Something pitch black and cold coiled in the depths of your stomach, permeating throughout the rest of your body in dreadful shivers. Something about Joe’s touch suddenly felt so heavy, so foregin, and you wanted to remove yourself from everything.
But you couldn’t move.
In the corner of your eye, you could see Safalin. She was speaking, but the ringing noise in your head blocked out anything she was saying. The noise subsided and you could hear the nurse explaining to you and Sara.
“--it seems that due to b-blunt force trauma that Joe here s-suffered from memory loss…”
“W...what…?” you asked, your knees feeling weak and numb.
‘What do I do?’
Something scalding cold clawed your shoulder and you felt like you were about to cry. Giggles that only you seemed to hear poured into your ears like a song, squeezing your heart and constricting your lungs to the point where you almost teared. Your throat enclosing, you choked on a gasp, fingers slowly coming to life as they twitched in panic.
‘This is my fault.’
You needed confirmation. “Joe, you--”
“Y/N, there you are,” a voice said, piercing through your muddled thoughts and causing your gaze to snap up at the voice.
Your chest grew more jumbled as you saw it was Sou, and yesterday’s events and his words spilled from your memory banks and hit you like rocks. Confusing gnawed away at you and you felt as if you began to unravel. Your vision grew fuzzy and Joe’s embrace felt stone-like. You couldn’t move. The air in your lungs tightened and you went frozen.
‘What… what do I do? Oh shit. Help. Help me. I don’t know--’
Sou timidly grabbed your wrist, pulling you out of Joe’s embrace. Joe stumbled forward, looking confused as Sara gasped and raced forward.
“Sou, what are you--?!”
“I’m so sorry, Miss Sara but I wanted to know if Y/N was willing to do an attraction with me and… I’m so sorry--” Sou began to apologize in a long spiel, cowering before the other girl.
“You shouldn’t touch her like that…!” Sara exclaimed as she stepped forward and put a hand on your shoulder. “Y/N--”
“It’s fine, Sara,” you reassured as you felt your feet walking towards where Sou wanted to go. “I just… need to go. I’ll… see you later.” You turned to look at Joe who was watching you, bewildered. “Joe, I… I’ll explain everything later…!”
You didn’t hear what they said because you began to walk away as fast as you could.
[Guilt Meter +5%]
Day 2 | Afternoon
Like that, you were the one walking, dragging Sou in tow, towards the monitor room where the two of you hid inside a tunnel leading towards an attraction. You coughed wheezily, clutching at your chest that twisted in pain. Breaths came up in short spurts, squeezing your chest in pain with each shaky exhale. You stumbled back, ripping your hand out of Sou’s, your back colliding harshly with the wall with a dull thud as you slid down the surface. Rubbing away the tears that stung your eyes, you let out another long sigh. Slowly opening your eyes, your gaze slid to meet Sou’s timid stare.
“Drop the act,” you sighed as you rubbed at your eyes once more. Snap out of it. “What do you want?”
Sou glanced to the side and turned to meet your eyes head on. “Of course I wanted to help you? You don’t look so good if I do say so myself, Y/N.”
You narrowed your eyes. “Don’t take this as an opportunity to hold it over me, Sou. But for now, I owe you my thanks.”
‘Had he not stepped in… even I don’t even know what might’ve happened.’
“So? You have more to say, I presume?” you asked, holding out your hand as a gesture for him to speak. “What do you want?”
Sou closed his eyes, yet continued to smile in that carefree manner that you didn’t know how to approach. Something about his demeanor unnerved you. Unconsciously, deep within. Something viciously gripped at you in a vice-like manner. Like a lurking memory.
He chuckled. “Well, I was wondering if you followed up on our little… barter?”
“I don’t have anything to give you,” you told him, your eyebrows creasing. “You’re still hung up about that?”
There was a phone in your pocket.
“𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐢𝐦.”
