Part 56: Junpei
[Music: Who is Zero?]
He was sure of it. Right next to the glasses.
It was gone. The number (9) bracelet was gone.
He was turning it over and over in his mind when he heard Seven's voice.
It had drifted out to him from the living room.
Junpei walked, slowly, out of the hallway.
Seven looked up as Junpei entered the room.
Did you find something?
He thought for a moment before he responded.
Uh, well, I wanted you to take a look at something.
What is it?
Something between a sigh and a groan escaped his lips.
What was it you wanted to show me?
His voice was hollow and empty.
I searched Clover's body again. I found...this.
As he spoke, he moved around Clover's head...
Then knelt down, and flipped open her right hand.
She was holding a piece of paper.
I haven't actually looked at it yet. Didn't want to disturb the crime scene, you know? Basic stuff.
He wasn't sure what that meant, but it likely didn't matter.
The paper was more important.
He picked it up, and carefully opened it.
There were 2 sentences written on it.
[Music: Digital Root]
What is this? Some kinda secret code?
Seven peered over Junpei's shoulder at the note.
Junpei stepped away from Clover's body...
...And into the living room. He began to pace, attempting to decode the note.
The first clue was likely the phrase "sinister hand".
It doesn't really matter whether or not you get this one wrong; Junpei knows the answer anyway, so we might as well get it right for him.
It's just a matter of knowing what the terms for left and right handed actually are. Dextral is right-handed, whereas sinistral is left. If you're thinking something along the lines of "no shit," then I'm just going to point out that a surprisingly large number of people don't actually know this.
Anywho, that said sinister is now obviously...
The left hand. The left hand... What did the left hand mean?
He examined the bracelet closely.
There were 2 protrusions on either side of the face. The left and right sides of the face.
Left and right...
Left and right...
Right and left...
Truth is gone...
It sounded funny... What did it mean?
Now, this is actually rather tricky. Only one answer is right and lets us continue; the other three just loop back around to here. Reading them backwards is obviously wrong since "enog dah hturt" means nothing at all. The other three though? Hard to say. Let's just go through in order.
They sounded exactly as he'd expected they would.
It made no more sense than the initial riddle. Less, even.
Clearly, switching the words wasn't going to help.
What else could "gone" and "truth" mean?
In this case, however, they clearly referred to their directional homonyms.
So, that means...
That seemed to make sense.
Junpei looked at the bracelet again...
...At the 2 protrusions on the left and right of the face.
This one is insultingly easy. Again, only one of them is right but this time it's blatantly obvious. It really is a question of "how much attention have you been paying for the past half a minute."
One after another, 8 numbers flashed on, then off, of the face of Junpei's bracelet. He checked one more time, to be sure...
Huh...? Hey, what are those numbers?
Junpei didn't answer. He couldn't answer.
He had no idea what they were either.
Besides, he was sure he would forget the numbers, and the order they came in, if he said anything.
Muttering the numbers to himself, over and over, Junpei headed toward the bedroom.
Besides, someone had opened the safe at least once already.
Had Clover come to the bedroom to open it?
Junpei slowly dialed in the numbers the bracelet had given him.
Junpei heard the small, tell-tale sound of a lock opening.
He grabbed the handle, took a deep breath, and pulled it up.
Inside was a piece of paper.
It was roughly the same size as the one Clover had been holding.
Junpei picked it up. This is what it said:
He looked at each one of them in turn, then slowly placed his hands in the pockets of his vest.
Sorry, but do you think you could all come with me?
Come with you...?
There's something I want to be sure of.
What...do you want to be sure of?
Wait... Then, you're saying--
Yeah. I think I've got it figured out.
5 sets of eyes stared at Junpei.
He pretended not to notice.
Anyway, if you could all please move to the big hospital room... I'll explain everything as soon as we get there.
Then, almost as if on cue, the bell began to ring.
We don't have a lot of time left. Let's go.
