Part 68: Slow RecoveryUpdate 62: Slow Recovery
Katawa Shoujo OST - Ease
HISAO: "Great. I'm not looking forward to a lot of work. To be honest, I've never done any student council activities before. But maybe it'll be a positive experience?"
Misha starts to clap, laughing exuberantly as she does.
MISHA: "Congratulations, Hicchan!"
HISAO: "I get the message."
I can't help but smile, finding such a display childishly cute.
MISHA: "The Student Council is always busy, you know! But for today, we're done. See you tomorrow, Hicchan! We still have work left, so we'll be counting on you!"
I leave the room, feeling totally wiped out. The grounds are totally deserted, and the school looks pretty ominous this late. The council office is the only window with lights on any more. Is this what the Student Council will be like? My body might not be able to take it.
Adhering to the nurse's nagging voice in the back of my head, I set my alarm clock to wake me up early enough to go jogging again. I made a promise and I'm going to keep it. Besides, Emi is bound to rat on me if I don't show up. But it's not all that bad.
Now we run with Emi, the side to double down, and almost have a heart attack again. Nothing else changes until we get part way through Update 14, specifically just past when we get back to class after Mutou just kind of shrugs and lets us in.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Everyday Fantasy
Only two pairs of eyes remain keenly following me as I walk to my seat. I'm not surprised in the least when I feel Misha's fingernail prickle through my shirt about fifteen seconds after seating myself.
MISHA: "Psst! Where were you?"
HISAO: "None of your business."
I know this is probably the worst answer I can give as it only serves to pique their curiosity, but I have no energy to come up with elaborate cover stories right now. However, Misha backs off. She's unexpectedly fast to give up today. ... In a minute, she's back at poking me with her finger.
MISHA: "Come on, tell us! Shicchan is very interested too!"
It was just my wishful thinking. She just talked about it with Shizune, probably devising ways to get me to spill the beans.
She retreats to negotiate again.
MISHA: "As a member of the Student Council, it's your duty to tell us why you are skipping class! Especially if it's something fun fun fun~!"
>"Yeah, I sure was having fun fun fun at the nurse's office..."
>"I don't want to talk about it, okay?"
Wow, this is an unclear choice. These dialogue options are Fallout 4 vague. Basically, the first one has you lash out at them and stop the conversation cold, shunting you back on to Emis path. Which would be fine, except it ALSO triggers the death flag, so you basically have lunch with Emi and Rin and then die. We arent doing that.
=>"I don't want to talk about it, okay?"
HISAO: "Give up. I'm not going to tell."
MISHA: "Is that so~?"
She thinks about this for a moment.
MISHA: "That's stingy, Hicchan~!"
I can hear the pout in her voice, disappointed and downcast. She retreats again for a moment to negotiate with the brainy half of the dynamic duo, before returning.
MISHA: "I think we should have lunch together and discuss more about this... Shicchan says. It's our treat. Besides, you need to make up for not being there in the morning and we need help with the work~!"
The other students around us are starting to give us looks, probably because Misha is leaning so much over her desk that she's almost bumping heads with me. Her curly hair brushes my neck. It smells like shampoo and very much like whatever she puts in there to make it go like that. I think the girl in front of me is trying to eavesdrop. Hope nobody is getting the wrong idea about this, though I'm not really sure how it would be possible to get any other kind of idea. Luckily Mutou stays oblivious, or deliberately ignores Misha. So far.
I can't really win this one, can I?
>I'll go to the lunch with Emi and her friend.
>I'll go with Shizune, after all I'm in the Student Council now.
Two in a row, huh? Who we eat with determines whose route we go down. If we pick Emi we get shunted onto her route just fine, the whole Shizune thing just withering on the vine. I genuinely dont know if Hisao remains in the student council on her route and they just never mention it (though it would explain why Misha shows up for that Hail Mary). We, however, will take the other path, locking us in to Shizunes route. By the way, if wed either blown off the Nurse or chosen to take it easy on the track this time around, Misha and Shizune wouldve swung by Hisaos room and try to drag him out to lunch; if so, we could have chose either to kick them out (killing us) or grudgingly go along with them, which would have taken us straight to the next scene.
=>I'll go with Shizune, after all I'm in the Student Council now.
HISAO: "Fine, I'll come with you, but get off my back for the rest of the class, okay?"
