Part 16: AScent
Last time, upon entering the theater, we were given a key with the number 9 on it and told we had to either sacrifice it to save everyone, or use it and sacrifice our partner. Choosing to sacrifice the key gave us a bad end. Maybe the other option will, somehow, give us a better ending?
BGM: Active Search
You may have noticed I didn't touch the door at any point in the last update. That's because the door is how you indicate you would rather use the key instead of sacrificing it. However, Simon isn't so sure.
I refused to think about it again. However, if I used this door, it would definitely happen. I just needed to steel my resolve if this was my... selfish choice. There had to be another way out of this mess... wasn't there?
Examining the door, of course, runs down the clock by two minutes.
I tried to fight it off with all my strength. Using this key would do something horrible. I still thought, perhaps, there might've been another way out.
I decided to hold off for that point in time. Maybe... if I came back to it, once more, maybe then I would do it. Maybe then I would turn into a complete monster.
It uses two minutes each time you think about using the key, instead of sacrificing it.
I asked no one in particular. My body was like mush. Well, if that was God's will, there was nothing I could do about it. Put in this situation, did I really have a choice?
Simon really doesn't want to use the key. And I mean, who can blame him, considering Smiley's choice of words? You have to examine the door three times for him to do so.
BGM: Advancing Shadows
No, that was incorrect: I had one. It was the idea that if I didn't do this... then I might end up trapped here. Then all of our search would've been useless.
I would give it to her and allow her out, but I didn't want to die. She wasn't in a state where she might do it, either. If I shared this information with her, I didn't think she would do it. She'd probably get scared of it, and then I would lose all the confidence I built up for this.
I knew I was horrible for deciding this; I didn't need to be told. I slapped my cheeks and groaned in disbelief. Was this really what this place reduced me to?
If I don't do this without thinking about it... then I never will! Ugh! There...!
I inserted the key, I stopped thinking about it, and finally, I twisted it into the lock. The door opened.
With a sickening, loud buzzing, E's collar activated, creating that cauterizing laser we were told about. I did the worst thing imaginable for myself.
I turned around in my stupidity. No! I didn't want to think about it! I didn't want to see it! Then why?!
BGM: Advancing Shadows
More applause came from the speakers around the room. They were congratulating me... for killing her. I felt unbelievably sick. I vomited right then and there.
I was slowly turning insane. This was enough to trigger so many negative emotions inside my head I thought I was turning completely insane.
I approached the body. I didn't want to. But I had to. Something in me just, felt, bad.
It was all his fault. It was all Smiley's fault. The neck was charred, fuming from the intense cooking of the laser. No! I didn't want to see!
But I did, and I wanted to bring her out too.
I'm sure this is fine.
I knew she wasn't. But I denied reality. I grabbed the body and pulled it with me. I grabbed the head and carried it with me. I didn't know what I was doing anymore. Maybe, deep in my head, this was some kind of twisted way to apologize to her. Maybe if I did this, then she would... leave too.
I carried the corpse with me as I left the room, through the door.
The headless marionette with me was a result of my actions. I brought her through the darkness. After stepping for what felt like minutes in a very slow zombie waltz, I stumbled upon an elevator.
Negative. Losses. The loss of E.
I pressed the button labeled 0 at the very bottom and swallowed, stopping myself from feeling nauseous again. I wasn't looking at the body following me. It came with me.
Maybe I was a zombie, too.
BGM: Ascertaining Speech
Perhaps it was because there needed to be the choice I wouldn't have normally made. It was a little fastidious, but I recalled, in this very moment, something called... The Many-Worlds Interpretation of the flow of time.
Perhaps the only way I could cope with the horrible situation was by remembering something dumb, like this. According to that, time flowed forward until someone had a choice to make. Each option of a choice would then split time into two timelines: one in which the first option was selected, and one in which the second was chosen instead.
Was he happier? Why couldn't it have been this version of me?
As I held my head in my hands, I contemplated the idea that I was, perhaps, left in the worst possible outcome. I was leaving this place, but not in a humane way.
The person who was using this elevator was no longer a person, or even a human anymore. They were a monster. I was a monster.
BGM: Abyssal Snarl
E's body was haunting me. I didn't know what was real. I didn't know what was a lie.
I didn't even realize where I was going for the longest time past that point. As I walked out of another staircase, I found myself above ground. The building had seen better days.
However, I noticed nothing of that. It was like I couldn't even see anymore. It was as if there was only darkness before me.
BGM: Anaphora Solution
And Montreal itself was...
Everything was destroyed. The sky was completely red. Small clouds flew overhead, but I couldn't tell if there was any sunlight.
I could see corpses here and there, scattered around. Not a single soul was alive.
Hahahaha! It's all fucking destroyed! End of the world! Why am I not surprised?! This is a nightmare, after all! I'm gonna wake up any minute now!
I wandered through the streets, laughing like a maniac. I'd gone insane. I could recognize that fact. I wasn't really insane, but...
Or perhaps this vision of the outside was wrought by E's death. Maybe I was substituting the shitty future I was seeing now as a result of my own actions, like I was in purgatory or something.
This is what she died for! A fucking ruined world! Was it war? Time? A catastrophe? Who fucking cares, right?! Hahahahahahaha!
I laughed in the face of emptiness.
Like a zombie, I walked around. Half-alive, not even all there anymore- that was me: a total shell of myself. An asshole. A selfish asshole.
BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
Huh? What? Are you shitting me?
The letter L was in the middle. Five letters long, the middle was L.
No, killed had six letters, not five. But for some reason, I was thinking about a word with five letters. Not a word, no... close to a word, but not a word. Five letters, middle was L.
Why did I think that just now? My mind was shutting down. This was most likely some kind of chemical reaction related to death. I couldn't even see anything anymore.
I couldn't think anymore.
I couldn't think about E's death anymore. Liberation finally came, even if I was unworthy of it.
Just like that, in the middle of a ruined Montreal, I expired.
My headless body fell in the ruins, and everything went completely dark.
BGM: Agnostic Shutdown