Part 11: MEzzanine
Last update, we ended on a choice of who to partner with for the next puzzle room. This time, we're going to be going with...
I'll go with Ava and Ula. I think that's what I'd like most, and the teams can be balanced anyway, right?
The silence that followed betrayed the lack of objections from the entire group.
You know... this may seem a little sudden, but I've had a thought.
A thought? A sudden thought?
Yes, an epiphany. You know what an epiphany is, right?
An epiphany is the specific moment when your mental prowess shines and arrives at a conclusion, or when you attain an extraordinary idea. It is, to put it simply, a short moment of utter clarity.
Well... all of that seems a little bit random... We don't even know what it's about.
Tristitia changed the subject, deciding to leave that matter up to another time.
Alright, then. I'll go fetch Bia; you guys can go to the rooms in the meantime. Remember, we're not exactly rich in time here, so we have to hurry a little.
As if to prove that fact, he left right afterwards. Ancora could understand his desire to not waste any time, given how more than two hours already went by.
The next rooms shouldn't be too bad, either. The last triad is the one I'm more worried about. For the time being, 39 minutes is ample time- we'll probably be done with it in a half hour. For the last ones, though... maybe it would be best to take some insurance. We need two deaths in the next hour again, somehow, so that we have two hours of respite.
Shall we, as they say, get a move on? Need not I remind you both that as Trist has eloquently put, our allotted time is substantially diminishing in these moments of inertia.
Yes, well, I was waiting for you to be ready to go.
That is quite the coincidence, as I was doing similarly. Politeness indicates that the eldest should step for the lead, after all.
The eldest? Are you calling me old? I'm not as old as I look, trust me.
Ancora took the lead, understanding that time was working against them. The two others followed, focused in their exchange.
Perhaps you would prefer sharing your progress in our common countdown to termination?
Do you mean my age? It's awfully hard to understand what you're saying sometimes... even as a teacher.
Oh, pardon me. I was not entirely certain of that fact. Now that I know, I could not help but find its notion hilarious, for this means a student has surpassed the master, has she not?
If you mean that a student is outclassing a teacher in speech patterns, yes, I would assume so. But a more flowery speech pattern doesn't necessarily make it better.
Would you care to elaborate?
What good is talking in such eloquence if no one understands you...?
Ancora listened to the two of them banter about the elder student's choices of wording. However, after Avaritia's question, the two of them had fallen silent. It appeared Gula was taking those words into consideration. The entire time, the group had been on the move. The room closest to the next set of doors already had occupants. That's where Invidia and Luxuria had gone. The other two rooms were to the left; Superbia and Tristitia were about to enter the one furthest away.
Hey, good luck!
I'm not sure if Superbia was her usual self... or if she was ashamed of herself. Either way, let's go already! Our time's so short.
After casting a glance to her fellow companions, Ancora led the way inside. She could tell the others were anticipating the discovery of what was inside of the room. Was it another classroom?
The short answer was no.
Oh, joy. Apologies, Ancora, but you are not permitted to be here, so I shall have to demand your departure.
Hey, why? What about you, huh? You're not allowed here either!
Myself? Your reasoning is erroneous. I am legal, eighteen years old, thank you.
Not in the US, legal age would be twenty-one.
The group set off in their own separate ways for the free 39 seconds they had to explore, before ME appeared again to tell them all about the subject of this classroom.
Even though it's not really a classroom. By now, they should wise up to the fact their environment isn't like the school they're used to. If they can even remember the school itself yet. However, something is nagging at me, but I can't still put my finger on what exactly. Just an... odd feeling.
A long, low table was positioned in front of the couch. On it was an unfinished drink, but taking it betrayed the fact it was entirely plastic. The television in front of the table was in a lamentable state. There was a door in the back, but a cursory exploration proved it was locked.
Figures we might have to unlock it to solve this entire room. What a bother...
And then the 39 seconds elapsed. On the dot, their visions were all taken by ME, just as the door leading outside of the room locked.
BGM: ME Mori
Welcome to a crash course in explosives! This room's theme has to do with bombs and the like. Why is this important? It will become more apparent later.
Because there is a terrorist. Did you see the state of the school? Awful, so very awful.
The animal who destroyed part of it took no one in consideration. All they had was blinded rage.
