Part 14: Chapter 1 Daily Life, Part 8
: Here's the inside of the A/V room. There's surprisingly little to examine other than the very obvious cardboard box on the machine.
Huh? There's something inside this cardboard box. It's...!
: ...a bunch of DVDs. And each one has a label on it with someone's name. This must be the "video for each of us" he mentioned...
: I'd better go tell everyone! *leaves*
She just ran off... I didn't follow after her. I just stood right there where I was. The DVDs in front of me had robbed me of all awareness. I was rooted in place...
: I think I see something...
Next to the monitor is a high-end DVD player. It'll probably play those DVDs no problem.
: Maybe I'll just watch mine real quick, before everyone else gets here.
I sorted through the DVDs I'd found in the box and found the one with my name on it...then I slid it into the expensive-looking player. I sat down and stared intently at the darkened screen. And then...
I yelled out without realizing it, and my heart started racing. Because what I saw on that monitor... It was my family.
: You getting picked to attend Hope's Peak Academy is like a dream come true. Make sure you do your best!
: I'm so proud of you, son. But remember--don't push yourself too hard!
: Are you really watching this, Makoto? Good luck, okay?
If it had ended there, that would've been fine. A message of love and support. After leaving my family behind to attend Hope's Peak it would have given me hope, given me strength. If this was a normal school, I would've been happy, if a little embarrassed. With my family's support to rely on, I would've been motivated to do even better.
But here, now, it was totally different. I *wasn't* living an ordinary school life. So I had a pretty strong feeling that the video wasn't going to end there.
I hated having that feeling, but...it turned out I was absolutely right.
This time, I couldn't even make a sound. My voice just...died. Where'd everyone go...? It looks like a warzone or something... As if in reply, a voice came floating out of the speakers. I recognized the voice, of course. It was *him*...
: Makoto Naegi, accepted into Hope's Peak Academy. And his family, who supported such a lucky boy... But it seems like...something's happened to this family's well-being! Oh boy, this is bad! What could have possibly happened to this family's well-being!?
: Wh-What is this? What happened to everyone!?
I started trembling... I could feel the fear and anger building up inside me, like hot magma.
: GOD DAMMIT!
I slammed my fist against the desk over and over again. A single thought was racing through my mind... What else? How could I think about anything else?
: I have to get out of here. I have to get out, right now! I need to make sure everyone's safe!
: What happened? Make sure who's safe?
I noticed everyone standing around the entrance to the A/V room. They stared at me, faces full of confusion.
: Wh-What's going on?
Without a word, I pointed to the cardboard box.
: Is that what Monokuma was talking about?
: What's on them?
They all gathered around the box, and each of them grabbed the DVD with their name on it. One by one, they each rushed to a monitor. It didn't take long for them to react.
: What the fuck...?
: Th-This can't be real, right? It has to be fake, right!?
: Yeah, no way it's real. Haha...no way.
: I can't t-take it anymore...
: I c-can't take this anymore! Let me out of h-here!
As soon as I saw their reactions, I knew... They'd all seen something like what I'd seen. Nobody even bothered trying to hide their fear and confusion. Except for *her*. Even now, she was totally calm.
: I see... So this is what he meant by motive. He wants to fuel our desire to leave so that we're more likely to start killing each other.
: It is the classic "prisoner's dilemma."
: Let me use an example. Imagine two countries are on the brink of war. But both countries want peace, and each commits to scaling back their forces as a sign of good faith. But there's a chance that one country may betray the other, so each country fears lowering their guard. The result is that neither scales back their forces and they both end up betraying each other.
: In other words, the fear of invisible treachery becomes the greatest enemy of stability.
: That kinda sounds l-like us right now... Everyone says they'll work together, but in our hearts we're all afraid someone might betray us...
: Don't put those awful thoughts in our head! That's exactly what they *want* us to do!
: You can say that, but maybe you're thinking that once everyone drops their guard, you can just...
: This is exactly what Monokuma, or whoever's behind this, wants. They *want* us to fight. Don't you see?
: Yeah, you're right. We all need to calm down...
: Okay, then. Maybe we should start by all just...talking. Maybe if we all just talk about what we saw, that'll help get everything out of our system.
: Besides, I think we're all super curious, right?
I wonder what was in everyone's videos... I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious.
: Hey, Sayaka...
: What was in your video, Sayaka?
: What's wr-wrong? Just hurry up and t-tell us...
I gently placed my hand on her shoulder.
♪ Music cuts out. ♪
: ...Stop it! *leaves*
She pushed my hand away and suddenly ran off.
: Let her go.
: I-I can't do that! I have to go make sure she's okay!
