The Let's Play Archive

Fatal Twelve

by Mix

Part 16: Do You Like Reading?

BGM: At Amecha Girls' University High School

05/16 (WED), Morning
Yo, Rinny!

Morning, Mao.

I notice Miharu getting ready for classes as usual when I arrive at school. Seeing her reminds me of the realization I came to yesterday, which prompts me to say something odd to Mao.

Miharu really is stronghearted, isn't she?

Hmm, you think? I'd say it's the opposite.

Her voice and tone are lower than usual.


Anyway! Let's get back to the daily grind!

She returns to her usual self right away, almost as if to avoid continuing on with that topic.


BGM: Lion House Cafe

05/16 (WED), Evening
Once school has ended, I meet up with Naomi before heading over to the library on our way back to Lion House. Fortunately, the library's only five minutes from Lion House, and on the very same path I took to get to the hospital last night. I make sure to fill her in on what happened last night as we make our way there. Her first reaction is to express her concern about me. She crinkles her nose when I mention that Keiko seems to have had a rougher go at life than I have, but then sighs in relief afterwards.

Once at the library, we gather up some books regarding pregnancy. Part of me doesn't want to at first, since we'll be painting a rather dubious image of ourselves. Then again, this isn't the time to be worried about that. Having gotten what we need, we next make our way back to Lion House and spread the books out on one of the tables.

BGM: Intel Investigation Underway

All right... Let's see whether or not these have any information regarding illnesses or complications that could be linked to her cause of death.


She announces the plan with seemingly little issue. I can tell she's forcing herself to act composed. Normal people like us shouldn't have any reason to investigate someone's death like this. It doesn't help that it feels like we're digging into someone's private life without consent. That's one of the reasons behind my headache last night. Not to mention that, in this case, it's about someone who's still alive.

I pick up one of the books closest to me. While thinner than the card book, it's packed full of text. I probably shouldn't try my hand at a book like this when I know absolutely nothing about medicine. Thinking that, I pick up another one, only to reach the same conclusion. The only stuff I read other than manga are novels, so ideally there'll be something a bit simpler among all these...

As I think this over, it leads to me repeating the same scenario over and over in my mind.

Umm... Rinka...?

What's wrong?

Are you, um, not well versed when it comes to books?

She's using the book in her hands to obscure her face from below the eyes, which are glued to me.

Not really, but I mean... aren't these a bit too difficult?

You should have said so when we were at the library. I could have picked out some of the simpler ones...

That makes it pretty clear that I left Naomi in charge of picking out which books to get. I figured that'd be best, considering she's a bit of a bookworm.

I take it you're not big on studying, then?

I nod my head after a brief hesitation. I wouldn't say I'm bad at studying, but there's no point in putting up a front- especially when my grades tell a different story.

I'll give it a shot, though. Can't let you do all the work for my sake.

I pick up another book and peruse the table of contents. Naomi hides part of her face behind her book again, but I can see how focused her eyes are on its contents.


Two hours later, I feel my concentration vanish into thin air.

Let's take a break.


Umm, Naomi?

Eep...! Wh-What is it?

Dang, your concentration level is off the charts... How about a quick break?

Oh, that sounds like a good idea.

She closes her book after I make my offer. I guess she's finished reading that one too, which makes for a total of three so far. Meanwhile, I'm still stumbling through my first. The difference in reading speeds between someone who reads often and someone who doesn't is rather striking.

I brew up some coffee for the both of us and bring it over to the table.

Thank you very much! I feel like this is the first time in a while that I've gotten to have some of your coffee.

Hmm, you might be right.

I've spent so much time teaching her how to make coffee that I actually haven't had much opportunity to make some for her myself. It's always nice watching Naomi drink the coffee I make, considering how much she seems to enjoy it.

So... manage to find anything worthwhile?

I have picked up on something myself, in truth. But asking for Naomi's input first seems like the best idea.

I did. First of all, it turns out that there's an extremely low mortality rate for women during childbirth.

The book I've been reading says the same thing. Based on a study from 2014, only 3 out of 100,000 mothers died while giving birth. I'd assume Keiko is in her twenties or thirties. Even if it's the latter, there's only a 0.003 percent chance of it happening to her. For comparison's sake, a person's much more likely to be involved in some sort of fatal traffic accident than that. This stuff actually caught my attention while reading, because it'll be relevant to me at some point in my future. Seems like Naomi read about the same study. You'd think we were revising test materials together or something.

Doesn't the fact there are so few cases make it easier for us to determine the cause, though?

I thought the same myself, but... how much information do we need to be able to turn it into a card to begin with?

The cards I have that detail causes of death only say stuff like 'fire', so I assume you just need the general idea.

I see... You mentioned that the process involves giving throughts a tangible form, didn't you?

Yup, but it's not like I know how it actually works.

In that case, it's likely that you need to believe in your thoughts for them to be considered for a tangible form.

Now the conversation's getting a bit complicated... I take a moment to mentally sort out all the info. The process behind making new cards involves giving information- thoughts, rather- a tangible form. Parca explained that much herself. How does one distinguish which piece of information is correct and turn that into a card, then?

