cash?
Huh…? chuckle Lucky me! My very own golden goose just appeared. Now I can take it easy… Maybe I’ll take a little vacation, with all my free time…
What do you want? Just tell me. Last time it was info on Kaneshiro, right? The office has been abuzz lately… I think it’s Kaneshiro related. Something’s fishy…
…Support the Phantom Thieves? …But I see what’s going on here. A hardcore Phantom Thieves fanboy, huh…?
Hey, I’m not gonna let you use this kid so you can take a vacation…
Can we form a Confidant with Lala instead?
A vacation? Oh, I was just kidding. I’m conducting a private investigation during my off hours. No one at work knows about it.
Don’t tell me you’re…
Hey, how ‘bout we do this… You supply me with info on the Phantom Thieves… And I’ll write articles based on what you tell me about them. You know, the Phantom Thieves who you love oh-so-much… Deal?
I will, I will. But the quality of the articles will depend on the info you provide me. …All right then. It’s a deal. I can create a lot of positive PR for the Phantom Thieves, so be sure to give me some good scoops.
I’ve made a deal with Ohya…
Music: Interrogation Room
Did you have an inside man in the media? Someone who could manipulate information for you? …What do you have to say to that?
Music: The Spirit
The Devil arcana represents being bound or chained down by malevolent forces in life like materialism or addiction, as well as sexuality. When reversed, it represents detachment, reclaiming lost power, and breaking free from those very same burdens.
Ohya’s abilities aren’t terribly useful unless you’re getting caught a hell of a lot, but they’re not totally worthless either, I suppose. Some people really don’t like them though because they make it more annoying to grind for Treasure Demons due to the lower increase in security level.
OK, Lala-chaaan! Time to celebrate our agreement! Bring out my bottle! And two glasses please…! …C’mon! Please…? …Whoa, her silence is golden. Fine, fine, FINE! I won’t make the high schooler drink!
Ugh, I gotta use the bathroom…
I was able to pique Ohya’s interest… I feel like my Charm has increased…
Maaku gains Charm +3.
Whaddya wanna do today? We still got time, but shouldn’t we check out the area around the Treasure at least? So, wanna hit the Palace today?
Well, I’ll leave the timing to you. But don’t decide too late, man.
Music: Tokyo Daylight
Music: Butterfly Kiss
But I’m not an optometrist… Oh, is it because I have an eye test chart on the wall…? So, what are you here for today?
Oh, the clinical trial… Sorry, I’m going to pass on it today. ……
Takemi is depressed… In order for her to depend on me, I may have to polish up my Charm as a person… Takemi would probably depend on me if my Charm were Charismatic…
We need Rank 4 Charm to do any more clinical trials. Rats.
I don’t think my bond with Ann will deepen just yet…
Why don’t we hang out at the diner then? I could go for a nice chat!
I feel like my bond with Ann will grow stronger soon…
Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain-
You already said that. Get some new canned lines, old man!
The mafia is suspected of being behind a rash of scams, and we’ve interviewed one of the victims. What we found was a young person suffering in the depths of despair.
One of the victims is on TV. I guess Kaneshiro got him, too.
Oh jesus fuck no
sigh Let’s get this travesty over with.
OK, I’ll come over there right awayyy!
Music: My Homie
I-I’m definitely not scheming anything! Meow! I just want to get requested more.
OH GOD KILL IT
…… Well? How was that?
…Sorry, I blacked out. What were we talking about?
The thing is, I talked to my boss about picking up more shifts… But he said that he prioritizes “younger” women!
I mean, age has nothing to do with cleaning a room! And I look damn good for my age, if I do say so myself.
Please don’t involve me in this conversation.
The girls in my neighborhood always tell me I’m pretty. And the latchkey kid who lives next door always asks me to tie up her hair. Thanks to that, I’m an expert with these pigtails now. See? So I’m damn good for-- …Wait, don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks this way?
