Part 4: MEropia
An hour and twenty minutes had passed since the beginning of the game.
Ancora climbed up the stairs. She felt a presence behind her; upon looking back, she saw Invidia following her.
Hey... do you know who you're voting for, yet?
No, not yet.
That's early. What does he want out of this, exactly?
That makes sense... but is this just a poorly-thought lure into a false sense of security?
Oh, okay, but I'm still not sure yet. I think we'll need to talk it over...
If you think that's a better way. Know that if we talk about it, things might turn bloody. In here, there's no way to restrain anyone, and whoever we're going to vote for won't let it happen so easily.
That makes sense, but we're still missing details. How will the vote be determined? What's inside of the cylinder, exactly?
We'll know the answers to those questions very soon.
No shit, Sherlock. Of course it doesn't belong here. What are you, an idiot?
All eight participants stood in a circle around the black cylinder, waiting for something to happen. When it was clear nothing would automatically trigger, they got impatient and searched the surface.
What's the big deal? We don't have a lot of time; I think close to an hour and a half already went by as of now. That's a fourth of our time! Open already, you dumb shit!
Will you cease your incessant auditory pollution pertaining to every single element belonging to any situation whatsoever? This three-dimensional curvilinear object has consoles with card slots around its perimeter, and one is labeled Cow.
Every time I type out Gula's dialogue my brain auto-fills it with
I don't think you'll fit in there even if your body is also labeled Cow.
I presume you're having a plethora of exciting times at my expense.
Despite their faces not being visible at the moment, it was clear Gula and Superbia were glaring at each other, until both miraculously saw reason and dropped it.
Anyway, as I found out with Ava, the consoles surrounding this thing might help us if we insert our cards. I'm assuming we each have a specific spot. Didn't ME say she would give us further instructions anyway?
Yeah, she said she was going to come back when we were going to vote, didn't she?
It's technically not time to vote just yet. The cards need to be in, first.
Okay, let's insert our ME-cards, and we'll see then.
All of them agreed and mechanically, their hands all pushed their ME-card into the corresponding slot on each console. After a brief moment... nothing happened.
D-did we do something wrong?
No, I don't think so. ME said we needed nine ME-cards to open this at first, right?
Yeah, we w-were supposed to be nine here...
Fine, then. I guess you'll all need my help.
Superbia reached into her shirt and pulled out another ME-card from seemingly nowhere. All the others stared at her accusingly, despite the masks covering all of their faces. None of them said anything, prompting her to indignantly huff back at them.
Oh, what now, you're gonna tell me I'm a bad girl for concealing a ME-card? Bitch, please. As if you wouldn't have done the same to secure yourself your next votes.
She went to the leftover console which was labeled Panda to insert the ME-card into it. Once that was done, she waited a little, before walking back to the console named Rabbit.
All of a sudden, right when she took her spot back, ME reappeared to all of them.
BGM: ME Mori
You can't see it just yet, but the cylinder in the middle will be gone; you might currently be feeling it recede into the ground. In front of you, once your vision has come back, will be a shotgun.
It is a non-negotiable, 100% certain chance of death. The six hours timer will be paused for those ten minutes. That means you can indeed survive ten minutes longer than the timer allows, if you do it right on the hour! You will no longer need to unlock the cylinder, so you may put your next cards directly into the contraption in the middle if you wish to give away your right of vote, and kill at your indiscriminate leisure.
The ten minute time will start now. This is probably one of the final times I will be speaking to you like this. If anything important happens, I will still intercede, but otherwise, we'll be saying bye-bye! I will have one final announcement ready after your vote has ended. Unfortunately, one of you won't be there to see it, which is really sad. I'll see you later.
If you think I'm going to do whatever you say, ME, you're a goddamn idiot! Who would put their face on the barrel of a shotgun?!
We have ten minutes, there's no time to think. Quick, put your face on the shotgun, or you're going to die!
As squeamish as I am to locate my visage in front of an instrument of death... there is no objection.