MISHA: "It's a deal, Hicchan~!"
(Silence, Crowd Noises)
On the way to the student council room, I can see students walking back and forth through the halls, probably in preparation of their own projects. The festival is practically here. That means there are only two possible reasons that my help is required. Either there is only a small amount of work left, and they just want a helping hand to wrap up the mundane final checks they are obligated to do. Or there is a ton of work left, and Shizune is putting on a calm face as a torrent of built-up procrastinated work threatens to kill us all.
(Crowd Noises Stop)
Once inside the office, I look around and see that it's deserted.
HISAO: "I guess this means there isn't a lot of work left, huh? Since there's no one here, and all."
MISHA: "It's always like this, Hicchan~!"
This confirms what I have thought before but have never actually been able to confirm definitively: Shizune and Misha are the Student Council. The whole Student Council.
HISAO: "Damn. So it's true. The Student Council is really only you two."
Katawa Shoujo OST - Ease
Shizune looks as if she's stuck wondering whether to be ashamed or explode with anger, and Misha is equally divided between laughing and trying to stop her.
MISHA: "Well, then, Hicchan, you'll be happy to know that since it's just us three, we have a lot to do! A lot~! A lot~ lot~ lot~..."
HISAO: "That does not make me happy."
But it seems to make Shizune very happy.
MISHA: "Wahaha~! Just kidding!"
The work turns out to be sorting and double-checking the considerable amount of paperwork necessary for an event such as the school festival to get done. Bureaucracy is a mindboggling thing. But we manage to finish it just when the lunch bells ring.
MISHA: "Okay~, now that we are done, we can relax a little! But not too much, we have lots more to do in the afternoon~!"
MISHA: "It's actually not that much work, Hicchan~. So~, we can afford to enjoy a little lunch first. Hahaha~!"
The two of them produce a small array of plastic containers seemingly out of thin air.
MISHA: "Hm~ hm~... It's chicken cutlet with tomatoes and soybean sprouts~! Doesn't it sound delicious, Hicchan? It was just made this morning, and it's still warm, so eat eat eat~!"
I take one of the containers and open it. It looks nice, and certainly smells good. The fact that I'm really hungry adds to that even more.
HISAO: "Wow, this looks great. Where did you get this?"
Shizune winces and turns aside. :en101:
MISHA: "That isn't important, Hicchan! There was supposed to be a stall selling lunchboxes, but the girl who was to run it suddenly said she couldn't do it. Shicchan said, What a waste, it was a lot of work to trick Hicchan into making this~"
HISAO: "Hey, what the hell..."
MISHA: "...So~! Shicchan wanted to see if she could do it, but then decided not to, right, Shicchan~?"
Shizune sulks angrily, shooting Misha a displeased look. I don't think I was supposed to hear that story.
HISAO: "This is your test food?"
MISHA: "I'm eating it too, Hicchan~! And Shicchan is, too~!"
That doesn't answer the question! Nevertheless, I split a pair of chopsticks Shizune offers me, pick up a piece of cutlet, and pop it into my mouth.
It's surprisingly good. I didn't expect Shizune to be such a good cook.
Shizune puts her chopsticks down to sign curtly towards Misha, who gulps down her cutlet with noticeable difficulty in order to speak for her.
MISHA: "Hicchan~! Don't talk with food in your mouth~!"
HISAO: "It's not like I enjoy doing it. Anyway, how motherly to show that kind of concern..."
MISHA: "You can't even eat right, Hicchan~! That's all it is~!"
It's a stalemate. I can't eat in order to talk to Shizune, who can't eat in order to chastise me for eating the wrong way. Misha, caught in between, is in the same situation, and looks the most disheartened by how this is going. Either way, our food is getting colder by the second, and it wasn't piping hot to start with. Wherever this was going, it dies down pretty fast once we all realize that, and we eat.
After a while the bell rings, but Misha makes no attempt to tell Shizune, so I'm sure they're planning to skip classes and spend the rest of the day in here again.
MISHA: "Hicchan, do you have any plans for the festival?"
HISAO: "No, not really. After all, I've only been here a week, what could I set up in that time?"
MISHA: "Wahaha~! Hicchan, you helped us out so much, don't sell yourself short!"
MISHA: "We're serious~!"
The two of them seem to get indignant over the strangest things.
