Part 8: MErger
Is this cacophony related to what he was trying to tell you before dying?
No. I just don't give a shit about any of you.
Should you pursue this unreasonable course of action, I suggest we remove you from the group promptly, and set you aside, outside of the rooms we shall be investigating, without a ME-card for the subsequent voting session.
You guys can't vote without me anyway, so you'll have to hand one over sooner or later.
Ira's fists were closed in anger. Looking at the others, Ancora realized she had to do something, or else a fight was going to break out. In order to mediate the group, Ancora...
Based on our current TRUST stats, this choice is irrelevant to us, so I'm gonna take this opportunity to call Superbia out on her bullshit
What the hell is going on here? Are you guys fighting, at this time? Bia, seriously, you should hold off, we don't have the time for this kind of thing.
Shut up, idiot. Don't get caught up into this, or you're going to eat the back of my hand.
No, we really do not have the time, so you have to settle for now. Bitch at us after we're free from this hellhole.
The rest of the people had gone silent at their altercation. Even Superbia understood what Ancora meant after a while, and she relented, making a movement of her hand as if to dismiss the entire conversation altogether.
Okay, thanks. I think you're best coming with Lux and me.
The girl's proposal went rather flawlessly. The entire group was glad to not have to deal with Superbia anymore, so they didn't have any issue pawning her off to Ancora. Only Ira didn't change his stance for a few moments, before he reluctantly agreed to it.
Very well, then. I'll be going with Ira, and Ula will be going with Ava.
Are you certain of this? The teams seem moderately unbalanced... I'm afraid I cannot accept a mere thoughtless endeavor.
No, it's not unbalanced. You and Ava are smart, but I think I'm able to piece things together better. That way, I should go with the most... cognitively challenged individual, in order to round it out.
Wow, cool, thanks Trist!
I'll be leaving the group now, okay? Bia, come. We'll go have a look at what Luxuria wanted us to check, and then we'll go.
The rabbit-themed girl shrugged and went with the bear-themed girl, after a brief goodbye thrown to the others. Joining back with Luxuria, the two girls noticed that the smaller one had been in the process of examining the machine already.
Lux, we've got to go soon to solve a room. The timer's ticking down, and...
The two girls approached, curious. Luxuria was examining the ninth station- the one that belonged to the person the two others hadn't seen.
I think... we can do something here.
She pointed at the mechanism behind. The shotgun that had been propped up was held by a tall pillar to match the console, which one could open by applying pressure onto the inside panel, not visible from afar.
And what does that all mean?
I don't know yet, but it opens...
We can mess with this one, and it won't matter too much, but the others won't open. This is dangerous territory to cross, though.
I want to look at it too. Think it's fine if we fuck around with this stuff, or will ME roll over us all like what up?
It might be good to look at the others... maybe they open like this one. There shouldn't be any harm in just having a look, but I think ME will get mad if we break this stuff.
Ancora stood back up, and let Superbia look inside the box. While the rabbit remained there, the other girls searched the rest. As much as Ancora tried, no box opened like that first one, except for... the one behind Invidia's console.
So they can open after they fire? Something doesn't feel right, must be a problem with the mechanism. None of this should be accessible under normal circumstances.
That's the mechanism to release the gun. This will give a very huge advantage over the others. But it will also make it much harder to garner their trust. Either way, it's not loaded. None of them are; what happens when they fire is entirely from the helmet's side.
Her thumb brushed against the switch, and after a small push of her hand, the mechanism began moving. Very quickly, the bear-themed girl pulled her arm out of the box, just as the clasps released the instrument of death.
The question remained: either Ancora took the gun, or she left it there. On one hand, the gun would give her protection.
...as if it was left here to act as a shield...
With the stress of the moment getting to her head, Ancora...
Every time someone took the gun in the previous game, things went to hell. I say we just look at it this time.
She rose back up to merely examine the gun. Soon, Superbia glanced over, keeping her distance still.
What's up with the gun? Found anything special?
She reached for the gun before Superbia could do it, lifting it up and off the slot. As she did so, Superbia took a step back, looking surprised enough her body reacted instantly.
Oh, well, I guess it didn't matter!
I'm just looking at it.
She flipped the gun over, trying to figure out how to open it. After doing so, she confirmed to Superbia the shotgun had no shells. Luxuria arrived at that moment, noticing that fact too before Ancora put the gun back where it was.
See? They're not loaded.
