Part 19: disASsociate
We just can't escape E, it looks like. We're going to save her specifically, rather than taking Jasmine out.
BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
BGM: Advancing Shadows
I understood then that there was no reasoning with her. But... she didn't stab G earlier, when she shoved the girl aside. Perhaps, then, that G would be safe with her, paradoxically.
I didn't know what to do, so I did the most natural thing: I reached over for E. As soon as my hand wrapped around her wrist, I yanked her out of the way.
She quickly fell against me. I gritted my teeth upon feeling the added weight. A small clicking noise echoed when our collars came into contact. I almost lost my footing, but I remained upright.
At that moment, I figured that she wasn't any threat. She was innocent and I could trust her. My first priority was to help her, to bring her to a safe location. I saw that she also understood the fact I was no threat, and she could trust me. Meanwhile, Jasmine was considering the situation now that I had added myself to the equation. I had to figure something out to destabilize her further.
Quickly, I took the first thing I could reach. It was the bag A gave me. It contained all the pens... Surely they could come in handy now. I unzipped it, and I backed off with E.
Don't come closer!
Perhaps this was ridiculous. Still, I threw the pens, one by one. When I came upon the E pen, I decided to leave it in the bag. Same for the S pen; I couldn't throw those, just in case... but I was almost out of ammo.
Right, the bag itself. I plucked the last two pens out, flung those, and then lobbed the bag at her face, which made her hesitate. That was enough! I sprinted out of the room, with E in tow.
I just had to hope that was the case, just as I was hoping for the train to arrive quickly. If Jasmine got her bearings back, and barreled down the stairs, there would be nothing stopping her from...
It was quiet, so I exhaled a breath I didn't know I still held. She wasn't coming down. Perhaps G was...
I shook my head. I knew I shouldn't have thought about it. I knew that... I might've left the twin to die, but I had no choice. I clenched my teeth when I realized that choice still perhaps condemned one of them.
As soon as we entered, the train departed. We were going towards the north side. I hadn't picked which staircase I'd went down to, because I didn't have the state of mind to think about it. Perhaps I should've thought about it more.
Where are we going? What was that event?
Unfortunately, I had no means to communicate with her, so I had to think of something else. I tapped onto her hand as if to comfort her.
Ah, well. Whatever it was, it wasn't good, huh? But at least we're good now. I don't know if you're writing something... so poke my hand once if yes, and twice if no.
Oh, did you run out of paper?
I poked her hand twice. That was technically true. It was just in the bag.
Of course Simon would be this kind of pedantic, based on his track record thus far.
Hmm... something else must be preventing you from writing. Did... you lose the pens, too?
I poked her hand once. At least I could answer simple questions.
I poked her hand twice. They definitely weren't okay.
Did... did people die?
I hesitated. To which point did I really need to tell her the truth?
No answer, huh? So I guess... they did.
I looked around the station, but there was no one. The doors were open. This was already solved. Just as eagerly, the train closed its doors and ventured off again.
Hmm... I don't know what else to ask, and you can't ask me anything. We can take the rest of the line in silence, then, is that okay?
I answered by poking her hand once, even if I wanted to talk more. It was helping, but... it was just like she said. I didn't know how to communicate with her without those pens. Sure, I needed the paper too, and all of them were gone with the bag.
Since leaving here was definitely one of the worst options, I didn't. Instead, I remained in the train. In silence. With E.
BGM: Ambient Strain
It was, perhaps, the last one of the line. The announcer called it the theater station.
It's not moving anymore. Are we at a new station, then?
My priority was to escort E out of here. I poked her hand once, then we stood up together. The idea was... If we entered a new station, the doors would close behind us. Since we had no time limit, we could wait there with the solution, refrain from entering it for several hours if needed, and then we could head back out in relative safety. And then, perhaps, the issue would be solved.
I doubted it. Yet, this was the most cowardly plan I could come up with, and it was marvelous.
BGM: Abyssal Snarl
Huh? But Marco and Ray were... Did they split up? Did they split up and one went here... No, wait, the doors only close when two collars stepped inside, didn't they? So... it shouldn't be closed if just one person came here. Wait... one person...
I opened my mouth in silent horror at what I'd just thought about. Why did we never try this? Perhaps... I should've checked. I should've tried entering a station alone, and see if it closed up. If it didn't... then maybe... Maybe no puzzle needed to be solved that way. If we traversed them one by one, then the doors would never lock up. Or maybe that was just a trap by Smiley.
I looked at the other side of the station: the door was closed, too. And the space between the stations was, as I mentioned long ago, far too dangerous to cross. That was a last ditch effort, and nothing else.
You've been silent for a while. Is everything fine?
First, I had to comfort E. I lied by poking her hand one time.
Just taking a break then? Come poke my hand when you're good to go.
She smiled. That was a smile that needed protecting. I thought I could do it- it was my task now.
Same as before, we've already done an Active Search in the station, so the Map's not important- this being the theater station doesn't change it in any way. I'm going to start on the left and work my way right, saving the door for last.
My steps were blocked after only a few in this encroaching darkness. The reason was simple: there was a big gate. Unless I could cut myself into pieces, I wouldn't make it through there. I could have done that if I had a knife, but I wouldn't be alive anymore, which would be counter-productive to the goal. Even if someone picked up the little cubes that made me me to put them back together, I wouldn't be fine on the other side.
Still, the sign itself would be of no use to me.
No secret passages behind this television screen. It was as flat as my mood, or as flat as the Earth, if I believed the Earth was flat, which I didn't... Or it was as flat as a bratty anime girl.
Perhaps it even was as flat as these comparisons.
I tried to find a way to open one of the plates. They were affixed to the wall with large bolts, but surely, there was a way to get them off? I tried with all my might, but there was no way they were opening up. If Ray couldn't have done it, then I sure as hell didn't stand a chance.
The door was closed. I tried peeking through the window. Inside was a bunch of rubble. What was that all about?
I tried and I tried, but I couldn't open it. There was no handle. There was nothing I could do to get it to open up. Even the window in the door was useless; as thick as the door, it didn't break even when I threw my strongest punch. I had to accept it: we were trapped here. I decided against informing E for now. Instead, I waited. Maybe some help would come. That was what I thought.
Against the wall, I slid to the ground and sat, waiting. Waiting. Waiting...
BGM: Android Sorrow
It felt like an eternity passed us by, as we waited for help that never came.
I backed up, looked at E still serene, waiting for help as well, and I moved forward, confident in my take. I wouldn't get to make that first step in the dangerous abyss between the stations, however.
As soon as I made up my mind... darkness greeted me.