[Selections have concluded in a draw]
C. Day 2 | Morning
‘I think I’ve woken up late. Staying up may or may not have been a mistake,’ you thought drily. ‘Partly due to my confrontation with Sou, though. And Keiji. Fucking Keiji needs to stay out of my business. He frustrates me even more than Sou, who I can get a better read on. Keiji seems to constantly be wary of me… how can I gain his trust without giving too much of my privacy…?’
“𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐨𝐟𝐟.”
‘No, my strongest point is my connections with others. I need to tread carefully.’
You walked past Sou’s room, eyeing the door warily and heading for Joe’s room. Pausing for a moment, you stared at the door which belonged to the teal haired male. His manner and actions didn’t make sense to you. Your memory flashed to the time when Itsuki and you had decided to pay for a bar of ice cream for him, you being a little reluctant to spend. Sou was… kind to you. Sure he was a bit timid, but at the time you could sense he carried good intentions. So why…?
“𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐝𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫.”
You lightly tapped your knuckles against the door, almost laughing at yourself since there was no one who could even open the door for you.
“Ah, Miss-- Y/N,” Safalin startled from where she stood at the front of the hall.
Your eyebrows scrunched in confusion. What was she doing here? Wasn’t she supposed to be in the medical office?”
“Safalin,” you said, bowing your head slightly to her, causing her to jump a bit. “What are you doing here?”
The vice-Floormaster walked up to you and pulled out a pair of keys to unlock Joe’s door. “I have to check on Joe. We can’t have him d-dying after all…”
“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐯𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐆𝐚𝐦𝐞.”
You nodded like you understood, but kept your eye on her. “I understand.”
The two of you walked inside and your eyes flitted to Joe who was sound asleep on his bed. Safalin walked forward and removed the bandages on his head. She lifted his bangs to observe a scar that traced itself from the uppermost part of his forehead to the behinds of his hair. Placing her fingers on his throat and then moving her hand to his chest, she considered his breathing rate and counted his heartbeat. Then Safalin stuck a thermometer into his mouth, removing it and observing the results.
“Good news, Y/N,” the green haired doll told you with a trembly smile. “Joe might recover and wake s-soon.”
“𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬.”
“Really? That’s great,” you replied with a small smile while tracing Joe’s knuckles. “I... “ You stopped yourself and then pulled away as if you would create damage if you kept touching him. “Yeah. Thank you, Safalin.”
The two of you removed yourselves from the room and the Safalin bid you farewell and retreated back to the medical office. Walking out to the lobby, you could see Sara standing over Alice who held the remains of some instrument in his hands like they were sand grains slipping out of his grasp. His eyes were wide, resembling holes that you thought you could fall through forever and ever.
“Sara, Alice,” you called out quietly while walking up to said duo. “What happened?”
Alice scoffed, blowing a few locks of hair out of his face. “It is nothing. What. Will you laugh at my pitiful demise?”
“Alice…!” Sara whispered quietly as she looked over at you in concern.
You shook your head. “No. I just wanted to know what happened.” You observed the damage. Bongos?
“My precious bongos, my phone, my wig… It’s all gone!”
‘Is this what Alice wanted to talk to me about yesterday…?’
“Is this Reko’s?” you asked while watching Alice’s hands clutching the remains of the bongos a little bit tighter. “What happened?”
“Reko, she-- she broke it,” Sara told you, hesitating while she kept glancing over at Alice. “I’m not sure why.”
“It’s obvious,” Alice replied with a bitter smile. “She won’t give me her forgiveness. Ever.”
“Do you really think he’ll forgive you after all that?” Her sneer carved itself even wider on her face.
“Don’t say that,” you told him as you touched a string strewn on the ground. “We can fix it.”
“𝐈𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐱𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞.”
“We can?” the other two asked as you shrugged, unsure.
You held up a splintered piece. “It won’t hurt to try. Glue, some new string and… thread?”
