Part 16: MEdusa
content warning: more being weird/gross about Gula's body, ugh
And now, we're back out.
With the window obstructed by that metal plate, she couldn't see inside to make sure everyone made it out. As the hallways were completely silent other than for her and Avaritia following her, she figured no one else had solved their room yet.
Look, I'm not g-going to do anything bad, okay? It's j-just like I said. I don't want any of you to f-fuckin' kill me like that...
There was some truth to his words; the more Ancora watched him carrying the gun, the more she realized he really didn't know how to use it, which would only be helpful to her.
It wouldn't be too hard to try and get it from him... But let's not forget he's also pretty built. He can defend himself even without the gun.
For now, Ancora decided to not think about a violent outcome and instead focused her thoughts on what they learned in the room. Someone in the group was a real threat, and it wasn't Ira.
It would be best to get the others to follow the same train of thought, but how do we guide them there?
Avaritia calmly shrugged, not even deigning to open her mouth to say a single word. However, Ira had a much more... irate reaction.
Just... d-don't question it, okay? It's n-not me, but whoever it is, if they learn we know, you can b-bet we're going to be meeting the b-bearded guy in the sky soon after.
He pointed upwards as he spoke.
There i-isn't any way they let us go after that. I'm not really s-smart but even I can understand it's dangerous, so keep s-shut if you know what's good for you.
Which means it's best to bring up during the next vote. That will help solve this issue. However, maybe I should make sure I'm right on who it is first with another session of hacking. Maybe now's not the best time, but soon enough.
This had for effect to stop Gula dead in her tracks, but not before she bumped into Invidia, causing him to fall forward to the ground.
You, uh, wanna try that one again, game?
Ouch! Hey, please watch it next time...
Oh, my apologies. It was not under my assumption you would be ceasing all movements this readily.
Now that she was out and she could see it, Gula cautiously watched the gun hanging from the lion's hand.
Invidia was still in the process of standing up. No one gave him a hand, so Ancora stepped forward to help him. He shook his head in protest.
I'll be fine, it's okay. I was just bumped by not just a single body but the entire gravitational force of two celestial bodies...
Hey, that is completely uncalled for! Avert your gaze and your uncouth thoughts from my chest this instant.
Gula clenched her hands into fists, looking downright aggravated by his joke. Thankfully for her, the party got in full swing when the third door unlocked in the distance and Tristitia's helmet popped in from around the corner.
Oh, you're all...
Will you guys stop? It's j-just a gun! I'm not g-going to shoot anyone. Nobody's got to be scared of this, okay?
What do you mean, just a gun? That kind of thing is highly dangerous.
Ugh, what's the matter now? Someone's got a gun?
The rabbit girl came in after the horse. She evaluated the situation from Invidia dusting off his hands now that he was back on his feet, to the group somewhat awkwardly waiting to see how things would go, and finally to Ira who still had the gun in his hand.
Simple, then. You just take it apart.
Look, do you want everyone to stop getting scared over it or not? I thought I heard something about that just now. Just open the gun.
I... I don't k-know how to do that, okay?
Then let me do it.
Ancora could tell that Ira really didn't want to let go of the gun. But after a moment, he absconded from that position and let the rabbit have it.
It's really easy. To empty the gun, there are two ways. One is to open it like this.
Now nobody will be able to shoot with it. The revolver, without bullets, is useless unless you want to clock someone with it. Got it? Simple enough, like I said.
She handed the now empty revolver over to Ira, who took it back. He put it in his pocket, now that the danger of holding it was past. It was like a weight had been lifted off the group. At least, until Tristitia panicked.
Oh no, we're running late! The hour's coming to a close soon. We've got ten minutes before the time for the vote is over.
Let's just vote, then. We've got all this time to do it, and on top of that we already found two ME-cards in our room.
We found two ME-cards, too. I guess we all found two? So that's six...
Ah, d-dammit. It could've gone smoothly, but we have to search for m-more again? We already searched this whole place and d-didn't find any earlier!
Let us away towards a second thorough search. Perhaps we'd not given it due concern prior.
