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Danganronpa GL0BAL
Danganronpa GL0BAL
Writer Mirai Moon (talk)

Danganronpa GL∅BAL is a story written by Mirai Moon (talk). It focuses on a group of students who were slated to attend Hope's Peak Academy International's Class 1I and their experience in the "Gløbal Killing Game", where their fates are intertwined with those participating in the Killing School Life that runs concurrent to it.

Danganronpa GL∅BAL is the first entry in the Unbøund Arc.

Characters

  • Akio Matsumoto (Japanese: 松本 昭雄 Matsumoto Akio)
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: Japanese
    • Future Foundation 3rd Division
  • Abel Moreau
    • Title: Ultimate Poet
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: French
  • Adam Al-Saab (Arabic: آدم آل صعب Al-Saab Adam)
    • Title: Ultimate Attorney
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: Egyptian
  • Chiyoko Takenaka (Japanese: 竹中 千代子 Takenaka Chiyoko)
    • Gender: Female
    • Nationality: Japanese
  • Frediano Bove
    • Title: Ultimate Cartographer
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Gilda Bove
    • Title: Ultimate Hiker
    • Gender: Female
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Guiying Bai (Chinese: 白 桂英 Bai Guiying)
    • Title: Ultimate Florist
    • Gender: Female
    • Nationality: Chinese
  • Jeremy Anson
    • Title: Ultimate Rancher
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: American
  • Kaui Kawai
    • Title: Ultimate Model
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: Hawaiian
  • Maartje de Vries
    • Title: Ultimate Architect
    • Gender: Female
    • Nationality: Dutch
  • Mirek Kaczka
    • Title: Ultimate Linguist
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: Polish
  • Nise (Japanese: Nise)
    • Title: Ultimate Actor
    • Nationality: Japanese
  • Roxie Barnes
    • Title: Ultimate Stylist
    • Gender: Female
    • Nationality: Canadian
  • Gabriel Porter
    • Title: Ultimate Magician
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: English
  • Ulrich Tolbert
    • Title: Ultimate Gourmand
    • Gender: Male
    • Nationality: German

Story

Prologue

At some point, someone said "in the beginning, there was light". That may be true, but all around me I see darkness. This is but the world we live in now, unfortunately. Despair flows through every human being, through the air and water. There is no escaping the despair. Not even those with a firm belief in hope are safe.

As I hug a small plush frog (Mr. Bits) to my chest, I can feel tears run down my face. My family, my parents... they were murdered by those calling themselves Ultimate Despair. I place my hand over my mouth as I hear screams coming from the apartment next to the one I've been hiding in for the past few days. I hear a crash at the front door, hidden behind whatever furniture I could move in front of it.

I stare out the cracked and dirty window. Bear-like creatures wander the city streets. "It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay..." I mutter to myself, and close my eyes.

It's not going to be okay. I think, as I hear an obnoxious laugh and see a glowing red light through a brand new hole in the apartment's door.

Acting on adrenaline, I do the first thing I can think of doing. I dive out the window. Mr. Bits clutched to my chest, I close my eyes as I await the feel of my body shattering against the concrete below me.

But that feeling never comes.

-

I am shaken awake. My arms are locked around my body, Mr. Bits' non-existent lungs crushed under my grasp. The first face I see is of a man. He wears dark sunglasses, and has a small brown goatee pointing down his chin. "Oh. Good. You're alive." he says, his voice stern.

"Where.... where am I?" I ask, slowly getting my bearings as I finally loosen my grip on Mr. Bits.

The man cracks a smile. "You're under my protection. My name is Akio Matsumoto. I am a member of Future Foundation's 3rd Division."

"Future...?" I mutter. The name sounds familiar. Apparently they branded themselves as the world's "hope", and aimed to bring back the world we once knew. Some others blamed them for the Tragedy itself.

"I found you surrounded by a group of Monokumas." He puts his hand on his shoulder. "I managed to fend them off and save you." He offers me a smile. "Now then, who might you be?"

"My name is Chiyoko Takenaka. Thank you for saving me."

He offers me his hand, and I take it and shake it quickly. "Now then. We're currently in a temporary Future Foundation building I've set up in this city. A number of us were sent with orders of saving survivors, and ensuring the safety of..." he sighs. "I'm sorry, I said too much.

"Now then, I should introduce you to the others here." He smiles, and gestures that I walk with him. "Have you heard of a school called Hope's Peak Academy?"

I nod. Everyone has heard of that school. A school for elites, and those who pay loads of money, located in Japan. They only scout the best in their fields, labelling them as 'Ultimates'. "Of course I know about Hope's Peak."

"You see, the others here were scouted to attend an international branch of the school. So, please be mindful of this should they not get along with you."

"There's an international branch of the school?" I ask. This is the first I've heard of it. I always wanted to attend Hope's Peak - I've been called the 'Ultimate Artist' by some of my classmates... before the world ended.

"Not exactly. There was to be. We scouted a class, the building was constructed, staff was hired... but then the... what do they call it, 'The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History' occurred. Class dismissed. For good."

We stop in front of two large steel doors. "They're just beyond here. Now, if you excuse me, I've got another group of scouts that should be back any moment now."

It takes me a few moments to react. Beyond this door, there lie Ultimates, students scouted to attend Hope's Peak Academy's international branch. How I wish I could have been sitting in class among them. With a deep breath, I slowly creak open one of the doors, and gasp in surprise.

I expected the Ultimates to be prim-and-proper... not playing a game of dodgeball in the apocalypse. One of them, a shorter girl with a rather... large hairstyle, meets my eyes. "Guess she's finally awake." She calls out loud, tossing a ball at a tall lanky boy wearing a dark top hat. The boy catches the ball, and immediately throws it back at the girl. The rest of the people in the room drop the dodgeballs that they had been holding and turn towards me.

"Howdy little lady." one man says to me. "My name is Jeremy Anson; the Ultimate Rancher." He's not the tallest person in the room, but he's definitely taller than I. Hh has dark skin and the scraggy beginnings of a beard.

"Umm... nice to meet you." I say. I mean to shake his hand, but instead a girl pushes him aside, and takes my hand instead.

"Hello! I am the Ultimate Florist! My name is Guiying Bai!" she shakes my hand quickly and wildly, keeping my hand in a very firm grasp. A dodgeball hits Guiying, and she gets a competitive flare in her eye. She smiles at me, before she chases after the dodgeball.

Next is a shorter man wearing a fancy suit, he begins to speak and I immediately notice a thick accent. "My name is Adam Al-Saab." he stretches out his hand quickly, and shakes mine firmly and slowly. "I am known as the Ultimate Attorney, for I have acted as both a defence attorney and prosecutor, and excelled in both fields." He turns around, facing the three that continue to throw dodgeballs at each other. "Do the three of you lack manners? Introduce yourself to this young lady!"

"Fine." the girl grunts and drops her dodgeball, kicking it away. "I'm Roxie, the Ultimate Stylist." She doesn't even bother to shake my hand, just staring at it.

The tall, top-hatted man who Roxie was throwing dodgeballs at approaches me next. "And I am the Ultimate Magician, Gabriel Porter." He takes a bow, and taps his top hat before removing a large red flower from its interior, giving it to me. I blush as I take it.

