CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

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CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:16 am

So we do! As we get out I immediately walk towards the stairs, as I realize most people are choosing to search rooms closer to the gymnasium or to directly go outside. Ciel follows me, and while I hadn’t really thought about needing someone to be with me, I am pretty glad they do, because seeing how I have been reacting so far, I might actually need someone rational to cheer me up when I stumble upon something somewhat depressing. Once I am upstairs, I see nine rooms, and I am not sure where to go first, but Ciel immediately goes towards what has to be a classroom – a sign on the door says 1-A – and this time, I am the one to follow them.
We enter and see… nothing particular.
“Looks like a classroom alright.”
“Yep.”
They already look ready to walk out, but I am not. I want to make sure that I have seen every single spot of every single room. I want to make sure that I have not missed any detail, any possible secret route. I check out the tables, the board, the back of the room, and of course the windows; and I am confused for a little while, until I realize…
“This… This is a painting.”
“What?”
“The outside, it’s… it’s not true, it’s just a painting!”
Ciel, who was waiting for me to done, glancing around the room, gets closer and looks at the windows for a few seconds.
“Oh, it’s a… trompe-l’oeil? Wow, it’s pretty realistic. I don’t think I would have noticed.”
“But… why?!”
They shrug.
“I don’t know, it’s weird. Did you try to open them?”
I had not, and without answering I try to open the window right in front of me… but it’s useless. No matter I much force I put into it, it just will not open. And I’m not *that* weak!
“Okay, stop! You’re going to break it!”
The thought of being “exterminated” makes me obey immediately. I stand there for a few seconds, and then sigh.
“Let’s go search the other rooms.”
There are three other classrooms, 1-B, 1-C, and 1-D. We search them all thoroughly but they are the exact same as the first one.
“Well, it’s not like there was much to be expected from *classrooms*.”
“Yeah. The fake windows are something worth looking into, though. But let’s go somewhere else for the moment.”
In front of classroom 1-D, there are two little rooms which I rapidly identify to be bathrooms. Because I have decided to search every single inch of the academy, I walk towards them without hesitating, but before I enter the men’s bathroom, Ciel stops following and says:
“Ahem… If you don’t mind, I’ll wait right here.”
They look away as they say that, and I hesitate for a few seconds before answering:
“Oh, okay. No problem.”
“I guess they don’t know what bathroom they’re allowed to go in? It’s not the right moment, but I’d be one to tell them they can go just wherever… It’s not like anyone knows which…”
I make my own thoughts shut up.
The bathroom looks pretty normal. There are three stalls, all of which are perfectly clean, and a cleaning closet with whatever you may need to wash… whatever incident could happen in the bathroom, I guess. I check every single wall, too used to the “there was a hidden passage” trope in movies, but I do not notice anything.
When I walk out I am glad to see Ciel is still there, but without a word, trying to be as quick as I can, I walk in the ladies’ bathroom.
“Oh.”
It is the exact same. I search it thoroughly still, but I do not find anything. I simply go out, starting to wonder if I am not just wasting time doing all of this… But Ciel smiles to me as they see I’m done.
“Alright, let’s go to the next room!”
I smile too, and follow them to the room closest to the bathrooms.
“You didn’t even ask me if I found anything!”
“If you had, you’d have screamed or something, wouldn’t you? You weren’t making the face of someone who has found something anyway.”
“You got me in a box.”
The door to this new room does not have anything on it, and when we open it, it takes me a moment to understand what purpose it serves.
“It’s a storage room.”
“Sure looks like it.”
It is completely packed with a lot of different things, from dolls to ropes, passing by cans of soup too. It looks like I could find whatever I need at any moment in here!
“I don’t think there’s any issue here… Even if there were, it would take us hours to get to it. There’s way too much stuff in here.”
I nod. I try to look very closely around, but it just looks like a normal storage room. It even smells like an old attic.
“Agreed. I guess we have no other choice than to look somewhere else.”
They nod too, and we walk out and towards the next door, which happens to be right next to the storage room. I take a peek at the space between both rooms as we walk by it, but it just looks like a corridor without an issue.
Ciel opens this new door and we both gasp simultaneously.
“It’s… weapons! It’s full of weapons!”
Completely full of weapons. I can see axes, knives, swords, crossbows and even guns. It is a huge room, and it is filled with so many weapons, classed by category, that I do not think I will ever be able to count them all.
“This is the worst!”
Ciel’s voice cracks a little, and they have gone completely pale. I do not think I look much better. This room is so… frightening, I do not even know what to think. We stay silent, staring at all of these tools made for murder, for I do not know how long.
“What’s in here, boys?”
Seemingly coming from nowhere, Chris suddenly walks by in-between us, pushing us both a little to the side, to enter the room.
“Oh my fucking God.”
She looks at the weapons, then at us, then at the weapons again.
“Oh my God.”
She nervously passes her hand through her hair.
“Oh my G... What do we do?”
She turns around and looks behind us. Both Ciel and I turn around at the same time to see Noah, who must have been standing here for as long as Chris has entered. He looks worried, but rapidly signs something to her.
“But how?”
He signs again. Ciel and I look at each other, confused, and still pretty scared.
“I… I guess you’re right. We have no other choice… Yeah, yeah, you’re right, it’s gonna be fine!”
“What did he say?”
She looks startled, as if she had actually forgotten not everyone understands sign language.
“Oh, uh… He said we should close the room somehow, but then he said it can wait, we’ll think about it later if we must, ‘cause for the moment he’s pretty sure no one’s in the mood for a fucking murder.”
Noah grimaces as she finishes her sentence.
“Here he says he didn’t say “fucking”, I added that.”
I giggle.
“This face means “I didn’t say “fucking”, Chris added that”?”
We all laugh, a little bit like kids would.
“I guess we’re so nervous, anything would get us going.”
