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Danganronpa Remix: Trigger Happy Havoc

Chapter Text

Darkness.

Panicked breathing.

The sound of someone desperately tugging on rope.

And then...a flicker.

A small monochrome bear sits alone on the floor, the room it inhabits only occupied by its victim. The bear hops up from its position on the floor to instead stand. Then, it stretches with a groan before speaking.

“Man oh man, Jin. You’re a tough cookie, you know that?”

The only answer the headmaster can manage is a long, painful grunt as he tries to release himself from the restraints. The bear puts their paws on their hips and tuts. “That’s no way to respond to a compliment, pal! You gotta be more considerate!” From one of the abandoned desks, the bear grabs a big red button and places it on the ground before them. The victim’s fear skyrockets, as all he hear is shuffling. He can’t see exactly what’s going on thanks to the cloth covering his eyes. The bear continues speaking in its high-pitched voice.

“Anyway, what I was trying to say was that you waste all your time on being strict and orderly...and not enough on...y’know...actually being smart and solicitous with your students!” It chirped tauntingly. The bear plopped back down on the floor and laid on his belly with his chin resting on his paws and his feet kicking. “It’s kind of sad, really. The headmaster has a lot of high expectations set for him, and he has to follow them to a T! So much paperwork and management of those adolescences as well...I feel bad for you! Puhuhuhuhu!” It said, less sincerely than someone probably should have sounded when saying that.

The bear pushed himself upwards to sit on the floor. It tapped its chin. “Let’s see...how do we fix that? How do we get all that work off your shoulders?” After a couple moments, the bear exclaimed: “Aha! I’ve got it!” It practically jumped with joy from the floor to its feet. “We could set you up with a retirement plan! It’s about time they let you off the hook, anyway. Why not let me do it for you?” The headmaster clenched his teeth and let out a low growl. He didn’t like where this was going. “Okay, how about this? You resign...and I take your place! I’ll be the one stuck with all that responsibility, and you’ll be retired! Free to go!” A malicious grin crossed the bear’s face. “Now that’s a deal you can get behind...”

It raised its foot in the air right above the red button.
“...isn’t it?”
The bear stomped its foot down onto the button, and a deafening bang sounded from behind the headmaster. And then, some sort of electronic whirring. A digital voice spoke:

“JIN KIRIGIRI’S EXECUTION: BEGIN.”

Execution...? A cold sweat poured down the headmaster’s face as he began to struggle harder. Pulling his wrists against the rope so much that it was enough to leave burns, rocking the chair back and forth, shaking his head to try and throw off the cloth from his eyes...but it was all in vain. Nonetheless, he continued grunting and yelling as he writhed around. The bear just laughed. “Hey, calm down, sport! You’re retired, remember? Now you get to go on a celebration vacation! How does space sound for a first destination, huh?”

The headmaster’s movements got more erratic and wild. He would not die here...not in the hands of this bear! Sweat drenched his face and his hands got cold and clammy. His throat was in pain from all the rough struggling noises he was making. The bear piped up again. “Pleasure working with you, Mister Kirigiri! Your class is now officially...DISMISSED!” The bear’s voice switched from sing-songy to wicked as he uttered that last word.

The headmaster let out one last blood-curdling scream. And then, it was muffled by metal doors capturing him and pulling him in like the jaws of a Venus flytrap. He was inside a rocket. Before he could even attempt to find a way out, flames fulminated out of the bottom of the rocket, and it started to ascend. Although the headmaster couldn’t see it, the bear was waving at him and laughing as he made his slow journey into the sky. “Puhuhuhu! See you later~!”

Suddenly, the rocket began to pick up the pace. It slammed into the ceiling of the classroom and smashed through it with ease. It continued going upwards, drilling through each story of the abandoned school. When it finally burrowed its way out of the school, it shot upwards into the sky at mach speed.

The headmaster was dead before he even made it out of the atmosphere.

Eventually, the rocket came crashing back down into the classroom, and the doors swung open. The bear stepped closer to get a look, and the only thing that greeted it was a broken skeleton. The bear admired its work before beginning a monologue.

“Phew! Now that that’s taken care of...I think it’s time to begin. Begin the age of Monokuma...and the age of absolute despair!!”

Then it cackled, its malevolent laughter echoing throughout the empty building.

“Puhuhuhuhu...AH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

PROLOGUE

Despair Academy Welcomes You

Chapter Text

I can’t believe it.

I can’t believe I’m standing at the gates of one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

The school in question is this regal-looking brick building known as Hope’s Peak Academy. Hope’s Peak Academy is a government-funded school that trains youths to be their very best, and instill hope in their hearts for the future. Its motto is very true to its namesake, “Hope’s Peak”. To attend this school and graduate would be setting you for life. If you want to actually be a student at this school, you must meet two requirements. You must be a high school student, and secondly, you must be the very best at what you do.

That second requirement is the most important factor. Once you get into the school, you are given a title. An Ultimate talent. Ultimates are what the students who attend this school are called, and they signify what you are skilled at. There are so many types of Ultimate talents. Athletic ones, career-based ones, social ones...no matter what your Ultimate talent is, you definitely had to work hard to obtain that title.

I mean it when I say this school is absolutely huge. Not just in size, but in impact as well. It’s so immense, in fact, that I feel practically microscopic compared to it and the others students that are going to be attending the school. Although, that might be a personal problem now that I think about it...

Oh, sorry! I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Makoto Naegi.

Name: Makoto Naegi
Talent: Ultimate Lucky Student
Height: 5 ft 3 in
Weight: 103 lbs
Chest Size: 23 in
Birthday: Feb. 5th (Aquarius)
Blood Type: A
Likes: Curry, Stuffed Animals
Dislikes: Gossip, Thunder

I’m attending Hope’s Peak under the label “Ultimate Lucky Student”. Fun fact, I’m literally the most uninteresting person you will ever meet. No, I’m not kidding. If you asked me what my favorite song was, it would just be whatever’s trending. Favorite food? Just plain curry and rice. I’m just...an average person, appearance and status-wise. Is luck even a talent? The simple answer, I personally think it isn’t. The only reason I was allowed to attend Hope’s Peak was because of a lottery that they held. Somehow I won it, so i guess that makes me lucky? It’s all pretty crazy and confusing.

I found a thread online that talked about all the Ultimate students that will be attending this year. There were so many interesting talents that I saw. Ultimate Swimmer, Ultimate Baseball Star, Ultimate Nurse, Ultimate Biker Gang Leader...even the Ultimate Princess. Like I mentioned before, these people worked so hard for their talents. All I got is luck, only because I typed my name into a box and clicked enter. I’m nothing compared to all these other students...

I was so excited before, but now I’m just nervous. What will my classmates think of a talentless nobody like me? Maybe I’ll get teased or looked down upon...or perhaps I won’t make any friends. I could feel my hands getting cold and clammy as I gawked at the massive structure towering over me. Maybe this was a bad idea. I shouldn’t be allowed to go to this academy.

...

...no. I can’t be thinking like this. I should be embracing the fact that I’m even permitted to step foot past the entrance gates. I made it into Hope’s Peak. I’m a real Ultimate student! C’mon, what happened to that optimistic attitude I always have? I really need to pull myself together. I shook off any fear and doubt that I previously felt, took a few therapeutic breaths, and stepped through the doors of the school.

As soon as I enter, I take in my extravagant surroundings. Everything is pearly white and laced with gold, coupled with the pristine and clean tiled floor. It’s almost like being in a castle. Another thing I notice is that nobody’s in the entrance hall. Why is that? Maybe I’m late for a class! Oh no! I spent so much time moping that I’m tardy! Way to make a great first impression, Makoto...

But the issue is, I don’t actually know where I’m supposed to be going. This school is gigantic, and it probably has over 1,000 rooms. How am I supposed to find where Class 78 is? I suppose I’ll have to run through and find a map or something. I find the nearest staircase and start ascending. Floor 2. I can feel something bugging me in the back of my head. I peek into the hallway. No students. No teachers. All the doors are open. I should keep going.

Floor 3. My breathing pattern is starting to get erratic. I’m probably tired from...y’know...booking it up these stairs. But then it hits me. An overwhelming wave of dizziness. I might have to stop and take a break...no, I need to get to my class.

Floor 4. Black dots start to cloud my vision, and my legs feel like jelly. I probably almost tripped and fell about 4 times just trying to go up that flight of stairs.

Floor 5. I feel like I can barely stand. I’m walking perfectly fine, but my body seems like it’s just shutting down. I close my eyes for a moment, but once I do, I can’t get them back open again. I’m still walking. Why can’t I stop walking? Why can’t I open my eyes? I can’t stop now! I need to get to my class!

...I need to get to my class!

...I...need to get to my class...!

...I...I need to...get...to my...class...

And then...I lost consciousness.

Chapter Text

...

“Ngh...”

I pried my eyes open only to be greeted with darkness.

“Huh?”

Oh, right. My face is buried in my arms. I slowly lifted my head up and scanned the room I was in with droopy eyelids. “Is this...a classroom?” I thought out loud. Strange. The last thing I remember is going up the stairs. How did I end up here? Did someone carry me here when I passed out? Settling on that option, I decided my next course of action would be to check what time it was. Glancing up at the clock, I came to realize that there were no hands. The window is the next best option, since I can see where the sun is and estimate the time. I turned my gaze to the window.

“Wait, What?!?”

Instead of seeing the windows, I saw huge metal plates bolted into the wall. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing it correctly. The windows are indeed blocked off by metal plates. But why? Maybe the windows are just broken. I also took notice of a few more things that pushed me the wrong way. Surveillance cameras. A monitor on the wall. Wait, why is that strange? The cameras are to keep us safe, and the monitor is a learning tool...no. Something’s wrong here. Something is very, very wrong. Anchoring myself on the top of the desk, I stood up and started walking towards the exit, almost tripping and falling along the way. I suppose my dizziness is still lingering from before, huh?