"Cut it out, smeerlap." says a girl to my left, whose arms remain crossed against her chest. "Goedemiddag. I am Maartje de Vries. Hope's Peak called me the Ultimate Architect." she slowly takes my hand, which I have just kept out-stretched for minutes now. "I hope we can get along and be vrienden." She smiles before letting go of my hand. I hope 'vrienden' means 'friend' in whatever language it is.

The next two that approach me introduce each other. They look alike, both of average height with tanned complexion and brown eyes. "He is Frediano, the Ultimate Cartographer." it's the girl on the left who says that, pointing to the boy beside her. "And she is Gilda, the Ultimate Hiker. We are known as the Golden Boves, for we have traversed over 20% of the mountains above the sea." the girl smiles proudly. "We are also twins." Ah. I think, so they are related.

"And I am the famous model, Kaui Kawai. I'm sure you've heard of me." he's tall and wears a sleeveless top. He's not exactly 'buff', but out of everyone here, he's got the most muscles. Over his eyes he wears a large pair of sunglasses with a golden rim. He notices me eyeing them, "Yes, these sunglasses are encrusted with real gold. Paid a solid hundred thou' for these."

"Shut up. I've styled for many famous celebrities. You don't hear me bragging about it to everyone." Roxie pouts. Somehow I doubt it, and she's actually jealous of his supposed fame. I've never heard of a model named Kaui Kawai.

There are four others who have yet to introduce themselves. One of them has long amber hair that covers the left side of his face; though an eye mask and bandana cover most of his features. "He's Nise. Don't mind him, he doesn't speak much." one of the others, a man with dark hair and a nose piercing, states. "I'm Abel Moreau. I was gifted the title of Ultimate Poet... not that it means anything." I notice a slight French accent in his voice.

"And I am Mirek Kaczka. Fluent in over 30 languages, able to understand about twenty-four more. Because of this, I am the Ultimate Linguist." he also neglects to shake my hand. "There should be another person here, but he's probably off somewhere eating."

"That's Ulrich for you. Quite the vettig." says Maartje.

"Anyway, who are you?" asks Able. "You've yet to introduce yourself."

"Oh yeah. I guess I haven't yet, huh?" I blush as I speak. "I'm Chiyoko Takenaka... just your normal high school girl."

"So we were told." Mirek says.

"Oh yes. That's what Adam" - right after he says this, I hear someone correct him, yelling out "Akio!" - "whatever. That's what Akio told us. That he saved some girl from a group of Musclegoobers."

"How can you be so stupid!?" Roxie complains to him. "This is the fucking apocalypse!" I see tears falling from her eyes.

The Golden Boves rush to her side. "Shush. It's okay. He's just..." Gilda begins, looking to her brother to end the sentence. Frediano obviously doesn't understand that she wanted to be somewhat polite, because he ends the sentence with "Coglione." I don't know exactly what that means, but Gilda gasps and slaps him on the arm. He just retaliates with "Sorry."

"Now that you have all been acquainted." a voice booms from behind me. I turn around and see Akio standing in the doorway. "How about some dinner? I'll give you a tour tomorrow morning."

-

That tour never came to pass, because as we entered the dining hall, we found the elusive Ulrich Tolbert, drowning in a pool of his own blood. Behind him, a large monitor with a teddy bear standing atop a pedestal, laughing.

Chapter 1

The bear, half-black and half-white with a large red eye on its darker side, stands on a pedestal, watching us with an ominous smile. Behind me, the students of Hope's Peak International cry out at the death of their friend.

Akio grabs my shoulders and shake me, but I just stare at the bear. "Come on... let's get you all out of here." he orders, but I ignore him. That red eye... I've seen it before... I think, as the red eye pierces my brain. Then I realize. "Monokuma."

"That's me!" the bear cheers, waving his hands around. "Hope's Peak Academy's awesome headmaster!"

"Wat is er aan de hand!?" Maartje asks from behind me, her voice muffled beneath her hand. I can only assume she's asking something along the lines of "what is going on!?". On the other hand, Jeremy reacts in the complete opposite way. "Since when is Hope's Peak's principal a bear?". His laid-back attitude actually somewhat amuses me. If I were in a different situation, say not standing in front of a corpse, I may have laughed.

The mysteriously-mute Nise shocks me the most. He doesn't speak at all, but just waltzes up to the corpse of Ulrich and begins studying it. His reaction seems to surprise us all, even Monokuma, who watches him for a moment before he begins to speak. "Now that you've all calmed down a bit, let's get down to it, shall we."

"Down to what, precisely?" Adam asks the bear, who seems to be able to hear what we say even though his television lacks a microphone. I take note of this.

"Well, I'm glad you asked Mr. Stick-up-your-butt. You see, I've got a proposition for you all."

Guiying, whose face is as pale as a pile of ashes, tries to speak, but her words come out all jumbled. She waits for a second and tries again; this time words are audible and somewhat understandable, but spoken so fast that I still have to replay it in my mind a few times to understand what she said. "What do you mean?"

"See, what we've got here is a classic game of hide-and-seek." Monokuma points at us all, and I imagine him - or whoever is controlling him, assuming he is a robot like the others - with a large amused smile on their face as they see the despair flooding our faces. "You see, the Ultimate Despairs are all doing their thing, right? Making the world a pretty nice place for us. Anyway, we seem to be missing some of our members, and I'm pretty sure they may be hiding among you guys."

I instantly feel a glare dug into my back. They would suspect me, the person who just randomly showed up one day. It's common sense. "S-so?" I stutter. "So what!?"

"So what?" Monokuma laughs, his strange upupuing echoing throughout the cafeteria. "Well, it's like this." he pulls out a pen and clipboard and begins drawing something. He shows us this strange, crudely drawn image of a stickman holding a knife walking into a crowd of more stickman. He flips the page, and some of those stickmen are missing. Twice more he does this, until all but one stickman remains. "The Ultimate Despair will kill the lot of you if you can't stop them first."

Akio, who had been silent I assume from shock, now stood proud in front of me. His legs forming a triangle with the floor, I felt a sense of strength emanating from him. "You can't possibly suggest that one of my students is one of those... those terrorists!"

Monokuma just points at him, and pulls out a confetti popper. "Ding ding ding!" he cheers, shooting confetti into the air around him. "And the Ultimate Despairs will spread despair in any way possible. Killing some of the world's biggest hopes would definitely accomplish that. After all, you are Ultimates, aren't you?"

His smile, though it's stationary and stays plastered to his face, seems to grow into a diabolical perversion of what it was. As he moves towards the screen, his eye illuminates the camera, tinting his body a deep crimson. As he does this, I notice Nise stand up and walk towards the corner of the room. He returns a second later carrying a large box. "Each of you, take one of these."

We all do - one remains in the box... because Ulrich would not need one - and I notice two things. One: this is a brand-new electronic tablet. Two: the Hope's Peak Academy brand that fills its screen. "These shall all be your e-Handbooks. Since I couldn't be sure who would receive which one, you all have the honours of typing your own names into the dashboard." Monokuma explains, waving one of his own. I do just that, typing Chiyoko Takenaka with a strange hint of nostalgia gnawing at the back of my brain; it has been a while since I last used any computer I think.

