Part 28: MEssenger
content warning: suicide
Ancora stood there as Tristitia's body was on the ground. This situation was familiar. For some reason, she felt like she already had seen something like this before. It was probably because of Luxuria's death from earlier.
Notably, there was a good reason to split up, as Invidia had the gun, and could shoot anyone at a moment's notice. He had seemed stable so far, but now she was not so sure.
The best would have been if the gun could've been kept, but... at this rate, things will fall apart.
Cora, w-where are you going?
A voice called for her, but she didn't answer it. Instead, she walked down the staircase leading to the rest of the Crossroads, and Wing A. Surprisingly, Invidia didn't call for her to stop or anything. It was as though he did not care if the others left. The group naturally split up even further. Ancora watched from afar as Ira and Superbia remained behind, but Avaritia split from them, too. Invidia sat in the staircase after a few seconds. He was looking at his revolver.
Avaritia joined Ancora before long. She noticed the girl while walking away from the Crossroads, and stopped in her tracks.
Ancora could see Superbia had grabbed something off Tristitia's body. It was a key- he'd gotten it from a deduction room before, most likely.
Yeah. I just didn't expect... him to have the revolver.
There's a secret door in the back of that wall of metallic plates right in here, huh. I'd offer to go see where it leads, but...
No real point in exploring it while there's danger afloat.
Instead, the bear-wearer watched the scene unfold, unsure of what Invidia was doing. He opened the revolver and counted the bullets inside, maybe? Whatever it was, he eventually slid the revolver behind the target plate on his chest to keep it safe. Ira and Superbia were content not joining them yet, remaining behind with the voting booth. Instead, Invidia stood up to approach the two girls.
Traitor? Could it be him? What does Avaritia know of it, anyway?
But it was much more likely Avaritia mentioned him as a traitor to the group, and not as the traitor needing removal. Invidia didn't seem phased by the words, walking towards them more.
Ancora spoke in a whisper. Avaritia nodded in acknowledgement, and the two of them sprinted away from the Crossroads. Instead of going through the dead end hallway, they ran further into the wing itself. They could open the new section now, but...
She cast a glance towards Avaritia; the older woman was holding up to her own youthful athleticism. Running with heels wasn't easy, though, and eventually she fell down.
Ancora stopped running around the intersection, making a step towards Avaritia instead to help her. The older woman had apparently hurt her leg. However, the teacher waved her away.
Keep going, he's going to get me anyway! It's my fault for wearing these damn things!
I can defend myself, go!
Without taking a look back, Ancora ran away from the scene, heading towards the corner with the staircase. That was where she'd gone to before. If she could just find the panel...
...then it's possible to get him from behind and save Avaritia, anyway.
Which meant the secret door was somewhere on the right. Looking at the last column, she saw that the beams did that strange bend; it clearly was that one. She pushed it and crawled through, almost ripping her sweater dress in the process.
Ira and Superbia had left the Crossroads. That was Ancora's only thought about them, since she didn't see either of them when she glanced up the stairs. They might have gone after Invidia, too.
This wild goose chase is starting to annoy me...
As silently as possible, she crept around the corner to look at the situation in Wing A. Invidia and Avaritia were together, and there was still no sign of Ira or Superbia. It seemed as though the teacher and the boy were talking together. Ancora stepped forward with the intent to get the jump on Invidia. He noticed, turning over to look at her. Perhaps ten meters separated them; Ancora could clear that in a few seconds...
It's fine, it's okay! He explained his reasoning!
Far from relieved, Ancora also walked forward, towards Avaritia to get some answers.
I'd like him to tell me face to face, then. Why did he run?
I don't... know. That's actually worrying. He couldn't have gone far, so we could catch up.
She pointed towards the rest of the hallway. Ancora snapped her fingers.
Let's get him in a pincer. Go through this hall, and I'll head through the secret door.
There was no time to lose. She closed in on the metallic wall...
...only to hear a loud gunshot. Ancora had reflexively recoiled, but she wasn't the one who was shot. Her arms couldn't cover her entire helmet, so when she opened her eyes next, she saw the aftermath through the hole in the wall.
Did he shoot Avaritia? Or...
As Ancora watched the aftermath of the suicide, she suddenly found her vision closing in against the metal wall.
Someone shoved her from behind and then she collided with the wall itself. With a loud bang, Ancora fell to the ground, unconscious, dropping like a rock.
BGM: Memini Meminisse
Do you know what déjà vu is?
The voice was familiar. Ancora had heard it a lot these past hours. She could hear it, but she couldn't see whoever it was attached to. The teacher asked a question, so Ancora answered.
Déjà vu is when you experience a moment that feels familiar, but hasn't happened. Some people believe it to be precognition, but they're wrong. It's generally believed to be an anomaly in your memories.
What does it have to do... with now?
Some people believe that déjà vu is when you experience a similar moment to one from a previous life. Such as, if you are near a pond and experience déjà vu, it is possible you've seen a pond before when you were an Egyptian- maybe it was an oasis. Others believe they're instead visions of other possible futures, playing out concurrently to your current one. You know how there's a belief time is like a tree? Every choice makes a new branch come out of it. It's like if you had the vision from another branch.
Then he committed suicide.
What about... the revolver?
I can see again. About time...
