I don't know how long Sota and I ran through the tunnel. The tunnel itself was short, but the fear I was feeling made it seem like an eternity. We must have passed Ren at one point, but it was too dark for me to see so I didn't know for sure. When I could finally see the light, the smell of smoke filled my nose. It was the same smell as earlier. The end of the tunnel slowly grew closer and closer until we had finally reached it. I had had my suspicions of what we might have found at the end, but despite that I still wasn't prepared.
On the tracks was what was left of the train. The debris from the crash was scattered around, and some pieces were still on fire. Luckily, those ones were further away, so I was able to join the others near the largest piece of debris.
"What happened?!" I asked. Bessihiki, his face pale and tinted green, pointed at the wreckage.
"We found Hamano." He said. "Or at least what's left of him."
I looked over to where Bessihiki was pointing. There in the wreckage was a body. If it hadn't been for the tattered cape, I wouldn't have known that it was Hamano. The body was covered in blood, and was sprawled across a piece of debris. His hat was nowhere to be found and his hair had already been dyed black with smoke and ash. Part of the limbs almost seemed to be... torn. Feeling sick and lightheaded, I felt myself falling back. However, luckily someone caught me before I hit the ground. Looking up, I saw Saruwatari.
"T-Thank you..." I said, barely able to speak. He helped me stand up straight again and I made sure to look away from the wreckage. It had to be some kind of trick. As much as I hated Hamano, I didn't want him to be dead. I didn't want him to end up like, that.
"He can't be dead!" I said. "There wasn't a body discovery announcement." I felt Saruwatari place his hand on my shoulder, keeping it there for both physical and mental support.
"It was announced while you were in the tunnel." He explained. "You must not have heard because there's no monitor in there."
Looking around, I saw that Akio was still missing. I had hoped that he would be in the second area.
"What about Akio?" I asked. "Was he on the train too?" Mayu shook her head. I could see that her hands were shaking.
"We looked, but we couldn't find him." She said. "All we could find was... that."
She pointed towards Hamano, but I decided to not look. Isoya, Missa and Ren finally arrived and they headed over. Isoya must have seen the body before the others, because he led Missa to a place where it wasn't visible. He must have explained why he had done it though, because I saw Missa's face go from confusion to shock when he began speaking to her. Ren on the other hand, headed towards us.
"So the explosion was a train crash?" He asked. Saruwatari nodded. I saw Ren notice the body. He seemed to be queasy for a moment before he closed his eyes. He must have been thinking of Kinji.
"You don't need to stay Ren." Mayu said, but Ren shook his head.
"I'm fine." He said.
"You don't look that way! Puhuhu!"
We all turned to see Monokuma who had emerged from somewhere while we had been distracted. He started to move his arms as if he was running.
"You're thinking about your bro, aren't ya?" He teased. Ren glared at the bear and I could see that he wanted to say something in response, but instead he just turned away. Monokuma shrugged.
"Well, I'm just here to give you..." He paused for effect. "The Monokuma File! Tadaa!"
He pressed some buttons on a device and we all heard a sound come from our E-Handbooks. Monokuma put his device away and sighed.
"It's a shame that I give it to you brats electronically." He complained. "It's so much more fun to give you a hard copy. But I guess that's the price to pay for efficiency!"
"But..." Missa said quietly. "this was an accident. Not a murder."
"Nope! You're wrong!" Monokuma said loudly, causing Missa to jump.
"What!?" Sota exclaimed. "You mean someone caused this?" He pointed at the wreckage and Monokuma nodded.
"Yep!" He replied. "This is undeniably, most definitely, without question, a murder, and after a certain amount of time has passed, a class trial will be held. Use your time as you see fit. See ya!"
Then he left, leaving us all confused, like usual. So this unfortunate disaster had been a murder? Someone had caused the crash? It all seemed very hard to believe. It was a very, abnormal situation.
But I was getting used to situations like that.
"Maybe we should start investigating" Mayu said. We all nodded. After all, we'd be useless in the class trial if we had nothing to work with. I pulled out my E-Handbook and opened the Monokuma file.
"Victim, Hamano Hatsuhara. Cause of death, trauma to head and body caused by a train crash. Time of death, 9:32am. He died instantly.
At least he died instantly. It would have been horrible to be alive while in that kind of condition. Not wanting to be near the body for now, I walked over to Sota.
"Hey Yui." He said. "You doing alright?" I nodded.
"Do you know anything else about all this?" I asked. "You were one of the first ones here after all."
Sota thought for a moment.
"Well, I was with you, Koharu and Bessihiki in the dining hall when we heard that loud noise. That was around 9:30. Then we went to the train station and I ran through the tunnel..." His voice trailed off. I waited a bit for him to continue, but he was silent.
"What happened next?" I asked. I had already known all the stuff he had just told me. Sota blushed and rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"I kinda forgot." He said. I guess he wouldn't be much help then. After thanking him, I decided to check out the train control room. If someone caused the crash, then they'd have to do it from there.
As I approached the small building, I noticed that the door was open. Strange, wasn't it supposed to be closed at all times? Walking inside, I saw that there were a lot of computers. They were all flashing with information and images and I had no idea what to make of it. I noticed that Bessihiki was already inside. He quickly turned around when he heard me walk in.
"Oh, it's just you Yui." he said before looking at the computers again. "Sorry. I'm a bit on edge knowing that there's a killer walking around." I walked over, trying to see what he was doing.