Perhaps we'd not given it due concern prior. Bitch, please, talk normal. I swear, you gotta drop the thesaurus.
You're saying I'm a slut, bitch? Look at you again and say it once more.
That is what you precisely are. A highly uncouth one, completely undeserving of my attention, mind you.
With your looks, its no wonder your mind jumps to that. Just by looking at you I can tell you've had more dongs than the bell of an old church.
What a laugh! Have we witnesed the singular moment in which your only duet of cephalic cells has formulated a sentence composed of more than the word bitch?
I don't give a fuck about what you think my head composes. But if you don't stop bitching at me, your head is gonna start decomposing instead.
Girls, stop f-fighting, we've got to-
And furthermore, you've been a pain ever since you first arrived with your little friend who was voted out! Of your starting group, you're the last one. I wouldn't tempt fate if I was you, because your group's dropping like flies right now...
But they didn't listen. Even through the boys' attempts at bringing the two of them back from their bickering, they simply continued.
Pray tell then, incapable rabbit, what do you propose to solve our timely dilemma? Should you continue this line, we'll all duly surrender our right to live.
This is going to degenerate. Something has to be done, and fast, or else...
Before anyone could do anything, least of all Ancora, Superbia grabbed the revolver from Ira's pants. Whether or not he'd wanted to stop her, he was too surprised to move. With a kick of her shoe, she grabbed a bullet and slammed it into the chamber lightning-fast.
The bang that echoed was telltale of what just transpired. A bullet hole had gone right through Gula's chest, who promptly fell down, hitting her head hard on the wall.
Y-you're... murderer... You're the one going... to hell...
The helmet she wore activated, and the resulting explosion kicked up tons of dust and smoke. By the time it dissipated, the body was headless. Yet, the wall behind her barely suffered any damage.
And this is the second way to empty the gun. You can thank me later for saving your lives, since we won't need a vote for this hour slice.
Superbia threw the now empty gun away, and walked off before anyone said anything. Everyone was too surprised and frozen in shock to do anything of the sort, anyway. Ancora grabbed the gun while no one else moved. While she was doing it, she had a thought for Gula, and her head turned to look at the body which was now a mess on the floor. A mess that was getting redder by the moment.
Ugh... s-sick... I'm going to be sick.
He walked away from the others, not content remaining near the dead body.
I should have stepped in. Maybe I could have prevented it.
Don't blame yourself over it. I guess... something like that was inevitable.
Now what? What about the vote?
We've got another hour to think about it. But maybe... there's another way. It's like ME said. The votes aren't necessary.
As much as everyone hated to admit it, all the survivors felt similarly. Gula dying was an unwanted outcome, but it meant they wouldn't die for the next hour. And yet, they were still trapped in this section until they voted again. For some of them, it also gave them a clear target to eliminate next. Not that any of them really were as close to Gula as to wish for revenge, but Superbia's threat was made manifest.
Let's split up and gather our thoughts.
The group agreed, and everyone set out in a different direction. Ancora left them first, splitting from the rest to check around the corner further south past the room she explored with Avaritia and Ira.
Maybe now would be a good idea to hack. Let's see... Matching frequencies are Tristitia, Superbia, and Ira. I'm very curious to see what Superbia is up to, but... I've got choices, it seems. For now, I'll be hacking...
This time, we're going to be hacking Ira.
BGM: Mens Metis
Even though we could hack Ira in the first group (and did so, in a different file), the puzzle is different this time since the frequencies are different. As for the solution this time...
When the directive says equalize what it really means is both sides of the equation need to have the same numerical value. If we translate the letters into their numerical counterparts (as in A=1, B=2, C=3, etc) and then add all of the numbers up, we get a total of 102- therefore, each side needs to add up to 51. Additionally, each side has to be listed in numerical order (though since I and 9 are the same you can put these two in any order).
Seems Ira went off somewhere without Avaritia, and he just came back to her. Since he doesn't have the key, he couldn't get into the corner room, anyway.
I t-thought I saw a ME-card, but it was just my imagination. It's not l-like we really need to find more right now though, r-right?
Avaritia went over to where Ira came from and knelt besides Gula's dead body.