Spreading his arms, he smiled. “Well, even with this amnesiac act, I have nothing. I’ll grasp at straws if I need to. I will never reach out to someone who everyone follows so blindly. There’s no logic behind that, now is there?”
‘....who? Following? Sara? No, that’s not important right now.’
“For now, we should do an attraction as per your suggestion,” you told him, looking at the surrounding attractions. “Are we in agreement?”
Sou laughed after pausing for a moment of thought, his voice causing you to scrutinize the male. “Sure, why not? Then, how about the Runaway Minecart?”
“Sounds good to me,” you told him as you walked with him into a passage.
Runaway Minecart- Get past obstacles that get in the way of the minecart and reach the goal within the time limit. Clear Chips: 2
‘There’s also some things I want to discuss with him,’ you thought, as you finished reading the rules and walking after Sou who had gone up ahead.
“Is there a reason why you picked me in particular for this trade?” you asked him, examining the tools laid before you and him. “Why not anyone else like Alice?”
“Hm, it could’ve been Alice… he did notice what was going on, however…” Sou took a screw and rotated it in his hand. “You were the only one who listened to other people’s thoughts.”
You deadpanned. “‘Other people’ being you?”
The man chuckled. “Perhaps. If you hate me so much, why do you still talk to me?”
“I don’t hate you,” you replied, narrowing your eyes at him mouthing “sureee”. You sighed. “I really don’t. We've known each other a bit beforehand, haven’t we?”
Perhaps that was why he decided to interact with you. A potential, convenient ally. One you had known beforehand by coincidence. But in the end, the two of you were strangers, no?
Sou didn’t reply, just staring at you. He turned first. “Let’s go.”
Before climbing into the minecart, the two of you grabbed a hammer and screw each and boarded the vehicle.
“No brakes,” you commented as you observed the lantern and the interior of the cart. “Guess it’ll stop on its own.”
“They weren’t lying when they said ‘attractions’,” Sou commented, knocking his knuckles against the metal walls of the cart. “Hope this wasn’t the type of ride you were expecting, Y/N.”
You shrugged. “A good enough experience as any. This is my first time on a ride anyway.”
Sou raised his eyebrows. “Really?”
You frowned. ‘ This is Sou. He’s lied to me and gaslit me to hell. But as I’ve said we’ve known each other before…’
“So would you like that bagged or…?”
‘But he’s still…’
“Please have a nice day, miss.”
“𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫? 𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐯𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐨𝐟𝐭.”
“ꜰᴏᴏʟ, ᴀ ꜱᴛᴜᴘɪᴅ ꜰᴏᴏʟ.”
‘We’re strangers, but… Sou is… just Sou. That same convenience store clerk that I know. So, it’ll be okay. I need to learn… how to trust my judgement.’ You looked ahead. ‘I just need to know the timing and words when talking to him. If I can get that right, then--’
‘But why should I?’
I don’t know.
‘...Put up your guard.’
Oh well, it was a useless scrap of information anyway, nothing to stress over.
You hummed as you felt the minecart start up. “Well, I come from some place in Japan and… I didn’t have a lot of money growing up.”
The minecart started to wheel on faster, air rushing past your skin and whipping your hair behind your face. Squinting against the wind, you yelled over the screeches of the wheels and noise that seemed to noisily blur by.
Sou raised a thumbs-up in response as you saw wooden planks held up by flimsy and lazily impaled nails. The two of you began to work together to tear down the planks by bashing your hammers through the thin wood.
“Phew, that was stiff!” Sou exclaimed over the screeching wheels.
You flinched as you grabbed the man by the arm and ducked under a group of bats and swooped in from the front.
“I think that’s just because of difference in muscle!” you exclaimed, slightly hoping he didn’t hear you. (But going by the slump in his form, he did).
Up ahead was a metal wall held together by screws, but the two of you worked synchronously to dismantle the barrier. You raised a brow when an arrow passed by, but heard a shriek from both you and Sou as the cart begian to speed up at a dangerous pace.
