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Flowering Recovery: Suzuran

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CHAPTER ONE:

My Class Trial, Our Class Trial

(Un)Ordinary Days

 


 

It will be an easy job he said.

In and out.

 Simple as that.

Jesus Christ, this is complete bullshit.

Well, it was my own fault for not properly evaluating the environment and failing to see a fucking six foot and six inches tall guy. How the hell could I even miss someone that tall? That’s taller than my own father for Christ sake. Also there was a fucking guy that was not even four feet tall that moved with unpredictable speed.

I should have expected this kind of shit when returning to this world after six long years of departure. The people of this world were skilled in many aspects and incredibly talented in unique ways.

 


  June 20th; Day 01


 

- Beautiful Lie -

“Do we have to have her hang from the beam upside down?” A girl with light blonde hair, decorated with silver music note shaped hairpins, questions. From what I could see, she was wearing a long-sleeved white shirt under a light purple ribbed-hem sweater and a brownish-red tie. In addition, she was wearing purple skirt adorned with a black music staves and notes pattern, purple stockings reaching below her knees and beige shoes.

Her purple eyes darted around with concern and her fingers played with her white backpack. Some people purposely avoided eye contact with her, but one girl in particular did meet her gaze.

It was a girl with sharp green eyes with a beauty mark under the left side of her mouth and had long black hair tied in two pigtails -- she strangely had a large sum of accessories in her hair, long white ribbons, a large green bow with a white floral pattern and a star-shaped accessory on the left a purple headband --  and a pink choker with a yellow bell around her neck. She was wearing a blue school uniform top that stops above her bellybutton, with a frilly two layered blue skirt, a pair of knee length white socks with a blue stripe and a pair of zouris.

“Tenko agrees! It’s too cruel for you degenerate males to treat her like this!”

Degenerates?

That's kinda harsh.

“Yeah, she isn’t struggling or cursing us out.” A young man with a tanned complexion and spiky dark purple hair points out. “She isnt doing anything really. . . just hanging there.” He dressed in layers for some reason -- a white sleeveless shirt with a face that resembled red kabuki theater makeup, on top of that he was wearing an unbuttoned white long sleeved dress shirt with a breast pocket. And, over all of that, was a long, purple overcoat with a galaxy design inside it. Amusingly, he didn't wear it correctly, instead, he was wearing the left sleeve but draped it over his right shoulder. He was wearing a pair of purple pants that matched his coat, which was rolled up over his ankles, and a pair of gray slippers with a galaxy pattern.

Strangely, I found myself mesmerized by his warm lilac eyes. The way he looked up to me and grinned, I could tell he was. . . genuine in his words. He doesn't even know me and yet, he trusts me. Ah. I was once like that. . . How strange it is to see someone as open as that.

“She can easily be biding her time.” A young woman with deadly red eyes cuts in. She had dark long brown hair tied into pigtails with two red scrunchies and long strands that framed her face.  She was wearing a scarlet-colored sailor fuku accompanied with a pair of thigh-high socks of the same color and brown ankle boots. The collar of her fuku was a dark green color that matched the plaid skirt and a white ribbon.

She had a number of accessories, including a black bracelet, small, circular earrings, a white hairpin in the shape of the infinity symbol on the right side of her head and a flower pin on her right shoulder.

“Don't be like that Harukawa! She’s got stars in her eyes! She’s good!” The girl referred to as Harukawa gave him a pointed look, as if to question his intelligence to trust someone based on what their eyes looked like. . . I, on the other hand, managed to toe off one of the mary janes on my feet and kicked it his way.

I unfortunately missed.

It was most likely not the best move as many of teens below me tenses up and looked with apprehension. Or anticipation. It’s getting hard to tell with the blood rushing to my head.

“Don't say such embarrassing things.” I muttered, glancing away as I tried to force the blush on my face away.

“Holy shit, jumbo tits is fucking tsundere!” Some blonde shouted. She definitely had a pretty face -- big blue-gray eyes -- long wavy light blonde hair with a pink overtone, two strands of hair at the top of her head like bunny ears, and a pair of brown goggles were on her head. . .  but what she was wearing would most certainly be in the category of what I would define as raunchy.

She was wearing a pink fuku but it and the collar was cut in an extreme way. The pink skirt was shorter than regulation and the white collar did a big enough dip in the uniform to reveal . . .a huge sum of her chest. The pale blue bow was kinda cute though.

