You exhaled, fidgeting around with the headphones placed on your neck. You had to do it. Open up your mouth and say it. There was no other choice. If that was the case, why did you feel so sick? You gripped the hoodie above your stomach and grimaced. Why did you feel so… queasy?
“The most important thing to do now is to focus on our roles,” Keiji said, taking the wheel of the conversation. “That’s the thing we have to prioritize now. We need to narrow it down to one person. Forget your sympathy and your grudges. Focus on the roles.”
“How… how about the Sage?!” Reko suggested, her eyes lighting up at the idea.
“She’s right!” Nao agreed, a trickle of sweat running down her face as her face returned back to its normal color. “If the Sage can just speak up, we can ask them who they found who the Keymaster is…!”
“Eheehee… you have 20 minutes, everyone,” Miley giggled as she sat back atop her throne.
You swallowed back hard, everything suddenly feeling heavy. You had the sudden urge to shrug off your jacket, but you sucked it up and pressed forward.
“Alrighty,” Keiji calmly said, proposing an idea. “Let’s all go in order about our role cards, shall we?”
“I… I have nothing to say,” Kanna murmured, looking away from the group.
“K-Kanna…!” Nao gasped, her face turning a strange shade of purple.
“I have nothing to claim as well,” Kai added softly. “You are free to imagine as you wish.”
Sou gave everyone his winner smile and chimed in. “Sheesh, okay. I’m the Keymaster. I’ve been trying to tell everyone since the start.”
“Honestly?! This piece of beanie sack shit can’t be trusted!” Reko growled as her eyes sharped at a certain freelancer. “Makes my blood run cold!”
“Hmph, I’ll believe in Sou…” Alice said, his words contradicting his sister’s as he grimly smirked. “And whoever protects him is the Sage. That’s where we ought to aim.”
“Why vote for the Sage, woof?” Gin asked, tilting his head to the side in confusion.
“‘Cus if you confess, yer outed,” Q-taro explained while looking at the boy. “Like if they confess, everybody will just say ‘Oh I can vote for them!’.”
“So they can’t confess?” Gin murmured in thought as he squeezed Mewchan.
“I mean, I guess the same also applies to Commoners,” you mused, looking to the side, waiting for the time to confess.
“What about the Sacrifice?” Mishima prompted, tilting his glasses. “They propose a major problem.”
“About that,” you said, cutting in apologetically. “I have something to say about my role.”
Sara turned to you, her hair trailing behind her. “Yes? What about your role?”
You gulped, the dryness in your throat and your saliva were hard to swallow. Your stomach swirled with the dance of butterflies as you felt unrest in your chest. You opened your mouth, afraid something else was going to come out instead.
‘Say it. “I’m the Sacrifice”.’
You shot her an uneasy grin which faltered. A dry breath made its way past you as you said. “I’m… the Sacrifice.”
The whole room hushed as you could feel their eyes zeroing in one you. The very feeling made you twitch as you instinctively bit your tongue. Sara’s jaw dropped as Joe’s eyes bugged out. Keiji let out a sigh as he turned to look at you sternly.
“Are you serious?” he asked, his gaze piercing through you.
“Are ya really?!” Q-taro asked, his facial expressions contorting at your confession.
Sara silently stared at you, pointing, her words becoming stuck in her mouth like gum. They wielded her mouth shut to where she was speechless.
You nodded. “Keiji. Would I lie about this?”
“N… No way!” Reko exclaimed, her face growing angry.
“Y-you’re lying…!” Sara exclaimed, her composure leaking away.
“Well, at least that solves one of our problems!” Alice remarked as Reko sent him a scalding glare.
Sou just looked away as you let out a sigh and smiled bitterly. Well...it was to be expected.
“Mom…?” Gin asked, his eyes wide. “What does that mean, woof…?”
You let out a laugh to comfort him, but it just scared you more. “It doesn’t mean anything, Gin. It’ll be okay. It’s… It’s for the better.”
He squeezed Mewchan. “But… doesn’t the Sacrifice die, meow?”
You let out a sigh.
“I--” you began to say, opening your mouth.