Roxie Barnes perks up next. "And... a set of rules?"

"You see," Monokuma begins. "You guys will either kill each other, or be killed by each other. These rules are set in place to make sure it doesn't all happen at one time.... and also to keep you guys in check." He swipes his tablet and shows it to us. "If any of you were to disobey any of these rules, you will be punished."

"Who's this?" Jeremy wonders aloud, holding up his device. On his screen, he has a picture of a tall man with large hair that sticks out in many directions.

Monokuma's smile seems to grow at the sight. "You each should all have the data of another Hope's Peak student pre-installed on your tablet. Think of them.... as your sponsor. After all, they're in a very similar situation as you."

I click a button on mine, and a girl with long silver hair and dressed in a purple jacket and skirt appears on my screen. Beside it, a load of specs. "Kyoko Kirigiri." I read her name aloud.

"What do you mean, 'they're in a very similar situation to us'?" Roxie asks, twirling some hair around her finger nervously.

Monokuma laughs, his upupupuing ringing throughout the entire building, as the screen goes black. We stand in silence for a moment, absorbing this knowledge given to us, before I see a blinking blue button on my tablet. Curious, I prod at it, and am immediately granted a sight. The girl cloaked in purple - Kirigiri, I believe her name was - and a plethora of others all stood in a gymnasium.

"So. That's what he meant." I answer Roxie's question aloud. Though no sound comes from my tablet, I see a deep despair across the faces of all the students in the gymnasium. A similar despair rests on all our faces in this cafeteria, though none of us would acknowledge it.

One of us... is a terrorist. I think. And either we'll be killed, or we'll kill someone.

Nise looks up from his tablet for a moment, locking eyes with me. All around me, the Ultimates of Hope's Peak International are glued to their tablets. Focused on who Monokuma said were our 'sponsors'... whatever that means. As I stare into Nise's eyes, I do not see something that everyone else in this room has. He has no despair in his eyes.

He has hope.

The Ultimate Actor... just who are you?

Chapter 2

Adam Al-Saab, who introduced himself as the Ultimate Attorney, steps forwards. Monokuma had long since left us to contemplate our surroundings, and a cold silence hung in the air as we did just that. Now, the Ultimate Attorney is the first to speak up. "If... if what that bear told us is true..." he starts. As expected, uneasiness drenches his words, though he composes himself was a clearing of his throat and tries again. "If what that bear told us is true, then it would be best for us to investigate the body of Ulrich, and to remain in pairs as to prevent another murder attempt."

Akio, the member of the Future Foundation tasked with keeping us safe, sternly composes himself and agrees. "While I firmly believe that none of you are killers, we can not deny the fact that Ulrich... was murdered. It's likely another party is hiding within this building. Normally I'd have you all moved to another secure location, but the current state of the city makes that difficult." He pumps his fist. "Yes! We will overcome that bear. We will not let another death occur!"

Meanwhile, as Adam and Akio preached their hopeful natures, I watch as Nise bends over Ulrich's body. While a pool of blood surrounds the Ultimate Gourmand that I never formally met, that does not seem to be his only injury. Abel Moreau, who stands closest, kneels beside him to assess the corpse. "It neck is broken. That would likely be the cause of death." he mumbles.

"So what?" Kaui asks. "Does it matter how he died?"

Abel and Nise exchange a quick glance. I notice their willingness to deal with a corpse, and decide to question it. "Why are you two so... okay with this?"

Abel cocks his head. "What do you mean?"

"How can you be okay with messing with a corpse!?" I yell, my voice trembling.

Abel slowly stands up; though somewhat ominous, his shorter stature diminishes any hope of that feeling setting in. He puts his hand on my shoulder, and one side of his mouth cocks up in an odd, and somewhat disturbing, smirk. "It's simply the world we live in. Chaos fills the hearts of even the purest angels." He shrugs, his head dancing lazily on his shoulders. "Before I was brought here, I witnessed some things no human should ever need to witness."

With a single swift motion, he turns away from me, the others, and the corpse of Ulrich. "What makes us human is our humanity. Remember that."

Those were the last words he said to us as he parted from the room, his footsteps echoing with every step.

"So, he's unexpectedly psychotic." Roxie says bluntly. "I bet he's the one who killed Ulrich."

"'Flowers bloom for only those whose hearts they connect with.' That's something Abel told me once." Guiying mumbles, tears falling like rain from her eyes. "He can't be a killer. He just can't!"

Akio holds out his palm. "Okay, hold on here! Like I said, none of you are killers. The probability of any of you being murderers is zero percent!" He places his hand on his hip. "Hope's Peak Academy has standards for those they will scout."

"Jakoś wątpię, że..." Mirek says, glaring at Akio. When the Future Foundation member turns to him, Mirek puts on a calm facade, one not skeptical but rather afraid. "Pardon me. I meant, what should we do now?"

Somehow I doubt that...

"Like I said before, we should remain in groups of two or three, so we can keep an eye on each other - keep one another safe." Adam commands, as if asserting himself as our leader even though Akio would be the most qualified one to hold that position. "Aside from the two Bove siblings, I would recommend pairings of two males or two females."

"Right. That seems logical." Akio agrees. "I'll find Able, and keep an eye on him. The rest of you, please partner up."

Soon after Akio leaves on his hunt for the Ultimate Poet, all eyes turn to me. "You didn't kill him did you?" Adam interrogates me. His gaze is rough, as if a laser burning through a page. I shake my head quickly. "Is that the truth?" I nod furiously. "Okay."

"Whoa whoa. You trustin' that girl that easily?" Jeremy rolls his eyes. "She could be lyin'."

Adam spins to face him. "I'm an attorney. Seeing through lies and contradictions is my job."

"Hou vol." Maartje begins. "Akio was the only one not with us before we found Ulrich's body. I'd say he's the klootzak that got Ulrich."

"Klootzak?" I ask, then go back on it. "I don't blame you guys for suspecting me. I would too."

Roxie scoffs. "C'mon, I don't have all day." She pokes at the little monitor that Monokuma passed out. "Are we pairing up or what?"

"How are you all not sad!" Guiying suddenly screams at us. Her hands hold Ulrich's lifeless head, blood caking her lap as she lays it there. "Ulrich died!"

Gabriel, who had been silent since all this began, is the first to answer her. "When my father died a few years ago, I thought it was the end of the world. When I was told he had been killed in a car accident, it felt unreal to me. For a while, I pretended that he had simply gone on vacation, to subdue my own emotions." He pats her shoulder, before going in for a hug. "We're all sad about Ulrich, but some of us express that shock and sadness in different ways."

Next to me, Roxie rolls her eyes. "That was lame." she mutters, and Gabriel shoots her a sharp glance.

"So Fred and Gilda get to partner up since they're siblings." Jeremy mulls. "Gabbs and Gooey get to partner up..."

"Whoa whoa whoa!" Adam yells at him. "Gabriel and Guiying can not partner up with each other! I guy and a girl remaining at each other's side is forbidden! If any... inappropriate actions were to occur in such an environment... I can't even bring myself to think about it!"

