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Chapter 40: 5/27-5/28: Operation Maidbotch
This update contains content from Parts 41 and 42 of the original LP.
Anon: prolly some publicity stunt
Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)
Madarame’s ill, but the exhibit is still going strong. I can’t respect him as my sensei anymore… but it’s sad to think I don’t have a mentor anymore.
Talk…? To you?
Don’t sound so taken aback, geez.
…Now that I think about it, I don’t believe I’ve ever had someone I could simply talk to. Well, perhaps I may need a sounding board sometime. I hope you’ll humor me then.
Early Morning → Lunchtime
This next scene is newly voiced in Royal, and it’s pretty amazing.
Hey, there you are! I need your help with something… *looks around* I found this flyer stuffed in my mailbox.
Music: My Homie
Housekeeping Service! It says that a cute maid will do anything for you! A maid, dude! A MAID! Who’ll do ANYTHING for us! Right? …Right!?
…You’re a guy, right? You know what I mean!
This line in particular is just… *chef’s kiss*
Let’s give it a try. Yeah? Yeah!
I’m embarrassed to know you. However, I am also a teenage boy, so this plan seems both flawless and worthwhile to me.
Luckily, some guy on my floor just moved out so there’s a vacant apartment in my complex. The key is behind the mailbox, so we can get in anytime. The landlord seriously doesn’t care.
Sounds like a landlord to me.
The place is all set, so…
Yo, can I get in on this?
Mishima, you dog! You’re into this too, eh?
What? No! This is just a research investigation! I, uh, need to make sure that they’re not scamming people! Check the quality of the housekeeping services and whatnot! It’s vital that I see this with my own eyes!
This is somehow even more pathetic than just calling for a sex maid normally.
Yeah, we gotta see it with our own eyes. Every little detail…
Let us know when you’re ready, Maaku. We’ll do it at night.
Now, we need a cool codename for this mission! I suggest “Operation Maidwatch”!
Well, this is pretty stupid, but at least I’ll get to indulge my raging teenage hormones. What could possibly go wrong?
Lunchtime → After School
Music: Tokyo Daylight
Oh hey, the Thieves’ Den has some kind of new item available. We’ll check that out eventually.
You may notice that we got a text from 777, the convenience store. Well, actually, the first thing I noticed was whoever sent it just wrote “Hello” as their subject line like an utter psychopath. Anyway, that message is just telling us that because today’s day number ends in 7, it’s a double-point day for cardholders, so the store is severely shorthanded. We’ll be leaving that one on “Read,” though if we had shown up we’d have gotten extra pay. Let’s read Mishima’s message instead.
I’m usually in Shibuya during those hours. Let me know when you’re going to it. You better not leave me behind, OK? I’ll never forgive you if you do.
This got serious all of a sudden. Geez, Mishima, I’ll bring you.
I’ll contact you again later tonight.
Music: Butterfly Kiss
Has anyone ever studied the correlation between the rise in temperature and a rise in weirdos…?
One thing I’d like to start doing is actually including my rationale for making my time decisions in this game, because I know I don’t actually do that very often and it leaves the whole process a little opaque and sterile. I’m of course not going to actually remember why I did everything, but I’ll try. If you don’t care about any of this and just want to get back to me making unfunny jokes, skip the next five paragraphs.
Here, we’re gonna talk to Takemi. Takemi’s only at Rank 3, which is pretty low, especially for the average player, who’s probably got her up to like, 5 or 6 at least by now due to her Confidant benefits and the fact that she and Ryuji are pretty much your only options for the first month or so. We have not been prioritizing her, however. My reasoning behind that is simple: we’re not going to be using the SP Adhesives in this run, so there’s very little reason to blitz her Confidant. We just don’t need the main component of what she’s offering any more. That doesn’t mean we’ll ignore her entirely, it just means we need to be smart about this.
What do I mean by “smart”? Well, let’s think about the time system in general for a second. One way of approaching things here, one that most players will realize is “optimal” fairly easily, is to always be making progress toward accomplishing some goal. We have many background goals at any given time, like raising social stats for a specific gate or trying to get a specific Confidant ability, or the long-term goals of raising social stats to maximum or getting 100% completion of all Confidants. The best way of making progress here is to try to fulfill multiple goals at once with any given time block, but as long as you’re making some notable progress more-or-less every time, you’re on the right path. “Wasting” time would be doing something inefficient, like spending a time block with a Confidant who isn’t about to rank up, going to the Metaverse too many times (especially before Kawakami’s massage unlocks) or even doing something that only gives one stat point instead of two or three.
