Part 12: Demise, Part 4Music: Escaping Samsara (A)
Now that Mayu and Yoshiki have joined up, the game moves us around automatically for a bit.
Thanks to this board, Yoshiki and Mayu are able to cross to the east side of the second floor without looping around through the first.
The game, automatically again, moves us to this point.
Fortunately, that last earthquake seems to have knocked many of them loose. With two people working in tandem, it shouldn't take very long to clear a path.
We could just climb over them with a little effort, but they might all come crashing down if we make one wrong move.
Yeah. Let's move them out of the way.
The screen fades to black, and they do so.
And we're automatically brought upstairs.
Sure, I'll wait nearby. If anything happens, just call out.
Don't, uh, wait too close, though, okay? It'd be kind of embarrassing if you...you know...heard me.
Ungh. Guess my stomach must be in pretty bad shape.
(I'm so glad there was a usable toilet in here.)
All right, good to go! ...Hmm? What's this?
Did I hit my stomach on something? It's all red...
When did this happen? And how? Even if I had hit my stomach on something, who ever heard of someone's belly getting bruised?! I took a closer look and found myself momentarily breathless.
Whaaat?! What in the world happened to me?!
It almost looked like a weirdly-colored spider web attached to my skin.
N-Nothing! I'll be out in a sec!
Glad to hear it.
But didn't I tell you to keep your distance?!
What?! I-I did! You were just kind of loud there for a second. You seemed startled. Is everything okay?
Oh...yeah. Sorry to have worried you. So, uh, how about you? Are you good on the bathroom situation, or do you need to go too?
Ooh, I can see how that might make it tough to go. Well, let's just put that out of our minds for now and focus on finding Shinozaki, okay?
My mind was racing, with worst-case scenarios popping into my head one after another. I kept hoping this was all in my imagination. All nothing but a nightmare. But it sure felt real. And that was the scariest thing of all.
Maybe I was sick. Maybe I needed to go to the hospital. I couldn't stand all this uncertainty.
Music: Escaping Samsara (A)
I thought maybe if I went with him, I might run into Shig along the way. Or at least find some clue as to his whereabouts. But...no such luck. Our search eventually led us back down to 1F. Having covered all our other bases, we set our sights on the pool. But just as we approached the locker room...
Video: Locker Room
Yeah. It came from in there...
Mayu and Yoshiki head into the locker room...
A girl who looked to be around middle school age had been laid flat on the floor. Both her arms were bound and her eyes and mouth were covered with cast-like strips of cloth. She was obviously being held against her will. She was kicking both legs and writhing around, frantically trying to break loose from her bindings, but it didn't seem likely that she would succeed.
Oh, God! We have to save her!
(Ah... Those weird markings look an awful lot like the ones on my stomach! Or am I just paranoid...?)
Regardless of what caused them or how they might relate to my own injuries, this girl had markings like rope burns clearly visible on her slender thighs. They were peculiar bruises that looked almost like letters, as if they signified something that was just beyond our ability to decipher...
Ah, sorry! Hang in there! I'm going to loosen those bindings right now.
Kishinuma grabbed my arm to hold me back. I was a bit confused, but did as he suggested -- and it didn't take me long to see the problem. The strips of cloth holding this girl to the floor actually seemed to be rolls of gauze. And whoever bound her like this really did a number. The gauze was stretched haphazardly all across the room's furnishings. Several strands of it were then projected upward to the top of the nearest cubby shelf, where they were wrapped around the neck of a plaster bust. And from there, they extended up to the ceiling where they were wrapped tightly around the handle of a bucket suspended in the air. Suspended above the girl.
In other words, if we pulled on any bandages the wrong way or moved any desks, the plaster bust might fall. And if that happened...
Music: Unavoidable Tragedy
I wonder what the hell is in there. Maybe it's nothing...
B-But, what if it's not?!
???: Rnng...ghhhng... H-Help...
The girl was thrashing wildly, unable to move or see and too scared to call out. Sadly, this wasn't helping at all. It only served to pull the plaster bust closer and closer to the edge of the shelf. It was impossible to say whether or not she had any inkling of the threat that loomed literally right above her head. It seemed increasingly likely that this was the intent behind the trap. If the victim attempted to escape, she would only wind up killing herself.
Don't panic! We just need to find some way of getting that bucket down from the ceiling.
Can you reach, though? I think we should remove the bandages on her face first and try to calm her down. Either way, there's no time to lose. We have to do something, and we have to do it now!
Remove the bandages
???: Nngh! H-Help...nngh...!
She should have heard every word Kishinuma was saying, but she didn't seem to be calming down in the slightest. With all the layers of bandages criss-crossed over her ears, maybe she couldn't understand us. Unable to see, unable to hear and too frightened to scream... I think I'd squirm too, if I were in her position.
Dammit, this is really wrapped up right! ...Okay, I think I got it. Can you see me?
C-Calm down! You need to stop thrashing around like that!
You need to stay calm. Look at me!
Sound Effect: Slap
Try not to panic. Take slow, deep breaths.
???: *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant*   *pant*
There you go. That's good. Everything's going to be all right. We're working on setting you free right now.
???: *pant* ...Okay...
I gently stroked her cheek where I'd just slapped it. Tears were welling in both our eyes. I closed mine and nodded my head.
Good girl. You just need to hang in there a little longer. We'll have you out really soon. As long as you hold still, there's nothing to be afraid of.
