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Chapter 39: 5/25-5/26: Cat-astrophe

This update contains content from Part 40 of the original LP.

Music: Regret

No one cares for true art… All they want are easily recognizable brands! I’m a victim in this too! Wouldn’t you agree!?
Excuses now?
The art world revolves around money after all… You can’t rise up without any money…

Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it “money.”

Yusuke, you understand, don’t you!? Being a poor artist is truly miserable! I just didn’t want to return to that life!

Frankly, this came a little out of nowhere, I’m being honest.
I know, right? I get that it’s really hard to make a name for yourself as an impoverished artist, but what did that have to do with what we knew about this guy before?

You’re done for—along with this whole wretched world!

Don’t kill me! I can get you a great deal on a counterfeit “Sayuri”!

Return to yourself in reality and confess your crimes—all of them!
Y-You’re not going to kill me?
Swear it!
*shriek* All right… All right!

What about the other guy? The one with the black mask? He won’t kill me either?
Stop making shit up! We’re the only ones with free license to brainwash people! Probably!
I-It’s true! He smelled like maple syrup!

Madarame and Kaneshiro working for Shido is still incredibly stupid, but I at least understand why it’s in the game, because otherwise Akechi wouldn’t be snooping around in their minds and we wouldn’t get to foreshadow that.

A black mask? Wait, who’s he talking about?
It can’t be… There was another intruder besides us within this Palace!?

The Palace begins to shake and crumble.

There’s no time! Hurry!

Get on!

…Put an end to all this and use your own artwork for once.

Fox, get in before you get pasted!

We’re pretty conspicious here. Let’s head somewhere else.

Right. Goodbye, Sensei.

Music: Confession/Secret

Well, we did it. Guess now we just sit back and wait to find out if we did it *right*. *drinks coffee* Ugh, why’d you get it black?
Oh, sorry, *madame*…

The “Sayuri”…
You’re not gonna get all teary-eyed and say stuff like “Mom…!” are you?

Ryuji, maybe don’t tease people in their moments of emotional vulnerability.
To think that this painting caused Madarame’s distorted fixation… At least my mother will never know of this.
The real painting has been altered, so ironically, this copy born from twisted ego is your mother’s real self-portrait now.
I’m thankful to have it, even if there’s no way for society to know about it.
Fame is overrated. Hopefully our success today makes us even more popular so we can spread that message to everyone.

So this is my mother… There’s no way that I would remember her face clearly… But I was right about the rush of emotion I felt when I saw this painting.

Stop that!
You’re so vulgar, Ryuji.

What was the point of that? No really, what was it!? It wasn’t even a joke, or something resembling a joke, it was just something that ate ten seconds! Why include that????

So Yusuke, what’re you gonna do now? We’re gonna keep on as #Millennials.
I never actually asked why you do that.
We wanna get back at, like… society? I guess?
It’s not just about revenge, Ryuji! We’re giving courage to people who are suffering.
Suffering ‘cause of shitty adults. That last part’s important.
Hm… if people gain this “courage” and stand up for themselves… will they be happy?
Uhh… wow, that’s deep, man. We hadn’t really thought too hard about it, but… probably?
We can’t know how it’ll turn out for everyone. But we still have to try.
It depends on the person, then… Well, I was helped out of suffering by you all, so I understand. Then I’ll stay aboard. Investigating the depths of the heart may help to broaden my artistic horizons.
Geez, one-track mind on this guy.

Well I won’t take part in any inelegant plans, all right?
No worries! I’ve got us covered!

Oh yeah, sure, you’re plenty “elegant.”
Welcome aboard, Yusuke. Just don’t creep on any more of our members.

I will try and live up to those expectations.

…Good enough.

At any rate, I’m curious… Another intruder besides us, huh?

A black mask…
Not like we can check the Palace for clues about ‘em now…
I’ll ask Madarame if he knows anything.
Then let’s exchange contact info.
Finally! I’ve been wondering why you weren’t added to the group text this whole time!

An artist and a phantom thief… It seems I’ll be engaging in two trades from here on… Very well. You only live once, after all.