MISHA: "You're going though, right, Hicchan? You should at least see what we've accomplished...? Everyone should be able to look at what they have done so they can fully understand their work, that's my belief~! You're no exception! Hicchan, you should definitely go~! If you don't have anything planned, then maybe we can even go together~!"
HISAO: "Do you need a hand? If there's anything you need help with, I'm fine with sticking around."
I feel much more at ease than I did earlier; my previous concerns and fears long gone. I'd forgotten about this morning's trouble entirely until now, having fun with Shizune like this.
Having fun with Shizune... It seems like an unfamiliar concept to think of, but, looking back on it, I've really enjoyed the moments I've spent with Shizune and Misha these past few days, in spite of everything else. If we might be going together, then maybe I can afford to stick around a little longer. And I guess it beats class.
MISHA: "Really, Hicchan? Okay~! We can consider this you repaying us for the free lunch~! Great, this is great, really~ really~ great~! Shicchan was hoping to bring this up again later anyway! Ahahaha~! Wahahahahaha~!"
That's not a free lunch at all. Normally I would be angry, or at least slightly unsettled, but my mood has improved from earlier on, so I'll let it slide. Helping them out turns out to consist mostly of stamping forms and making what seems like ten thousand copies apiece of fifty different budget reports. It's not hard, but very boring, and according to Misha, the simplest of the tasks they deal with. I feel myself getting more and more tired, and with that, less eager to return to class. This is especially bad because the more time I spend out of class, the harder it seems to just get up and go back. These two, they're a terrible influence. Terrible role models. Not that it bothers me all that much, and I'm sure no one looks up to them, but it's the principle of the thing...
HISAO: "Ah, that was fast. I'll be finished before this period's over, I think."
MISHA: "No, no, Hicchan, everything is done. So, you're done, too~!"
HISAO: "That doesn't make any sense, are you telling me this is all arbitrary and you've been keeping me here for the hell of it?"
MISHA: "But we have kept you long enough~! You should go back to class, Hicchan~! You can still make it for most of this period!"
HISAO: "What about you?"
MISHA: "Of course we're coming too, of course; we'll be right behind you!"
Reassured, I start heading back to class, but the period is almost halfway over, so I start thinking it would be pointless halfway there and pass the difference between this class and the next drinking juice in the hallway. I keep an eye on the door to the student council room, but it doesn't open. What's taking them so long? Are they busy wrapping up my share of the work? Well, it shouldn't take so long, unless there's more, and they just wanted me to leave. The more I think about it, the likelier it seems. Shizune is... well, not an idiot, but clearly, she's unable to just come out with things. Maybe it's because she can't talk, so it's harder for her. She has Misha, but all in all, as easy as they make it look, there's still a difference between casual speech and sign language. I contemplate going back there to check on them, but the bell rings, and I have to go to class.
They join me a few minutes later, and the thoughts I had in my mind before slip away in the routine of school life. By the time I remember, school is over for the day and I'm too tired to do anything but go home, do my homework, and then go to sleep.
Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time
At five minutes past eight, an unbelievably loud banging jolts me awake. It's coming from outside my door.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Katawa Shoujo OST - Generic Happy Music
Quickly, I open the door to see Shizune and Misha standing side-by-side before me. Both of them look a little worn out, although it's more noticeable on Misha.
HISAO: "Which one of you knocked?"
I ask, echoing the question that must be on the mind of everyone in the entire building.
MISHA: "Ahahaha, that's not important, Hicchan!"
She quickly dismisses it without even batting an eye.
MISHA: "Oh? You're still in your pajamas, Hicchan? So you don't wake up at eight?"
I notice her hair is wet. Her curls are barely holding their shape.
HISAO: "No, I thought I'd sleep a bit later since it's the weekend and all, and I've been seriously sleep-deprived this week."
I wonder if she missed the poison in my words.
MISHA: "Then it's a good thing we came to wake you
MISHA: "Anyway, Hicchan, I guess you would like to know why we're here, wouldn't you?"
It's not hard to guess, but I wish she wouldn't say the words she is going to say next.
MISHA: "Would you like to skip class and go somewhere nice with us?"
HISAO: "Come again?"
MISHA: "Would you like to skip class to do something fun?"
I was certain they'd force me to help them again with some slave work.