I reached the door and opened it, fully expecting to see the regal white and gold grandeur of Hope’s Peak. But my earlier suspicions were confirmed when my view was filled with something else. The hallways were lined with multicolored neon lights, coating the area in dim purples and greens. Instead of the clean white tile flooring, my feet were walking across black and white checkered tiles. Combined with the colored lights, it gave the once proper hallways of Hope’s Peak a psychedelic and trippy feel. I also noticed that there are even more windows that are blocked off with metal plates. However, just a few hours ago, these halls looked as good as new. When did somebody have the time to put this all up?

And just like when I first entered Hope’s Peak Academy, there seemed to be no other students here. I’m not sure how long I’ve been passed out. For all I know, it could be the end of the day. Maybe I should find the way out. As I walked around, I quickly realized I was back on the first floor. That’s good. So the exit should be right around here. Speed-walking past more of those cameras and monitors, I turned the corner past the entrance hall and made my way towards the-

...

What...?

Instead of seeing the entrance doors...the doors I was so excited and anxious to walk through...where I had to build up all my courage...there was a huge vault door. My body quivered as I gawked at it, moving my eyes up and down. Hanging down from the ceiling and pointing menacingly at the vault door were two machine guns. There was a glowing red button on the wall to the right of the door as well. I don’t want to know what happens if I press it, especially in the presence of those guns. So with no visible way to open his door, it looks like I can’t leave through here.

Hold on...the windows are blocked off, too. The windows would be a way to leave if it weren’t for those metal plates. And this door right here clearly isn’t a way to get out. So if you can’t exit through the windows AND you can’t exit through the door...does that mean...?!?

“I know what you’re thinking. I guess we really are trapped in here.”

I let out a high-pitched squeal of surprise at the sudden voice behind me. I spun around, shielding my face. However, I dropped my guard when I saw the second person in the room with me. It was a girl with long blue hair, sapphire colored eyes with an attractive glimmer in them, pink-dusted cheeks, and face that just radiated a gorgeous and friendly aura. The girl leaned forward and squinted at me, before gasping and smiling. “Wait, Makoto? Is that really you?” She knows me? “Huh? Oh, yeah.” I nodded lightly. The girl’s smile got even wider. “It’s so great to see you again! Do you remember me?” I cocked my head to the side. Am I supposed to recognize her? “Umm...n-no, sorry.” She nodded in understanding. “That’s okay! Here, maybe this will ring a bell:” The girl cleared her throat and clasped her hands together. “I’m Sayaka Maizono! Here at Hope’s Peak, I’m the Ultimate Pop Sensation!”

Name: Sayaka Maizono
Talent: Ultimate Pop Sensation
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 107 lbs
Chest Size: 34 in
Birthday: Jul. 7th (Cancer)
Blood Type: AB
Likes: Cupcakes, Singing
Dislikes: Lemons, Bad Smells

Upon saying her name, memories came flooding back into my head. “Wait, Sayaka? From Middle School?” Sayaka seemed so happy that I finally remembered. “That’s me! I can’t believe that we’re both going to Hope’s Peak...and we’re in the same class!” I nodded. “Yeah, that’s pretty crazy.” Sayaka and I never really spoke during middle school, mostly because I was on the lowest bar of the social ladder imaginable. Sayaka was so popular back then, and I could never muster the courage to strike up a conversation. Maybe this will be my chance to make acquaintance with her!

Sayaka held up a finger in realiziation. “Oh, hey, Makoto! Do you remember the time you saved that crane from the school pool?” It took me a few moments, but eventually I remembered. “Oh yeah! I guess that did happen.” Sayaka stares up at the ceiling with a moony expression of nostalgia. “Ever since that day, I’ve always wanted to have a conversation with you. I was so sad we didn’t get to talk before we graduated!” She snapped out of her supposed flashback and blushed. “Ehehe...just thought you should know.” I beamed. “Yeah. I always wanted to talk to you as well. But I was scared because my social life wasn’t anything to write home about.” Sayaka laughed. “Oh, you silly thing! I would’ve been glad to talk to you! I don’t really care how popular you are!” I joined in with her laughter.

But after a while, it just started to die down. Because it dawned upon both of us that this conversation couldn’t mask the true problem. The two of us turned to the vault door almost simultaneously. Sayaka sighed. “Yeah, you’re right. We shouldn’t ignore the real dilemma we have going on.” I glanced at her, surprised. “Huh? How did you know I was thinking about that?” Sayaka grinned and winked. “Cuz I’m psychic!” “What?” “Hehehe! Just kidding! I just have really good intuition!” I smiled awkwardly before glancing back towards the vault door. Sayaka looked at the floor. “But seriously, how are we going to find a way to escape? There’s only two of us!” I rubbed my chin. Only two of us, huh?

“Maybe we’re not the only students here.” I suggested. Sayaka seemed intrigued. “You really think so, Makoto?” I scratched the back of my head. “I mean, maybe! I try to be as optimistic as possible, so I think we should at least try looking around for other people.” Sayaka gave me the kindest smile I’ve ever seen. “Okay! Then I’ll be optimistic as well!” She excitedly clenched her fists together. “I could even be your assistant! Wouldn’t that be so cool?” I looked at Sayaka with interest. “My assistant?” She nodded. “Uh-huh! We could be next to each other all the time...and I could keep you safe!” I couldn’t help the smile that graced my lips. How can I say no to someone like her? “Um, yeah! Okay!”

Sayaka clapped her hands together with glee. “Ooooh! This is so exciting! Thank you, Makoto!” I nodded cheerfully. Seeing Sayaka happy makes me happy. It’s almost like she cast a spell on me. I swear I felt a little blush creep up my face- W-WAIT NOT NOW! I’m pretty sure she saw, because she started laughing when she looked at my face. Well this isn’t embarrassing at all. Sayaka grabbed my arm. “Well, come on! Let’s go look around!” I was surprised at the sudden contact, but nodded quickly. Despite calling herself my assistant, it seems Sayaka’s the one taking the lead.

When we exited the entrance hall, Sayaka excitedly looked around. “Which way do you want to go?” She asked the question so suddenly, so I only had a thin portion of time to come up with an answer. “Um- left! Let’s go left.” Sayaka nodded. “Left! Got it!” She was about to start dragging me along again, but she stopped herself and let me go in front of her. “Ah! You can go ahead.” “Oh! Thanks.” With me in the front, I started leading Sayaka down the left hallway. On our way, we passed a pink door which I assumed was the Nurse’s Office door, two bathrooms, and another hallway that led to two more doors.

In the distance, at the end of the hallway we were walking down, there was a staircase. Sayaka tapped my shoulder. “Hey! There’s stairs! We can go to the second floor!” However, as we got closer, I noticed the stairs were barred off with metal rods. “Uh-oh. Looks like we can’t after all.” I said, discouraged. Sayaka snapped her fingers and pursed her lip. “Aw man! Looks like we’re going to have to go back then.” She turned around, but I stopped her. “Wait.” She raised an eyebrow. I pointed to the set of double doors at the end of the branching hallway. “There’s a room down there. Let’s check it out.” Sayaka smiled and nodded. She followed me down the hall, and it was then I noticed there was a sign above the door. It read “Gym”. Sayaka put her finger to her cheek. “So this is the gymnasium. There’s bound to be people in here!” I silently agreed with her and grabbed a hold of the door handle.

*clonk clonk clonk*

“Eh?” I exclaimed, turning the knob again. My attempts to open the gym door were all futile, so I sighed and put my hands on my hips. “It’s locked.” Sayaka tutted. “Oh...that’s a shame. Is there anywhere we actually CAN go?” She jokingly stated. “Probably the bathrooms.” I replied. “But I doubt anybody would be spending their time there.” Sayaka pushed her hair behind her ear. “Yeah. Good point! Maybe we should go the other way, then!” Before I could reply, she turned around and began walking to the right. I smiled, shrugged, and followed her. I took a few moments to admire her...but not in a creepy way. Please don’t take that out of context. The way she walked, the way she smiled, her kindness, and even the scent of the perfume she wore...it was just so mesmerizing. I caught myself in a trance just watching the way she gracefully sashayed down the hallway.

I snapped myself back to our current situation and followed Sayaka down the hall. After a little while of walking, we came across another door. The door had a decal of a radio on it. Sayaka studied the picture. “What could this room be?” “I don’t know.” I replied. “Maybe some sort of announcement room or AV room?” Sayaka bounced up and grinned. “Well, there’s only one way to find out!” She gently pushed the door open and stepped inside, me closely following behind her. Sayaka scanned the room. “Hmmm...I think you were right! This looks like an AV ro-“ She paused her speaking and her gaze stopped on something. I looked where she was staring and saw...

Another student.

It was a girl. She was small in stature, even shorter than me. Her hair was a dusty golden brown, she wore a dark green top with a long brown skirt, and brown stockings to match. The girl seemed to be fiddling with one of the screens in the AV room. Sayaka looked absolutely ecstatic. She lowered her voice. “Makoto, look! You were right! There’s someone else in the school with us!” I nodded. Of course, the first thing I decided to do was approach the girl. I tried to be as forbearing as possible as to not scare her. “Hey, um, excuse me?” In spite of my attempts to not startle the girl, she flinched and stared at me like a deer caught in headlights.

I immediately felt the need to apologize. “Oh no! I’m so sorry about that! I didn’t mean to frighten you!” The girl quickly shook her head. “N-No...! I should be apologizing...I wasn’t paying attention...” Her voice was kind of scratchy and raspy. Sayaka rushes to our sides. “Let’s just say it was nobody’s fault!” She put her hand to her chest. “Anyway, my name is Sayaka Maizono!” Sayaka turned to me expectantly. “And I’m Makoto Naegi. How about you?” Although she was still fiddling with her fingers and sweating, it was easy to tell the girl was a lot more comfortable with us now. She smiled shyly and replied.