After School → Evening

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

Soon, the whole world will know our name! And it’ll be good to have Yusuke along. His is a rare talent. But anyway… what kind of person do you think I used to be? Surely I wasn’t some villain, right? I do get a little worried sometimes… I get so obsessed with solid human desires, after all, and also there’s the part where I can turn into a car… It’s still a mystery who I am, I guess.
Not much of a mystery. You’re a demon cat here to torment me. At absolute best, you’re one of those vaguely benevolent “helper” daemons like… uh… Keith David in Coraline. Love that movie.
Oh, shut up! I’m overthinking this anyway. There’s no way I could be evil!

A man who saves those in trouble in the west, while punishing evildoers who may lurk in the east! A man who chastises people that smoke inside in the south, while saving bullied cats in the north. A man who has a sturdy body and vows to always do one good deed a day, be it rain or shine. I’m that kind of ideal person… Or so I hope.

I’m cringing so hard my eyes are rolling back right now. I’m having an out-of-body experience. Please stop talking, I can feel my earthly tether weakening!
And if I become a human again, she’ll have to notice me!

I feel like my bond with Morgana is growing deeper…

Music: Beneath the Mask

I should be thanking you all. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to retrieve my mother’s painting.
We’re just glad you went along with the plan! We weren’t even sure if you’d want to change Madarame’s heart.
Now we just sit back, wait…
…And worry if it worked? Way ahead of you! By the way, I’m still a little anxious about that intruder with the black mask.
Eh, it’s probably nothing.

Music: Mellow piano theme

Woman’s voice: Your wife… you were very close to her… You *are* very close to her… even now.
Man’s voice: This can’t be… she’s… What are you saying?

I wonder if that woman would join the Phantom Thieves. She’d be useful, don’t you think?

Music: Everyday Days

Maybe you learned a thing or two about Kindness from watching this drama.

Maaku gains Kindness +2.

Well, it’s starting to get late. Let’s head to bed soon, okay?

Music: Aria of the Soul

Oh goddammit, back to the gulag I go

You are now one step closer to your rehabilitation. It’s a delightful thing indeed.
Our master is pleased. You should be honored, Inmate.

Well, I’m actually glad you summoned me this time, we need to talk.
Yeah, that last dude mentioned something about someone else skulking around in Palaces? Black mask, creepy vibes? You wouldn’t know anything about that?
*sweating* …Why do you ask?
I mean, it’s just that you’re the one who gave me this power, so I figured maybe you did the same for that dude, whoever he is.
…Nope, wasn’t me! *sigh of relief*
Quit badgering our master, Inmate!

I feel like my bond with Igor is growing deeper…

Anon: sauce plz

Early Morning

Music: Alright (Elp Version)

No mental shutdown yet, but his attitude is a bit softer. Do you think it happened?
I don’t want to make any promises until we know for sure or I’ll get in trouble with the oversight committee.
Okay, I will keep watching then. I’ll try asking him about the intruder soon. Goodbye.

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)

That parliamentarian from when I was a kid… Toranosuke something.
(Glasses-Wearing Worker) Oh, Toranosuke Yoshida. Or as most folks know him, “No-Good Tora.” He hands out at train stations giving speeches these days, no one pays him any mind. He used to be a rising star in politics, but wound up involved in scandal after scandal.
Huh… Yeah, I saw him in line for food. IT was weird seeing a politician eating at the same place as we do.
Well, that’s probably his new gimmick, right? Pandering to middle-class people.

Early Morning → Morning

Music: So Boring

Don’t think you can get away with copying stuff from some website. I’ll know. Got it? Stealing someone’s ideas is plagiarism. It’s as much of a crime as stealing anything else. It’s so annoying dealing with copyright crap these days… Oh yeah, did you know this?

Weird mental leap Kawakami took there. “Don’t plagiarize, but also, fuck copyright.”

You know the Arsène LupinArsène Lupin series by Maurice Leblanc? Leblanc once had a famous detective character from another series appear in one of the Lupin stories. Now then… Hamiru-kun. Do you know which author Leblanc borrowed from?

Psh, easy.

Oh, do you like mystery novels? Yes, the answer is the author of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. IT was the ultimate showdown between the definitive gentleman thief and the famous detective. Apparently, Leblanc changed the name of his version of Sherlock Holmes when Doyle complained. He changed it to “Herlock Sholmes.” He just moved the S to the start of his last name.

Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

Both Lupin and Holmes would go on to appear in a number of other works… But those were homages, not plagiarism. Now, Arsène Lupin is synonymous with the idea of a “phantom thief.” He’s recognized all over the world.

Maybe ixnay on the whole phantom thief business, Kawakami. You don’t wanna get in trouble with the school.

Wow, it looks like some phantom thieves never go out of style!

Morning → After School

Music: Tokyo Daylight

I almost got kidnapped!

Hey, what’s that supposed to mean!? I was in serious trouble, you know!

I wonder if she’s been going after other cats and snatching them up like she tried with me… Try checking the Phan-Site and see if anyone’s saying anything about it.

Hmm, maybe it’s just not a well-known problem yet? The only victims are cats, so I suppose that could be the case…

Let’s fuck around with the chalkboard again.

Prolly some kinda prank by those “phantom thieves” or whatever…
Did he draw this? Who’s he trying to impress?
Wait, does he seriously think they exist? That’s kinda embarrassing…
They’re just treating us like some kinda joke… Nobody believes in our existence…

Poor us.

This is a good way to tell how popular we are. You should try drawing it again some other time. But for now… let’s erase it.

No need for you to remind me… Don’t worry. I’ll be sure to uncover the truth they’re hiding at this school! But maybe I should’ve covered that artist, Madarame, instead. Everyone’s talking about him…

That’s true, but… I’m going to write about it so that the same thing won’t happen again! But maybe I should’ve covered that artist, Madarame, instead. Everyone’s talking about him…

…You might be right, but it could be a major scoop for the newspaper club…

Isn’t the newspaper club just you?

But maybe I should’ve covered that artist, Madarame, instead. Everyone’s talking about him…

(Refined Male Student) Of course, the pay will be low if anyone can do the job. You need to offer your own specialty.

That’s no excuse for paying slave wages, Refined Male Student! Rise up!

Look at Madarame, for example. One of his paintings is worth ten years of salary for most people.
(Lazy Male Student) Aww, don’t compare me to a big shot like him. I wish I had talent so I could make a lot of money.

Let’s ask them.

(Gentle-Looking Mother) I suppose… I personally think it’s a bit too much. With that many, it gets so loud I can’t sleep at night…

Hey, she might be talking about that catnapping case. Let’s ask her for more information.

You’re concerned about that household as well? She suddenly brought home a massive number of cats. I wasn’t sure if she was all right… It’s terribly noisy at night, and they shed everywhere! I’m worried that it’s not the healthiest environment to raise those cats.

Yes, I agree. I even told the landlord about the situation at Aino-san’s home, but it looks like nothing’s changed…

Huh? Her name? I’m not sure… I only say hello to her every now and then, so I don’t know her that well.
Hmm… Doesn’t look like we can learn anything else from her. Let’s get out of here and go over what we know so far.

This “Aino” lady suddenly adopted a lot of cats. There’s concern about the noise at night and shedding.

Okay, we might be able to find some other clues. Let’s keep investigating around Yongen!

Next, we talk to the old man with the radio.

Maybe that woman really did take him…

Hey, he might be talking about that catnapping case. Let’s ask him for more information.
Hm? Did you want to listen to the radio?

Ah, yes… There’s this woman who nabs all the cats around here and calls ‘em “snowball.” A few people I know have been victims. The same thing probably happened to the cat here…

It sure is. She’s one creepy lady, to boot—calls all the cats a “snowball” even if they’re not white. But I did get her name. It’s “Ryoko Aino.” I asked for it when I went to the police, so there’s no mistake. The police just treat cats like objects. …Those little guys are family to me. I wish there was something I could do about this mess. You ought to be careful, too, since you’re toting a cat around.

“Other” cats?

The Aino household was the one that suddenly got a lot of cats, right? That’s got to be our target. We should discuss this with everyone at the hideout.

You ought to be careful, too, since you’re toting a cat around.

Then let’s head back to Inokashira Park. We can talk there.

Lovers Rank 4: Part 41

Music: Break it Down

I envy your brand of idiocy.