Sara smiled. “You’re right. Alice. I can keep it with me for now.”
The male paused, then entrusted the bongos to the girl. You smiled and looked around to see if anyone else was in the room. Hm, they must’ve gone to the attractions already.
“That said, where’s your headphones, Y/N?” Sara asked, making you freeze.
Ice coated your entire being and you thought you were plunged hundreds of feet under frigid waters. You couldn’t speak, nor breathe. Steeling yourself, you inhaled and exhaled steadily. Clutching at your hoodie which contained Kanna’s phone in the pocket, it suddenly felt as if it weighed a few stones. Heavy, too heavy. Your vision went blurry at the sides and red tinged your vision a bit. Everything appeared a bit stark. It hurt. You couldn’t breathe. A feeling of dread emerged from your lungs and tendrils of guilt crawled along the sides of your lungs as the surroundings constricted and grew smaller. Searing pains of hot, white shame exploded in your stomach which caused it to cave in. Your head clouded over and suddenly you felt dizzy. Can’t breathe--
“I… may have lost it?” you told her, your hand picking at one of your fingers.
The girl flinched. “Lost it?”
“Ah… I’m in trouble, that was a gift to me, huh…” you laughed, trying to ease the mood. Your leg shook and you internally hit yourself. Stop moving. It’s fine. “I took a nap and the next thing I knew was that it was gone! Haha… ha… that was really stupid of me.”
Fuck. Maybe this was fate enacting revenge on you or something. Stupid. Stupid!
If you hadn’t taken a nap, it would’ve been fine. You should’ve just kept on going. Everything grew foggy and your lungs tightened once more. Head pounding and hands shaking, you grabbed one of your wrists to cover up your weaknesses.
“It’s not your fault,” Sara told you as she gripped your hands, staring at you determinedly. “Y/N. You’re not at fault. We’ll look for it. Maybe Ranger has it. We’ll look for it. I… Even I wouldn’t know how to feel if I lost the gifts everyone gave me.”
“But this… it was from--” you began to say and the girl pulled you into a hug.
Sara squeezed you tight. “It’s okay. He wouldn’t be angry. It’s okay, Y/N.”
You face-planted into her shoulder and the feeling of being so useless further sunk into your bones. Your hands curled into themselves to form tight fists. Shit, shit! Your teeth ground against one another and your eyes squeezed shut. Sara’s hand comfortingly pat your back and you let out a long shudder.
“𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐥.”
You hugged her back. “Okay.”
Sara went to the rubble-filled corridor (probably to pursue Reko) and you decided to go to the monitor room since you assumed you had woken up later than the others. You noticed a certain individual trailing right after you.
“Why are you following me?” you asked Alice, who was silently trailing behind you as you walked into the monitor room. “Do you want to do another attraction together or something?”
Alice opened his mouth to reply when his gaze landed on the newly shattered monitor. “What… what happened to AI Reko?!”
“Ah, last night,” you began to tell him, your gaze landing on his clenched fists. “Someone broke AI Reko and we have no idea why. Keiji discovered it first. I happened to be walking around since I couldn’t sleep. Then everyone else came in afterward. You, Reko and Q-taro were still sleeping.”
“How cruel…” Alice commented, a hint of anger still present in the undertones of his words. “Why would…?”
You shrugged. “I have no clue. But Keiji is putting off the investigation for now since we have to focus on attractions.”
“So we’re not lining anyone up? This is frustrating,” Alice murmured under his breath as he placed his hand on the wall space underneath where AI Reko once was. “The culprit behind the first one still hasn’t been uncovered yet either.”
“Our survival comes first I guess,” you said, leaving the rest of your thoughts unsaid.
‘And Keiji seems to be hiding something. If he doesn’t trust me, it’s nearly impossible for me to trust him either since he always seems to be on the defensive and offensive with me all the time.’
