Chapter 1: Prologue
Um… is it working?
Oh, I guess it’s working now…
Geez, I don’t know how to start this…
My name is BBBZZZZZTTTTT and I’m part of an organization known as the Future Foundation. BBZZZTT -th division.
This organization’s duty is trying to save the world from this incident.
This incident is what’s known as The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History.
The world as I’ve seen it now is in complete and total despair.
The reason why this happened…
...all started from Hope’s Peak Academy.
It was infiltrated by the leader of Ultimate Despair, Enoshima Junko. She created a series of events that plunged the academy into despair and eventually the entire world.
You might be asking how she was able to do that by herself.
Well, she didn’t.
She brainwashed a group into becoming the Ultimate Despair, referred as the “Remnants”. They caused more despair around the globe on her behalf.
That group… was also the same class she was enrolled in.
The 78th class of Hope’s Peak Academy.
The Future Foundation has codenames for them, but I also want to reveal their real names as well and how they plunged the world further into despair.
First one is Maizono Sayaka, codename “Idol”. She is responsible for entrancing her fans with her songs, not knowing that they are being simulated into despair.
With her is Kuwata Leon, codename “Star”. He appears in her concerts and plays the guitar right next to her. Other times, he acts like her bodyguard. He uses baseballs and a bat to protect him and Maizono-san. Many of the members of the Future Foundation come back with very bruised and pummeled faces.
Next one is Fujisaki Chihiro, codename “Hacker”. Fujisaki-kun programs and controls most of the Monokuma bots outside. Ah, what those are is that they are black and white robotic bears that likes to kill anybody and destroy everything. The Future Foundation has been trying to develop a weapon that can counteract against them, but we haven’t figured out how to reverse Fujisaki-kun’s code.
Ah, we also have to be careful of this virus named Alter Ego. It’s an AI program that Fujisaki-kun created to hack any computer system.
Another dangerous remnant is Oowada Mondo, codename “Tiger”. He’s incredibly strong and wields weapons like a pickaxe and a stop sign. He leads his motorcycle gang called the Crazy Diamonds and goes around causing mayhem.
Next is Ishimaru Kiyotaka, codename “Genius”. He is in charge for leading the people who has been brainwashed with the Monokuma helmets on their heads into causing destruction. He acts more like a political leader to them and has caused international wars among other countries.
Now then, we have Yamada Hifumi, codename “Servant”. Yamada-kun’s works have been mostly to cause propaganda among the streets. His artwork portrays how great their leader, Enoshima Junko, is and has display many of her faces around in forms of posters and murals.
He has also been mainly serving Celestia Ludenberg, real name is Yasuhiro Taeko, codename “Queen”. She acts as another form of a leader, but mainly treats her subjects as servants. She lives in the castle she had her servants made that is also rigged with boobytraps, making it hard for the Future Foundation to even come near her.
Another one is Oogami Sakura, codename “Ogre”. She is a skilled martial artist and fights anyone under Enoshima-san’s orders. She has taken down so many of the Future Foundation members.
Partnered with her is Asahina Aoi, codename “Shark”. She also fights alongside Oogami-san. Asahina-San is very slippery and evades capture every time. Her escape route mainly consists of diving anywhere with large amounts of water and swimming fast enough to lose us.
We also have Hagakure Yasuhiro, codename “Clairvoyant”. His skills are mainly unknown. We don’t have any information of his activities. We mostly think he’s working behind the scenes near Enoshima-San.
Also working near Enoshima-san is her sister, Ikusaba Mukuro, codename “Fenrir”. She also participated in her sister’s plan for the fall of Hope’s Peak. Ikusaba-San uses her skills as a mercenary to kill and fight and act like a bodyguard for her sister.
Next is a complicated one. Fukawa Touko, codename “Genocider”. Fukawa-san has two different personalities. She mainly acts like her other self who is also known as the famous serial killer, Genocider Shou. Genocider mostly kills with or without orders.
The only orders she takes are from Togami Byakuya, codename “Heir”. He uses his corporation to fund projects for Enoshima-San like the creation for the Monokuma bots and helmets. He first threw the economy into despair and extracted money from other businesses, creating a monopoly.
Now he works alongside with another remnant… Kirigiri Kyouko, codename “Detective”. She works with Enoshima-San as her strategist and second in-command. Kirigiri-San is very perceivable and is skilled in making deductions. She has calculated perfectly what the Future Foundation’s plans were and foils them every time. She is considered the biggest threat to the Future Foundation next to Enoshima Junko. Without her, Enoshima-san’s plans would have failed a long time ago.
That should be about everyone from the 78th class who is a Remnant of Despair.
Well, there is one person that’s a part of the group, but was not originally part of the 78th class. His name is…
... Kamakura Izuru. BBBZZTT
Not much is known about him. He doesn’t have a codename either. Most of the documents regarding him and Hope’s Peak Academy were gone. The Future Foundation suspects that Enoshima Junko took them with her. But there is a suspicion going around about him that relates to the fall of Hope’s Peak. I don’t know any further details.
You might be wondering why I’m recording this. I just want to document what’s happening right now. Y-You know, just in case this doesn’t happen again and we could learn from our mistakes.
To be honest, I think I just wanted to document my feelings and opinions about this. I may be a part of Future Foundation, but that doesn’t mean I agree with some of their decisions. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to do this.
There has been talk of what the Future Foundation wants to do when they capture the Remnants of Despair. Most of them even suggest that they should kill them to end all despair.
The Remnants of Despair aren’t evil. They’ve done some terrible things, but that’s not who they are on the inside. They’re people. I know they are. They shouldn’t die. There has to be some way of reviving them back to normal.
I’ve made up my mind.
I want to save them. Even if that means going against orders and betraying the Future Foundation, I have to save them.
Because they’re not only people… BZZZZTTT
They were… BBBBZZZTTTTTT
...my old classmates.
BBBZZZZZTTTT …my… BBZZZTTTT friends…
Chapter 2: [Pre-despair] Meet Alter Ego
So, this story is going to be sort of like the anime where it changes back and forth to pre-despair and post-despair. It's also hard writing 16 people all at once, so please forgive me.
Chihiro is referred to as he/him pronouns in the narrative, while the classmates will refer to him as she/her pronouns in the dialogue (because they obviously don't know his secret yet).
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Good morning, Naegi!”
“Good morning, Naegi-kun.”
“Ah! Asahina-san, Oogami-san, good morning!”
Naegi was about to step through the cafeteria doors until he was greeted by his two good friends.
Asahina, with a bounce in her step, eagerly waved and rushed towards Naegi with Sakura calmly trailing behind her.
“Man, I’m sooo hungry! I can’t wait to eat! What I should have today?” Asahina tilted her head with a finger to her bottom lip.
When they entered through the doors, each of them started to walk to their normal spots at the tables. Naegi spotted Maizono already at her seat with a cup of tea.
“Good morning, Naegi-kun!”
“Good morning, Maizono-san.”
