Part 2: ASthenia
BGM: Active Search
Like I said before, it's pretty obvious what you should interact with to progress the story, but I'm gonna poke around whenever I can because hey, it might be important! You may have also noticed the 'Map' icon has shown up, as this is an AS specifically tied to one of these escape room sections. Clicking it brings up a floorplan for where you currently are at. Case in point, the Infirmary's map is this:
I appreciate the work that's put into this, considering its not like we're ever going to be free roaming around (it's a VN, not a walking sim ), so credit where it's due for going the extra mile on stuff that isn't a necessity. As for poking around the room, I'm going to start with the giant poster.
Whoever drew this had no artistic talents whatsoever.
Clicking on the bed just leads him to complain about it being uncomfortable some more. The wall vent, however...
Wait- damn! I thought it up in the end since I had to think it to point out I didn't.
He also has nothing to say about the sink, leaving only the shelves.
There were some glasses, a radio for some reason, pill bottles, a box... Nothing I could really combine or use in any way. This escape room sucked. Even if we weren't timed, I still felt as though I wasted some time with this side. Also, it made me wonder about the purpose to all this. If this was called the Dating Game, why would they put us in a room that encouraged us to split up? Wouldn't the idea be that we'd cooperate by doing something together?
I shook my head. Back to the search.
Inside was... just a coin, nothing big. The coin itself was a little bigger than a two dollars coin. On it was a large, engraved eight. Was it worth eight dollars? No way. Coins were worth up to two, not eight. Still, it seemed useful for something or another, so I pocketed it.
I wondered why this was called a cupboard. Was it because people first put cups inside of them? But that's not a board, thats a box. Wouldnt it be better to call them cupboxes?
The surface of the counter was so shiny. This had been cleaned with the utmost precision. Too bad there was nothing else of interest there.
If you clicked on the railing before, Simon basically just noted that it existed and was screwed into the wall. Now that you have the coin, however...
It was probably safe to call Jasmine over, since I'd found something important. I could also take a look around the room some more, if I really wanted.
There's nothing else to look at, however, this is just in case you didnt click on everything beforehand.
Hey, J! How fareth thine searcheth?
I heard some rustling from a nearby area. Soon enough, Jasmine wandered back into this section, clutching in her hand a key.
Hey, hey, woah, you're Jasmine, not Juliet.
With her fists pushed onto her hips, looking annoyed, she stared at me like I just ruined a joke.
Remember what I said about the nicknames?
Oh, shit, she was right.
Okay, okay. You're J, not J! Get it? Because they begin the same way...
And you're not Romeo at all either. I bet he'd have swept me right off my feet.
Looking for something? I just finished looking around this place.
Yeah, a lock. I think I found it...
And she inserted the key into it. Turning it, she opened the cupboard, taking out a strange tablet. She looked behind it.
Oh, it's got a touch screen. I wonder if...
I touched it, but it didn't light up. Jasmine and I examined the side and I figured it needed the USB stick I found in the wall. After plugging it in, I tried my earlier maneuver again... The screen lit up at the contact, surprising Jasmine.
A pretty lady such as thou shouldn't uttereth these vile vociferations!
You know adding th at the end of a word doesn't automatically make it correct old English...
Ghk! She completely disregarded the rest of what I said!
I couldn't see what she was staring at, since she had the screen of the tablet aimed at herself. From what I could see of her expression, she was very puzzled.
What is it?
It's kind of like...a puzzle I guess. I can't make heads or tails of it. There are three numbers: two of them aren't set and the middle one is static. In the middle is the number nine and both numbers on the sides have an arrow pointing towards it. I can change the numbers on the sides but not the middle one...
Do you think we absolutely have to do it?
We probably have to. The rooms have these silly puzzles sometimes. What's inside the tablet will probably help us. Maybe we'll even get the code for the keypads leading back out.
She tried again and again but she only got frustrated with it.
Ugh! Have a shot at it if you want.
She left the tablet on the counter and stormed off. Maybe, deep inside, she had the same worry as me, about looking useless.
The leftmost number was blue... the rightmost number was red... and the one in the middle was just kind of weird. The upper, middle, bottom, and lower-right lines were purple, while the others were blue and red too. She totally didn't mention that. Maybe she thought it wasn't important? I could tell the middle number was nine, though. I tried the same thing she did, no dice. Surely the colors were important then.
Oh! The areas were purple because it was blue laid over red! So that meant...the numbers I had to enter were five and three for blue and red respectively.
We don't get to solve this puzzle, but honestly you probably figured it out just from looking at it
Bingo! It worked.
She came back just as I opened the back slot. Inside was a piece of paper with a bunch of incomprehensible scribbles.
Oh, that's exactly what I need. Something stumped me over there too, gimme that!
Without waiting for any sort of objections, she snatched it from me. I set the tablet aside now that it had, apparently, done what it was meant to do.
I'll be right back. I think we're almost out of here.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
The whole thing?
I unlocked all the doors. I also found... something else. Some kind of remote with no purpose here. But umm... it's the kind of thing I think we should share with the others, so I'll show you at the lounge.
Alright, if you say so.
I set off towards the set of doors, but Jasmine stopped me with a hand around my wrist.
She looked fairly worried. I had no choice and my curiosity was piqued anyway.
Or perhaps it was just supposed to tell us to stop. I was about to walk in when Jasmine shook her head, keeping a tight hold on my arm.
BGM: Ambient Strain
Jasmine dragged her finger across her neck in a motion that left little to the imagination.
Yeah, okay, I get you... But what now, then, if this isn't where we have to go?
More information. My head hurt again, as if it was trying to remember something. Seeing as she was walking again, I followed after her.