I cannot help but remark that Noah’s laugh is really… normal? I do not know why, I would have thought a mute’s laugh would sound different. But I had no idea what it would sound like, so I am guessing that is just how it is. I look at him, and I smile. Something about him looks really friendly. I wish there were an easier way to talk to him.
He gestures towards Chris and signs something.
“Someone should guard this room… Wait what? You’re saying you want to stay here?”
He answers.
“It’s not like you’d be able to let everyone know quickly if you find something… Huh… Well I mean, you know, I’m here?”
He answers.
“Huh… Okay, you’re right. We can’t just leave this room opened for everyone to access.”
“You want to guard the room? Sounds like a pretty good idea, actually. We never know if someone might come here alone and get ideas…”
A chill crosses my whole body.
“Ahem…”
The three of them turn their heads around to look at me almost at the same time. I feel kind of uncomfortable, but…
“Uh… If we let Noah guard the room, well… He’ll be alone.”
“Oh!”
Chris does not react immediately. As for Noah… I do not even dare to look at him. I am too scared to look at the expression of someone who thinks… who knows… I am being suspicious of them. I am not doing it on purpose, or against him, I am actually pretty sure he is trustworthy, but you never know… I cannot trust anyone. Not even Ciel.
Thinking that kind of makes me want to throw up.
“Hm, you’re not wrong. I’ll stay with him, then. Two should be enough.”
I look at Chris, surprised, but she looks serious and mostly unbothered. Only at this moment do I look at Noah again, and… he is just smiling. And when he notices I am looking at him, he gives me a thumbs up.
I open my mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. I smile awkwardly, relieved, but also feeling bad to have even thought of him negatively.
“What brought you here, though? Chris, I thought you would be looking outside.”
“Well, I did go outside. But…”
She looks away for a second.
“Well, you’ll see.”
“Sounds ominous.”
Noah shrugs and shakes his head, sighing. He looks like there is something negative he has already accepted.
I do not even want to think about it.
“… Then I guess we’ll look around some more.”
“Yeah.”
“Okay, see ya.”
I quickly turn around, and I think Ciel waves to them before they follow me. I immediately go to the last room we have not searched yet, the one between the stairs to the 1st floor and the stairs that are completely blocked off by a solid barrier (no going around that, that much is for sure), and when I open the door, I am relieved to see that it is not filled with potential murder weapons. Rather, it is filled with computers.
“Yay, geekery!”
“Huh, what?”
“Don’t mind me.”
They shake their head, smiling, before they walk towards the closest computer.
“Doesn’t turn on.”
“Damn.”
They don’t look bothered, though, and immediately try out the next one.
“Doesn’t turn on.”
Etc., etc., etc., of course, until the very last computer in the room, which actually turns on very quickly.
“I guess you should have started here, huh…”
“It’s always like that.”
I get closer as they search the files, but… It is completely empty. It has normal programs, but apart from that, no files, no nothing.
Ciel mumbles to themselves.
“And of course, no internet connection either.”
We both stay silent for a minute, staring at the black background, until Ciel sighs, turns the computer off and gets up from the chair they were sitting on, taking a step towards the exit.
“Time to go somewhere else.”
They are starting to look *and* sound pretty annoyed. I play discrete, and follow them outside and then downstairs without a word.

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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:18 am

There are some people searching downstairs but Ciel immediately walks towards a seemingly empty room on the left of the staircase, avoiding the bathrooms. I do not know if they did it on purpose or just assumed there would not be anything interesting there, but I figure I am not going to force them to wait for me again; there probably is *not* anything important in the bathrooms. And if there is, I am sure someone has found it already. After all, we are something like 16 searching!
We find ourselves in an extremely dark room. Somehow, even though the door is still open, it is completely black, and we cannot see a thing. The light from outside draws a thin line on the floor were the darkness starts… That is certainly ominous. I hear Ciel stumbling around the room, not too far from me, and suddenly the room is completely lightened-up by hundreds of bright spots, so much so that it blinds me for an instant.
“I found the light switch.”
“Yeah… I, I saw that.”
A short pause. I think they turn to look at me, but I am not sure, I am blinking like a madman, trying to see again.
“Haha, now you’re blind!”
“Wh- Don’t tell me you aren’t?!”
“I didn’t stay blinded for too long. My eyes were never really sensible.”
They chuckle.
“That was just a very old reference anyway. I’m sorry if it came off as blunt.”
“Oh? Oh, okay. It’s fine, then. Well, it was fine anyway.”
“Hm-hm.”
As I am starting to see better again, I see them walking away from me, looking around what seems to be a gigantic room. I blink a few times again, and I recognize the kind of auditorium you only find in private, very rich schools, and movies always assume every single highschool has. It lacks decoration, though, and is mostly black and white, except for the seats, which are a beautiful, deep red. Starting from where I am it goes down, and at the other end of the auditorium there is a huge scene, fit for conferences or probably school plays. Ciel is already there, and they call out to me.
“Can you keep looking over there? I’d like to test something.”
I cannot help but notice their voice is perfectly audible, almost as if they were standing right next to me, and the echo is pretty discrete.
“Oh yeah, and… If I die, tell my parents I love them.”
“You fuck-”
They turn around before I can fully answer and pull what must be a string coming from the ceiling.
A white screen falls from the same place and entirely covers the scene. The room turns dark again, but light coming from up somewhere in the middle of the room shows on the screen. It is the only thing I can see, and I completely lose sight of Ciel.
“Ciel? Are you still here?!”
“I’m not gonna sneak up on you, man.”
A few seconds have passed by and suddenly, black words appear on the otherwise white screen.
THE STORY HAS JUST STARTED.

… I look at it in silence, but nothing else happens.
“I am truly disappointed.”
“This is just we-”
The lights suddenly turn on again. Now blind, I finish my sentence.
“-ird.”
“Ah, Neo, I’m sorry! I should have told you I was going to turn the lights back on!”
I hear their steps as they quickly walk back towards me.
