The next morning I rushed straight over to the medical office. I didn't care about meeting the others at the dining hall first. I just needed to know if Ren was alright. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was worried. Once I got there, I saw Sota, Missa, Saruwatari and Akio. They all looked exhausted and Akio looked exceptionally more tired than the rest. They were all standing or sitting near Ren's bed. The entire room was very white and there was miscellaneous medical equipment everywhere. I walked over and joined the group.
"How is Ren?" I asked.
"He hasn't woken up yet." Saruwatari said. "But Monokuma said he's stable."
That was a relief. I looked over at the boy on the bed. He was covered in sweat and looked like he was in pain. I quickly turned around when I heard the door open. The others looked over as well. Michiyo walked in, closing the door behind her.
"So this is where you all are." She said. "I was waiting in the dining hall for you guys."
"Sorry." Missa replied. "We were worried about Ren."
Michiyo nodded and leaned on the wall, eyeing Ren as she did. I couldn't tell if she was worried, but it didn't look like she didn't care.
"Well then." Saruwatari said. "We should probably take turns watching over him until he wakes up."
That sounded like a good idea. It would be better than all of us sitting in the room all day. Koharu took out some pencils.
"We can draw for it." She said. "Smallest pencil goes first and longest goes last."
We each drew a pencil. Whether my Ultimate Luck had a part to play or not, I got the smallest pencil.
"Guess that means you're first." Akio said. I nodded.
"Okay." I said. "You guys go eat. I'll tell you if he wakes up."
They all left and I sat down next to Ren's bed. The chair was still warm from Missa sitting there before. How long had they all been there before I got there? I looked over at Ren. His glasses were on the bedside table, and without them he looked exactly like Kinji. It had been so long since we had lost him. So much had happened. So much had changed.
"Where am I?" Ren asked weakly, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Oh! Ren! You're in the medical centre." I answered. "You collapsed during the class trial." Ren was silent for a while before he replied. He was probably trying piece together what had happened.
"I see." He said.
"Is everything okay?" I asked. "Does it hurt?" I was probably more pushy than helpful, but I couldn't help but be worried. I thought about going to get the others, but was stopped before I even stood up by Ren's next words.
"We killed them. Didn't we?" He said.
"Kinji, Bessihiki, Isoya, Mayu. We sentenced them to death to save ourselves. Just like Mayu said."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"What!?" I exclaimed. "Why are you talking like this? This isn't like you Ren!"
"I thought I was going to die." Ren said. He paused for a moment, closing his eyes again. "As I felt the pain in my stomach, I realized that I had been wrong. There was poison in the cake. I thought I was going to die, and that's when I realized that each of them had felt the same way when the chain wrapped around their neck. They knew they were going to die, and each time it was our fault."
I felt frightened as my mind jumped back to Mayu the day before. Now Ren was the one acting strangely. I hoped it was only an effect of the fever and nothing else.
"No! That's wrong!" I shouted. "It's not our fault! Monokuma and the Mastermind are the ones we need to blame! You can't lose hope Ren!" Ren let out a weak chuckle.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"You sound just like him."
"Him?" I asked. Ren nodded.
"Like Kinji." He replied. "You're a lot like him actually. When I'm with you, it feels like he's still here."
I felt my cheeks grow red. Did he really think that? I felt flattered, but at the same time, disappointed for some reason.
"Does this mean you're going to stop beating yourself up over this?" I asked. Ren nodded.
"Yes. Like you said, I can't lose hope." He said. There aren't may of us left, so we need to focus on finding the mastermind, beating Monokuma and escaping. We can't throw away our lives after sacrificing our friends to keep them." I nodded. We were both silent for a while.
"I wish we could remember the time we spent at Hopes Peak." I said, breaking the silence. "I'm sure you, Kinji and I had a lot of good memories together."
Ren smiled, and I couldn't help but smile back. Unfortunately, he had to ruin the moment.
"Much romance! Many love! Wow!" Monokuma exclaimed.
"What are you talking about?" I snapped.
"Seriously." The bear said. "You could cut the romantic tension in here with a knife!"
I quickly stood up, my cheeks felt warm again.
"That's, that's not how it is!" I stuttered. I was ju-" Ren cut me off.
"Yui." He said. I turned to face him.
"Just ignore him." He advised. "He wants a reaction, so don't give him one" Monokuma pouted.
"Aw. You're no fun!" He said. "Even after I brought you here and patched you up, you still don't like me?"
"Of course I don't." Ren snapped. "You're the reason we're in here aren't you? I might consider liking you if you tell me who's controlling you though." Monokuma gasped and became all flustered.
"Are you suggesting that there's someone with more authority than me?" He asked. He started sweating and looking all gushy. "Are you suggesting you want to be that authority figure? I didn't think you were the dominant kind of guy Ren! I can feel my heart beating faster at the thought. Ba-bump! Ba-bump!"
"You really are insufferable." Ren sighed. Monokuma laughed.
"I'm not insufferable. I'm a bear!" He said. "There's a big difference." He looked to me, then to Ren, and then repeated the action several times.
"Well, I don't know how responsible I'd be if I left two teens and a bed in a room." He said after a bit. "But I think that it should be fine so long as the cameras are here. So don't do anything naughty! That goes for you too Yui!"