“Oh. Uhm...my name is Chihiro Fujisaki. I’m a programmer. Nice to meet you...!”

Name: Chihiro Fujisaki
Talent: Ultimate Programmer
Height: 4 ft 10 in
Weight: 90 lbs
Chest Size: 27 in
Birthday: Mar. 14th (Pisces)
Blood Type: O
Likes: Flowers, Computers
Dislikes: Snakes, Loud Noises

I recognized her name. “Oh! I saw your name on the Hope’s Peak thread I read! I’ve heard your coding work is incredible!” Chihiro looked down at the floor. She was clearly flattered, but still seemed to deny it. “Ah...w-well...my work isn’t the work of gods...it’s kind of just standard...” “Oh come on, you shouldn’t say thing like that!” Sayaka chirped. “Your skills must be top tier if you were given the title ‘Ultimate Programmer!” Chihiro looked reassured, but still nervous. She began playing with the ribbon on her chest. “So, What were you doing here in the AV room?” I asked. “Well, I was trying to utilize the electronics in here to see if we could get in touch with the outside world...you know...b-because we’re trapped in here...” Chihiro softly stated. I guess she knows about that, too. That’s good.

Chihiro’s lips curved down into an ashamed frown. “No luck unfortunately...I’m sorry...” I nodded in understanding. “It’s fine! We still don’t even know why we’re stuck here, anyway.” Chihiro audibly swallowed and nodded. “Mhm...I guess that’s true.” Chihiro cupped her hands together and looked up at us. “But I’ll do my best...I’ll keep trying...!” It seemed she was putting the utmost effort into sounding as confident as she could. “Okay! You can do this, Chihiro!” Sayaka grinned. Chihiro laughed softly before waving. We left the room to let Chihiro work.

“Okay. Where should we go next?” Sayaka inquired as we continued to walk. “I don’t know. Let’s see what other rooms are here.” On our way down the hall, I spotted a big red door. Probably another shady door that was locked for reasons unknown, so we decided not to bother with it. Eventually, we came across 2 doors in a row. One was labeled “Class 1-A”, and the other was labeled “Class 1-B”. Sayaka looked interested in them. “Classrooms!” Never have I heard someone in my life sound so excited for class. “There’s bound to be some students in there, right?” “Yeah, most likely!” I smiled. We entered Classroom 1-A, and our inferences were confirmed.

Standing there in the first classroom was another girl. Her skin was white as snow, her eyes were sharp and red, but had some sort of calming aura to them. She was wearing a goth lolita dress, lacy black stockings, and protruding from her black hair were two large twin-drills. As soon as we opened the door, the girl glanced towards us in curiosity. Sayaka greeted her immediately. “Oh, hello!” The other girl showed us a small smile and walked up to us. “Ah. I have not seen you yet, have I?” Woah! She has a French accent! I wasn’t expecting that. “No. You’re only the second person we’ve talked to here.” I answered. The girl examined her nails, which I just realized she had painted black to match her whole goth aesthetic. “Very well. I suppose we are going to have to make ourselves known.” We were waiting for her to continue, but we soon came to realize she expected us to introduce ourselves first. “Oh! U-Um, I’m Makoto Naegi!” “And my name is Sayaka Maizono!” Seeming satisfied with our introductions, she smirked.

The girl brought her hands to her chin and tilted her head slightly. “Well then, My name is Celestia Ludenberg. But, you may call me Celeste. Pleasure to be acquainted with you.”

Name: Celestia Ludenberg
Talent: Ultimate Gambler
Height: 5 ft 6 in
Weight: 108 lbs
Chest Size: 31 in
Birthday: Nov. 23rd (Sagittarius)
Blood Type: AB
Likes: Tea, Rococo
Dislikes: Dust, Bright Colors

Sayaka seemed bewildered. “Celestia Ludenberg? That doesn’t sound Japanese.” Celeste chuckled and brought her hand to her mouth. “Of course not.” “So...you’re not Japanese?” “Oh, I am.” “Then why...?” “My father was French, and my mother is German. Even so, I am most certainly of Asian ethnicity. I have lived in Japan all my life as well.” Celeste tapped her chin. “I have always thought about going to Europe...but then again, I do not really want to leave Japan, either. It is where I learned to gamble. Hence my talent.” Sayaka’s eyes glimmered with amazement. “So cool! The only real European people I’ve met were fans at my concert! I can’t believe we’ll actually be going to school with someone like you!”

Celeste nodded. “Anyway, this is quite the situation we are in, no?” “Yeah...” I replied, unsure. Celeste just seemed so calm about all this. Her voice was in the realm of being completely monotone. Was she just perfectly content even though we’re stuck inside Hope’s Peak? Or is she just...apathetic? It kind of unsettled me. And unfortunately for me, Celeste caught on to that fact. “Oh? Are you feeling a little uneasy, Makoto?” I almost passed out. Her red eyes seemed to be burning a hole in my common sense as she awaited a reply from me. The only thing I managed to croak out was: “Ha...uh?” Celeste laughed. “I see. You are scared of me.” I waved my hands rapidly. “What? N-No! Why would I ever-“

“Nonono, it is okay.” Celeste interrupted me with a raise of her hand. “A lot of people do not expect to see someone like me, especially regarding my fashion choice and overall appearance. So I am used to it. No worries.” I gulped and slowly nodded. Sayaka was rubbing the back of her head. “Hmmm...so far we met 2 people. Chihiro And Celeste.” She stared at the latter mentioned girl. “Do you know if there’s anyone else here?” Celeste nodded. “Oh, there are quite a few more students here. Such colorful and diverse personalities they have.” My eyes lit up. “More people? Where are they?” Celeste pointed a pale finger at the door. “Right past these classrooms, there is a hallway that leads to the ‘Despair Hotel’. It is a living quarter of sorts. I am almost positive everyone else we are sharing this space with are in there.” Celeste explained.

Sayaka clasped her hands together and gave Celeste a big grin. “Oh, thank you so much, Celeste!” “No problem.” The gambler stated. Then, she leaned down slightly and gazed up at us. “Good luck, then. This will be a good way to test the limits of your optimism.” Okay. Now it seems like she’s trying to creep me out on purpose. I gave Celeste a nervous wave, and then we were off once again.

“Despair Hotel! There it is!” Sayaka cheerfully said. At the end of the hallway, there was a small arch that lead to another big section of the school. Right in front of the gateway was a sign that read “Hotel Despair”. Sayaka and I made our way down the dimly lit hall and entered the living quarters. And boy, was it a lot easier on the eyes. The walls were clean and white, as well as the floors. The ceiling was black and lined with silver squares, giving the whole area a modern feel. It was a nice break from the abnormal and uncanny colored lights and checkered floors. And of course, just as Celeste promised, there were students here. 3 of them, in fact. Two students together on one side and talking, and another standing by himself and scanning the area.

“Yes! More people!” Sayaka quietly clapped her hands. “Let’s go talk to them!” I nodded and slowly followed Sayaka as she ran towards the two stu-

“HEY!”

Sayaka quickly snapped her gaze to the loud voice. I, myself, slammed into her back at the sudden stop and clumsily tumbled to the floor. Sayaka turned around, grabbed my hand, and helped me back in my feet. Then, we both turned to the voice. It was a taller guy with spiky ravenette hair along with thick eyebrows. He was wearing a pristine white school uniform, and just like Celeste, he had piercing red eyes. The man brought his hand down in some sort of karate chop motion. “What do you think you’re doing, young lady? You shouldn’t be running in the halls like that!” His voice was so...loud. I scrunched my face up a bit and scooted behind Sayaka. Sayaka frantically bowed to him. “Oh no! I-I’m so sorry, mister! It was my mistake! I was just excited, that’s all!”

The man stared at her for a moment. “Interesting defense, but a viable reason nonetheless!” He stated in his booming voice. “You will be excused for the time being! Just don’t do that again, you could hurt yourself or others around you!” The man then noticed me behind Sayaka, and I suppose he figured I was cowering. His face turned from forceful to afraid. “Oh goodness, did I frighten you?” Huh? His voice was a bit softer now...and without his brows being furrowed, he looks caring and kind. “Uh, well, a little. But it’s no big deal!” I answered. The man clenched his fists. “No, it is a big deal! I have made a terrible first impression on my fellow peers!” I could see his eyes welling up with tears.

Sayaka apparently noticed as well. “Are you crying?” She said, worried. “Hey now, there’s no need to be sad!” I confirmed her statement. “Yeah! We forgive you!” The man looked up at us with wide and curious eyes. “You...forgive me?” His whole face lit up. “Wow, incredible! Thank you very much!” Sayaka introduces herself first. “I’m Sayaka Maizono!” “And my name is Makoto Naegi.” He scratched his chin, then softly gasped. “Oh! I haven’t even introduced myself, have I? How informal of me!”

He cleared his throat. “Let me see...I’m Kiyotaka Ishimaru! The education system deserves to be respected, and my sole purpose is to make sure it stays that way!”

Name: Kiyotaka Ishimaru
Talent: Ultimate Moral Compass
Height: 5 ft 9 in
Weight: 146 lbs
Chest Size: 31 in
Birthday: Aug. 31st (Virgo)
Blood Type: A
Likes: Studying, Respect
Dislikes: Rulebreakers, The Dark

Kiyotaka Ishimaru, huh? I didn’t read about him on the thread. It’ll be interesting to get to know this guy...considering his rapidly shifting mood. Sayaka looked interested. “So, you’re like a hall monitor? That’s really neat!” Kiyotaka raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’m not JUST a hall monitor. I monitor every inch of the school! Rule breaking can happen in classrooms, too!” Even though he has established himself as a kind person, I’m still a little scared of him. “Well...what happens when you catch rule breakers, Kiyotaka? Do you punish them?” I worriedly ask. He looks shocked. “What? That’s ridiculous! Even those who disobey rules deserve to be treated with the utmost respect!” I look down at the floor. “Oh...sorry for asking that...” Kiyotaka seemed ashamed of himself. “Darn it! This conversation hasn’t gone well at all! I’m such a failure!”