Sorry. I should have explained it in simpler terms. Basically, I'm curious about the circumstances around which a card is created. For example, would one be made if you happen to correctly guess a cause of death or regret while having a casual conversation with someone? Or do you need to state the details loud and clear with certainty, like one would when presenting evidence in a legal trial?

Ah, now I get what you mean.

I cast my mind back to these past two weeks. I'm not the most chatty person, but I've definitely had a good number of conversations during that time. Chances are good that I've discussed things related to relevant information, so by that logic I should have some extra cards already.

And yet, yesterday was the first time I obtained a new card. In that case, it's probably the latter scenario that's required in order to make new cards.

I feel it's the latter, myself. If the former were the case, one could likely read through an entire dictionary and hit upon everyone's cause of death and regret.

That doesn't sound very thrilling...

I'm sure people would resort to such a method when they know their lives are on the line.

That serves to remind me about how desperate Keiko looked. I could tell she had a specific force driving her. Knowing that, chances are high that she'd read through all kinds of stuff if it meant possibly obtaining more cards.

It's the same reason behind why you can't obtain a card detailing your own cause of death, I believe. We need something more concrete than your hazy memory and my dream...

So in the end, it's all up to me remembering the exact details of what happened that day. I can't see myself doing that today, at least. The fact that it's yet to come back to me probably means I need something specific to trigger my memories. I push those thoughts away and Naomi back to the topic at hand.

Hmm... This is my personal conjecture, but it seems that blood loss is the most common cause of death during pregnancy. Meaning the same would apply to Keiko.

Knowing that's not enough though, is it? I need to understand the precise details that led to its occurrence in the first place.

The lack of any new card materializing proves that.

Books alone probably won't give us all the answers, then.

How about I pay her a visit? Then again, I'd probably get kicked out first.

I'm well aware of how much my hair causes me to stand out...


What is it?

I said we should take a break, but this hardly counts as one, huh? I gotta hand it to you, you're really reliable when it counts.

Ehehe! Glad to hear it.

I say that, but I can tell she's pushing herself pretty hard. It's clear from the way she's speaking that she's more nervous than usual. The same goes for me, as well. There's no way we could have a happy chat about someone's possible cause of death. However, I'm not getting a headache like when I tried to do this on my own. Her being here to shoulder part of the burden really does make things easier to bear. Now the issue is how we go about digging deeper.

Oh, I forgot that I brought some sweets with me. I didn't make these myself, though.

Saying that, she produces some chocolate, which I happily partake of. The sweet sensation that spreads throughout my body is almost enough to make me shiver with joy.

You really can't beat a good dose of sugar...

They do say that it's good for your brain. My mom always brings me some when I'm studyi-

What is it?

I just realized a simple solution. If we want accurate info, then I should go and speak with her family.

Isn't that a bit... dangerous?

Risky, sure. But there's a lower chance of me being caught than you. I'll make sure to go in plain clothes, since you carried Keiko to the hospital in your school uniform.

Wouldn't she have asked them to not reveal anything about her?

I'm fairly certain an adult like her would have reservations about bringing up the dream world to others. If anything, she'd advise them to keep quiet without giving any specifics.

She has a point. I had no issue telling her everything, but there's no way I'd tell one of our teachers, for example. I'd probably be fine with telling my gran, but definitely not my parents- if they were around. That goes double if I were Keiko's age.

I promise I won't do anything too dangerous, so please leave this to me.

I'm more worried about your acting skills...

Aww... Please don't be so blunt...

She once again tucks her face behind a book, and then pops part of it back out to speak to me after a moment.

I'll do my best, though. Especially when it's for your sake.

You really are reliable, aren't you?

As for when I should go... I'd say the weekend is my best bet.

How so?

Her family is likely to visit at night during the week. In fact, they might not even be able to visit at all if it gets too late. Meanwhile, her husband at the very least should stop by during the weekend. I'm best off doing this as soon as possible, so I'll aim for this Saturday.

Got it. I'm coming with you, though. I'll hide somewhere nearby so you can scream if anything happens and I'll come get you.

She nods her head in response, understanding that I won't back down.

We try to discuss other possibilities regarding her death after that, but it basically turns into a study session about pregnancy. After walking Naomi to the train station, I make my way back to Lion House.


BGM: Rinka's Room

05/16 (WED), Night
I have to admit, I am surprised by just how fruitful our efforts today have been. It goes to show how little I'd been thinking about Divine Selection before talking to Naomi about it. It's gotten me to question my own life. I still can't say for sure whether or not it's right of me to want to survive. However, I can say with certainty that I don't want to leave my friends and family upset over my death. That's enough motivation for now.

I'm sure Keiko has the same resolve pushing her forward. In fact, hers is probably stronger, considering she has a child. I was told I lost my parents in an accident almost immediately after I was born, so I'm not too sure what it's like to experience the warmth and love parents can provide. The only thing I have to go on is when my gran spoke to me about my mom. Her expression showed an entirely different kind of love from that she holds for her granddaughter.

Okay, enough thinking for one day.

The more I consider Keiko and her situation, the more empathy I feel for her. Which makes me think of her even more... What I should be doing right now is casting my emotions aside and gathering as much info on her as possible. Even Naomi is pushing herself to do what she can for my sake. The last thing I want is to let that go to waste.

My priority right now...

Should be to get some rest. Thus, I crawl into bed and close my eyes.