Slowly, one by one, they followed Junpei out of the bedroom.
Junpei stopped in front of door  and turned around.
Ace, Seven, and Lotus... Could you please place your palms on the RED?
...Why? If we need to get to the shower room, why don't we just--
No, we're not going inside.
Once you've authenticated, step away from the door.
Please, just do it.
What about you, Ace? Lotus?
Once they had finished, they stepped away from the door, as Junpei had instructed.
3 asterisks shone from the RED's display panel.
Junpei approached it, and held his bracelet over the scanner.
He made quite sure he didn't place his palm on it, and instead only brought his bracelet near it.
Junpei pulled the lever down.
Door  opened, like a hungry mouth.
9 long seconds passed...
And the door shut, unfed.
Junpei walked slowly back to the others, who were waiting some distance from the door, talking to one another.
As Junpei approached, they turned to look at him, curiosity plain on their faces.
Before long, the other 3 did as well.
Clearly, they were all expecting some answers.
Clearly, they'd hoped for something more forthcoming.
This video lasts for the entire rest of the update. I recommend watching it.
By the way, Ace... Would you mind if I asked you something?
What is it?
[Music: Chill and Rigor]
Wh-What!? What kind of question--
Just answer it, please. Who am I?
If he spoke, however, the trap would be exposed.
Junpei quickly continued.
The clothes I'm wearing, I borrowed from Junpei.
That's ridiculous! Impossible!
So, you're saying I'm not Santa...?
Of course you aren't!
Why? What makes you so sure I'm not Santa?
1 + 7 + 8 + 3 = 19! 1 plus 9 would be 10! The digital root would be (1)! But the 4 of us just opened door !
It's (5). Right?
Only then, when it was too late, did Ace realize his mistake.
He set his jaw and glared at Junpei.
You're exactly right. My bracelet number is (5).
Sorry, Ace... I tricked you.
Who could possibly think I was? It's obvious I'm not. To think I was... ridiculous.
I asked you before, didn't I?
"What makes you so sure I'm not Santa?"
And you answered...
"If you were Santa, then door  wouldn't have opened for us just now!"
As their justification for why I'm not Santa, I mean.
The first thing that would come to anyone else's mind wouldn't be the bracelet number. There'd only be one thing they'd say.
He could hear a sudden buzz of conversation from the others... "Prosopagnosia?" "What's that?"
He heard Lotus begin to explain it to them.
Ace glanced at them, then turned back toward Junpei and sighed.
*Sigh* Very well. I confess.
Is that what this was about? You want to mock me for my disorder?
No, no, not at all.
I'm not making fun of you at all. In fact, I feel kinda bad for you. No, the reason I brought this up...
Ace's face tightened. His eyes narrowed.
What do you mean?
Junpei leaned casually against the iron piping of one of the beds.
I'll just come right out with it.
[Music: Digital Root]
Junpei was suddenly very aware of 5 pairs of eyes on him.
He had their undivided attention now.
The room had grown very, very quiet. Junpei took a deep breath.
That's ridiculous. What possible evidence do you--
The 1st. Think back to a few hours ago... You made us argue over the 3 doors here in the big hospital room. There was no way all 7 people could go through them. Lotus suggested that we sacrifice one of us.
Lotus looked away awkwardly.
Junpei glanced at her and continued.
Why would you say something like that? It's pretty simple, really.
You see, if Ace stayed behind, there were only 2 doors the rest of us could go through...
There was no way we could get through door --the shower room. You knew that, didn't you Ace? That's why you volunteered to stay behind.
I can understand if you're jealous of my bravery, but... Please, don't devalue my actions. I only wanted to save the rest of you. Surely you can understand my altruism...
Junpei stared off into the darkness at something very interesting and lazily began to dig a persistant bit of wax out of his ear.
You already knew, didn't you?
You knew that whichever doors we took, eventually we'd end up back in the big hospital room...