“Hey, Maizono-chan! Did you ate breakfast yet? What are you guys gonna have?” asked Asahina.
“Ah… I don’t know. I was thinking of searching the fridge for just anything.” Naegi replied.
“I already made something light for myself,” Maizono said.
“I see,” Asahina crossed her arms, “what about you, Sakura-chan?”
“Hmm… the usual protein shake, but perhaps I should whip the three of us something to eat,” Sakura offered. “Would you care for some, Maizono-chan?”
“Oh, no thanks, I’m already full, but thank you for asking!” she smiled.
Moreover, Asahina’s eyes lit up when she heard Sakura’s offer. “Really? You’re the best, Sakura-chan!”
“Are you sure that’s fine?” Naegi didn’t want to impose.
However, with a proud grin, Sakura nodded. “Yes, it will be no trouble.”
“If you want, I can cook something again, Naegi-kun,” Maizono offered.
“Ah, no! It’s fine! I don’t want you to trouble yourself, Maizono-san.” Naegi nervously chuckled.
Before Sakura could leave to the kitchen, Naegi noticed there were a few missing people that were usually here in the morning.
“Huh? Where’s Fujisaki-san and Ishimaru-kun?”
“Eh?” Now that he mentioned it, Asahina began to look around. “That’s weird. They’re normally here, especially Ishimaru-kun.”
“Perhaps he’s attending a very important meeting?” Sakura might be right on that. It wasn’t unusual for Ishimaru to be missing because of these meetings, but to have one so early in the morning was a little odd.
“What about Fujisaki-chan?” Asahina wondered.
“That I don’t know. Perhaps she is working on something important.”
“Oh, yeah! She did told us weeks ago she was working on something!”
“Did you see them this morning, Maizono-san?” Naegi asked.
Maizono shook her head. “I haven’t seen anyone at all.”
Then, the doors suddenly opened again. At first, Naegi thought it was going to be either Chihiro or Ishimaru as if it was right on cue. But, instead, it was only their other classmates that usually show up a little tardy.
“Greetings everyone!” Hifumi proudly announced.
“Mooooorning,” Junko yawned. Mukuro silently walked behind her, brimming through the morning pleasantries to mostly everyone.
“Good morning, Ikusaba-san.” Nevertheless, Naegi didn’t forget about her.
“M-Morning.” She shyly greeted to him.
And finally, the rest of the class, running on their own sense of time, piled into the cafeteria. Kirigiri gave her quiet greetings, Leon yawned and complained about the mornings again, Celestia gave her stoic regards, Fukawa sauntered in, Hagakure coming in without a care in the world, and Togami walked in and sat down without a word to anyone.
Chihiro and Ishimaru were still missing. But Naegi noticed it was not only them, but Mondo too.
“Ah geez, what could those three be up to?” Asahina pouted as she slumped her head against the table. Her stomach was growling impatiently as she waited for Sakura to be done with the food.
“Maybe they have a surprise for us,” Maizono suggested.
“What do you think, Kirigiri-san?” Naegi turned toward her. Sakura was able to come out and laid down an individual plate of food for her, Naegi, and Asahina. She offered to make breakfast for anyone else that came in before Leon, but they all politely declined her offer.
“I don’t have any evidence, but I suspect that could be the case. All three of them missing is most likely not a coincidence. They probably have something planned for us.” With a cool tone, Kirigiri brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Hmm, I wonder what it could be?” Hifumi felt greatly intrigued.
This time right on cue, the doors suddenly burst with all three of them rushing in with excited looks on their faces.
“Everyone!” Ishimaru boasted to grab their attention. “Fujisaki-kun has a very exciting announcement to make!”
“What is it? What is it?” Asahina was already bouncing in her seat.
“Go tell ‘em!” Mondo patted Chihiro on the head, giving him the reassurance he needed.
Chihiro took a big breath in and set the laptop he was carrying down on the table. “E-Everyone…” He stuttered a bit, still not used to having this much attention on him. However, the ruffling on his head from Mondo and the gentle shoulder touch from Ishimaru made him muster up all of his confidence he could bring forth. “I-I would like to introduce you to sssomething I’ve been working on.”
Chihiro tapped a few keys on his laptop and turned it around for everyone to see. They were immediately drawn in to what they saw on the screen. It was an exact copy of Chihiro’s face surrounded on a green glowing background.
“I’ve… made my own artificial intelligence program.”
“Basically an AI,” Kirigiri added.
Chihiro nodded. “Y-Yeah! I made it so that it can help us in our daily lives. I call it… Alter Ego! You can introduce yourself now.”
[Hello, everyone.] The program greeted.
Everyone was taken back. It wasn’t only because it could talk, but that the voice also sounded like Chihiro too.
“Wow! That’s amazing, Fujisaki-chan!” Asahina cheered.
Chihiro let out a relieved smile as Mondo and Ishimaru patted him on the back. “You can also talk to it too. Just type on the screen.”
Everyone looked at each other to see who wanted to try first. Upon the heavy hesitation, Chihiro started to feel nervous until Kirigiri stepped up and volunteered. She typed in a simple greeting.
[ >> Good morning ]
[Good morning, Kirigiri-san.] Alter Ego smiled at her.
“What the hell?” Leon gasped. “It knew Kirigiri was talking to it?”
“Ah, that’s something I forgot to mention! It has face recognition from the webcam. I made it recognized all of your faces so it knows who’s talking to it. I hope you all didn’t mind…” Chihiro meekly shrink away.
“Oooh, well, I guess I’m fine with that but it’s kind of creepy,” Hagakure scratched his head. “Hey, how did you get it to recognize our faces when we’re meeting it for the first time?”
“Oh,” Chihiro perked his head up, “Ishimaru-kun helped me with that.”
“Yes!” Ishimaru boldly stanced, “I took the liberty of retrieving our class’s photo albums for this project. I hope you all didn’t mind but I did ask everyone’s permission ahead of time to use your pictures.”
Naegi remembered that moment. Ishimaru suddenly asked if it was okay he could use Naegi’s picture in the photo album one day. He didn’t know what it was for at the time and Ishimaru didn’t state the details, but he told him that it was for a project he couldn’t disclose any more about. Naegi willingly agreed if it was that important; he saw no harm in using his picture.
“Oooooh, so that’s why!” Junko perked up. “I totally thought you were gonna do something pervy with it when you were asking.”
Ishimaru’s eyes widened, horrified. “Wha-”
“Hey! Kyoudai’s not like that, you fucking bit-”
“Oowada-kun, language!” Ishimaru was quick to act from the momentary shock. “I’ve told you that you shouldn’t speak like that to our classmate!”
“But she said that dumb shi-” Mondo caught himself, “that dumb ssstuff about you when we all know it ain’t true.”
“It’s just a misunderstanding.” Ishimaru tried to say anything that could calm Mondo down.
“Yeah, it was a joke! Lighten up!” Despite Junko acting like nothing happened, Mondo was still glaring at her.
