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"Ngh..." Yosuke gripped his sides, trying not to cough. He felt invigorated, like he could do anything, but he also felt ill, his stomach churning. He could hear voices running through his head. Quickly, he flung his hands over his ears. "No..." His mind was racing. What is going on?

"...I always wanted to tell Hana-chan... that he was a real pain in the ass. I was nice to him because he was the store manager's son, that's all... But he takes it completely the wrong way and gets all enthusiastic. What a dip..."

"Saki-senpai... That wasn't... completely how you felt..." Yosuke began punching the ground. "But you still lied! Why?" His knuckles hurt, but he couldn't stop slamming his knuckles into the black and white tiles.

"...You just came here because you thought it sounded like a good time! What else is there to do out in this shithole?..."

"No... I faced that part of myself..." Yosuke was sweating, heaving. "What's... what's going on?" He wanted to tear these stupid apartments apart, rip the clothes out of the closet and set them on fire, lighting the whole block ablaze. He wished he still had his Persona, Susano-o. He wanted to use him to Magarudyne the entire shitty city of Los Angeles. Why the fuck are we even here? Red flashed across his vision.

"You... You like me? I... don't know what to say, Yosuke..."

"Say yes, Chie..."

More voices rang out all at once as Yosuke dry heaved, his body unable to stand the stress. He imagined punching Ichijo, breaking his nose. He laughed as he imagined Ichijo holding onto his nose. He felt like he was going crazy, but he was enjoying it. I... I probably look like Adachi right now, he thought as he cackled. I... deserve this... Logically, Yosuke knew something had gone very wrong. He felt like his mind was being taken over by someone or something, but part of him felt like this was natural, that he had every right to be pissed people kept lying to him. His friends from home, when they told him they'd be friends forever. Saki. Chie. He wanted to stop thinking about it all, but the voices kept coming.

"Did you hear? Chie's dating Ichijo. What a weird couple!"
"Aw, Narukami is leaving. I guess he's probably glad to get out of a stupid place like Inaba though." "Yeah, this place blows. There's nothing here."

"Aw, those two are cute together."

"He doesn't have too many friends, so I hope you two get along good. Hana-chan's a good guy, but he can get nosy sometimes. You gotta tell him right to his face when he starts to annoy you."
"We'll be friends forever, dude! We'll come visit Inaba like all the time!" "Yeah man, it's only an hour or something away by train!"
"Ew, why would Ichijo date someone like her?" "I dunno, she's actually kind of my type..." "Really?"
"Sorry man, but Inaba is boring... Maybe you can come here sometime." 

"Can't you try to stay, Yu?" "I should go back." "But Bro, how are we gonna hang?" "Don't worry Yosuke, we'll always be friends."
"Ichijo should date someone more like Ai." "What are you saying? They're perfect for one another!"
"Aw, I wanted to ask Chie out..." "You want to date a different girl each week." "So? It doesn't mean I didn't want to ask her out!"
"Sorry man, we're just... busy. We can't come this weekend, or next weekend..." "Then, when can you visit...?"
"It must be nice to have someone else from the big city to talk to, huh? I don't see Hana-chan hanging out with the other guys much.""I kind of thought she was a lesbian..."
"Sorry, Yosuke, but if I'm honest, I only talked to you because you were around Narukami all the time, and I wanted to talk to him... So please... Leave me alone."

Tears began to stream down Yosuke's face, the bitterness escaping from his throat as he began to speak. "I'm... such a loser. I deserve to die alone." He thought of Saki, who had only pretended to like him, and of Chie, who couldn't even turn him down properly. So much false hope. So many empty promises. How many of his friends were like that? How many people only pretended to care about him? How many would leave him? If he came home, if he could even call Inaba home, would anyone give a shit he was back?

"Yosuke?" someone called. He couldn't quite make out who it was, thanks to the voices, continuously growing louder. His vision blurred, but he felt like he could see Yu coming toward him, arm stretched out. Yosuke slapped it out of the way, screaming. The figure recoiled, clearly surprised. There were others behind Yu, but they weren't approaching him.