With that said, he walked out the door with a laugh. I sighed.
"He definitely knows how to ruin a happy moment." I said. Ren shrugged. The action looked like it was more effort than it was worth.
"Well, it wouldn't be a moment if it didn't end." He said. "Now, would you mind if I slept for a bit? The toxin is still in my system, so I'm feeling pretty weak." I nodded and headed towards the door.
"Yeah! Of course!" Ren closed his eyes. I placed my hand on the door knob, but then stopped, turning to face him again.
"About what Monokuma said." I said.. "I really didn't mean-" Without opening his eyes, Ren cut me off.
"Don't worry Yui. I understand." He said. I nodded and left the room, heading straight to the dining hall. The others were waiting anxiously for me to get there.
"Hey guys." I said. "Ren woke up, but he's still feeling pretty weak, so he's asked for us to let him rest for now."
I decided to leave out the rest of what happened. After I had eaten, we started to discuss the new area.
"We should probably wait to investigate until Ren can join us." Saruwatari suggested. We all nodded.
Sota rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"How many areas do you think there are?" He asked. Koharu tilted her head to the side, as if she was listening to someone. Probably one of her friends.
"Well," She said after a moment. "Gnome says that based on the shape of the walls, this whole city is a circle. So we'll eventually run out." Michiyo shrugged.
"Though, none of us are going to be killing anyone, so I guess we'll never know." She said monotonously. Missa nodded,
"For all we know, this new area could be the last one."
I felt a pain in my stomach as I came to a horrible realization.
"But if that's the case," I began. "And we don't find anything in that area, then there's no hope of escaping."
Akio hadn't said a single thing since I had gotten there. He almost seemed to be in a daze.
"Akio?" Missa said, waving her hand in front of his face. "Are you okay?" Akio's jumped. He must have been lost in his thoughts.
"Huh? Oh! Uh, yeah." He said. "I'm just worried about Ren."
"Oh, right!" I said, remembering Ren and my conversation on the train. "I've been meaning to ask you about something. Ren and I were talking, and he says that you've been staring at him since we first got here. I was wondering why."
Akio became flustered and looked away.
"Oh." He said quickly. "He noticed me- um. I..."
"If I didn't know any better," Sota teased. "I'd say that Akio has a crush on Ren."
"That's not it!" Akio exclaimed. "I... uh..." Sota began to sing.
"Akio and Ren sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-" Akio cut him off.
"Shut up Sota!" He snapped. "Unless you want a black eye!" Missa held out her hand, slowly lowering Akio's.
"There's nothing wrong with you liking Ren, Akio." She said. Once again, Akio looked away.
"I don't like him okay!" He said. "He just... reminds me of someone. So drop it! Okay?"
We all nodded, not wanting to be on the receiving end of one of Akio's punches. We all decided to go our separate ways until Ren got better. I tried to think of a place to go. I hadn't gone to the rollerskating rink yet. I used to love skating, so maybe it would be fun. I got on the train and headed to the fourth area.
The rink was large, and there were a bunch of bright flashing lights. It was almost identical to the one I went to as a kid. As I walked further into the building, I notice Koharu sitting at a table near the rink.
"Hey Koharu." I said. "I'm glad you're here. This place would feel really lonely if I was by myself."
That was true. The entire building was empty. It was almost unnerving. Koharu shrugged.
"I'm never lonely." She said. "I have my friends with me."
Right. The hallucinations caused by the car crash.
"Are your friends always with you?" I asked. Koharu nodded, but then stopped and shook her head instead.
"There was one time that they weren't." She said. "When I was a kid, my parent were okay with my friends. They said that I could stay with them if that made me happy. I could tell they didn't believe me, but I was fine with that." Koharu paused for a moment. She almost seemed... sad. I had never seen her look like that before.
"When I got older though." She continued. "My parents weren't as sure about my 'Imaginary friends'. They took me to a special doctor to get some help. The doctor gave me some medicine that they said would make things better, but when I took it, my friends disappeared! I tried to draw them like I usually did, but I couldn't since I couldn't see them. I felt so lonely when that happened, so I stopped taking the medicine. My parents were angry at first, but I made a deal with them. If I didn't have to take the medication, then I wouldn't talk to my friends in public, and I'd try to make human friends too."
I felt tears forming in my eyes. Now that she had finished the story, Koharu didn't seem as sad. I placed my hand on hers.
"If your friends ever leave again, I'll still be there for you." I said. Koharu smiled.
"Thank you Yui." She said. "But Erza says that you don't have to worry about them leaving."
I smiled and asked her if she wanted to skate. Koharu shook her head.
"No thank you." She said. "I'm just here because I find the flashing lights pretty. I don't know how to skate."
"I can teach you if you want." I offered. Koharu thought for a moment, and then nodded.
"Okay!" She replied.
The two of us skated for a bit. She held onto my hand a little too tightly at times, but it was still fun. After a while, we took a break to let our feet breath. The skates were tighter than I remembered. While we were doing this, the door opened to reveal Saruwatari.
"Oh! There you guys are!" He said.
"What do you need?" I asked.
"Ren is up and walking, so we're going to investigate the new area."