“Are we sure we won’t be able to fall off?!” Sou shouted, his voice barely audible as the two of you ducked under a flock of shrieking bats.
You stood up and immediately smashed your hammer through more boards of wood. “Where are the seatbelts?!”
Sou opened his mouth to speak, but then the two of you were suddenly preoccupied by more bats and unscrewing the metal walls again. The minecart kept rushing ahead as Sou turned to look at you and said something, his expression solemn.
“What?!” you asked, shouting over the noise.
“I said--!” Sou began to shout, not even being able to finish his sentence as the minecart sped past another arrow and picked up the pace again, the cart tilting a bit.
You had to grab a dazed Sou to duck under another group of bats. The two of you slowly stood back up, looked at each other, and silently unscrewed another metal wall. The silence and loud shrieking wheels slowly shifted to silence as the two of you smashed through another wooden wall.
“Hey!” Sou exclaimed over the roaring wheels, eyes straight ahead. “You’re smarter than this, aren’t you?!”
You furrowed your eyebrows. “What are you talking about?!”
“If you’re Miss Sara’s friend, then you would be able to tell, wouldn’t you?!” the teal haired man shouted as he slammed his hammer through another wall of wood. Splinters flew as you squeezed your eyes shut. When you opened them, you could see Sou was looking directly at you. You got chills, dreadful shivers. Something in the back of your mind tugged at you.
“Why are you smiling?”
“I’ve just discovered something extremely… f̷̬͇̈à̷̢̢͙̀s̴̺̙̃̑̚c̵̖̜̔̔̃i̴̦̽͝n̶̢̯̣̓ā̴̙t̵͎͔͒͝i̶̺̫̖͛͑͒ň̴̺ğ̶͇̲͙͊̌.”
You twitched, another sharp pang echoing through your head. Your hand reached to rub your head and you were reminded of the heavy absence of your headphones.
“I…!” you began to say when the cart sped past another arrow, picking up the pace. You scrambled to clutch the sides of the minecart. Then the cart sped by another arrow. The back of the car suddenly lifted from the sudden pick up in speed and the two of you screamed, dropping the items you two held into the cart. The two of you held the edges of the cart as it squealed and hit a stop, jolting the passengers. You hit the edge of the cart hard, probably bruising your waist, as you winced and slid down the cart’s side while mumbling an incoherent slur of curses. Sou wheezed weakly, probably hitting his stomach as well, as he feebly held the edge of the cart while slumping onto the ground. The two of you sat there for a while, clutching your wounds, and then simultaneously stood up.
“Ugh… that was awful…” Sou commented with a grimace as you nodded and walked towards the podium where two Clear Chips laid. Handing him one, you rubbed your waist again.
‘It still hurts… we should get checked.’
You beckoned the male. “Should we go to the Medical Office?”
Sou paused and shook his head. “You go on ahead. There’s no need--”
You sighed and grabbed his wrist. “Let’s go, you stubborn ass. No need to be so shady about it.”
He didn’t reply as you dragged him to the Medical Office and opened the door. Safalin turned and startled, looking between the two of you.
“Miss Y/N…!” Safalin exclaimed, looking between you and Sou. She then went silent and then gasped. “Are you perhaps here to see Joe?”
You twitched. You had almost forgotten what you had done. How could you forget, you--
“We did an attraction and got hurt,” you found yourself saying, looking at the floor while gesturing between yourself and Sou. “We need to get checked out.”
Safalin nodded. “I see. Joe is with Miss S-Sara at the moment, so you may want to talk to him, M-Miss Y/N…”
Your lips pursed at her words. “I see. Thank you, Safalin. I’ll go see him after this. Have you found my headphones?”
The Floor Master paused, then shook her head. “N-No, I’m afraid not… now let me see where you got hurt…”
After being treated, you sat aside as per Safalin’s recommendation. Brewing in thought, you gnawed at your thumb.
