Part 32: MEchanism
It feels like something went wrong with that route- we missed something important. Let's try that again. Once again, I'm going to skip like 2/3 of the summary for this route, because everything through Gula's execution in the second vote is literally identical. Thus, I'm starting the summary right after Gula's death:
After the vote, Tristitia pulls a gun on Luxuria, accusing them of being the mastermind (as their portrait was also switched), but when the others point out Superbia and Ancora's were also switched, he backs off. The group, wary of Tristitia's sudden control of the proceedings, makes their way to the last third of the ward, and splits up to explore. Avaritia and Luxuria both speak to Ancora privately, and with the latter, Ancora forms a plan to ambush Tristitia and knock him out so they can retrieve the firearm; however, when they attempt this plan, it quickly falls apart, leading to Tristitia attempting to shoot Superbia. Ancora pushes her out of the way, but in doing so dooms Luxuria, who was standing behind her. Tristitia is caught offguard by this, long enough for Ancora to tackle him and retrieve the gun.
At this point, Invidia appears, revealing he found a room that was meant to be how they escape if they succesfully clear the game, but that because he entered in there pre-emptively it was treated as an 'out of bounds' that failed to kill him due to where he was located. The group splits up so they can power through the last deduction rooms, with Ancora volunteering to be the one solving alone. Because of this, when she enters the room, ME drops the pretense and addresses her directly, stating that the answer to the puzzle has been changed specifically to challenge her. She is asked 'what the keys are', and the answer is revealed to be 'an anagram'.
Upon exiting, she waits for the other teams to emerge, briefly discussing what they found in there. Avaritia states that she has a plan- given to her by ME- but that she'll need Tristitia, and only Tristitia, to help her set it up, and the two leave to do so. Invidia, Superbia, and Ancora make small talk for a few minutes, eventually deciding to check up on the other two. The 15 ME-cards they have are placed under one of two bowls, and Tristitia tells Ancora to go into a different room from the others and use her psychic powers to see what he is doing with the bowls. He also tells her that he is going to move the cards from the blue bowl to the red bowl, but states that he still needs her to leave and use her powers. She does, heading into a nearby classroom to hack into one of their helmets...
BGM: Memini Meminisse
Ancora checked the timer: they had ten minutes left, at best. Deciding to roll with it, she left the group, walking back into the original hallway where everything had begun, since she wouldn't see anything of them anymore behind the closed doors.
This is my cue to use the helmets to spy on them. This feels a little silly, though... But what choice do I have? It'll be over really quickly, anyway. And if all else fails... I guess two people will get shot. For now, I'll be hacking...
We're going to be hacking Invidia now.
BGM: Mens Metis
It turns out what Avaritia told us was, in fact, an actual set of directives. Who'dve thought? Anyway, the answer is:
So, to solve this puzzle, you have to reinterpret the directives to make sense; 2X4 is 8, not 6, so it's obviously not an actual equation; as one of the hints tells you, its actual meaning is six together is equal to double the other four, or, in other words, the six numbers in the left pool added together has to equal the four numbers in the right pool added together and then doubled/multiplied by two. From there, you sort the numbers in each pool from smallest to greatest.
Superbia, Tristitia, and Invidia were together in the middle of the Crossroads. They apparently were discussing about the experiment the horse was conducting.
This is Avaritia's idea, and I think... it might reasonably work.
But you're relying on psychic powers! That sounds insane to me!
She's not completely wrong. I guess to someone who doesn't know any of this, it sounds completely ludicrous.
What do you mean, someone who doesn't know any of this?! Are you saying psychic powers are real? You're even loonier than I imagined.
Not real so to say, but more... they can be made manifest?
If you believe they are real, then they are real.
That's stupid. I'm out of here.
She walked away from the boys and down the stairs. Invidia shrugged at Tristitia, who returned it in kind. The two boys didn't understand the fuss she was making.
It's fine, she doesn't understand.
None of them do, really.
You don't either, to be fair.
No, Ancora has psychic powers, and we can finally prove it. All of my life has been leading up to this. This is the birth of espers- don't you get it?
Wait, she's the mastermind behind all this? I could've sworn...
No, she's not the mastermind. It's Ava.
Wait, how do you know that? How do you know all this stuff about Ava, anyway? And does that mean we have to kill her?
You've got it all wrong. The Kill ME game isn't about killing the mastermind, it's about...
He took a short pause, uncertain of what he was saying. Suddenly, he had a change in attitude.
What were we talking about again?