She wore a pair of black fingerless gloves with metal studs and black boots with gold buttons and buckles. She was wearing a black leather, or satin?, garter belt with gold clips that attached her to her white overknee socks. She wore a black choker collar, and two smaller black collars, around her neck and on her backside was a brown backpack.

“Please shut up. I know my chest is huge and it sucks. I have enough back problems already, they really don't need to contribute to it.” I snap. The girl immediately shrivels up, playing with her hair nervously, which . . . looked strangely cute.

Goddamn my gay ass.

“Huh. . . I wonder what you do?” The owner of this voice looked like a child, young and innocent, but his voice was most certainly not. It wasn't exactly malicious but, it wasn't kind. He had this twinkle in his dark purple eyes that screamed trouble. . . or something like that. There was certainly conflicting emotions in his eyes, the reflection of his soul.

Still, he was a very short pale young man with short, wavy purple hair. . . but his clothes were a very concerning choice. It almost looked like he was wearing a white straitjacket, which was apparently ripped at the hem, and covered in multicolored buttons running down the middle of his top. Just like the sleeves of his shirt, a straps attached was wrapped around his pants legs. He also wearing a pair of black and purple slip flats and a checkered patterned scarf around his neck.

“It’s complicated.” I sigh. “Look, we can talk but doing this while I’m upside down is no good for anyone.”

“She is correct.” The boy who was clearly a robot speaks up. “She may possibly get brain damage if she remains hanging.” He was. . . very cute and it wasn't his synthetic voice that gave away what he was, it was his body. His body was made up of a black metal that resembled armor plating. A number of glowing spots lit up his body -- two on his chest, his stomach and one on each of his wrists -- and at his waist, which resembles a belt, were a glowing red spot on the each side of his front.

Around his neck was a large metallic collar with a screen installed into it. It seemed to exist in order to protect his neck, which looked a bit delicate compared to the rest of his body. Not so strangely, he had headphone-shaped objects instead of ears, and the seemed to have capabilities to show scrolling text as well.

He didn't exactly have skin, but his face was very pale, and his platinum blonde hair was styled in an impossibly spiky fashion with a very large ahoge sticking from the top. His blue eyes were very beautiful but notably mechanical and thick black lines were around and below them.

“What a shame. . .” The boy in white mutters. I shoot him a look but he doesn't seem to notice it nor anyone else’s for that matter.

“I think. . . it’s better we let her down and talk to her.” A boy in a black genkan softly speaks up. All eyes turn to him and he flushes, trying to hide behind the bill of his black hat. Why. . . Why do I find that to be cute? Jesus. What a mess. From what I could tell, he had a rather pale complexion but not much else about his face.

“Saihara-kun is right.” The blonde musical girl beams. “Yes, her appearance was very strange, but it would be better to talk to her instead of assuming she’s going to hurt us.”

“This is pointless.” Harukawa grunts. She simply turns away and walks out of the gym with brisk steps. A few others follows after her, uncertain about wanting to let an unknown woman go or not really in the mood to deal with it. The blonde musician talks to those who remain, whispering among them and ultimately more of them leave until five remain in the room. She then turns to the impressively tall and tanned young man who was holding the end of the rope that kept me suspended in the air.

- Becoming Friends - 

I don't know what it was about him, but my heart was instantly captivated. Maybe it was, despite how masculine his face was, he had this softness to him. His red eyes, framed with round rimmed glasses, were warm and inviting and his long wild dark green hair looked rather cute in an odd way.

He was rather muscular in addition to his incredible height, and yet it was contained with a brown suit with matching dress pants and around his neck was an earthy green tie. Surprisingly, he had no shoes. Over his shoulder, he carried a bug terrarium with a strap that was the same color as his tie.

Carefully, he lowered me back to the floor by releasing the rope little by little until I was lowered into someone’s arms. Surprisingly, it was the arms of the space guy. He was beaming brightly, his eyes shimmering as he cradled my body to his chest.

“The name is Kaito Momota, The Luminary of the Stars! And Super High School Level Astronaut.” He proudly announced. He then kneeled down, carefully placing my body on the floor and got to work unraveling the rope that bound me.

 As he did so, the tall wild like male approached me with my mary jane in hand. He kneels down and carefully slid it back onto my foot as if he was a prince, sliding Cinderella's slipper onto her feet. He smiled, looking proud of himself.

“Um, Gonta’s name is Gonta Gokuhara! Gonta’s talent is Super High School Level Entomologist. Gonta is pleased to meet you, miss. . .?” He paused, suddenly at a loss.