???: Okay. I'm...okay now.
I'll be right here at your side. Just try to keep positive.
Oh, yeah. I'm on it.
Rrg... This is really wrapped right. But... There! I think that should do it.
Are you all right? Can you stand?
???: Um... N-No, not really. My knees are shaking too much.
Well, then how about just sitting up for a bit? Give those knees time to recover.
She must have been frightened out of her mind.
???: Uhh...ummm... Th-Tha...
Hmm? What was that?
???: Th-Th... Thank you...so very much... *sob*
That must have been really, really scary for you. But it's okay now.
(I've never seen Suzumoto act so...adult. Guess it's her maternal instincts kicking in. Women are amazing. Even with her constantly depending on Morishige, I could totally see her turn into someone like Ms. Yui when she gets older.)
Heh. I'm just glad you're all right.
Never expected someone to tell me I saved their life and mean it literally, that's for sure...
I'm Mayu Suzumoto. It's nice to meet you. And this delinquent-looking fellow is Yoshiki Kishinuma.
Oh, come on, what kind of introduction is that?! I think you've been hanging out with Morishige too much!
Nana is not the unusual one in this comparison, Yoshiki.
I guess Yuka must be in this school somewhere too, huh? I hope she didn't get herself separated from Mochida.
Kishinuma and...Suzumoto? Are you two searching for your friends as well?
Yeah. Five friends from class, one homeroom T.A. and one classmate's little sister. We're not sure exactly what's going on in here just yet, but I'll guess they're trying to find us too.
I see. I've been separated from my friends as well, and wound up...the way you found me while I was looking for them.
Yeah, what the hell kind of sicko did that to you, anyway?!
I...really don't know. I was just wandering around, trying to find Nari and the others, when someone reached out from behind me and covered my eyes. Whoever it was was incredibly strong. I really couldn't fight back. If I had to guess, I'd say it was probably a really big man.
A really big man, huh? Any ideas, Suzumoto?
Huh-uh. I mean...
(The only living people I've met here so far are Kishinuma and this girl.)
I guess there's more to worry about in here than just lost souls and that ghost brat...
Nana suddenly planted both arms firmly at her sides, shrunk into herself and began shaking again. She was probably thinking about what had happened to her.
I don't think we need to talk about that right now, Kishinuma.
Huh? Oh... Sorry.
I think I'm going to take our new friend to the pool for a moment. Will you wait here, please?
Let's go. It's raining outside, so there's clean water...you know?
Now wait just a minute! It's dangerous out there! If you're thirsty, I'll go gather some rain water and bring it back for you.
...If anything happens, we'll call for you. I promise.
A-All right already! Just be careful, okay?
Mayu and Nana head outside.
Video: Locker Room ends here.
Background Sound: Rain
Oh, it's all right. I'm...sorry too, to be such a bother.
Oh, it's no bother! If something as scary as that had happened to me, I'd have done the same. But we're alone out here, so feel free to wash up as much as you need to. I'll look the other way if you'd like.
Ah...yes, please, if you would.
Taking this time to look around, I noted that the whole building was surrounded by dense forest. Theoretically, we could climb the fence here and leave. But we'd just be trading a creepy, dark school for creepy, dark woods. Could we survive out there? And would we actually be able to get home? I just wanted to find Shig. He'd be able to look at this situation coolly and rationally, without flipping out and getting all emotional like me.
I just...needed to find him. To see his face. ...Shig...
I was starting to get teary-eyed again when I noticed Nana lazily running toward me. As she neared, she slowed to a walk.
Your body heat will dry you off in no time. And we can spray on a little perfume, too.
We were both completely soaked from head to toe. But I was confident we'd dry off quickly enough once we got back inside the school building. And since I happened to have some travel fragrance in my pouch, I took it out and spritzed a little on and around Nana's skirt.
Oh...! I think I know this scent. It's Rolce's "Sunlight Yellow," right?
Bingo! It's my current favorite fragrance.
I like it a lot too. My allowance is pretty small, though, so I'm using a cheaper one right now.
Well...once we make it out of here, I'll gladly share mine with you.
Music: Relief (B)
You're in drama club? Wow! I'm actually in our high school's drama club myself.
You are?! ...I'll bet you're an actress.
Well, I do act, but I also write scripts and make costumes. We...don't have a lot of members, but I don't mind. I love everything about stage drama!
That's amazing! You can do all that?!
Nana... Oh, you don't mind if I call you by your first name, do you?
Of course not!
Oh, wow, would you?! ...Though...there are probably much slimmer girls out there that your talents would be better suited to... Like my old friend Nari. She's practically a jewel, she's so pretty! And my friend Chihaya is super-cute, like a princess.
Well, let's just find those friends of yours and all go back home together! Kishinuma and I will be glad to help you in your search, if you help us in ours.
Sure thing, Mayu!
Hee hee. Come on. Let's head back in before we both catch colds.
Huh? ...Whaat?! I didn't even know they were there! Maybe I got them when I was captured. I was pretty hysterical, so I don't have a very clear memory of everything that happened.
Okay. Sorry...to ask such an awkward question.
'Bout time. You were out there for way too long. I was starting to get really worried!
Well, a woman's beauty takes time to mold! Anyway, while we're out searching for Shig and the others, you mind if we also keep watch for Nana's friends?
Of course I don't mind. Let's find everyone who doesn't belong here and get the hell out! You two ready to go?