Thankfully, most of you aren't involved in that blast. For the one who is, however, they would most likely be very annoyed if this information came to light! As a specification, I am not asking about their nickname. I want their real name. That is what you must figure out.
I'll see you later.
The entire speech was much shorter this time around, lasting only a minute or two. The group of three looked at each other from various points in the room, having been interrupted while they'd been split up.
Well, I hope there will be some kind of hint about their real name here. These rooms were built fairly so far, but I don't relish the idea of finding myself at an impasse. Then again, is it really fair to do that...? We've picked those nicknames...
Actually, we did not so much pick those nicknames as they were forced upon us. It became so very easy to go along with it once it popped into your head.
Popped? That's kind of a strange way to put it, for her.
Clearing her throat, Gula continued, uninterrupted.
I do want to live, so yes. Where do we start?
I... will be investigating the area surrounding this beverage-clad surface. Ancora?
Pray remain as far as you can manage from this corner. Alcoholic beverages are not suitable for minors.
You're barely older than me... But, fine. Though, if there's no alcohol, I want to be let in to investigate that place, too.
Very well, I shall take your plea into consideration. I'm woefully uncertain as of now, however my opinion may be differently constructed in the coming times.
This meant that for the next 35 minutes, Ancora would have more or less free reign over which area she investigated.
Don't forget to bring everything you find to the same spot so we can go over everything easily. We can't let any clue pass by before we deduce the answer.
I am also in agreement with this consolidation of found treasures. Let us away towards the vastness of this proletarian establishment.
Her vocabulary's back. Something's going on with her speech patterns, and I can't make heads or tails of it.
And I wouldn't really call them treasures...
We've got a lot to look at in this room, but first things first I want to get the conversations out of the way; this time, we can question them about the bombs. Might as well rip the bandage off first and talk to Gula.
Do you know anything of those bombs?
Which bomb? The one presumably situated at the epicenter of this ruined school? I'm afraid your search is in vain with me.
Is that so...
Yes, it is so. That is what I said, and I do not believe I have stuttered.
Something feels off about her. It's like she's found something in this room, but refuses to talk about it.
Situating ourselves into an investigating mindset is more valuable than idle chatter.
You're right, let's go back.
One down, one to go. Next is Avaritia.
You remember what ME said, right? About surrendering our right to live?
Yes. I already have my idea on how it'll end after these six hours. We're looking for a terrorist, right? As far as we know, only Wing A and the Crossroads are still standing... meaning bombs destroyed the other wings.
What do you mean?
If you hide as far as you can from it, then maybe it won't get you. How strong of an explosive it is, I wonder...
I'm not actually sure how strong the blast would be. It's not like I really could test it or anything.
But it's also possible Pandora saw it to make sure they would use explosives strong enough to reach across the entire school.
I guess it doesn't need to reach too far either, if bombs really destroyed three wings already...
If it's one of us, that means they were probably young... so I guess they could have screwed up, yeah.
Oh, even older people can screw up, trust me. One thing's for certain, though; I have nothing to do with it. I mainly teach low-grade psychology- I don't have one ounce of knowledge about anything related to bombs and explosions.
I think we'd need a motive of some sort to pin it to anybody, anyway. We'll get a name, but...
But the name means nothing, that's what you mean? I agree. Even if we figure out who it is, what does it matter? What is the purpose of all of this? So many questions, so little answeres... makes me feel so incompetent...
Avaritia sighed, clearly a fair deal annoyed by that fact.
We should focus on the search unless you have something else to say.
I'm out of topics right now.
I'll be around here.
And that's that; time to start investigating properly. I'm going to start with the bookshelf on the left.
After a few seconds, it was clear she wouldn't find anything new in there. It didn't help that she couldn't reach the highest shelf, either.
How much longer do I have to endure this?
Talking to yourself?
Oh, uh, no, not really, sorry. There's nothing in the bookshelves.
Are you sure, or are you simply too short to reach the higher ledges?
She gave a cursory look over it, and then she grabbed something out from behind a few books.
Ancora chose to ignore that for the most part and instead focused on the object.
It's a box with colored faces. Six faces... and they all have a lock in them. I guess we have to find six keys for it. That's a lot!
But it seems to contain a bunch of things too, so I think what's in here might be our key out of here.
Shaking it a little, she nodded. Meanwhile, Ancora was wishing the first vote would've gotten her, after that awful pun.