“Yuuki.” I provide for him. “Yuuki Kazehaya. I am Super High School Level Preacher.” Now free from the rope, Gonta takes my smaller hand into his own, pulling me up to my feet in a single motion. He then brings my hand to his lips, lightly kissing it. My cheeks flush a bright red hue.

“Gonta is delighted to meet Kazehaya-san!” I laugh just a little. I take my hand back, gathering my skirt into my hands and curtsy.

“What a gentleman. The pleasure is mine.” Gonta looks a bit surprised by my words. His cheeks flush and he looks a tad bashful. Despite his towering appearance, he really is cute.

“Hi there!” The blonde musical beams, clasping her hands together. “I’m Kaede Akamatsu! I am Super High School Level Pianist!” She motions to the boy dressed in black, who is still shyly hiding behind his hat. “This is Saihara-kun!” The boy suddenly flinches and his face flushes before he awkwardly glances to the side.

“S-Shuuichi Saihara.” He softly mumbled, fiddling with the brim of his hat. “I. . . ah, I’m Super High School Level Detective. . .”

“Geez! She can't hear you Saihara-chan!” The short boy in white frowns.

“H-Huh?” Shuuichi gasps.

“No, no,” I sigh, saving the poor boy from being put on the spot. “I heard him just fine. Shuuichi is a nice name!” Only after I said that I realized I made a mistake. After all my years in Japan, you would think I have learned. I clearly have not and the poor boy was red as a tomato now.

“Oh my god.” I whisper, placing my face in my hands.

“Ooooh. Scandalous!”

“I’m Greek.” I grind out. “I-I just forget first name basis rules sometimes.”  

 “Greek, huh?” He hums. He then looks to his hand, looking rather bored. “I guess that explains why you’re so rowdy. . .” If the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was anything to go by -- since the writer and lead actress, if I recall right, is Greek -- then he would be correct about that. I. . . I wouldn't honestly know, since I am actually an American.

As long as I wore this veil, I would maintain the appearance of ‘Yuuki Kazehaya’. . . A student of mine that deserved more than what she was given.

“I admit,” I sigh, rubbing the back of my neck sheepishly. “I didn’t make the best entry but I only acted in self defense.” He stares at me. It’s a very long and awkward passing of time before he breaks out into a giggle.

“I’m Kokichi Ouma, Super High School Level Supreme Leader!” He introduces himself with a seemingly innocent grin on his face.

“What.” I blankly reply, completely baffled by such a title. What the hell did a supreme leader do exactly? And how the hell is he the leader of one at his age? This kid couldn't be real. . . but the expressions on  everyone’s faces were normal. Which could only mean this kid wasn’t lying. .  .

“I run an organization with over ten thousand members!” Under my veil, I squint my eyes. Okay. That had to be a lie. There’s no way this one kid could manage an entire organization with that many people on his own. I could believe a couple hundred, but ten thousand is just. . . too many.

“Sounds fake but okay.” The grin on his face only grows wider. As if he’s amused to be called a liar. . .

“Nishinishi! That’s because I’m a liar!”

And apparently lying is some packaged deal with being a supreme leader. I supposed it made sense to some extent. You had to probably lie a bit to keep such a huge organization running and keep it out of public eye. But why would Kaede not shoo this guy off with the others. . .?

And with a moment of thought, the rather obvious answer came to me.

“Oh, I get it. He’s a lie detector.”

“Ah, yes, something like that.” Shuuichi gives me an awkward smile, vaguely motioning to Ouma. “Ouma-kun is rather skilled at finding lies.”

“A preacher, huh?” Ouma questions with a hum, cutting Shuuichi off before he could begin his array of questions.  I immediately feel pity for Shuuichi. He’s clearly very nervous and has doubts in his skills. . . and having Ouma cut him off in an interview that is clearly his responsibility is kinda a kick to the nads. . .

Still. . . A more accurate term for what my ‘talent’ is would be ‘Sage’ but preacher looked . . . normal on paper. Especially to non-magical beings. Bringing up that aspect of my life would only complicate things and make them far more weary of me.

“Yes. I preach of hope and do what I can to bring hope to those in need.” It wasn’t the full truth but wasn’t an entire lie either. It would be enough to slip past his radar hopefully.

 “That sounds very busy.”

“That would be correct.” I nod. “However, I make sure to return home to my beloved family know I love them.” Out of the corner of my eye I note that Shuuichi is silently glancing over me. He’s not leering or being a pervert about it, simply analytical.