“You sure could have, but it’s fine, I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? Doesn’t it hurt too much? I don’t realize! I swear, I could stare at the sun and it would barely even hurt.”
I blink, and start to adapt quicker than I did the first time.
“Well you’re weird… But I envy you.”
“I’m glad you appreciate oddness.”
Still blinking a lot, I chuckle.
“Yeah, sure.”
I actually appreciate Ciel a lot. They are really nice, and I'm glad they are sticking by me. I know I would get discouraged and angry really fast if I were alone.
“So, do you think there’s anything here?”
“No, there’s nothing here but walls. No exit.”
“You didn’t look well enough!”
We both jump in surprise. Now, where the ever living hell did she come from?!
“What the- what?”
I turn around to see Emily, standing in the frame of the door, her usual contented look pasted on her face.
“I said you didn’t look well enough.”
She turns her head around and seems to be calling someone over.
“I’m right, aren’t I?”
I hear a faint “Why? What did who say?”, and I recognize Isabella’s hesitant voice.
“Oh, poor, poor Isabella.”
“Ciel said there wasn’t anything else than walls in the auditorium!”
“Now who is- oh.”
She appears next to our good old friend Emily, and barely smiles to us.
“Hi.”
“Hi. Sorry to be interrupting.”
She glances at Emily.
“Uh… Well, yes. There are two doors beside the scene. Emily and I already went there. Don’t worry though, they only lead each to one small changing room. It seems you can only access the scene from the small staircase on the left side.”
“Aaaaah, Isabella says it so much better than I would ever have..!”
Indeed, Isabella’s speech is clear and beautiful to say the least. She has a beautiful voice too, and is lovely to hear. I feel like I could listen to her speak for days and days and I would never get bored of it.
“Oh, then it does sound like I didn’t look hard enough.”
Ciel looks at Emily and forces a smile.
“Looks like you found my weak point.”
She chuckles. Her voice is pretty cute too, actually, and her laugh reminds me of that of a little girl.
“Yay! That’s Emily’s new talent! Ultimate Flaw Finder! And it’s not that easy ‘cause Ciel is such a good person!”
Isabella laughs awkwardly.
“Emily easily gets attached, doesn’t she?”
“Kindaaaa! But I already talked a little to Ciel!”
“I am… Sure it’s just enough.”
Ciel does not look too euphoric at the idea that Emily got attached to them.
“Well… I’m sorry to have interrupted you two, but we’ve already searched this room thoroughly. I do not think there is much more to be found in it.”
“It’s okay, Isabella. We were about to head off anyway.”
“And it’s a good thing you came here before we did. As you may have noticed, I’m not really that thorough.”
“Everyone is being helpful in their own manner. You see, Emily here quickly gets bored of looking, but she is also very enthusiastic and notices some things much quicker than most people would have.”
“Oh!”
Emily slaps her hand onto her own chest, and her cheeks turn a little red. I expect her to answer, but she remains completely silent.
“It’s true, I’m sure Neo and I have different ways of searching.”
They hush the rest.
“But his are much better than mine.”
Isabella and Emily do not seem to hear it, and the latter taps the first on the shoulder.
“Isabella, Isabella, are Emily and you gonna search the hall?”
“Ah, sure. That is what we were planning to do, let’s leave these two young men alone.”
She quickly waves to us and they both leave. I can hear Emily saying all kinds of random things to her newfound best friend, and Isabella hesitantly laughing, sounding somewhat annoyed, but not showing it.
When Isabella talks to us, it seems we unconsciously try to match her polite and beautiful speech. I had never heard myself speaking so slowly and picking my words so laboriously, and it is interesting to say the least.
I look at Ciel and smile unhesitantly.
“Let’s go somewhere else too, then!”
They nod, and I lead the way out of this room. I do not know where to head yet but I am cut off in my steps by a big noise, seemingly coming from the room right next to the one we were in.
“What happened?”
I dart over towards the ajar door and open it in a rush to see…
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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:52 am

“Blood?!”
A few steps behind me, Ciel rushes in turn to join me.
“Blood?”
“Blood.”
“Ugh…”
“You were supposed to say blood!”
“I wasn’t supposed to pour blood all over my damn feet!”
“Of course you weren’t, you jackass!”
I cannot believe what I am seeing. In front of me unfolds a scene of Andi and Keith arguing in what seem to be a nurse’s office. Next to Keith’s foot is an empty clear bag and on his foot is a pool of blood, and Andi is pushing some sort of… trolley? Basin? Basin-trolley?
“Oh, because Mr. Whatever can’t even hold a fucking bag of liquid for two minutes?”
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Accidents happen!”
“Yeah, right, OOPS, I ACCIDENTALLY STABBED YOU.”
“I just let go of a bag, you madwoman!”
“I ACCIDENTALLY LET GO OF THE KNIFE!”
“Of course not, you didn’t, you bloody murderer!”
“Oh right, I get mad because you can’t hold a bag of damn BLOOD for a minute without pouring it all over yourself like a baby, and now I’m a murderer?!”
“You’re the fucking weirdo talking about ACCIDENTALLY STABBING PEOPLE! EVERYONE KNOWS YOU WOULD DO IT ON PURPOSE!”
“WHO THE FUCK IS EVERYONE? YOU AND YOUR IMAGINARY FRIENDS?!”
“NO! YOU MURDERED THEM!”
A pause.
“Sorry, what?”
“YOU MURDERED MY IMaginary…”
Keith dramatically looks away.
“Ugh…”
In complete and utter shock, I have not moved an inch. I have been staring at them the whole time, my mouth slightly opened, unable to think about anything to stop this madness. As they both become completely silent I hear Ciel making some sort of sound and I turn to look at them – their face is buried inside their hands.
“A-Are you crying?”
They do not answer immediately.
“N-N-No I’m…”
I think they are sobbing…
“I’m… I’m… pffHAHAHAHA!”
