“Sorry, you two,” you apologized to Reko and Gin as you pointed a tentative finger over at the blonde policeman standing over at the side. “I have something to discuss with Keiji.”
“Got it,” Reko replied, not wavering at your decision with a smile. Then her eyes creased with suspicion and doubt as she sharply gestured her head towards the policeman. “Still, be careful of him, Y/N. He seems really… unnerving.”
‘It’s probably because of the misleading comments he directs at Sara in order to throw us off,’ you thought absentmindedly as you forced out a laugh.
“If you aren’t going to play with me today, meow…” Gin whimpered as he tugged at the ends of his cat plushie, the fabric stretching and shrinking at each yank. “...then can we play later, woof?!”
You smiled and pat his head with the feeling of bubbling warmth tickling the edges of your chest. “Sure, Gin. I’ll try to remember. Promise.”
[Reminder: Promise made with Gin]
“Yay!” the boy cheered and he began to run off after being satisfied by your reply. “Bye bye, Mom!”
You waved after him as you sharpened yourself to talk to Keiji. Turning around, you walked towards the taller man. You stood firm, trying to show him that you were going to stand your ground towards him. He seemed to take the hint you were attempting to exude, but just because he knew didn’t mean he would care.
“I was hoping we could talk,” the man said as he looked you directly in the eye. “There’s a lot of things we need to discuss.”
‘ᴀʀᴇɴ’ᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ꜱᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ?’
“I thought you were thinking about that,” you responded swiftly, trying to leave your words as vague but filling as possible. “What did you want to talk about?”
His voice dropped pitches deeper and colder, his gaze dissecting you apart for lies. “Did you find out anything about Sou?”
“𝐒𝐨𝐮 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐣𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐊𝐞𝐢𝐣𝐢. 𝐇𝐞’𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥-𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭.”
Staring back Keiji, you didn’t waver and just blinked. “No, I didn’t. It seems he really lost his memory. But I’m surprised, Keiji. You aren’t worried about a potential threat, but rather a defenseless amnesiac with the strength equivalent to that of a third grader.”
“Who said I wasn’t thinking about potential threats?” the man asked with a slight teasing lilt in his voice.
You had to be on your toes around this man.
“No, I didn’t get anything from him though,” you sighed, pretending to think back to when you were with Sou in front of the larger man, secretly hoping that he would drop the subject.
‘Still… when I looked at the backs of those monitors… I swear that the one that was missing was Sou’s…’
“I have something to tell you though,” you told the blonde who leaned out of your face, making you realize how close in proximity you two were. Hah, he really was suspicious of you, huh? “It’s about the Clear Chips we have to gather. I don’t think… it’s mathematically possible for all of us to get 12 Clear Chips.”
“Huh?” a voice asked as your gaze turned to look towards Reko who stood there, her expression flabbergasted. Her eyes widened as she grew flustered the exact moment the two of you turned to look at her. “Sorry, Y/N…! It’s just that Keiji was leaning in too close, and… sorry, that was shitty of me to eavesdrop on the two of you.”
The girl looked incredibly ashamed at her actions, but you didn’t really mind; she meant well and her intentions were righteous. Well, that was the Reko you had known for the time spent here.
“It’s fine, I don’t really mind,” you reassured with a smile to show that there was no damage done. “But think about it, there really aren’t enough Clear Chips, right? With there being 11 attractions and 11 of us… since Joe is part of me now…”
“I see, I did think something was off about the math,” Keiji mused to himself as he quietly let his gaze slink on the grown like a silent viper. “For now, try not to tell the others too much. They’ll panic and it won’t be good for any of us. Besides…” At the sudden change of his tone, you just couldn’t not look over at the man. His eyes gleamed with curiosity and another emotion that you had a feeling you knew but didn’t want to describe. “...who says there isn’t a secret attraction on this floor?”
“A… secret attraction?” Reko croaked as her eyes darted around the room wildly as if someone were watching us. “Is that even possible with so many of us here not to be found yet?”