“Uh…” a voice said, grabbing your attention as you turned to face a certain green haired girl. “I have something to say about that.”
Keiji lifted a brow. “What is it?”
Kanna clasped her hands together in nervousness. “Y/N… she’s… she’s lying.”
You stood there and stared at the girl soundlessly as your lips let past an “eh?”. The girl shifted to look away, becoming timid once more.
“W-whaddya mean?!” Q-taro asked, his eyebrows shooting up to his forehead. “She’s lying?!”
“Wait, but I have the Sacrifice,” you said, perplexed as you stared incredulously at the younger girl. “I’m not lying. Kanna. What are you talking about?”
“Kanna… Kanna saw you pick up a card… she passed by the Sacrifice card after...” the green haired girl murmured as you felt your heart drop twenty feet.
“Wait, so what’s the truth?!” Nao squeaked, her eyes widening in confusion.
“She presents a good point,” Kai mused as he tapped a ladle to his lips. “Y/N could be lying in order to escape the majority vote.”
Reko stared at you incredulously. “Were you really?!”
“Of course not,” you shot back as the girl tensed up.
‘I’m not lying.’
Your throat went dry as you saw everyone look between you and Kanna. You turned towards Keiji in an attempt to convince him as he and Sara were the most headstrong in the group.
“Keiji!” you hissed, holding your hand out. “You have to believe me!”
‘Why would she lie?’ you thought, looking over at Kanna. ‘Could it be? No way…’
Keiji’s face remained passive as he smiled. “I see. Well… let’s keep moving on for now. We’ll keep in mind that Y/N is possibly the Sacrifice--” You frowned at that. “Let’s try to figure out who the Keymaster is.”
“Wait, but are we sure she’s the Sacrifice?!” Joe asked as he gripped his table.
Keiji grinned at him. “But no one else is saying anything. Unless you have something to say?”
Joe grit his teeth and looked to the side frustratedly. Sara opened her mouth to say something, but you shook your head to stop her.
“Y/N…! You’re lying! You’re lying…!” Sara spluttered, obviously flustered and unsure. She ran a hand through her hair. “There’s no way…! Come on! Take it back!”
“We’re moving topics,” you told her, looking at her distraught form. “We have to figure out--”
“But--!” Sara exclaimed as you interrupted her.
“Sara. Stop. We still have to figure out who to narrow this down to. I know you aren’t happy with this result, but…” you inhaled a breath to calm your nerves which were suddenly pumping your heartbeat. “It’s come to this. We don’t have time.”
Sara relented, defeated. Joe gripped his table in pure frustration. The young boy next to you whimpered and buried himself into your waist as if you would disappear. The world began to slow as their voices dimmed.
‘...I did it,’ you thought as the conversation moved on. ‘I… told them I was the Sacrifice. Now what? Am I… am I going to die? I’m…’
You looked down at your feet.
“Moving on,” the policeman declared, grabbing everyone’s attention. He shrugged. “Does anyone have anything to suggest for the roles?”
“Big Bro Joe said it before the preliminary vote, meow ‘If you pick Sara, there’ll be a massacre for sure!’ woof!” Gin chirped as Sara turned towards Joe in order to interrogate him. The boy wilted under her attack and faltered.
“Okay! I’m the Sage!” Joe cried as he crossed his arms. “It doesn’t matter hiding it anymore anyways! I haven’t declared my divination because I can’t lie! But I did my divination, and I declare that the Keymaster is Sara!”
“Joe…!” Sara exclaimed, her face lighting up. Then it suddenly dimmed as her eyes turned to you.
“Uh… I’m… The Sage,” Kanna squeaked, causing more confusion. Sara looked at Kanna, surprised. “My reading was… that Sou was the Keymaster…”
“H...Hey…” Reko said uneasily, her eyes darting back and forth like a ping pong ball between the group.
‘I can’t confirm or deny any of these,’ you thought, looking around at the four: Joe, Sara, Sou and Kanna. ‘Kanna is too nervous for me to do a proper analysis. Who is telling the truth? At this rate--’
“No, no, I am the Sage. Miss Sara is the Keymaster,” Kai popped in, his eyebrows raised.
