Part 76: Great Disturbance
BGM: The Sacred Large Hall
06/24 (SUN), Night
Good evening, my lovely little slaves to fate.
Parca's voice echoes throughout the Court of Fate once more. Tonight marks the eighth round of Divine Selection. Only six of the original twelve participants are left: Numerals I, II, III, IX, XI, and XII. One is guaranteed to be eliminated tonight, though.
None other than Odette. The very first person I'll have elected.
Aw, please spare me from the boredom that accompanies your silence.
Hah. Guess it's on you, then. Go on and tell us something real interesting.
Something interesting, you say?
Odette remains as calm as ever, even with her impending elimination. That really pisses me off.
Who cares about that?! Let's get electing already!
My impatience gets the better of me, causing me to shout. All it does is cause Odette to flash me a smug grin. That stupid face drives me mad.
Goodness gracious. Someone sounds desperate to carry out the election, it seems.
Very well. Allow me to begin tonight's election.
Parca makes her announcement loud and clear. She's doing it to show me up, too. Little brat thinks she's better just 'cuz she's a goddess.
Revolve, O' Clock of Fate!
The standard election procedure follows. It's a sight I've gotten way too used to.
BGM: Do You Understand?
Nothing from me.
Numeral I passes.
Next up is Miharu. Based on everything up till now, she'll pass. I'm the only one out of our alliance that'll be electing someone tonight, after all.
I elect Numeral XI.
What the hell?!
Ehehe. Very well.
Wh-What's going on here? I can't hide my panic over what just happened. Odette catches my eye in the midst of my breakdown. She's giving me the same smug-ass grin as always. Almost like she knew things would play out like this. If Miharu's electing her, then I don't need to, right?
Numeral III? Make your intent clear.
I cut myself off.
Actually, I'll elect Numeral XI as well.
That was close. The shock almost made me forget that Odette has my information as well. Miharu'll get her hands on that info if she eliminates Odette. Don't tell me that's been her plan from the beginning...
Doesn't sound like Scale expected this either, judging by his expression. Can't see him putting her up to this. There's nothing in it for him.
I see we have our first duplicate election of the night. Do wait until the clock makes its full revolution first.
Scale's right after me now that we're down to so few people.
I elect Numeral II.
He's electing someone as well? Miharu of all people, too. He's smiling, but not that fake one he usually has. He looks like he's holding back a wicked laugh. I can't believe this. I never trusted them in the first place, but I never expected them to pull this stunt. Numeral I doesn't seem the least bit concerned about Miharu being elected, either. Guess they really did part ways.
Very well. What about you, Numeral XI?
Nothin' from me. You already knew that though, didn't you?
My role is merely that of a supervisor. I may know what awaits you in your original fates, but the possibilities that stem from here are a mystery even to me.
Pfft. Like I care.
Parca pouts at Odette before directing her attention to Alan.
I will pass.
Let us begin with Numeral II and III's duplicate election, then. Whoever reveals one card will earn election priority. Will either of you do so?
I'll reveal my name card. Give me priority.
Everyone here knows my name, so it's no big deal.
Wait a minute. Surely I'm supposed to reply first, given that I have a lower numeral than you. Following that logic, I'll reveal my cause of death card.
Understood. Both of you are willing to reveal a card, then.
Heh. One is plenty, but... will you go beyond that, Numeral III?
You little bitch...!
I glare at Odette. She isn't laughing anymore. She looks like a wild beast now. Her sight is fixed square on me, like I'm her prey, even now. This might be the first time she's ever looked at me like this. What'll happen if the election gets cancelled? I can elect her next week, but then I'll need to reveal another card if she opts to protect herself. Even if I don't elect her, she'll just elect me instead. Even worse, she hasn't revealed a single card of her own. That means she'll break right through my own protective measures.
If we both elect each other, then we'll be eliminated together...
Will you pass, Numeral III?
Parca poses her question with a smirk. I ain't got time to think about how to make it through Divine Selection anymore. I'll never surpass Odette if I back down here. This is my best chance to put her to sleep once and for all. So long as I can beat her, then...!
Thing is, Odette should have all three of my cards. She can still protect herself if I go ahead with this. Then I'd have to reveal my regret as well.
I stay quiet. My brain starts processing thoughts at a rate I've never experienced before. I've been with her long enough to know that she wouldn't just take an election from me lying down. She isn't electing me because she can't. She made it seem like she knew my regret, but that was a bluff. Which means there's only one thing to do.
I'll give you my cause of death too, so gimme the right to take her down once and for all.
Understood. With that decided, Numeral III and Numeral XI... Allow me to begin the election procedure.
The sudden shaking takes me by surprise. My platform begins to rise above the Court of Fate. It takes me to the upper stratum, which looks limitless.
Doesn't look much different than below...
Odette told me about the upper stratum before, but it really isn't that different from below. All that's changed is only me and Odette are here, standing opposite one another. Just the two of us, rising together.
Funny how you're the one who ends up electing me in the end.
Trying to put on a brave face, huh? Show me some fear. You're about to die, so I won't judge you.
You really that dumb? We're both dead already. Ain't nothin' to be scared of. If anything, I'm just a bit upset I lost the game.
This is the end for me, so I'll be honest. Kicking around with you wasn't bad. In fact, I had some good fun.
Odette sounds solemn as she says this.
...I'd say I had some fun, too. Sharing wine with you wasn't so bad.
Hahah! Federico the dumbass falls for it again! You sure ain't fit to betray anyone, you know that? But hey, thanks for showing me that sincere side of yours before I gotta go.
Well, well. You two certainly get along.
Gah! Where'd you come from?
I completely forgot about Parca thanks to Odette.
The juncture of causality serves as Divine Selection's take on the thread of fate, by which you are all bound. There have been, and will be, plenty of people like you two. Those who get along so well. Hehehe. Moments like this bring me great comfort.