Words simply cannot express how much I want to go home right now.
“Haha-I’m sorry- she murdered his imaginary frieeends…”
They are indeed crying, but not for the reasons I may have imagined.
“Pf-fff…”
And now this is another laugh. What the heck is even f-
“What the hell is even funny about this?!”
I would say that finally someone here is rational, but I am not so sure when I think about it.
“I mean, gotta admit our little fight got ridiculous fairly quickly.”
“But..!”
“Alright dude, I’m sorry I said some stupid stuff. I’m not used to being that stressed-out, okay? It won’t happen again, I swear.”
“N-No, it doesn’t work like that… You can’t just… You can’t just…”
“I don’t know how you ended up doing something so stupid… But whatever. We’ll try with another one.”
“You… You know what, sure. Let’s do that.”
Keith shakes his head, his left foot, and walks towards what seems to be a fridge on the left side of the room.
Things are definitely going way too fast for me, but I guess I am glad it is over… As I see Ciel is still trying to hide their laughing, I guess for most of us at least.
Now Andi waves at me to grab my attention.
“’kay. You want to know what’s happening, right?”
“Yes! Please! Pff-”
“Eh, I heard teenagers have tendencies to be unable to hold their laughter for extended periods of time or something, how old are you again?”
Ciel looks at Andi and tries really hard to stop laughing for a while, until they actually manage to calm down and wipe a tear. Their whole face is red, and they somehow look both sorry and extremely amused.
“I’m s- pff- I’m sixteen.”
“You’re what?!”
“Jeez, you’re young. You may be the youngest one here, if that eight-years-old is actually seventeen. This situation is only starting to sound worse and worse.”
“I mean… I wouldn’t like to die even if I were a year older.”
“True.”
Ciel seems to have completely calmed down, and now they look slightly uncomfortable. I am guessing they are just extremely nervous – I have known people who could not help but laugh whenever they felt nervous. Plus they are… sixteen… Ah, I would not have thought about it.
“Just go on.”
Keith has now come back with another bag just like the clear one on the floor, except this one is full of blood. I would indeed need some explanation…
“Huh, what?”
“You wanted to explain.”
“Oh, right, sorry.”
Her arms are folded over the handle of that weird trolley, and she slightly pushes it forward as she starts telling.
“So, this is an infirmary, right?... Right. Well, we stumbled upon it together and decided to search it. In the fridge we found bags filled with what definitely seems to be blood, but we wanted to check out if it was fake or not.”
“And she was about to take one with O- marked on it!”
“… Yeah, so he told me not to waste that. Not that I would have let- Well, anyway, I saw this weird basin on a trolley and figured we should pour it in there. So I took it while he was opening the bag. And you know what happened next.”
This is stupid…
“Well, I guess you don’t really need to use the basin anymore. It definitely looks and smells like blood.”
“True.”
“Oh, right, of course.”
Still annoyed, Keith walks towards me- no, it seems he is heading out.
“Well, my job here is done. I’ll search some other place.”
He silently waits for me move to let him walk by the doorframe, then leaves.
“Poor guy, he’s pissed.”
“Yeah, I would be too.”
“This woman doesn’t make any sense.”
I look at Andi, and she suddenly looks a little worried, or annoyed, I cannot really tell. She looks at the both of us and asks:
“Hey guys, do you think I went too far?”
“You mean, with the fight?”
“Yeah, I totally did, right?”
“Well… I think you both did.”
She grimaces.
“That’s true, but in this situation, you can’t really help people getting nervous over little things. You were both a little in the wrong but I’m sure as he calms down, he’ll soon feel better about it.”
“You think? Well I didn’t mean to argue at first… I kinda feel like it was his fault. But at the same time when I think about it, maybe it was mine. But like, he’s been so cold the entire time, like he knew stuff better than I did or something, so I didn’t feel too hot about him. Not that it’s an excuse…”
“Everything’s going to be alright, Andi. I’m sure you’ll get a chance to talk about it later, when everyone’s calmed down.”
“Umm… Yes. I’m sure you’re right!”
She shrugs, and turns around to put the basin back where she found it.
I thought at first that their fight was really dumb, but the more I think about it, the more I realize they could not really have done anything about it, and it kind of happened to them by itself. We are all so tense here, we could not just expect everyone to get along perfectly and agree on everything…
Like, for example… Lois…
“Well anyway, I got the infirmary under control, so you two can go look somewhere else. I’ll be trying to wash off this mess.”
“Alright, good luck.”
“And if you see Keith, uuuh… uuh… Nah, just check that he’s okay, I guess. The guy seems to have no luck.”
“Will do.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t leave him alone at all, actually… He might need us at any moment…”
I just thought that, but Ciel looks unsure.
“How do you think he’s been doing ‘till he met us? I’m sure he can go through life on his own to some extent, he’s a big boy.”
I hesitate but… He is absolutely right. It would be dumb and insulting of me to start to treat him like a child.
“You have a point.”
I look at Andi, who is already pouring water from the sink next to the fridge into a bucket she must have found where the basin also was. I check out her expression for a second, and she does not seem to be expressing anything at all, like she has disconnected from reality now that she is accomplishing a task.
I do not know why, that leads me to think it is okay to leave without a word.
I walk away, and I sense that Ciel hesitates for an instant, until he follows me out. I stop in the middle of the hall, unsure of where to go – Isabella and Emily are still there, talking, and the latter glances at me, but pretends she did not notice anything.
“Like they didn’t hear everyone screaming…”
Someone taps me on the shoulder.
“Hey…”
Evidently, it is Ciel.
“I’m sorry I started laughing like an idiot over there. I really couldn’t control myself…”
“Oh, that? It’s okay.”
I point to the next room we have not yet visited.
“Let’s go there.”
“Oh.”
I quickly walk towards the next closed two-frame door, and open it without giving it much more thought.
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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:55 am

“Higher! Higher!”