Sayaka grabbed his shoulder. “No you aren’t! Like we said before, we forgive you! We can still be friends!” Kiyotaka attention was piqued at the mere mention of friendship. “We can be friends?” He put his hands on his hips and smiled. “Excellent! Negotiation is very important in a school environment!” He held his hand out for us to shake. “Now that we are official friends, you can call me Taka! That’s what friends do, right? Create nicknames for each other?” Sayaka giggled. “Yes! You’ve got the right idea, Taka!” I gave Taka a big smile as well. Even though we just met, I can tell Taka is a very kind person.

We parted ways with Taka and walked over to say hello to the other two people. One of them was a very large and chubby guy. He had tiny round glasses with equally tiny eyes, flattened down brown hair with a small spike on the top, and he appeared to be talking to a girl. Speaking of which, this girl had a figure built like a supermodel, slanted blue eyes that were narrowed in disgust, and red fake nails. The most prominent feature, however, were her rivers of flowing strawberry blonde hair, which were tied up into two pigtails with a bow on one side and a bunny hairband on the other.

The chubby guy was down on his knees and begging to the girl. “Please oh please, madam! You look so much like her! May I please have a picture?” The girl stared him down. “For the last friggin’ time, buzz off, weirdo!” I stepped in to get their attention. “Um, e-excuse me?” Both of them turned their heads to face us. The girl looked relieved. “Oh thank GOD! Hey, can you tell this shit-for-brains to leave me alone?” She snapped. “He’s insisting that I look like one of his anime characters. And now he wants to take a pic with me!” The chubby guy looks discouraged. “Phooey! Does that mean you don’t wanna picture with me?” The girl shoots him menacing glare. “Hell no! What do you think I’ve been telling you for the last, like, 10 minutes?”

Sayaka was eyeing the girl up and down with a skeptical expression plastered on her face. “Hmm...you look kind of familiar...” Suddenly, her eyes widened and she gasped. “Hold on! Are you Junko Enoshima?!?” A prideful grin spread across the girl’s face. “Wow! Omigod! I’m, like, SO glad someone finally recognized me as someone other than an anime waifu!” She glanced at the chubby guy. He made a small sound of fear and backed up.

The girl exhaled with a ‘Fwoo!’ before confirming Sayaka’s statement. “I’m Junko Enoshima, the Ultimate Fashionista! I hope you’re absolutely enchanted by me, because we’re in this together, mmkay?”

Name: Junko Enoshima
Talent: Ultimate Fashionista
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Weight: 97 lbs
Chest Size: 32 in
Birthday: December 24th (Capricorn)
Blood Type: A
Likes: Makeup, Cherries
Dislikes: Humid Weather, Glitter

My breath got caught in my throat. “W-Wait...you’re actually...the real Junko Enoshima?” Junko laughed out loud. “Surprised, I know! I bet you’re mega excited to be sharing a class with me!” “I mean, I am surprised...but...you look a lot different from in the magazines!” Sayaka tilted her head. Junko absent-mindedly twirled a lock of her hair. “Yeah, I know. That’s cause all those pictures are Photoshopped.” “Photoshopped?” I remembered all the times I saw Junko on a celebrity magazine. “Yeah, you know. Edited to hell and back. They made my eyes bigger, removed my freckles, and made my bust bigger. Junk like that.” Junko explained. Sayaka smiles. “Even if those photos are fake, you still look just as gorgeous in real life!” Junko fanned her face and grinned. “Oh come on! Now you’re just flattering me!”

The chubby man behind Junko eagerly raised his hand. “Oh oh oh! My turn!” Junko’s face twisted into a grimace. “Oh yeah. YOU’RE still here...” They guy pushed past her and stared blankly at me and Sayaka for a few moments. “Eh?” He exclaimed. Suddenly, he ran straight up to me and started closely examining every part of my body. “Wha?!? What are you doing?” “Gimme a sec!” After he finished with me, he went over to Sayaka. “Umm...you’re making me kind of uncomfortable...” The chubby guy scratched his chin then backed off from the two of us. “I see, I see!” He points a thick finger at me. “You look exactly like the protagonist of this harem manga I’m reading!” And then he glances towards Sayaka. “And you look like one of the main love interests for the protagonist! It’s like...you guys are meant to be together!”

I couldn’t stop that heat that formulated in my cheeks. “W-W-Wait! We don’t even know each other that well! And besides, Sayaka probably has-“ Sayaka interrupted me. “Wow! That’s a pretty strange coincidence! How interesting!” “S-Sayaka! Don’t encourage him!” The chubby man put his hands on his round hips proudly. “Why of course! If you need to know anything about anime culture, you know who to ask!” I desperately tried to cool myself off before managing a reply. “Hold on, you’re making all these accusations...but we don’t even know your name yet!” Hifumi’s face fell. “Oh yeeeeeah. Guess I’m gonna have to do that!”

The chubby guy’s high-pitched voice was suddenly replaced with a dramatic narrator voice. “Hifumi Yamada: The Ultimate Fanfic Creator!” Then, it reverted back to normal. “Fehehe! That’s me! True pleasure!”

Name: Hifumi Yamada
Talent: Ultimate Fanfic Creator
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Weight: 342 lbs
Chest Size: 59 in
Birthday: December 31st (Capricorn)
Blood Type: B
Likes: 2D, Princess Piggles
Dislikes: 3D, Crowded Areas

Fanfic Creator? Quite an odd thing to be known for, but if it makes Hifumi happy, then I’m not complaining. Hifumi pushes up his glasses. “Well? Are you impressed?” Junko scoffed. “Impressed at how much of a friggin’ dweeb you can be.” Hifumi grabbed his chest and yelped. “AAACK! What a strong attack!” Junko groaned in irritation. Hifumi shook himself back into our current conversation before beginning another monologue. “Anyway, I’ve been meaning to ask you...have you guys ever watched Demon Angel Pretty Pudgy Princess?” I raised an eyebrow. “Have we watched...what?” Sayaka shook her head. “Sorry! I’ve never seen it.”

Hifumi’s jaw dropped to the floor. “WHAAAAAAT?!? I am...ASTONISHED!” He pointed an accusing finger at us. “I’m sorry, but we cannot be allies until you have at least watched one full episode!” Hifumi saluted and stared up at the ceiling. “Oh Princess Piggles...my Queen...my pride and joy...you are a goddess, and I am merely your pawn. And Alpha and an Omega, striving for forbidden love...” A single tear fell from his eye as he brought a clenched fist down in a pumping motion. “I shall make your presence known throughout this world...” I didn’t want to say this before out of fear of being rude, but this guy is beyond peculiar.

Junko shook her head, rolled her eyes, then turned her attention back to us. “Anyway, doesn’t this whole thing suck?” I cupped my hands together. “Are you talking about being trapped in the school?” Junko made a barely noticeable sound of annoyance. “Well duh! What else? This literally might be...like...THE WORST thing that has ever happened to me.” The fashionista drummed her fingers against her cheek. “Not only am I stuck in this crappy place, but I’m forced to me trapped along with a bunch of friggin’ losers!” She paused. “Well, like, not you two, of course. You guys are toads cool. But don’t you agree?” I slowly nod. “Yeah, it is pretty disconcerting.” Sayaka smiled encouragingly. “But we still don’t know how long we’e going to be stuck in here! We’re gonna get out of here in no time!” Sayaka glances at the three of us. I smile softly in turn.

We said goodbye to Junko and Hifumi (although he was busy moping). I scanned the area quickly. Down a long red hallway lined with doors, I spotted two more people. I pointed in that direction. “Sayaka, look! More people!” Sayaka was ecstatic. “Yes! Come on, let’s go, Makoto!” We walked down the hallway and approached the closest student to us. The other student, farther in the back, was peeking around a corner. Upon seeing us, they hid behind the wall. I shrugged it off and went to talk to this guy. He had blonde hair, regal blue eyes, rectangular white glasses, and a permanent expression of disinterest. He was also extremely tall...or maybe I was just short. Maybe both? ...Why am I thinking about this?

“This place is a mess. An absolute disgrace to the world of architecture.” The man with glasses sighed. “I, for one, thought Hope’s Peak Academy was supposed be an uptight and tidy school. How disappointing.” He didn’t seem very approachable, but yet, I still attempted to start a chat with him. “Hello there...!” The man slowly turned to me with narrowed eyes. “Do you need something?” My mind suddenly decided to shut down. Those eyes made me freeze up. Sayaka realized this and answered for me. “We just came to make introductions! We’re classmates, right?” The man crossed his arms. “In any other situation, I would consider this a waste of time...but very well. If it will keep you from bugging me about it.”

The man adjusts his glasses stares at the wall as he talks. “My name is Byakuya Togami.”

Name: Byakuya Togami
Talent: Ultimate Affluent Progeny
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Weight: 150 lbs
Chest Size: 32 in
Birthday: May 5th (Taurus)
Blood Type: B
Likes: Coffee, French
Dislikes: Plebeians, Microwave Meals

His first name sound completely normal. But that last name... “Togami...you’re a member of the Togami family?” Byakuya smirked. “Wow. Based on your child-like face, I expected you to be uneducated.” I rummaged for a reply, but found nothing. Byakuya continued. “Yes, that’s right. I am the heir to the Togami family. Anything else you absolutely have to know? If not, you may leave now.” Sayaka raises her hand awkwardly. “I have a question! If you’re the heir to the Togami family, does that mean you inherited a ton of money?”