"Get away from me!" Yosuke began coughing and covered his mouth. When he pulled his hand away, he could have sworn he saw blood, but it flickered and disappeared. Everything turned fuzzy, like static. He turned to his right, still pushing his friends away. In front of him lay a coffin. It... would be so nice to die... He ran, stumbling, to the coffin, and lay in it, closing the lid on himself as his friends screamed for him to stop. 

Yosuke's body slammed onto the ground and he groaned in pain. Lifting himself up, however, he found that his frustration and anger were helping him find his strength. If only I'd just realized all of this before...

"You have come," he heard a voice say.

Yosuke spun around. "What the--" In front of him stood an enormous red, mostly nude woman with hollow eyes and nails longer than Yosuke was tall. What little did ornament the woman was either black and red or gilded. The large belt she wore featured a gold skull with gigantic ears, and three large black and red beads hung from each of those ears. A gold and red cloth hung from that belt, covering her legs. Her long black hair was clearly unkempt, appearing more as a mane. She wore a fanged mask. As fearsome as she was, Yosuke had to admit she was also beautiful in the way sullenness is often beautiful.

"I am Rangda, the demon queen," the woman said, her voice carrying an immense weight to it. "Your friends have abandoned you, Yosuke. Everyone you love will lie to you at some point, if they have not already. You meant nothing to Saki, but Chie..."

"Shut up!" Yosuke yelled, his blood boiling. "You know nothing about them!"

"I know what it is like to be told you are loved and then thrown out like tomorrow's trash," Rangda responded, feeding off his anger. "Your friends from the city. Where were they after you moved? Saki. If she hadn't died you would have never known how she felt about you. Yu, leaving, not fighting to stay. And when he did return, old grudges interfere with your ability to be normal children, almost adults. Chie..." Rangda looked almost sad. "You were unable to get the truth from Chie, and now she's rejected you outright. What do you have left, Yosuke?"

Yosuke's fists clenched. "I have... my anger."

"Yes. Your anger is all we need." Rangda looked off to the distance, where a blue door was appearing. She growled. Turning back to Yosuke, she reached down and picked him up, his frame tiny in her hand. "Together, our rage will protect us," she said, watching the group quickly advance to their location, avoiding the few Shadows that littered the island's landscape.

"Yu...?" Yosuke felt the power drain from his body. He turned to Rangda. "What is... going..." Rangda smiled as Yosuke passed out.

"Revenge," she said, knowing he couldn't hear her.

The Investigation Team was accompanied by Margaret, whom Yu had called upon as soon as Yosuke had climbed into the coffin. Margaret had simply nodded, and asked Igor, "May I?" Igor had been silent for a few moments before finally nodding, though his expression had expressed regret at his decision. "If I don't, surely..." All Igor had responded with was, "I know."

"Yu," Margaret said as the group stopped, staring up at the enormous Rangda. "Do you accept me as I am?" she asked.

"What?" Yu asked, but didn't wait for an answer. "Of course. Yes."

Margaret smiled. "Then I am able to help you."

"Leave here," Rangda boomed. "There is nothing for you here."

"Give me back my friend," Yu demanded.

Rangda laughed bitterly. "This? The 'friend' none of you are able to be honest with?" Rangda squeezed Yosuke so hard it looked like his bones would shattered. "Yosuke and I know what it is to be lied to, to be 'loved' and then tossed aside for being who we are... or who people think we are. What would you want with him that you could not get from another?"

"He's my friend! I would never abandon him!" Yu's glare could have split stone, but unfortunately, it was having no effect on Rangda.

"Hmph." Rangda held Yosuke out and TVs fell down from the sky, acting as projectors. "I believe your so-called 'friend' feels otherwise."

The group could see Yosuke on the screen, writhing in pain. "I'm... such a loser. I deserve to die alone," TV Yosuke screamed. "I'm... still the same. I'm still the same loser I was, back then..." Tears streamed down his face "I'm... so stupid..." 

"What the hell?" Kanji asked, irritated. "That's some shit!"

"You want him back?" Rangda laughed. "I will gladly give him back to you." Rangda flung his body into the air, and Chie screamed as Yosuke's body hurled back toward the ground.
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