"Yet you have no problem with me and my brother?" Gilda asks him.

"That is different. You two are siblings."

"I don't know. Some people are into incestuous relationships." Roxie counters with a sly smile.

Frediano pipes up with a sigh. "If it makes you feel any better, I'm gay, so it'd probably be better for me to remain by my sister's side."

"Yes. That would... probably be for the best." Adam exclaims.

While the small group of us all converse, trying to come up with who is partnered with whom, I can't help but wonder what's going on with the others. Did Akio and Abel meet up? Are they okay?

Eventually we go our separate ways. I get paired up, somewhat against my will, with Roxie, and we end up in one of the many dorm rooms in the building. As I slump against the wall I feel sleep tugging at my eyes, and yet I just see Roxie messing with her hair while staring in a mirror, as if nothing bad had happened today.

"So I've got a question for you." Roxie says without even a glance in my direction.

"Yeah?" I yawn. "Shoot."

"Who do you think will be next to die?"

Chapter 3

"I...?" The question that Roxie asks me takes me off guard, and I hesitate a moment after hearing her speak before I let out a large exclamation. "...What!?"

Despite my shock, Roxie remains fixated on her appearance. "It's not that hard of a question." She takes her eyes off the mirror for a second and glances downwards; it is only now that I notice her e-Handbook lying on the desk face-up. "Who'll be the next to die?"

"How can you ask that so casually!?" I ask her, though as anger courses through my blood and my blood echoes in my ears as it rushes through my body, I end up shouting.

"You've seen a lot of shit, haven't you? You've been out in the world longer than I have, right?" Roxie shakes her head. "Haven't you gotten used to death?" The way she speaks about death and despair so casually, it's almost frightening. But I can't deny that I have seen a lot of this despair. It's true that my family was murdered right in front of my eyes as I hid in a closet, but...

"Death is not something to take lightly!" I cry out.

"No, it's definitely not." She grunts. "I'm just sick of it all. At this point, so much blood has been shed, what's a little more? Heck, I barely know you people. You're... no family of mine."

I catch that she hesitated when she brought up her family. Something definitely happened, something she doesn't want to bring up.

"What happened to your anger? Looks like you've just watched your family die or something."

"I did."

The words come out of my mouth as a whisper, and I barely even hear them myself. Yet Roxie hears it all the same. "Well that's a bit of a shock." For the first time, she glances towards me. "I never would have guessed with your attitude."

Now I just don't want to talk, so I hug my head in my arms and mope. "Good night." I croak out.

"You never answered my question."

"No one. I hope no one else dies. I hope we get some stupid ending where we get to party peacefully as we get enveloped by the sunset."

"Everyone hates those kinds of endings."

"Good night." I croak out again.

"Once you answer my question I'll let you sleep peac--"

I don't hear the end of Roxie's sentence. My brain just shuts off.

---

I slowly wake up, leaning against the wall. My head pounds in stereo with my heart; it may as well be a drum roll echoing through my skull. My first thought is to ask where I am, but when I try to speak, the only thing that drips from my mouth is a soft croak. Likewise, my vision is blurred and tumbles with my eyes.

The room I'm in has dull blue walls - a very cold colour that suits its temperature. I try to move my arms, but I feel a sharp pain as I do and find them bound together behind me. I hear a grunt, and realize it came from me as I grunt again trying to forcefully move my arms.

"Stop trying." I hear a voice from behind me. A girl's, one I recognize even though she's only said a handful of words to me. "You've been drugged with a gas created from the pollen of the White Chesnut flower." I thought so. The mention of a flower.. only one person would probably know so much about a flower.

"Guiying?" I croak out. My voice is coarse, and I barely make out the words I said. I try to croak out more, but the only sound that comes out is a screech that vaguely sounds like "why".

Somehow, the Ultimate Florist knew what it was that I said. For the first time she steps into my view. There's something different about her appearance, multiple actually. The first is that tears have caked her face, her makeup driving rivers into her porcelain skin. The second is the large silver collar gripping her neck. She's shaking as she holds a knife out in front of me. "I'm sorry." she cries out. "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry..."

Her repetitive song eventually drones into a blur. Though she doesn't move, her hands shake faster and faster as she wills herself to drive it into me. I wish to close my eyes or look away, but my gaze is glued to the silver blade. "Why?" I ask her, my voice finally that - a voice. "Why are you doing this!?"

I expect no answer from her, so it surprises me when her chant ceases. "I have no choice!" she whines, pointing at the collar. "He said I would die if I didn't!" I didn't notice it before, as my gaze was focused on her knife, but now I see that in her other hand she clutches the e-Handbook; her knuckles a ghostly white. "It's not my fault!" she yells at me. "It's her's!"

She throws the e-Handbook at the ground, and it lands with its screen facing up at me. Though a large scratch cuts through the screen - and it is upside-down from my perspective - it's easy for me to make out what's on the screen. A girl with long blue hair sits against a wall in a pool of blood. A knife stuck out of her abdomen, it makes me want to barf. Aside from the girl, there is a small analog timer in the bottom of the screen; it reads 50:00

"He told me... he said..." she's shaking again, this time much faster then before.

"Who told you!?"

"He...!" she begins to scream, but before anything past the first word escapes her lips, a loud beeping fills the air. "No no no!" she instead cries out.

The next few moments seem to occur in slow motion. It begins with a longer beep that drones out Guiying's voice. I watch as she slowly brings the knife to her own throat and begins to stab at the collar. At the same time the collar explodes, and I see as Guiying's life force is quickly drained from her body as the explosion rips apart her throat. I close my eyes, but I can feel slimy chunks splatting against me even with my eyes closed; and I feel a glance as something brushes my leg. I hear nothing but a buzz as the world around me echoes the scene of Guiying holding a knife up to me in fear.

With a choice - face the recent past or the present unfolding around me - I can't help but open my eyes.

Guiying Bai, the Ultimate Florist, exploded right in front of me. There's nothing left of her. Part of my own brown hair has singed to black, but it's nothing compared to the horror of the room around me. Chunks of meat and blood are splattered around the room, a large black spot where Guiying once stood. The only part of her left is her left hand, which still grasps the silver knife that lays behind me.

The scene is horrifying, and I can't hold back the bile that rises from my throat as I look around. I try and move my arms, but whatever binds them still won't budge. With no strength in my legs, I can't do anything, and I close my eyes to enter a darkness.

Not one's normal darkness. No, one pitch black and dyed with despair.

Chapter 4

I'm faintly aware of two different voices talking over one another as my brain decides to awake from its slumber... as much as I wish it didn't. My brain feels as though 1000 needles are piercing through it, each as wide as my thumb. The pain is unbearable, and instead of opening my eyes, I force myself to keep them closed.

Even with my eyes closed, I can still sense something is wrong. I think back to what happened before I fell asleep, but all my imagination can conjure up is a blurry mess. Suddenly, I hear a girl crying out: "No no no!" and it all comes back to me. Being tied up by Guiying, and her subsequent death by explosion. I remember feeling wet meat slap against my body a I laid helpless on the cold ground.

Without thinking, I jerk myself forwards and throw up to my left. The violent outburst seems to shock everyone present - including myself. After I wipe my mouth, I take a look around for the first time, though I remain frozen in place.