“I can’t reach higher, little one.”
“Yeah, but as you just said, I’m little. So I can’t reach it.”
“Look, Mina, people have entered the room. They’ll help us.”
“They will?”
Mina, standing up on Oscar’s shoulders, himself standing on the tip of his toes, turns her head around to look at us.
“You will?”
“What are you doing?”
“There’s something on the ceiling… But wait, Oscar, put me down.”
He obeys, and she darts towards the entrance – well, I guess, us.
“Say something, will you?”
“Uh, what?”
“That’s something alright. Your turn.”
She looks at Ciel, who hesitates, moves their head towards me a little, but quickly looks away.
“Uh… I- Uh… Some- Uh, hello?”
“Hmm… I see…”
Mina puts her hand in an L going from her cheek to the other side of her mouth, and looks at me for a little while, before shaking her head and frowning.
“Neo, say sorry to Ciel! Now!”
“What? Me? Why?!”
She looks and sounds utterly serious.
“You said or did something that hurt them and made them feel uncomfortable! So present your excuses, because if you weren’t aware of it, it means you didn’t mean it!”
She is now accusingly pointing to me, and I look at the finger she is pointing in disbelief. I do not understand…
“H-How did you know?”
I immediately turn around, and they glance at me before they look at Mina again, with an awkward grin.
“Ciel?!”
“I can just tell from the way you’ve been acting and talking. It’s much easier than you’d think. But who cares, make up, you two, now!”
“B-But I- What did I..?”
And why am I so taken aback by this? It feels like I just fell right from the moon to here. I suddenly feel confused and lost.
“Look at them!”
I obey, and Ciel’s face is turned towards me, but they are staring at the floor.
“Well, it’s nothing, actually…”
They scratch their head.
“I didn’t expect to, uh… Well.”
They raise their head to look at me. I am just static, I do not know what to do.
“It’s just that uh, right now, when I tried to tell you I was sorry for laughing for way too long you just brushed it off and it felt kinda… blunt? Oh and when you left the room without a word I thought you were being… a bit… passive aggressive, if that makes sense.”
Am I trembling a little? I feel so terribly stupid, right now. And I just understood what I just fell off from, it was my own damned ego!
“Ah, you’re right… It was so inconsiderate of me!”
I do not know why I glance at Mina, but I force myself to look at them again.
“I’m so sorry, Ciel, I didn’t mean to hurt you! It, it was just actually okay, you know?”
They look down again, seeming very uncomfortable.
“And you’re very nervous with what just happened and everything… So it’s okay, actually, I understand. It’s like you said… We can’t really help it.”
“Yes… Yes, but I’ll try to be more careful in the future, okay? In the worst case, tell me when I’m forgetting the very basics of politeness, I guess I’m just not used to being that nervous either…”
Ciel manages a smile, and I already feel relieved.
“Sure, we’ll do that.”
“Right! See, this is better already!”
We both turn around to look at Mina, whose hands are proudly against each of her hips.
“You better be careful! I could see right through you!”
“You sure did.”
“… And it does not feel right.”
“Of course. She is very good at what she does.”
Oscar, who was silently standing where Mina left him, walks towards us and greets us by a slight nod.
“Her talent is very strong. I am glad to have her by my side.”
I let out a chuckle, choosing to concentrate on the conversation he has started.
“I am too, definitely.”
“I know I’m so great, guys. Now stop rambling and help me!”
A wide, proud smile on her face, Mina points towards what she seemed to be trying to reach earlier. The three of us, even Oscar, follow her gesture and look up.
“Look, there’s a piece of paper sticking out of this tile of the ceiling. But it’s so high, even Oscar can’t reach it, and even if I’m standing on Oscar’s shoulders, I can’t reach it.”
The ceiling is indeed very high, and there is indeed a little piece of paper, so small most of us would not have noticed, sticking out of a tile. It looks like we are in a dining room, but the ceiling looks like what one of a classroom would, which is fairly odd when you pay attention to it. Anyways, it does not surprise me that the two of them together would not be able to reach it. This ceiling is ridiculously high for a dining room’s.
“So you’d want Oscar to lift one of us up to retrieve it?”
“Exactly! I knew you had the soul of a detective in you.”
I smile and gently shake my head. Mina definitely is funny.
“Alright, I’ll help you.”
She is about to say something, but Oscar cuts her off before she even starts.
“No, it’s not possible.”
“What?”
“Huh, why?”
He looks down for an instant, but then looks at me, serious as ever.
“I told Mina already. I’m not really good at lifting people up because I think I’ll hurt them. On my shoulders is fine but you’re too tall.”
For some reason I look at my own body, as if I were able to tell my height this way.
“Really?”
“… Hmm… Yes, you are right indeed. It looks like the ceiling is not high enough for Neo.”
I chuckle nervously, feeling sorry that I offered to help but finally could not.
“Don’t put it like that…”
But she does not seem particularly bothered, and after checking the distance from the floor to the ceiling one last time, she turns around, sporting a smile once again.
“It’s okay, Ciel definitely does the job!”
Ciel seemed lost in thought, and jumps a little when they hear their name.
“What? What do you want me to do?”
“You’re going to stand on Oscar’s shoulders and take the piece of paper that’s over there!”
“Huh? Why? Can’t someone else do it?”
“No! Neo’s too tall, I’m too small, but you’re the perfect height!”
They look around, and it looks like they are praying for someone else to show up.
“But I don’t want t-”
“Alright, let’s stop wasting our precious time! Oscar, put them on your shoulders!”
“Uuuuh…”
“Consider it done.”
“Aaaah!”
Quicker than his own shadow, Oscar grabs Ciel and throws them on his shoulders. He starts walking over to where the piece of paper is sticking out.
“H-Hey! Put them down! They didn’t say it was okay!”
I was way too slow of course, but I did not expect Mina and Oscar to act so fast. Ciel is looking a little pale, but they are sitting on Oscar’s shoulders, simply holding on to them.
