We passed each of the already opened areas as the train made it's way to the newly opened fifth one. I looked over to Ren. He seemed pale, but was still able to walk. Missa was sitting next to him, looking out the window.
"What do you think this area will be?" She asked. Michiyo shrugged.
"Probably something completely stupid and ridiculous." She answered. We entered the final tunnel. It was dark inside, and I felt my curiosity growing. I looked out the window, trying to find the bright light at the end. But... there wasn't one. The train left the tunnel and left every one of us speechless. We got off and took in the new, dark, despair filled area.
The entire section was a demolished downtown area. There were large grey skyscrapers just barely covered by the walls. Cement paths led to each one, and each of these were surrounded by dead brown grass. In the middle of the area was a large machine surrounded by barbed wire. We started walking down the street.
"What happened here?" Sota asked.
"I'm not sure." I replied. "And I don't know if I want to find out."
"Well, it's definitely different than the other areas." Ren said. "I'm sure we'll find something of interest here." He stumbled, tripping on some of the debris. Akio caught him and held him upright.
"Thank you Akio." Ren said. "But you do know that just because I look like him, doesn't mean I am him." Akio nodded and sighed.
"I know." He admitted. "But I just can't help but feel protective, you know?"
Him? Who were they talking about? Apparently Saruwatari was curious too.
"What are you two talking about?" He asked. Ren stepped away from Akio so he could face the rest of us. The carpenter let go of his shoulder.
"Akio and I had a discussion regarding his constant staring." Ren explained. "He finally explained his actions." Akio sighed.
"He reminds me of my boyfriend from before all this happened." He admitted. "Okay? Are you happy now?"
"So you don't have a crush on Ren?" Sota asked. Akio shook his head.
"No. I just can't help feeling protective." He said. "He looks almost identical to him."
I knew the feeling.
"Nonetheless." Ren continued, turning back to Akio. "I can take care of myself, so I don't need your help."
"Yeah. I got it." Akio said. Saruwatari gestured to the path.
"We should probably keep going." He suggested. We all nodded and began walking again. Looking around, we saw that all of the skyscrapers were either to destroyed to enter, or boarded up. Just as we were beginning to lose hope of finding anything of interest, we reach the end of the street. In front of us was the only building in relatively good condition. It looked like a government building, probably a city hall or something similar. The sign above the main entrance was all scratched up. No doubt the original cities' name had been written there once. Now, the name Monocity had been crudely painted on with what I hoped was red paint. The entire area was fenced off with barbed wire fences, but the large gate in the centre was wide open. We decided to split up and investigate.
Saruwatari and I headed over to the side, near the large grey walls. There were three strange, military looking buildings. When I looked closer, I saw that they were bunkers. I wasn't sure if I should go inside. Saruwatari must have noticed that I was nervous.
"I can go first if you want." He offered. I nodded. I felt bad about making him go alone, but I didn't think my legs would move. Saruwatari disappeared into the ground, and it was silent for a while. Just as I was starting to feel really worried, the hatch opened up again.
"It's safe to come down." Saruwatari said. "There's nothing too dangerous." Nodding, I followed him into the bunker. The inside was a large cement room. Cots lined the walls, and there were shelves and cabinets in the middle. Each of these was filled with supplies. There was also what I think was a makeshift bathroom.
Saruwatari had been looking around, but walked back over to me.
"I think it's some sort of shelter." He said. "But I can't think of anything someone would need to take shelter from." I nodded.
"Yeah." I said. "I'm pretty sure that the country isn't in any wars right now."
Saruwatari walked back to the ladder.
"I'll go check the other two." He said. "You should go back and tell the others." Once again, I nodded, following him out of the bunker. Saruwatari turned to the side, entering the next bunker. I moved over the barbed wire fence, where Akio and Koharu were investigating.
"Did you guys find anything?" I asked. Akio shrugged.
"It looks like the whole city hall area is blocked off with barbed wire fences." He said before pointing to the open gate. "And there's a huge gate with a lock that can be closed."
I looked at the gate for a moment. Even open, it made me feel anxious.
"Why would they need something like that?" I asked. "Do you think that this has something to do with the lack of people in the city?" Koharu shrugged.
"We're not sure." She said. "But it might be good to look around a bit more."
I nodded and made my way to the city hall main entrance. I noticed Ren and Missa. Missa wall pulling at some boards fastened to the door, while Ren watched.
"What's going on here?" I asked. Ren sighed.
"We tried to get in, but the door was blocked off." He explained. "I offered to try and pull them off, but Missa told me to stay here." This time, Missa sighed. She walked over to us, brushing off her hands on her dress.
