Part 9: Short Sharp ShockUpdate 8: Short Sharp Shock
It takes me some time to relax and get up so I can get started on homework. It's because the sheets are cool and comforting against my cheeks, and it feels good just lying there with my eyes closed. This school is like some kind of bizarre and surreal island. It's isolated on top of a mountain, and each person is stranger than the last. I just can't seem to fit in.
What irony, one would think that fitting in a place that's made for people who are unfit for anywhere else would be easy.
HISAO: "Maybe I'm trying too hard."
Although I say that, it doesn't help take the edge off, and the words are left echoing off my empty walls. I guess it's not as bad as I expected, though. This place really is more a school and less a hospital pretending it's a school than I thought it would be. If nothing else, the scenery is beautiful. I open one eye, seeing the schoolbooks and bottles of pills arranged side-by-side on my desktop. Maybe this place is too much like a normal school, after all.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Track 23 (Passing Of Time) HQ
Havent mentioned this yet, but I probably should: while most scenes have a standard wipe separating them, the game marks bigger transitions like, say, transitions between days in the first act by playing the first eight seconds of this theme and showing this graphic. Its actually rather nice.
Katawa Shoujo OST Fripperies
I feel very tired this morning, probably because yesterday itself was a very tiring day. On top of that, I woke up far earlier than necessary. After saying hi to Shizune and Misha, I start doing the work as instructed from the board. It already looks like today is going to be heavy. I don't have a problem with that now, though. Shizune and Misha might jump on me trying to get an answer about whether or not I've decided to join the Student Council, even if it's just one day. I wouldn't put it past them to try, and I don't have an answer for them if they do. So, this situation is convenient for me.
About ten minutes into class, Hanako walks in and takes a seat, but no one looks at her. The teacher doesn't even comment on her lateness. He does, however, stop us to say that we're going to break into groups again. I turn my head and see that Shizune and Misha are looking at me. Shizune gives me a smile that is equal parts cute and menacing. This is a smile that says 'We have you now. There is no escape.
MISHA: "Hicchan~, it looks like we're together again! Yay yay~!"
Misha leans sideways while Shizune pushes her desk closer to mine. There really is no escape now unless I were to jump through the window. Jumping out the window isn't the best option, sadly.
I think this is the first time a screenshot with gray text made it into this LP. Generally, if I want to grab a shot I missed earlier, I need to reload a save, work my way back to whichever screen Im looking for, take the shot, and find where I left off again. However, KS has a built-in function that lets you scroll back through text youve already read as far as you like, even past choices if you want to take them again; any text youve already read get grayed out. A useful function for an LP, right? It would be, if tabbing into and out of the game didnt mysteriously disable it. Any chance I have to scroll back and capture something is a blessing that I cant help but use when I can. If anyone finds the text harder to read like this, though, I can go back to reloading.
MISHA: "What's wrong, Hicchan?"
MISHA: "Oh... Hicchan, have you been thinking about what you said yesterday? You said that you would think about joining the Student Council, didn't you? It's okay, Hicchan. We were talking about it after you left, and it would be rude to expect you to already have an answer for us this early, right? Right~! Hahahahahaha~!"
I'm so happy you two are able to have a laugh at my expense, and even more pleased to know that you both know how crazy the two of you can be. Now that that's over, Shizune snaps back into serious mode and smacks today's assignment with the back of her hand in an overly dramatic and important way. When I actually look at the stuff, it's mostly just reading. In fact, there are only two problems. I almost want to say something about how her rush to get started seems a bit much, considering the small amount of work. In fact, Shizune probably knows how little there is, and simply doesn't care. Yeah, it seems like the workload doesn't matter to her as much as the fact that there is work; the actual amount is unimportant. She approaches everything with the same level of ambition.
While I'm reading, I let my eyes wander around the room and catch Hanako trying her hand at solving the problems. It looks like she's working alone. I can't remember seeing her working with other people before. Thinking back to how shy she is, it's understandable.
HISAO: "Hey, that girl over there..."
MISHA: "Huh? Who, Hicchan?"
HISAO: "Her. Hanako. Over there. Does she always work alone?"
MISHA: "I think so, Hicchan. Do you feel sorry for her because she's alone?"
HISAO: "I was just thinking that maybe she could work with us, or something."
MISHA: "Hmmmm... No, I don't think that would be a good idea, Hicchan."
HISAO: "Why not?"
MISHA: "Shicchan wouldn't get along with her."