: I h-hate romantic comedies like this. I don't care what h-happens to her, personally...
: That's because you're totally thoughtless!
: I'm...really worried.
: Then why don't you go do whatever you think you have to? We don't all have to stick around together, right?
: Speaking of which, I have my own things to take care of. Goodbye. *leaves*
Everyone went their separate ways... But I don't have time to worry about them right now. I have to go find Sayaka!
Where could she have gone? She can't have gone far. I should check around the school...
: Turns out Sayaka didn't go far at all. She's hiding in Classroom 1-A, the room we originally woke up in.
I found her in one corner of an empty classroom. She was sitting in a chair, hands on her knees, staring absently at the floor. She looked like maybe she was upset, or angry. Or, no... She didn't have any expression at all. There was nothing on her face that you could call emotion. It was as if her original mask had been stripped away.
: S-Sayaka? Are you okay?
: Yeah...I'm fine. Actually, no...how could I possibly be fine? What did we do to end up like this...? Why are they doing such terrible things to us...?
: I want out! Let me out of here right now!
: Sayaka! Calm down!
As she thrashed around, I grabbed her by the shoulders.
: I understand. I know how you feel right now. When I think what might have happened to my family... But now more than ever we have to stay calm! This is exactly what they want. They *want* us to lose our composure and stop thinking rationally. Think about it--those videos have to be fake! Because if those things really had happened...
: ...people out there would be in an uproar. Our families, the police, everyone! Right?
: So let's just calm down, okay? Otherwise, we've already lost.
I knew I was trying to convince myself just as much as her. I kept repeating those words to myself, to clear away the images that had been burned into my brain. Be calm, okay? Just be calm...
: As long as we work together, I'm sure we can find some way out of here. And help might even come before that.
: But...what if there *isn't* a way out? What if help *never* comes?
: I-If that happens... then I'll get you out of here myself! No matter what it takes!
♪ Music cuts out. ♪
When I said that, I paused... I had no idea what had come over me.
: Please...help me...
Her voice was small and shaky.
: Why...? Why is this happening to me? To kill, or be killed... I just can't take this anymore...!
Finally, she raised her face up from my chest. She looked at me with those big, wet eyes of hers.
: Can I...can I believe what you said?
: That you'll help me get out? No matter what it takes...?
: Makoto... You're the only one I can trust. So please... No matter what happens, please always be there for me. I need you on my side...
: Huh? O-Of course I'll be there for you! No matter what, I'm always on your side. I mean... you *are* my assistant, after all.
: Thank you, Makoto. Hearing you say that, I feel like I can keep going.
: I can get through this...as long as you're here with me.
: Like you said, I'm your assistant.
The smile I'd come to know so well returned to her face. It felt a little forced, but still... It was a huge improvement over how she was before.
: ...It's standing up!
: Makoto! It's standing up!
: *What's* standing up!?
: Do you even have to ask?
: Your flagpole!
: Get the hell out of here!
: No! No! I wanna join in!
: Dammit! Well if you won't leave, then tell us what the hell is up with those videos!
: Ahh...it's about to come out... It's gonna come out! My pristine, pure white...
: ...stuffing! My honest, innocent stuffing is about to come gushing out!
I balled up my fist, took aim, and swung as hard as I could. I had never put so much energy into a single motion before in my life. I leaned back, channeling all my power, and let go with everything I had...!
: A-Are you okay!?
: If I hadn't avoided your punch, you would have just violated school regulations.
: But boy are you slow slow slow slow SLOW!
: I could've downed a thousand-dollar full-course dinner in the time it took you to finish your swing!
: Your speed, agility, alertness, passion, boldness, sense of despair, antagonization, it's all lacking! *leaves*
: What the heck was that just now...?
: He just wanted to mess with us...
: Well, for now...you wanna just head back?
Monokuma had come along and swiftly destroyed the good mood we'd just created. Sayaka and I headed back to the dorms.
: You should get some rest, Sayaka. You still look pretty shaken.
: I'm sorry for making you worry about me... You're right. I'm going to lay down for a bit. *leaves*
With a nod and a small bow, she disappeared into her room.
Now on my own, I headed off to tell everyone that Sayaka was okay. Once that was done, I decided to go back to my room. It was hard to think after watching that deranged video. I needed some rest of my own.
Jeez... Seriously, what's going on here? There's just so many problems. I can't even decide what the biggest problem is... That we're trapped in here? That what I saw in that video might be real? Monokuma? What the mastermind has in store for us? Or...are *we* our biggest problem? ... I want to get out of here. But I could never kill someone... Do the others all feel the same...?
Yeah that's definitely the biggest problem right now...