“See! It was all a joke! Ha Ha Ha!” Ishimaru innocently believed it so. Seeing his expression like that, Mondo had no choice but to give in.
Kirigiri cleared her throat loudly, diverting the attention back to the AI program.
“So, it can tell the difference of who it’s talking to?”
Chihiro nodded. He was starting to feel relieved that the picture misunderstanding was clearing up. He felt bad since it was his fault for having Ishimaru help him like that.
“I see. Naegi-kun, why don’t you try to talk to it?” Kirigiri edged the laptop closer to him.
“Eh? Me?” Naegi was surprised for being put on the spot like that. But the usual serious look on Kirigiri’s face was enough to tell him that he didn’t have a choice. Naegi pulled the laptop in front of him and typed out a simple response.
[ >> Hello]
[Hello, Naegi-san!] Again, the program smiled at him too.
“Woooow!” Hagakure came up from behind Naegi and slugged an arm around him to see the program more closer. “It really does recognize people!” He couldn’t resist giving the AI a try.
[ >> what’s up!]
[Nothing much. I am fine, Hagakure-san!]
“Hey, that’s not fair!” Asahina stood up. “I was waiting for my turn to talk to it!”
“Hold on, I wanna give it a shot!” Leon stood up too.
“G-g-geez,” Fukawa bit her thumb nail, sneering at her classmates, “it’s just a c-c-computer. N-no n-need to fight over i-it.”
“No, it isn’t!” Ishimaru raised his voice at her that made her flinched. “It’s not just a computer program that you can talk to. Fujisaki-kun has made some excellent features specifically designed to help all of us! Tell them, Fujisaki-kun!”
“A-ah, right!” Chihiro pulled out his phone and tablet. “I’ve also created Alter Ego into an app that you guys can have on your phones and take it with you wherever you go. He can help out with a lot of different stuff.” Chihiro turned towards Kirigiri’s direction. “Like for Kirigiri-san, it can help record audio for your investigations and create visual effects.”
“It can set up alarms and reminders, and help keep track of your important dates and make sure you can stay on schedule.”
“I found that the most useful feature!” Ishimaru beamed.
“The alarm thing might actually help me wake up.” Hagakure mentioned sheepishly.
“I mean I have Kyoudai for all that stuff, but I guess this thing can help me not bother him so much.” Mondo scratched his head.
“It can certainly improve your organization, Aniki, but do not hesitate to rely on me any time!” Ishimaru saluted. Mondo had to ruffle his hair as a sign of appreciation.
“And for Asahina-san and Oogami-san, you can use it for training. It can monetize your workouts and show you any areas you can improve on.”
“Whoa, it can do that?!” Asahina gasped.
“Hmm, that is most handy,” agreed Sakura.
“Oh and you can also use for your soldier training, Ikusaba-san.”
“Oh.” Mukuro actually sounded pleasantly surprised.
“Also, for Maizono-san and Kuwata-kun, it can also do the same for your vocals and music practices.”
“Oh, how thoughtful, Fujisaki-chan!” Maizono clapped her hands together.
“Whoa, cool, thanks!” Leon gave a thumbs up.
“What about me?” Junko spoke up.
“Ah, right, for Enoshima-san, it can evaluate your closet and test out different outfit combinations before you can try on the clothes yourself.”
“Wow! What a time saver!” Junko grinned.
“For Yamada-kun and Fukawa-san, you can give it voice commands that can help you guys when you’re writing and drawing. Like if you guys make a mistake, you can tell it to delete it.”
“My, you are surely considerate, Fujisaki Chihiro-dono! But I’m confident in my skills already that I do not make mistakes!” Hifumi places his hands on his proud hips. “My drawings always come out 100% perfect!”
“Y-Yeah, I don’t need a c-c-computer to write my stores. M-MM-My stories are all h-handwritten anyways.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Chihiro looked down dejectedly.
“...” Fukawa looked him before turning her stare away and muttered in a low voice, “I s-still appreciate the thought…”
Chihiro looked back at her and thought he was imagining it.
However, he didn’t have time to dwell on it before Mondo spoke up. “Don’t let ‘em getcha down. Go on! You still got more.” Mondo places a hand on Chihiro’s shoulder.
“Right,” Chihiro picked himself back up, “you can also play games with Alter Ego. He can be a helpful partner or an opponent for you.”
“Hmm, how interesting,” Celestia remarked, “maybe this AI can be a worthy opponent for me than Naegi-kun and Ishimaru-kun.” Both boys eyed at Celestia very offensively.
“And for Togami-kun, it can help manage your accounts, investments, and assets. It will also detect any suspicious activity like hackers or viruses like your own online security system.”
“Hmph,” Togami adjusted his glasses, “I don’t really need something to manage my wealth. I can do that just fine on my own.”
“Yeah, B-Byakuya-sama’s too good for your little device,” Fukawa sneakily grinned.
“But the detection for any troublesome hackers or viruses would come in handy.”
Chihiro, and mostly everyone around, stared at Togami in surprise. They did not expect for him to give a praise; and they know that’s as close as one could get a nice word coming from Togami. His words stopped whatever downhearted response Chihiro was going to give and any objections raised by Mondo.
Fukawa squawked, “B-B-Byakuya-sssama?!”
“Whoa, Togami-chi said something nice!” Hagakure gasped.
“I’m surprised, Togami-kun,” said Naegi.
“All of you shut up,” Togami clenched his teeth and turned away, disgusted and clearly annoyed.
It cheered Chihiro up that he gave a small smile. “That’s about it for now, but I hope you guys like it or use it in any way as long as it helps you.”
[I shall do my best to assist you all!]
“I think what you’ve done already is really impressive, Fujisaki-san,” Naegi said.
“Yeah! It’s super cool already!” Asahina smiled.
Maizono joined in, “Thank you so much, Fujisaki-chan.”
“Indeed, thank you,” Sakura nodded.
“You should feel proud, Fujisaki-kun,” Ishimaru cheered, “you’ve worked super hard on this for weeks and it was a success!”
“Proud of ya!” Mondo grinned, placing his hand again on Chihiro’s head.
“Um,” Chihiro spoke up, “I want to thank you two. I couldn’t have done this without you two supporting me.”
“Don’t sweat! I gave you my man’s promise after all!”
“I couldn’t agree more! It was no problem at all!”
Chihiro gave the biggest and brightest grin as the three laughed and rejoiced at the success of Alter Ego.
Naegi felt happy for them. He considered the three to be the closest to each other than the rest of their classmates, but no one was bothered by that. He was glad everyone was having a good time with each other and mostly welcoming the newest addition to their class, Alter Ego. He sat back and watched everyone take turns talking to Alter Ego and getting to know the program like it was an actual person.
What he didn’t noticed was when Junko stood up and sauntered over to Chihiro when Mondo and Ishimaru went into the kitchen to cook some breakfast for all three of them.
“Oh, hi, Enoshima-san. Do you need something?”
