The top floor held the biology lab, the botanical gardens, the dojo and a few classrooms. Leon peered into all the other trees in the dojo, although he doubted anyone else would be in them, and once this suspicion had been confirmed he moved on to the biology lab. The only place to hide would be the storage compartments, but no lights were on and Leon reasoned you’d probably freeze to death after a while in there, right?
The classrooms were also empty, leaving him with the botanical gardens. He’d saved it to search last on that floor since he was sure there had to be someone in there. He had yet to find Asahina, Enoshima, Sakura, Oowada, Hagakure, Fukawa, Yamada and Mukuro. A disappointingly large list.
Yamada, who had grown bored of watching Hagakure absent-mindedly yawn and fiddle with one of the many shirts he threw on every day, was playing Tetris on his phone. Togami had called him a few times earlier, but when Yamada answered all he’d heard was a sigh before Togami hung up on him. That heir was incredibly rude; Yamada had quickly put it out of his mind.
He’d heard the huge thump that rung out from the…dojo (he thought) a few minutes ago but was so amused by Hagakure jumping out of his skin that he forgot to consider what had made the noise. He’d then heard someone, presumably Leon, stomping up the stairs. So the seeker was nearby! He felt confident enough in his hiding place, swallowed up by plants, to keep playing on his phone. He’d put it on silent mode, so what could go wrong?
Leon flounced in, the strong scent of the plants that hung in the air immediately hitting him and making his eyes water. It was a bright day, and the room was thick and humid. He pushed up his hair (wouldn’t want it drooping) and started to hit branches out of his way.
He was just getting distracted by the chickens when he happened to notice a dark shape in the bamboo. He had to look twice, for he’d almost completely missed it, but he was sure there was a patch among the dense plants that couldn’t be explained by simple shadow. It looked too small to be a person, but he investigated nonetheless. As he drew closer, he noticed the bamboo above it was far shorter than the rest. Realisation started to trickle over him.
He paused (Yamada had at this point put down his phone for a moment to watch the action), then took a few quick steps and leapt onto what he hoped was Hagakure. The scream that sounded made it clear it definitely was. The dark shape he’d seen had been the shaman’s coat.
‘Hagakure-kun!’ Leon punched his shoulder cheerfully. ‘Shit, I’ve just broken so much bamboo. Good hiding spot man!’
‘Kuwata-chi, you scared the life out of me! I think I saw the netherworld!’
‘Hahaha, seriously though how did you do that with your hair?’
‘I employ some inner power to hold it up anyway, ‘right? So I just put it in a different position! Ah, but I got found anyway…’
‘No one can hide forever from Leon Kuwata!’ He beamed, feeling slightly silly but having fun regardless. ‘Now you’ve gotta go wait in the cafeteria!’
‘Okay…oh, hey Yamada-chi!’
Leon looked over to where Hagakure was waving. Yamada, looking irate, suddenly burst through the foliage, his ahoge piercing through the bushes like a spaceship beginning its take-off.
‘You weren’t meant to give me away!’
‘Yeah, Hagakure-kun, you should’ve let me find him.’
‘Sorry, sorry! I didn’t think!’
‘No surprises there…’ Muttered Yamada. He flicked the larger pieces of bark and leaves off his clothes and gave his glasses a quick wipe.
‘I assumed you’d been found already, since you’re on your phone.’
‘Tch! You would’ve seen if I had been found! I was merely passing the time. It grew boring watching you.’
‘I thought I felt eyes on me! So it wasn’t the plants, eh….I still don’t trust them…’
‘You can both go to the cafeteria now!’ Leon butted in. What a ridiculous conversation these two were having. He had classmates to find, after all.
‘See you later Kuwata-chi! Good luck!’
‘Goodbye, Kuwata Leon-dono! At least I can sit comfortably now.’
After sending Hagakure and Yamada on their way and thoroughly checking the botanical gardens in its entirety, he could be sure the top floor was completely free of hiders.
The floor below it, despite being stuffed full of hiding places, didn’t seem to contain anyone that Leon could find. The music room, data room, chemistry lab and classrooms all yielded nothing. The headmaster’s office was locked, and the faculty rooms also. He peeked through the window just to be sure, but he knew there couldn’t be anyone in there (and if someone was in there, he couldn’t be blamed for not finding them). Feeling…annoyed at not being able to find anyone on the entire floor, he went down a level. By process of elimination, there had to be hiders on this floor, surely.
The physics lab was closest to the staircase, so he looked there first. The huge machine dominated most of the room, leaving precious little places to hide, and he couldn’t find anyone in the storeroom.
Moving on to the art room, he noticed that the desks had been muddled and arranged weirdly. No way would the school leave it like this, so someone must have come in here. Could there be a more obvious way to give away your position?
He slowly picked his way through to the storeroom door, trying to sort the desks back as he did so. Near to the door he came dangerously close to spilling paint everywhere, but caught it at the last minute.
‘Thank god I’ve got quick reflexes.’ He muttered, stacking the paint in what seemed to be its usual place.
Mukuro cursed silently as she listened to the desks scraping against the floor, and Leon coming ever closer. She was done for.
Before she even had a chance to consider a possible escape plan, Leon had pushed open the storeroom door and was now looking gleefully at her.
‘So it was you who moved all the desks!’
‘I thought you’d get bored of pushing them and go away.’
‘You thought wrong!’ He ran a hand through his hair jovially then pointed at her. ‘Off to the cafeteria!’
Mukuro smiled. It was clear Leon was having great fun. ‘Alright. See you later Kuwata-kun!’
He breezed through the classrooms (clearly not a popular place to hide) then ran back to the recreation room. He walked in quietly, checking behind the sofa and under the pool table but finding no one. He glanced around- ah! He remembered suddenly that the locker in this room had no shelves. He flung it open and Fukawa lurched out, desperately stretching out her arms. She looked worryingly like a zombie, especially with the dazed look in her eyes.
‘It’s s-s-so stuffy in there, and d-dusty, I’m lucky I didn’t sneeze….and my arms are so stiff n-now…’ She griped, cleaning off her huge glasses with one sleeve.
‘Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in there for any amount of time!’
‘Thank g-god you weren’t then!’
‘Hey, I was just being nice man. Uh, you’ve gotta wait in the cafeteria now. So at least you’ll be able to stretch out…?’
‘I-In that case, see you later…’ She muttered, stalking off.
Leon sat down on the sofa and went over who else was left. He’d found Hagakure, Yamada (well, half found him), Mukuro and Fukawa. That left Oowada, Enoshima, Sakura and Asahina! Not too many- the end was almost in sight.
With new vigour and determination, Leon set off.