Ava isn't the mastermind, what are you talking about?
Something strange is going on here. What the heck is this all about?
Well, what's the experiment all about, then? I thought this had the goal to create espers to try and save the world...
We're not in a video game like one of those you've played before.
The timer had been advancing.
We should call them back- we're almost out of time.
Invidia left Tristitia's side, venturing back into the staircase where he met Superbia again.
Hey, go tell Ava and Cora that things are fine now, they can come back. It's time.
Do I look like a door-to-door salesman to you?
No, you look like a lost little girl who has no idea about what's happening. Please.
She flipped the bird, though the motion was softer than usual, as if she was doing it as a joke. Then she walked away, back to the doors leading into the first hallway they'd been into. The frequencies switched at this moment for Invidia's helmet, causing it to lose connection to Ancora's own. It took a little while, but it eventually re-established itself into the girl's view.
Ancora took a few steps outside the classroom, but stopped in her tracks.
What is it? Is something wrong?
No... just that something's really strange, I guess. I don't feel too good about this.
I've got a bad feeling about it, if you ask me.
I've got a bad feeling about this too.
I've got a bad feeling about this too.
The girl noticed she was still carrying the shotgun with her. Right, she found it in the room she investigated before... and for some reason, she felt like Avaritia was trustworthy. There was just this part of her that told her...
BGM: Memini Meminisse
You can trust her. If she doesn't have the shotgun, you'll die.
Far from her to argue against her inner voice, she handed the firearm over to a very surprised teacher. The woman waited for a second before reaching for it.
Something in me said, Ava will need this.
I don't know.
With that done, Ancora and Avaritia stepped forward once again. The timer was coming down on them. Whatever plan Tristitia had in mind, it had better work. Five minutes remained.
Okay, hold up.
Time stood at a standstill.
Or rather, there are multiple choices to make. I need to determine some things before we move on. Namely, first, I need to determine who the traitor is. But that's not all. I also need to determine what happened to my recordings. Someone messed with my recordings. Is that also the traitor's doing? It's time to deduce.
It's time for us to try and sus out some of the answers to the mysteries surrounding this game Note that this is less of a 'you should have the answers by now' thing and closer to a 'based on the information gained, what's the most likely answer?' type of deduction, so don't stress out about not having a solid answer- you aren't supposed to at this point. That said, I've spoiled the answers and reasoning for some of these, for your deducing pleasure.
The first thing that had been out of place was...
When we first woke up in that room with Superbia and Invidia, there were a lot of things the group didn't know how to react to. That said, we learned about the helmets from ME (and, you know, we already knew about them ahead of time), and the classroom itself didn't appear to be out of place, besides the puzzles we had to solve. On the other hand, the metal box never came up- almost as if it wasn't supposed to be there.
The first thing that was strange was the box. That's right, that box. I don't think that was part of the plan. Did every classroom have a metal box like that? I don't know what's inside, but let's just keep it in mind for now.
The one who died was really named...
Well, this one's pretty obvious. This question is asking what the name of the person who died would have been, if she had lived and made it out- specifically, what My Emptiness moniker would they have to be. Since we're Ancora, that means the ninth person that died would be Pandora- every other participant is accounted for after leaving the classrooms.
That's right. The ninth person was Pandora, and their death is the reason behind the group's confusion. But there's a problem with that idea. Namely, I'm Pandora, but also... That would mean I've personally engineered and planned for myself to die, which isn't the case. Something is fishy about that death. But let's keep it in mind for now, and move onto the third thing.
Yet, instead of saying eight, ME's recording said...
Okay, well, no deduction here, the answer was already stated to us previously.
That's right. They said seven. That's only possible, as Tristitia pointed out, if it was not a recording because otherwise, they couldn't have known we'd be two down. Even if they'd engineered the death of the third person, and guessed someone would die with the vote, you can't guess those are going to be the only deaths.
The person who took over my game must've been...
This one is a tricky one, and probably the one people trip up on the most. Again, remember, we're looking for the most likely answer; the answer here is a fake-out; we're meant to give what role is missing from the equation- which in this case is the Ancora, switched with us before the start of the game and set up to be Pandora (and therefore, the answer (again) is Pandora, the ninth person).
That's right. This means Pandora isn't dead. They are the one listed as Pandora who is actually Ancora, switched with me to hide my identity. Let's recapitulate real quick.
Something still doesn't add up, though. If they had taken over, why can I still control the game to the extent where I can make someone die? No, wait, there's a problem with that. It was about the fact...