Byakuya raised an eyebrow. “What do you think the point of being the heir is? It’s certainly not respect. I’m already respected because of my performance in the competition.” I tilted my head in curiosity. “Competition? What kind of competition?” Byakuya’s eyes narrowed. “A competition to become the heir. Have you not heard of it? Tch. Maybe you aren’t smart after all.” Byakuya turned back to us. “Now that I realized you’re only hear to pick apart my life story, I’m formally dismissing you.”

“But-“
“I’m sorry. I don’t recall giving you a choice. Go on.”
“...okay...”

After we were “formally dismissed” by Byakuya, Sayaka suggested our next destination. “Did you see that other girl back there? With the braids?” That must have been who I saw behind Byakuya. I nodded. “Yeah. Should we go say hello?” Sayaka smiled. “Of course! We need to meet everyone here, don’t we?” “Uh-huh!” Sayaka and I walked to the end of the dim red hallway. On our way, I took notice of the doors. Each of them had golden nameplates and drawings of our faces. I saw the names of the people we met, as well as my own name, and I also saw some unfamiliar names. I stopped for a moment to stare at one of the doors. “Are these dormitories?” I questioned. Sayaka came to my side and studied the door alongside me. “I think so. But we can look at these later! We have to meet everyone!” “Y-Yeah...okay. You’re right.” We continued our journey.

Around the bend was a girl leaning against a wall and zoning out. As soon as we rounded the corner, she let out a surprised grunt and backed up. “Hello there!” Sayaka happily said. The edge of the girl’s mouth twitched. “Wh-What do you want...?” She grumbled, sweat pouring down her face. “We just came to say hi.” I replied. “I’m Makoto, and this is Sayaka. What about you?” Despite how distant she seemed, I tried to manage the friendliest smile I could in hopes of getting on her good side.

With a few shaky breaths, the girl told us her name. “It’s not like you’ll remember...o-or care...but...I’m T-Toko Fukawa...the Ultimate Wr-Wr-Writing Prodigy...”

Name: Toko Fukawa
Talent: Ultimate Writing Prodigy
Height: 5 ft 4 in
Weight: 104 lbs
Chest Size: 31 in
Birthday: March 3rd (Pisces)
Blood Type: O
Likes: Byakuya Togami, Romance Novels
Dislikes: Light Novels, Manga

After telling us who she was, Toko stopped talking and turned away again. “Writing Prodigy? Wow! What kind of stories do you write?” Toko didn’t answer, but luckily I read about her on the thread. “She’s famous for writing romance novels.” I answered. “They’re known throughout the world as being some of the best love stories out there.” Sayaka’s eyes were sparkling with intrigue. “Amazing! Is that true, Toko?” Toko glanced at Sayaka for a split second before answering. “Yes...th-that’s right...”

Sayaka asked yet another question. “Also, what are you doing back here all alone? Toko stared at Sayaka with wide eyes before slowly mumuring out an answer. “I...d-don’t...like people.” Sayaka raises an eyebrow. “That’s it? Oh come on, silly! You’re only saying that because you’re not brave enough to talk to anyone!” Toko’s entire body quivers. “Th-Th-That’s...not...!” Sayaka chuckled. “You might not wanna defy me! I’m psychic, you know!” Toko suddenly cries out. “G-GYAAAHAAAA!!! TH-THEN, YOU KNOW I’M THINKING ABOUT...H-H-HIM?!?” Sayaka’s friendly expression turns smug. “Oh? Him? Who’s the lucky guy?”

Toko growled. “Gh...y-you...tricked me...you little...s-slut!” Sayaka gasped and a look of horror spread across her face. “Slut?” “Y-Yeah...and I’m not telling you...n-never!” Toko sighed, quietly mumbled “S-Sorry...”, then started fumbling with her hands. “Anyway...didn’t you expect the...U-Ultimate Writing Prodigy to be smart and p-pretty?” I didn’t even have a chance to deny her suspicions before she kept rambling on. “You...you think I’m ugly...d-d-d-don’t you...?!?” Both me and Sayaka answered as fast as we could. “What? No!” “No, of course not!” Toko clenched her teeth. “Do you really expect me to b-believe you that easily?” She pointed behind her. “I-If you have nothing positive to say then...j-just leave!” Sayaka and I stared at each other for a few moments before leaving Toko behind.

The velvet red hall transitioned back into a white hallway. We kept walking and eventually came across 3 doors. “The doors on the end look like bathrooms...” I mused. I looked at the closest entrance to us, and as soon as I saw the trash can decal, I figured out what this door led to. “And this here looks like a trash room.” Sayaka started making her way towards the door. “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s check it out!” Not seeing a choice, I obediently tagged along.

Half of the trash room was divided away from us with an iron gate. On the other side there was what appeared to be an incinerator. On the side we were on, there wasn’t much to see except piles of trash bags, debris, boxes...and another student. It was a muscular guy with pink eyes, spiked eyeshadow drawn onto his face, a black leather jacket with gold embroidery, and a curly pompadour. Based on what I saw on that online thread, I didn’t even have to talk to him to make a guess as to what his talent was. But Sayaka insisted we speak to him, so I obliged. I cautiously walked up to the man. “Hello-!”

“The fuck are you lookin’ at?”
...Oh. And I thought Byakuya seemed rude.

“Um, don’t mind us. We just came here to talk.” The man’s muscular jaw tightened. “You wanna have a fuckin’ chat, huh? Step right up.” Sayaka came to my side and wrapped an arm around my shoulder. “Okay, well my name is Sayaka Maizono!” I nervously tapped my fingers together, avoiding coming in contact with that aggressive lavender-eyed gaze. “...Makoto Naegi.” The pompadour guy chuckled roughly at my weak response. “Bah, you sensitive guys are such lovable dicks. As for my name, here you fuckin’ go.”

The guy pulled his jacket over his shoulders more. “Name’s Mondo Owada. I’m the goddamn Ultimate Biker Gang leader himself. Nice to fuckin’ meetcha.”

Name: Mondo Owada
Talent: Ultimate Biker Gang Leader
Height: 6 ft 2 in
Weight: 168 lbs
Chest Size: 33 in
Birthday: June 9th (Gemini)
Blood Type: B
Likes: Motorcycles, Maltese Dogs
Dislikes: Cats, Mornings

Just as I suspected. He really is the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader. I read about him online. Apparently the gang he leads is called “The Crazy Diamonds”. I’ve heard they’re the biggest and most fierce gang in all of Japan. “Biker Gang Leader?” Sayaka asked. “That sounds like a pretty scary talent...” Mondo groans and shakes his head. “You have no fuckin’ idea how many people have told me that. Of course it sounds scary, asshole! I’m a GANG LEADER!” Sayaka flinched when Mondo raised his voice. “Shit, didn’t mean that about you. You’re fine...I guess.” He eyed me. “And as for you...” My legs felt like they were about to give out. What’s he gonna say? Is he going to hurt me? Is- “You really need to fuckin’ stand up for yourself. Look at you. You’re shakin’ in your goddamn boots.”

I unconsciously squeaked in terror and closed my eyes. The only thing I really achieved was a slow nod. “There. That’s all I gotta say. Do me a favor and fuck off.” Sayaka gulped. “Erm...O-Okay! Thank you for your time...!” “Tch.” I wobbled out of the room with Sayaka’s arm still embracing me. As soon as we left, she immediately began to comfort me. “Hey hey, are you alright, Makoto? You seemed really scared back there!” I pushed some hair behind my ear. “Ah...y-yeah...! He was a little...daunting. But I’m fine!” Sayaka gave me a soft smile. “That’s good to hear. Do you want to keep going? Or do you want to take a quick break?” I took a few breaths and smiled. “We can keep going! I’ll be okay!” Sayaka beamed. “Okay! Let’s see where this hallway takes us!”

As we were walking I realized...maybe I wasn’t fine. We’re stuck in this school. Who knows how long we’ll be in here? My stomach is in knots. Why do I feel like something bad is about to happen?

...

No, I need to stay positive. I can’t be thinking like this. Everything is going to be okay. I took a few more deep breaths and followed Sayaka to the next room.

We ended up back where we started, near where we met Taka, Hifumi, and Junko. Sayaka motioned me over to her. “Hey Makoto, let’s go in here!” It was a single door that looked like to had some age to it. There was metal peeling off of it, and in some parts, there was rust. “What’s in here? This door looks pretty ominous...” I mutter. “I don’t know.” Sayaka shrugs. “That’s why I was drawn to it! Let’s go in!” Sayaka turned the handle and pushed the door open. As soon as we stepped in, I realized we were in a laundry room. I mean, it’s not difficult to tell, what with the washers lining the wall and the drying clothes hanging from the ceiling.

And of course, just like the countless times before, Sayaka and I weren’t the only ones here. We were also sharing this room with another fellow student. It was another guy with fiery red hair, a goatee, and baby blue eyes. His outfit consisted of a cream colored collared jacket, a white shirt with a bloody skull picture, and black jeans. I walked towards him and was about to say something, but then I noticed his expression. He was looking away from me with his arms crossed, sure, but his face just screamed “get away from me”. So I just stood there, thinking about what to say. Eventually, the redhead started the conversation for me. He turned his head towards me and raised an eyebrow. “...can I help you?”

Now that he’s actually facing me, I realized that he has very faint freckles dotting his face. But now’s not the time to look at small details. I didn’t really have much time to think, so I tried my best to improvise. “Ah- Yeah! Hey! We were just going around and introducing ourselves to everyone...and you’re the next one we found...soooo...” I paused for a moment. God, I’m a social disaster. “M-My name’s Makoto Naegi. And this is Sayaka Maizono.” The redhead switched his gaze back and forth between us. “...Okay?” I scratched the back of my head. “How about your name?”

The redhead huffed, an uninterested expression on his face, and said: “The name’s Leon Kuwata. I’m the Ultimate Baseball Star...sup.”