I think there's one of those ornate keys in here, and... a few ME-cards, too, judging by the noise. Either that, or other stuff... It all looks really solid, so I don't think we can break it.
Sounds good to me. I guess we found what we're looking for now. Six keys... why the number six again?
The door on the left side is the one we just came in from, so there's no reason to investigate it; instead, we should see if Gula's found anything at the bar.
I'll touch the bottles if I want, and you can't stop me!
Cease, or there will be dire consequences.
In defiance of Gula's demand, Ancora grabbed a nearby wine bottle. A long inhale escaped from the cow-themed girl's helmet, which had its sides held by the girl's hands in a state of utter horror.
Sacrilegious! Heathen! Your spirit shall burn everlasting in the twisting abyss for this trespassing!
Calm down, it's not even alcohol. This bottle just has water in it.
And that's all she has to say even if we return to the bar. Next up, the ceiling fan.
That looks way too high for us to be able to reach it. Think there's anything up there that we need to get?
I don't think so... but even I can't reach it. Unless we use something else to get up there.
After a few attempts, Avaritia managed to sort of rearrange the furniture in order to reach it. With her hand up there, she shook her head.
She gave a strong push onto one of the blades, sending the whole thing spinning. A thunk echoed from the side.
Ouch! Something collided with my cranial armor! It must have fallen off while you both were toying with the ceiling fan.
Gula exposed the object to the two other girls by lobbing it back at them in a quiet show of fury. Avaritia caught it, showing it to Ancora momentarily.
Next, the couch.
This couch looks pretty damn comfortable. I'd say its comfort level is perhaps... 5.
What's a comfort level got to do with anything?
The comfort level is supremely important. Say,w hen you go buy a couch, you want it to be really comfortable, so you'll test it out. At least, that's what I've been told by a man who looked like he worked in a circus.
But you didn't even sit on this one.
And then, after you sit on it, like this...
Wait a minute... This isn't a couch.
She stood back up and reached for the armrest. After grabbing it, she lifted the side of the couch like it was nothing.
It's fake! It's made of plastic! It just looks good!
Something fell out when you lifted it.
It was a piece of paper.
It was added to the rest of their inventory.
The poster on the wall.
What's this a poster of? It's like a giant eye, but there's nothing written on it. It's kind of creepy, honestly.
I am not any more certain than you on this one, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, and as you may have surmised, I very only seldom attend such shows.
A show? So you do know more about it?
If you remember, in the first game, there's a poster with a similar eye on it in the sleeping quarters. It's for a performer called the Magnificent Zachary. This is a callback to that. Anyway, if we try the door on the right, it's locked, so all that's left is the trash bin...
Not another bin... At least Bia isn't here this time.
Pray explain yourself.
Oh, nothing, just... she blew a fuss about having to search that.
I'm not squeamish about getting my hands dirty.
She gave a wave in the air, as if dismissing the thought of that girl. She laboriously investigated the contents of the bin, to no avail.
Oh, uh... it was because of Vidi, I think.
It's been so long, it feels like a lifetime ago by now, even if it's really just been a few hours.
Wait, one singular second...
Aha! My unmatched sense of observation told me there might be some hitherto undiscovered aide to our exploration underneath it.
Well, that's good.
Gula put the key on the table, leaving it for others to decide what to do with it.
This key is the one that will unlock the door on the right side.
Open, says me!
Actually, the quote goes 'Sesame'.
Isn't it a misheard speech kind of deal, and it's just says me?
No, it comes from French, and Sesame is a name, or something like that. Doesn't matter anyway, let's open this door and see what's beyond...
With a satisfying click, the lock came undone with a perfect fit by the purple key. Ancora threw it behind her without any second thought.
Avaritia, why would one key open two locks? That's silly, come now.
Then we can just get it again.
The group entered this new room, which was a hallway. It led to another door, this time without a lock to undo, and inside was...
Another place with alcohol...
Avaritia and Gula were already searching through the alleys following Ancora's words. The latter of the duo was extremely interested in the boxes full of bottles.
She's probably going to sneak out a few of those bottles. Well, she's going to be surprised when she tries drinking some of them, then. They're all empty.
There's no new conversation options even with a new area, so we're just going to start investigating, this time starting with the fire extinguisher on the right side.