It didn't feel too reassuring, but Ancora didn't feel like she had to explain herself any further. She was actually eager to move from the voting stands, since the boxes could be opened if the person in question died.
The last thing I'd want is for anyone else to grab one of the shotguns, even if they aren't loaded.
On the way towards Wing A, Superbia asked the two girls a peculiar question.
Hey... let's say you had a shotgun, and it was loaded... who would you shoot?
Her tone made it clear the question took her by surprise. Time was ticking, but the three of them came to a standstill near the entrance to Wing A.
Are you sure we have time for this...?
Well, we need those ME-cards...
Unless someone dies during this hour slice.
Luxuria's knees shook a little. Ancora could tell that she wasn't a fan of the upcoming plan of assassination.
Those guns aren't loaded anyway...
Umm... Maybe... Tristitia? He's a little creepy...
Ancora looked at Luxuria with surprise. The girl had been quite scared of bodies earlier, and now she was answering Superbia.
Though, I do agree, he is a little creepy.
Ancora thought about it for a moment. She figured answering either Superbia or Luxuria wouldn't be a good idea.
Gee, you think?
Given the choice, she would shoot...
Since we're talking hypotheticals here... I don't want to say Ira, because we (the player) know that he and Superbia are a couple, so it'd probably also piss Superbia off. If we answer Tristitia, Superbia will probably call us a copycat since that was Lux's answer. So I'm picking Gula here.
I'd probably go for Gula. Her speech is far too distinguished not to be a sign of her involvement.
Those words caused a moment of silence between the girls. It was as if the two others were considering it, until Superbia shrugged, as if it didn't matter to her.
The rabbit-themed girl gave a nod towards the open hallway. Ancora stared at Luxuria, who said nothing, though she averted her gaze. Following up on their marching order from before, Ancora took the lead.
The metal plate at the top was far too high for her to look inside without jumping, and either way, it was covered by said metal plate. Even if she could reach it, it was useless.
This door's closed, so there's no point in sticking around.
The girls set off again, finding a second door that was much like the first. The other two groups had gone for the closest ones.
I wonder what kind of subject each group is learning about now...
She murmured to herself, but no one answered her. The two girls must've been thinking about it too. She assumed they were too stressed out by what they might have to solve in their room.
Luxuria and Superbia were gone.
Fudge nuggets, since when have they left? This is very much not the time. The door's going to lock in the next 39 seconds.
A bad feeling spread through Ancora. Leaving the door aside, she retraced her steps to find the tallest and the shortest girls of the group.
Solving it alone would cause more issues than problems it would resolve. There's no helping it, then. Someone's gonna have to die without a voting session.
Where have you gone...? We have to solve this, fast...!
They couldn't have gone too far; there was only one way to take. Even though there were a few twists and turns to Wing A, the entirety of it had just been one long hallway. But now, she was at a crossroads. Fitting, for this middle area of the school was often nicknamed The Crossroads by the students, as it stood between all four wings.
Where did they go? Did they go back to the voting machine? Did they go back to the first hallway?
Ancora wasn't sure, but ultimately...
I figure we probably would be able to hear something if they were upstairs, so we should check out the first hallway again.
Ancora figured they might have further split up, so she started investigating. Once she arrived at her first destination, she saw no one. Puzzled, she waited a few minutes. If she'd been mistaken, then maybe they would come by sooner or later. After waiting for entirely far too long, Ancora went back to the Crossroads. Even her patience had limits, and they had been breached.
Did they already leave? What's going on? Nobody should be able to leave this place right now, so where the heck are they?
But her thought process stopped there when she noticed a shadow from behind. She turned around to greet them.
Everything disappeared from Ancora's vision, despite the shotguns not being loaded. Something still happened as a result of their use, but her mind was far from that now. And finally, everything went absolutely black.
I wonder whose shadows those were. The most possible explanation would be Luxuria and Superbia's shadows, but there are two problems with that. The first problem is obviously that both shadows were somewhat tall. That excludes Luxuria from having taken part in it, unless her shadow magically grows taller than most others.
Superbia was definitely one of the two of them, though. That means Superbia took the shotgun. As for the second shadow... I don't know whose it is. I can only guess. It was a little shapely; a little defined, like muscles, so maybe...
Without Ira, Superbia probably would be as defenseless as a little bunny. Looking at the consoles too closely had been a mistake, too. I still can't wrap my head around the state of the shotguns. Something strange is going on here... not that it matters to me anymore. Near endless darkness awaits.