“Yeah, like this whole AI programming stuff is really interesting.” She pointed to the laptop. “I mean look at what you can make it do. It’s really amazing!”
“Oh, thank you!” Chihiro bashfully smiled.
Junko, in return, gave a sweet smile of her own before continuing. “So, I was wondering,” she leaned in close, “if you can teach me how to do that.”
Chihiro’s expression slowly dropped. “Huh?”
“Teach me about programming my own AI. I’ve just been really interested in this programming stuff if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, no, that’s great. Um…” Chihiro hesitated with his words so he didn’t seemed rude, “what made you so intrigued about programming in the first place? When did you become interested?”
“Oh, just now! When you showed your little AI!”
“Ah,” was all the response Chihiro could muster up.
“I hope you don’t think I’m kidding, because I’m totally serious.” Junko crossed her arms and gave a sideways pout. “I just… kind of want to prove I’m more than just some pretty face model or a typical airhead. I want to show people I can be smart like Fujisaki-chan too. You know, girl power!”
“A-Ah, right…” Chihiro gave a nervous sideways glance.
“What’s wrong, Fujisaki-chan?” Junko started to look depressed, “do you not want to teach me? Do you not like me?”
“Oh no, that’s not it!” Chihiro frantically shook his head, “I’m sorry for making you think that way!”
“So you will teach me?” Junko’s eyes perked.
“Uhhh um,” Chihiro didn’t see any harm doing this. He never taught someone before which was what made him nervous in the first place. However, if it was to help out his fellow classmate, he should do it. That was the whole purpose of making Alter Ego too. Ishimaru would definitely encourage him to do this since getting along with his classmates was important. Their days of being together as a class will fly by soon without them knowing, so it was important to make as many memories and close bonds as possible. They only have a few more years together, so he should make the most out of it with everyone.
Chihiro finally nodded, “I… um, y-yes I’ll teach you.”
“Great!” Junko clasped both their hands together and jumped up and down with joy. Chihiro felt slightly embarrassed and noticed how soft her hands were.
“Ah, I apologize in advance if I’m not a good teacher!” Chihiro wanted to make sure he mentioned that so Junko wouldn’t feel frustrated or disappointed with him.
“It’ll be okay!” Junko brushed it off, “I’m a quick learner, and I’m pretty sure I’ll get the hang of it!”
“O-Oh, okay…” Chihiro didn’t know how to respond, so he instead looked down on the floor.
What he didn’t noticed was for a brief second, Junko’s sweet, overjoyed smile turned sinister and dark. When he looked back up, her face returned to being cheerful again.
Everyone was too busy to have noticed. Most were interacting with Alter Ego or at the very least was paying attention to it. Ishimaru and Mondo came back and urged Chihiro to come eat with them soon. It was a celebratory breakfast treat for him.
Junko let go of Chihiro and went back to her seat like nothing happened.
However, only one person was able to catch that. She was watching their conversation the entire time, but she couldn’t draw any conclusions for the time being. Instead, she’ll just have to keep a watchful eye for now. Something was a little suspicious right there about Enoshima Junko. For what her real plans were, Kirigiri had no idea. But she’ll remain careful and, just like Junko, act like nothing happened.
It was unfortunate that she found out the real reason when it was too late.
I swear I like Fukawa, okay? I'm just trying to write in-character as possible.
If you spot any spelling errors or grammar mistakes, please notify me. If you guys have any questions, I'll be happy to answer if it won't reveal like a plot twist or something. So yeah, anyways please leave a comment! Thanks for reading!
Naegi sighed as he lightly slapped the video camera to see if it would work. In his honest opinion, this camera wasn’t so bad considering how it survived in this state of the world.
It was miracle that it was working. It was also another miracle how Naegi found it during his last scouting mission. Since the camera only slightly worked, the Future Foundation probably has no need for it. He didn’t see any harm in taking it for himself and using it for his own purposes. If he could get it to work properly that is.
A knock on his door broke his concentration.
He left the camera where he placed it while he was filming and got up to answer the door. He was greeted with a friendly and familiar face.
“Oh, hello, Nanami-san.”
“Is there something I can help you with?”
He remembered Nanami Chiaki, former Ultimate Gamer, as his upperclassmen back at Hope Peak’s Academy. They didn’t interact much since he always found her absorbed in her game console. But now they do ever since he joined the Future Foundation and they ended up in the same division. She was still his senpai since Chiaki joined before he did, however she never treated him like he was below her. Chiaki was really nice to him and helped him out.
Chiaki shook her head. “I just came to see how you were doing.”
“Ah,” Naegi scratched his head, “I’m doing fine. Thanks for checking up on me.”
“What are you doing?” She tilted her head.
“Oh, um…” Naegi glanced back at his camera. He didn’t believe she would laugh at him for doing this, though it was embarrassing to admit it.
Her eyes followed his direction. “A camera?”
“Ah, yeah.” Naegi gestured her to come inside his room. She shut the door behind her as Naegi walked up to the camera and started explaining. “I found out a while ago when I was on my last mission. I was surprised it still worked… sort of.”
“May I see?” Chiaki held out her hand and Naegi placed the camera. She started inspecting it. Naegi would be surprised if she knew a thing or two about cameras. “What are you gonna do with it?”
Naegi didn’t get the chance to answer before Chiaki hit the play button. When Naegi started hearing his own voice loud and clear without the static, he quickly panicked.
“Ah!” He snatched it from her unsuspecting hands.
“Oh, sorry.” She thought she offended his privacy; she didn’t mean to pry.
“Oh no! I’m sorry for doing something like that!” Naegi didn’t mean to react like that. He just remembered what he said towards the end and acted impulsively. It was not like he didn’t trust her or thought she would rat him out to Future Foundation. He was worried in general of what she might think.
An awkward silence played out before Chiaki spoke up. “So, are you making a video diary?”
“Y-Yeah! Something like that!” Naegi tried to cover. “But the camera doesn’t work very well. You can tell from all the static.”
Chiaki nodded in agreement. “If you want, I can have Souda-kun take a look at it. He might be able to fix it.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that.”
However, Chiaki shook her head. “Consider it my apology for snooping earlier. I don’t think he’ll mind either. I’ll make him promise not to look at your video too.”
“Oh, okay.” He gave the camera back to her and she stored it carefully in her book bag. He was surprised that she was able to preserve it after all of this.
As she adjusted herself, she turned back to Naegi. “Now, is there something bothering you?”
“You looked troubled... to me at least. If there’s anything wrong, you can always talk to me.”
“Ah, thanks, I’m-” Naegi hesitated. Should he just tell her? He does trust her. However, like previously before, he was scared of what she might think. He was scared of anyone in general of what they might think of his plan. If he actually had one.
“Naegi-kun?” Her soft voice broke him out of his thoughts and he stared at her worried expression.
He took a deep breath. He definitely needed to get it out. To someone at least. And it would be helpful if it was someone he can trust and won’t judge him harshly. Plus, he wasn’t a good liar on the spot and he didn’t want to make her worried anymore.
