Part 17: MEnace
So, clearly something happened that we weren't prepared for. We're going to be staying on the bottom half again this run, but we're going to have to make some different decisions at some point to avoid the same outcome. Also, now that we're starting to get deeper into the flowchart, in the interest of brevity, I am going to assume by now you have a pretty good grasp on all the possibilities of the first part of the flowchart, so instead I'm going to quickly summarize the choices we've made but skip past a lot of the details, at least through the first vote. Starting from the beginning of the flowchart:
Ancora 'wakes up' in the classroom, and after introducing herself, decides to introduce herself to Superbia. After they solve the puzzle and leave the classroom, they run into Ira, Avaritia, and Tristitia, and Ancora approaches Avaritia first. Luxuria and Gula exit their room without the ninth person. ME explains some more of the rules, and after she's done, Ancora talks to Luxuria first. The group make their way into what was known as the Crossroads when the school was open, and in the process Superbia hits her helmet on the doorframe and is incapacitated. Ancora takes this opportunity to speak to Luxuria some more. The group split up to search for more ME-cards so they can initiate the first voting session, and this gives Ancora the opportunity to hack into another person's helmet; she decides to hack Luxuria's helmet. This is how she learns that Luxuria and Gula had a direct hand in the death of the ninth person, as well as that Luxuria intentionally left a ME-card hidden in one of the side classrooms. She uses this information to her advantage by turning the group's focus off of her and onto the other suspicious people, but in the process accidentally reveals information she couldn't have known. However, in the process, Luxuria drops the mask enough that the group decides to vote for them anyway, leading to Luxuria being executed.
At this point, Ancora seems to react to a vision of some kind, leading the group to write her strange behavior off as her being mentally unstable and, in turn, unreliable; however, after she leaves and solves the puzzle to lead to the next area by herself, they decide to still allow her to come with them to the next puzzle rooms...
The group was, for the major part, in agreement. Gula had remained almost completely silent since Luxuria had died. After a second or so, she decided to join them again, still mute to all attempts at conversation on the way. It was like she didn't really know what she was going to do anymore.
As they set off towards the new set of doors, Ancora...
This time, we're going to walk with Gula.
Despite her best efforts, the cow girl remained completely mute. Ancora chose to walk in silence with her, regardless. The others were all too content to let the two of them follow along without raising their voices. Still, despite the lack of communication, Ancora felt a bit of kinship with her.
They say that ostracized people sometimes end up forming their own groups. Like the kids who get bullied at school end up becoming friends. Now, Gula didn't get ostracized in the same way, because her silence is completely voluntary, but it's still similar I think.
The silence wasn't allowed to continue for much further, though.
From here, the group reaches the intersection where the next three doors are, and Tristitia and Superbia break off from the group to head towards the far door...
This is where we split up, I think. There's a door ahead that can be opened for a classroom that most likely contains some ME-cards. Bia and I should head over there.
Nobody made you the leader. If anything, that was my idea too. The earlier I'm in there, the earlier I can leave it.
Deciding not to futilely argue against the rabbit, the horse waved at the rest of the group before trudging off towards the door. Superbia followed him without so much as the same courtesy. Faced with that, Ancora...
We're going to wish Superbia good luck this time.
I hope you'll make it out alive and swiftly!
Superbia's reply came in the form of a middle finger. The hand making that gross gesture disappeared into the room last. Ancora definitely felt annoyed by that, even if the others didn't care.
What a bitch. There's no point in even thinking of being nice to her.
And that's literally it! That is still, somehow, a TRUST increase with her.
From here, Ancora joins Ira and Avaritia, and the trio enter their puzzle room to find a lavish mansion foyer, with a strange throne room next door. The Enneagram of Personality features prominently in this room, with the answer being which person in their group is guilty of murder. In the process of examining the room, the team finds a gun that Ira immediately takes away. The answer is eventually determined to be Helper, and the trio leave the room. The rest slowly make their way into the hallway to see him with the gun still out, but Ira is eventually disarmed by Superbia. The group realizes the time for voting has almost ran out, but that they are still one ME-card short. A fight breaks out between Gula and Superbia, which leads to Superbia reloading the pistol and shooting Gula dead. The group split up from here to process and gather their thoughts, and Ancora takes this opportunity to find a quiet place where she can hack into somebody's helmet...
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...
We're going to hack Superbia this time, as we can't hack Tristitia yet- he's blocked off from us here.
BGM: Mens Metis
The solution for this puzzle is...
The goal is to break up both segments, rabbit and &lion. In this case, alternating between letters with &lion in the middle. Both segments have to be torn apart completely, and therefore alternate in full from left to right.
Soon enough, that silence was broken again by Tristitia joining her for a chat. It was immediately obvious that Superbia was not very pleased by his presence there.
Uh, about earlier...
What about earlier? Someone died and it bought us time, so be thankful.
You don't understand. You killed someone just now, and we didn't have any idea of their crime, or whatever they had to do with this place. We have to make sure those who die are the right ones.