Misha shuffles around the question, letting out a laugh that sounds very strange; it's nervous, but still has that lilting up-and-down quality present in everything she says.
MISHA: "Just because, Hicchan."
By now, Shizune has noticed our conversation, and it makes me realize again how Misha has been signing everything she has been saying this whole time.
MISHA: "What, Shicchan? The friend of my enemy is my enemy? That sounds so harsh, I'm not going to say that."
HISAO: "You said it anyway."
MISHA: "I know, Hicchan, it's fine if you overhear~!"
I wonder if this is Misha's way of keeping things fair, since without her, I wouldn't be able to understand a thing Shizune is saying, and vice versa. Is that also why she signs all the time, so there is never a conversation Shizune will be left out of?
MISHA: "Anyway, we should start on the problems now, Hicchan."
Katawa Shoujo OST Daylight
We finish with time to spare, and I decide to ask if there are any alternatives to the cafeteria, as frankly, the food so far has been subpar. This sends Shizune and Misha arguing among themselves about their favorite restaurants. All of them are downtown, so I don't think we have time to go all the way there. And what about the bill? Are they arguing just for the fun of it? Maybe. They seem so distracted by it that they don't even notice the start of the actual lunch break. I look over my shoulder towards the back of the classroom. She seems to be studying her notes from the previous class. It's an odd sight; everyone else in the class is busying themselves with the lunch break. Socializing, gossiping, rearranging desks, the ones with actual boxed lunches mixed in and chattering like everyone else, only interrupted by short bouts of eating. But, when I watch Hanako, it feels that I'm the only one who can see her. Almost as if she was invisible; sort of hiding in plain sight. Is she being bullied? Is she isolating herself from the rest of the class on her own accord? I see her look over her shoulder towards the classroom's rear door. Come to think of it, she hasn't turned a page since I've started watching her. I guess she's waiting for someone.
What to do...
>"Wait for Shizune and Misha to come to a decision."
>"Read my book."
This section used to contain a bunch of flags analysis, but it looks like almost everything I said about flags up to this point is wrong!
I had a feeling you would get something wrong here but I didn't want to spoil anything earlier (and I knew the thread picked Emi so it didn't matter). There are 3 flags (not 2) available for both Shizune and Lilly/Hanako in the first bit and you only need 2 out of 3 for each of them to unlock the corresponding choice here. For Shizune the 3 flags are: introducing yourself the first day (this is the one you accidently got because you thought it just changed the dialogue a bit...it doesn't), telling Shizune you have no further questions, and playing Risk aggressively. For Lilly/Hanako the 3 flags are: asking Shizune about the library, apologizing to Hanako, and telling Kenji that Hanako's cute. You only got the apologizing flag, so you successfully got rid of the Lilly/Hanako path.
You also got some information wrong about the choice in the cafeteria when you made it. You can't actually choose another option after "Ask about library" like you say in the update, so the "ask about library" and "I think I got everything" flags are exclusive. However since you only need 2/3 flags each way, you can still get the other 2 flags for the girl you messed up and fix things.
The only thing that seemed off her was I swear I selected "ask about library" and it let me go back to the dialogue menu, but I went back and verified whitehelm had it right. I'm on my THIRD walkthrough now and this one seems legit. We'll see.
=>Read my book.
I'm not shooting for any of the currently available characters so I take the most boring possible option, reading. It wipes all of my flags, leaving all three girls inaccessible and forcing me to pick between two characters we havent met yet. The game really wants you to socialize, man.
I do what I always do when I don't know what to do. Like now. I've already started on one of the books I borrowed yesterday, and took it with me to school to fill the empty moments between classes. I find the page that I creased a corner of to mark the spot I left yesterday night, and pick up from there. Misha and Shizune are still arguing heatedly, probably about restaurants still. If I joined them, I'd just get caught up in that, or worse, get grilled about joining the Student Council. Misha isn't speaking aloud since there is nobody who'd need to hear what they are talking about. But why does she tend to sign things even when Shizune doesn't need to understand what's being said, or even more strangely, when Shizune is not around at all? What an odd conflict of habits. I find it hard to focus on the book, and besides, the lunch break beckons me to leave the dullness of the classroom. I do so, heading down for the cafeteria. Misha and Shizune, having come to a conclusion of one kind or another, follow in my wake though still talking in their animated fashion.
Theres an odd sound effect here, one that sounds kind of like running and kind of like flexing metal.
