"This atmosphere... is this a Palace!?"
Persona 5 RoyalEdit
A world within the Metaverse that is seemingly created by Takuto Maruki, although unlike the others, Maruki is physically present (instead of just his Shadow Self). It appears as a large, towering structure of glass and gold, with the interior resembling a mental health center. Unlike the other Palaces, it appears to be directly connected to Mementos and merely saying the word "Laboratory" seems to be enough for the Metaverse Navigator to deport anyone to there.
This Palace is the largest one in the game and exploring it requires at least two days alongside an exploration to a new area in Mementos to its true bottom in order to prevent the Palace from channeling its power, making it a total of three days. The lower levels consist of a lobby, a control center, a laboratory, a warehouse and finally a mental health check center, and its cognitions are patients that slowly degrade into shadows of their former selves that only want blind happiness. Since Maruki does not see anyone in a distorted manner, these cognitions appear as human and passive. The Shadows resemble purple and black, vaguely humanoid beings that are either undressed or in doctors' coats, while guard captains have large, exaggerated muscles. In addition, as seen by the mid-boss that transforms into Hastur, they release turquoise liquid from their orifices instead of black liquid. Furthermore, they wear turquoise and white masks with black spirals and a pale blue spot on the side. Some undressed Shadows also have messy hair that resemble Maruki's prior to his ascension into a godly being.
It first emerged on top of the Odaiba construction site, which is a stadium that is about to be reconstructed into a cognitive research center (The Cognitive Laboratory) by Maruki, but construction of it was stopped due to the fundraising being halted. Kasumi Yoshizawa requests the protagonist to come there and investigate after a threat to revoke her scholarship is issued. Once the protagonist goes near the stadium, the Metaverse Navigator suddenly fires up and teleports him, Morgana and Kasumi to its outskirts because Kasumi said "Maruki," "Stadium" and "laboratory."
With Kasumi missing, the protagonist and Morgana go down and search, revealing its interior that resembles a research lab. When they enter the center hall, an image of Kasumi's supposedly dead sister appears and mutters "Because...of...me...Kasumi...instead..." implying Kasumi was the one that died, causing an adverse reaction to her. The image was quickly squashed by a Shadow before it can continue talking, and it bursts out into a Byakhee to attack the party. Kasumi awakens to her Persona Cendrillon and fights it alongside the protagonist and Morgana. With her power of Persona awakened, Morgana invites her to join the party, to which she declines.
The event takes place naturally on October 3. Should the calling card for Kunikazu Okumura be sent at the previous day, the boss encounter in Okumura's Palace will overwrite this event and it will happen on the next day, October 4, after beating Okumura instead.
On January 2, Kasumi can detect the Palace in the real world on her way home, and requests the protagonist and Akechi investigate it with her. The trio explore together, as the Palace appears to be responsible for the strange occurrences surrounding the protagonist's friends, such as Futaba's mother Wakaba Isshiki being alive or Morgana taking the form of a human. Unlike the other day where it was deserted, the Palace is now full of cognitive patients seeking happiness, and Shadows begin to spawn. Due to the other party member's personas being temporarily wiped out from existence thanks to their traumas being wiped out from the fabric of history, none of them will join until the end of January 9, and most confidant abilities from them are unusable.
As they go further, pieces of the truth about Kasumi are revealed, much to her confusion and pain. This eventually results in Kasumi's disguise breaking off bit by bit, causing her to recklessly rush into battle. After defeating several Belials in the Test Track, they warn the trio that "agony" awaits them before vanishing. The image of a girl resembling Kasumi, but with brown hair and a beauty mark below her left eye, then appears and reaches out to "Sumire." The voice of a man through a speaker then warns them that their heart will be torn should they dare proceed.
As the trio venture into the center of the Test Track, they finally encounter the owner of the Palace and the instigator of the strange occurrences; the former school counselor of Shujin Academy, Takuto Maruki. He claims that reality is too painful, and he used his power to create a new reality devoid of misery, ignorant to the fact that such a world only leads to stagnation and existential nihilism. Unable to talk past the protagonist and Akechi, he shows the truth of Kasumi Yoshizawa on a large television screen; the "Kasumi" whom the protagonist has known is in fact Kasumi's younger sister Sumire Yoshizawa, who was always jealous of her sister's talent.