“What? They didn’t?”
Oscar turns around and looks at me, looking more angry than worried, but I am guessing the second emotion is the one he is actually experiencing.
“No… No I did not…”
“You want me to put you back down?”
“Uh… No, no, it’s alright. Now that I’m here, I guess I should just do it.”
I look at Ciel, and for some reason, they look somewhat relieved. I am a little bit confused, as I thought they were refusing because they were scared, but I am guessing it does not look that bad anymore now that they are up there.
“Okay, I’m sorry.”
He turns around again, and stops right under the piece of paper.
“Now you can slowly stand up. Please be very careful. I will hold your ankles when you’re standing.”
“Sure.”
Not hesitating much, they work their way up and raise their hand to reach up. Seeing them I realize not only that I would have been way to scared to do it so easily, but also that their height and Oscar’s is exactly what it takes to easily touch the ceiling.
They try to pull the paper, but it does not come off. Without a word, they choose to lift the tile a little, and take a peek through the hole they opened…
When suddenly, something falls off screaming.
“GHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
“AaAaaahhh!”
Mina, Oscar and I jump in surprise, and Ciel loses their balance and starts falling – but Oscar grabs them in an embrace before they can touch the floor.
“No-no-no-noooo!”
“Haha, I bet ya didn’t expec-”
“Let go of me! Let go of me!”
“Hey!”
“LET GO OF ME!”
I do not know who is panicking the most between Ciel and Oscar, but the latter finally lets go, and puts the first right back on the floor where he found them.
“Aaah- I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I yelled. I just… I just… I can’t be held.”
“I didn’t know. But I am the one to be sorry.”
“No, no, it’s fine, you-you saved me.”
“That is just norm-”
“HEEEEEEEEEEY!”
Ciel and Oscar, both looking really pale, stop talking and turn around to see Monokuma, who has been standing right where he fell for a few seconds now, his claws out in anger.
“Pay attention to me! I spooked you!”
“Yeah, I know, and ffffffuck you.”
“Ah, finally, some goddamn recognition.”
Mina and I simultaneously turn our heads around to look at each other, then look at Monokuma.
“So this paper was just a trap?”
“Yeah! And you fell for it way too fast! What a crappy detective!”
“I think that actually goes to show how good of a detective she is.”
“Not in my universe! Well, I don’t care either way. Have a good one.”
With that, Monokuma walks away.
We all remain silent for an instant, until Mina sighs loudly.
“Well, that was disappointing. Folks, we don’t need you anymore, do feel free to go away. If you were planning to search the dining hall, we’re already there anyway.”
“Well, that’s rough.”
“Not meaning to be. You did well. But we should better act fast. We never know.”
As she ends this sentence, Mina walks away from us and goes towards what seems to be the kitchen. Oscar looks at us, shrugs, and follows her.
“Well, I guess we don’t have a choice but to go.”
“Yeah...”
Ciel follows me out.
I am very confused as to what happened right now, but I dare not say a word. I have a feeling they might want to keep whatever is the reason they cannot be held by someone a secret. We both silently get out and I walk towards the next door we have not opened, a big red one.
Emily and Isabella are not here anymore. I do not know why, but I am a little disappointed, like I expected them to be there so much that I actually ended up hoping. Not letting it show to Ciel who I think does not like Emily, I walk straight to the door, and try to open it.
*CLAK-CLAK*
But it does not work.
I try again.
*CLAK-CLAK*
It barely even moves.
“It won’t open?”
“No…”
“Well… Don’t force it. If… If it’s a way out, we’ll see about it later, with the others.”
“Hm, you’re right.”
This time, I can tell they sound worried. For this reason, I turn around and smile.
“Then let’s check out the outside.”
Looking pleasantly surprised, they smile too, and answer:
“Yeah!”
Shrugging and looking away, they add:
“Well, with what Chris said, I’m both a little curious and a little scared…”
I nod. Taking a look to what has to be the entrance, I say:
“I’m sure it’s gonna be fine.”

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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:25 am

The sweet sound of birds singing. The smell of wet grass. As I open the door, I take a step out and a moment to appreciate being outside. I was starting to feel claustrophobic but the well-lit outside area makes me feel at peace. I close my eyes to appreciate nature as an emotion but I feel Ciel walking right past me, and they quickly say:
“Fuck.”
“Huh?”
I immediately open them back to look at them, but they seem to be looking up. I do the same and realize…
“We’re trapped in a dome?!”
It takes a moment to sink in. As I look up and around, it seems clear that the school and the garden surrounding it are trapped within a glass dome, held by strong pieces of metal.
“Sure seems like it…”
“B-But… the birds?!”
Astonished, I cannot move. I am feeling claustrophobic yet again, and even more so than before. They look around, and point up, slightly to my left, behind me.
“Speakers.”
“F- Christ! Why?!”
“I- I- I don’t know?”
“It’s just like the windows! We’re, we're tra-”
“A smiling and crying and lying charade
Such is life for a boring existence…”

I cut myself off as I hear someone approaching, almost humming the song they are singing, and ending it with a sigh. Ciel and I both turn around, and are met with Jan.
“What were you singing?”
“Sure, now is the time to ask this kind of question.”
“Even before it blew up, Danganronpa attracted a lot of very creative fans who went as far as writing songs about its characters…”
With a grin, he looks up and seems to hold up one more sigh.
“I gave some of them a listen… And unfortunately, this scenery reminds me way too much of the last game in the series.”
“The dome outside? Were the characters in the exact same situation?”
“The similarities are definitely very strong.”
I clench my fists. Jan’s knowledge just lets me realize how dumb this whole story is. I sigh, and ask:
“Wasn’t the last game the one where it was all a TV show because the Ultimates wanted a killing game?”
“Exactly.”
“This is awful.”
“Don’t make me repeat myself.”