“I see.” They were both seated on his bed. She listened intently to his every word. He was nervous of what she thought. He couldn’t tell from her expression. His hands grew sweaty when he started explaining.
Naegi gulped, “what do you think?”
She sighed as she crossed her arms and looked solemnly at the ground. “It's going to be very difficult. It’s a risky and dangerous idea.”
“I know,” he mirrored her expression.
“And you still want to do it? Even knowing the consequences it might have and the risk of taking them?”
Naegi gripped tightly on his pant suit. He closed his eyes and started to remember them. He remembered his old classmates - his friends - and all the times they had together. The happy times; the emotional times; the good; the bad; everything. Naegi opened his eyes with full determination.
“Yes, because they’re my friends, Nanami-san. I want to save them no matter what.”
He felt the softest touch on his shoulder and turned back to her. She gave him a small smile. The gesture reminded him of something long ago.
“I’m with you. I want to help.”
Naegi gasped, “really? Are you sure? Y-You don’t have to do this! You can get in trouble too.”
Chiaki shook her head again. “I don’t want to do the Future Foundation’s way either. I don’t think hunting them down and killing them is right. We would be just like those Monokumas out there. So, I’m with you, Naegi-kun. I also believe that your classmates are people too that deserve a chance to be saved.”
“Nanami-san…” It felt like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders. “Thank you.” He smiled to her. Nothing gave Naegi a better relief than finding an ally with him on his plan. At least he wasn’t alone anymore. Now all that was left is to figure out how to save all of his classmates without getting caught.
“Since you told me a secret, I should tell you one of mine too. I feel like it would be even this way.”
“A-Ah,” Naegi waved his hands frantically, “i-it’s okay. You don’t have to-”
“No.” Her soft answer made him stopped. “I’ve always wanted to tell someone this, but I never found the chance to. I was afraid that the people here would have thought of me as a traitor. But, I’m glad you’re here, Naegi-kun. And you understand how I feel too. That’s a relief.”
He waited for her to continue.
She took a deep breath, “the thing is… there’s someone I-”
Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock
Naegi perked up from hearing someone at his door again. “I’m coming!”
He got up and apologized to Chiaki, who didn’t seem to mind, and answered the door.
“Ah, hello, Mioda-san.”
Mioda Ibuki, former Ultimate Musician. Naegi remembered her as she was in the same class as Chiaki at Hope’s Peak. Naegi and Ibuki never interacted, but he remembered talking about her with Leon. She really warmed up to Naegi when they first met, despite being in different divisions.
Ibuki peered inside his room. “Oh! And Ibuki thought she heard Chiaki-chan too! What are you guys talking about?”
“I thought it would be you, Mioda-chan.” Chiaki stood up and greeted Ibuki at the door. “The way you knocked sounded like it was in rhythm too.”
“Yup! Ibuki’s got a signature knock, so you know it’s Ibuki!” She saluted enthusiastically. Her mannerisms reminded Naegi of how Ishimaru would greet him and his signature knocks. “So, what were you guys talking about?”
“Nothing important,” Chiaki quickly answered before Naegi could. He was thankful she said something before he could.
“I see, I see,” Ibuki crossed her arms with a grin.
“I-Is there something you need, Mioda-san?” Naegi asked.
“Oh, right! Almost forgot!” She gestured them to come out into the hallways. “The higher ups called for everyone available to gather for a bored meeting!”
She must have meant a ‘board’ meeting, but Naegi was quite sure she said that on purpose.
“What for?” Chiaki asked, tilting her head.
“Ibuki doesn’t know!” she shrugged. “She was ordered to come get everyone, so that means you two!” Ibuki pulled them both by the arms and ran with them to the meeting room.
Along the way there, Naegi couldn’t help but wondered what was Chiaki going to say. Her words were vague and confusing. Naegi thought back and tried to decipher what she said before.
The people here ... As in the Future Foundation?
Thought of her as a traitor … Why? And why Nanami-san? Did she want to defy strict orders?
And Naegi understood how she felt… Me? What is it that I understand about her? I told her my plan on rescuing my classmates… and she agreed.
His thoughts came to a halt when he entered the meeting room, seeing a lot of familiar faces. It seemed like it had already started, but it didn’t stop to give any attention to any latecomers joining in. There weren’t any seats left available, so Chiaki, Naegi, Ibuki, and some of the others stood against the walls. It was then that Naegi recognized who was running the meeting.
Munakata Kyousuke; vice-president of the Future Foundation, leader of the 2nd division, and former Ultimate Student Council President. Naegi and him weren’t exactly on friendly terms. The interactions they had were brief, but it was enough to make Naegi know that Munakata doesn’t trust him for some reason. If Naegi knew Munakata was leading the board meeting, he shouldn’t have come. Any glances Munakata threw at his direction, he felt a chill down his spine. I t was too late to back out now. Naegi was one of the last ones to come in and Munakata has already seen him. If he escaped now, it would have been highly suspicious. And Naegi didn’t think he was that good at sneaking out either.
“Koizumi-san, if you would please,” Munakata said, not looking up from his notes.
A girl Naegi recognized as Koizumi Mahiru, the former Ultimate Photographer and part of the same class as Ibuki and Chiaki and in the same division as Ibuki, came up and installed her camera to the large computer screen.
There on a large blue screen displayed even more familiar faces to Naegi. It was his old classmates, looking rather insane and demonic than he remembered them to be. All of them had red glowing eyes and adorning evil smiles; the faces of pure despair. Their codenames were displayed below them; Naegi noticed that they didn’t bother writing out their full real names.
“Now, we’ve marked some of the Remnants’ locations,” Munakata started.
It pained Naegi whenever he heard anyone referred to his class as just the Remnants of Despair or by their codenames. He knew they were doing that to detach his friends as humans and give the Future Foundation no guilt or remorse to kill them.
Naegi wasn’t really listening for the most part. He was caught staring at the portraits of his classmates and the red dots on the map that indicated their recently known locations. There was one portrait that he solemnly stared at.
Unbeknownst to him, Naegi whispered her name out too. It caught Chiaki's attention who was standing right next to him. She followed his eyes to who she believed was the ‘Detective’. Chiaki assumed this person must have been important to Naegi. She wanted to give him a gentle touch for reassurance, but her eyes followed the photo next to Kirigiri. It was a man with freakishly long hair, glowing red eyes, and a bored expression on his face. Chiaki squeezed the straps of her backpack.
Suddenly, a commotion rang out throughout the hallways. It sounded too far away to make out what the yelling was about.
“What’s going on?” Naegi whispered to Chiaki.
“I don’t know. I couldn’t hear clearly.” Even Chiaki was closer to the doors than anybody.
“Oh! Oh!” Ibuki joined in. “Ibuki heard!”
Naegi was always impressed by her super keen hearing. “What was it, Mioda-chan?”
“Something about… someone being gravely injured-no wait 2 people being injured!” Ibuki frowned, “it sounded like it was from our group.”