Pleading was not something they'd heard from Ace before.
Junpei pulled the piece of wax from his ear, glanced at it, and flicked it off into the darkness.
Ah well. That's cool.
Then you mean to imply that a person who can't distinguish human faces must be a bad person...?
No. I'm not that stupid.
Well, before I explain, I suppose there's something I should tell you. The corpse in the shower room...
Ace's face went pale.
The others looked confused as well. If the body wasn't Snake's...
I didn't put it together right away, but there was something Clover told me... She said that Snake's left arm was prosthetic. He'd lost his real arm in an accident. But the body we saw in the shower room--let's call him "Guy X"...
In other words, Guy X couldn't possibly have been Snake.
Let's say, hypothetically, that the killer didn't have prosopagnosia.
Even if the clothes were the same as Snake's, their faces would be completely different. It would have been obvious they were different people. And yet, they still killed him.
On the other hand, if the killer did have prosopagnosia, it makes sense.
Wait. Wait just a moment. Let's say you're right, and I mistook Guy X for Snake. Even if I did, I would have had no motive to kill him! Why would I want to kill Snake?
I can think of at least 2 motives.
If he ever revealed what he knew, that would've been really bad for you. You really didn't want that to happen. So, to make sure Snake's mouth stayed shut, you killed him.
You knew that, or at least you could have easily assumed he did. Even without exposing your identity, he was a threat to you.
You couldn't ever let your guard down. Every moment was a moment he might try something. You didn't want that kind of danger hanging over you, so you--
For the first time since the beginning of Junpei's explanation, someone besides Ace spoke.
What's the past that Ace wouldn't want us to know? Why did Snake have a grudge against him?
Look at this.
He handed Santa a small piece of paper.
Santa squinted at the paper and began to read.
"The person with the number (2) bracelet attended the game 9 years ago. It was planned by the following 4 people: Cradle Pharmaceutical CEO, [Gentarou Hongou]..."
Slowly, Santa looked up from the paper.
His eyes met Junpei's.
It's the message from Zero. It was in the safe in the 1st class cabin.
That paper is a lie!
"Me"... You said "me", right?
Junpei's eyes narrowed, and the trap began to close.
Ace inhaled sharply. His eyes flicked off of Junpei to something--anything--else.
Wouldn't that mean that you're admitting
Or am I mistaken?
It was as though a switch had been flipped.
The color drained from Ace's face, and as he realized what he'd done, his eyes went wide.
Very well. I admit that much.
So what if I am? I don't know anything about this Nonary Game that supposedly took place 9 years ago.
Someone is trying to set me up, you see!
First of all-- First of all...
Ace stammered as he tried desperately to work himself to a more tenable position.
Think that over, all right? How could I have killed Snake all by myself?
Not Snake. It was Guy X.
I don't care who it was!
Then I couldn't have possibly done that alone.
Nope. You could have.
Ace's face was tight, and his teeth were clenched.
Junpei fixed him with a level stare. The trap was about to close.
Remember when you were injected with that anesthetic and fell asleep in the big hospital room? Yeah, back then. I...took this--
Junpei put his hand into his pocket.
No! You couldn't have--
Ace's right hand moved.
You wanna tell me what you were so worried about? What's in your pocket?
That was all you needed to open door .
1 + 2 + 9 = 12 → 1 + 2 = 3
That's how you killed Guy X all by yourself, Ace!
If you wanna play innocent, that's fine by me. Go ahead, tell me "I don't have the bracelet", if that's what you want to do. But if you could take off your coat and hand it to me, I'd really appreciate it.
Otherwise, we'll have to take it from you by force. Right, Seven?
Ace roared with laughter.
He threw his arms wide and his head back and laughed, filling the room with a sound that scarcely belonged there.
Then it stopped.
His arms came down, and his head dropped to look straight ahead, at Junpei.
His face was flat and cold, devoid of any emotion.
Well done, Junpei.