“You’re. . .married, correct?” Shuuichi inquires

“Yes, to many individuals. I’ve adopted a polyandry lifestyle. I love each and every one of my lovers for being themselves. We’re all very open, accepting and loving people! We all pitch in raising our children and supporting each other through hard times!” I smile, thinking of all the individuals that make up my precious family. They were all wonderful people that have done their best to become better people by overcoming their past or problems that afflicted them in the past.

“I see,” Shuuichi mumbles softly, clearly lost in thought at the moment. “It didn’t quite make sense for a preacher to carry as much jewelry as you do. . . but given you have many spouses that’s another story. Perhaps they’re all keepsakes from them. . . ?” The way he brought his hand to his mouth when he was in thought was rather cute in my opinion. What the hell. Why are all these people so cute or good looking?

“Kids. . . How many do you have?!” Kaito questions with a shout. Ouma breaks out into a giggle but the others look at Kaito with shock. Kaede sharply whispers his name, giving him a light smack on his arm. Gonta babbles, telling him it’s inappropriate to ask something like that.

“Ah. . . Just five.” I answer with an awkward smile as I rub the back of my neck. “I . . . recently gave birth to a pair of twins. . .”

“Have you killed a man?” Ouma questions, getting rather close and personal. His eyes didn’t have the usual goofy charm but a rather serious fire.

. . . I think, if it wasn't for the fact I took a glance around the buildings before being captured, I would have found such a question to be . . . perhaps odd. This place, wherever it was, is in poor condition. The windows were sealed close with long lengths of red barbwire and both hallways and rooms were carpeted grass and plants that managed to grow in such a bizarre environment. I have doubts that any of them are here of their free will.

Possibly, they are trapped here or in hiding. . . the latter makes more sense given how panicked and defensive they were when I first appeared.

“Does self-defense count?” I question with a sigh as I crossed my arms. “Or being enlisted in war?” I wouldn't necessarily say my hands are bloody, but they certainly are not clean. . . It will probably makes me lose points with others but there was no point in hiding that aspect of myself.

“Huh?! War?” Kaede gasps. Nervous glances are exchanged by the teens surrounding me. . . but Ouma simply stares at me, trying to tell if my words were genuine or not. Still. . . the fact these teens were so surprised by the mention of war did not leave me with a good feeling. Something was off about them. . . but what? I wasn’t getting any bad vibes from them.

“I travel a lot and my bleeding heart always reaches out to help those in need and stands up to injustice. It unfortunately gets me tangled up in an insane amount of problems.

“My, you sound. . . very busy.” Kaede mumbles, clearly uncomfortable about the concept of war.

“Yeah. There is no calmness in my life. Only internal screaming, anxiety and panicking.” I laugh, trying to change the subject, with a thoughtful look on my face. “Well, there is calmness when I am with those I love.” Bashfully, I add: And falling in love with someone wonderful.

I cough, trying to clear my head of the concept of being infatuated with any of the young adults around. It would be a pointless effort. As soon as I got clearance and found what I needed, I would be gone and along with my departure, so would any memories of me existing here, no matter how brief it would last.

“You all mentioned explaining things,” I muse out loud. “I believe I’ve supplied enough. Or at least as much personally information I’m willing to tell complete strangers. . . I think it’s fair if I get a basic understanding of what is going on here.”

- Rise of the Ultimate -

The change to the cheerful atmosphere is instantaneous. It becomes heavy with tension and apprehension. No one can look me in the eye anymore, none other than Ouma who’s grinning with a frightening twinkle in his eyes. At that moment, I realized these were not young adults in hiding. They’re trapped like rats and clearly in fear about something. . .

“Something bad is happening. . . isn’t it?” I inquire slowly.

“It’s that damn bear’s fault!” Kaito shouts, slamming his fists together.

For a moment, it feels as if the world had froze all around me.

. . . What. . .

. . .What did he say?

Everyone stares at me with concern as my skin loses color and I . . . I can feel my body begins to tremble as a thousand memories of a time six years ago come back at full force. A failure. A complete and utter failure to prevent this World from falling apart and becoming consumed with despair. Having to run away to leave my friends behind as they suffered.

Weak.

Cowardly.

Pathetic.

I look at my hand with disbelief. I'm really shaking. It’s suddenly becoming hard to breath as I’m forced to face my sins of past. It’s so clear what this bear wants. The Tragedy of Hope’s Peak Academy. The mutual murder of the entire student council. It wants to reenact that.

