Part 31: Chapter 2 Daily Life, Part 4
*Ding dong, bing bong*
: Good morning, everyone! It is now 7 a.m. and nighttime is officially over! Time to rise and shine! Get ready to greet another beee-yutiful day!
: Oh, that's right! I wanted to let you know that your e-Handbooks have been updated! New regulations have been added, so please take a look and enjoy your school life more than ever before!
He must be referring to yesterday... "Loaning your e-Handbook to another student is strictly prohibited."
: But right now, I need to hurry up and head to breakfast.
: We can walk around in the halls if we want but no one is out there so we make our way to the dining hall immediately.
: Mornin', Makoto!
: Good morning. Is everyone here already?
: Nope! Still waitin' on Byakuya and Taka. Byakuya's no surprise, but it's strange Taka's not here yet...
: Knowing Taka, I imagine he is trying to get the King of Tardiness up and out of bed.
: I'm sure they'll be here soon enough. Just be patient.
: I don't mind waiting for them, but there is one problem...
: Which is...?
: I am thirsty.
: How the hell is that a problem!?
: Hifumi, would you make me some tea?
: Milk tea, if you please.
: Wh...why me?
: Your roundish figure reminds me of the owner of the coffee shop I used to frequent.
That's your reason...?
: I can feel my throat drying out. Quickly, please.
: O-Okay... *leaves*
Apparently unable to refuse Celeste's order, Hifumi skulked his way into the kitchen. And a few minutes later...
: Thank you for waiting!
Hifumi reappeared with tray in hand, the gentle aroma growing stronger as he approached.
: Hmhmhm. Finally...
: You c-could've made some for the r-rest of us, you know...
: I emphatically decline! You're not my type at all!
: Hmhm... It's all about the law of causality, basic instinct, act and react!
: Well then, if you don't mind...
A small smile played across her lips as she held the tea cup delicately in her hand...
She cocked her head to the side...and threw the cup as hard as she could at the wall!
: What the--!? H-Hey! What are you doing, my little white rabbit!?
: I HATE this kind of tea!
: U-Umm...I don't understand...
: Imagine we are at a coffee shop--just any normal, everyday cafe. I sit down, and I order some tea. They then ask me, "Would you like lemon, or milk?" Now, further imagine that I replied, "Ah, yes, I would like milk tea, please." In this case, along with my tea they may bring me a small container of milk, yes?
: But this is not for me! I am among those who prefer the milk to be part of the process from the outset! The fragrance is just so overwhelmingly sweet that way... Adding milk or lemon right before you drink is like dousing your fries in ketchup--mere condiments! Whenever looking for a cafe, I first review their menu to see if it offers the proper style of milk tea.
: And I cannot acknowledge any "milk tea" that does not add the milk during the brewing process!
If I had to describe our shared reaction to what we'd just heard I'd have to go with "wide-eyed bewilderment."
: Umm...I went to all that trouble to make you that tea...and you wanted me to go even farther?
: Yes, I realize it can be a bit of a hassle... Even in cafes that offer proper milk tea, it is always more expensive than simple tea with milk. It takes more time to prepare, surely, but...
: ...why even bother creating a menu if you are not going to offer the highest level of quality!?
: Well, um...we don't actually have a menu...
: That does not matter. Hurry up and bring me what I asked for, swine!
: O-Okay! Your little piggy will bring it right out! *runs off*
: Hmhm. I do so love coercion.
: You were like...a totally different person just now.
: Yeah, shit... You really went psycho there.
I knew there was more to her when I first met her... I'd hate to have her as an enemy. Seriously, man. She's one scary chick...
♪ Music fades out. ♪
The dining hall doors flew open, and one of the late arrivals came storming in. But...
: Bad news, everyone! There is a mystery afoot!
: Huh? What happened?
: It would seem Byakuya refuses to leave his room! I stood there pressing his doorbell over and over, but he never showed himself.
: Maybe he just...wasn't there.
: I'd like to think so. But I'm worried something might have happened to him.
What he meant by that... He didn't have so say anything else. Everyone understood exactly what that might mean...
: I-It might be a good idea if we all split up and go look for him.
: Ah! I was just about to suggest the same thing!
: Stop trying to one-up e-everyone...
: Okay, then I'll go check his room one more time. I'm just gonna keep on hammering that button till I get a response.
: Very well, then the rest of us can go check the rest of the building.
: Yeah. Before it's, y'know...too late.
Anyway, we have to just do our best to find Byakuya. So where might Byakuya have gone...? Maybe he went to go check out the 2nd floor of the school again...
: With that, everyone scatters around the school looking for Byakuya. We can stop and talk with them all as we do our own searching. Celeste, however, doesn't seem to want to search.
: Celeste...aren't you going to help look for Byakuya?
: I have not had my tea yet.
: Until my thirst is satisfied, I have no urge to do anything.
: If you are in a hurry, feel free to motivate Hifumi to move faster.
But aren't you being kind of...selfish?
: Speaking of Hifumi, no one's told him what's going on.