"I managed to get one off." She said. "But there were more underneath. I don't think we're going to get in that way."
"That's unfortunate." Ren said. Before any of us could reply though, Sota began running over to us, shouting at the top of his lungs.
"Guys!" He shouted. "You'll never guess what we just found!" Michiyo was jogging behind him.
"There's no need to shout Sota." She said with an annoyed tone. "It's not that amazing."
Saruwatari and the others ran over, probably wanting to know why Sota was shouting.
"What's not that amazing?" Saruwatari asked. Sota pointed over the shed he had been investigating.
"In the shed over there, there are a bunch of weapons!" Sota explained. "Guns, Knives, rope, spears, any weapon you can name." Saruwatari looked over to the shed.
"Why would something like that be here?" He asked. Michiyo shrugged.
"I'm guessing Monokuma put it there." She said. Ren nodded.
"That does make sense." He admitted. "It would definitely help with his sick game." Sota nodded as well, before looking at the rest of us.
"So what did you guys find?" He asked.
"We were looking for a way to get into city hall." Ren began "But unfortunately, the door is boarded up."
"I tried to pull off the planks, but it was really difficult." Missa added.
"We'll look again later." Ren said. "There has to be a reason it's been blocked off." Akio gestured to the fence and gate.
"We found out that the fence has a huge gate with a lock." He shared. Koharu nodded.
"The hinges are still working, so we could use it if we ever needed too." She said. That left Saruwatari and I.
"Yui and I found some underground bunkers." Saruwatari said. This got everyone's attention.
"Underground!?" Akio asked. "Do you think we could dig our way out from there?" I shook my head.
"The walls were concrete." I said. "I don't think we could." Koharu pointed at the weapons shed.
"Wouldn't there be pickaxes in the shed?" She said. Sota nodded.
"Yeah! There were!" He said excitedly. "I'll go get them!" He started to run off to the shed, but was cut off by Monokuma's high pitched voice.
"Don't even think about it!" He snapped. Sota stopped immediately and we all turned to face the bear. I hadn't even noticed him until he had spoken.
"I am soooo disappointed in you all." Monokuma said. "Planning to vandalize city property! How could you!?" He began to make sobbing noises. It kind of lost the effect coming from him. "That's against the law you know!" He said after a bit. Koharu shook her head.
"There's no law against it." She said. Monokuma's fake crying stopped.
"There isn't?" He asked. "Well then! I need to fix that. New law! No vandalizing city property!"
I took out my E-Handbook, and sure enough, that had been added to the rules page. I guess that meant we weren't going to dig our way out of here. Monokuma laughed.
"By the way." He said. "This is the last area! So don't go touching any of those pickaxes! Unless it's going to end up in someone's head! Puhuhu!"
Then he left. Wait. Had I heard him properly?
"The last area?" I asked.
"Then, we should investigate more, right?" Missa asked. "If if we don't find anything here then-" She was cut off by the sound of the monitors turning on.
"This is a public service announcement. It is now 10pm, and nighttime has officially begun. For your own safety, it is recommended that you stay indoors. Well then, good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!"
We all waited for the announcement to end. After it had, Ren sighed and shook his head.
"It would probably be best to postpone the investigation until tomorrow." He suggested. We all nodded and starting walking back to the train station. While we were waiting, I remembered what I had thought about the night before.
"Guys wait!" I said.
"What's wrong Yui?" Sota asked. I made sure I had everyone's attention.
"I think I figured something out yesterday." I said.
I explained my theory about the photos. How I thought that we weren't the first ones to go through Monokuma's sick game, and the photos may have been the participants of the first one. Everyone listened quietly.
"But if this happened to them..." Missa said. "Then, where are they now?"
"Well, if Monokuma did it again," Michiyo began. "Then I'm guessing the first one finished according to plan. So they're probably all dead."
"Except the winner." Saruwatari added. A silence fell over the group as we thought about that. What had happened to the last group. Did they even exist? Maybe my theory was completely wrong.
The train arrived and we got on. Still processing what we had discussed. It was a short train ride since the train track had come full circle. It was only one stop to the first area. Once we got off the train, Koharu shrugged.
"Well, we should go sleep." She suggested. "It's just a theory after all." She started walking to the hotel and the rest of us followed, each of us going to our own rooms.
I laid in bed for a bit, staring at the photos. Who were these people? Are we like them? Are they dead?
Once again, I fell asleep with my head full of questions. Questions that only Monokuma knew the answers too.
But we would find them soon enough.