There be city… *and* park? What?????
What the fuck are you talking about
You know, when I first came here I had a tough time adjusting. Especially at school, I was always just the “foreigner.” People spread rumors about me, and I considered dying my hair black to fit in… Until Shiho talked to me. The first thing she said to me was making fun of my paintings. I thought she was just making fun of me, but I realized she was treating me normally. And she didn’t care about my looks. We became friends after that.
…Good story, I guess?
But that’s not why we’re here! Remember that female thief in the anime I told you about? She made me think of something! The villains in those shows never give up, no matter how many times they lose! So, they must have really strong hearts! So… I’m going to learn from them!
You are most definitely overthinking the simplistic monster-of-the-week format of children’s television.

I’m gonna star in action movies!

I barely understand the logical leap that led you to this conclusion.
Great! I have a long-term goal now!
Your immediate goal should be to find an acting coach, honestly.

I haven’t used Ann enough to see this in action, and I refuse to Google “ann persona 5 sexy technique” to find out what it actually does.

Now to get buff! Oh, and I gotta tell Shiho about my new goal!

For that event, we picked options 1 (+3), 1 (+3), 1 (+3), 1 (+3), 3 (+3).

So I’d like to think I’m pretty athletic. Like, I don’t hate exercise or anything… But I’m exhausted just from running to the station earlier… Maybe I’ve gotta train my body along with my heart. Do you do anything to train your body?

…I wonder how much Mona weighs. Maybe I’ll try carrying him in my bag next time. Okay, first I need to research what kind of training’s best for me!

Well, see you later!

After School → Evening

Music: Beneath the Mask

(Boy) The correct answer is A: “queen.” Yes, that’s a very famous expression in the field of law. Confessions are very powerful evidence—people used to even resort to torture to get them.

Right, “used to.”

(Lawyer) That’s a high school prodigy for you. Today, forcing a confession is forbidden under law, and…
I’m surprised you knew that. Did you just guess? Torture, though—that’s pretty brutal…
It feels like I’ve improved my Knowledge.

Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

And there’s a crossword on the table so we can double our Knowledge gain.

I don’t know if I’m just a dumbass (it’s this) but I’ve literally never heard this word before.

Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

(Pierced Man) There’s nothin’ to worry about. The cops’ll keep an eye out, but they’re not gonna do anything. As long as we keep givin’ reminders, no one’s gonna bother us.
Hahaha, I wouldn’t mess with us, either. And what we do is bringing me in a lotta money.

(Foreign Barker) Hey, my bad. I’m trying, it’s just really hard to wrap my head around how formal Japanese culture is!
Why’d you even take this job if you can’t speak Japanese well?
I said I’m sorry…

Leave him alone, he’s doing his best!

Here’s something a bit new in Royal that I’m not going to bother marking because it’s so marginal: this vendor.

I doubt a kid like you could possibly understand, but… Hm? You look like you know what’s up, unlike all those phonies. I think you deserve to buy my wares. My art.

Oh, why thank you kind sir, for deigning upon me the honor of buying your bullshit knick-knacks!

With Charm like that, this is what I can sell you right now.

This “art” is a bunch of accessories that give certain skills. The Cross-Shaped Charm and Skull Charm give Hama Boost and Mudo Boost respectively. Remember how the vendor mentioned our Charm? At Rank 1 this store is unavailable. But that’s not all of it: the store will increase its wares at Rank 3 Charm. Still, kind of pointless, honestly. This vendor doesn’t really get anything all that useful.

Shaddup. Just beat it, kid. Shibuya’s a real nice city at night. Heh. Maybe a kid like you wouldn’t understand though. All right. Time to go out and make some more money. I’ll get rusty if all I do is sit around.

Don’t worry, I’ve got a job doin’ what I love. It’s like Shibuya at night exists just for me… All right. Time to go out and make some more money. I’ll get rusty if all I do is sit around.

Hey, that’s my line. Careful, kid. You can’t go ‘round meddling in other people’s business in this city. All right. Time to go out and make some more money. I’ll get rusty if all I do is sit around.

If you need a refresher about what this homeless man’s side hustle is, he’s a fucking assassin with Dissociative Identity Disorder or something whose main personality is completely unaware of that. Real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation here.

We haven’t been to the diner since it reopened, so let’s do that.

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

They appear to have changed the menu so the Guts option is no longer spending three hours loitering here drinking nothing but a cup of coffee with free refills like a complete shithead. Still costs the same, though. I don’t even know what a “sando” is. *looks it up* Oh. It’s a fucking sandwich.

Maaku gains Guts +1 and Knowledge +1.