Misha grins and nods enthusiastically. I like this new approach they're taking although I'm somewhat surprised that they would suggest skipping class, even if we have only half a day since it's Saturday.
HISAO: "Aren't you two worried about constantly missing class?"
MISHA: "Well, it doesn't seem to be a problem! Hicchan, this school is pretty much at a standstill whenever this time rolls around.It's a Saturday, too~. Don't you want to do something fun?"
I'm amazed by how little they seem to care.
MISHA: "Not that we're pressuring you to give us your company, but we thought you might like to hang out!"
MISHA: "So... would you like to join us? Come on, you'll have a lot more fun than just sitting here with your head on your desk~!"
I guess I won't be missing anything important; nor will I be missed.
HISAO: "All right, then, I don't think I'd be missing much. What do you have in mind?"
My eyes narrow with suspicion as a thought crosses into my mind.
HISAO: "Wait... this isn't just some trick to get me to do some more student council stuff, right?"
MISHA: "No, of course not! And that's a really mean thing to just assume like that, Hicchan."
MISHA: "...And besides, you're in the Student Council now, remember? If we wanted you to do something for us, we wouldn't have to trick you~! Hahaha!"
This is a kind of coercion that is new to me. Only two pretty girls could pull it off. I allow myself to relax a bit. Maybe I'm being too paranoid; it seems like they may really just want to hang out.
HISAO: "No tricks?"
Katawa Shoujo OST - The Student Council (Shizunes Theme)
MISHA: "No tricks! Stop being so paranoid!"
HISAO: "Well, if you say so."
Suddenly, I realize I still am wearing pajamas.
HISAO: "I wonder if you'd let me dress up first?"
MISHA: "Eh? Why, Hicchan? You look just fine!"
HISAO: "I'd still prefer wearing something else."
I close the door before she gets a chance to reply and quickly pull on my uniform. Stepping back into the hallway, I see Shizune and Misha are engaged in an animated discussion. I wonder if people discussing in sign ever accidentally poke each other in the eyes. While I'm contemplating this, Shizune taps me on the shoulder impatiently.
MISHA: "So, we're planning on slipping into town! Remember that tea shop we were at on Wednesday?
MISHA: "You don't remember?"
HISAO: "Oh, you mean that café."
MISHA: "Tea shop! It's called the Shanghai. China is the birthplace of tea, you know. Come on, Hicchan! I'll even treat you today! Ah... not me, not me, I mean Shicchan! Ahaha~!"
HISAO: "I don't know..."
MISHA: "It's nice, it's really relaxing! It's like... half café, half restaurant, half sophisticated, half... library..."
HISAO: "That's a lot of halves."
But Misha doesn't seem to notice that.
MISHA: "So~! Come on, it's not often that we have this much free time!"
MISHA: "If you're busy, though, you don't have to! It's not like your presence is absolutely, absolutely required! Hahahaha!"
I've never seen more weakly disguised reverse psychology in my life. I feel kind of tired today, and my teachers in my classes might want to know where I am. Maybe. On the other hand, I haven't really been into town at all since I've gotten here, so this is a good reason to head there. Also, I could use something to eat. If it's Shizune's treat, even better; I'm totally broke.
HISAO: "All right, let's go. Lead the way."
We make it to the tea shop with a fifteen-minute walk. It seems that we are the only customers around.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Everyday Fantasy
HISAO: "Is it always this quiet in the morning?"
By that, I mean is it always this empty.
MISHA: "No, this is kind of weird. Hey, this isn't a bad thing though, right?"
HISAO: "You're right."
We take our seats at a large, square wooden table, and it hits me that I don't know what this place serves. I just went with what Yuuko recommended the last time.
HISAO: "Hey, is there a menu or something?"
That was a strange amount of zest.
MISHA: "So, Hicchan, have you decided what you're going to order?"
I look around the store and can't see anything resembling a menu. I don't understand, what's up with this place? What gives? Is this some kind of secret shop? Can you normally only enter here with a secret handshake? Some kind of wink and a nod? Do you need someone to vouch for you? A blood oath? Dammit, it was nothing like this last time.
HISAO: "I don't know, the last time I think I just got coffee? What do they serve here?"
HISAO: "Ah, well, that's... Not just tea, right? Not only tea? There's other stuff too, right?"
HISAO: "Clearly? Like what? There are no menus here. Where are the menus?"