Ibuki shook her head. “Nope! From our class.”
Chiaki gasped. Naegi saw her fingers trembled. The yelling continued, making her more worried and scared that her breathing started shaking too. The commotion was more distracting to Munakata than he thought. He ordered for the doors to be closed.
“Nanami-san, we should go. We should see for ourselves.” Naegi pulled her out of her state and she nodded in agreement.
“I’m coming too!” Ibuki raised her hand.
All three ran out of the meeting in a hurry right when the doors were about to be closed. Several people noticed, but they paid no mind and waited for Munakata to continue. Munakata saw them leave, glaring a bit when he realized who just left.
Naegi and Chiaki followed Ibuki to hear that the yelling traveled all the way into the direction of the emergency medical rooms in the Future Foundation’s building. When they burst into one of the rooms, the sight horrified Chiaki.
Nekomaru, Akane, and Sonia gathered around a bed with Fuyuhiko laying on it. Bandages were diagonally wrapped around his head and covered one of his eyes.
“Ah, Nanami-san and Mioda-san. Oh, and Naegi-san too.” Sonia greeted.
“What... happened?” Naegi asked instead. Chiaki was too speechless.
“An ambush, it seems.” Nekomaru replied with a grunt in his voice. “Back up was called when Kuzuryuu and Pekoyama were surrounded by Monokumas.”
Ibuki gasped, “what about Peko-chan?! How is she?!”
“She’s in a hell of a lot worse condition than Kuzuryuu. Tsumiki’s with her right now,” Akane frowned.
A groan made them all gathered closer to the bed.
“Kuzuryuu, hey, can you hear me?” Nekomaru said.
Another groan answered him. Fuyuhiko slowly opened his eye, trying to adjust to the brightness of the room. “Where…?” He breathed out.
“You’re in the medical rooms. Back at Future Foundation,” Sonia softly replied.
“Oh…” he breathed out again. He tried to look around, but half his vision was blocked off. “Peko… where’s she…?”
“She’s in the other medical room,” Akane said, crossing her arms.
Fuyuhiko’s breathing quickened, “is she… ok-ay?! She’s… ss-still alive?!”
“We…” Sonia hesitated, “don’t know that. Tsumiki-san’s with her right now.”
“Oh god,” Fuyuhiko flung his arm over his eye. His lip trembled. “It’s all my fault… it’s all my fault… if she doesn’t make it…”
Naegi could hear his voice breaking. He was trying desperately not to cry, but holding back was becoming painful.
It was then that Chiaki stepped forward and lowered his hand. He stared straight into her eyes. “Kuzuryuu-kun, would you mind telling us what happened?” she spoke gently.
“He should get some rest-”
“No,” Fuyuhiko interrupted Nekomaru. “It’s okay. I can talk… about what happened…”
“Don’t strain yourself.” Akane took a seat nearby.
Fuyuhiko took a big gulp. “It started when we… were battling... the ‘Genius’...”
It was Naegi’s turn to gulp.
Two bamboo swords clashed against each other. Peko’s focused glare met with Ishimaru’s smirking one. They stood their grounds, trying to push against each other until both of them retrieved back.
Ishimaru tipped his general hat with the bear symbol proudly shining at her direction. “As expected from the Ultimate Swordswoman!” Peko raised her sword more. “I am no match for you and your skills. I’m confident that you’re holding back for some reason. Why is that?” Peko gave no response." You should really try your hardest here. It’s really insulting to me!” Ishimaru twirled his sword around. “Are you humoring me? Do you not trust what I said? I assure that I intend to uphold my promise and the rules of this game.”
Peko glared more. Everything was a game to Enoshima Junko and these Remnants. Peko agreed to Ishimaru’s terms that they would battle one-to-one with bamboo swords. Ishimaru wanted to see if his skills were on par with Peko’s. His rules stated that whoever loses will do what the winner tells them. He would even turn himself in to Future Foundation if he lost, ‘man’s promise’. She decided to agree, but only because it was part of their plan.
From a distance hidden in large debris was Fuyuhiko and one of his robot soldiers created by Souda. Fuyuhiko was watching with binoculars, waiting for the right timing to give the signal to the robot. It had a built-in sniper gun as its hand and telescopic eyes to lock onto the target.
Meanwhile, Peko and Ishimaru were at a standstill. He was waiting for her move, still twirling the shinai around, as she kept hers in a defensive position. Judging from the weight, she could tell there was a real sword hidden inside the bamboo exterior. She didn’t know if Ishimaru had one too or what kinds of tricks he was pulling. She proceeded with the plan before anything could come up.
Peko slowly moved to one side. Ishimaru mirrored her, keeping them faced to each other so both of them couldn't get the advantage of attacking from the side. They rotated in a circle just keeping watch of each other. That’s when Peko stopped and Ishimaru did the same. She got him right where she wanted him. With his back turned, it gave Fuyuhiko’s robot the perfect shot to shoot him in the back.
The shot was fired. The bullet was flying straight for Ishimaru’s head. Their plan would have worked.
However, at the last second, a Monokuma jumped in front of the bullet, catching it with its red eye. Because of the shot, the bear exploded right behind Ishimaru.
“What?!” He turned back to see the exploded debris of the Monokuma scattered everywhere.
Using this as a distraction, Peko charged forward and swung her sword straight at his head. With enough force, she was hoping that the hit would knock him unconscious at least.
However, hearing her charging footsteps, Ishimaru whipped forward and blocked Peko’s upcoming hit with his shinai. However, it didn't stop her. She was still determined to bring him down. Her strength combined with his last minute reaction gave Peko the more advantage position. Their swords intercepted once again, pushing against one another. This time, Peko towered over him. Ishimaru was leaned back; knees bent, toes digging into the ground, struggling for balance; and his arms bent, holding his shinai in both hands trying to push upwards against Peko’s. If Peko used more strength, she could push Ishimaru onto his knees, giving him a more defenseless position. She might be able to throw him off balance and strike him down before he had time to recover.
However, Ishimaru smirked. And Peko’s eyes widened.
Ishimaru let his struggle go and fell on his back. The momentum threw Peko off as she stumbled a little forward. Using that, Ishimaru lifted both of his feet and kicked Peko in the stomach. S he flew back, letting go of her shinai. When she landed on her side, Peko felt small piercing stings in her stomach. She clutched her abdomen wincing and saw tiny drops of blood on her hands. It hurt a little just to move. Ishimaru had spikes on the bottom of his boots like golf shoes except sharper and pointier. He stood up, brushing himself off, with a confidant smirk.
Meanwhile, the explosion from the Monokuma happened so fast, Fuyuhiko barely had time to register what happened. Once the debris air cleared up, Fuyuhiko saw Peko lying on the ground, holding her stomach, and Ishimaru standing up perfectly fine with his shinai in his hand.
“Peko!” Fuyuhiko yelled out, completely worried and not thinking clearly.
“Bocchan…” she whispered.