‘So who is really telling the truth?’ you thought, burying your head into your hands like a disappointed parent. ‘How… can we test whether their claims are valid or not?’
“My head’s spinning, wooooooooof!” Gin exclaimed as he dug his hands into your hoodie, stretching it.
“Eeeheehee… 8 minutes to go, everyone. Ahahaha…” Miley giggled as you had the sudden urge to jump up on her throne and spit in her face.
‘I swear it hasn’t even been ten minutes,’ you thought, biting your thumb nail. ‘And…’
"ʏᴏᴜ'ʀᴇ ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴅɪᴇ."
‘I’m going to die.’
The thought… seemed wrong to you, even though it didn’t a few years ago.
Keiji paled as he made up his mind. “Quit giving statements, you six. We’re going to solve this amongst ourselves.”
“And me?” you asked, raising your hand. “I’m the Sacrifice, not the Keymaster.”
“Well,” Keiji said as a grin spread across his face. “Although I trust my skills, I can’t trust you. I can’t trust my skills all the way.”
You had another nagging feeling to take out your card and slam it onto Keiji’s table. This wasn’t the time to argue and disagree with each other.
“Hey! We need to hurry! We’ve got no time!!” Reko barked, her face contorting in panic.
‘She’s right,’ you thought, your leg shaking with your rush of adrenaline. ‘We need to hurry…!’
You clutched your chest, that sick feeling twisting within which you wanted to purge so bad. You had to push the conversation forward as fast as possible. How? Sara was going to stay silent for now, and Keiji wasn’t going to listen to you.
“Sou and Kanna are working together,” Keiji said, giving out his opinion. “...I’ve got no doubt. Hm? Y/N, shouldn’t you know?”
“I… never heard about it during our conversation. But we did split up at one point,” I informed, trying to recall the moment I separated from them.
“Keiji…!” Reko refuted, denying his claim. “There ain’t no way Kanna is up to no good! Kanna’s… being used by that beanie guy! He’s gonna cast her aside. Don’t you dare pick on her!’
‘I’d like to believe that as well,’ you thought while glancing over at Kanna and Sou. ‘I’d like to believe that both of them are not up to no good, but… I can see it. It’s so weird… why did I feel that they were so… genuine?’
“I got it, woof!” Gin cried, giving a suggestion. “Long-aproned guy gave his suggestion last, so he’s suspicious, meow! Definitely lying, woof!”
Q-taro also stepped forward with a claim, pointing at Joe. “I was about to believe Joe earlier… but is he really the Sage?!”
“We… we can’t possibly find out with this little time…!” Nao cried, her face turning a deep shade of indigo hue.
Alice grunted, frustrated. “Gh…! It pains me, but as Sou or Sara could potentially be the Keymaster, we shouldn’t vote for them...!”
‘Think,’ you thought, your eyebrows creasing in concern. Your stomach felt like it was flushing down something again as your chest felt like it was going to be ripped out. What should you do? It was as if your will was falling apart. No, you had to keep going. ‘We… we need to--’
‘What’s the point?’
‘They voted for you too. You’re going to die either way. So… why don’t we have the Keymaster as the result of the majority vote and so everyone dies. Hey, win-win situation.’
‘That’s more of a lose-lose--’
“ꜱᴏ ʏᴏᴜ’ʀᴇ ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴛʀʏ ᴛᴏ ᴋɪʟʟ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴇʟꜱᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ʏᴏᴜʀ ꜱᴀᴋᴇ--”
You slapped yourself. Hard. The sound was small so no one noticed as you rubbed your cheek from the slap.
“I-isn’t there something we could use on the cards or something?!” Nao suggested in a brief moment of panic.
“Maybe… if there was something that could determine who the Keymaster was…” Mishima murmured to himself.
“Actually… I have an idea,” Sara said, looking up. “We test… what’s on the cards.”
“What’s on the cards…?” Keiji repeated, pausing to think to himself. “...just maybe…”
“Eeheehee! Three minutes leeeeeft!” Miley squealed in delight as she squirmed on her throne.
Why was everything moving so fast?
Keiji smiled and agreed. “Let’s take a gambe on it. Listen up everyone. This is our last discussion.”