It took very little time and the train arrived. We boarded it in silence even if I could tell Jasmine looked at me from time to time, worried over my amnesia. This time, she didn't say a word, though.
It's just like she said. If all my memories came back at once, it would be pretty painful, especially if I'd built new ones. It was better to not force it.
Just like before, the train drove through each station. Just like before, the train opened its doors at a station, waited a little, then closed them again to resume its movements. The cycle repeated a few times until we arrived all the way back at the lounge. As the announcer had said its name, I now knew this was the leisure (or lounge) station, which, according to Jasmine, replaced the one at the center between all colored lines.
BGM: Ambient Strain
Or most of them, at least. I still couldn't wrap my head around how this huge, sprawling, very populated station could be a lounge now. Did Smiley pull some strings so nobody would be allowed to use the metro at all during this day?
Or maybe... maybe this was happening during the night, since every day, the metro stopped running for a couple hours for maintenance. No... they'd still need to renovate this whole place.
Time to go.
I hope the others came back too. If not...well, we'll just figure out what we'll do then. And we'll have the lounge just for ourselves. Let's go.
I wasn't sure if that was good or bad... I mean, of course it was good! It was really great, even! But... Ahh, it had been four years since I last saw her. Being with her like this... made me feel lightheaded.
Yeah, if it wasn't for all of those weird things, it would just be us... walking together... taking the train... going to places and hanging out... But this headache was growing worse and worse! I was probably on the cusp of remembering something about this situation. I held my forehead with a hand. There was no hiding it from Jasmine.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Hmm.. no one here. At any rate, I'll go back downstairs to wait for them. Go ahead and have a real lie-down this time if you want. No one's gonna bother you. They won't get through me!
Once again, she flashed me a smile. Once again, I was putty in her hands. Oh, Jasmine... I awkwardly rubbed the back of my head, embarrassed that I had to rely on other people so much.
The most cowardly part about this was how I wanted her to stay here too... But I couldn't bring myself to ask her, and I instead went with what she suggested. This was probably why I was still single. Always running away. Always uncertain about what I wanted to do. This job I had, these studies I went through; they were all because I wasn't sure. I took up artistic studies because Jasmine went for them. I studied with her abroad because she decided to do it and I didn't want to let her go alone. I didn't want to let go of her.
And that had caused me to let go of her completely, as I moved back to Montreal from Vancouver. Because I couldn't move forward, it cost me Jasmine four years ago. Of course now I regret everything and now, at least, she was right here. I could finally right the wrongs of my past.
Well, okay then. I'll see you in a bit.
That's what I would've liked to happen, at least. But the muffled sound I heard, coming from the station, wouldn't allow it.
BGM: Alarming Silence
I had a sudden thought for Jasmine. She was downstairs, right? Quickly, I went there, running down the stairs faster than I'd ever done.
I only just caught a glimpse of someone inside it, but I couldn't tell who it was. All I saw was a flash of cyan. Whoever that person was, they... had fired a shot. Was it a warning shot? Or something worse? My mind was swimming with awful possible scenarios. I mentally cursed myself. No, I couldn't imagine the worst until I'd seen it. Until then, it wasn't the worst.
Life has a way of robbing you of hope the moment you think you have it.
Purple tights. Those were purple tights.
No answer. At this point, I cared little for the letter nicknames.
Jas...? Is that you...? Someone was here...
Still no answer. At first, I thought it would suck if Jasmine had been the one who fired the gun. But that meant, maybe, she could've been in the train. Maybe she would've been fine. Then again, maybe she was. A part of me thought perhaps, she'd just knocked herself out by dodging the shot, or maybe she was playing dead until the gun-wielder had been gone. I couldn't be sure until I took a closer look.
It took all my will to gather up my courage for this. To look reality... in the face.
Jasmine? Answer me, already...
Just as quickly, I stumbled backwards until my body hit the large screen. I fell over in surprise, only to get back up, unable to believe it. That sight, that grim, fucking sight was unmistakable. Now, I was confronted with the worst case scenario I imagined.
She was dead. Jasmine- the bright, vivacious girl I'd known since childhood- was dead. Both of my hands held my face in the shock of the moment. I couldn't scream. I tried, but nothing would come out. The realization was far harsher than I could've ever imagined.
I didn't want to face the truth anymore. A lie was better.
Jasmine was dead. Jasmine was dead and I wouldn't see her again. Jasmine was dead and I wouldn't hear her speak again. To top it all off, her killer... was on the loose. I kept repeating it in my head. I couldn't... believe it. I finally moved but it was all pointless. I balled my hands in firsts, then relaxed them. I was trembling and I had no tears, no matter how much I tried to cry.
At that moment, I remembered she'd mentioned something about a remote, but... There had been nothing like that on her when I checked her. Had it been taken by the person who shot her square in the head...?
Was that the reason behind her murder, that stupid remote? I had no clue what was going on, I couldn't even fathom what happened. Perhaps, due to my amnesia, I'd forgotten something important. I'd forgotten who the culprit might have been. Important clues... I needed to remember them.
You don't know what you have til it's gone
I felt a chill run up my spine... because that message had been aimed at me. No wonder the words had felt so ominous earlier. But... if I remembered... maybe I could figure it out and make them pay. Would that bring her back? No, but...
All of a sudden, as I contemplated those words, an earthquake took place, shaking the room. I quickly lost my footing.
(Imagine the background shaking so hard it hurts to look at even if you dont have image sensitivity issues and you've basically got the visual of what's happening here)
I managed to catch myself as I fell, only to roll over under the continued movement. I slammed into a wall and gave a small scream of pain.
Perhaps, as a result of this shock and the hit on my head, that was triggered my memory to come back. It all came back at once, leaving me breathless for several moments.