Just around the corner of the hallway something hits me in the chest with the force of a runaway train.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Standing Tall (Emi's Theme)
Opening my eyes, I see a pair of saucer-like green eyes looking up at me.
They belong to the perpetrator, a short girl who bumped into me and has now fallen down onto the hallway floor. She wears a PE uniform and a very worried frown. The former strikes me as a rather strange thing to have on during a lunch break. ...More striking than that, though, is that she doesn't have legs.
Or she does, but they are not flesh and bone. Her pale and very much flesh-and-bone thighs end in shins and feet made of some black metallic or plastic-like material. They look disturbingly artificial and unnatural. It almost makes me forget that my chest is hurting. The girl winces a little, rubs her nose and jumps up.
"Aw man... Hey, are you all right? I'm sorry about that, really! I wasn't looking where I was going, and you just came out of nowhere. Sorry... Sorry!"
She's looking really apologetic, in the hurt puppy way of looking apologetic. I quickly forget about being angry or anything, since hurt puppies are my weak spot.
HISAO: "It's okay. Don't worry about it... ouch..."
I say that, but there's a stinging pain growing in my chest, and I know that this is about the biggest possible danger for my condition.
Another heavy heartbeat.
Don't overexert yourself, don't forget your medication and most of all, don't get hit in the chest.
Another heavy heartbeat.
I try to rub my solar plexus to chase the pain away, holding my breath in an attempt to hear my heartbeat.
Another heartbeat, but softer. It fades away.
It seems normal...
Katawa Shoujo OST - Standing Tall (Emi's Theme)
"Hey, should I get a nurse?"
The worried, high-pitched voice of the girl snaps me out of it. I stare at her for a few seconds dumbfounded, until I realize that I probably looked worse off than I really was, doubled over myself and looking all tense. Damn, I'm overly worried about my heart.
HISAO: "Err... no need, I'm fine."
Managing to say something in response, I pull myself upright, feeling my sore ribs one last time, and take a deep breath. She just knocked the wind out of me. Big time. But it's nothing more than that.
"You sure you're okay? I hit you pretty hard."
HISAO: "It's okay. I said I was fine, and nothing's broken. No harm done."
"That's good! I was"
I feel a hand on my shoulder at the same time the girl's eyes widen in horror and whatever she was saying gets interrupted by a very horrified
I don't have time to look behind me because Shizune is already shoving me aside and stomping over to the girl, signing furiously at her.
MISHA: "Miss Ibarazaki, I saw that. Running in the halls is strictly forbidden."
Misha translates, right on Shizune's tail, but her voice is girlishly playful, not full of the divine fury Shizune's arm movements would seem to call for.
"Er, sorry, I was just going to get some stuff, and I was in a kind of a hurry."
MISHA: "You've been told this a thousand times before. Your reckless behavior endangers other students, and even worse, it's explicitly against the school regulations."
The girl blushes and starts to fidget nervously like a little child caught misbehaving. It's so cute I find myself smiling.
"I know that! I I, um, I was just..."
MISHA: "Make sure that this will not happen again... although I'm sure telling you this is futile, and only causes me further headache when you choose to ignore the regulations. Got that, Emi?"
The small girl sticks her tongue out in response.
"Aaah! I gotta go! Teacher'll have my head! I promised to help with printouts, but I went running instead! Sorry, but I've gotta change and everything!"
(Running Sound Effect, Silence)
Before Misha or Shizune or I can say anything, she's already bolted from where she was a second ago, almost halfway towards the stairwell. Shizune looks like she's about to go nuclear on the spot, so I smile at her in a vain attempt to calm her down.
Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days
MISHA: "Are you okay, Hicchan? That Ibarazaki girl is always like that, causing trouble to others."
HISAO: "You know, I'm pretty certain Shizune wouldn't call me 'Hicchan.'"
MISHA: "Never mind, never mind!"
HISAO: "Yeah, anyway, I'm okay. Just got the wind knocked out of me."
MISHA: "That's great, Hicchan!"
I wouldn't call that great, but I let it slide this one time.
MISHA: "We have to run now, there is an important student council meeting regarding the festival. And we finally decided where to eat~!"
MISHA: "Too bad you can't join, but this lunch meeting is only for council members. We can take you there some other time! Oh, but that'd be like a date, wouldn't it? Wahaha~!"
Everything after the ellipsis above changes if you waited for them earlier. Theyre a lot more friendly and casual.
The girls leave for downstairs. I didn't manage to get far from the third floor hallway before all this commotion struck, literally. I should get going as well.