You swallowed back the nausea you could feel welling up in your chest.
“Actually…” Joe said, lifting a hand. “I’ll confess. I’m not the Sage.”
“J-Joe?!” Sara exclaimed, her eyebrows raising in shock and hurt.
“Quickly,” you urged to Keiji, giving him a pointed look. “We don’t have time…!”
“Okay, Kai and Kanna,” Keiji addressed as he looked at them. “What were the designs on the cards?”
“Go on, tell them Kanna,” Sou urged, flashing a winning smile which was growing more dubious to you every passing second.
“...it was a key,” Kanna whispered as everyone in the room took that in.
“Kai?” Sara asked, turning towards him.
“Yes?” he asked, looking at the girl.
Sara took a deep breath. “Please tell me… the results of your divination…”
Kai stayed silent, constantly looking around and fiddling with his ladle. Sara reached into her jacket and pulled a paper out.
“It says this in Rulebook 2…” the girl began to say as she held up the paper. “The Sage knows who the Keymaster is via divination, but cannot lie about the results. It doesn’t say anything about being able to see the card… so Kai who didn’t mention anything about the design is the Sage.”
Kai stayed silent, just looking around once again. He cracked a smile and laughed. “Ahahahaha… ha...”
It didn’t sound scary, yet… sad. You felt your resolve waver as Kai’s expression broke, obviously distressed and scared. His eyebrows furrowed into pained arches as a trickle of sweat ran down his face.
“My fate… has been set, then,” Kai said softly, his eyes wobbly and afraid.
‘I want… to help him,’ a voice echoed throughout your head.
“Guys,” you said, spreading out your hands. “Vote for me and I’ll hate you forever.” A pathetic attempt. “Okay? So… don’t. Just… please. It’ll hurt me if I could only take one.”
“But--” Sara started to say.
“I don’t care!” you shouted, your voice reverberating across the room. “Just don’t do it! Don’t! Sara… if you truly want me to stay alive and be happy… don’t vote for me.”
The girl remained silent.
“Huh, so Kai was the Sage,” Sou commented lightly as he grinned.
“You…! You must’ve been lyin’ to Kanna after all!” Q-taro roared, pointing at Sou.
Sou grinned and looked down upon us condescendingly. “More importantly, we should listen to Kai. Kai’s last words, that is.”
The words sent shivers up your spine.
‘Why… why do I feel the need to help this man. He looks so… afraid.’
“When we came to the subject of designs, I realized I was in danger,” Kai explained, meekly looking at us all. “I thought I might play dumb… but it was clear I would be most voted simply due to my lack of trust.”
“Yet...yet… I…” he said, gripping his pan. “I do not wish to die…”
“Kai…” Keiji said, his face creased with concern.
“The Sacrifice… is surely Y/N. She has said it herself,” Kai went on, spilling everything. “Joe… Joe took actions to claim he was Sage to protect Miss Sara… And thus, please… vote for Sou!”
‘Vote for… Sou?’
Sou pulled up his scarf and closed his eyes. “Ahaha, why me?”
Kai began to yell, his desperation clutching at your heart, reminding you of all those years ago. “He is a dangerous man! He will certainly disrupt our teamwork and lead us all into danger...! I did indeed have contact with the kidnappers! But if you let me live, I will tell you everything! I have vital information for our escape….!!!”
‘That’s not… so bad… and he wants to live so bad… and I…’
“See ya, Kai,” Sou said with a fat smirk on his face.
“Wait, so Y/N is really the Sacrifice?!” Joe exclaimed, sweat all over his face.
“It’s time to vote, so please refrain from whisperings,” Miley said with a sadistic grin.
“Please… don’t kill me!” Kai shouted, rattling your bones.
‘Is there a way to save him?’ you thought, as you pressed your icon twice. ‘There has to be… there must be a way…’
You weren’t a saint. So why? Why were you desperate for yourself to die? You were just some girl. You weren’t anything special. Why try to be a hero?
Well, you didn’t really know that yourself.
Sou earned five votes, Kai had six, while you had the two you owned. It...was over…
You and Kai were both about to die.