“There is one other thing I wanted to tell you,” Alice spoke, causing you to slightly raise a brow. “You look very pale these days. Are you not getting any sleep?”
“I am,” you said, truthfully. It’s just that you were having nightmares which caused you unrest. “There’s just... A lot of things that are going on right now. You understand, right?”
The man didn’t say anything for a moment and then looked you straight in the eye. “Do you believe Sou is a trustworthy fellow?”
You bit your lips and considered this. Sou. Obviously Alice was asking you since you were probably the only one here besides the kidnappers who knew Sou the longest. That argument-- no, that one sided exchange was something new you had gotten from him yesterday. Perhaps it was because you were Sara’s friend?
“I… Maybe to you he is,” you said, considering Alice’s position with Sara and Sou.
‘Alice and I were the only ones who seemed to gauge the amount of trust that Sara and Sou both had, making Sou wary of Sara. He’s probably trying to “bring me over” to his side since I’m Sara’s friend. Alice is also not so close to either of them…’
“My point is,” you continued as you held up your hands at him. “I think some of the things he tells you will benefit you.”
‘Not me though.’
“I see…” the male said, pondering to himself for a moment. Then he turned his head away, but his eyes were still looking at you. “Would you… like to do another attraction together?”
“Together?” you parroted which made the man flustered.
“Do I have to repeat myself…?!” he exclaimed, clutching the fabric of his shirt. “No need to make things awkward!”
You put your hands out to reassure him. “I’ll go, I’ll go. Want to do that hide and seek attraction?”
You pushed on and began to walk into a pathway with Alice following behind. You stopped to read the rules.
Hide and Seek- While hiding from wicked dolls, pull 3 levers until they reach max energy to win. Clear Chips: 2
Alice turned pale and you raised a brow at him. He squawked as you stared at him.
“I’m not scared!” he exclaimed, turning slightly purple to which you just shrugged and walked forward.
Alice grabbed you by the shoulder, causing you to spin around. “Wait, wait! Your recklessness will get us killed, Y/N L/N. Do you have a strategy of some kind??”
“Hm… according to the rules we have to pull the levers and hide out of sight from any monsters,” you told him, eyebrows scrunching in concentration. “You keep an eye out and tell me whenever something looks at me.”
“𝐅𝐨𝐨𝐥, 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐦.”
“Wouldn’t it be much more wiser for us two to pull the levers at the same time?” Alice asked as you considered this.
“It would be, but the problem is taking caution,” you replied as you fiddled with your fingers rigidly. “I mean… I could be wrong. Your solution sounds like an extremely efficient one--”
He nodded eagerly before you could continue to ramble off on a tangent. “Sounds like a good idea to me.”
You nodded. “Okay. Let’s go.”
Upon stepping in, the two of you immediately ducked behind a few rocks as you heard the steps of a towering being walking by. Peeking out from where you were, you noticed the masked figure was turned so you scurried and began to pull from the lever closest to you. When you held it, you could see a small bar being filled with color. The figure tensed and you dove back to where you hid, making eye contact with Alice, who was laying flat on the floor for you were occupying the space with the big rock, as you hit the floor. From where you watched, the figure turned its head and looked away. Leaping back out, you pulled the lever again and repeated this process from the same lever until it was completed. Then you moved onto another lever a bit further away from you and began to pull.
Suddenly, chills ran up your spine. Tensed and alert, you saw the masked man was still looking elsewhere.
“Y/N! Y/N! Look out..!” Alice hissed as you turned to see a floating white face in the darkness.
You began to dive back under the rock as its eyes and mouth opened to reveal the color red as it gashed your shoulder. Biting your lip, you waved off Alice to tell him that it was fine.
‘Okay, I got this,’ you told yourself as you dashed out to pull the same lever again. This time, you managed to evade the face and the figure roaming around the room.
