When I woke up, Missa was still sleeping peacefully on the chairs. She seemed to be happy.
"Gooooooood morning everyone, it is now 7am and night time is officially over. Get ready to greet another beeeeeutiful day!"
The morning announcement woke her up. Her glazed eyes wandered the room as she tried to figure out where she was. When they fell on me, she smiled.
"Good morning." She said, sitting up. "I actually managed to stay asleep. That hasn't happened in a while." She sat up and stretched, but the action was cut short as she suddenly became worried.
"What's wrong?" I asked. Missa stood up, brushing her fingers quickly with her hair.
"Isoya knocks on my door every morning so we can walk to the dining hall together." She answered. "I forgot to tell him that I'm here." She headed towards the door and opened it up.
"Thank you for letting me stay here Yui." She said. "I'll try to make it up to you."
And then she closed the door. I decided to head to the dining hall, leaving the same way. On the way, I noticed Akio watching me curiously. I felt a bit uncomfortable because of it.
"Hey, Yui?" He said as I got closer, waving me over.
He looked over to Missa, who was opening the door to her own room. Probably to grab a change of clothes.
"I saw Missa leave your room earlier." He said. "Did she spend the night?" I nodded.
"Yeah! She was scared, so I let her stay." I said. Akio looked away nervously.
"You guys didn't... you know..." He said.
Know what? What was he...
"Of course not!" I shouted. Realizing what he meant. "What made you think that!?" He put his hands up defensively.
"Geez! I'm sorry!" He said. "I just don't know much about girls, so I thought..."
"Well nothing happened." I snapped. "So get those thoughts out of your head!"
Saruwatari must have noticed our spat, since he walked over.
"What thoughts?" He asked. Akio turned to him, seeming thankful for a chance for escape.
"Missa spent the night in Yui's room" He said. Saruwatari seemed surprised as he turned to me.
"Wow! Really?" He said. "I didn't see you as that kind of girl Yui."
Him too? I had had enough of this.
"I'm not!" I said, practically fuming.
"Not the kind of girl to have slumber parties?" Saruwatari asked. He looked very confused. My anger instantly became embarrassment. The blood that had been hot a moment ago rushing to my cheeks.
"Oh. You meant that..." I said. "Sorry."
"What did you think I meant?" The vet asked. I shook my head.
"Never mind" I said over my shoulder as I turned away and headed towards the dining hall. Once I was inside and away from the embarrassing scene outside, I sat down next to Koharu. It was pretty much part of my routine at this point.
"Good morning Yui." Koharu said smiling. I waved.
"Good morning Koharu." I replied. "And to your friends as well." Koharu's smile somehow got even bigger once I added that. I was about to start talking, but was cut off by someone speaking behind me.
"Yui." The deep voice said. I turned around to see Isoya. I nodded to show that I had heard him. He looked to me, then to Koharu, and then back to me.
"I apologize for interrupting." He said. "I just wish to thank you for helping Miss Missa when I was unable to."
"It wasn't a problem." I said. His formality always made me feel kind of weird. "By the way" I added. "Are you having any luck remembering your talent?" Isoya shook his head.
"No. But that's fine. People are defined by who they are, not what they do."
Why did everything he say always sound so cool? After a bit of silence, I thought I'd ask him something.
"What are you doing today?"
"Spending time with Miss Missa."
Figured. He spent time with her almost 24-7. It should technically be considered creepy at this point, but for some reason I couldn't see it as being anything but sweet.
"Why do you spend so much time with Missa?" I asked. Isoya was silent for a moment as he tried to think of an answer.
"I'm not entirely sure." He said. "I think it's because she brings me some comfort. Perhaps her gentle innocence helps me forget about our horrible situation."
Yep. Nothing but sweet. I thought about inviting him and Missa at the pool, but once again I was interrupted before I could get the words out.
"Hey guys!" Sota said cheerfully. "Guess what I've got!"
We all turned to face him. Apparently, what he had was a bunch of seed bags. He was holding the triumphantly in the air, a huge smile brightening up his face.
"I'm planning on planting some flowers at the park to make everyone happy." He explained. "I was hoping I could get some help." Koharu pointed at the seeds.