There's a piece of paper alongside the fire extinguisher. I can almost see what's written on it...
Ancora banged a few times on the window to try and get it to move around.
What in the world is this insane cacophany? Can't you simply open the extinguisher's containment area?
No, it's locked...
Must I accomplish everything?
It was just a 3D object pushed into the wall that looked like a fire extinguisher case. Now that it was dislodged, Ancora could pull it out.
The same can be said for this tool, as well. It is absolutely insubstantial.
Behind this block is written... 'En cas d'urgence, boiser la vitre.'
I happen to be knowledgeable of French, and that sentence is mistaken on a grammatical level. Or perhaps, it is simply an error in typography. Boiser should be briser.
So it's important, then. Oh...
She pulled out something from the rectangular hole left behind.
She put the block back where it was, reminding herself about this boiser business. The key went with their stuff.
Next, let's check out the shelves, starting from left to right.
Those sure are a lot of boxes. What do you think they contain?
I'm not sure. Normally, this is what you call a cellarage. It contians wine bottles, and it's generally refrigerated due to the temperature the bottles must be kept at.
But it's not any colder here...?
Correct, it's not any colder. I'm not exactly sure why. It also does not look like an actual wine cellarage anymore, or perhaps it was never meant to do so.
Well, let's open one of these boxes...
Should you lift one, it is quite clear they contain glass-made containers. Wine bottles, to be precise. It does make me ponder upon the absence of a frigid temperature.
While holding a box in her hands, Gula took a step back, looking down to the ground.
Within the folded opening panel of this cardboard-made contraption was a metallic object.
Is that a yellow key? No, it looks golden. Not exactly yellow. Maybe it can pass for one.
Let's keep it in mind and search more of these boxes.
Yet, nothing else turned up in this section.
Looking at more boxes, huh?
I gotta double check everything to make sure we didn't forget anything...
Shortly after, Ancora exclaimed in surprise when she found something in between two boxes.
So, does Pandora expect us all to search every single box here...? That's kind of... a little much. Well, I guess we have a fair amount of time left, anyway.
Without too much of a fuss, Avaritia searched through the area while accompanying Ancora, but the two of them didn't find anything else worthwhile within this stack.
Rejoice! I've unveiled the presence of a locked box here.
Gula omitted the part where she'd been pointlessly examining the bottles on the ground, given that they were all empty. Or that she seemed rather sad at that fact.
The lock is golden. Thankfully, we found a key just for this.
After fiddling with the lock a little, the box unlocked and then it could be moved, which Gula took advantage of by taking it off the shelves. Inside were a few wine bottles, and near the bottom was a key.
And now, our spoils.
She uncorked one of the bottles, but it quickly became apparent that what was inside the bottle was not wine. In fact, the bottle had already been opened before.
What is all this?
Ancora examined it a little more closely.
The trio stared in light surprise as they all realized that fact. The box was then subsequently closed and put back where it had been.
I mean, wine isn't that far from drugs, is it? It's still a substance that affects your body...
Expensive, huh? How do you know all this is worth a lot?
Oh, come on, it's no rocket science. Drugs can go for a lot, that's not a secret. If every bottle here was full of drugs...
Then we are witnessing a stashed, hidden, illegal fortune, full of nothing but gratuitous larceny.
After a few seconds to take it all in, the group went back to their search.
This is all dirty money. Even if it's a lot of money, it's dirty, so I don't get why anyone would want to profit from this. I guess some people do what they can to survive, huh? I think the real question is: why is it still here? I'm not actually too sure. All of this should have been emptied long ago... It's probably the last of this drug, too- all of it.
There's a shelf in the middle of the room with a bunch of stuff on it, but it turns out to just be cleaning supplies- not even a real discussion to be had. In the far corner of the ceiling, there's a wheel we can attempt to examine...
Or a stepladder at least...
That's good, but... That's not enough. We need a real ladder, not just a stepladder.
Does she understand me?!
Recurring references to other games aside, the ladder we can use is in the back behind the shelf.
Is that what I think it is?
It is precisely one ladder, yes. A plethora of proverbial doors are now open to us.
Probably the most useful thing we could find here...
Other than the answer to ME's question, at least. I'll carry it over if needed.
No, I can reach this, so I'll do it.
The ladder was added to their inventory. ...kind of.