But why. . . ?

What’s the point?

If despair has already taken such deep roots in this World, what is the point of recreating such a horrible event? To create more despair? But it’s been six years. . . how badly has this world fallen apart in my absence?

“Black. . . and white. . .” I manage to choke out.

“Huh?”

“The bear.” I manage to get out as so many emotions swirl around me. I didn't mind much as Kaito came to my side and placed a hand on my back to support me. Honestly, I could care less. If I didn't regain control of my emotions I could end up killing them all right here and now. “Is it black and white. . . and one red eye. . .?” Ouma narrows his eyes.

“Yeah. . . big and ugly too.” He frowns, looking down to his hand. His eyes glance back to me, watching my responses. My hand is twitching, desperately moving to grab onto some sort of anchor. Kaito places his larger hand into my own. I clutch it as tightly as I possibly can, forcing myself to breath. His concern and efforts are strangely comforting but it seems to be so little.

“What kind. . .?”

“Kind. . .?” Kaede repeats, confusion and fear clear in her voice.

“They come in different types!” I shout back, as if it should be obvious what I’m referring to . . . but it’s so obvious that it’s not. It’s like these teens are all oblivious to what the hell is going on outside this place. It’s like. . . It’s like they don't know Hope’s Peak Academy is gone and it should be impossible to have SHSL titles.

Goddamnit.

Why?

Why didn't I realize sooner something terrible is happening. . .?!

- Mr. Monokuma's Lesson V3 - 

“WHERE IS SHE!!” A voice suddenly shrieks. My heart seizes up and I clutch Kaito’s hand tighter than before. It was definitely a synthetic voice. . . but it wasn't a welcoming or calming one like Kiibo’s. . .  it reeked of Chaos Magic. Slowly, all of us turned to the source of the voice and I can see it .

It’s indeed one of those black and white bears that covered Tokyo years ago and slaughtered so many innocent people. . . but it was talking . The ones I saw only stared at me, which was unsettling enough, but to actually have one talk to me was so utterly disturbing.

“I see. . . I see. . .” The bear comes closer and my feet feel like lead. I can't move. I can't run. The orders from my brain refuse to connect to my body. The bear is circling around me, humming as he does so. “Alright. Name.”

“W. . . What?” I choke out. My voice sounds so distant, like a strangled squeak.

I . . . I’m so disgusted with myself. I’ve seen and battled so many more terrible and horrific things compared to this . . . this fucking bear. . . but I’m frozen. Frozen in absolute fear. If Sho could see me now, he’d be fucking laughing up a storm over this.

“Name!” The bear shouts once more. “Are you deaf or something!?”

“Hey! Cut her some slack!” Kaito frowns, his tone clearly annoyed and a tad pained. I forced my hand to lessen its grip but he held onto it just as tightly as I did to assure me he was at my side. The bear gives him an unamused look nonetheless.

“Please!” Gonta pleads. “Kazehaya-san has just arrived! She is exhausted!” The bear suddenly looks. . . delighted. There’s an ominous glow to his red eye and he’s bouncing in place as his face starts to flush red.

“Kazehaya?!” He booms. He begins to sweat, as if. . . as if he’s getting off to the idea I’m here. “Yuuki Kazehaya! That’s your name, right?! RIGHT?!” Fear chokes my heart, making my words come out in a trembling stutter, only to be cut off by that bear.

“HOW DID I KNOW?! I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS!!”

“The last. . .” The words die out in my throat as my mind is swarmed with confusion.

The last six years. . . When I fled from Hope’s Peak Academy. When I first had an encounter with these bears. . . Was I being watched that whole time? Was someone really anticipating my return. . .?

“I’m so happy one of my men finally found you!!”

“Why. . .?” Shuuichi softly questions. “Why would you specifically search for her over the course of six years . . .?”

“Why?” The bear repeats tilting his head. “Isn’t obvious?” He exuberantly throws his arms into the air, practically vibrating with glee. “To destroy a preacher of hope would be the greatest despair to exist!”

“That’s. . . that’s not going to happen you asshole!” I suddenly blurt out, yanking my hand away from Kaito to point accusingly at this monstrous bear. “I refuse to let you get what you want!”

“Oh, so you can talk in proper sentences! I was beginning to think the beloved Goddess of Hope only had idiots as her preachers! Seems like a fit for someone as pathetic as her!”