This is a perfectly rational method of time optimization in the Persona games, one that worked very well for me during the old LP. But part of this strategy is actually, somewhat counter-intuitively, ignoring certain Confidants for long periods of time. How on Earth does that work? It has to do with minimizing as much “wasted” time as possible. Now, one way I believe the game keeps the player from maxing Confidants immediately is by putting some of them on invisible timers after a rank up so you can’t rank them up again for a few days afterwards. I think this timer loosens up near the end of the game, at least for party members, but I can’t be sure. This is in addition to standard unavailability of certain Confidants on certain days.
You probably don’t understand what I’m getting at here yet, so I’ll try to show you. If, say, Takemi was the last Confidant we had left to max out with 8 free days left in the game, but she was at Rank 7, there’s no guarantee we could actually max her out because between the timer and her normal free days she might not be available three times in that final period. But how do we combat this? Simple. Unless we’re pushing for a specific Confidant ability, we try to keep their levels about even, so we’re just constantly maxing out Confidants one after another during our last few free weeks. This minimizes the number of days we’ll have to spend doing nothing of value because if everyone’s at 9, then we only need each person to be available one time, and while a lot of those free days will overlap, it still minimizes the amount of time wasted by the timer. You might remember in the old LP I got Ryuji to Rank 7 and then didn’t talk to him for months. This is part of the reason why.
But there’s exceptions to this, of course. Yoshida, for instance, is only ever available on certain days (mostly Sundays), and we’re going to try to finish his Confidant as quickly as possible because his skills are great and also because we want to have as many free Sunday nights as possible for a specific reason later in the game. Kawakami will also be getting rushed as soon as possible because she gives us extra time blocks, as well as Chihaya for much the same reason. If an ability is legitimately super useful, we’ll still be rushing for it. We also want to unlock Confidants ASAP, so we need to get to appropriate stat gates for those unlocks before they happen, like Rank 3 Guts for Kawakami or Rank 3 Charm for Hifumi (on that subject, we’re not quite at Rank 3 Guts and we’re about to unlock Kawakami, so I’m going to have to handle that later in this update). If I do this right, there’ll have more than enough free time to see everything again. But, as I mentioned earlier, it means ignoring people we don’t find immediately useful. Sorry, Takemi.
Anyway, now that I’ve written a full essay justifying this meaningless decision to ignore your anime waifu, we’re going to buy a few items from the shop here (some Kajaclear-Rs and Kundaclear-Rs to clear buffs and debuffs, some Takemedic-All Vs to heal the party, and some Revivadrins to revive party members). Then we’ll get Takemi to Rank 4.
I made some more refinements to the medicine. Could I have you come in?
In that case, go into the exam—Huh?
Sorry, I have a child I need to have examined…
…Looks like I have a patient with an emergency.
Death Rank 4: Part 30
(Girl’s Father) I heard rumors about this clinic. Can you examine my daughter? She was diagnosed with bronchitis, but the medicine hasn’t been working at all. She’s got a bad fever and she’s losing weight from lack of appetite…
That sounds bad, but I don’t have the ability to give a full examination here. You need to go to a bigger hospital.
We already went to a big university hospital in East Shinjuku! But they keep saying it’s bronchitis! The doctor barely even examined her. I think he was famous…?
A famous doctor at a university hospital in East Shinjuku, huh? …It doesn’t matter. I don’t even have any staff here.
W-Wait! I’ve heard there’s a medicine that can only be acquired here…! Please! I’ll pay you! Please, at least just examine her!
Trust me, man. You don’t want that medicine. I came here looking for it and you have no idea what it’s cost me already.
*cough* *cough* Doctor… My chest really hurts…
Don’t worry, Dr. Takemi will be right on it.
C’mon. Given how this usually goes, you were about to spend your afternoon babysitting my unconscious ass. Seems like actually doing your damn job would be a step up from that, no?
Is your vision blurry? How about your throat, does it hurt…? Hm. No signs of swelling. (to the father) Are you sure you’ve told me everything about her symptoms and treatments you’ve tried so far?
Yes, I’m sure!
No need to snap at me, geez.