"Where did you get them?" She asked. I was kind of curious myself. I hadn't seen those kinds of seeds at the store. Sota somehow managed to smile even more as he pulled out more bags from his pocket.
"I always have these ones with me." He said before pulling out more from the other pocket. "And there were also some in the convenience store."
Some flowers would make the park look nicer. Plus it would be fun to do something together with everyone.
"I'll help out, Sota." I offered. The others nodded as well. Even Missa, who was now standing next to Isoya. I hadn't noticed her come over.
"Awesome!" Sota said. "I'll show you guys what to do!"
"And then you water it." Sota explained. We were at the park and he had been demonstrating what you had to do. It was pretty simple. Dig a hole, grab the seed, put it in the hole, cover it up, water then repeat. Koharu, Isoya, Missa and I all nodded to show that we understood, and then we got to work.
"You're a natural at this Yui!" Sota said. "Uh, no pun intended."
I jumped when he spoke. I had been focused on what I was doing and hadn't heard him walk up behind me. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"Thanks." I replied. "It's pretty simple stuff." He smiled and knelt down next to me, digging a hole next to mine.
"Yeah. That's why I like it better than algebra and stuff like that." He laughed. I watched him work and was honestly surprised. He handled the seed so delicately that you'd think he was carrying a newborn child. I suppose in a way he technically was. Just, not a human child.
"Were you not good at school?" I asked. Gardening was more fun when you were talking to people, so I was kind of starved for conversation. He nodded.
"Yeah." He said. "I spent all of my time gardening instead of doing school work." He finished covering the seed and put his hand out to get the watering can. I handed it over to him.
"Isn't school a bit more important though?" He shook his head.
"Not for me." He replied. "There's someone I need to help, and I need to garden to do it."
My thoughts wandered back to when I had heard him sleep talking. He had mentioned two of his family members then.
"Your brother?" I asked. "Or maybe your mom?" He had moved over a bit and was planting the next seed, but looked up in surprise when he heard what I said. The seed bag dropped to the ground.
"How did you-"
"I heard you sleep talking."
His face became as red as a ripe tomato.
"Oh..." He said. "Did I... say anything embarrassing?" I shook my head.
"You just talked about your mom and brother." I replied. "You said he went to Hopes Peak and that you and your mom were on your own until he was done." I'm not sure how I remembered that. Until that moment I had actually forgotten about the whole thing.
"I see." He said, picking up the seed bag again. His face was still red and he was avoiding eye contact.
"So is your mom the one that you need to help?" I asked. "If you don't mind me asking." Sota nodded.
"Yeah." Sota said. "One day, when she was dropping my brother Santa and I off at school she collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital, and it turns out she was really sick. And I mean really sick. It's a rare disease with no cure." His eyes seemed to be tearing up.
"I'm so sorry." I said. I hadn't meant to bring up such sad memories. He shrugged.
"It's not your fault." He said. "You don't need to apologize". He smiled as he took out another seed. The expression looked forced. "Santa and I decided that we'd find a cure. Since both of us had a natural talent for gardening. No pun intended." He covered the seed with some soil. "We both started staying home as much as we could. If we weren't helping mom, we were in the greenhouse. We came close a few times, but we didn't have the equipment we needed. And then..." His voice trailed off. His eyes seemed distant, as if he was reliving the memory as he spoke.
"Your brother got accepted into Hopes Peak?" I asked. Once again, he nodded.
"Yep." He said. "He said that with the equipment the school had, he would be able to do it. So I stayed home to take care of mom while he worked hard." I saw that he had stopped patting down the soil. Some water drops landed on the dirt. But, wasn't the watering can next to me? Looking up I saw that Sota was crying.
"What's wrong!?" I asked. Wouldn't it be good if his brother found a cure?
"It's just that..." Sota began, wiping away the tears. "I don't believe what Monokuma said."
"What he said?" I asked. Sota nodded. The tears were still falling to the ground, no matter he much he wiped them away.
"About us going to Hopes Peak." He explained. "My brother was already going there. So... I can't believe that I would go too. I would never leave my mom alone like that. I would never be that selfish!"