: Ah, Mr. Naegi. What's going on?
: Well...nobody's seen Byakuya this morning, so we've all decided to go look for him.
: Wh-What!? That's not good at all!
: However...this little piggy needs to...
: I have a holy edict to deliver a proper milk tea to my master!
: To bless this undeserving swine with such an honor...! I will serve you with all my heart and soul!
: O-Oh, okay. Good luck with that...
Hifumi's created some creepy alternate reality for himself...
: Across the way from the dining hall, we can now see the bathhouse is open. Maybe he's in there?
: Not much to check out in the dressing room, just the door to the bath right now. Mondo's hanging around though.
: How's it goin'? You find him?
: Shit... Man, where the hell'd he go? He's got his head stuck so far up his ass, who knows *what's* goin' on with him? I figured he was takin' a bath or somethin'.
: So what about you? You a morning bath kinda guy?
: After spending all night ridin' your hog, wind in your face, there's nothin' better than a morning dip! The hot water loosens ya up, and the heat of your soul gets your heart and body pumpin'!
: S-Sure thing. I'll have to take your word for...all that.
: What, you don't know what I'm talkin' about? Fuckin' nerd...
: Guys gotta expose themselves to each other, ya know? Come with me next time, you'll see!
: I-I'll think about it...
But I mean...it's not like you've been "riding your hog" here in the school, right?
: Like the bathhouse dressing room, the bath itself doesn't really have anything to examine. There is another door in back though.
: The sauna lies behind it. Not even any Monocoins hidden here.
: Back in the hall below the dorms is the door to the warehouse. It's no longer covered in Caution tape.
: It's a pretty tall room with lots to examine for flavor text but nothing really important. Taka's here though.
: Ah-ha! I see you came to search this area as well, Makoto!
: But you were one step too late! I've already finished my investigation. And there was no trace of Byakuya here!
: An army marches on its stomach, as they say!
: So I thought maybe he would come here to have his fill...
: We must all eat! Eat until there's nothing left to eat!
: Anyway, now is no time to get discouraged. We must head elsewhere to continue our search!
: Y-Yeah, you're right...
: Back in the dorms, Hina and Toko are partnered up.
: Hey, Toko. Hanging out with Hina, huh?
: What, you got a problem with th-that?
: S-Something might've happened, right? Being alone r-right now might not be safe...
: So you got scared and decided to stay close to Hina...
I guess everyone has a softer side.
: As long as I'm w-with the sports idiot, if something d-does happen, I'm sure she'd jump in without th-thinking and take the fall...
: What? Were you e-eavesdropping? Awful! You're just a-awful!
: G-Get lost, you stray cat!
: Hey, Hina. Any luck?
: Nah, it's no use. I keep banging on his door, and nothin'!
: Come on, already! Open up!
*BANG BANG BANG*
: C-Careful! You're gonna bust the door down hitting it that hard!
: Relax! This is nothing compared to what Sakura could do.
: Sakura's really awesome, ya know? If she really wanted to...she could tear this door to shreds!
: I-I see.
Well, she *is* the Ultimate Martial Artist. She might actually be able to do it.
: Hmm... I've been knocking long enough, I think I can say for sure he's not here.
: I think you're right. Okay, I'm gonna go look around for him.
: Okay! Good luck!
: We can find Hiro in the boys bathroom.
: What are you doing in the bathroom, Hiro?
: Huh? Oh, well...
: I consulted the spirits, and... He had a bathroom emergency and couldn't make it to breakfast!
: His guts forced him to spend all morning in the can!
: But I was totally wrong, swing and a miss, three strikes I'm out...
Yeah, Byakuya doesn't seem like the kind of guy to have problems like that.
: Up on the 2nd floor, Sakura's in the locker rooms.
: It would appear Byakuya is not here.
: Since it's morning, I thought he might have gone to the locker room to exercise. But I forgot that girls can't open the boys locker room door.
: Oh yeah, true.
: I knocked, but nobody answered. I listened for the sound of equipment being used, but there was nothing.
So he must not be in there... Besides, Byakuya doesn't seem like the type to go "sweat it all out" this early in the morning.
: Do you exercise every single morning, Sakura?
: Of course. If I didn't get my blood pumping early in the morning, it would throw off my rhythm for the entire day.
: Chihiro can be found by the stairs to the 3rd floor.
: Oh, hey Makoto.
: So? Did you find Byakuya?
: N-No...I didn't see him anywhere.
: I see.
: Somehow, Kyoko figured out where he might be...
: Kyoko's so amazing... She's so cool. She's smart, and she seems really tough...
She's definitely smart, that's for sure. But...tough? Compared to, say, Sakura or even Hina, she doesn't seem all that different from Chihiro. ...Is it weird to compare them like that?
: Finally, Kyoko's out in the 2nd floor halls.
: So you thought to come here, too...
: If you think about what Byakuya was so interested in yesterday, you can probably guess where he is right now, right?
Huh...? What was it Byakuya was interested in again...?
: The answer to that lies behind the library doors.