It's a yellow room, very calming. I'm laying in a bed with a dim light beside me. Apparently I just vomited onto a small mat, which was once a light pink colour. It's a stark contrast to the last room I remember being in, and all I can muster is a weak moan in response. "What?"

"Feel better?" a voice calls from beside me.

Somehow I completely neglected to look to my right, where Roxie stands with her arms crossed and a smile on her face. She's got a black eye and a bandage wrapped around her head; while she seemed intent on keeping her hair styled, now it looks more like a salad then hair. "What happened to you?" I ask her, my voice shaking but a bit weak.

"That's what I should be asking you." she responds with a curt nod. She then sighs, and sits on the side of the bed. "Remember when we were talking? I asked you a question, right?" I think back. The memory is there, but very hazy. What that question was, I can't quite remember, but it's bubbling to the surface of my brain. I nod slowly in response. "Well, as you were trying to shun me - quite poorly, I might add - some kind of gas filled our bedroom."

"You've been drugged with a gas created from the pollen of the White Chesnut flower." It rings through my mind.

"I have a bit of an intolerance to a lot of sleeping drugs, so while it didn't knock me out like it did you, it did make me very sluggish. I saw someone enter our bedroom and try to grab me. Next thing I know, I've got a black eye, a bump on my head, and a missing roommate."

"And then we found you." Another voice comes from my left. At some point Akio Matsumoto had entered the room. He looked tired, bags under his eyes and his skin pale. If I hadn't have been drugged, I too probably wouldn't have slept; considering our current circumstances. "Tied up in a room painted with blood." He pinches the area between his eyes. "And now we just have one other student who's MIA."

"Another?" I ask.

"Yeah." Roxie answers. "Guiying's gone missing."

That one sentence is enough to cause me to throw up once more, though this time I can only release the bile that releases from my throat; my stomach burns as it tries to cough anything else up. I look up and see Akio glancing at me suspiciously, and I look down at my hands once I manage to calm down.

"Guiying... she's not missing..."

I explain to them what I remember. Waking up in a cold, dark room with my hands tied. Watching as Guiying tried to force herself to kill me... Then, feeling chunks of meat as she....

"Oh god." Roxie mutters, her face pale from shock.

Akio on the other hand, is fully conscious, the gears in his mind tumbling as he thinks. "So, that's what he meant." He paces back and fourth throughout the room, even stepping in my vomit. I watch him intently, but Roxie just sits with her head in her hands. I watch the Future Foundation member as he ponders, but eventually he just heads for the door without saying anything.

"Where are you going?"

"We've got to tell the others."

"I'll come too."

"No. You two stay here." Akio says sternly, still facing the door. "The others would likely assume you to be the culprit, considering you were at the scene of the crime." He doesn't even let me retort, instead crashing through the door and slamming it. On the other side of it, I can faintly hear him say something, though what I'm not sure.

"He can't just keep us here." I mutter to myself. I look over at Roxie, but she remains as cold as a ghost. Her pale face and messy hair, she looks almost like a completely different person. I wave my hand in front of her face, but she doesn't react. Perfect, I think.

I push the covers off the bed, and go to stand up beside the vomit. The second I do, I collapse to the ground. I feel a sharp pain in my leg and notice a large bandage wrapped around it. Looking at it jogs a memory: I felt a sharp object brush me after the explosion. The knife must have done a lot more damage than I thought - the adrenaline probably dampened the feeling.

With no way to walk without causing myself pain, I instead crawl back into the bed and think. Something about what Akio had said earlier felt wrong to me, but I can't figure out what. It's almost as if our memories don't match up. I try and remember the specifics of what he said, or at least portions of it. "And then we found you." I mutter to myself, trying to remember exactly what he had said. "Tied up in a room painted with blood..."

No... that's odd.

I should have been painted with blood too, and - gross enough - chunks of meat from Guiying's body. And he should have known Guiying was dead. I can clearly remember seeing her hand grasping the silver knife. He mentioned neither.

That can only mean... someone cleaned up the scene of the crime.

Hopefully that someone was a girl... otherwise, I could sue them for sexual assault. If they cleaned me up... then they likely changed my clothes, and to do that... I don't even want to think about they may have done to me.

In my mind, I narrow down the possible suspects. Assuming they are a girl, that leaves Gilda, Maartje, and Roxie. I eye Roxie, but the way she's acting, I doubt she's the one behind this.

Once my leg heals a bit and I can walk, I know what to do. Keep an eye on those girls. They're the best lead I've got right now.

---

Abel Moreau was devastated. Akio had told him and the others what that Chiyoko girl had told him: Guiying was dead. Though they hadn't known each other for long, he thoroughly enjoyed Guiying's company. When he was first introduced to the other Ultimates of Hope's Peak International, only Guiying seemed willing to warm up to his introverted personality.

"Before I was brought here, I witnessed some things no human should ever need to witness." Abel had said that as he left the gymnasium earlier. It was true, he had seen a lot of gruesome acts, just as the others did. Despair had plagued the world and twisted it into a hopeless warzone.

"C’est naze." mutters the Ultimate Poet, hand in his hands as he leans against the wall of his room. He looks down at his e-Handbook, which displays a red-haired man. Earlier that day, he had killed a blue-haired girl, and Abel watched every moment of it. He couldn't believe his eyes.

Right now, that red-haired guy was acting all coy. Acting like he has no idea who killed the girl. Though he hasn't been paying much attention to the e-Handbook, Abel has watched bits and pieces of Monokuma's twisted game. One thing he did catch was Monokuma's explanation on the Class Trial system. He knew this Leon Kuwata guy was going to die when the Class Trial finished - after all, his victim did write his name in their blood. Even upside-down, it should be easy enough to read.

Akio had said that Guiying tried to kill Chiyoko, and Abel is lost for why. When Monokuma first appeared before them, he mentioned that the other Ultimates were their sponsors. Did her death have some relation to their School Life of Mutual Killing? Is it possible that the death of the blue-haired girl is connected to this?

Abel looks at the screen of his e-Handbook. The Class Trial was in full swing. If he was right, then he had little time. He needed to shut this game down au plus vite. He throws the handbook against the wall, and it bounces off without even a scratch.

He needs to find the one behind this.

Chapter 5

I sit on the side of the bed. "How can we get out of here?" I mutter to myself, and two the practically brain-dead Roxie. Its not like I can just get up and waltz out the door; the door is locked and my leg's so messed up I can't walk.

"If only I could walk..." That would make this whole thing much easier. People have died, and more people will continue to unless I could reveal the truth to everyone.

I turn to Roxie, who continues to stare at the blank wall behind me. She hasn't said much since I told her about Guiying and how she died. If I'm going to get out of here, I'm going to need Roxie's help, and she's useless in this state.

I snap my fingers. "Roxie!" Snap, snap, snap. "Roxie!"

My efforts are in vain, as Roxie just completely ignores me. Dragging my limp leg, I face her back and shake her by her shoulders violently.

Nothing.

God damn it.

---

"Nise." Abel doesn't know what to do. He's running out of time. "I need your help." The Ultimate Actor asks no questions - not that he ever speaks without a script.