About your face? Because sorry, but right now it makes me want to die.
I look pretty good as a maid, don’t I?
I don’t really feel like I’m worth being loved.
That’s awful frank of you to admit.
But… you’re right.
Music: Alright (Elp Version)
What the heck am I saying…? You’re my student… My double life as both a teacher and a maid is so exhausting.
…This game is dumb.
Maybe I let my guard down because you know both sides of me. The more I come here, the more I feel like I can relax. As a maid, I’m supposed to help my master relax… but instead, I’m the one who’s being helped. Haha… Sorry I’m such a terrible maid.
I feel Kawakami’s kindness…
I have to confess something… I lied about the reason why I need to make more money… I don’t have a sick sister. All that stuff about the fees and charges was all a lie too.
I can’t get requested unless I make up those types of stories. See, you understand now, right? Nothing good will come from involving yourself with a terrible person like me. It’s a good lesson learned. sigh Let’s just put an end to this. Thank you for using our service…
Music: So Boring
We cannot afford to dally for much longer at this point.
Is Kaneshiro still demanding we pay up?
Yes, every single day.
Man, it’s gotta be tough dealing with that daily…
I’m used to it by now.
You are…? You’re amazing…
So far it’s only been emails, so it hasn’t been too difficult to put the matter out of my mind.
Yeah. If he sends out that photo, we’re totally done for. It would probably be a good idea to handle this sooner rather than later.
If they spread that picture, you guys are done for. Tell everyone to meet at the hideout. Let’s discuss what our next move should be.
Here’s an interesting foible in my plans: The game itself gets antsy if you refuse to meet up for four days after talking to Kaneshiro, and on the fifth day forces the meeting at the accessway. I was putting off the meeting for the purposes of pacing, but we’re gonna see it anyway.
Things would get interesting if my sister ever found out…
There’s no time to be getting sentimental here.
Yes, I understand. I do have one request about all of this though. Can you teach me how to be a phantom thief? Like… about the Metaverse, for example.
Simply put, that world is formed of a person’s cognition. There, you can change people’s hearts.
Yeah, I’ve gathered that much just from going there once. But the method of transportation still eludes me… I mean, it’s a smartphone navigation app…
You only need a name, a location, and a distortion. After the first entry, the Palace is bookmarked.
You really just make it sound like an ordinary app… Aren’t there any dangers associated with it?
Don’t worry ‘bout that! We’ve already been a bunch of times and–
That’s not what I mean. It’s a navigation app, right? Couldn’t someone easily access our history on the server?
It’s basically magic, Makoto. I don’t think there’s a server.
Wait, why are you looking at me like that…? Has nobody thought of this before!?
We’re idiots, Makoto. Try to keep up.
Now she’s catchin’ me off guard too…
And we don’t know where it came from, right? It showed up on my phone without any input from me… Do you know anything about it, Maaku-kun?
I want to tell her the truth, but it’s tough to explain that Igor has been sending out the app…
…I don’t fully understand, but I don’t think we have to worry about people accessing our data. From what I can tell, this app is incredibly special. It wasn’t made by any ordinary means.
True… An app that allows you to enter another world isn’t exactly commonplace… Well, Sis doesn’t know who the Phantom Thieves are, so I suppose our information is safe for now.
We’re still learning things ourselves. I hope your sharp wit can help us with that.
Thank you. I’ll do my best.
So, what’s our time limit this time? I doubt we have much time to spare at this point.
Kaneshiro’s henchman said the deadline is July 9th.
There’s no way high schoolers could really bring in three million yen…
And that’s why he’s threatening us. If we can’t pay he’ll do much worse than just blackmail.
C’mon, we just gotta take care of him before the time limit. We’ll bounce back from this.
Yeah, this is the perfect opportunity. We have to succeed, no matter what!
Well, I wasn’t planning on heading into the Palace so early, but we might as well. Next update, anyway.