Part 43: Mr. Assassin
content warning: violence, extreme torture, finger trauma, eye trauma, suicide mention
[BGM: Lost Memories]
Oh well, I'll take over from here.
Huh... She's quite compulsive. She has given every letter an S ending.
However... are these S endings really the perfect endings?
Do so-called perfect endings even exist in this world?
It looks like getting a good grade is a decent ending... However, Li Wen would never hear from Wen Zhaoren again afterwards.
I'm afraid Wen Zhaoren has...
Could there be other possibilities between her and Ms. Yang?
Sigh... Humans are so annoying... Maybe I should try some other possibilities.
In the future I will enter the Ending Selection Mode by selecting the brown button on the right that has many branches. Then I may switch between my previous decisions at will.
Maybe I can discover some new possibilities this way.
Especially when the letters from the same person are somehow not in a straight line. I should pay extra attention in these cases. However, not all of the new possibilities can be discovered so easily. Some of them might be hidden really well.
Some imagination might be necessary to uncover these hidden secrets...
How's it feel to essentially have our training wheels taken off, finally? Surprise surprise, S endings aren't the end all be all in WILL, as you've probably picked up on by now.
For so called 'best' endings, things really haven't gone that great for basically anyone that we've gotten involved with, and now mechanically we're being rewarded for being thorough with our letter solving. In life, the best short-term outcome doesn't always equal the best long-term results, and that's coming into play from this point forward- some of the letters we've already solved might merit a second visit...
It's a bit easier to show rather than explain, so let's get to it. While it might be tempting to dive back up to an earlier point in the flowchart and start messing with letters we've already done, let's just start with the example that Willy gave us- the joint letters from Ms. Yang and Li Wen, about the practice exam.
If we click on the brown button...
We can now select what ending is active from the Letter menu- no need to actually click through anymore. And with this, let's select a different outcome to see if we can get something new- something possibly better for Li Wen, even if it's not the S outcome anymore. Say, for example...
...the very last Bad ending? This was the ending where Li Wen sent the note to Ms. Yang, and ended up breaking down and confessing everything to Ms. Yang about why she couldn't focus on the test and how worried she was about Mr. Wen.
Upon selecting that outcome for Li Wen, we are then prompted to select a compatible ending for Ms. Yang- because these letters are connected, an outcome for one side will restrict what possible outcomes for the other are available to choose from. We've already seen by now that endings aren't inherently tied to each other (an ending in one side could have multiple compatible endings on the other), so it won't always be so cut and dry- determining the right combination of outcomes is important, too.
That said, our only option is the Bad ending where Ms. Yang, upon seeing Li Wen's emotional outburst, gives in and breaks her promise to Mr. Wen- she tells Li Wen about his cancer.
And just like that, the moment these outcomes are selected, a new letter has appeared for us. You'll also notice that the previous letter with Li Wen (either in college or repeating her senior year) is blacked out now- we've altered events so that that letter never happened, at least for the time being. While it functionally was a dead end (you'll notice there's no continuing line underneath it), it's still visible for us in case we would need to revisit it for whatever reason- all we'd have to do is re-adjust the letters so that letter happened again and go from there.
In any case, let's take a look at the letters we just got...
NEW MESSAGE: The Story in the Rainbow
NEW MESSAGE: Adventure of a Big Brother
And again, just like that, a new path forward for Li Wen has presented itself. However, we can't do anything for her just yet- something's blocking Jimmy's letter. If we click on it to see what's going on...
...we can see that it's somehow connected to this mysterious new person between Jimmy and Sang-Gun. Their letter is connected to Carlos's, which is still blacked out because we haven't processed Alicia's letter yet (and therefore the default Bad ending for Alicia has prevented the events of Carlos's letter from ever happening).
Whether the events in the letter are directly connected (like Alicia and Carlos) or causally connected (letters linked together), there's still ripple effects that can have a lasting impression in a larger sense like this- so we're going to have to process Alicia if we want to be able to touch any of the other letters here.