Name: Leon Kuwata
Talent: Ultimate Baseball Star
Height: 5 ft 5 in (yes I changed his height because whY IS HE SO TALL-)
Weight: 123 lbs
Chest Size: 30 in
Birthday: January 3rd (Capricorn)
Blood Type: A
Likes: Punk Rock, Naps
Dislikes: Baseball, Horror Movies

Ultimate Baseball Star is another talent I read about online. Apparently he’s considered the best player in the country, able to take over any position on the field without a problem. And Leon’s the one with that talent? He doesn’t look like someone that would be into baseball at all. There’s also something about him that scares me. It looks like if I said one wrong thing, he’d punch me in the face. He seems so irritable. Unapproachable. Grumpy. Leon is so intimidating to me...I don’t want to know what happens if I get on his bad-

“Aww, how adorable!” Sayaka said with delight. Pretty much instantly, Leon’s face turned almost as red as his hair. “Eh-?!?” Sayaka brought her hand to her chin. “Oh, I’m sorry! Did that sound weird?” Leon clenched his fists, still trying to get words out despite being as flustered as he is. “H-Hell yeah that sounded weird! You can’t just go around saying shit like that!” Sayaka rubbed the back of her head. “Well, it’s just that I thought the Ultimate Baseball Star was going to be some tough, overconfident mass of muscles with a shaved head...but you’re so much better than what I expected!” Leon shifted his gaze towards me. “Hey, can you maybe control your friend? She’s...w-weirding me out...” I nodded quickly and tapped on Sayaka’s shoulder. “Uhh, Sayaka? You might want to let him have some space.” Sayaka realized how close she was standing, laughed a little bit, and backed up.

“So anyway, Ultimate Baseball Star?” I reignited the conversation we were having before. “Your athleticism and abilities must be pretty impressive for you to get that title.” Leon grumbled “Uuuugh...Jesus Christ...” before speaking. “Okay, so here’s the thing. I, for one, think my talent sucks ass.” Sayaka looked concerned. “Huh? Why?” “I hate baseball’s guts!” Leon snapped. “My stupid team, the stupid rules, the stupid game...it’s all just STUPID!”

Someone who hates their talent? Now that’s something I’ve never seen before. “Well, if you don’t want to play baseball, then what do you want to do instead?” I asked. Leon tapped his chin. “I’ve been thinking of being a musician. I mean, that would be cool, yeah?” He sighed. “But since I’ve been cursed with baseball skills, everybody tells me I can’t! They’re all idiots...” Leon puffed his cheek out in a pout.

Sayaka gave him an encouraging smile. “Hey, I’m a singer! Once you become a musician, we can start a band together!” Leon’s mouth quivered. “Wh-? You...” He quickly shook his head and scowled. “N-No way! I’d rather die than work with you!” He paused. “...Now that I think about it, I’d rather die than do anything. Like, at all.” It took me a few moments to realize that was a suicide joke. Should I be concerned? Leon waved his hand dismissively. “Ngh, can this conversation be over now? You guys are expecting too much out of me...” “Huh? Oh...okay. See you around.” Leon seems to have a lot of things going on. But I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.

After saying farewell to Leon, Sayaka and I continued on, eventually finding our way into a locker room of sorts. Inside this room were two people. One of them was a small tan girl with brown hair. She was short, yes, but there was very visible muscle on her body. She definitely took care of herself. And the other person was...WOAH. They were extremely muscular, their large arms, meaty legs, and stern face riddled with scars. If it weren’t for the chest area (which I felt uncomfortable staring at) and their voice, I wouldn’t have been able to tell she was a girl. Good thing I figured it out sooner. My stomach is churning at the thought of what would have happened if I misgendered her in her face.

As soon as Sayaka and I stepped through the entrance, the small tan girl spun around towards us and beamed. “Sakura, look! More people!” The muscular woman also faced us and greeted us. “Oh. Hello there.” Her voice is so gruff and scary...but there’s a hint of politeness in there. My shoulders relax a bit. Sayaka waves to the duo. “Hey there!” We run up to converse with them. The tan girl gasps and gawks at Sayaka. “Wait, I know you!” Her eyes sparkle with awe. “You’re Sayaka Maizono!” Sayaka laughs nervously and twiddles her finger. “Ehehe, yep! That’s me! I’m the Ultimate Pop Sensation, as you can guess.” I quietly cleared my throat. “And I’m Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate Lucky Student.”

The muscular woman, upon seeing her companion still star-struck over meeting Sayaka, introduces herself first. “It is nice to meet you. My name is Sakura Ogami.”

Name: Sakura Ogami
Talent: Ultimate Martial Arts Master
Height: 6 ft 4 in
Weight: 218 lbs
Chest Size: 51 in
Birthday: September 13th (Virgo)
Blood Type: O
Likes: Incense, Training
Dislikes: Self-deprecation, Being Helpless

Martial Arts Master is definitely what I’d expect for someone like Sakura. Even just hearing her voice can tell you how strong she is. But what’s most important is that she’s also polite. I’m not really strong at all—as you can clearly see, I am built like a cooked spaghetti noodle—but I have learned a thing or two about martial arts. And it’s definitely not about waving your limbs around like a savant. Mastering martial arts takes patience, endless amounts of effort, and respect for your peers and enemies. Sakura has obviously gone through it all.

“You must have worked hard to get a title like that, Sakura.” I said. Sakura nodded, but didn’t say anything. Sayaka smiles widely at Sakura, then turned to the other girl expectantly. “And what about you?” She made a small sound of surprise, then pounded the side of her head. “Whoops! Ugh, sorry about that!” The girl gave an embarrassed grin. “I’m just such a huge fan of you, Sayaka. Anyway, introduction time!”

The tan girl pulled up the collar on her red jacket. “I’m Aoi Asahina! You can call me Hina, if you’d like. Super cool to meet you guys!”

Name: Aoi Asahina
Talent: Ultimate Swimming Pro
Height: 5 ft 4 in
Weight: 110 lbs
Chest Size: 37 in
Birthday: April 24th (Taurus)
Blood Type: B
Likes: Donuts, The Beach
Dislikes: Calculating, Peppers

So this is Aoi Asahina. She’s another one I read about online. Hina is a swimmer that has competed in countless tournaments and won pretty much all of them. Even the Olympics are scouting her out as a member of their team. She seems really fit, although I can’t see it super clearly from behind her jacket. Hina is strong enough to be a swimmer, and she sure seems to have the confidence and spunk of an athlete as well. Hina gave me a smile. “Hey, so you said you’re the Ultimate Lucky Student, yeah?” “Yep!” “Wow!” Hina said breathlessly. “So you’re the one that got chosen by the raffle! You really are lucky...”

She suddenly paused and furrowed her brow. “What did you say your name was again? Sorry! Totally blanked out!” “It’s Makoto Naegi.” “Ohhhh, right!” She put her hand in front of her and started writing on it with her finger. “...What are you doing?” Hina didn’t look up as she spoke. “Don’t you know that if you write someone’s name on your hand three times, you’re guaranteed to remember them?” “I...have never heard that before.” She moved her finger from her hand to her chin. “How do you spell your last name?” “N-a-e-g-i.” “Oh, so exactly how it sounds! I knew that!” Hina traced my name on her hand, muttering my name over and over again.

When she was done, she brought both her hands down and inhaled deeply. “Makoto Naegi...solidify in my mind...” Sayaka and I stared at each other with perplexity. Sakura just shook her head and chuckled quietly. Hina clapped her hands. “Aaaand...ta-da! Now I’ll never forget your name as long as I live! So cool, isn’t it?” My brain was still working to try and understand what I just witnessed, yet I still nodded slowly. Hina put two thumbs up. “Great! I’m looking forward to getting to know you guys better!”

We were about to leave when someone abruptly dashed into the room and knocked me over. Seriously, again? How many times am I going to end up on the floor today? The person started explaining a bunch of stuff really quickly.. “Guys! They’ve got a Dining Hall! And a kitchen! With tons and tons of food!” As I struggled to pick myself up, I caught a glimpse of Hina’s delighted grin. “Do they have donuts?” “I dunno. I think.” Apparently, the guy finally noticed me, because when I looked up, he was staring down at me. “Oh, hey little dude! When did you get here?” I was about to reply, but my mouth was left hanging open with no sound coming out. I was absolutely awestruck at just...him in general. His hair looked like a giant brown sea urchin sitting on top of his head, and his outfit was mismatched to the point it just seemed like he dug out whatever he found in his wardrobe and put it on.

The man brought an unshaven arm down and pulled me up by my hood. The hood strained against my neck as he lifted me effortlessly to my feet. Is he trying to choke me out?!? “Th-anks...!” I sputtered, my voice cracking horrifically. The man signed his thumb and pointer finger into a right angle and waved them around in a pattern, studying me with unblinking eyes. It was...extremely creepy. Sayaka tried to speak with him. “Uhm...excuse me, mister?” He didn’t answer.

Eventually he shifted his hands down to his hips. “I got it!” A dopey grin crossed his face. “Your spirit animal is definitely a dog!” I anxiously tugged on my sleeve. “What?” The man nodded his head with smirk. “Yeah, man! I can tell you’re pretty affectionate...super duper unassuming but fierce...” Sayaka took a step back. “Wait, where are you getting this information?” The man glanced around the room with slightly glazed over eyes. “Oh yeah! You guys are probably pretty confused, yeah? Lemme introduce myself!”

The man ran his fingers through his large mass of hair. “Name’s Yasuhiro Hagakure, but my friends call me Hiro! Let’s chill together, okay?”

Name: Yasuhiro Hagakure
Talent: Ultimate Clairvoyant
Height: 6 ft
Weight: 157 lbs
Chest Size: 32 in
Birthday: July 25th (Leo)
Blood Type: B
Likes: Spirits, Plants
Dislikes: Sharp Things, Chickens

Ultimate Clairvoyant, huh? When I first saw that talent, I sort of figured the student that held that honor would be something like this. Not in a rude way...I think. Just...a little odd. That’s all! But his skills as a fortune teller do seem pretty good. I mean, he was able to read some things about me by just staring at me for a few seconds. Unless he’s making it up...I’ll believe in him for now.