“But… Sou and I were the ones who found that secret room with the laptop,” you spoke, dragging their attention over to you. “It’s not difficult to imagine us not finding that room. So, let’s keep an eye out, shall we?”
“Hm, good idea,” Keiji agreed as he began to depart from our little group of three that shrunk to two. “Thanks for the chat, Y/N.”
‘No problem,’ you thought as your gaze narrowed at the man’s back.
“Thanks for letting me know about this, Y/N,” Reko thanked as she turned around to leave as well. She gave you a thumbs up and flashed a smile. “I’ll keep an eye out!”
“I’ll do so as well,” you said in response and you turned your attention elsewhere.
‘Now… shall I get going and get more Clear Chips?’ you thought while fixing the hat sitting atop your head. ‘Okay… let’s get going.’
You began to walk to the area with the computer monitors and peered inside to see Sara emerge from the Prize Exchange. The girl perked up at the sight of you and immediately quickened her pace to get closer to you.
“Y/N! Are you feeling better?” Sara asked earnestly as you couldn’t help but faintly smile at the girl’s words. Your hand began to move to touch her shoulder, but you then hesitated and let your hand fall.
“𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠?”
‘ᴡʜʏ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ᴛᴏᴜᴄʜ ʜᴇʀ?’
“...I’m fine,” you told her as you looked around at the monitors on the screens. “I’m just curious about that…”
Sara followed your gaze expertly and nodded. “I see what you mean. It’s put everyone else on edge too… especially Keiji.”
You silently perked up at the mention of the man’s name. “You seem to be observing him very closely.”
“Huh? No, it’s not like that,” Sara denied as you pulled a face at her in disgust.
“The fact that you thought I was talking about the two of you in that way makes it worse,” you told her, your mouth falling into a long arch. “Ugh.”
“You’re right about that…” Sara sighed as she ran a hand through her hair. Then the girl stuck her hand out towards you as you slowly took it. “How about we go around for a walk?”
She gently held your hand as the two of you began to walk around and to the room with the glass pane facing the fake garden. Sara stopped and stared at the faux greenery as you did as well. Her hand felt so gentle in yours as you held it as if it were a piece of glass.
‘ʏᴏᴜ’ʟʟ ᴄᴏɴᴛᴀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ ʜᴇʀ. ᴀɴᴅ ꜱʜᴇ’ʟʟ ɢᴇᴛ ʜᴜʀᴛ. ʟɪᴋᴇ ʜᴇ ᴅɪᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴛʜᴇɴ.’
You almost pulled your hand away, but then Sara spoke. “How’s… Joe?”
“Joe is…. He’s still asleep,” you told her as you took a hand and pressed it against the window pane. “I’m just… worried about him. He could get brain damage or worse…”
‘My fault. It’s all my fault. If only I hadn’t acted out of line…!’
“...Y/N?” Sara asked as she squeezed your hand gently, snapping you out of your murky thoughts.
You smiled at her softly. “Yeah? It’s nothing… for now, we should focus on gathering Clear Chips.”
Sara let out a breath of air from her nose. “You’re right. Let’s get going, shall we?”
Day 1 | Evening
You followed her out, your hand still enveloped by hers.
“𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝?”
You didn’t say anything and just felt like resting in that fragile moment.
“Do you want to do an attraction with me?” Sara asked you as you just smiled lightly at her.
“Sure,” you agreed as you went to go follow her.
Once the two of you arrived at an attraction, you read the description.
Egg Hunt- There will be eggs hidden among the grass which you will have to dig out. Please dig out a total of seven eggs and beware of the creatures lurking within the darkness. You can fight them off using the spray which stings them. Clear Chips: 2
“Seems a bit dangerous for just two Clear Chips…” Sara quietly remarked as she read the words on the sign. “Are you up for it, Y/N?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” you told her as you heard a faint snickering echoing in the back of your mind which you tried to brush away.