There’s something I’d like to ask him about a case that was in last month’s medical journal. *puts phone away* I see. Guess the ones in stock will have to do...
(to Maaku) Get me the stuff from the second drawer of the shelf behind the reception desk. Also, you’ll probably notice I’ve created an actuarial table with your name in it on the desk. Nothing to worry about, I just get bored and the thought of killing you with my bile poison is very funny to me for some reason.
Lady, I *wish* you were the most credible threat to my immediate safety.
Get moving! I’ll need your help to administer the medicine!
Music: Butterfly Kiss
It was a rare strain of an infectious disease that can’t be detected by conventional exams. I just suppressed the symptoms for a bit. As her condition improves I’ll make adjustments. Anyway, your bill comes to one million yen for the day.
Welp, shit, looks like that’s another heart we need to go change…
That’s absurd! You’re just taking advanta… Well, I did agree to pay… I’ll go withdraw some cash!
Huh? Wait, you’re actually going to pay?
Yes, Takemi, it turns out when a figure of authority like a doctor tells people things, they tend to believe them! It seems you didn’t think through this hi-larious practical joke on a worried father and his sick child!
By the way, that famous doctor you mentioned earlier… Was it Medical Chief of Staff Oyamada?
Yes… are you familiar with him?
...I knew it. In that case, I’ll make this free of charge.
I sense a story here.
Treating his patient without permission is just the sweetest feeling in the world. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ve got an extra-special exam prepared for you today as thanks for volunteering me earlier…
Ah fuck, my plan to get out of drinking the faint juice backfired!
So, is he your… assistant? He seems awfully young..
Yes, my assistant… guinea pig. He’s about to put in a LOT of hard work today. Aren’t you?
It feels like my bond with Takemi is growing even deeper…
Can I go back to school soon, Doctor?
Not yet. You need to eat and get your strength back first, all right?
Now, my guinea pig… let’s see how you respond to the *other* treatment. Will you even make it home?
Considering how close my place of residence is, that’s quite the terrifying thing to say!
I feel like cooperating in that shady clinical trial has increased my Guts…
Maaku gains Guts +1.
For that event, we picked options 2 (+2), 1 (+3)
But maybe it was just what my careless little guinea pig deserved, huh? Especially after approving that girl’s consultation without my permission.
The drug does seem to be more stable compared to the early stages, though.
Feels like I’m almost there, so… try not to die just yet, okay? All right. Take care.
After School → Evening
Music: Beneath the Mask
You know, about that flyer! We need to look into the truth behind that housekeeping service.
Still going with that line, eh?
I’m over at Central Street right now, so come talk to me if you’re interested.
We have a small bit of eavesdropping to do first.
Turnout is much greater than expected, and those involved are pleased by its popularity.
Is it really that popular? What are they going to do once his wrongdoings are exposed?
She wants to buy artwork and learn how to paint… We can’t afford any of that.
(Sullen Office Worker) Haha, that exhibit’s been the talk of the town. It’s just a fad. I’m sure she’ll forget about it.
You know, I’m kind of jealous of Madarame. Even in this recession, he must be making a lot of money.
Let’s go seek out Mishima and enact Operation Maidwatch.
I had pretty high hopes for them, but they turned out to be posers… The Phantom Thieves are true heroes though! I wanna help out however I can!
Sweet! I’ve been waiting for this! …Wait, you already changed out of your uniform!? I guess that’s a pretty good idea… We’re meeting over at Sakamoto’s place, right? Let’s stop by mine beforehand so I can change too.
Music: My Homie
Are you seriously *already* chickening out?
Operation Maidwatch, bro!
Y-Yeah! Operation Maidwatch!
If it turns out to be sketchy, we can just bail. The apartment’s vacant, so it’s not like we’ll be messing with anyone’s home.
I show this option because it actually helps us out by picking it. Ryuji was not ready to rank up before, but now he is.
Huh, this might actually work…!
Okay, give ‘em a call!
Using the phone gives me social anxiety. You do it, Mishima.
Shit, that was my excuse! Please don’t make me!
(Man’s Voice) Thank you for calling! This is Victoria’s Housekeeping!
(Victoria Employee) I take it you’re interested in our services, then?
Is there anyone in particular you’d like to request?
A-Anyone we want to request!? What should we do, Maaku!?
Don’t worry, I’ve got this. *ahem* No.
Very well! Let’s see here… We have a maid available in… 20 minutes. May I ask for your address?
