Part 36: MEsmerize
content warning: vague mention of sexual harrassment and implied assault
About that Sally-Anne Test, what is it? And I'm still dubious about you, Invidia. I demand some explanations...
Seems like the first is our answer, and the second... Can I even say, yet? I guess I can. We're this far in, so it doesn't matter. Ancora's dead, anyway.
Why is that girl so important?
Coherence. Anyway, I know the mastermind's Avaritia.
I didn't ask about her, but about you. And either way, she's dead now. I guess I owe Lux some apologies... not that I can give them to her, now.
Except Lux is a boy. Dangerous. A dangerous boy, that gave Ancora a scarring that somehow can last through time, triggered when she hears the word hope...
You might want to correct that. Lux is a boy.
Yes. Girls trust him because he's cute and looks like a girl, but when they learn the truth they all shun him, so... he grows forceful with them. That's his sin, you know.
I see... Don't think this absolves you, anyway. I have my eye on you.
Gula did not comment. Instead, she remained a little further apart from the group of two. It seemed as though she might be deep in thought. Invidia chose not to disturb her. Instead, he gave a nod of his head towards the hallway.
Let's go back to the voting booths. We only have ten minutes or so to put in the ME-cards.
But we're short 16 ME-cards, so we can't even do this...
Invidia grabbed the bowls from the floor.
We can do it with this. Or, we could, if Ancora was still alive. Do you know what the Sally-Anne Test is?
BGM: Memini Meminisse
It goes something along the lines of... There is Sally and there is Anne. Sally has a marble and a basket. Anne has a box. Sally puts the marble in her basket and subsequently leaves. Then, Anne takes the marble from the basket and puts it in the box while Sally is away. When Sally comes back, which, of the basket and the box, will she check for the marble?
Obviously, she's going to check the basket.
It's a test because it's used to determine when children can differentiate from their point of view and another person's point of view. The reason why it's so important here is...
BGM: Mereo Mentis
We're going to do the same thing that some exceptionally dangerous drugs have been made to do, which is attributing false beliefs to someone. Do you know how the Bible begins?
Something about God creating the world in six days...? I'm not especially religious, so that kind of thing goes over my head.
Correct. On the sixth day, God witnesses the world, and sees all that He made was good. Well, it's a little like an epiphany. Once you know something, you can't un-know it. Sometimes, epiphanies come on their own, too.
No, wait, maybe it's still possible. Or would have been possible. Either way, it would create a real miracle, right then and there.
That doesn't make any sense. You can't just...
You can. It's all a matter of perspectives. Belief is the strongest of abilities, but it's not enough for us to believe, because we are a part of this world already- we are the ones being observed. God has to believe, so strongly yet so fragilely, any truth could break it.
Were we to fulfill the necessary clauses for the Sally-Anne Test, would we have a way to exit this terrible predicament?
If Ancora was still alive. I keep saying that, but I think it would maybe still be possible. I keep it vague because, the moment I explain it, the trick will no longer work. At least, if God is watching.
You can bet God's watching.
Which He probably is. See, God isn't omnipotent or omnipresent. Thankfully, too. God is attracted to interesting situations, so He's probably around here somewhere. Maybe He's in someone's head.
Ah, and having psychic powers isn't ridiculous? You're as inconsistent as you are dumb. I thought you were smart, but you don't seem to be making any of your previous connections this time around. Or maybe you have, and you're hiding it.
Invidia said nothing, picking up the bowls and carrying them with him as the three of them made their move to return to the room with all the voting machines. Arriving there, they noticed something was missing. What was missing became apparent upon counting the dead bodies. Avaritia was not there. No dead body was, actually.
Of course not. Would you rig your own machines to terminate yourself upon failure if you had full control over this installation?
No, I don't think it's that. There's something else here. Maybe what we see isn't true, sometimes. We've only seen others with these helmets on...
Don't give too much away, Vidi. Leave some for the finale.
As the shotgun Avaritia wielded fumed, the male's helmet exploded. She'd shot right through his head, which was now gone in a torrential blast.
Ahh! You... what are you going to do?
Her tone changed the moment she noticed Avaritia was aiming at her, next.
I'm going to end this game. There's nothing else to do with this one, and we're still on path.
Don't kill me, please.
It's inevitable, but you'll be back, so don't worry. I'll answer one question before that, however. Choose wisely.
Is Gula wondering the same thing about the gun, too?
The cow-themed girl was taking her time in picking out a question to answer. The timer was ticking down, and those ten minutes were gradually diminishing to five. Soon, there wouldn't be any time to do anything else.
Pray tell, then. Why does this entire place exist?
I can't say that yet. I'll grace you another question instead.
Then I want to know who you two really are, is that better?
That, I can answer... partially. I'm Ityne Icofilm, and his name's Marco. I can also say that I am not, in fact, the teacher you might remember, but a much older woman.
The one named Marco, uninterested, looked away for a moment.
But Ityne did not wait. In the next moment, Gula was blasted away by the seemingly empty shotgun. She fell to the ground and, much like the rest, her head exploded, rendering her body without a controlling center.
Alright, ME. Terminate the game.
The timer disappeared.
This is a bit of a mess. We have a lot of cleanup to do, Ava. And can I stop calling you Ava?
I guess that's fine now. You know what to do with Pandora, right? After that, we're in the clear.
It's hilarious that you of all people would ask that. Stop complaining and get to work. Just tell Pandora what you have to tell her. This time it's a bust, but we're very close.
I have no idea what you're talking about.
We've gotten them trapped in here because they have sinned to the highest degree. Murder, arson, assault, torture, harmful falsification of the truth, and more.
But that's still not right. You took over everything.
We didn't take over anything. This was our game from the beginning. Did you think you had any control? Pandora, if anyone's a usurper, it's YOU, not ME.
Ugh! I can't believe this. No, I'll go back. I'll go back to where this all started and stop you.
You can't do anything from where you are. Not now or before, or any time.
You're wrong, Marco. I'll help everyone escape. I'll go back and everyone will leave.
But he couldn't say anything else. Ityne aimed the shotgun at his face and suddenly pulled the trigger. This time, the shotgun had real ammo. She had been reloading it while he was busy with me. He didn't even scream. He fell to the ground, and the helmet was destroyed, yet didn't explode. I couldn't see anything else anymore. I couldn't see anything, but I could still hear.
Something felt extremely wrong with this. It took me a short while, around as much as a microsecond, but as I thought about those details, I realized what felt so wrong about them.
The number 20,141,119 kinda looks like...
But the TRUST activated.
Lock #6 obtained.