Jan shrugs, his hands in his pockets. His attitude is laid back, but at the same time, he looks in a bad mood – like he is staying calm about the situation but he is actually disgusted by it.
“You said you’d tell him about her.”
Jan does not move an inch, simply looking at me.
“I don’t think he wants to hear it right now.”
“I said it’d be better to tell him.”
“First of all- wait no, who the heck is talking?!”
I glance at Ciel who is looking up, and I follow their movement, only to see Alice, sitting on top of the piece of roof covering the first few meters in front of the entrance.
“Your voice is all soothing, it has to work.”
“I’m not trying to hypnotise him…”
I do not even want to know what or who they are talking about. Nonetheless I look at Jan, who gives me a sorry smile.
“Please don’t be about Lois.”
“It’s about Lois. He’ll be interested.”
“Noooo…” I moan.
“Arguably the better choice. Hmm…”
I cannot help but look away, even as Ciel pats me on the shoulder silently. I do not even know if I would rather hear it or not, nor do I know what I am expecting.
“Well, it’s nothing too dramatic, okay? It’ll be fine. But right now, we’ve looked everywhere, but haven’t been able to find her. I have no idea where she could possibly be.”
I do not even react. I hate the fact, but I already knew I would hear something of the sort. A while has passed since she ran away, but I still cannot help but feel guilty she did, whatever the others may say. She might not even be safe, wherever she is… And…
“She’s not making a good call, separating herself from the others like that.”
“What do you mean?”
“If we don’t get to know her… We might feel like she’s a stranger. No, that’s not exactly it, I think it’ll be tough to trust her.”
“Exactly. I’m afraid she might be putting herself in danger. Knowing about Danganronpa already somewhat ostracizes us, doesn’t it?”
“Yeaaahhh… But you’re cool, so whatever, really.”
Jan chuckles.
“Well, thanks. Still, I hope…”
“I’ll trust her.”
“What?”
“Hell, I’ll protect her!”
Everyone goes silent. The whole world goes silent. I could not care less.
“She wants everyone’s best… She was right and… It’s stupid that you would think she’s unworthy of your trust just because of my idiotic mistake… So I’ll make up for it! If you’re all too blind to see the worth in her, I’ll be by her side! I won’t let anyone hurt her in any way!”
Complete and utter silence.
Then Alice suddenly jumps down in front of me.
“What the fff-”
“Jesus…”
She does not even look hurt.
“You’ve known her for what, twenty minutes?”
I do not answer.
“You’re cute, but you’re silly.”
“What do you know.”
“Well I guess all that’s left for me is to…”
She stamps her foot.
“Protect you!”
She smiles and holds her arms up encouragingly.
“What?”
“If you’re busy protecting someone else, then you’ll need someone to protect you!”
“But I don’t need protect-”
“Nor does Lois. But let’s agree to all protect each other, and everything’s going to be fine.”
Now I am the one to go silent. I… really am silly, huh?
“If we’re sixteen, we can technically all protect a person in particular…”
“Who you wanna protect?”
“They’ll be so protected you won’t even know they’re here.”
“That’s the spirit.”
“I want to protect Neo too! And Alice because she casually jumps off the roof like it’s no big deal. How about we all protect everyone?”
“Everyone’s got the spirit!”
“Well, not exactly…”
I feel like something is staring at me. Three pairs of eyes, exactly.
Damn it…
“I’ll protect Lois from anyone who doesn’t trust her… And Ciel from anyone who wants to hold them…”
They chuckle awkwardly, but it is a chuckle alright.
“I’ll help Chris be listened to when she translates… Noah feel like he’s one of us… Isabella be more confident… Emily see her own qualities...”
“I’m overwhelmed by so much spirit!”
“Andi know what to say when to say it… Keith feel understood… Mina will be the tallest of us all and Oscar will be the sweetest!”
“Yay!”
“Alice will always find a mattress when she falls down and… And…”
Mysterious smile he has.
“Jan will become a voice actor too!”
“What?”
He laughs. It sounds like with my silliness, I have gotten everyone enthusiastic.
“You do have an amazing voice! I don’t know how you’d handle imitations but you’d do an amazing voice actor.”
“I never considered that.”
“You’ll see, you’ll be famous in no time!”
“Looking forward to it.”
Alice claps her hands.
“You see, Neo, you just need a little encouraging and you quickly become even better than all of us.”
I feel myself blush. I would not have expected Alice to be so overly positive, given how cynical she was when I first met her, but I guess she can handle any kind of situation. Now, I guess not everyone could have expected how easily I can get depressed when everything around me is stressful. I mean, by nature, I am someone fairly positive… But this is all just too much. I want to go home.
But I guess somehow I am glad I got to meet these people? There is something great about them all. I have known them for a few minutes only, but I already feel much attached to Ciel for example, or… You know.
“Sounds like you’ve forgotten a few people, though.”
“Really? Who?”
“Maybe you haven’t talked to them too much yet. Like, I don’t know, Akiro, for instance.”
“Oh right, I’m an idiot! He’s a cutie, how could I forget him? And there’s Benjamin and Chloe too. We have been searching the place and we haven’t seen them around yet.”
“Did you go back to the gym? Jan was saying we should check it once more, but I heard Akiro saying he would stay there.”
“No, we didn’t…”
“Well, we’ll check it out. I’m now confident about leaving you two alone!”
She takes a glance at Ciel.
“I’m watching you, though. Don’t go feeling unsure or something. Hit Neo if he starts being pessimistic.”
“You know I won’t.”
Everyone chuckles. Alice really did make us all feel better. Obviously I cannot forget… How claustrophobic, scared, alone in the middle of the others… Stupid, stressed, mad…
“Alright, we’re off. See you soon.”
I am…
“Neo!”
But a few reminders that nothing too bad can happen are of great help, and I appreciate them.
“I’m sure this dome is nothing we can’t get over.”