Of all the students trapped in this school, Nise and Guiying were the only ones Abel could trust. Guiying was the only one who was kind to him at first, but there was something about Nise that drew them together. Perhaps it was their similar ideologies of life? Or maybe it was Nise's silence that drew Abel to him. Nevertheless, with Guiying dead, Nise is the only person to whom Abel can turn.

Nise, who had been investigating the room that Chiyoko had been found in, quickly stands up and nods. "Okay, here's what's up." Abel takes out his e-Handbook and shows it to him. "I think somehow Guiying's death was connected to these people." Abel tries to hold it in. Guiying... she didn't need to die. he thinks, noticing that Nise had cocked his head to the side in confusion. "This girl, she had blue hair. She was killed."

Abel explains to Nise what he has put together, all the while Nise just stands and watches him. "What do we do?"

Abel knows not to expect Nise to respond; the Ultimate Actor rarely speaks. So it comes as a shock when Nise actually says something. "Find Chiyoko."

"What?" Abel replies quickly. "Find Chiyoko?"

Nise just nods, saying nothing else.

That's it... she must be the one behind this. Abel thinks. "You think she's the one behind this?" He asks Nise, in hopes that he'll confirm his thoughts. The only response he gets is a curt shaking of his head.

Whatever. Abel thinks. Nise is smart, perhaps the smartest of any of us. If he doesn't think so, then he's probably right. Abel shrugs. "I guess we should look for Chiyoko, then. Any ideas?"

Nise holds up three fingers.

"Show me the way, then."

Chapter 6

Abel and Nise creep through the halls towards the room where Chiyoko is being held. "So... how do you know where she's being held?" And what do you expect her to do?

Abel's question hangs in the air as Nise doesn't reply. The only thing Abel has ever heard Nise say was "find Chiyoko" when he asked him about what to do next. The fact that he didn't respond to his question doesn't exactly startle Able, but it does annoy him.

Nise stops in his tracks, and turns back to Abel. The latter almost walks into the Ultimate Actor, but manages to stop before he actually collapses into him. Before he can ask about why he stopped, Nise holds a finger up to his lips. "Alright." Abel whispers in response.

The two peak around a corner, and watch as Akio Matsumoto paces back and forth through the junction of two hallways. His hands gripping each other behind his back, he's bent over in thought. Sweat drips from his forehead like a rainfall, peppering the floor with splashes of shadow. The two watch his movements before ducking back behind the wall. Before Abel can ask anything about what their next move will be, Nise quickly jumps across the hallway and through a doorway. It is one swift movement, and one that Abel almost misses entirely. If he wasn't looking at the door, there was no way he'd have known someone just leapt across the hallway and into the adjacent room.

Abel darts his head around the corner, and sighs with relief as he notices Akio walking away. He hears the Future Foundation employee mutter something beneath his breath, but is unable to make out the words. Seizing the moment, he follows Nise into the adjacent room, closing the door just as quietly as he had moments before.

The room he enters is dark; it's a storage closet. Nise's hand is on a chain that hangs from the ceiling, ready to turn it on. "He's gone." Abel says, and is quickly blinded by a piercing white glow. The storage closet has many utilities, but it's the metal grate on the wall that Nise darts to. "We're going to crawl through this?" Abel asks him, getting no response. "Am I in a movie right now?"

Nise gets down on his hands and knees and tugs at the corner of the grating. Though Abel expects no results, the grating gives way easily, and the cover falls off the wall with but a small squeak. Nise points at one of the corners of the silver grate: whatever's plugging the hole isn't a screw, rather it's a small dis, almost like someone cut the top off of a screw and flattened it. Looking at it from afar, anyone would have mistaken it for a screw. "Did you do this?" he asks Nise, who, as usual, ignores him.

The Ultimate Actor wipes sweat from his brow, and pulls out his own e-Handbook. He must be checking the state of the Class Trial occurring... Wherever it is it's occurring., Abel thinks. That bear, Monokuma, he said that these people were students of Hope's Peak Academy, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are in the world-famous school. After staring at the screen for a moment, Nise shakes his head and looks at Abel, staring him straight in the eye. "I got it." Abel interrupts, dropping to his knees. "Let's get going."

---

Adam Al-Saab was in pain. Someone died.

No. Two people died.

He hadn't really taken that in yet. Two people were dead, and he could do nothing to help them.

Adam sits in his bedroom, which he would have shared with Kaui, had he not decided to go off on his own. Adam didn't want to admit it, but he was afraid. Ever since despair flooded the world, he had felt a fear that he'd never felt before. He was the prodigal attorney, that's what his father said. Born and raised to be the perfect lawyer for justice. He never really had a choice in that matter; it was his family's law offices that he was to inherit.

It's not like Adam didn't like being an attorney. He was good at the job, despite still being a student. He'd handled a number of international cases, and was actually mentioned in a book of world records for being the youngest attorney to win a case. Not that very few people would be interested in that fact, but Adam's father forced him to hold it with pride. He had told Adam once to 'never look the despair of defeat in the eye, or else you'd be blind to the truth', but, unlike his father, Adam did just that. He stared despair and defeat in the eye at all times; the stress of living up to his father's wishes had gotten to him and began to drive him crazy.

That all changed when the Tragedy happened.

Adam, his parents, and his cousin were all at a restaurant one day. A prestigious one, that you must have a reservation for months in advance to even be able to walk into. News of the world's despair had spread, and while some still thought it was nonsense at the time, there were more that knew the truth. Unfortunately, his father thought it was all propaganda, and hauled his family over to a restaurant, despite warnings.

Adam remembered the event clearly. It was a very happy day, they were celebrating another finished trial. Adam had just ordered a chicken salad from the waiter, who had exited into the kitchen, when it happened. Adam knocked a fork onto the ground, and, though was always told not to (as it was unsanitary and ungentlemanly), got down on all fours to find it and pick it up.

While he was under the table, he was unable to see anything that occurred around him, he could only listen in horror. There was a large sound, then a crash and an explosion. He heard the shattering of glass and several screams. Adam didn't want to look, at that moment he was so afraid of what might be happening that he just laid down on the ground and covered his ears.

Though he did that, it didn't help. He heard clearly as gunfire erupted above him. Someone was laughing, and firing an assault rifle wildly around the restaurant. A bullet cut through the tablecloth that shielded him from view, and flew right by Adam's shoulder, cutting his shirt open. It went on like this for a few minutes, before he heard the culprit say something. "How's it feel to be rich?" he had a deep voice that cracked as he spoke. After saying this he coughed for a while before silence engulfed Adam.

Adam didn't get up for a long time. In fact, he fell asleep. When he woke up, for the first time, he was truly scared.

Everywhere he looked, he just saw bodies. Dead bodies, with holes dotting their clothing and faces. He hesitated to turn around, to see his family dead, but he did anyway.

Adam slaps himself in the face. "No!" he yells, snapping back to reality. The vision of his mother's corpse, the serene look she had on her face even in death, haunted him. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw his mother. He never had the courage to look at his cousin nor his father, both of whom had fallen face-first onto the ground, and sometimes he regretted not doing so. But now, having lived as long as he had through The Tragedy, he was also kind of glad that he hadn't.

