"I'm not sure how I let ya talk me into this again, Nao."
"My idea!?" For all that she had been clinging for dear life to the other girl just a moment ago, that comment was enough to cause Midorikawa Nao to draw away from her. "You're the one who convinced me to come in here in the first place, Akane!"
"Well, maybe somethin' like that did happen, maybe somethin' like that didn't." Clearly avoiding meeting her eyes, Hino Akane put on her best smile, hoping to somewhat appease her friend. "Come on though, Nao, all this stuff is fake anyways! Ya've got nothin' ta really worry about!"
"It's the principle of the matter!" Nao protested. Sure, she had agreed in the end, but that was only because Akane had challenged her. She couldn't let something like that go! "I already told you that I didn't want to come here, Akane!"
"Ya still came with me, though." Akane pointed out.
"That's because you said I was your only option!" Nao pointed out, her stern tone somewhat offset by the fact that she flinched at the sound of a distant scream. Honestly, what had she been thinking, following Akane into a haunted maze, of all things? Normal haunted houses were bad enough, but this was...!
"But ya were!" Akane said, folding her arms in front of her chest. "There'd be no fun if I just asked Yayoi or Reika ta come with me, an' there's no way I could do somethin' like this ta Miyuki. She might faint!"
"But I'm fair game, then?" Nao asked, narrowing her eyes. "Whatever. Let's just hurry up and find our way out of here."
"Yes, yes." Nodding her head, Akane grinned from ear to ear, extending her arm to her once more. "Don't ya want ta hang on, Nao~?"
"I could do without you teasing me." Even though she grumbled, Nao nevertheless linked her own arm with that of Akane's, scooting a bit closer to her. "Besides, you've screamed too, Miss Everything is Fake!"
"Well, that's..." Trailing off a little, Akane scratched her cheek a bit. "It's a bit higher level than I thought. The festival committee really did go all out on this one, didn't they?"
"You think they could have held back a little." Nao grumbled. "I'm definitely not letting my siblings come here!"
Letting out a slightly nervous laugh, Akane glanced between their two options. If one lead to another dead end, she didn't know if Nao's heart could take it- or her arm, for the matter. Her friend had failed to notice it, but she had very deliberately offered her the opposite arm to which she had been clinging all this time.
She was going to be bruised in the morning, for sure.
Provided they made it out of here.
"Ah, sorry, Nao. Another dead end!"
Her apology was lost to the sound of her friend's own scream, as they sprung yet another one of the maze's dead end traps. Maybe she should have brought Miyuki with her after all- at the very least, she didn't think that she'd be capable of almost literally dragging her away in a panicked run.
She would have thought that after the real haunted house that Majorina had put them through, that a fake one would have been no problem for her. But apparently, she'd been wrong.
So very, very wrong.