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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

Post by Story Teller on Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:52 am

“Even Alice would have a hard time climbing that.”
“How about the Ultimate Hiker?”
“I don’t know.”
Having seen the Ultimate Trekker’s capacities, I do not even want to know what the Ultimate Hiker could do.
We followed each other towards the other giant glass dome – funny that there is one within the other – and are now appreciating just how gigantic it is. It looks completely made of glass, but there are giant black panels inside making it impossible to see through. When we have looked at it enough, I get closer to the wooden door, the only part of it to not be made of glass, and try to open it, to no avail.
“Another closed door?”
I try to pull and push it harder, but nothing will work.
“Sure seems like it.”
Grimacing, Ciel looks at the whole dome once again, and mumbles:
“It is tempting…”
“If I can’t break it, you definitely can’t either!”
“Hey, I can handle temptation!”
We both nervously chuckle, and slowly walking backwards, I give it a last big look. I doubt there is an exit here, but this structure definitely has me curious. It looks like a giant bubble coming out of the ground, except that it has a door. I kind of want to go in there, just to know how it feels, but I would also rather get out of this giant dome I am already in.
I guess it might also look like a bubble from the outside, held in place by huge chunks of metal.
As I turn around to pick up a normal speed again, I see two people I recognize holding a ladder.
“Let’s check out what they’re doing!”
I run towards them and Ciel is quick to follow me. Chloe and Akiro are coming out of a building, but I cannot clearly tell where they are going.
“Hey! What are you gonna do with this?”
They had not noticed us, busy carrying their ladder, and both suddenly turn around.
“Oh, well… I would use it to climb out, but I don’t think it’s an option.”
I would have expected someone to answer something, but for some reason, there is an awkward silence.
“Uh… Well, I don’t think it goes high enough anyway.”
“Yeah, Akiro was telling me that. He’s afraid it won’t be tall enough for what we’re trying to do.”
“Which is, touch the dome.”
With his head, Akiro gestures towards the nearest wall. Thick stone walls, about two and a half meter high, mark the end of the outside, before the dome even does. But now thinking about a ladder, I realize that if we were to climb to the wall’s height, we could touch the dome behind.
“Why, though?”
“To see what it’s made of.”
“Wouldn’t it just be glass?”
“Huh… We don’t think so.”
“Okay but isn’t this ladder heavy as shit?”
“L-let’s just… Go there.”
He gestures us to follow Chloe, the ladder and him, and so we do. They both throw it more than they put it down when they reach the wall, and Chloe lets out a sigh.
“Your idea better be right, kid.”
“And now I’m scared…”
Ciel and I look at each other in confusion. They shrug, and I figure I should ask once more what they are doing.
“What would it be if it’s not glass?”
Chloe is already holding the ladder in place while Akiro climbs up.
“I’m sure he’s about to tell you.”
“And I’m the one who’s confusing…”
“Oh Ciel, come o-”
“Paint.”
We both simultaneously look up.
“Really?!”
“This is a painted wall… The sky is painted. It’s just a trompe-l’oeil.”
“Like the outside seen from the windows?”
“Is it?”
“Yeah, the scenery in the classrooms upstairs was a painting too.”
Akiro climbs down carefully and shakes his head.
“It makes sense…”
“Then you were right, but… But… Then…”
Chloe clenches her fists and looks up and around, seizing the whole dome, or should I say, painting.
“But then, where are we?!”
And not one of us can answer. We all stare at her in silence, and I know I am trying not to think about the implications.
“We’ve looked everywhere… But we couldn’t find any accessible exit… We’re trapped within these walls… We’re inside this painting… How do we get out?”
I look at the two others, but they look about as down as she does.
“Well, we may not have looked everywhere…”
“I think by this point we have…”
“N-no, I haven’t been in this building, for instance..!”
“We have. It’s the dorms. Everyone has a room, it seems the doors open by scanning our handbooks. There’s a storage room with ropes and a ladder, and two vending machines. No more, no less.”
“The doors we can’t open…”
“That’s not accessible!”
“But…”
“There’s no exit!”
I take a good look at her. She is not even panicking, she just looks… Sad. Maybe a little scared. And I feel scared for her.
Until I actually feel scared for myself.
“There’s no exit.”
”There’s no exit.” That is the only logical conclusion.
“There- There is an exit.”
We all look at him once again. He fails to look at any of us in the eye, but continues:
“If there’s an entrance, there’s an exit. If we have food rations, they have to come from somewhere. If Monokuma promises that by murdering someone we can get out, it means there’s a way out… So…”
He hesitantly looks at each one of us in turn, quick to look away.
“All that’s left is to find it.”
A pause. In Akiro’s eyes, it has to be an awkward silence.
But I end up laughing.
“Then we’ll find it!”
“But how?”
“And when?!”
“We will… We’ll start by asking everyone what they discovered.”
“We’d need to find everyone though…”
“What time is it?”
I immediately glance at my wrist, but I am not wearing a watch. Ciel quickly takes their handbook out and answers:
“Six fifty in the afternoon.”
“I said seven- Uh, I wrote a note and I left it in the gym. It tells the next person to find it to let everyone they see know to meet in the gym at seven. So if everyone told everyone we should be all there…”
“That’s a brilliant idea, Akiro! Let’s go, then!”
“The ladder…”
“No one cares about that ladder. Let’s find the others.”
Chloe walks right past all of us a few steps, but suddenly stops to turn around and look at Akiro.
“And I’ve decided I’ll trust you forever now, Mr Good-ideas.”
She manages a smile, but quickly turns back and starts hurrying towards the inside.
“O-Oh.”
I hesitate for a second before I follow her.
“She’s right! Let’s go.”
We all make a great team. Everything is going to be just fine, I know it. I think so. I hope so. I really do.
I take a glance back at the cherry blossom tree on top of a small hill, next to where we just were. I am scared it will die, if it gets no sunlight.

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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 2 · Fruitless

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