Her jealousy led to suicidal depression, eventually resulting in Sumire unknowingly throwing herself onto traffic because of a fit of suppressed emotions, only for Kasumi to sacrifice herself to save her sister. With the truth fully revealed, "Kasumi's" disguise unravels and reverts to her own form. Maruki then takes Sumire for his own use before sending out a Hastur to attack the boys. Afterwards, he grants them a week of time to reconsider his offer, in which the protagonist uses to sow seeds of doubt into the Phantom Thieves' minds. Akechi took the opportunity to get intel on Maruki. In order to make sure Sumire's parents don't worry about their daughter, Maruki makes them think that she is in a training camp.
This deadline is impossible to miss, as the only way that the protagonist can spend time within the week is to find any of the seven party members that would be trapped in Maruki's spell, which are marked by a blue tarot card. The protagonist cannot free more than one member per day, and is not allowed to progress otherwise. The others brush off whatever he tells them, too content with having their wishes granted, but each see a glimpse of themselves in the true reality. Though they show hesitation, they ultimately ignore the protagonist.
Once all of them have been spoken to, the protagonist returns to Akechi at Odaiba at the end of the week. The remaining Phantom Thieves all gather in Leblanc discussing if the protagonist was ultimately right and they are missing something, despite they are ultimately happy. They all reach a consensus and the illusion breaks for them, turning Morgana into a cat instantly, alongside the Sayuri painting returning to LeBlanc's wall.
The duo reaches Maruki, and he offers the protagonist to accept his reality; doing so results in a bad ending where all of the Phantom Thieves are trapped under his spell bar the protagonist who is still partially aware. If he refuses, Maruki will awaken Sumire and use her denial of the truth to provoke her into attacking the party. Akechi stays out of the fight in fear of killing her due to his combat instincts. Sumire goes down easily after a few attacks. Maruki will then summon a series of electric cables to force Cendrillon to go berserk and attack the protagonist and Akechi, all the while summoning Byakhee for it to absorb. The duo is no match for Cendrillon's berserk state and are left helpless until the rest of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts join the fight, who moments before convened in Leblanc and realized they've been living a lie. They gather to defeat the berserk Cendrillon. Maruki gives Sumire back to the party and then tells them to meet him after 30 days if they wish to change his heart.
The Thieves meet Lavenza in the school's nurse's office. There, she tells them about Maruki, and how it's possible he's a Persona-user. The next day, the party storms the Palace with Sumire Yoshizawa appearing as herself, being given the codename "Violet." Her personality and appearance drastically change to match her true self.
Once Violet is surrounded by five Shadows that drop out from the ceiling, she attempts to summon Cendrillon, but fails as it has been destroyed. Once she establishes herself as a rebel against her old cowardly and selfish self and rips off her mask, the soul of the real Kasumi Yoshizawa takes the place as the new Cendrillon. The Shadows break into five Loa and are quickly defeated. However, once they enter the center of the research laboratory, they are instantly met with the cables that were used to drive Cendrillon berserk, which must be broken at the true depths of Mementos, the Path of Da'at. The deadline for the 3rd of February will now begin and the depths of Mementos must be traversed to remove the roadblock before the party can proceed into the second half of the Palace. This means that the infiltration route needs to be secured by the 1st of February, after exploring the true depths of Mementos on the 31st of January at the latest.
Should the party miss this deadline, Mementos and reality will permanently become fused together, and Maruki will summon the protagonist into his office at Shujin Academy in his dreams, with the protagonist wearing his Velvet Room prison uniform. Believing it was difficult for the protagonist to act, Maruki tells him to sleep for all eternity so he wouldn't have to worry ever again, with the scene cutting to the protagonist lying on his bed in his room LeBlanc with his phone long dead, and his room covered in dust and cobwebs. He is unwilling to leave his bed as he is unable to think of anything, and not even Lavenza is able to reach out to him, as, in her butterfly form, she weakens, fades away and then vanishes as soon as she tries to reach the bed.
The mental health check center has no enemies on its own, although the party is presented with a quiz which trials its patients for how much they know about Maruki's very own version of true happiness. There are 2, 3 and 5 answers respectively, and any answer that does not correspond to Maruki's current ideals will result in the party being attacked by a normal Shadow encounter. At the second and third quizzes, they can also cheat by looking inside the windows of the control room for Shadow therapists.