“You broke the rules!” Ishimaru proudly shouted out like he was speaking in front of a large crowd. He waved a disappointed finger in the air. “That’s not good! We can’t let anyone get away if they break the rules, so you know what that means!”
Both Peko and Fuyuhiko heard a sound of an engine revving up in the distance. They both knew what that sound meant. Peko looked back at her master to see a trail of smoke coming behind him.
“Bocchan!” She warned.
Fuyuhiko looked at her and then looked behind him. His eyes widened when he saw a huge flashy motorcycle leaped into the air and its front wheel was falling dangerously closer to his face. Reacting quickly, Fuyuhiko tucked and rolled himself out of the way. The motorcycle instead landed right on top of the robot soldier and crushed its body. Bolts and pieces flew out; the electric circuits were stinging around.
The motorcycle revved up again and dashed towards Ishimaru. It swerved right in front of him and stopped; the owner pumped the engine a few more times to hear it purred.
“IT’S PUNISHMENT TIME!” a more growly and scratchy voice howled out enthusiastically. Both Peko and Fuyuhiko recognized the voice belonging to the ‘Tiger’.
Just when Fuyuhiko was getting up, a force knocked the air out of him and he was pushed back down lying on his stomach. He couldn’t get up, because a large round thing was crushing his back. He could only guess it was a Monokuma. He twisted his neck to meet the annoying thing with its claws hovering dangerously on top of him. He could hear Peko yelling for him again.
[We’ve prepared a very special punishment for the Ultimate Swordswoman, Pekoyama Peko!]
Fuyuhiko heard the thing talked, but not in its usual infuriating voice. He could definitely assume that the voice belonged to the ‘Hacker’.
“You bastards…” Fuyuhiko groaned, “leave her alone…!”
“No can do!” Ishimaru retorted, “Pekoyama-kun broke the rules! She brought in a third-party into our strictly one-on-one duel. Not only is that cheating, it’s dishonorable!”
“You’re the damn bastards! You shits deserve this for dishonoring Kyoudai’s rules and his man’s promise,” Mondo spat.
Peko noticed there were a lot more Monokuma robots around than when she and Ishimaru engaged in their fight.
“Thankfully, Fujisaki-kun saved me just in time! I am truly grateful!”
The Monokuma on top of Fuyuhiko gave a thumbs up. Fuyuhiko could only curse in his situation.
“So, now as punishment…” Ishimaru picked up Peko’s forgotten sword and threw it into a group of Monokumas. They used their sharp claws to tear off the bamboo and tossed back a real sword. Ishimaru caught it by the handle perfectly. He steadily began to walk towards Peko.
Fuyuhiko frantically twisted and squirmed. His body ran cold when he saw the ‘Genius’ coming towards Peko with a sharp sword. He screamed for her over and over, but it was drowned by the obnoxious laughing above him. At this moment, Peko accepted whatever might come as her faith. However, she didn’t plan to die like this. She would definitely fight to the end if she must.
When Ishimaru was respectfully at a distance from her, he tossed the sword by her feet. She looked at it, and then to him questionably. Even Fuyuhiko stopped his struggle and stared.
The evil maniac glee never left Ishimaru’s face as he took several steps back until he was running all the way to Mondo.
Peko watched him run until her vision was being surrounded by Monokumas inching closer to her. She hurried up and stood on her two feet, ignoring a stinging pain in her stomach. She grabbed the sword tossed to her feet and got into position. There were probably dozens of Monokumas around her, maybe even a hundred. But for now, she needed to focus on making that number count go down. Peko charged forward and easily sliced the Monokumas into pieces. It shouldn’t be this easy to dismantle these robots right away; no doubt this sword was extra special and it was given to Peko in the first place for a reason. Large pieces of Monokumas were scattered by her feet; they didn’t explode either once she slashed them.
A slice to the belly, cutting one in half.
Two slashes ripped one’s head and down the center.
She swung the sword back and poke one straight through the nose while splitting another down in front of her.
Fuyuhiko couldn’t see her anymore or know what was going on. The Monokumas will just keep coming and she’ll eventually get tired out. He had to do something; he couldn’t sit tight like this while she was in trouble. Fuyuhiko squeezed an arm in between his body and pulled out a sai he kept near his hip. He painfully twisted his arm and stabbed the Monokuma on its side. The shock made it tipped over a little, but enough for Fuyuhiko to roll out and stabbed it again in its red eye.The weapon unfortunately got stuck in there and he had to step back for the Monokuma to explode. The eruption caught Ishimaru and Mondo’s attention as they saw Fuyuhiko rushed into the pile of Monokumas.
“Hey! You little…!”
“That goes against-!”
Ishimaru and Mondo both froze when they heard a particular person’s voice. It was coming from a Monokuma who halted them. The voice wasn’t Chihiro; it was more sophisticated and mature. Ishimaru straightened up like a soldier reporting for duty while Mondo leaned back on his motorcycle.
[Let him go. He’s going to die anyways from doing this.]
Mondo scoffed as Ishimaru nodded with a salute, “roger, Kirigiri-kun!”
Fuyuhiko had to force his way through the tight gaps of the Monokumas. Thankfully, his short stature was good for something. None of them were stopping or even focusing on him. Still, he had to maneuver from their sharp claws until he was able to get into the inner ring. There he was able to see Peko at the center, sharply focused and cutting the Monokumas with speed and ease. Fuyuhiko was about to call out to her until a stupid Monokuma blocked him from her view. Peko turned to see the Monokuma and its mocking grin. Feeling a surge of irritation, Peko rushes forward and slashed the Monokuma down the center, cutting it perfectly from its black and white halves. Unfortunately, she noticed splatters of blood flying everywhere and saw her young master with a bloody gouge on his eye.
Fuyuhiko didn’t know what happened. He felt a sharp pain on his face, half of his sight turned black, blood everywhere, and Peko’s eyes were widened. His other eye closed instinctively and felt all of his senses, everything, turned dark.
Peko, shocked and regretful, dropped her sword and rushed to her young master. She lifted his head, looking at him solemnly, and nestled him close to her heart. She sheltered him; she used her body as a shield for him. She felt the Monokumas coming closer and using their claws to cut her clothes and skin, tearing them to shreds. The pain was more amplified than the spikes in her stomach.
Hurt everywhere. A puddle of pool was forming. She could feel her arms going slack. She could no longer keeping holding her master. The pain on the outside hurt, but the pain on the inside from injuring her young master hurt more.
Suddenly, Mondo and Ishimaru heard the sounds of cars running towards their direction and a helicopter nearby. It definitely didn’t belong to them.
“Shit…!” Mondo revved up his motorcycle. “They called for backup, the motherfuckers! We gotta go, Kyoudai!”
“Agreed!” Ishimaru hopped on behind Mondo and held on tight to his waist.
[Head back to the base, you two!]
This time, they recognized it was Chihiro’s voice. They swerved into a full circle before Mondo did a wheelie for fun and stormed away into the opposite direction of the Future Foundation.
