Dangan Ronpa, City of Despair

Chapter 22

"Good morning Koharu." I said, as I sat down at the table. Koharu nodded and smiled. She didn't seem to be phased by the motive. Asami and Missa joined us and we began to eat. Asami was the first to finish, pushing her plate away with a satisfied sigh.

"So what was in your photos?" She asked afterwards. She was probably trying to break the silence, but the question had come out of nowhere.

"Mine was my piano teacher." Missa shared. "I've known her for so long, she's like a second mother."

"Mine was a picture my sixth birthday." I said. "My whole family was there."

"And mine was just a photo of me talking to my friends." Koharu said. No doubt, the 'friends' were the hallucinations.

"I see." Asami said. "Mine was a picture of the basket ball team. I really miss them."

"You should get rid of the pictures." Ren said, causing the four of us to jump. None of us had seen or heard him walk over. I mentally hit myself once I realized I had started to fall for the trap again. However, the others still seemed confused.

"Monokuma is trying to get us to think about the outside world." Ren explained. "He wants us to kill so we can get back to what's important to us. Get back to what's in the pictures."

"But would someone really kill over something like that?" Missa asked. Koharu shrugged.

"They might if they have something really important waiting for them outside." She said. Missa frowned, realizing that the artist was right.

"There is nothing in this world more important than the life of your friends." She said. "Isoya said that to me." Asami nodded.

"Well, Isoya knew what he was talking about." She said. "I know that I'm not going to be killing anyone."

I wasn't going to be either. Isoya had told us to let his execution to be the last, and that was going to happen.

We finished eating and stood up to leave, but were stopped by Mayu's (incredibly loud) voice.

"So, I realize that everyone is probably thinking about the outside world right now, and I think that's a problem." She said. She was standing on top of a chair, and had everyone's attention. "If we think about what's waiting for us, then someone might do something drastic to get to it. So I think we need to become closer as friends so that the things that are important to us are the people here. Then the pictures will be meaningless!"

"And how do you propose we do that?" Michiyo asked. Mayu smiled. It had a strange mixture of innocence and sneakiness behind it. What was she planning?

"Well, I was thinking that we could have a potluck type thing!" She said. "We haven't really done anything as a group, so it could be fun!"

The sneakiness was gone now. She must have been trying to create suspense. Honestly, a potluck sounded like fun! I had never been a fan of big, busy events, but perhaps it would be better since I would know everyone there. Saruwatari seemed to support it as well. But for different reasons.

"Not to mention everyone would be together," He said. "So no one could kill someone even if they wanted to."

"Awesome!" Sota exclaimed. "That sounds perfect!" Asami clapped her hands together.

"We could all cook together too!" She suggested. "There is a kitchen after all."Michiyo shook her head.

"The kitchen is way too small." She said, in her usual monotonous voice. "You could probably only fit about six people depending on what everyone is cooking."

That was disappointing. I had been starting to get excited about all of this. There had to be a way to fix this setback.

"Wait!" I said. "There's a kitchen in the CTS lab in the fourth area right? There are six girls and four guys, so we could split up based on gender." Akio shrugged.

"That sounds good." He said. "I wouldn't wanna be near a bunch of girls anyways."

"You'd rather be in a hot kitchen with a bunch of guys?" Sota asked. Once again, Akio shrugged.

"Alright then!" Mayu said, stepping down from her chair. "The girls will get this kitchen, so guys, you can go to the other one. Come on ladies! Let's get cooking!" She started heading over to the kitchen.

"Right now?" Missa asked. Mayu nodded, grabbing the pianist's hand.

"Of course!" She said cheerfully. "The sooner the better!" The two of them disappeared into the kitchen, leaving the rest of us behind. After a moment, we all headed to our designated kitchens. After all, we had no choice. Once Mayu decided to do something, it was near impossible to get her to stop.

Inside the kitchen, we all started cooking our favourite dishes. I wasn't sure what to make, since I usually just made microwaveable dishes at home. I decided to just make a salad since it would be pretty easy to make.

Michiyo seemed to be very focused on her baking. It was impossible to follow what she was doing, but it looked like she was making a fruit cake. Mayu was making cookies, but at the same time seemed to be getting distracted a lot. Koharu's mashed potatoes had some... questionable ingredients, but Asami's punch looked absolutely delicious. I couldn't wait to try Missa's fudge too.

"So." Asami said after a while. "Let's try actually talking! It's so quiet and serious in here."

"Okay." I said. "What should we talk about?"

"Well..." Koharu said, before a long pause. "Erza and I have always wanted to try talking about boys. We never really have the chance to do that with other girls."

Erza? Oh, right. That was one of her friends. Asami smiled.

"Then I guess the topic is boys!" She exclaimed cheerfully. "Who do you all think is the most attractive boy in the city?"

"Um... I think Isoya was." Missa said. "But... Ren is attractive as well."

She really did seem like she was coming to terms with what had happened. Perhaps Ren's words had helped. Asami nodded.

"Honestly, I'd say Akio." She admitted. "If he wasn't such a jerk." Michiyo sighed.

"He's an idiot, and looks like one too." She said, before turning back to her cooking.

"Sota is pretty cute." Mayu said. She had been moving around a lot, and I jumped as I heard her voice behind me.

"What about you Yui?" Asami asked. I guess I was the only one left.

"Um.." I thought about the guys that were here. Akio was muscular and all, but not really my type. Sota was cute, but more like a younger brother kind of cute. Saruwatari was definitely attractive, but...

"I'd say Ren." I answered. Asami smiled.

"Somehow I knew you'd say that." She said. Missa nodded.

"You two seem very close."

"What?" I asked. "We just talk a lot! We don't... I mean I don't."

I felt my cheeks growing warm. No doubt I was as red as Asami's punch. After the others had stopped giggling, we all talked a bit more. About boys, and our dishes, and other things. Eventually we had all finished.

"Hey Yui." Michiyo said. "Could you go get the boys?" I nodded and headed out. I was glad that Mayu had suggested we do this. It really was bringing us all closer. I couldn't help but smile as I rode the train over to the fourth area.

Coincidentally, the boys were just finishing up when I got there. They all followed me to the train station. Ren had maid a deli platter with cheese, Akio made nachos, Saruwatari had made some tortilla pizzas and Sota made tomato soup. The soup was a bit heavy, so I helped Sota carry it. On the train, I was worried it would spill, but there were luckily no accidents.

As we sat and waited for the train to reach the first area, I noticed that Akio kept looking at Ren. Ren shifted his weight. Obviously, he had noticed as well. I moved over to sit next to him.

"Did something happen between you and Akio?" I asked in a hushed voice. Ren shook his head.

"No. He's been looking at me like that since we first talked to each other." Ren replied in the same hushed tone. "It's started to creep me out, but when I confront him about it, he dodges my questions."

"I can see if I can help." I offered. "After the potluck of course." Ren nodded, seemingly grateful for the offer. I moved back to my original seat and Saruwatari turned to face me.

"So what did you make Yui?" He asked.

"A salad." I answered. Akio scoffed.

"That's a boring dish."

"I happen to like salad." Sota argued.

Luckily, we reached the stop before the discussion was able to become an argument. We all headed to the dining hall, probably slower than necessary thanks to Sota's soup.

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