I guess not. She has a card and a few keys on her, but we still need to gather a sufficient number of cards for later, anyway. More can't hurt.
The teacher held them out. Clear as day, there was a ME-card in the palm of her hand, and in the other, two keys. Their teeth appeared to form the letters I and G, respectively.
That's a lot of keys you g-got now. Four, right?
Oh, uh. I g-guess. Don't know what they're for or a-anything...
Just take both. I already have two keys, so I may as well spread them around.
Ira took them both, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly at the motion. He clearly wasn't used to saying thanks, or just being polite in general.
The two of them remained silent for a few seconds. Both of them were looking at the dead body, as though both of them wanted to talk about it, but also wanted to avoid doing it.
So uh, about U-Ula...
You know what we're going to do next, right?
Yeah. So I was thinking, m-maybe... just don't.
Maybe she shouldn't say them then, if she truly doesn't mean what she's saying.
Listen, no, I m-mean, uh. I don't know if I should be m-mentioning this to anybody, but like... her family's kinda f-fucked up. They're rich, right? They're k-kinda loopy. They have this whole... indoctrination thing.
I'm talkin' d-drugs and stuff like that. I don't mean drugs like... crack or weed. Stuff that is apparently supposed to control your flow of t-thought and connect you to God or some bullshit like that. Look, I don't think that even w-works, but yeah. Her family's rich, and the're doing k-kinda shady shit, but they don't exactly hide it. It's like they... indoctrinated t-themselves into doing it.
And that makes her a better person.
Yeah, well, I just k-kinda want her to get out of it. Snap out and realize she's not G-God or a prophet or better than anybody.
How do you know all this?
Uh... I honestly don't know. Memory c-came back a bit earlier, with the room we explored. There was... a mansion lobby that was the s-same as her family's mansion. And then a large, ornate room.
I slipped them to p-people at school. I guess that's my crime.
I see. Well, I'll keep that in mind. All of that.
She gave a nod towards him, but she was clearly looking off to the side. Ira turned around, seeing Tristitia coming by.
Hey, you two. We're going to gather to vote.
Oh uh, yeah, s-she's over there around the corner I think.
He pointed towards the hall, past Gula's body. Tristitia thanked him and walked further in the direction of Ancora's hiding spot.
I gotta do this fast, or else I'm not going to be there when he comes around.
There were no sounds or any visuals to be heard or seen respectively, while it should have been showing everything from her helmet's point of view once more.
Something's wrong. This can only happen if someone forcibly knocks it offline. That means someone bashed the helmet and caused the resonance effect strongly enough. Why did I not feel any of it?
Eventually, the helmet rebooted. Ancora's vision became filled with Tristitia holding her to help her back onto her feet.
Was it... him? Could it be that he closed the distance this quickly and knocked out the helmet in the time it was taking me to have the connection back?
Ancora harbored this strange feeling that perhaps it had been his fault. She acted surprised when he was holding her, only to pull away from him after a few seconds.
I'm fine, don't worry over me.
Hey, wait up! We have to meet with the group.
I'm going there, it's fine!
Shrugging off the light dizziness she was feeling as a result of the altercation, Ancora put as much distance between them as she could, making a beeline for the voting consoles. Surely they would all gather to do the vote soon; it was twenty minutes past the hour, so they still had forty minutes, but there was nothing to do until then except vote.
I can't shake this feeling that someone did something I wasn't aware of during this part. Something's... missing. Feels like... running into a wall, headfirst, with your eyes closed. Not good.
Why are they still in this wing? The only explanation for Avaritia... she's taken the ME-card that belonged to Gula. But Ira doesn't have anything to do here. And there was Ira's speech in the room we'd just explored, too. It gives them a whole new meaning... and it means we can't trust Superbia.
Ancora hesitated as those thoughts went through her head. There was an even bigger problem at hand, and there was no way to deduce it given the puzzle piece of information she had.
The bigger problem is... who knocked me offline? All of these details will have to be shared for the vote. It's probably safer to talk about it when they're physically incapable of movement in front of the shotguns.
Oh, there you are. Trist and me were looking everywhere for you.