The upper floors, known as the Twilight Corridor and Pscientifc Model Eden, resemble a paradise with patient cognitions doing nothing but laughing wildly and floating in the air. A staircase known as the "Stariway of Light" connects the upper floors of the Twilight Corridor to Psientific Model Eden. This area features a color puzzle that requires the party to match the lights of the controllers into the gate's corresponding colors to open various areas, including creating bridges or opening gates blocked by vines. A cheatsheet can be seen near the controllers to assist the player.
Several areas in the Palace are barricaded by query-locked gates, which require passwords related to Maruki's personal life; all of these correspond to a VHS tape that must be viewed, which reveals parts of Maruki's past. It turns out that in the past, his ex-girlfriend Rumi's parents had a home invader while the two were visiting. Her parents were murdered in front of her, and she never got past the trauma, falling into catatonic depression. In a desperate attempt to help her, a being of infinite wisdom contracted Maruki and gave him magical powers to change severe mental conditions, and Rumi mysteriously recovered from her depression. However, she consequently got her memories reshuffled, and thus she also forgot Maruki completely. He then distanced himself from her.
He then became an accomplished cognitive psience researcher in the lines of Wakaba Isshiki, though his thesis was rejected for lack of evidence, and his lifelong dream of building a cognitive psience research lab in Odaiba was destroyed due to its funding being cut off. He also realized that his powers are in fact dangerous, and vows to only use them when he has no other option. He opened a clinic afterwards and met Sumire Yoshizawa, who was so depressed that she refused any traditional methods that he used and actively asked him to turn her into Kasumi, which he did, albeit subconsciously instead of by his full volition. Sumire was made to think that she is Kasumi and was seemingly cured of her depression and survivor's guilt.
On the Day of Reckoning, on the 24th of December, it's revealed that Masayoshi Shido was the one who cut Maruki's funding. He presented his final essay to his university professor and expressed a desire to stop Shido, although the professor chides him for attempting to stop such a powerful politician alone and kicks him out. During the same time, Yaldabaoth enacts his final plan for world domination and accidentally causes the being of wisdom to be transformed into a tentacled monster. Maruki was driven insane and enacts his plan for mass salvation after Yaldabaoth's fall.
The treasure chamber reveals itself to be the Garden of Eden, where barely dressed cognitive patients enjoy their life there and become ignorant to their surroundings. Once returning to the real world, the protagonist actively meets and gives Maruki a calling card in LeBlanc on the 2nd of February, which seemingly does not cause any psychological distress on him unlike other targets, implying that he is fully prepared for it.
On the next day, the Day of Fates, the final confrontation begins and the party and Maruki fight inside the central dome of the Garden of Eden, in which he changes his outfit into a golden priest garb and summons his Persona, Azathoth. The party must defeat either Azathoth or Maruki twice, with one tentacle preventing Azathoth from being damaged, one healing Maruki and other casting buffs or debuffs. All of these tentacles swap weaknesses once Maruki regenerates them.
After defeating Azathoth, the Palace collapses and reveals its treasure, a fire torch. Maruki however, quickly confiscates the torch and fuses it with Azathoth, restoring it to its true form, the Being of Infinite Wisdom, Adam Kadmon. This implies that Yaldabaoth accidentally separated the torch from Adam Kadmon and caused it to degenerate into the blind Azathoth, and thus Maruki began misusing his magical powers to blind others from the truth. After being defeated once, Maruki fuses himself with Adam Kadmon and is virtually invincible.
Futaba scans it for weaknesses, and finds that it's only vulnerable while it's attacking. The Phantom Thieves hold back the brunt of the attack using their personas, giving Joker the opportunity to grapple up to Adam Kadmon's head and fire the final shot, destroying it completely.
As Adam Kadmon is destroyed and the Palace collapses, Morgana transforms into a helicopter to escape with the rest of the team. However, Maruki pulls the protagonist down to the ground and asks him to "help kill" Maruki's regrets. With the destruction of the Palace, and in turn the entire Metaverse, they resort to a fist fight due to the loss of their Personas.
After the fight, Maruki collapses, distraught and defeated. The floor beneath him shatters, and he falls. The protagonist catches him, but Maruki begs him to let go. The protagonist refuses, and Morgana rescues them.