Avaritia was standing near her. Feeling at a disadvantage, Ancora slowly pulled herself back up to her feet. One of her hands grabbed against the wall for support, even after she was standing anew. Her other hand latched onto her helmet, since an overwhelming headache was breaking her in two, metaphorically speaking.
I don't have it. When I got to him, the gun was already gone. Bia or Ira must have gotten hold of it.
The cheerleader stood at the other end of the hallway with Ira in tow. She was carrying the gun, which was pointed in the direction of the other two girls. They could slip out through the hole in the back, but due to the firearm's threat, doing that wasn't a good idea.
We're the last survivors. Everyone else is dead. Unfortunately, we need six deaths, and we've only got five so far, so... we'll be playing a little game.
She cackled as though this really was just a funny game to her.
At least one bullet was used from that revolver. Let's say we're unlucky, and it's at one and not anymore, that means there might be a way to get her to waste five shots. Not sure how I'd pull that off, but it's something to keep in mind.
Hey, hey. Don't goad her on. I don't especially want to be shot.
I don't think so. See, I want to know what's going on here. We are not the mastermind, that's for sure. It's gotta be either of you, but who, I wonder? Is it the older one, who's a teacher, and whose position would put her in control of the school?
She aimed the gun towards the teacher. There wasn't even a shiver coursing through either girls.
Or is it the little bitch who's been a constant pain in the ass ever since she woke up? If you'd known this would happen now, Cora, you wouldn't have nagged me so much until now, huh? Eating shit now, are we?
I would've done the same anyway because... because you're insane and despicable, Bia. And besides, the one you're looking for might already be dead.
The bunny girl's other hand turned into a fist for a moment. She looked even more aggravated than before.
Ira was watching from the sidelines, unsure of what he should do. He remained there like a bodyguard, just in case anything happened.
Actually, I have a question, and it might be of vital importance.
Is it really fucking important?
Yes. It might help us determine who the mastermind is.
Superbia was thinking. She was probably wondering the exact same thing everyone else was.
If Avaritia was the mastermind, why would she ask that? Is she trying to give me away?
What is the year of your birth?
One number comes to mind... but it's impossible. It's... 2014.
That's correct. You were born in 2014. The exact date was November 19, 2014. In fact, that day is the same for you too. Do you understand?
Avaritia was weighing her words.
It feels like she's not talking to Superbia anymore. Is she talking to me?
You share a birthday. As for the missing directives, for Invidia... They should be engraved now, and the way to the déjà vu should be open. Six of us are equal to two times four, ascending.
Superbia gave another groan of rage, unable to understand what Avaritia was telling her. While the teacher was talking, Superbia was taking steps forward, taking advantage of her focus on conveying a message.
I'll kill you!
Before the rabbit could shoot her, the pig leaped onto her and tackled her down. She tried to grab the gun, but she couldn't. A stray shot fired near Ira, and he decided to get himself mixed into it.
That's two bullets gone. Maybe Avaritia had the same idea that I had.
As the three of them fought over the revolver, Ancora decided to hightail it out of there. Turning around, she stepped through the opening in the plates.
She might even get the gun. Let's just hope for that.
Another explosion signaled someone had surrendered their right to live. This time, it was him, thankfully for Ancora and Avaritia.
Fucking bitch! Fuck fuck! Fuck! Fuck, you're dead! You die, everyone dies!
She kicked Avaritia off her, rolling over to stand back up. Her outfit was slightly dusty, but she didn't care. Instead, she let out a blood-curdling scream and executed the teacher with the fourth bullet. Upon witnessing the scene, Ancora regained her composure and hid behind the plates, closing the opening. She waited for her to approach it to go through it, laying out a trap for the rabbit.
But wait- what if she comes from the other side? Then isn't it the same as being stuck in a corner?
Yet Ancora didn't budge. She waited there, both scared and tense. If Superbia's head poked out through the opening, she could use the plate, and...
Quick, jump through the hole!
But Ancora had closed it up, thinking she could have used it to smash it against Superbia's helmet when the rabbit would've come through the entrance.
A shot lodged itself into her leg, causing her to wince and scream. Only one more bullet remained. Ancora finally managed to pull the hole open to slide through, and limped forward, walking as fast as she could to try and set an ambush somewhere else. Unfortunately for her, Superbia wasn't limping. She pulled herself through the opening and aimed for the final shot to spell Ancora's doom.
BGM: Memini Meminisse
It's inevitable when things get that chaotic. This body isn't trained enough to handle fighting like that. At least Superbia's going down, too, since when the timer runs out, it's over for her. Sigh... we're at a dead end again.
Yes, again. This isn't the first time, is it? But, why? It feels like I lost track of what I had to do. What I had to find. What I had to figure out. Déjà vu, is it? The traitor, right. Who is the traitor? Why do I care so much about the traitor? Is there even a traitor, or is it a goal meant to make me keep going, over and over?
I don't remember putting together the room we'd just gone through. In fact, now that I think about it clearly, I don't remember setting any of the rooms up. They were familiar, but I thought I did it, and now I think... I think I didn't do any of this.
Was it Tristitia? Was it Invidia? It can't be Ira, can it? Who is the guy that helped me program all of this and set this entire operation up? I'm this close to figuring it out. I just need a little more time, but I'm not so delusional. I know soon there won't be any more time for me.
And then she was dead.
Invidia directives obtained?