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Fan Fic / In the Eye of the Beholder

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In all souls, there exists a desire to witness beauty...
The form it may take is not always the same,
For each person beholds the world in their own way.
Their ideals are the stars that brighten the night.
They are the points that connect what is to what might be.
And only through perseverance do far-off dreams become reality,
So that the beauty of growth may be beheld by those near to it.
But now, those depths shall remain forever unexplored,
As the eye of the Beholder has been shut, and shall never open again.

In the Eye of the Beholder is a Shin Megami Tensei: Persona fanfic that, unlike the games, takes place in the Western world, in particular the United States. HopeGale, the author, was inspired by learning about the infamous English localization of the original Persona for the PlayStation, which changed the setting to the United States among other differences, and decided to try writing a Persona fic taking place in the United States, but built from the ground up to take advantage of the different setting compared to Japan.

Lydia White is new to the small city of Quartz, Texas, having had to move there due to her dad's new job. When people start disappearing into the nearby woods, the ones that come back have an insatiable need to stare at their own reflection, referred to as "Narcissus Syndrome". After awakening to the power of the Wild Card and being granted a Persona, Lydia and her group of Persona users, the Quartz Idol Busters or QIB, delve into the mystery posed by the woods and Narcissus Syndrome.

The fic is still currently ongoing, and can be read on FF.Net.

There's also a supplemental fic titled All the Myriad Ways.

  • A Storm Is Coming: As the QIB prepares to leave the mirror world following their defeat of the boss Shadow inside Nori's Idol's Nest, F.Z. stops them to warn that as the quartz valley gets cloudier, the day it finally storms will probably mean their toughest battle yet.
  • Arc Words: "Beholder", used to describe Lydia in particular, and present each time she manifests a new Social Link.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Upon learning about Social Links, Lydia decides to go research the different Arcana in order to see what they mean.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first time the QIB and Sycophanta meet the former is soundly defeated.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Medusa, Allie's Persona, specializes in earth spells like Magna.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Mirror World, where Shadows lurk and whole areas made of quartz are created from a person entering, much like the TV World in Persona 4. For instance, Allie's takes the form of a rave warehouse, while Damien's takes the form of a massive quartz skyscraper.
    • The Velvet Room in this incarnation takes the form of a dressing room, which Victor calls the Velvet Dressing Room.
  • Enemy Within: Idols, which are a type of Shadow formed from a person's distorted view of who they wish they could be. Unlike the Shadow Selves in Persona 4, the incorrect thing to do (though Sycophanta believes otherwise) is to accept them as they are, but instead to defeat them and convince them of the rightness of the person's chosen path.
  • Endless Daytime: The mirror world is almost always perpetually sunny no matter the time of day outside when Lydia and Allie first arrive, but as more and more people enter the mirror world over the course of the story, the sky gets progressively cloudier, and the Shadows get stronger and more dangerous.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Victor explains to Lydia that the reason why she has to pay to enchant clothing in the Velvet Room, despite he and Igor having no use for money besides the novelty factor, is because of the symbolic exchange of something of value in order to get something else of equal value.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: The story takes place in Texas and just about everyone apart from the Velvet Room denizens are from Texas, which reflects in more than half of the QIB being of Hispanic descent and high school football being very popular.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite the fact that the QIB and Sycophanta are directly opposed to one another, Lydia and Lynne have what amounts to a rudimentary friendship, the latter even being her Hunger Social Link.
  • Genius Loci: The quartz valley appears to be alive, and actively malevolent as it seems to side with Sycophanta, though the Shadows still attack them all the same.
  • Interquel: The story takes place between Persona 4 and 5.
  • Making a Splash: Ophelia, Lydia's Initial Persona, uses water spells. Also a case of Irony, given Ophelia's fate.
  • Magic Mirror:
    • Staring through mirrors in Quartz for long enough has a chance of getting a person transported to the quartz valley, where Shadows lurk.
    • Rather than tarot cards or masks, the QIB's Personas take the form of mirrors themed after them when not in use, which combust into blue flame to summon them forth. Sycophanta, on the other hand, has red flames. Also, they can be used in the real world, though it does take a lot more effort to summon and maintain one there.
  • Meaningful Name: In-universe Quartz gets its name from the large amount of quartz deposits in the area.
  • Portal Cut: After Lydia crosses into the quartz valley in Damien's house, her teammates discuss this trope regarding F.Z.'s portals.
  • Sadistic Choice: When Jacob ends up pulled into the valley, the QIB ends up having to choose between two dungeons; the museum (Jacob), or the cave of another victim (Rory) that sprouted at the same time. After a lengthy debate, they decide to choose the former, partly because a cavern collapse could trap them, and because F.Z. still has memories of being Buried Alive by her Idol. Sycophanta ends up recruiting the one they didn't choose, and likely helped Rory to accepting his Idol in the first place.
  • The New '10s: In the Eye of the Beholder takes place in 2015, about three years after Persona 4, and one year before Persona 5, which wasn't released at the time of this fic's conception.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: If this fanfic were a video game, the battle against Nathan's Idol would be this; rather than a straight up battle like with Allie's and Damien's Idols, the QIB and Nathan are forced to play a football game, with the girls stuck at the sidelines and Damien in the field with Nathan and his berserk Idol.
  • Vendor Trash: The Shadows leave behind quartz bits upon defeat that Lydia sells in the Velvet Room for large amounts of cash to share amongst the group, which they spend on things including but not limited to clothing enchantments for everyone from the Velvet Room (Lydia), paying for art supplies (Jacob), and spending hundreds on convention merch (Damien and Allie). It's even lampshaded that their parents don't really ask where all their extra disposable income is coming from, though Lydia does insist that they refrain from spending too much at once in the real world lest people get suspicious.
  • What If?:
    • A few chapters following a battle with an Idol or Sycophanta have an alternate scenario where things didn't quite go the same way, ranging from a New Game+ version of the same fight to outright Bad Endings with a Total Party Kill.
    • The entirety of All the Myriad Ways is dedicated to the concept of what-ifs.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Quartz, TX is said to be located somewhere between Houston and Galveston, with part of the QIB visiting Houston at one point to attend a con. It's later specified that Quartz is approximately where League City, TX is in the real world, which is equidistant to both Houston and Galveston.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time appears to pass quicker in the mirror world than outside it. For instance, after defeating Damien's Idol and returning to the real world, the QIB finds that only 15 minutes passed outside since they entered, despite it feeling like at least an hour for them inside. It is however, a bit inconsistent, ranging from less than half to more then 3 times as long.