After the Palace collapses and Adam Kadmon is destroyed, Maruki loses all of his magic, resulting in everything returning to normal; the protagonist is now in juvenile hall where all of his Confidants, including ones that he maxed during the third semester, work together to free him. Morgana has not yet reappeared, and Akechi is once again missing.
The treasure that is Adam Kadmon's torch reveals itself to be the newsletter about the murder of Rumi's family. The protagonist keeps this newsletter as a memento.
Maruki's treasure is the torch of guidance. During the day of reckoning, Yaldabaoth unintentionally removed the torch from Adam Kadmon, degenerating it into Azathoth and driving Maruki insane as a result. Maruki fuses this torch with the remains of Azathoth and restores it into Adam Kadmon as a last-ditch attempt to protect his reality. Once stolen, it reveals its true form as the newsletter about the murder of Rumi's family, which marks the beginning of Maruki's madness and grief. The newsletter is picked up by Sumire outside Maruki's Palace, and the protagonist keeps it.
- The following Confidant skills that can be used in Palaces do not activate during January 2 and January 9. They will return during phase two of the Cendrillon boss fight.
- Instant Kill, Card Duplication, Card Creation, Position Hack, Treasure Reboot, Emergency Shift, Final Guard, any abilities that require any party member bar Akechi or Kasumi to be physically present within the party and any Velvet Room related Bonus.
- Futaba's Moral Support and Makoto's Shadow Calculus does activate during these two days, even before re-joining. However, when activating the latter, Akechi will be narrating instead.
- Loa might manifest as a Disaster Shadow.
- Bugs cannot be recruited in this Palace.
- Red Shadows always manifest as Fafnir. This Shadow has no weaknesses and is unaffected by physical and gun attacks, so use technical damage or down shot to initiate a Hold Up.
- The following Confidant skills that can be used in Palaces do not activate during January 2 and January 9. They will return during phase two of the Cendrillon boss fight.
|Tentacle of Protection||???||Councilor||Wk||Rp||Rp||Rp||Nu||Nu||Nu||Nu||Rp||Rp||20|
|Tentacle of Healing||???||Councilor||Nu||-||Nu||Nu||Rp||Rp||Wk||Wk||Wk||Wk||20|
|Tentacle of Assistance||???||Councilor||Nu||-||Wk||Wk||Wk||Wk||Rp||Rp||Nu||Nu||20|
|Maruki (Adam Kadmon)||???||Councilor||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||20|
|Adam Kadmon (Top)||???||Councilor||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||20|
|Adam Kadmon (Right)||???||Councilor||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||20|
|Adam Kadmon (Left)||???||Councilor||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||20|
- Maruki's Palace takes motifs from the Depths of Mementos represents. In Kabbalistic tradition, the Sefirot is the channels where God emanates its will through the person. The Palace's interior is vaguely structured like the Sefirot, complete with the Garden of Eden on its topmost area. The final form of Maruki's persona (Or the entity using Maruki as a vessel) is also Adam Kadmon, which is considered the Cosmic Man and the combination of all ten Sefirot as one. This ties to how Maruki is actually enlightened by the will of the people and used it to the benefit of people, even if it's a distorted version of benefit, as opposed to how Yaldabaoth impersonates itself as God and enforces its own view of humanity (that they desire eternal suffering and apathy) upon the General Public. or the tree of life, as opposed to the Qliphoth that the
- This Palace has the longest clear deadline in the entire game, at 30 days total. However, there are only 21 free days prior to deadline.
- Apparently, Maruki does not believe the Laboratory to be a Palace.
- This Palace bears similarities to the musical dungeon of Persona Q2, as they are heavily associated with toxic escapism and false happiness, are the largest dungeons in their respective games, contain recordings of how their hosts became distorted, and have their true names hidden until later.
- The Palace's exterior resembles the Mother Computer's body.
- This Palace is also similar to a Jail from the game's sequel, as it forcefully traps a large portion of the population, albeit only specific people in an illusion of happiness and is overlaid into the real world's Tokyo instead of a personalized space like other Palaces.
- Unlike other Palaces, if the party has not encountered the Palace owner yet, its security meter portrait is merely a silhouette of a black humanoid figure.
- The deadline of this Palace falls on the same date as Rumi's birthday.
- This is the only Palace to not be ruled by the ruler's Shadow Self, but the actual person; in this case, Maruki himself.