Hello readers! Are you excited? I’m excited! OK…more like TERRIFIED, but that’s OK! Why? Because today’s post is my entry for the Championship Match in the 2019 edition of award winning blogging competition – Blogger Blitz!
If you’ve not been following Blogger Blitz, then here’s the deal: Blogger Blitz is a competition that has been run for the last 3 years by the truly awesome Adventure Rules. Contestants in the competition pick a character from a video game and then have to explain how that character would overcome a series of events. This year’s installment has a twist, in that in addition to the character we’ve picked, we also had to choose their ‘ship’, or a character with whom they have a strong relationship.
For my part, I’ve chosen to sponsor Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE’s protagonist, Itsuki Aoi and have shipped him with Tokyo Mirage Session’s ‘Best Boy’, Yashiro Tsurugi. So far they have saved a wedding threatened by a monumental storm and survived a weekend of babysitting, but what will our pair have to do today? Well…
The time has come for that most special of nights, the part of the high school experience which some long for and others dread – prom. You and your ship have agreed to go together and have made vigorous preparations for the night of the dance. Unfortunately, the forces of darkness have other plans. The night of the prom, you are attacked by a cognitive/mirage being who represents the insecurities that you feel regarding your relationship. Show us your fears about your Ship and show us how you overcome them – and their shadowy harbinger – to save the prom and have the night of your young life.
In this, the final of the competition, I have the honour of being up against one of the nicest and most talented bloggers around, Winst0lf from The Winst0lf Portal, so make sure you go and check out his entry which will involve the exploits of Persona 5’s ‘Best Cat’, Morgana and his ship Ann Takamaki.
Before I get started, since this is the final match, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to Ian from Adventure Rules for giving me the opportunity to take part in such an awesome thing and to the three wonderful judges who have been choosing the winners. I have loved writing every single one of these posts (possibly a little bit too much…) and it is actually quite emotional to be going up against a good buddy in the final – particularly given the close relationship that the two games we are representing have.
May the best Atlus JRPG win!
So…without any further ado, I present Itsuki Aoi and Yashiro Tsurugi in Prom Night Panic ♥
Itsuki Aoi stood alone upon the stage. The others wouldn’t be here for another two hours but he had to make sure all the preparations were complete. The lights had to be tested and the sound system wired up. Nothing would go wrong tonight. Nothing.
All of Fortuna Entertainment’s idols were set to perform at the prom in what would surely be an evening unlike any other. Even Itsuki, with the help of his friends, would be singing. He would see to it that this was the most fabulous prom night ever.
Everything was going fine with the preparations but Itsuki felt strangely nervous. Stage fright maybe? He was not used to going out in front of a crowd. No, that wasn’t it. He couldn’t concentrate and was constantly fighting the urge to check his phone. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to see, it was just a vague worry that Yashiro would have second thoughts. There were a few eyebrows raised in the office when they announced they were attending together – what if he got cold feet?
With the preparations complete, Itsuki headed out to take in some air. Once outside a strange feeling swept over him. Why was it so quiet? It is never quiet in this part of town. The streets were deserted and anyone he did see just looked passive. He approached a couple leaning against the wall of a nearby metro station, but they just gazed at him unresponsively.
A sense of dread crept over him. This had happened before. These people seemed as though they’d had every ounce of performa drained out of them. This must be another mirage attack – that was the only explanation! Assembling all of Tokyo’s best idols together for the prom only meant one thing – an overflowing well of performa for the mirages to snack on. That meant…the prom! The mirages were planning a full-scale assault on the prom!
A grey cloak flashed before his eyes, a red one swished away in the distance. There was no doubt about it – they were here and he had to stop them. His friends were not with him now and the last thing he wanted to do was interfere with their preparations for tonight. They would be none the wiser if he could just get into the idolosphere and cut off the source of the attack before the prom began.
Finding a glowing entrance to the idolosphere at the nearby Daiba Studio, Itsuki stepped inside…
“Chrom!” he shouted in surprise as the tall figure of his mirage appeared before him.
“Itsuki! You should not have come alone! It’s the mirages…they are in a frenzy! It is as if they are not only stealing performa but also sensing people’s strengths and weaknesses. They will have the upper-hand in battle should you engage them!”
Itsuki remained calm “I have no choice Chrom, we are going to have to fight them”
Chrom sighed and nodded “If this is truly your wish, I will of course serve you” he spoke calmly before transforming into Itsuki’s trusted sword. Now dressed for battle, Itsuki ran through the corridors – he had to reach the centre as that is where the ringleader would be.
Taking out wave after wave of mirages he eventually reached the central room. He remembered this place, but the memory was bittersweet. This studio was where they had fought against Yashiro and Navarre all those months ago. This was the place where they had helped him break free of his lonely path. This was where their journey together had started.
A wave of sickness crossed Itsuki’s body. Why had he been led back here and what on earth was waiting for him? Slowly but surely another mirage zoomed into focus. Long purple hair trailed down over a floor length cape. Red ribbons were tied around his arms and he held a huge pointed sword that must have been at least the size of Itsuki.
It was Navarre.
“N..Navarre?” Itsuki trembled, unsure why Yashiro’s mirage had appeared. Before Navarre could respond, Chrom reappeared by Itsuki’s side and spoke solemnly “This is not Navarre. I sense nothing but malevolent intent from this mirage. I think that this may be the being known as Dark Navarre. I am certain he will show you no mercy and so you must do the same”
Itsuki braced himself for Dark Navarre’s attack. He could defend against his blade, but he knew that he would sense his weakness to fire. The mirage came forward with his sword but instead of executing a flame-strike opted for something which disturbed Itsuki far more – a barrage of psychological attacks.