And with that, we can now reach the wheel.
It's kinda high, but...
Here, there's a ladder.
Reaching to the wheel after climbing the ladder, Avaritia turned it, only to pull on it too hard. It broke, and it took a few seconds for Avaritia to regain her foothold on the ladder. Ancora moved forward as if to help, but the woman dismissively waved, already coming back down with the prize.
Isn't that dangerous? Leaving that socket empty of the wheel?
Dunno. But this wheel actually has markings on the outside. It says... jest over linguist ingrate. I can't make heads or tails of what it means.
Oh, well. Let's bring it with the rest of our stuff, anyway. It's clearly a hint.
And that's everything to be found in this room! We can now return to the bar area, as we've given Gula enough time now that we can return to the bar...
So, have you found anything here yet?
It happens that I have. Upon its presentation, however, you must promise to take no duplicitous action, such as wordlessly taking possession of it.
I promise, then.
Its location was... hey! Release my quarry this instant.
Sorry, but I have to put it with the rest of our stuff. Consider it confiscated.
I'm the older one here! You can't just do this to me like that!
Her speech definitely gets worse when she's flustered.
And with that, we have everything we need to escape this room! The first step is pretty obvious- use all the keys on the strange box we found at the beginning.
Inside of the box was a piece of paper. Unfolding it revealed a much larger diagram, containing multiple sections.
Think that's related to the name we have to give?
No doubt about it.
Gula didn't seem all too interested by it, instead sitting on the couch and paying little attention. The two other girls focused to try and understand what it meant, but the more they thought, the less sense it made.
It seems like this name is in four parts.
For the first part, it says... _ _ _ (K). I wonder why those underscores are there. Parenthesis? The second part says... + Common 4. I'm guessing the two of those together make one name, since they're on the same line.
Let's just keep it in mind... There's other stuff in this box, and we can come back to the paper at any point.
Ancora pulled out two ME-cards next. Avaritia took one, while Gula snagged the other.
Gula simply shrugged.
It is, as we say, shotgunned. Perhaps it is karma, or payback. It does not matter, regardless; there is a key you are entirely free to obtain.
She was right- in the box was yet another thing.
Now we have to give our answer...
Decidedly, she wasn't too happy about having to do it.
Normally, one would be eager to leave, but... it is clear that due to the way this is set up, if you don't get it right, you die, so maybe she's just stressed because she might have to say it, being the older figure. And here I thought she loved lording her age over the rest of us. Granted, she did dsay she didn't want to be treated any differently before...
When you get an idea, let's gather at the door to make our exit.
With that second slip of paper, the answer is solveable! I'm going to spoiler the solutions, in case you want to try it yourself
So, you have an idea?
There's actually no time to waste. While we're not at the time limit yet, we have a vote to do, talks to share, and also, we need to try and figure out how to buy some time.
Ancora stepped forward, with her mind already set. The two others stopped all of their actions and simply stared as the shorter girl inhaled deeply, readying herself.
Let ME out! The terrorist is...
So, for the first name, we know the solution is _ _ _ K + common 4. The first half of this solution should be relatively obvious, as it relates to the sign above the bar- in other words, the first three letters of the first name are LUC. The second half is a bit trickier, but it's connected to one of the slips of paper we found- the one that sais bille quille ville trille. It's asking for the four letters each word has in common. Thus, the first name of the terrorist is...
This one's solution is _ _ _ _ (ER) + Wheel Firsts. The first half is connected to the fire extinguisher we found in the second room- Gula said that one of the words was incorrect, boiser. This tells us this word was intentionally changed, and thus, the first four letters of the last name are BOIS. As for the second half, the wheel had a phrase engraved on it: jest over linguist ingrate. The clue wants you to take the first letter from each word, which gives the last name of our terrorist...
The door unlocked. Everyone released a breath they most likely didn't realize they held before. After that, a shaky laughter came from Avaritia.
Well, that's not my name. I don't care about who the terrorist is either, personally. Let's just go.
She was the first one out, clutching her ME-card. Ancora looked as she left, expecting Gula to take the steps to go too, but she'd frozen in place.
Hey, Gula? The door's open, let's go.
Ah, yes, that is... correct. Very well.
Gula left without adding any other words. Finally, the blond girl followed behind them.
A lot cleaner of an exit than last time, that's for sure.