So he didn't believe Monokuma? It would be a difficult thing to accept if that was the truth; Knowing that he left his mom alone. I felt a pain in my stomach as I thought about that. What if Monokuma was lying?
"If Monokuma was telling the truth," I said. "Then three years went by that we lost. Maybe your brother found a cure, and the memory of that happening was just taken away?"
The tears finally began to slow. Sota wiped them away a few more times before finally turning to face me. "Yeah!" He said weakly. "That must be it!" I could see a flicker of hope in his swollen eyes. He smiled and this time it seemed genuine. "Thank you Yui."
"You're welcome." I replied. I hadn't realized that he had been carrying that doubt on his shoulders this whole time. He had always seemed so cheerful. Sota went to water the seed that he had buried, but stopped once he saw the dampened soil. Without speaking he moved onto the next spot, but stopped again once the sound of a microphone filled the air.
"Ahem." Monokuma said. "This is an announcement from your mayor. Please make your way to the gym for an important meeting."
The microphone turned off. We all looked around, unsure of what this could mean. Koharu was the first to stand and she started walking to the gym. We all quickly followed. Once everyone had gathered, Monokuma appeared on the stage.
"Why hello everyone!" He said cheerfully. "I am so happy all of you could make it here today!"
"It's not like we could not go." Isoya said. Monokuma shrugged.
"If you skipped, then you wouldn't be able to see this." He said, throwing his hands into the air. Stacks of money began falling from above him, landing in a neat pile on the stage. I had never seen that much money in one place before! Monokuma danced about as the pile grew.
"One million smackaroons!" He exclaimed once the money stopped. "No taxes or secret costs either."
Nori tossed her hair. Like usual, she was looking at her nails, finding that more interesting than what was happening.
"I'm guessing you have a reason for showing us that, right?" She asked. "Does this involve murder? Or are you just showing off?"
"Puhuhu! Of course it involves murder!" Monokuma said. "In fact, it's your next motive!"
So there was an extra cost after all. The cost for one million dollars was the life of a friend. I had to admit that the money was tempting, but not if I had to do that. Monokuma laughed again.
"When the blackened graduates, they're going to get that entire pile of cash!" He said. "Also, the wish motive is void now. You guys blew your chance on that one."
Everyone stared at the bear in silence. After this went on for a bit, Monokuma shrugged.
"Oh well." He said. "I'm just going to leave that pile there. Don't think about stealing though. I have cameras set all over the place for a reason."
And with that said, he left. The room was still silent as we all eyed the large pile of cash. Somehow it seemed even bigger than before.
"That seems kind of cliche." Mayu said. We all turned to face her. "I mean, killing for money? That happens all the time. It doesn't seem like something Monokuma would do." Saruwtari nodded.
"He's getting lazy". He said.
Cliche or not, there was still a chance that someone would kill to get it. That seemed to be what everyone was thinking. But it also seemed like Missa wanted to avoid that.
"C-come on guys! We can't fall for this!" She said. Speaking out like this wasn't like her at all. Even Isoya seemed surprised. Missa hesitated for a moment once she saw everyone looking at her.
"I-I mean..." She cleared her throat. "We've already lost four of our friends! We can't kill anyone else because of something as stupid as money!" With each word she seemed to be gaining confidence.
"We can't put a price on anyone's life. Not even a million dollars! We all need to swear that we won't try anything! We can't give up hope! We just need to find another way out of here!"
"She's got a point." Ren said. "From a strategic perspective, ignoring the motive is the best thing to do. If we anger Monokuma he could start to slip up and that could give us a chance to escape."
People were beginning to nod. It seemed like Missa's words had had an effect on them. Mayu smiled and patted Ren on the back, almost knocking off his glasses.
"You could have just said that you agreed without all the added stuff." She said before walking over to Missa. "I think she's right. Lets all agree to ignore Monokuma's motive!" Nori shrugged.
"I have enough money anyways." She said before leaving the gym. Other began to do the same. Soon everyone had left but me. I looked at the cameras on the wall. One was pointed at the money, another at where we had all been standing. Had Monokuma seen all of that? I couldn't help but doubt that he would be okay with us just ignoring his motive. I mean, deciding to not kill was good but...
Had we made the right choice? Or had we just made a huge mistake?