Kai stayed silent as he saw the votes. Sou looked at the floor.
“That’s too bad… you lose, Kai,” the teal haired man sighed, closing his eyes. “If they picked me with emotion… that would be your will. But everyone chose with logic… awful, isn’t it?” He looked down at all of us patronizingly. “This vote isn’t about our own wills! That’s what everyone’s telling themselves--how they’re fooling themselves.”
Nao began to cry, tears flowing down her face. “I’m sorry…! I’m sorry…! I’m sorry…”
“Kanna… I didn’t want Y/N to hate me…” Kanna mumbled as she clutched her shoulders. “I’m sorry…”
“Mom, wait, meow…” Gin said, tugging at your hoodie as you just smiled and pat his head.
Miley ignored them all and laughed. “Eeheehee. Now everyone, enjoy yourselves as I check your answers! First, the Sage! You were right everyone! It was Kai Satou!”
‘Kai…’ you thought as you looked at him with a forlorn expression.
“Next, the Keymaster!” Miley exclaimed with a smile. “Eheehee, the fierce battle between you two was an exciting sight to see! Amazing! It was Sara Chidouin!”
“Stop it…” said girl mumbled, her expression hurt.
“Aaaaaaand! The Sacrifice! The one who dies with an incomplete objective isssss…” Miley said, bringing up the tension.
“Hold on!” Joe shouted, his hands shaking from who knows what.
“Wait!” Sara cried out, reaching out for you.
“Tadaaaahhhh! It was Y/N L/N!” Miley cried as she pointed at you.
“Haha…” you chuckled, awkwardly looking at everyone. “Sorry, guys… should’ve said so sooner.”
“You… you liar…!” Sara exclaimed, running across the room and gripping your shoulders. “Why… .why?!”
“I didn’t lie,” you said, settling her down. “I meant in your heart and memories.” you said these two words as you pointed at her chest then at her head. “It’s a shame, really… I… I...”
“Don’t you… don’t you feel bitter?!” Q-taro asked, clenching his fist. “I mean… you…!”
The question felt strange. Why… why did you feel like throwing your life away?
‘Ah, it’s simple.’
“I mean…” you tried to say, looking towards the ground. “I mean… I don’t know… I felt like I had to do it. If I did it for myself… it would make me a worse person.”
‘My life isn’t worth as much as theirs.’
Sara’s eyes began to water as she desperately rubbed at her tears. “Isn’t there… some way we could… save you?!”
“There… probably is…” you murmured as your eyes widened in memory. “I…”
[Use the favor] ---> [unlocked]
[Route unlocked | Changed question]
“I have… I got a favor from the Meister!” you shouted, your hands starting to shake.
“...what?” Miley asked, her smile beginning to falter.
“During the Russian Roulette, the Meister gave me a favor and a bandage in exchange for the gun!” you exclaimed, your whole body beginning to tremble. “I… You can go ask them! I swear!”
Miley’s expression turned dark. “I see… you…” Another smile lit up her face. “So, Miss Y/N. What do you intend to use this favor for?”
“...huh?” you asked, your eyes widening.
“Your favor has the cost of a life,” the Laughing Doll explained, pointing a finger at you. “One. Life. So… who will you choose.”
You glanced at Kai, who was looking back at you in horror. Miley’s grin turned wide.
“Who will you use your little favor for?” she asked, a smile crawling up her features. “You or Kai?”
You pushed Sara away a little and ran towards the other side of the room, tugging Kai aside. You looked at Miley and held up a finger.
“Give me five minutes for a mini discussion,” you said, then turning away.
Kai looked at you, gripping his ladle. “I hate to say this because I so desperately want to live… you can’t use the favor on me. Although our positions are similar, you were supposed to be here. Your actions… I am sure they will affect the very roots of this game…! Mine on the other hand... ”
You swallowed back. What to do…? You felt everything beginning to crack again as you desperately took deep breaths. Reassuring yourself that there wasn’t a pair of hands wrapped around your neck, you opened your eyes. Your chest felt like it was rising with bile as you felt the urge to throw up because of the nausea and adrenaline you felt.
Who will you use the favor for?