"Are you wondering what I'm doing?" He asked. Had he read my mind or something? He was also acting nicer than usual. Perhaps he was in shock from the murder. Before I could answer his question, Bessihiki explained anyways.
"At first I was seeing if these computers could connect to the outside, but it seems like they can't" He said. "So now I'm checking if they were tampered with."
"Were they?" I asked.
"I don't think so." He replied. "The train controls are automatic and it seems like everything's normal." I guess that meant that the crash was caused some other way. Nodding I began to leave. The room was small enough that you could scan it easily and it looked like there weren't any other clues. As I was about to step out the door, Bessihiki started talking over his shoulder.
"By the way," he said. "If you're wondering why the door was open, Monokuma opened it. He said it was to help with the investigation."
Then he turned back to the computers and continued typing away. It figured it was probably best to just leave him to it. Rather than standing around there, being useless, I headed back to the wreck. As I got closer, I noticed Missa. She seemed like she could faint at any moment.
"Are you okay?" I asked. She nodded.
"Yeah." She replied. "It's just... frightening. I saw him in the library before and now... now he's dead."
I could tell she was really shaken up by the situation.
"It's going to be fine." I said, trying my hardest to reassure her. "Right now we need to focus on the investigation though. Do you know anything that could help." Missa shook her head.
"I was with Isoya in the library when it happened. I know I heard a loud noise, but that's it." I nodded. Sota, Koharu, Bessihiki and I had heard the noise too.
"Hey Missa?" I asked. There was something I had been meaning to ask her, and perhaps it would help distract her.
"Yes?" She replied.
"Why are you always with Isoya? If you don't mind me asking." The two of us looked over to Isoya, who was currently investigating the body. Asami and Sota were watching him closely, making sure he didn't take anything. It was weird that he was so comfortable around bodies.
"He makes me feel safe." Missa answered. I saw her smiling. It seemed like she only smiled when thinking about him. Despite the situation, I couldn't help but smile in return. Before we could continue talking though, I heard someone clear their throat behind me. Turning around, I saw Bessihiki. I guess that meant he was finished in the train control room.
"I found something." He said bluntly. He pointed towards the train tracks and motioned for us to follow. He could have been a bit more polite like he had been before, but it seemed like he was back to his antisocial self.
After a bit, the three of us reached the railroad junction. Bessihiki stopped and nodded his head towards it. I moved closer to investigate.
"The screws are missing." Bessihiki explained. "And I'm pretty sure someone moved it." Looking closer, I realized he was right. The screws that usually held the tracks in place were nowhere to be found. There were also scuff marks on the ground from someone physically moving the tracks. Was this what caused the crash?
"Um... sorry to interrupt." Missa said softly. "But I just noticed that Akio is still missing."
Now that she mentioned it, I hadn't seen Akio since that morning. Not even when we were all at the train station. Had something happened to him as well?
"I'll go check on him." I said, standing up and brushing the dirt off of my pants. "He might be in his room." Bessihiki and Missa nodded and I headed towards the tunnel. It felt oddly peaceful running through it alone. At the same time however, I could help but worry that a train would suddenly appear around the bend. Eventually I reached the end and I made my way to the hotel.
Knock Knock Knock
I hoped that he would open the door. I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow two people had been killed. Would that be against the rules? Knowing Monokuma, probably not. Looking around I noticed Akio's garbage bag. Normally I wouldn't have paid attention to something like that, but his seemed to be torn open. He must have just filled it too much. As I thought that I felt a light hit my eye.
Where had that come from? The answer was sitting in Akio's garbage bag. Right there, in the open thanks to the tear, were several screws. Did that mean...?
"You want something?"
I turned quickly towards the voice. Akio was standing in the door frame. He looked like he had just woken up.
"I, um..." I couldn't find the words. All I could think about were the screws. If Akio had them did that mean he was the one who caused the crash? Before either of us could continue the conversation, the sound of static filled the air.
"Ahem." Monokuma began, his voice emanating from the speakers. "I'm getting kind of bored, so let's get this thing started. Head to the red door, just like last time."
"Huh?" Akio asked. "What does he mean the red door? Did something happen?"
Was he playing dumb? He couldn't possibly not know that something had happened. This had to be some sort of act.
"Didn't you hear the body discovery announcement?" I asked. I might have missed it, but Akio couldn't have. The only place you couldn't was in the train tunnel and he wasn't there during the announcement. Instead of answering, Akio just stared at me, eyes and mouth opened wide.
"Body... discovery announcement?" He asked. "You mean someone died while I was asleep!? Who was it?"
"Hamano." I said. Akio seemed to get angry when I mentioned the name. He clenched his fist.
"He had it coming." He said. "I should go check on him though."
And with that said, he ran off. Did he really expect to get any investigating done? We needed to head to the red door. I felt sick as I followed Monokuma's instructions. Akio had a motive, no alibi, and the screws were right there. Could he really be Hamano's killer.
He was already in the elevator when I arrived. He hadn't gone to the body then. I walked through the red door and we all waited for everyone to arrive. Once they had, the elevator roared to life.
It had happened again. As the elevator clanged loudly, and we descended deeper and deeper, I felt hopeless. Did the same horrors await us at the bottom? Would we have to witness another friend die?
I knew that if we failed this trial, we would never go up this elevator again.
Was the killer really one of us? Had Akio really caused the crash? I didn't want to believe it, but deep down I knew it could be true. And the only way we were going to avoid sharing Hamano's fate, was if we found the culprit. As I thought about this, the elevator came to a halt, and the trial, a battle between hope and despair, began.