“Status effects?” Itsuki rolled his eyes before a confusion spell could take effect. So this is what Chrom meant by the mirages being able to see his weakness. Itsuki had always seen himself as a very level-headed person. He stayed calm under pressure and didn’t let nerves effect him. This, he thought, was what made him a good leader. But now his thoughts were scattered and his focus shot. With the ability to maintain his concentration stolen, fear swept over him. What if he lost his composure for good? Without it he was nothing. That strength in him that had won Yashiro over would be gone.
Attack after attack came in, casting all kinds of ailments on the beleaguered Itsuki. Dark Navarre laughed wickedly “I know what you are thinking. You cannot have any secrets from me in here. You are remembering your battle against my doppelganger – the mirage you call Navarre!”
Itsuki nodded but Dark Navarre continued “That mirage’s master will do it again you know. He will strike out alone and fight against you just as he did back then. He will turn his back on the puny ideas of friendship you have instilled in him. He does not need the friendship of a weakling like you”
This indeed was something Itsuki had never quite been able to let go of. He had to stop this. This mirage was breaking him down. Weakening his mind until he believed the very worst. Making him give in to his fears.
Since that day when he and Chrom fought against Yashiro and Navarre so much had changed. Yashiro had gone from an enemy to something else entirely. They had been through so much together and formed what he thought was an unbreakable bond… and tonight they were supposed to attend the prom together.
But what if Yashiro had just been using him for his own gain? Yashiro himself had told the others that they were simply sheep for following someone like Itsuki. He had addressed him with complete disdain. What if this Navarre was right?
He had to stop these thoughts. Unable to attack, he desperately reached into his bag hoping to find something that would help him – after all he would never go into the idolosphere unprepared. Reaching right to the bottom he pulled out a can of soda. His head was still spinning but he could just make out the letters on the can – A.M.R.I.T.A! Amrita Shower! At last something to give him some hope. Downing the drink in one go, the status effects disappeared and Itsuki’s resolve began to return.
Taking a deep breath he began to sing, or maybe it was more of a roar. Electricity leapt from his sword towards Navarre and cast Seal – silencing his opponent’s magic spells. With Dark Navarre now on the ropes, he began to fire in his own attacks. Sword strikes, Zio, Cleave. He tried them all but Navarre remained standing.
Most of his energy spent, Itsuki briefly released Chrom from his weapon form and addressed him: “Chrom! It’s no use, I can’t break him down. We’ll both die of exhaustion at this rate!”
“You are still not realising your true potential Itsuki! You need to let go of all your fears and fight him head on”
But he didn’t know how to do this alone. He didn’t know how to truly let go of his fears… until a voice reached his ears through the darkness…a voice that had always helped guide him towards his true potential.
Itsuki turned his head to see Yashiro looking at him, mouth agape. That was it. Itsuki understood what he needed to do. It had been pointless trying to face this false Navarre alone. He couldn’t defeat him alone. He couldn’t defeat him without Yashiro, because it was the fear of Yashiro reneging on their bonds that was holding him back.
“What is happening Aoi?” Yashiro continued, a hint of fear rattling his voice.
“Yashiro! This is not your Navarre! You have to trust me! Summon the real one and we can defeat this imposter together” Itsuki had no time to put together a better explanation. Showing his trust in Yashiro was the only way to prove that his fears did not control him.
In a flash, Yashiro summoned his mirage’s power. Itsuki led with a sword attack and shouted over to his comrade “Now Yashiro, follow up with a a session skill!” and with those words Yashiro launched an attack in Dark Navarre’s direction and the evil mirage sank to his knees, defeated by the bonds that these two idols had formed.
A stunned silence filled the idolosphere, eventually broken by the real Navarre who bowed before Yashiro “One day we may understand how today’s events came about, however as the immediate danger has been averted I would suggest Master that you return to your own reality. I believe you have somewhere to be tonight? Something you have been excited about?”
Yashiro blushed and immediately shot a glance at Navarre, who subtly winked in his direction. Accepting Navarre’s suggestion Yashiro gestured to Itsuki who nodded back before leading the way towards the real world.
Just before crossing the threshold, Yashiro turned to Itsuki and bluntly stated “When you did not answer my messages I was concerned you were planning to stand me up, Aoi”
Itsuki raised his eyebrows and smiled “You were…concerned? That I might stand you up?” His smile grew to a grin “…and that is why you came into the Idolosphere?”
Yashiro looked perturbed “Yes. I thought you might require my assistance. Is that not the kind of thing that friends do?”
“That is exactly the kind of thing that friends do…It’s good to know you grasp these concepts” Itsuki’s grin remained, the irony of the situation not lost on him.
Yashiro pondered his response before looking Itsuki straight in the eye “What do you think I have been doing all this time, Aoi? You have taught me the basics of living a normal life, and I have taught you the basics of becoming an idol, but those are just extras. The real lesson you have taught me is one of friendship, the importance of bonds and the idea that I do not need to fight alone.”
Itsuki responded “You’re right…I apologise. I did not mean for it to sound as though I do not have faith in you.”
Taking a deep breath, Yashiro gestured towards the threshold “well then…shall we?”, and with a nod he and Itsuki passed through the shining gateway and appeared back in the real world.
Cameras flashed all around them and countless voices were screaming their names. Remembering his media training, Yashiro managed to keep calm and lent towards Itsuki “Looks like someone tipped the media off about our intentions to attend the prom together…are you OK with this?” he whispered calmly.
Itsuki nodded and the pair made their way through the cameras and journalists, reaching the venue just before the opening number started. They ambled inside and after a few awkward seconds, Itsuki smiled and turned to Yashiro “So…wanna dance?” and with a single nod Yashiro agreed and reached out his hand.