As you moved onto the third lever, telling Alice it was okay, you barely heard him cry out as something had hit your calf. You quickly limped back behind the rock to inspect the injury. Something had shot through the flesh of your leg. Burning white pain slowly spread throughout your leg as you grit your teeth. Cradling your leg, Alice inched over to check the injury as you removed your hoodie and wrapped it around the injury. You then clutched your shoulder as you felt the injury tear a bit more, wincing.
“I’ve got this,” Alice told you as you nodded and left the rest of the job to him.
You watched him utilize his sharp instincts to avoid all the obstacles. It was strange seeing him willingly help out, but you were grateful. Once the two of you finished, a podium rose up revealing two Clear Chips.
“Here,” the male told you as he handed over a Clear Chip.
“...you’re being strangely helpful today,” you replied as the man’s face donned a shrewd grin.
“Mwahaha… giving me the cold shoulder just like my sister, are you?” he asked, slipping his Clear Chip into his wallet.
You shook you head. “Sorry, I’m just--”
“I merely jest,” Alice interrupted as his gaze softened. “I’ve just decided to become more observant.”
“Observant?” you parrotted, clutching the Clear Chip he just handed you.
“Yes,” Alice replied as he looked towards the lobby room. “Because I didn’t notice how Reko was so displeased with me and I was caught up with my own affairs of wanting to obtain forgiveness from her. Because of that, she lashed out at me like she did back then.”
You wanted to say something, but you couldn’t. It wasn’t your place to investigate or poke your nose into Alice’s business.
“So… don’t force yourself to do anything too rash,” Alice told you, waving his hand around. “That’s a foolish thing to do: bottling it all up to yourself.”
Your eyes seared for a moment and you blinked them away.
“𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮.”
[Guilt Meter | -10%]
[Alice: +5% | 60%]
“It’ll be okay,” you said aimlessly, but the words were directed towards you and him. Then the two of you strode out in silence.
Alice decided to depart to his room and you walked to the medical office. Safalin appeared not to be present, so you took the liberty to use some of the materials to fix up your wounds. How strange. You then strolled into the lobby to negotiate.
You watched Q-taro, Keiji and Sara emerge from the rubble-filled corridor and you waved.
“Hey,” you told them while trying to give an easygoing expression. “What were you guys up to?”
Sara opened her mouth to speak, but Keiji cut in smoothly. “We were discussing a Me-Token trade and wanted to speak in private.”
“Yep! Zat’s right!” Q-taro chimed in, his eyebrows twitching.
“𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦. 𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟.”
You didn’t look at her, but noted that Sara didn’t reply so you nodded. “I see. Well I’m open to negotiation right now.”
“We can trade 20 Me-Tokens each!” Q-taro told you and you nodded.
Keiji raised his hands. “We can talk.”
Sara looked at you, alert. “Actually I have something I really need to tell you right now. It’s extremely imperative I tell you!”
“𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐥.”
‘I…’ you thought.
A. Trade with Q-taro
B. Talk with Keiji
C. Talk with Sara
“Ah, Miss Y-Y/N, you’re finally here,” a voice called out and Sara’s eyes widened.
You turned and your chest tightened, exuding emotion.
“ Oh …”
Your eyes widened as you saw Joe standing there, scratching his head. Your breath hastened and you began to run. Tears pricked at the edge of your eyes and your heart beat faster and faster. The red ebbing your vision seemed to seep away and a wobbly smile spread on your face.
“Joe…!” you exclaimed, your voice almost cracking as you extended your arms.
The boy yelped as you embraced him and squeezed. You panted, your heart continuing to beat faster and faster.
You whispered. “Thank goodness… Thank goodness you’re okay--”
“Uh…” the brunette said as he began to push you away. Everything felt cold. The ground cracked and the sky began to cave in. Heavy rocks fell to the pit of your stomach as confusion plastered itself onto the boy’s face.
“Who are you?”
Sou- ? [-5%]
Guilt Meter- ???
Other Tokens- 0