That day, he vowed he wouldn't let anyone else close to him die. He felt that was the right thing. The best way he could avenge his family.

"But what power do I have now." he sobs into his arms. Two more people had died, and he'd been powerless to save them, just as he had back then. Even with all he'd gone through, he hadn't changed one bit, despite trying to appear as a courageous, natural-born leader to his peers. He held up the act as long as he could, but he was starting to crack.

Even though he was dead, Adam could feel the piercing, judging eyes of his father burrowing into him from above. His father was rarely impressed with him, always saying he could do better.

Adam sighed, tears streaming from his eyes. The cool rivers flow down his face and his chin, eventually pooling onto his shirt. The same white dress shirt he was wearing that day in the restaurant. He never changed the shirt. Every day he wore it, as a reminder of his family and the events that occurred. It even has a tear on the shoulder where the bullet glanced him, still unfixed.

He feels alone in this world.

"Hey!" he hears, albeit faintly. The voice is vaguely familiar; definitely not from any of his 'classmates'. He glances down, and notices his e-Handbook on the ground a short distance away from him, face-down. He crawls over to it, and sees a monochromatic bear dancing about it. "About time you picked up!"

"What do you want?" Adam asks him. For a long time, Adam had suspected that he'd just lose it one day. All the stress his father, and later he, placed on his shoulders would come crashing down onto him. Perhaps that time had come. He was talking to a talking black-and-white bear as if it was the most normal thing in the world, after all.

"Your time's up!"

Adam has no idea what that meant. The e-Handbook should have supposedly shown a feed of Hope's Peak Academy, but he didn't bother to look at it. The only use Adam had for the device was the clock, which was much more precise than any of the other clocks in this building. He glances at the bear on the screen, a sour look on his face. "What?" he asks, his voice as sharp as a dagger.

"Your sponsor died, you know."

"No I don't. I never bothered to look at that thing."

"What!?" Now it was Monokuma's turn to say that single four-letter word. "What do you mean you didn't look at it!?"

"Someone's apparently running around killing people, and you expect me to watch TV?" Adam glares at the bear. "I'm sorry, I have other priorities than catching up on the latest soap opera."

"You really should have been paying attention. Here's the deal: once your sponsor dies, you have to make a choice."

"What's this choice?"

Monokuma's crimson red eye began to glow as a serious look crossed his eternally-happy face. "Do you want to live, or die?"

---

I sit on the bed. My leg is still aching, but the pain has died down some. I tried standing up again earlier, but like before I just fell over as my leg refused to hold me up. "I'm getting tired of this." I mutter, looking around the room. There was nothing that I could have used for a cane earlier, and there certainly won't be now.

My eyes freeze as I look down at the bed. "What if there's something under the bed?"

I fall off the bed, and this time turn my attention beneath it. I lift up the yellow blankets that roll down the edge of it, and stick my head beneath it. My eye catches something laying on the ground, and I stretch my hand out to reach it. Whatever it is is cold to the touch, and metallic. It's very smooth and thin, but it seems very strong. Though I can't initially wrap my hand around it to pull it out, my fingers glance it and I manage to roll it towards me so I can grab it.

Once it's in my grasp, I slowly begin pulling it out from beneath the bed. It's a curtain rod, which is odd since the room lacks any windows. Nevertheless, the rod is long and seems stable, so I use it to push myself up to a standing position.

"Okay. I think this can work." I say, putting my weight on my one good leg, and trying to shuffle towards the door. I glance behind me at Roxie, but she's still useless.

The only problem left would be the locked door, but I just jam the curtain rod at the doorknob a few times before the golden handle breaks off and unlocks. "Honestly, I didn't expect that to work."

I open the door and peek out into the hallway.

Freedom. Well, as much freedom as you can have in a tiny building like this.

Chapter 7

Monokuma looks around. The robot is not actually present within the building where Akio Matsumoto had gathered the students of Hope's Peak Academy's international branch's first class. No, this Monokuma was simply an AI that was downloaded within the e-Handbooks given out.

Within his digital realm, Monokuma resides within a control room, surrounded by computer monitors. He stares at the largest of them, located directly in front of him, with an enthused look on his face.

He had just spoken with Adam Al-Saab, regarding the death of his "sponsor". Now, he watches another person silhouetted on that screen. "This is getting so boring." they sigh, their voice corrupted by a voice changer. "How about we have some fun, huh?" While the person on the other side of the screen has no reason to hide their voice from the Monokuma they were given, the small bear seems to have a mind of his own. He can't even trust his partner in despair; and he certainly wouldn't want them to leak their identity to the others.

---

I slowly hobble down the hallway. Using the curtain rod as a cane, I put pressure on only one half of my body, as to not pain my other leg. I don't really know where my destination is; maybe to punch Akio for locking me up. I do know that I need to warn the others about what happened with Guiying.

Honestly, I feel a little bad for ditching Roxie, but it's not like she was willing to move, and I definitely could not carry her in this condition.

After wandering, completely lost, I eventually decide to lean against the wall to catch my breath. "This place...." I mutter. "It's a lot larger than I thought."

I look up and down the hall. Wherever this is, all of the hallways look exactly the same. There are no indications of where I am, or where I have been. On the wall across from me is a wooden door, with rich black markings.

I slowly push away from the wall and towards the door, with the intent of looking behind it. I'm not sure why that one door in particular piqued my interest, but all of a sudden, all my attention was drawn on the door.

---

Abel Moreau watches the e-Handbook with a look of pure shock on his face. Nise, though their face mostly covered, seems just as contempt as normal.

They just watched someone get murdered. Executed.

While crawling through the vent, Abel had decided to check in on how the trial was going and to see how long he had left. He didn't want to perish as Guiying had, at least not before learning the truth behind their situation. What they ended up watching was an execution, and they, just like the other twelve students in the room on the screen, now have pale white faces displaying nothing but pure shock. They watched as the red-haired deviant - Abel's sponsor - was pelted with what looked like over a thousand baseballs, his body becoming a disfigured mess.

But now, Abel and Nise sit in silence. For the last ten minutes, they have been waiting for Monokuma to appear. To... do whatever he did to Guiying to make her explode. But nothing has happened. That didn't calm Abel down in the least; in fact, it just made him more paranoid about his situation.

---

Akio Matsumoto has a headache. "This isn't going well at all." he mutters, pacing around. "What am I going to tell them?"

He wanders about the cafeteria, where Ulrich's body still lays, now with a blanket covering him. Akio walks towards it and bends down, peeling back the blanket so he can view the Ultimate's face.

---

Kaui Kawai looks in the mirror, admiring his tanned skin and perfectly toned body. He is the Ultimate Model, the definition of perfect natural beauty... or at least, that's what people used to say before the Tragedy. Now, with his shirt off, he admires the large scars that he acquired trying to survive in the world after despair infected everyone's minds. Two large scars cross his abdomen. Though not deep, they are relatively thick. He had gotten in a fight with a group of delinquents who wanted him dead because his "beauty brought hope to those who saw him" or something crazy.

Kaui is too busy looking at his scars to notice the figure appearing behind him. A person of smaller stature, dressed entirely in black. "It's you!" they hiss, and he quickly spins around to face them. "You killer!"