They didn’t catch that the robot soldier Mondo damaged before was adjusting its focus lens eye like a camera.
“That’s when we came in and cleared out the Monokumas,” Nekomaru finished where Fuyuhiko left off where he was unconscious.
“Geez,” an annoyed voice at the door caught the attention of everyone, “if it wasn’t for the surveillance camera I installed into those suckers, you guys would have been dead.”
“Yeah…” Fuyuhiko said softly, “thanks, man. I owe you my life.”
“Don’t make such a big deal out of it,” Souda scratched his chin. “Just glad you and Pekoyama are safe.”
“Peko… is she...” Fuyuhiko started to lift his head.
“I just passed by Tsumiki out in the hall earlier. She said she was able to cover most of Pekoyama’s wounds. Right now they’re pumping in a lot of blood into her. But I heard her heart’s in a stable condition, so she should be fine.”
Fuyuhiko released a shaky breath and covered his eye again. Naegi was sure he was about to cry.
Souda walked forward and patted Fuyuhiko’s leg. “Don’t start beating yourself up, man.”
“I agree,” Sonia spoke up, “it is not entirely your fault, Kuzuryuu-san. You didn’t know this would happen. We’re just glad you and Pekoyama-san are safe with us now.”
“Chin up!” Nekomaru yelled. “If you continue to beat yourself down, you’ll never be able to face Pekoyama again!”
“I’m sure Pekoyama-chan feels the same as you do. She probably regrets what happen to you too.” Chiaki made a gesture to his bandaged eye. “Does it hurt?”
“This? Nah, it doesn’t." Fuyuhiko brushed aside. "I’m tougher than this.”
“So is Pekoyama,” Akane remarked with a hand on her hip. “Chick’s pretty strong to withstand those Monokumas. I’m sure she’ll make it out just fine.”
“You should get some rest for now,” Sonia said.
“Oooh! Ibuki can play something on her guitar to help you sleep! Or would you like Ibuki to sing you a song?!”
“Uh… thanks, but I’m good. Thanks, you guys,” Fuyuhiko gave a soft smile.
“No problem, Baby Gangsta’!” Akane grinned.
Instead of getting mad like he usually does, Fuyuhiko scoffed but laughed a little. “I told you to stop calling me that…”
Everyone laughed. Naegi felt like he was intruding on an inside group thing, so he showed himself out the door. He exited quietly to not disrupt the lighthearted atmosphere. It wasn’t that Naegi felt left out or anything, it just felt awkward to be in that place. In fact, the atmosphere reminded him too much of his own class. He leaned against the wall near the door, contemplating a lot. Many thoughts ran into his mind that he couldn’t get rid of it. There were some things he had to face the facts about it.
And then he perked when the door opened again to reveal Chiaki looking around for him.
“Nanami-san?” His voice caught her attention. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing really. I wanted to see how you were doing.”
“Oh,” he scratched his head, “thanks, I’m fine. You should go back to-”
“No, I meant...” Naegi waited as Chiaki crossed her arms with a worried expression. “I wanted to see how you were doing after hearing Kuzuryuu-kun’s story. Do you… still want to save your classmates?”
Naegi was actually thinking about this a moment ago. From Fuyuhiko’s account and seeing the aftermath was proof enough for anyone that the Remnants of Despair should not be forgiven. They should be executed. However, Naegi didn’t want to believe his friends did that; Ishimaru, Mondo, Chihiro. There was no way they would do something cruel like that. However, if he didn’t believe it, then he would denying the very reason he wanted to save them in the first place.
“...Yes.” Chiaki saw the determination in his eyes. “I still want to save them.”
“Even after what they did?” She gestured to the door.
Naegi paused before nodding, “I’ll admit that my friends have done terrible things. Things that I know they actually regret deep down inside.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do, because I know them.” Naegi’s fist was shaking. “They’re not like this. I just know deep down inside my friends would never be like this out of their own volition. And they can still be saved somehow! I know they can.”
“How can you tell?”
“Because… Kuzuryuu-kun’s story actually helped me confirm that they’re still themselves deep down.” Chiaki was surprised as Naegi went on. “Ishimaru-kun still likes to uphold his rules. Oowada-kun still has his passion for motorcycles. They still call each other ‘Kyoudai’ and keep ‘man’s promises’. Fujisaki-kun and them are still close with one another and they still care for each other. If they were really into despair, Fujisaki-kun would have let Ishimaru-kun get shot for the sake of it. Wouldn’t that sound like something Ultimate Despairs would do to each other?”
“...I guess that’s true.”
“Maybe I’m just thinking about it the wrong way, but I’m positive it’s that. I just…” Naegi breathed out, “I have hope in them. I believe there’s hope in saving them. And that they still have hope inside of them too.”
Despite his powerful speech, Naegi didn’t expect Chiaki to be on his side anymore. He couldn’t blame her, because of what happened to two of her precious classmates. Any person would change their mind at that point. However, Chiaki gave a small smile and placed her hand over her heart. “I’m glad you still believe in them, Naegi-kun. I was afraid for a moment that you would give up when you heard what they’ve done or change your mind about them.”
“I’m still with you on this plan.”
“Nanami-san…” He wanted to ask why, but got interrupted.
The door opened again. Each of Chiaki’s classmates exited one by one saying goodbye to Fuyuhiko and telling him to get a good rest. When Souda was the last one to come out, Chiaki took this chance to prove she was still loyal to Naegi.
“Hmm?” He turned to her. “What’s up, Nanami?”
“Can you fix something for me?” Chiaki reached into her backpack and pulled out the camcorder. “I found this outside and thought I could use it. It works slightly, but it’s still a little staticky. Do you think you could fix it?”
Souda took the camera and inspected it. He turned the power on and started recording. He could see that it would work fine for a while until it fizzed again and again. “Ah, I see. Yeah, I can definitely fix this no problem. I just need a little time and tools. Do you need this soon?”
“Ah… not really I think. Oh!” She perked up. “Can you also promise me not to look at the other videos?”
“Um… it’s kind of private.” Naegi didn’t think she could have phrase that any more wrong than how it sounded. By the looks of it, even Souda caught onto a misunderstanding.
“Pr-pri-pr-private?!” Souda turned away and covered his face. He started mumbling himself, “what could it be? Ah, but no! My heart already belongs to Sonia-san!” Naegi scratched his cheek. He wasn’t sure what to comprehend and he was even more surprised that Chiaki didn’t react to that as much. She stayed silent waiting for his nonsense rambles to end. “Ah uh yeah I um promise not to look so yeah uh,” he fumbled before quickly leaving the situation. “S-See ya!”
Chiaki sighed before turning back to Naegi. “Well, that’s taken care of.”
“Thanks, Nanami-san. I’m glad you’re helping me.”
Chiaki smiled, “no problem.”
“Hey-Hey!” Ibuki poked her head from around the corner. “There you guys are! You think they’re still holding the bored meeting?”
Please tell me if you spot any mistakes!