Almost simultaneously, all the students and the teacher pushed the front of their helmets against the symbol on the end of the shotguns, slotting them into the indentations and locking themselves in place.
BGM: Mercedis Mellitus
We still have to decide over who we're voting for, right?
I think we should talk about it quickly, then. We don't have a lot of time.
I think Cora is the mastermind. Let's vote for her.
I g-guess I'm in.
Loathe as I am to admit it, I hold no objections.
Wait, that's way too hasty. Where's that coming from? I don't think the mastermind is Cora.
It sounds a little too quick to me, too. Is it because her name doesn't fit with the sins?
S-Something like that, I guess.
I am none too bothered over my vote, unless your common opinion aims the proverbial firearm at my own self.
You guys really should care more, because the faster the real mastermind dies, the earlier we're out of here. Besides, none of this really makes her the mastermind, does it?
Yeah... but we're only two who think that way. What about the others? Ava, Lux?
We don't have any other choice. It's gotta be her, right...? Who else could it be among all of us?
They're all latching onto the first option that saves them personally. How despicably self-centered.
Ancora had to think fast. She hated stressful situations, but she had no choice now. So far, it looked like everyone except Invidia and Tristitia were going to vote for her. She needed to tip the balance, to convince at least two of the others to vote for someone else. Was there anything she could say in her defense while putting the blame onto someone else?
I guess this will all depend on what I've seen and learned so far.
Don't you guys think it's weird how Bia is taking the lead and trying to steer you?
Explain your reasoning.
I'm not Pandora, anyway. You can say whatever you want- need I remind you that you're the most suspicious one in here?
You already said your reasoning, but can you elaborate a bit?
I'm not an idiot, so I noticed your name was weird. It sounds like Pandora, for one, but it's also not a deadly sin. And also, you haven't been exploring with the others earlier. I saw you hanging around by the bathrooms. It's like you don't need to do it, because you know everything already.
Refuting those points quickly is mandatory. There's only so much time before the end, though.
The more Ancora wanted to argue and pin it onto someone else, the more she realized that she really didn't have much put together at all. As the minutes passed, everyone spoke out of turn, growing into a cacophony of arguments, until finally, Ancora just had to say something.
Everyone finally saw reason, and paused while Ancora quickly put her thoughts together. They wouldn't wait very long, given that the timer was running out shortly.
We can change our names, but we can't change our helmets. The rabbit helmet you wear is very suspicious, Bia. It makes you appear a lot more inoffensive than you really are, but that just means you're the most dangerous one.
Wow, Ancora. Great argument. Really nailing it on that 'sell the fact you aren't the mastermind' plan you cooked up.
What is your problem? Do you want to die or something? Because I can send you there quick and easy if you really want.
Wait, don't start this, we don't have the time... The vote is almost here...
What I do or don't do isn't anything you need to worry over, little imbecile. I could buy out your entire family and turn them into my dad's slaves if I wanted.
Like that's gonna help you after you're dead!
Hey, stop, both of you!
I'm not going to stop! Fuck you!
You have the personality of a porcupine. Every time you talk, spines fly out, and everyone gets pricked so no one wants to get close to you!
A jab at my helmet? Why don't you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and realize how much of a bucktoothed fuckface you are before stepping outside?
I don't have buckteeth, that's the helmet that looks like that, you moron. Besides, you wouldn't even know the meaning of a mirror, so stop talking about them.
And that pink hair, is that natural? Like cotton candy hair? You're trying to look cute or something? Even with your appearance, its flabbergasting anyone talks to you at all!
It's called style, and I exude it. I take care of my hair so much that Pandora saw fit to give me a helmet worthy of my hair style! What do you have, huh? Two stupid little buns, that's what!
Well, that was a mess. I guess pointing the finger blindly isn't going to be helpful. There's no point in worrying over it now, since everyone's dead. Without a lead, I need to get someone's trust. Invidia seemed like the most promising person to help. Maybe, if I could try again, maybe things wouldn't go this badly...