A maid’s “services”… Hey… What should we have her do? I was thinking we start with some cooking… Of course, I wouldn’t mind some of the other services either… Should we hold a strategy meeting to discuss?
Mishima, you innocent babe, you confuse me more with each passing day. Does this apartment even have a kitchen anyway?
I skipped a few lines here where Ryuji goes to the bathroom and Mishima asks if he washed his hands. I apologize for not including these vital and hilarious character beats.
…… What? Oh… yeah…
Y-You’re really nervous. Ahaha… haha… uh…
Wait… Are high school students even allowed to call these services?
What!? You didn’t check? What if they find out we’re underage!?
H-How should I know!? But why would how old you are matter when it comes to housekeeping?
Were these idiots literally born yesterday? What did they think was going to happen tonight?
We would’ve been screwed if your number had shown up on their caller ID…
What!? Already!? She’s five minutes early! What do we do!? I’m not mentally prepared!
Oh, the door’s unlocked…? Um, may I come in…?
I-I can’t do this…!
My stomach’s actin’ up! And my hands are all sweaty!
Maaku, you handle it! Just don’t let her find out you’re a high school student!
Wh-What?? I can’t do this either! Hamiru, we’ll leave it to you!
C’mon Mishima, let’s hide on the balcony!
Get back here you cowards!
Ryuji and Mishima fled to the balcony…
Excuse me… Oh, there you are! Welcome home, Master. ♥ I’m going to fill your tired heart full of lovely energy. Meow! ♥
I’m not sure I understand the theming here…
Never mind that! I’m Becky, and I’ll be serving you today. ♥
…Hey, how’s it going?
I’m just happy to serve you, Master! ♥ Now, what service would you like me to provide tonight? Cooking? Cleaning? Or maybe… you want something *else*? ♥
Are you… perhaps… In high school?
*lowering voice* What? No. I’m a dad.
Wow! Your skin’s so healthy! …… You’re not lying to me, are you…? …… Hmmm, I’ll wait to provide those other “services” until you’ve matured a bit, Master. ♥ Sooo… I’ll be going now. ♥
Sweet, I don’t even have to pay for the privilege of being mortified like this.
Oh shit! Mishima, let’s bounce! Jump off the balcony!
We’re on the second floor though!
WHAT IS HAPPENING
Wait, no, it’s fine. You don’t know who I am, and I don’t know you. There’s no way. No! Way!
Then why did you yell too!?
Oh god, he knows it’s me. I’m so screwed.
Why is my homeroom teacher in the fetish costume!?
Yes, we get it, this has been very traumatizing for you. Just stop yelling, okay? Who told you about this? I bet it was Chouno, wasn’t it? That little…
Am I cursed? I feel like that’s a reasonable assumption to make at this point.
Chouno? Ring any bells? No? Hmm, you don’t seem to know what I’m talking about… Okay, listen up. I’m pretty hosed if you tell anyone about this. Just… keep my secret, okay? I’ll do anything.
No, not really. Remember, you’d be in hot water too if this got out.
Relax. I was just gonna ask if you could help me with washing all this laundry I keep finding. I can’t use the machines by my place without babysitting them all night because miscellaneous perverts steal the clothes.
Why don’t you just read a book while you wait?
They’re unusually stealthy perverts.
Well, I’ll promise to keep this a secret too… so why don’t we both forget this ever happened? I’ll treat this as if you had canceled, so you won’t have to pay anything. OK? On that note, I’ll be leaving! Don’t say anything about this at school, OK!? Just act as if nothing ever happened! Got it? OK, bye!
I suddenly feel exhausted… I want to go home…
Anon: “of hearts”? what tryhards
Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)
Hello, Male Student Being Shadowed By His Clone.
(Docile First-Year) I’m kinda looking forward to it. That honor student is actually in my group!
Huh? What, is she like, your type or something? Either way, too bad. I hear honor students are exempt from the cleaning. Totally unfair, am I right?
Wha… So, am I alone on a team of upperclassmen then? This sucks. I wanna just ditch now…
Early Morning → Lunchtime
Anon: even kids aren’t that dumb
Anon: ugh quit with the rumors
Anon: played too many games
Anon: ya rite lol
Anon: “of hearts”? what tryhards
What? She’s exempt from the cleanup? How precious is this honor student?
We have to go to Inokashira Park in our stupid gym clothes?