“You have no idea what you're talking about!” I furiously snap back. All the fear I felt before suddenly vanished and was replaced with furious anger. Anger to this bear. For it’s desire to carry out these pathetic killing games and biding its time to see me again. I’ll make it regret waiting on my ASS. “Do not disrespect my sisters! Or The Council, My Lady works for!”

“No matter,” The bear waves me off. It lets out another chuckle, placing its paws on its stomach. “Assemble my cute children!”

- The Monocubs Arrive -

Like a dog reacting to the sound of food being poured into its bowl, five. . . cubs appeared. I could only mutter ‘what the fuck’ under my breath. For a moment I was taken back by the fact this. . . thing had children, but it wasn’t too weird in retrospect. My beloved brother, rest his goddamn soul, married a combat-ready android and said android referred to her predecessors as her sister units. These cubs had to be created after the main series of black and white bears and programmed to fulfill the role of a children to him.

All of the bears had similarities to their ‘father unit’ -- such as the bi-colored fur, but they did maintain the white fur -- but the bright pink cheeks and a yellow pacifier did separate them from their father.

The red bear looked. . . confident, almost like a leader. His his left eye was black, contrasting with his father’s. He was wearing a long gray scarf with a silver star pinned to it.

Not far from the red bear was a delicate pink one with vertical magenta stripes and a white right eye. She was wearing a black bikini top with a sakura flower printed on both sides and behind one of her ears was a light pink flower.

Standing beside the pink bear was a blue one. God. He had to be the weirdest looking one of them all. He looked like a wild KISS fan, he had the star shaped eye makeup, chest hair AND the shoulder armor. Hell, even a guitar in hand!

At the other side of the red bear was a yellow one with a brown tiger-like pattern on his fur and a white eye. Interestingly, he had eyelashes on his right eye, a pair of round black glasses and an abacus in . . . paw.

The final bear, an olive green one, was. . . interesting. It wasn’t strange like the blue one. It was just. . . interesting. While all the bears looked plush, he most certainly looked more robot. He didn't have the same rosy cheeks as his siblings, they were a light gray color. His right eye is gray with a red pupil while his left eye is white and his limbs were  made from a gray, bendable metal.

“What is it papa?” The pink bear questions. Her voice was soft and delicate, supplying more fodder to my assumption that she was a girl.

“A super special eighteenth student has appeared!” The black and white bear grins, his paws on his stomach as he breaks out in a malicious cackle.

“Woooah! A new babe?! Yeah baby!” The blue bear cheered. I couldn't help but gawk. His voice was nothing like a child’s.

“She’ll need a MonoPad AND a bedroom!” The monochrom bear cuts in.

“A bedroom? But there’s no more rooms pops!” The bear in red exclaims. The monochrom one simply shrugs. At least as best as a stuffed bear can.

“Eh, just break down the wall at the end of the hallway in housing and build it there.”

That. . . That didn’t sound legal. . . in the slightest. . . but why am I expecting this bear to follow any building regulations?

“Oh yeah! With your arrival, a new rule has been added to everyone’s MonoPads!” Before I could question what that meant, numerous beeping sounds rang out. “You should help fellow student and inform her of the rules. I would hate to see Yuuki-chan leave us so soon!” With one final cackle, the bear leaves with his children in tow. I find myself glaring at the spot that monochrom bastard once stood.

- Rise of the Ultimate -

“Rules?” I question after several moments of silence.

“Yeah,” Kaito mutters, shaking his hand. I must have crushed it or cut off blood circulation. I’ll have to apologize for that. Maybe later. I suddenly feel so exhausted. “That Monokuma bastard has rules for his sick game. . . Apparently, if we don’t follow them, we die.”

I mutter jackass under my breath.

“Gee Kazehaya-chan, I guess you preaching around the world is true!” Ouma sighs, poking at his cheek.

“What are you talking about. . .?” I question slowly. He huffs, biting the nail of his thumb.

“‘Questioning the eighteenth student, Yuuki Kazehaya, about the state of the outside world is forbidden. Answering any questions from her fellow students will result in the immediate death of a student, chosen at random.’” Shuuichi reads out loud.

Of course a random. . . They must know I wouldn’t dare to do something stupid if it would directly danger someone else. Still. . .

“. . . Why is that forbidden? Do none of you know what’s going on outside this place?” As I reached the end of my question, it seemed so obvious. Tying me up was more than just fear of me being against them. It was fear that I was in league with Monokuma that made them act that way.