And who put you in charge, exactly? Look, I really don't like being told what to do. I'm gonna do things my way, and if you get in it, you're out too.
Is that a threat?
I just want to keep the playing field leveled. And besides, you think this is a game?
I already kept the playing field leveled, since the bullets are of no consequences anymore, and yes, I think it's very much a game. That MEdiot told us- we're playing Kill ME, whatever that is.
You didn't level the playing field at all! It just means the only one who can shoot is you, and no one else. Even if you don't have the gun, you already showed you can just take it anyway! And-
Aggravated, Superbia gave him the old talk-to-the-hand gesture.
I don't care, so keep your observations to yourself. See you around, or not.
What an idiot... Bah, most importantly, I have to finish setting this up. I thought he might see it my way, but...
She grumbled a little while rummaging on the consoles. She was messing with the portraits, which she'd apparently been doing before, which for whatever reason she'd paused to look around.
Now, her hands plucked one portrait after the other.
So, she noticed the portraits can be messed with. That's pretty bad, but at least we're in the clear about who's doing this. I wonder whose portraits she's switching around.
The first one was her own. Superbia was acutely aware she was the target for the next vote, because of how dangerous she was. That meant she had to switch them to ensure they'd vote for her, but not really for her. The second portrait was Ancora's. She switched the two of them so that the consoles had Ancora's face over Superbia's button, and vice-versa for the other.
That's pretty smart, not going to lie. Too bad I can spy on her, and now I'm onto her little trick. I wonder when it was that she learned those portraits aren't set in stone... I didn't really have much of a choice, anyway. It's not like I could've done it any differently. Not only would it require more resources, but I'm unable to grab them.
Nothing much of note happened otherwise. Superbia ended up only messing with the ones related to her or Ancora. After a short while, her vision caught onto Invidia and Tristitia walking into Wing A, splitting up at the entrance.
Uh oh, I can't see much of what they're doing now. Superbia's staying in the voting room, no doubt. I can't exactly hack another helmet to check, so... It's probably safer to cut the connection so that I can be there when Tristitia eventually comes by. It's especially bad because I haven't seen Avaritia and Ira, too...
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? So then... does this mean Avaritia or Ira did something?
Eventually, Ancora regains her sight and hearing to find Tristitia attempting to help her up. Shaken by the fact she was seemingly assaulted, Ancora hurries away from him, past Ira and Avaritia, and into the Crossroads, where she encounters Invidia. The conversation is standoffish until Ancora confides in Invidia that she was assaulted and lost consciousness. Before the two can figure out who it was the rest of the group reassembles for the vote...
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
All cards were swiped. All helmets were affixed. At that moment, no one could move anymore.
Based on what I saw, its obvious Superbia is the culprit, but we can't get anyone to vote for her. They're going to kill the wrong person altogether!
Stop! No, we can't vote for Superbia!
What's this all about? Another one of your insights?
You're defending her?
We already made up our minds, s-so vote or shut up.
And now Ira is defending the choice too, but... isn't he close to Superbia?
No way. If you're voting for her, you're going to kill me. I saw her change the portraits around. You can switch them, see?
And each portrait can fit in any other socket! Don't you remember their layout from the first round, and how some of them moved?
Now that you mention it... We're sorted in an interesting way. On the left, it's mostly made of herbivores. In the middle, we have omnivores. On the right, we have carnivores.
You're completely correct. Bia's portrait moved from the herbivores over to the omnivores...
And Cora's portrait moved over to the herbivore area despite being a bear.
Like you have anyone's death on your mind. You killed Ula without a second thought.
And nobody's dead for this hour slice yet. Mission accomplished, I think. We all survived that hour.
So it doesn't even make you nervous, huh? The fact we're going to vote for me?
N-No, not at all.
The slight hesitation was telling.
Instead of telling Superbia she was full of shit, Avaritia decided to change the subject back to voting, which they needed to do before the discussion turned into a half hour long waste of time.
I don't think we have much of a choice. We have to vote for Cora.
I-isn't that dangerous? What if we r-really do get her?
I'm okay with it. I trust in this. You should too.
I'd rather trust Cora if I had to pick between her and Bia, to be perfectly honest.
Sorry, but my vote's already in. It's do or die.
Superbia clicked her tongue in an annoyed tone.
Look, you can't vote for me- I mean Cora!
But she had already put her vote in for herself. The numerous slip-ups as well as her insistence on having the group vote for her only fanned the flames of doubt, even for Ira.
Goodbye then, Bia. And honestly? Good riddance.
Ancora put in her vote as well.
Once again, our vote doesn't mean anything here, but I voted for ourselves to keep it consistent. Also, a subtle detail, but the portraits are in different spots on the UI for this vote, because she moved the button covers
The screens above the voting consoles settled onto Superbia's symbol. It was clear what was to follow: it was her execution. Every shotgun but the victim's released their hold, leaving the participants to witness the macabre outcome.
Time slowed down. Eventually, everything froze.
Lock #5 obtained.