‘Everything’s going wrong… my headphones, Kai, Joe… if it was me who died there then… would everything have gone better? I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t be dwelling on these mistakes but I can’t help but wonder what I could have done to do better. During the last Main Game… Q-taro was right. I did nothing but goof around during our investigation. Everything he said was true.’
‘I hate myself for that.’
“ʜᴀᴛᴇ. ʜᴀᴛᴇ. ʜᴀᴛᴇ. ɪ ʜᴀᴛᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏᴏ, ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɴᴏᴡ?” A red hand with cracks with black seeping through grabbed your hands and parted them from where you buried your face. You stared into a black void as her whispers continued to taunt you. Cold air brushed past your skin and you couldn’t breathe. “ᴡʜʏ? ᴡʜʏ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɪʟʟ ᴍᴇ? ᴡʜʏ? ᴡʜʏ? ʏ/ɴ! ᴡʜʏ?!”
“Apple juice?” Sou asked, thrusting a juice box in front of you, breaking you from your thoughts.
You blinked, taking the beverage with both hands. “Thanks. How’d you know--?”
“You order it every time,” the man replied, alluding to the multiple times I had shopped at the convenience store where he worked.
You drank it silently as the male sat. He looked at you. “Can you answer my question now?”
“What?” you asked, and he laughed. You raised a brow as his expression turned serious again.
“Why do you act oblivious to what Miss Sara does?” Sou asked, his eyes growing cold and blank. “You, as one of her closest friends, have the ability to change--”
“Stop,” you said, putting a hand out to his face. “I’m not changing anyone. I have an inkling of what you’re talking about and here’s my answer: she hasn’t done anything. Yes, I can see that you’re scared of the potential of the dangers of her charisma. But Sara is my friend. I will stop my friends if they turn the wrong way. I know--”
“Nevermind, I understand,” Sou said with a smile as he stood and walked away. “You’re a doormat. Aren’t you?”
Something ripped through your chest as his words as a feeling of shame overwhelmed you. Your mouth gaped as you stood, trying to say something back to him, but he walked away. His words stung. Because he was right. You gritted your teeth and threw the unfinished juice box into the trash can.
“That’s why it’s so easy to walk all over you. You doormat.” She patted your cheek in a condescending manner. “And I prefer you stay that way.”
Your lips curled.
‘...it’s getting really hard to read him.’
[Sou +10% | ???]
You walked out from the Medical Office and into the lobby where you could see Mishima and Sara chatting together. Reko was standing to the side, away from the center of attention. How uncharacteristic of her, usually she would be trying to trade tokens, wouldn’t she?
“...your name’s Y/N, right?” a familiar voice asked as you turned to see Joe scratching his head with a timid smile. He grinned and stretched out a hand towards you. “Nice to meet you. Uh, my name’s Joe, apparently! They told me that you’re my partner since I was out cold the first day?”
You wavered. It was your fault that Joe had been reduced to an amnesiac. Did you really have the right to welcome him back?
“ɪ ꜱɪɴᴄᴇʀᴇʟʏ ʜᴏᴘᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʜᴇ ʜᴀᴛᴇꜱ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏᴏ--ɪꜰ ʜᴇ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴅɪꜱᴄᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅɪᴅ.”
“𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐮𝐬. 𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐠𝐨.”
Your fists curled. ‘No.’ This was your decision to make. If you did make a mistake, then it was up to you to fix it. It had to be you.
You smiled, shaking Joe’s hand. “Hi, Joe. My name’s L/N, Y/N. Just call me Y/N. I trust that you were told what the rules were?”
Personal feelings didn’t matter. You were already determined on your goal: you would ensure Joe’s survival.
Who to negotiate with?
A. Talk/Trade with Sara
B. Talk/Trade with Mishima
C. Talk/Trade with Reko
Sou- ? [+5%]
Guilt Meter- 55%
Other Tokens- 0