“No. . . Gonta cannot remember.”

“It’s not just you.” Kaede reassures him before looking back to me. “No one remembers how we ended up here. . . We just woke up in lockers or random spots on the campus and found each other. .  . Then Monokuma appeared and said were participants in the ‘Killing School Semester’.”

“. . .I . . . I see. . .” The word escape as some choked sound. My reaction alone was enough to tell them I had heard of the killing games before. They all obviously had questions but seemed too cautious to approach them at the moment given the rule in place.

 - Become Friends - 

“Well Kazehaya-san, what would you like to do now?” Kaede gently asks. “I’m sure you have some questions about the campus. But you look pretty tired so maybe sleep would be nice. . . but we need to find you someone to room with since the rules forbid sleeping anywhere but the rooms.”

“She can room with me.” Kaito says that as if it's not a big deal to invite some unknown woman into his room and share a bed with her.

“T-That indecent!” Gonta shouts, completely, totally and utterly mortified and it seems with that comment, Kaito realizes the implication of his words.

“N-Not like that!” He flushes. He babbles, trying to explain his intentions, which was apparently letting me use his bed while he slept on the floor. Sure, a simple enough plan but still would come across as perverted and skeevy since we hardly know each other. . . but with the way he panicking made it clear he had no such intentions at all.

“Perhaps I can help with that.” A new voice rings out as it approaches us. It was a tall, thin young woman with dull silver hair -- she had long beautiful bangs that happened to obscure her left eye -- her visible eye was an interesting shade of green. She was dressed as a maid, her outfit consisting of a the classic maid headband but also a black button up pinafore with a spiderweb motif on top of a white dress with a black collar, and a purple tie. In addition, she was wearing black gloves with silver rings attached, black tights, and also a pair of black shoes with white laces and heels.

Jesus Christ.

She was. . .

She was fucking beautiful.

“Pardon me, I am Kirumi Toujou,” She introduces herself with her soft and warm voice. Her body moves with calculated and precise motions that make her appear dainty as she bowed. . .  but the look in her eyes proved she is more than capable to do. . .well, just about anything. “The Super High School Level Maid. Given how you are all treating her, I believe it would be safe to assume the miss does not present a danger to us? If that is the case, allow me to be of assistance.”

“Huh? Are you sure Toujou-san?” Kaede gasps. Toujou calmly and gently smiles, bowing her head once more.

“But of course, I live to serve.”

“If you insist. . .” Kaede motions to myself and then to Toujou. “Toujou-san, this is Yuuki Kazehaya-san.”

“Kazehaya-san,” Toujou repeats my name a couple times in order to dedicate it to memory and then, she smiles. “You’ve been blessed with a lovely name.” My face instantly flushes red.

“I. . .I, um,  thank you. . .” I mumble. She smiles once more.

“Shall we head to my room for the evening? You seem to be quite exhausted. . .” Toujou suddenly looks thoughtful and a tad concerned. “Ah, did you encounter Monokuma. . .?”

“Yes,” Shuuichi sighs softly. “I believe she went into a panic attack once she . . um, saw him.

“I see,” Nodding her head, Toujou looks back to me, concern shining in her green eyes. “do you require anything?”

. . . Because I assumed this would be an easy job I didn't think about packing my comfort item. Meaning bouts of depression or anxiety were going to be hell if they decided to rear their head during this job. At least I remembered to pack my medication. . . I let out a sigh and shook my head.

“Anything I would need isn’t here,” I mumbled, clutching my arm. “I’ll. . . I’ll figure something out.”

 “I see, well, if anything comes to mind, don’t hesitate to tell me.”

“Well, I think Toujou-san can handle things from here!” Kaede beams. “We’ll go inform the others about the situation!”

 “Very well,” Toujou nods. Off to the side Ouma huffs, commenting how he’s a busy person so he has no intention of talking to the others. Kaito shoots him a look but, predictably, it is ignored.

“Well,” Kaito begins with a sigh. “if you need anything I’ll help you out!”

“Ah, Gonta would like to extend that offer as well!” Gonta smiles in a rather kind and innocent manner and heat flushes my cheeks once again. “As a gentleman, it’s is Gonta’s job to help those in need!”

I weakly sputter a thank you before hurrying out of the room with Toujou following behind with brisk steps. It took a while before I slowed down and she was able to walk at my side. As she lead they way I took another glance around the long halls. The air had shifted since my last look around. There was a certain density that mortals could not sense. It made me feel uneasy. . .