Sara picked up the small shovel while you took the spray instead. The two of you looked at each other as Sara grinned at you, immensely boosting your motivation and energy.
“𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮? 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞.”
You rubbed tiredly at your eyes and realized how exhausted you were even though you had woken up a few hours ago. Maybe you should ask Safalin for some tylenol for your headache. The two of you nodded towards one another, little words needed to be said as Sara said only a few words.
“Stay safe, Y/N,” she whispered in a low and gentle tone as her fingertips lightly grazed your forearm.
You looked at her, your eyes heavy and your cheeks almost warming due to her overwhelming care. “Okay.”
The moment Sara and you stepped into the dark and grassy hills, you were instantly reminded of the park nearby your house. Although it was pretty during both day and night, you were constantly unnerved every time you went there when the moon rose above to shine down. Here however were a few lights illuminating the area. You breathed out a heavy sigh as Sara nodded at you. Once Sara arrived at a dirt patch, she began to dig at the ground, the metal of the small shovel clinking and scratching against the dry and hard surface. You spun around, hearing a rustle from behind, your pulse began to race immediately. Okay, so maybe you were going to have a few problems with this attraction. You extended your hand to the side and sprayed, the liquid inside shooting out and hitting something right in the eyes. Letting out an inhumane screech that caused Sara and you to cover your ears, it scampered away into the darkness with little grunts and huffs.
“Oh, lucky…!” Sara exclaimed in breathless relief as she held up two gold eggs.
“Nice,” you told her as you leaned over to her side and sprayed another creature lurking in the grass causing it to shriek and retreat. The two of you began to trek into the grass deeper. Sara’s eyes were peeled to the ground, looking for any unnatural markings as you continued to kick away and spray those little monsters scampering about. Sara’s shovel scraped away another gold egg as you felt a small smile spread on your face. The two of you continued to walk around in the dimly lit plains--Sara scouring the area for eggs as you fended off the creatures. One soared through the air, its target being Sara’s shoulder. You spun around, hit the thing with the spray bottle, and sprayed it as it flew away.
You exhaled. “Hah… sorry about that, Sara.”
The girl shook her head, too kind for her own good. “No it happens. Keep doing your best.”
Eventually, the two of you finished, being a very effective team that could work together very well. Sara brushed the dirt away from her knuckles as you placed the spray bottle down onto the ground. She smiled and handed you a Clear Chip as you just sighed and sagged tiredly. Wordlessly, she touched your shoulder in concern as you shook your head to signal to her that it was fine.
You were going to be fine.
It was fine.
Sara separated from you, saying she was going to go to the Medical Office for some water while she told you to head off first; you agreed. You walked back into the main meeting room to see Mishima and Nao sitting at a table, having a friendly chat with each other. They seemed to be having a lot of fun. You quietly watched them and looked to see Alice sitting on the couch while fingering the chains wrapped around him between two fingers. His pink eyes flashed upwards towards you as he nodded. You were about to trudge over to him when a finger tapped your shoulder. You turned to see Nao who was hesitantly fidgeting her fingers together as Mishima was standing up from his seat telling her “stop”.
“Oh my, you’re really pale, Y/N…!” she gasped as you blinked and realized how tired you felt after conquering another attraction with Sara. “Um… I was wondering--”
“I just wanted to trade my Me-Tokens as a little test if you will,” Mishima said, sticking his head into the conversation. “And Miss Nao here said she would ask you. But you don’t have to.”
Your eyes darted towards Alice in the corner who was quietly staring at you as if he wanted to talk to you. You opened your mouth to speak when a spark of pain ran through your head, causing you to quietly grind your teeth.
“𝐍𝐨 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭. 𝐆𝐨 𝐧𝐞𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞.”
What should you do?
A. Talk to Alice
B. Trade tokens with Mishima
C. Go to the Medical Office
Sou- ? [-10%]
Guilt Meter- 20%
Other Tokens- 0