...You've got issues.
I will take that as a compliment.
Don't get the wrong idea. We ain't friends or nothin'- we were just using each other. I'm eliminating her now 'cuz she's got nothing else of value for me.
Oh, dear. You could do with being more honest.
Shut it! Just lemme elect her already.
Very well. We can't afford to waste time with a second group waiting.
BGM: Fated Selection
My card book starts to glow as she says that. All my cards pop out and start floating in front of me. Odette told me how the election process works, so I don't hesitate. All I need to do is pick out her three cards.
Her name is Odette Malencon.
Lemme ask you something before you're done with me.
She was crushed to death and died of blood loss.
My goal in life was to enjoy it to the fullest, so lemme ask. What's your goal? Why do you wanna live through this so bad?
Her question causes me to stop for a moment. It doesn't take long for me to answer, though.
No one needs a reason to live.
That so? Surprise, surprise. Guess that means you've got the right idea as well.
It ain't like you to spout such nonsense. Her regret was being unable to give birth.
All three cards float away from me once I pick them out. Once they reach the middle of the Court of Fate, they come together and form a triangular shape. The light surrounding them gets bigger and bigger, until it eventually envelops the whole area. As for Odette... she looks more at peace than I've ever seen her before. Damn it all.
BGM: Fall Into...
I find myself on a ship under attack. A bunch of old-fashioned pirates were responsible. The ship was packed to the brim with weapons and illegally obtained jewels and crap, so they were probably here for them. Of course, this shipping company would never lose to a single boat. Not with Odette Malencon at the helm. Things were different this time around, though. Not only were the pirates working together with a group she wasn't on good terms with, but they planned on sinking the ship and killing everyone on board, too.
There was no way out when you were surrounded by eight ships. All of Odette's crewmates were dead. Of course, they took plenty of the pirate crew down with them. The ship itself looked like hell on Earth. There just happened to be a man from the Italian mafia on board, too. Odette was aware of that and the fact that he was currently on the run.
Just then, a massive shock rocked the ship. It began to break apart due to the damage it had received. Odette judged others based on their skill on the high seas. To that effect, the mafioso was nothing more than your average Joe. Part of the decking that had broken off was launched right at him.
And it was none other than Odette who used her body as a shield.
That was a fact that she would never admit to. Even if she survived, she would just chalk it up to coincidence. The undeniable truth, however, was that Odette used her own body to protect that mafioso. The ship jolted violently afterwards before it broke completely apart. Both Odette and the mafioso were crushed by the wreckage.
You gotta be kiddin' me...
I find myself clutching my chest when I regain consciousness. My heart's throbbing like mad. I'm sweating buckets despite it only being a dream. I saw the exact moment of Odette's death. I can't believe it. She...
She protected me...?
My eyes feel dry all of a sudden. The sheer shame I feel takes me over.
Parca appears once more, chuckling in a manner similar to Miharu. She tells me all the cards Odette has in her possession and gives me the option to pick one.
All three of my cards are included in that list. She could've protected herself at any moment.
Do give this some proper thought.
My platform begins to descend as Parca's voice fades. The movement doesn't take me by surprise this time because I'm so preoccupied with everything that's just happened.
Numeral II's cause of death will do...
How ironic that the card I pick is the one Miharu's going to reveal anyway. Doesn't matter to me anymore, though. Odette gave her life to protect me. She even had all my cards at her disposal, yet she never tried to block my election.
And I'll never be able to find out why.
I'm the one who eliminated her, but...
Shit! Shit! Dammit all!
I try to kick the stand in front of me, but I just fall over myself without making any contact.
I'm afraid there's no point in trying to damage something in the dream world.
Parca, who has returned to the lower stratum at some point, speaks to me with a grin. She really pisses me off. Everything pisses me off now.
Allow me to take the card you opted to reveal first.
Parca takes two cards from me, and one card from Miharu. The participants' card books begin to glow, except for mine. I got Miharu's card when I eliminated Odette, so there's no reason for mine to react.
I doubt anyone can hear me at this point. My emotions are shot and they're falling deeper and deeper down this bottomless world.
BGM: The Sacred Large Hall
After Federico has his election, it is Miharu's turn to be elected by Scale. I am honestly a bit worried at first, but Miharu comes back safe and sound. Finding her and Naomi outside Lion House on Saturday night sure took me by surprise. After hearing what they had to say, I was so glad that I both made my way back home and found the courage to negotiate with Alan.
We spent all of Sunday tracking down the info pertaining to Scale's cause of death and regret. It shouldn't have been too hard because we already knew the information on the cards themselves, but it still took almost all day. I doubt I would've been able to manage it without Miharu and Naomi's help. They should both be sleeping beside me in the real world right now.
I could've elected him myself, but I didn't because it would risk Miharu losing her own means of protection. That, in turn, increased the risk of other participants getting a hold of more information, but it remained the safest option.
Goodness gracious, things have certainly gotten messy here.
Not that you particularly care, do you?
I sure got served, hahaha...
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Parca's sentiment. My heart is racing. It's entirely possible that I could've lost Miharu if Scale did something crazy. And that's the last thing I want.
Tonight's session resulted in one elimination. I bid you all farewell for now.
Divine Selection ends with Parca's farewell. My consciousness makes its way back to my body in the real world. But I don't go back empty-handed for now. It's nothing but a simple idea for now, but a certain possibility has made itself known to me.
[END OF WEEK EIGHT: WHAT IT MEANS TO CONNECT LIVES]
Cardbook has updated.
The only changes are that everyone still alive now has the following three cards in their cardbooks if they did not already have them:
II Cause of Death Suicide
III Name Federico Carminati
III Cause of Death Death from Structural Collapse