“Is there something on your mind Kazehaya-san?” Toujou questions.

“Ah, not particularly. . .” I admit with a sigh. “This place is just . . . odd and makes me feel a bit uneasy.”

“Yes, the environment is not welcoming.”  Toujou agrees. “However, there seems to be no weapons about and it provides us with the proper necessities to survive.”

“That’s good. . .” I mumble.

It is in all honesty. With an asshole intending to cause murder among young adults you think he would limit resources and make them fight for something as basic as food or water. Although, I can only be concerned with how long it could last before supplies run out. How would we restock . . .? Would the bears simply supply it or else. . .?

My worries came to a stop when Toujou placed a hand on my forearm. With a gentle smile, she motions to the door before the two of us. Without paying attention, she lead me to an entirely new building. From my spot in the foyer I could see a curved staircase with rails to each side of the door, leading to the dorm rooms on the second floor. Each door looked exactly the same, except for the a framed picture in a pixelated likeness of its owner hanging above the door frame.

Reaching into her pockets, Toujou pulls out a simple silver key with a name tag attached to it and slides it into the lock of her door. She opens the door and with a sweeping bow, motioning inside the room.

The room was relatively simple but spacious, there was an attached bathroom by the entrance and a closet built into the wall. The bed was tucked into a nook by the desk, not far from it was a carpet and a lounge chair and table before a TV that was inside a cabinet storage system. Interestingly, there was another TV, this one far more futuristic looking, hanging above the closet door.

Why the hell would anyone need two TVs?

“Kazehaya-san,” I’m pulled away from my thoughts when she calls my name. Toujou gives me a smile as she offers a folded black nightgown to me. “Please take a bath to clean up and calm down.” I accept the gown, ready to thank her but she gives me no such chance, she speaks up once more. “And please, give me your clothes and undergarments. I shall clean them while you bathe and check if I can find any of the same size in storage.

. . .

God.

I have never been so relieved to double check if I packed extra underwear in my entire life. I sputtered, failing to string together a coherent response. All I could do was nod my head and she smiled in return. I awkwardly make my way into the bathroom.

The bathroom was surprisingly nice, and contained both shower and a tub like most Japanese households would. Bit by bit, I removed my clothes and deposited them into a waiting laundry basket; starting first with the long white stockings, then the pale blue cupcake skirt, and finally the pale blue ruffle front blouse with puff sleeves.

All that remained was my veil and underwear I take a moment to glance over my reflection in the mirror before letting out a sigh. Carefully, I pull the veil from my head and I could see the instantaneous changes to my body.

Tanned skin became a pale white as short black hair grew and became a shimmering white with pale blue undertones. Perfect skin became ragged with the scars that have haunted me over the years, especially one that sits on my left shoulder to remind me of how different I was from others.

With another sigh I carefully place the veil down on the counter top before remove my undergarments and tossing them in the bin as well. Opening the door just a crack, I nudged the basket into the main room where it was quickly collected by Toujou. She was about to ease the door shut when Toujou spoke up.

“Your veil is missing. Do you not want it to be cleaned?”

“I-I’ll take care of it my own.” I sputter out. If I was seen without it on it would only cause problems. I’ll have to bullshit my way out of this mess.

“But I insist on it Kazehaya-san.”

“I-I cannot. Our veils are sacred! It’s forbidden for us to remove them before someone unless we are in an intimate relationship with them.” Toujou is silent for several moments before she nods her head from the other side of the door.

“. . .I see. I apologize for trying to take it from you then.”

“It’s fine. . .” I nervously mutter, completely unable to believe she actually bought that lie. I firmly shut the door and after hearing the bedroom’s door open and firmly shut, I turn my attention to the shower. I got to work running water over my body and quickly soaped myself up to wash away the signs of dirt and grime. After dousing myself with another blast of water, I climbed into the waiting tub and began to soak in the warm water. My thoughts begin to float around as I finally have a moment of calm to myself.

What was supposed to be a simple mission has turned out to be something way more than I ever could have hoped it would be.

My failure, my inability, the very sins of my past have resurfaced to haunt me. To make that worse, my failures is the direct cause to why all these young adults were suffering in a killing game. If I paid better attention years ago -- if I was aware of the suffering my friends and classmates were enduring. If I was aware of what was going on at the school -- I could have prevented that incident.

The Greatest, Most Awful, Despairing Event in Human History.