They're playing another joke on me. There is no way out of this; all I can do is brace myself for the inevitable, oncoming burn. I almost want to walk out of the store, but I'm already sitting down. It would be improper to leave now; the unspoken rules of polite social conduct block my exit like a wall of fire.
I decide to play it safe. I'll order what they order, if it's acceptably manly enough.
HISAO: "Why don't you two order before me? Ladies first."
MISHA: "Well played, Hicchan, but~ we already ordered!"
HISAO: "How is that possible? When? How? From who?"
MISHA: "We're regulars, we come here so often that we don't have to do that any more!"
MISHA: "Well, I guess you've had enough. We're sitting on the menus, of course~! Hahaha!"
I look around at the other tables. There are no menus on any of them. That means they must just keep them in a big stack near the door or something. What a thing to sit on, and what speed to grab them so quickly.
HISAO: "Well, whatever. Can I have one, then?"
MISHA: "You can take one if you want, but you're not the kind of person who would do something that lascivious?, isn't that right?"
I tell them that I'd just like some coffee and put my head down on the cool tabletop.
MISHA: "Coffee? This is a very high class establishment, and you're going to order coffee?"
I can tell they're messing with me again.
HISAO: "In that case, I'll have whatever you're having."
MISHA: "Hicchan, Shicchan is drinking a special tea that is only grown in remote areas of India. The tea is still handmade by a tribe of tea makers who have passed the methods down in their families for generations. They must wade through alligator-infested waters to obtain the leaves once a year. On each trip, some do not make it back alive."
I can't drink that, I would feel too guilty.
HISAO: "Then I'll have what you're having."
MISHA: "I don't know what I'm drinking."
HISAO: "Fine, then I want the tea that people died for. No, never mind. I'll have coffee. If this is a very high class establishment, then they should have very high class coffee, right? ... No one died for it, right?"
The perfect answer, there is no way they can stand against it. Shizune shrugs, as if to say well played. They still didn't answer my second question. Misha calls for Yuuko, who brings over our drinks and a single incredibly tiny yellow cake with a little black plastic fork stuck in it for each of us. I eat my cake in one bite, amazed at how it's probably the least filling thing I've ever eaten.
MISHA: "Hicchan, do you have any plans for tomorrow?"
Misha takes a gulp of her tea, something sounding suspiciously high class even though it looks like ordinary tea. She drinks with incredible recklessness considering how hot it is. The exact opposite of Shizune or Lilly. Plans? That sounds ominous.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Hokabi
HISAO: "Plans? Yes. Yes, I am incredibly busy tomorrow. In fact, I have so much to do that I will not have any free time at all. That's right... none whatsoever. And everything I have to do is extremely important. Very, very important."
Misha giggles, clearly not buying it, and then signs it all back to Shizune, who nods slowly and deliberately while looking very unamused. Suddenly, she leans forward, staring analytically at my face like a human lie detector, waiting for the smallest tell to give me away. After at least a minute of this, she sits back down in her seat and takes a sip of tea.
MISHA: "Okay, Hicchan, if you're that busy. We don't have anything to do tomorrow, so we thought maybe you would want to hang out with us at the festival! You're new here, anyway, right? Right? So~ we thought we would show you around and have some fun together, but if you're that busy, we understand!"
MISHA: "Oh well, oh well!"
The both of them shrug together in perfect sync, as if they've rehearsed it.
MISHA: "Ahahahahaha~! Hicchan, you're so paranoid."
MISHA: "...And you'll never beat me anyway, so why bother getting so worked up about it? Haha! Wow, Shicchan~!"
HISAO: "Beat you? What are you talking about?"
Is she talking about the coercion? I never realized that was just a game to her. I thought I was the only one who saw it as competition.
MISHA: "You know~! ...Eh? Do you, Hicchan? Because I don't."
MISHA: "You can't outwit me! Ah, well, Hicchan, not me..."
MISHA: "What? What are you talking about, Shicchan..."
I can see Shizune smiling craftily, daring me to enter this battle of wills and wits with her. When he is pushed to the edges of despair, a man has no choice but to sink, or grasp at the fleeting wisps of hope, fight with all his power against the inevitabilities of his fate and struggle against the impossible. For even if he fails, at least fail knowing that he dared greatly...
...Or something like that.
They start getting better next week, I SWEAR.