The figure lunges at them, and Kaui notices a baseball bat in their grip. If things had been calmer, Kaui probably would have wondered where they acquired such an object, but now, as it was being swung at him, he was too busy trying to dodge it to think. He yelps. "What are you doing!?" Kaui yells at the figure dressed entirely in black. Their face is covered by a mask, so he's unable to identify which of his classmates (or... who, in general) it is. "Take off your mask!"

Whoever is wearing the mask does not oblige, instead lunging at the Ultimate Model once more with a fierce passion. Kaui jumps out of the way, but the baseball bat smashes against his upper right arm, and he is thrown to the side, collapsing against a table. Kaui topples into a table, launching away a can of hair gel. They were tussling in the bedroom that Kaui had claimed as his own, but with his attacker messing up his carefully-arranged display of various skin and hair care supplies, it now looks more like a war zone.

Taking a quick glance around, Kaui looks for something to distract his attacker. He notices a can of skin cream that had rolled off the table and come to a stop near him. With a single, swift, movement, Kaui grabs the can and hurls it towards the person in black. Though they dodge it, it gives him enough time to spring up and out the door.

Dashing through the hallway, Kaui looks down. A large bruise is already forming on his arm, yet he can't feel any pain. "What's going on!?" he cries out as he runs.

Then, from somewhere behind him, he hears a loud thud.

Chapter 8

Kaui freezes in his tracks. From behind him, a loud thud reverberated through the hallways. It wasn't the same type of thud that a book makes when it falls off a desk; this thud was... squishy. The thud sounded more like a body collapsing to the ground. My attacker? he thinks wearily. Did they trip?

Kaui thinks that, but he doesn't believe it. He knows something else just happened. No longer does he hear the soft pitter-patter of footsteps that quickly chased him; whoever fell down has stayed down. He's not sure if that means he's safe, but he knows one thing: I am not going anywhere near that noise. He needs to survive. Someone just attacked him, and now he remembers the fear brought on by The Tragedy.

Instead of retracing his steps, the Ultimate Model does something else. He runs away.

---

The Bove siblings both had pale faces. They had heard a loud crash outside their room, and hesitantly went to investigate. Akio had told them before that the rooms were "mostly" soundproof, meaning whatever this crash was, it was a lot quieter for them then it would have been for any passerby.

Gilda looks down at the sight that they stand over. A pile of debris rests at their feet; the debris in question being the remains of the ceiling that once acted as their roof, the ventilation system that was once inside said ceiling, and some shards of glass. That wasn't the issue that they were facing. Frediano puts a hand over his mouth, trying to hold back vomit, and Gilda just stares in disbelief.

Sitting, almost peacefully, among the rubble, is a severed head. The face belonged to a person they both recognized: Adam Al-Saab. The small stump that used to be his neck is singed black, and the blood has been burnt to a crisp, hardening on the black skin.

After a moment of silence, Gilda snaps. She starts screaming as loud as possible, swearing in both English and Italian. Her brother just stands behind her, as surprised and as scared as ever.

Hidden underneath the sounds of Gilda's screams, Frediano hears a tip-tapping of feet slapping against the ground. These feet are bare, and by the echoing, whoever they belong to is sprinting at an incredible pace. With but a moment of hesitation, Frediano quickly pushes Gilda back into their room, slamming the door shut behind them.

Though Gilda crashes into the ground, Frediano swiftly remains perched behind the door; cracking it open slightly to see who runs by. Perhaps they're the one who caused Adam to be beheaded.

He waits and waits, but no one shows up. Gilda, now somewhat calmer, sternly puts a hand on her brother's shoulder. "Thanks." she mutters. He knows that she needed to be taken away from Adam's head, but he didn't really think past that. He was too worried about whoever was sprinting down the halls to do so.

"What the fuck!?" they hear from outside. Frediano peers out from behind the door but sees no one there. "What the hell?" he hears again. This time, Gilda joins him, yet she sees nothing either. They slowly open the door completely, and there is an eerily empty scene in front of them. Then, Frediano looks up.

Peering down at him is Abel Moreau, the Ultimate Poet. He glances at them, and then behind him at something. Judging from his reaction, Frediano deduces that Abel is innocent. Couple the fact that his skin is as pale as could be, there's no doubt in his mind.

The ventilation shaft isn't too high off the ground. Without a ladder, one would have certainly have a hard time getting inside of it, but it's definitely not too high to cause harm should someone jump from it. Abel does just that, carefully aiming so he lands beside the pile of rubble. Quickly joining them on the ground is Nise, whose presence was undetected by either of the Boves.

"Who did this!?" Abel yells at them. It's not like they know, so they don't say anything. All three of them try to refrain from staring at Adam's lifeless eyes, yet Nise does not. Nise carefully studies the dismembered head, even picking it up and looking at it up close. As they watch him, both of the Boves vomit once more as they see the stump of Adam's neck.

Nise shakes his head. "Explosion" is all he says.

"Well this just doesn't make sense." Abel ponders aloud. He spins away from the two Bove siblings. "We thought that the deaths here were connected to the deaths..." he pulls out his e-Handbook and waves it around. "...Here."

"They were!"

A strange, high-pitched voice echoes from the e-Handbook, and Abel quickly throws it down at the ground in surprise. It lands face-down, but that doesn't stop the speaker. "It's just that, there's been a distinct lack of murder since this game began." the voice laughs, an 'upupupu' not unfamiliar to any of them. "I decided it would be fun if I just dropped that whole idea."

Nise picks up the e-Handbook and stares at it. He says nothing, as does the monochromatic bear he stares at. They just stare at each other for a moment before Monokuma breaks the silence. "Okay, this is awkward."

"Have any of you figured out who's behind this yet?" Monokuma asks the group. "If you give me the right answer, then maybe I'll just go away for a while."

"You do know." Monokuma says cheerfully. "Isn't that right Nise?"

---

I collapse to the ground in a heap. The curtain rod I had been using as a cane rolls beside me, and now I see that it is cracked. I try and stand up again, but my leg still doesn't want to work normally. Up ahead, I hear something rhythmic - footsteps. Though they're growing quieter, I use all my strength to do one thing.

I call out. "Hello!?"

---

The masked person brandishes their knife. They stare at the shiny blade as it reflects the dull luminescent lights above them. No more time, they think as they pull out the small e-Handbook given to them. The girl on the screen has black hair styled into drills, and dresses in a gothic lolita maid outfit. They know them well; or as well as she'd like them to know her.

Her name was Celestia Ludenberg.

She was a world-famous gambler, the Ultimate Gambler, even. Chosen to study at Hope's Peak Academy. She was also their biggest rival.

Monokuma had told the masked person something earlier. "If you want, I'll let you and Celestia Ludenberg free from your respective games so you could play another game."

They were obviously shocked at first, but they eventually overcame this shock. Fight Celestia Ludenberg in a duel of wits and lies? They'd lost before to the Queen of Liars, there was no way they'd win again.

Doesn't mean they shouldn't try.

The masked person holds the knife up to their face and removes their mask. The blade reflects their face clearly in the shiny metal.

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