Again, no real deduction here It's obvious that the problem is...
That's right. Invidia didn't die when I booted the program. It even broadcast the rule breaking. It would be easy to assume it's because the room is off-limits; truth be told, it's not. No room here is out of range. It would be stupid to have a room where the connection cuts. That means Pandora- the other Pandora- managed to take over the game and stop it.
Let's go over other topics, and see if we can't figure it out. Barring the topic about the one who took over the game, since we can conclude Pandora is the traitor... We were supposed to have 39 ME-cards. Instead, right now, we have...
This one's also not really a deduction, it just requires you to have been paying attention. There's fifteen ME-cards under one of the bowls in the Crossroads at this moment, along with an additional nine that we put in the machine in the center along with Luxuria after the first vote, which makes twenty-four in total.
That's right. We're missing a whole 15 of them, which is unheard of. I don't think it would be possible, even for me, to forget about a little less than half of the required elements to survive the game. By design, 15 of them were omitted by the traitor. They must've taken them...? No, it doesn't add up. This seems deliberate by yet a third party.
So we can conclude the plan is to...
There's not anything to deduce here, but that's moreso because the other two answers are really obviously wrong
That's right. The plan is to use the psychic powers I developed to double the ME-cards, but we both know there are no psychic powers, so this won't work. Yet, there's no choice to humor them. The reason is because...
Let's take this as another checkpoint. What can we glean from this? Something in me says... Maybe appearances are deceiving. That's the only thing coming to mind. Either someone isn't what they look like, or someone's using something like... a body double. Something like a twin, perhaps? Is it possible someone has a twin I didn't know about? How did they manage to slip that by me?
Who changed a lot in the past hours?
This one is also a bit tricky, as it requires you to re-examine everyone's behavior over the course of the game thus far to find anything that stands out. The answer is that there's one person who left a very strong impact on us from the drop, but has since changed considerably as far as their emotions go. This person has also had enough unsupervised time away from the group that they could've been doing, well, anything. I am of course, referring to Superbia. She's been acting surprisingly calm despite her literal boyfriend's death (across all the paths in this part of the flowchart), and she was alone by herself for an extended period of time between the first vote and when we find her in the hallway with Luxuria.
That's right. Superbia mellowed out a while ago, didn't she? And she vanished for a while with no supervision. Then again, so did Invidia. However, he still had the ME-card he found before, and I can confirm what he found- there realrly is a room that leads outside. If I remember right, there was also the paper that read 'A FAKE WITH PIGTAILS' back in the very first room. Superbia really freaked out at it...
Whatever the case is about the traitor, they had to have fooled me in some fashion since they can use ME and move about unhindered. Something still doesn't quite match up, either. How would the traitor have managed to fool me? The simplest explanation would be...
Again, this isn't exactly much of a deduction, we're just expected to use Occam's Razor here- the simplest answer being the most likely correct one. Specifically, that the traitor never actually died
That's right. A dummy dead body would explain it, too. That means they only would need to make us believe they died for it to work. Come to think of it... what about the state of the bodies? Are we sure they are even dead? I mean, fine, removing the head is a pretty sure way to kill someone... But if someone faked their death, which body would be the easiest? If it's the one with Gula and Luxuria... Then they would only need to convince two out of nine.
But this is still useless, because the group hasn't found all 39 ME-cards. I could shut down the program and save everyone, but not while the traitor is still alive. If they're left alive, then they can just take over, as they've done before with ME's speech and by preventing Invidia from dying.
Well, we know which one it ISN'T.
That's right. They'd still need Invidia's ME-card. But why couldn't they just get it themselves? Ah, wait, I already have the answer to that one, don't bother. It's because he was in the other room, wasn't it? He spoke of needing a key to access it. However, there has to be an even bigger reason why they needed to save Invidia. The reason why the traitor HAD to save Invidia is...
These are all, technically, possible answers, but we're looking for the simplest explanation, which is is, well... That he might be the traitor.
That's right. And he even traded to get the G key, too, I remember that! The G key is the key that unlocks the way out, then. He wouldn't be trading if it wasn't the case. So he traded the A key away... which allowed all of the other locks to come undone because they required the A key. It was Wing A, after all.
So his goal was to both get the G key, and trade the A key away. To be honest, that's also very suspicious. No matter how you look at it, Invidia's actions are those of someone who knows more than they let on.
I think I've narrowed it down to two suspects. With that in mind, who is it, then? If Superbia and Invidia are both suspicious, who is the traitor? Can I even make sure of it one way or the other?