Hiro pointed finger guns at Sayaka. “Oh yeah! I gotta do a reading on you, too!” Sayaka seemed confused yet intrigued. “A reading on me? Okay! Go for it!” Hiro made a sound of excitement and grabbed Sayaka’s hand. Hina leaned forward to watch. “Wait, you just had to look at Makoto to read him. Why are you doing something different for Sayaka?” Yasuhiro pointed a finger at the swimmer. “Cuz this is a different kind of reading, that’s why! You’ll see!” After rubbing the wrinkles in Sayaka’s hand for a little while, he announced his conclusion. “Okay! So your guardian angel is a light scepter-wielding goddess! She’s got huge wings and everything! That means your biggest factor is beauty!” “Oh wow! You could see that just by looking at the wrinkles on my hand?” Sayaka clapped. “Bravo, Hiro! You’re really good at this!”

Hiro crossed his arms proudly. “Well yeah! What do you think I’ve been trying to master for the past 21 years?” I cocked my head to the side. “21 years? But aren’t you a high school student?” Yasuhiro scratched his chin. “Yeah, of course I am! I just got held back a few times. No big deal!” Th-That sounds like a big deal to me...! Yasuhiro continued. “Anyway, do you guys remember how you got here?” Everyone’s attention was piqued, and the cheerful mood suddenly morphed. Hina shook her head. “Not really. I just remember passing out on my way to class and waking up in a classroom.” Hiro’s eyes widened. “You too?!?” Sayaka’s brow creased into a worried expression. “That’s how I got here, too!” My hands begin to shake slightly. “Me as well...”

Sakura glances at all of us. “It appears that we all have experienced the same phenomenon.” She states. Hina is sweating. “Do you think we were kidnapped or something?” She scooted closer to Sakura as she said that. I hugged myself. “Anything is possible considering how weird of a situation this is...” Everybody is scared and confused. Nobody knows how they got here. It’s just like Junko said. This really is the worst. I can’t imagine things getting any weirder.

DING DONG BING BONG

All at once, we gasped and looked around the room. “Wh-What’s going on?” Sayaka worriedly asks. “It sounded like the school bell.” Sakura replied. “It must be a school announcement.” The small monitor-like TV in the room suddenly sprung to life with static. So that’s what those monitors are for. But what about the cameras...? Everyone simultaneously snapped their gaze to the screen, their eyes wide with intent. And through the static, although it was rather difficult to see...

A figure formed.

“Testing testing, 1, 2, 3! Mic check! Can everybody hear me?”

The voice was cheerful. High-pitched. It was way too happy, especially regarding the current dilemma we were in. Hina flinched. “What is that?!?” The voice continued.

“Okay! Heeeeeeello there, students! Welcome! Are you ready to begin your school life? Because I sure am!” The silhouette chirped. “Please come to the gym for the official Hope’s Peak Academy welcome ceremony! I’ll see you all there!” The monitor flickered off.

Hiro smirked. “Ha! I knew this whole setup was just for the entrance ceremony!” Hina breathed a sigh of relief. “You really think so?” Sakura stared Hiro down. “Let us not count our chickens before they hatch.” Hiro’s face turned blue. “...chickens?” “What I mean is...we cannot be absolutely sure we are safe just yet.” I nodded in agreement. “Sakura’s right! That voice sounded awfully cheery.” “Like it was laughing at our pain and confusion!” Sayaka’s voice wavered. “Exactly.”

Hiro shrugged. “Well, we still gotta go, right? Pretty sure it’s required or somethin’.” We all nodded. Hina ran out the door. “Well come on! We don’t wanna be late!” Sakura signed, and ran after her. Hiro tagged along as well, yelling “HEY! WAIT FOR ME, MAN!” Sayaka smiled at me and backed out the door. “Let’s go, Makoto!” She winked in almost a taunting way, and took off down the hall. “W-Wait! Come back!” She’s so fast! How am I going to keep up with her? Shaking my head, I bolted out the door of the locker room and through the exit of Hotel Despair. Even though I only ran halfway down the hall, I was already winded. I placed my hand on the wall to stop and winded down for a bit. I hunched over, taking deep breaths to make sure I got all the oxygen I needed. Am I really THIS unfit? I can’t believe it. Now I’m going to be late...

“Are you alright?”

The hairs on the back of my neck stuck up and I instinctively whipped around. There, standing before me, was a girl. Her hair was pale lavender, and one side was tied into a ribbon. She wore a deep royal purple jacket and orange tie, and her cut amethyst eyes were practically staring into my soul. Her expression displayed no outward emotion. Despite coming to check on me, her face was sending the message that she didn’t care at all. She raised an eyebrow, and that’s when I realized I actually had to reply to her query.

I made a nervous “ok” sign. “Ahaha! Y-Yup! Just fine!” The girl exhaled through her nose and nodded. After taking a few more breaths, I cleared my throat and tried to manage a friendly smile (although it probably ended up looking lopsided and awkward). “So, Uh...I haven’t seen you before. May I have a name? I’m Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate Lucky Student.”

The girl pulled on her tie and coldly stated: “My name is Kyoko Kirigiri.”

Name: Kyoko Kirigiri
Talent: Ultimate ???
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Weight: 106 lbs
Chest Size: 32 in
Birthday: October 6th (Libra)
Blood Type: B
Likes: Her hair braids, Books
Dislikes: Goya, Coriander

I smile. “Nice to meet you!” But then I remembered she didn’t tell me her talent. “Oh, and what about your talent?” Kyoko looked confused. “What do you mean?” I scratched the back of my head. “Y-Y’know! Everyone here has an Ultimate talent! What’s your’s?” The corner’s of Kyoko’s mouth stretched slightly, and she turned her gaze towards the wall behind me. “Hm. That’s quite funny. I can’t seem to remember it at the moment.” What? She...She can’t remember her Ultimate talent? That’s unheard of! Why? Why can’t she remember? We all just got here! Surely she knows. She’s just refusing to tell me. But I won’t say anything about it.

Mostly because just like Sayaka, there’s some sort of enchanting and authoritative aura to her. When I look at her, I just have the automatic reaction to shut up and listen. She’s like one of those really mysterious and whimsical characters in anime...it’s kind of scary...but...

“Are you just going to stand there? Are we going to go to the ceremony?” She snapped me back to reality. “Wha-! Uh-Um-Yes ma’am!”

...

Did I seriously just say that?

I officially want to crawl in a hole and die.

Fortunately, Kyoko didn’t seem to think anything of it. She just smirked a bit, then swiftly made her way down the hall. I stood there for just a little longer. Kyoko...even though she seems distant...I want to be friends with her. But judging by the disaster of a conversation we just had, I’d say that option is out of the window. Okay. I need to calm down. It’s time for the ceremony. I’m probably already late enough, so I have to hurry.

Once I made it to the gym door and grabbed a hold of the handle, I stopped. My heart was beating at a breakneck pace. And it wasn’t because I just ran all the way down through the main area of the school. I was nervous. Why am I scared? I know everybody here. But something about that voice...the entity that greeted us...it gives me a bad feeling. Eventually sucking it up, I turned the handle, marched through the trophy room, and burrowed my way into the small crowd of chatting students.

Despite my attempt to blend in, Taka still noticed me. “Makoto! You’re late!” I stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact with everyone. “I know...I’m sorry...” I heard Mondo sigh. “Jesus fuck, why don’t you shut up...” He muttered. It’s a good thing Taka couldn’t hear him over the talking people. “Hey, Makoto!” Sayaka’s voice echoed across the vast space in the gym. She was waving at me excitedly in the crowd. I slunk through the tight pathways of people and ran to Sayaka’s side. “This really does look like some kind of ceremony, right?” She asked. “Well, yes...but all this still seems...” “Daunting?” Sayaka finished my sentence. I made a soft sound of confirmation.

“I...I just have feeling that something’s wrong. I don’t know why.” Sayaka nodded in understanding. “I know, Makoto. I do too.” She beamed. “All we can do is prepare for what’s to come. We can have hope that everything will be alright! You said you try to be optimistic, right?”

That word...hope. It makes me feel...a certain way. A way that’s indescribable. I can’t help but softly smile. Hope. That’s what this school’s all about. So I just have to calm down. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be okay. Everything...is going to be okay....is...

...

Is everything really going to be okay?

I had no idea what I was about to witness. None of us did.

All we could do was stand there and wait.

Chapter Text

PLEASE READ BEGINNING NOTES BEFORE READING THIS CHAPTER.

The only sound in the room was quiet chatting. Some students had gathered in small groups to talk, while others kept their distance. I stayed close to Sayaka, rubbing my arm. Every time I looked up at her, she just gave me a small smile and turned her attention back forward. I don’t mean to sound impolite, but there has to be a better way to make someone feel better than just...smiling. It almost made me feel like she was faking it as well. Despite my overwhelming anxiety, I tried my hardest to remain calm and just wait for the ceremony to start.

And that’s when it happened.

“Oh boy! Is everyone here?”

Everyone frantically glanced around the room as the high-pitched voice echoed across the walls. Junko raised an eyebrow. “Uhhh...I can’t be the only one who heard that, right?” “What...WAS that?” Hina asked. “Be careful. I will shield you in case of danger.” Sakura addressed everyone, getting Chihiro, Yasuhiro, and even Taka and Leon to group behind her. Sayaka tugged on my sleeve.

“Aaaalrighty! This is exciting! Let’s get the ball rolling!”