There are a handful of other, hidden paths waiting for us in the letters we've already processed, too, but we'll get to those in due time- for now, let's see what's going on with Alicia.
[BGM: My Mexican Guitar Gently Weeps]
Mama didn't have any family in Hong Kong.
A few regular customers and I held a funeral service in his name, but not many people showed up.
There were some familiar faces though.
For instance, Ray.
Throughout the service we had kept our distance, pretending not to know each other.
People thought Mama died because he had accidentally caught in the crossfire between some of his customers.
They lamented his bad luck.
However, I knew the truth about his death.
It was because of me. It was all because of me...
Half a month later, I began to consider leaving this place full of nightmares and going back to Mexico.
It was a famous local shopping center with an unusual name. And the prices in the center were even more unusual.
I hadn't seen Carlos for so long, and I wanted to bring him something nice.
But looking at those fancy men's coats, I couldn't help but be at a loss.
It had been so many years. I didn't even know what size he would be wearing.
I was sizing a brown coat against myself while looking in the mirror, when I felt a sense of danger coming from more than one direction.
[BGM: The Darkness]
The elevator at the southwestern corner.
The discount department in the northwestern corner.
The food cart that sold juicy beef balls in the southeastern corner.
If I were an assassin of B+ level, they were probably around C-.
Still, I was outnumbered.
Besides, I didn't have my dagger or gun on me since I didn't expect I would need them.
I pretended to not have noticed them, and slowly walked towards the security stairwell in the northeastern corner.
I tried to keep close to the other shoppers.
However, the security stairwell turned out not to be so secure either.
The only route left was to go towards the fourth floor.
They were doing some renovations on the fourth floor. Construction materials were everywhere but there were no workers around.
But then I spotted a sniper with a rifle on the roof of the building across the street. I had to scratch my plan of escaping by the window ledge.
I could hear footsteps of different sizes coming from inside the stairwell, even though they were clearly trying to keep it light.
I had no choice but to hide in a storage room full of cleaning supplies; I sat down on an upside-down bucket, feeling defeated.
I would always dream about the end of my life every time I went on a mission for Ray.
I'd had the same kind of dream over a dozen times.
Therefore, my current situation wasn't completely unexpected to me.
Still, I felt a little choked up.
I put my hand into my pocket, hoping to find a napkin. Instead, I found a wrinkled business card.
The business card that was very suspicious by all standards.
I half-heartedly texted a message to the number:
[Asking Assassin Zucco for help.]
To my surprise I soon received a reply, albeit an automated one.
[This number only accepts messages in Morse code. Your message was not valid. Please edit and try again.]
...Hehe... That was interesting.
My training did include Morse code, but I hadn't used it for a long time.
Let me think, it should be...
I got another response.
Short for Address.
They wanted to know where I was.
But before I could response, the people outside had shot the storage room door full of holes.
Strangely, I didn't die.
Every day, people came in and out of the dungeon in which they were holding me.
They tortured me in various and creative ways day after day, unleashing their profound hatred.
They pulled off my finger nails, cut off my fingers and toes, and dipped my hands and feet into salt water.
They burned me with a red hot iron poker, and poured boiling oil on me...
They had gouged out my eyes, so I could only tell them apart by their voices.
But they all kept asking me the same question.
Who do you work for?
I would never tell them.
I would take it to my grave. No, to my hell.
Eventually, I could no longer tell who was torturing me anymore.
My only regret was that I didn't have a cyanide capsule with me.
However, there was this one young man named Ren, who had asked me once if there was anything he could do for me during his shift.
He said he would try his best to do whatever I asked, except for letting me go or killing me.
I thought for a while, and smiled.
I have a younger brother named Carlos... If you meet him some day... Please be nice to him...
I didn't deserve to ask for forgiveness from the Heavenly Father.
I was doomed to go to hell.
My only wish left was that my brother could be well, and happy...
Morse Code... That was an interesting human invention.
A is .-. B is -.... C is...
Eh, who am I talking to?