She’s not coming, right? I wish I could ditch this event, too…
We’re meeting at Inokashira Park? I’d better remember that…
Lunchtime → After School
Music: Tokyo Daylight
I’m not sure what’s going on, but maybe you should ask her about it? She’s probably still at school, right? Let’s go look for her.
Good idea. Let’s just ignore her request that neither of us ever mention this ever again.
There’s Kawakami and Chouno.
Get home safely, Hamiru-kun. Well then, I have another matter to attend to, so I have to excuse myself…
No! We’re not finished talking yet!
There’s been a series of scandals on this campus. We’re all being called into question. And yet you leave work earlier than anyone—and you barely make it to the faculty meetings! Explain yourself! Don’t tell me you’re out running around at night!?
Kawakami’s being grilled by Chouno. She said she’d do anything if we helped her out, so let’s clear up Chouno’s suspicions.
The school’s closing soon, Mr. Hamiru. Head on home before it gets late. Or did you need something from Ms. Kawakami?
Yeah, I had a question for her. She’s a real *master* at answering my questions.
Huh…? Oh! Y-You have another question!?
Th-That’s right! Hamiru-kun’s questions are complicated, so I take time at night to help him!
He really needs the help because he’s such an incurable moron! Isn’t that right?
So you’re giving individual lessons outside of school hours, hm? What passion! You are the ideal teacher! A passionate teacher is exactly what we need at this school I’m sorry for suspecting you. Well then, keep up the hard work, you two.
But that did clear up her suspicion, so… thanks. Could you come with me for a bit?
This is the address and phone number of my night job.
I received Kawakami’s phone number.
Call at night and request me. Just be careful that it doesn’t show up in your call history though, okay?
I’m sorry, what?
Yeah, you did it! No call history means a public telephone. Let’s call from Leblanc’s yellow phone. Let’s call Kawakami when you’re free, and invite her to meet you at your room!
WHY DID I WANT THIS
If we’re going to call Kawakami, we need Rank 3 Guts. Unfortunately, we’re just shy of that marker. So, we’re going to head to Big Bang Burger to get some more.
Music: Big Bang Burger March
Holy crap! It’s humongous…
This is the Gravity Burger… A burger so large that it almost has its own gravitational field. Once again, this will be no easy feat to overcome. But should you conquer this challenge, you will be rewarded with an extravagant prize.
So this one comes with a prize too… Do your best, Maaku!
Well then, it’s time to get the thirty-minute Big Bang Challenge started! Ready… Go!
Music: High Pressure
This is a tough battle…!
Don’t get too hasty… Just work at your own pace and you’ll do it!
Music: Everyday Days
I guess it’ll take quite a bit more courage to tackle this challenge.
I don’t believe we ever failed at trial by burger in the old LP, so here’s how it goes. As before, we need our Guts, Knowledge, and Proficiency to be at least Rank 3 each to clear the second tier.
I admire your enthusiasm in the face of adversity, though!
Despite his failure, Maaku gains Guts +2.
Come on, we should head home. I’m full just from watching you…
After School → Evening
Music: Beneath the Mask
You going to call her?
Should I call the maid delivery service? ……
C’mon… I told that kid to call…
Well, we still don’t have enough Guts. You know what that means!
Oh my god, Rita, get over here, that kid I just told you about came back for more!
All this meat makes for a challenge of such cosmic proportions…!
Oh shut up, Maaku.
It looks good, but it’s so big…
Maaku gains Guts +2.
And we did it! We ranked up!
Nice try. Now please get the fuck off the premises before you vomit.
I can barely move…
Did I stutter?
Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)
But somethin’ tells me he’s just gonna get himself in trouble. Maybe we should go with him. He said he was going to Harajuku. And I let Ann know too. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Lady Ann’s coming!? Uh… I mean, fine. No big deal. But you still don’t know Tokyo very well. This might be a good chance to get more familiar with the area… or something. So… what are your thoughts? Will you go to Harajuku with Ryuji?
I have very little interest in wasting a day babysitting Mishima. Hanging out with my friends is sub-optimal. But I do want to see this scene, so I did record it and I’ll post it at a later date.
Also, I intended for this update to cover an additional in-game day, but I ran out of space before the character limit. Oh well. Hopefully it won’t impact my plans for the next update to cover the *thrilling* community service field trip to Inokashira Park!