You mean Trist and I.
No, it was me, not you. I mean what I said.
I'm just saying it's incorrect to say them and me like that... Besides, you could just say we.
Yeah, I know. I'm heading there.
The conversation came to a bit of a standstill. Invidia was clearly hesitating. The exact nature of the reason behind that hesitation was lost on Ancora. Was it because of her loopy episode earlier? If she wanted to get anything out of him, she'd have to take the first step.
But what would he answer...?
Ancora knew what she wanted to talk about. Without much hesitation on her end, she spoke, forthcoming about her incident.
Someone assaulted me. I didn't see who it was.
I was struck from behind. I passed out for a few minutes not long ago. It's probably this helmet that caused me to lose consciousness. You know, how Bia accidentally hit the ear of her helmet on the doorframe earlier and she screamed bloody murder? Imagine that but from a direct hit.
I wasn't around back there, so I can't say who attacked you. Do you have any suspects?
He was more open to talk about it now. That act, out of concern for her, calmed Ancora.
You came out of the first hallway, so it sounds like it wasn't you. Trist found me and helped me back up, so maybe it was him. I can't rule out that possibility... Otherwise, Ira and Ava were both in Wing A too. Then there's Bia...
Oh, it can't be Bia. She's been around here this whole time as far as I'm aware.
But you went into the hallway, didn't you? You might've missed her slipping by you...
Ancora couldn't be sure now. Superbia definitely could have a hand in doing something bad, but if Tristitia didn't run into her...
Okay, let's eliminate Superbia from the suspects, then.
That would be great, yes.
They had been so engrossed in their talk that they didn't notice the bunny girl coming by. She walked down the stairs to join them with a slightly irate tone.
Are we going to vote now? Look, time's ticking and we've not reached the next set of rooms yet. Three already died, so you've got a 50% chance of coming out of it alive, too.
Something's not quite right. Generally speaking, Superbia is a giant bitch, fine. But she's very forthcoming now. I mean, more than usual. She's definitely up to something.
Superbia shook her head and clicked her tongue, annoyed.
Just come up here. It's not magic; it's just a few stairs.
Looking behind herself, Ancora noticed the rest of the group closing in. She decided to walk up the stairs before they caught up with the trio already in the Crossroads.
BGM: Mercedis Mellitus
This is where it would be best to point out the discrepancy of events. However, I'm kind of at a loss. Nothing really connects or makes sense. Superbia's suspicious. Maybe that's a good spot to start with.
But before Ancora could say anything about Superbia, the group was already done with their deliberating. It had been lightning fast. The only one who wasn't in agreement to vote with Superbia was... to no one's surprise, herself. Superbia was surprisingly not putting much of a fight, though. She did look fairly annoyed, but it was nothing on the level one would expect out of her in this situation.
This is stupid and dumb, and you're all stupid and dumb.
Those mean the same thing. Either way, she's too dangerous to leave alive. We're all in agreement, right?
I guess there's not much more to say about it.
Then what? What are you going to do? Ava, Cora, Vidi and I are all going to vote for Bia. Surely, you can tell voting otherweise is futile?
I guess you're right. Fine, then. Sorry, Bia, but they're right.
Bia didn't say anything.
Something is definitely wrong with this. Normally, she would've been out of her mind at the mere mention of killing her. But is it too late to do anything about it?
She voted for herself too...? Oh no, this is bad. We just got played, didn't we?
God, you're all so fucking dumb. I wasn't saying anything because I couldn't have held my laughter if I did!
The screens exposed the votes much like before. What happened was surprising... Even though everyone seemingly voted for Superbia, Ancora was the one with six votes.
What...? Bia, did you...
Ancora stared in bewilderment at the results. It was the final thing she would stare at.
She only had time to hear the first part of the explosion before she was truly ended, her head engulfed in a torrent of heat and destruction.
I guess that's what one gets for being blind to what's happening. It would've gone differently if I'd known something else most likely. Or maybe it was some misplaced trust. Whatever the reason is, it's too late now to ponder on it, but it's still disappointing. At least I'll have pretty much all of eternity before me.