With a clonk, the lights suddenly shut off, and a few people gasped in surprise, one of those being me. Despite how dark it was, I could just barely see the curtains on the stage unfolding. Two spotlights swirled around the stage and eventually met up in the middle to lock our view onto a podium. And then, from behind that podium...A black and white bear bounced up to greet us.

The lights flickered back on, and the bear spread his arms out. “Hello hello, everyone! How are you all doing on this fine day?” Everyone’s faces quickly shifted from distressed to confused. Mondo clenched his fists. “What. The fuck. Is that?!?” Hina tapped her chin. “It looks like...a teddy bear.”

The bear crossed his arms. “Oh COME ON! I spent all my precious time setting up that super dramatic reveal just to get called a teddy bear?” He shook his head. “Kids these days. So insensitive!” Hifumi looked oddly relieved. “Ahh, I see. The danger was nonexistent! It’s just a talking bear!” He pauses for a few seconds, before jumping in surprise, his large cheeks wiggling. “WAAAAH! A TALKING BEAR?!?”

The bear stood up from the podium and hopped down onto the stage. “Would ya stop just calling me a ‘bear’?” He brought a paw to his chest. “Because I’m not just some bear. I am...Monokuma! And I’m the headmaster of Hope’s Peak Academy!” Taka seemed nervous, but still spoke up. “You are our headmaster? Preposterous!” Monokuma chuckled. “Puhuhu! No matter how preposterous you think it is, that’s the truth!”

Celeste took a step forward. “Well, if you are our headmaster, I trust you have been informed that all possible exits in the school are sealed?” “Of course I know!” Monokuma chirped. “Then...wh-why aren’t you doing anything a-b-b-bout it?” Toko stammered. “Cuz there’s no need!” Monokuma replied. “I don’t want you guys getting out and running around all willy-nilly! That’s what those cameras are for, too!” Byakuya tilted his head forward. “Are you implying that you don’t want us to leave?” Monokuma perked up. “Whoops! Guess I forgot to mention that part!”

Monokuma continued. “To put it simply, you guys are stuck in here!” Everyone’s eyes widened. “St-Stuck?” Chihiro gasped out. “Wait, for how long?” Sayaka worriedly inquired. Monokuma pretended to be counting on his (nonexistent) fingers. “How long? Hmm, let’s see...one...two...three...forever!”

Some gasped. Few yelped. Others stayed silent. Leon, despite the fact he was obviously quivering in fear, attempted to sound confident. “You...you can’t be serious!” Yasuhiro, oddly, looked ecstatic. “Haha! Alright, this is real funny! A bear? Trapping us in a school? This is the best prank ever, man!” Monokuma stared the Ultinate Clairvoyant down with an eerie gaze. “Oh? You seriously think this is a joke? One big fad? I’m the one who should be laughing, not you!” Yasuhiro’s laughing slowly died down. “Hahaha...haha...wait, what did you say?” “He said this isn’t a joke.” Kyoko coldly stated. “We really are trapped in here.”

Monokuma groaned and rolled his eyes as Yasuhiro screamed in terror. “Finally, someone who gets it! This is gonna be more tedious than I thought...” “But...” Hina began. “There has to be a way to leave, right? What’s the point of keeping us trapped in here?” Taka nodded. “Right! Forcing us to be locked up in here in completely unacceptable! Tell us if there’s a way to get out at once!” Monokuma’s eyes suddenly lit up. “YYYYYES! I was waiting for one of you to ask that!” I finally spoke up. Something about what Monokuma said rubbed me the wrong way. “Huh? Why?”

“Cuz this is the most exciting part of your school life here!” Monokuma answered, rubbing his paws together. “There most definitely is a way to leave!” Everyone gasped and stood at attention. “I call it...’The Graduation Clause’!” Byakuya crossed his arms. “Intriguing. Explain to us exactly how this works.” Monokuma chuckled. “Well...basically, the clause states that...”

“If you kill one of your fellow classmates and get away with it, you will be allowed to leave the school!”

My skin went cold. It felt like I had just stepped into an ice bath and dipped my head underwater, as the only thing I could hear were muffled voices and my own heartbeat. I hugged myself. It was only when Sayaka wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close to her that I snapped out of my almost comatose-like state. The students in the room were screaming and chattering with panic. Meanwhile, Monokuma just smugly stood atop the stage, reveling in everyone’s reactions.

Mondo was the first to step forward. “Hold on, motherfucker. There is no way we are going to agree to this bullshit.” He growled. Junko was next. “Hell yeah! What are you even thinking? We aren’t gonna kill anyone, dude!” Many other students made statements of confirmation.

“Nice try, Monokuma!”
“Affirmative! There is absolutely no way you are going to get away with this!”
“I will not be phased by your words...for I am a hero in the truest sense!”
“I mean, I’d rather kill myself than have one of you do it for me.”
“Shut the fuck up, Leon.”
“I have no intention of murdering anyone in this room, for I have no reason to.”

Sayaka’s arms tightened around me. “That’s right! This whole thing is disgusting! Do you think you can convince us to do something like that so easily?” Monokuma still stood his ground. “Do I think I can convince you? Of course I do!” The bear scanned the room. “In fact, one of you could already be planning a cold-blooded murder!” A few of the students backed down and went silent.

Taka raised his hand. “Mister Monokuma, sir! I have a question!” Toko’s eye twitched. “I-I wouldn’t call someone who t-trying to get us to k-kill each other ‘sir’...” Monokuma leaned forward. “I’m all ears!” Taka put his hands behind his back and stared curiously at Monokuma. “You said if someone were to kill, they would get to leave if and only if they got away with it! So are you saying that a murder could happen without anyone watching and they’d get to leave without any further repercussions?”

Monokuma’s eyes widened slightly. “Whoopsie-daisie! There’s another part of the Graduation Clause that I didn’t mention!” Sakura crossed her arms: “And that is?” Monokuma threw his arms into the air. “The Class Trials! Cue the applause!” Taka quickly glanced around the room, then clapped softly. “Class...Trials?” Hifumi mused. “Ah! Like in court?” “Eeeexactly!” Monokuma cheered. “So, once three students find a body, a countdown will begin. That countdown will lead to the beginning of the class trial!”

“In the trial, you all discuss who you think the culprit, thereby known as ‘the blackened’, is. After the discussion, you all take a vote! If you pick the true blackened, they will get punished, and you will all continue your school life here.” Monokuma paused to grin wider before continuing. “However, if you vote for the wrong person, the innocent party will be punished, and the blackened will earn the right to escape the school! That’s what I meant by ‘getting away with it’. You got it?”

Yasuhiro’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Punished? What kinda punishment are we talking? Like being thrown in a dungeon?” Monokuma laughed. “Oh, the punishment is much more severe than that! The penalty for getting correctly identified as the blackened...is death!” Once again, the screaming and chattering started back up. “So...if someone murders someone...even if it’s an accident...you’re going to k...kill them?” Chihiro whimpering, crying softly. “Yupyup! That’s what I said! And it’s not just a bonk to the head and then trial over. I wanna make sure you guys have your classmate’s death burned into your brains!”

Monokuma’s red eye began glowing menacingly. “So that’s why the death penalty is going to be a good old-fashioned EXECUTION!” “E-Execution!?” Sayaka echoed Monokuma’s words in terror. “That’s right! And it’s not gonna be some crappy guillotine or whatever. I made sure to set up all these executions with care and precision...to make them the most wild and hilariously over-the-top as possible!”

Monokuma took a deep breath. “Phew! That was a lot to take in! But just in case you can’t remember that all...” He ran behind the podium for a few seconds, and returned with a stack of tablets. He tossed them out into the crowd. I ceased embracing myself to reach my hands out and clumsily grab the tablet out of the air. “These are E-Handbooks! Made ‘em myself!” Monokuma gloated. “They’re basically like those cell phones you kids are using nowadays! The E-Handbook can show you the rules, report cards on your peers, and a map of the school!” Monokuma winks. “And maybe once the killing starts, they’ll be a new function added!”

Hina is shaking. “This...this is insane! There has to be another option...there’s no way-!” Monokuma interrupted her. “‘Oh noooo! There’s no way we’re gonna do this! Woe is me!’ Relax already! There is no other way!” Monokuma stared all of us down. “So get to bludgeoning, poisoning, stabbing, strangling, whatever! I don’t care how ya do it! But the rule still remains the same. You must kill if you wanna leave. And that’s final!” Despite my violent shaking, I tried to fight back. “But...why? What’s the point? What are you trying to get out of doing this!? What’s your motive, Monokuma!?”

“My motive?” Monokuma cocked his head. “Well, it’s despair of course!” Leon, likewise, was shaking as well. “Just...despair? That’s it?” “Duh! I’m not trying to prove a point. This isn’t propaganda or whatever. I just want to feel the despair flood this school...see it fill your bodies and leave you hopeless...that’s all I need to get a kick outta life, y’know?” All the students were shooting Monokuma varying expressions of fear, disgust, and anger.

“Anyway, that’s all for this welcome ceremony! Hope you guys will consider taking this super cool opportunity! Enjoy your school life here...and have fun partaking in this killing game!” Monokuma cackled wickedly before disappearing. “Puhuhuhuhu...Ah-Hahahahahahaha!”

And at that moment, the deafening silence took over all of us. We knew everyone was smart enough not to listen to Monokuma. However, a subconscious thought put us all in a state of distrust. What if someone in this room were to kill? The students looked at each other with unease. As the reality of the situation settled in my brain, I felt something that I’ve never felt before. Even if it was just a second thought in the back of my mind, I couldn’t deny it was there. I couldn’t get rid of it. I’m sure everyone else was feeling it as well. It was...

...despair.

PROLOGUE

Despair Academy Welcomes You

END

Students Alive: 15
Makoto
Kyoko
Byakuya
Chihiro
Sayaka
Toko
Mondo
Sakura
Hifumi
Junko
Yasuhiro
Taka
Leon
Hina
Celeste