The Let's Play Archive

Fatal Twelve

by Mix

Part 36: The Nice Old Man

BGM: Town

05/30 (WED), Evening
After school, I make my way to the district where Shigetsugu lives. I know the way by heart at this point- I've gotten somewhat familiar with the area, after all. I should be able to escape into a busier area if I somehow bump into that duo.

...Okay, let's do this.

I give myself a little pep talk out loud. Today's main goal is to ask around and find out anything I can about the relationship between Shigetsugu and that girl. Things go south almost immediately, though.

You wouldn't happen to be a participant, would you?
His VA is listed as Murao Shouhei; this seems to be the only role he's been credited for, at least under this name.

Someone approaches me from behind.

BGM: Impatience

The very person I was about to gather info on meets my gaze when I spin around. He may be short, but he looks as tenacious up close as he did from afar in the dream world. He stares at me with a stone-cold poker face, a plastic bag in hand. I freeze the moment our eyes meet.

I recognize that face. Not many highschoolers look as threatening as you do.


Now, now. Allow me to hazard a guess. You've come here in search of information pertaining to me, yes?

His posture makes him look exhausted. He's completely unfazed, despite having run into another participant. Now that I think about it, he didn't react in the slightest when Numeral XI got her hands on his name card. He may sound somewhat surprised, but at the same time, he seems a bit apathetic.

Please. There's no need to be so tense. I have no intention to oppose any of you. My battlefield lays elsewhere. And today, I make my return after a great triumph.

Your battlefield...?

Indeed. I have my own battle to fight.

With another participant?

Heavens, no. I have my battles by the station.

I'm completely baffled by his statement. I guess it means he's successfully reeled me in, though. I start to panic with that thought in mind.

The battle begins by lining up early in the morning to secure a good spot. But the true war begins after that. Few things are as exciting as the fanfare you receive when hitting the jackpot.

Jackpot, fanfare, and a good spot... Not to mention this all takes place by the station. The station isn't huge, but it has all your typical storefronts around it. Coffee shops, diners, the shopping district, and...

BGM: Silence

Are you... talking about pachinko...?

Hahaha. That is correct.

His laugh is hearty and sincere. The scowl on his face remains, though. It leads me to believe that he's the kind of person whose facial expressions don't quite match up with how they actually feel.

Here. For your correct guess, you win this chocolate.

He produces a bar of chocolate from his bag and hands it to me. I stare at it for a few seconds before turning him down.

BGM: Impatience

Is this your way of making me lower my guard?

Ahh, children these days aren't quite satisfied with chocolate, I see. A shame. Especially when I know one whose eyes light up whenever I give them some.

You must be talking about the girl staying with you.

Hmm? I don't recall any girls staying with me.

Drop the act already.

I try to sound as threatening as I can muster. Letting him lead the conversation any longer is too risky. Especially when I can't gauge his intentions.

My, my. Aren't you a scary one!

I stare him down as he tries to tease me. It's possible that he's trying to rope me in and extract useful information out of me. So I try my best to say as little as possible.

As I said before, I have zero intention of taking part in all of this. I'm happy enough as it is to have been granted some extra time before passing away. I've even been able to return to the pachinko parlor thanks to it. You'll never believe how much my income has increased ever since Divine Selection began.

I refuse to say anything in response to his random conversation.

That being said, could I ask you to leave?

He finally confronts me, possibly after realizing that I will stay quiet if he doesn't.

I'm fine with whatever fate befalls me, but... there's a certain someone whose survival I want to ensure.

It has to be the girl. I already know for sure that they're living together. Which means he's feigning ignorance.

I want us to lead a normal life until that someone finds the will to fight for their own sake. Would it be too much to ask that you hear out what this old, retired man has to say?

You want this person to win, don't you? If so, then yes. It would be too much.

Well, that's hardly surprising. How does this sound, then?

His tone becomes grave, and his expression somehow gets even more tenacious as he speaks.

If you agree to leave now, I won't make any mention of having met you. That means they won't target you.

I get that you're older than me, but you may want to appreciate the fact that you're in no position to look down on me, Ushizuka Shigetsugu.

Getting haughty just because you know my name, are you?

He doesn't falter when confronted with my threat. He opts to provoke me instead.

Hahaha, I'm kidding. As I said twice now, I have no intention to oppose any of you.

His tone returns to normal, although his expression remains unchanged. We've made absolutely no progress. I guess his age and experience means it won't be easy to reel him in.

From what I can tell, you aren't quite like the other participants. You're nothing more than a young girl. It pains me to know that you died so young, but... your best bet is to avoid the other participants if you want to make the most of what little time you've been granted.

...the hell up.

Beg your pardon?

I'm not sure how, but I manage to stop myself from screaming in his face. I've just about had it with him talking to me like I'm some dumb kid.

I'm not doing this for my survival. I'm here for answers. I can't afford to just sit idly by and let this all pass.

Is my life worth casting aside the lives of others for? What is my regret? What awaits myself and Miharu when all is said and done? Is fate really something we can't hope to go against? I can't let myself die until I find the answers to all of those questions. I have no intention of living a quiet life if I'm unable to do so.

Answers, hmm? I'm not quite sure what questions you have, but finding your answers won't be a simple task.

And? Don't act like you don't know me!

Hahaha! Quite the nostalgic statement there. I used to hear it from my family quite often before they all left me.

That lady from the other day mentioned that he's been living alone ever since his family abandoned him. Based on his attitude, I'm hardly surprised someone's said that to him before. He's one of those condescending types who like to act as though they know every little thing about you.

I'll leave for today, but... it doesn't mean I'll stop looking into you. Don't think I'm the only one doing this, either. Everyone's far more desperate to cling to life than you seem to think.

That tenacity of yours is quite admirable. Certainly not what I'd expect from a child, haha.

That attitude is what's pissing me off!

Hahaha... Hmm?

Just as I am about to leave, I hear a set of footsteps stop in front of me. I turn my eyes toward the person to whom they belong.

Who is this? Don't tell me it's another participant... No, of course it is. What is it about today?

The voice belongs to the girl I tailed back to Shigetsugu's house the other day. She's probably returning from a shopping trip, based on the plastic bag she's holding in one hand. Her eyes are big and round, and her silver hair is somewhat disheveled. She seems like your average innocent kid. Not an instant after that, she gives me an icy-cold stare.

Is she targeting you as well?

Right then, I feel like something sharp stabs into my brain. The sudden pain is so bad that my hands clasp onto my head on instinct. I've never experienced a headache this painful before.


This isn't good. I'm not sure about the cause, but the last thing I need in this situation is to leave myself vulnerable. Just as I think that...

Agggghhh! My head! What's going on?!

I'm not the only one experiencing this pain, it seems.