Part 16: Click MeTo those of you following along with this in the future, when this will hopefully be on the Archive, you're probably wondering what happened last update. Here is the explanation I posted in the thread:
That being said, on with the update:
Back in Part 4, wherein the so-called Delusion Trigger system was explained, it was also mentioned that there was a 'little more nuance' that would be discussed at a later time. That time is now.
To put it bluntly, there was no delusion. Every event in that post happened exactly as presented. The contents of the bag were real, as were the actions and words of Yua.
What you were voting for at the end of Part 14 was not a choice between delusions/no delusion, but rather, Takumi's 'mindset'. By voting for Positive, he was trusting and settled on the first answer that he thought of to the question "Where did I see these Gero-froggies?" If you had voted for Neutral, he would have been more curious, though the answer would elude him until Yua had her accident. If you had voted Negative, he would have been paranoid enough to probe his memory to the point that he would realize exactly where he had seen the bag, though the confrontation would play out the same way.
This is the first occasion of this sort of Trigger, though it will not be the last. Most Delusion Triggers merely deal with Takumi's imagination, but not all. There is no indication or warning in-game of which triggers will lead to Delusions, and which will have more..... tangible effects. Therefore, I too will give no warning beforehand. I feel that the uncertainty enhances the experience.
Part 16 - Click Me
Nishijou Takumi lay sprawled on the tatami-covered floor with a colored pencil in his hand. It was yellow. The one he held several minutes before was red.
He reclined on his sketchbook, almost covering it with his body, as he ran the pencil across it lightly.
Takumi loved to draw. He loved it so much that even during school, he always doodled in the margins of his notebooks.
The TV, which had been turned on even though no one was really watching it, was currently playing the morning news. To Takumi, who was still only in fourth grade, the news was nothing but "boring stuff," so he didn't look at the screen.
--Beeep, beeep, 300 yen for candy.
He was drawing a yellow bus. He pretended he was the bus driver.
--The bus is full, so we're going to take off, beeep.
He brought imaginary scenes into reality through his drawings.
He worked so energetically that there were many times when his lines went off the surface of his sketchbook onto tatami.
Each time, Nanami, who was reading manga nearby, became angry and grumbled, "Jeez--! You mustn't get it dirty," even though she was just his little sister. Unconcerned, Takumi continued immersing himself in his drawing.
The day before-- The day before the fall field trip--
Takumi's parents had suddenly told him, "You can't go on the field trip."
He was looking forward to it this whole time.
He was overexcited since the morning, so much so that his heart pounded as he wondered how soon it would be tomorrow.
He simply couldn't bring himself to accept how his parents had callously sentenced him.
Weeping, he insisted he would go no matter what, but it was futile.
Regardless of what he said to them, his parents wouldn't listen, telling him only, "You can't," and "We're only looking out for your best interests," over and over.
Burrowing into his bed, Takumi trembled with such frustration that as if he were about to rip the mattress to shreds.
He loathed his parents from the bottom of his heart.
At the time, a field trip had been a tremendous, tremendous event for Takumi, one sufficient to induce this level of passion in him.
Though everyone else in the class could go, he alone could not. From Takumi's point of view, it was all too unreasonable.
Takumi's world was a lonely one. Their world was full of fun and passion. He almost had the sense that he was the only one to have been cut off from the rest of the world.
This began to transform into hatred toward his parents and classmates. Biting his lip hard enough to make it bleed, he continually repeated curse-like words to himself.
Each time his mother answered it, her responses seemed more and more unsettled. In the end, Takumi couldn't get even a bit of sleep.
It was a little past 9:00.
Nanami sat on a cushion in a lady-like manner, reading manga. The day before, she told Takumi, "Nana's gonna stay home from school, too, and be with her Bro," and now she was there near him as if it were perfectly natural.
Their father had already gone to work and was nowhere to be seen. Their mother was so busy answering the phone that she didn't have time to make breakfast.
There was no need to go to school today--
Still sulking, Takumi opened his sketchbook and began drawing to clear away his gloom.
Nanami raised her voice in confusion. Takumi thought she was talking about the drawing he'd been working on, but her eyes were glued to the television.
Nanami yelled for their mother, who was even now responding to another phone call. Listening from beside her, Takumi absent-mindedly followed his sister's gaze to the TV screen.
A single glance was enough for him to imagine most of what had happened.
His classmates were reflected on the screen.
One was crying, one had his forehead covered in blood, one was being laid on a stretcher and carried off into an ambulance.
A pale-faced reporter described the circumstances of the accident, but Takumi didn't really understand what he was saying.
His mother stood stock-still at the entrance to the room, face pale, still gripping the phone.
Takumi's Mother: "The bus for the field trip had an accident on the highway...."
"That's what they're showing on TV right now...."
For some reason, Takumi was certain of it.
One thing alone resided in Takumi's heart. The peculiar conviction that he was the possessor of precognitive powers.
The "precog" who appeared on that program had startled the contemporary world with his display of overwhelming supernatural abilities.
In one test, twelve items were to be placed in boxes labeled from 1 to 12, and the precog was to sit in a different room, with cards that had the items' names on them, and predict which boxes they would go in.
Only afterward would some staff members, in a different room, actually place the items in the boxes. When they tallied up the overlap between what was predicted and the boxes' actual contents, the precog's 90% success rate made the show's hosts go wild.
That was why now, too, he saw the accident on TV and thought to himself that his foresight had been correct.
Mother: "Ahh, how dreadful...."
Takumi's mother began to embrace him, but he slipped out of her arm and crawled to another corner of the room.
Mother: "But thank goodness...."
His mother murmured emptily, her gaze swimming through the air.
Mother: "Thank goodness.... Thank God we decided to have you stay home today.... Taku-chan."
So what if he had precognitive powers? It took a mere instant for his heart to freeze.
He was literally mute. He wouldn't let out a single word in response to anyone.
It was his way of getting back at them, he thought.
Since he didn't actually have PTSD, of course, He didn't take a single dose of the medicine they gave him. He only pretended to take it.
OST: Computer Noises
The world is full of fiction.
Furthermore, it seemed like everyone's ill will was directed at me.
"You'll come to see that what I'm saying isn't wrong."
"And one more thing...."
Like hell I could believe her. You've got some nerve to say "believe me" after deceiving me.
No matter what, I didn't want to acknowledge "my everything," which Yua had thrusted at me. I wanted to think that her calling me "Shogun" had merely been idle words or rambling.
I hadn't been sleeping when "Shogun" posted his parts of the chat.
It was an incontrovertible fact that I had gone to @Cafe at the time. But I hadn't fallen asleep. So I couldn't be a sleepwalker.
Then what did it mean that I don't have any memory of posting as "Shogun"?
Alternatively, someone other than myself could control my body....
Even everything about ESO was a lie. Because when you got down to it, it was a world in a game.
What's wrong with that?
Maybe Nishijou Takumi was the fictional existence, And Neidhardt was my true self.
I called to the paladin in the center of my monitor.
Am I controlling you, or are you controlling me? Which is it? Are you real, and am I the avatar?
What if the world I was in right now was a game? That would explain everything.
If, in the same way that I was watching the Neidhardt inside my monitor, If I too were being watched by someone.
That person would have to be "the player controlling me."
It would made sense if "Shogun" and I were the same person.
Come to think of it, Liselotte was in a similar situation. It was impossible for Neidhardt and Liselotte to ever exist in Baselard at the same time. Because they had only one player, me.
One could also contemplate the possibility that it was a bug.
I want to run away from everything--