Dangan Ronpa, City of Despair

Chapter 30

"Let's begin with a basic explanation of the class trial." Monokuma began. "The result of the trial is determined by your own votes. If the correct culprit is chosen, then only they will receive punishment. But if you choose the wrong one, I'll punish everyone besides the blackened, and they alone will get to leave!" Monokuma paused for a moment. "Yes! I made it through without any interruptions this time!"

Saruwatari was the first to speak.

"Let's start with discussing the murder weapon." He suggested. "It was probably the pool cue."

"Yeah." Akio said. "Of course it is! It has Koharu's blood on it. There's no need to debate this."

Was there really no need? I had a feeling it wasn't that simple.

"That might not be true." I argued.

"Why not?" Akio asked.

"Well, somethings been bothering me since we got the Monokuma file." I said.

"Are you talking about the fact that the cause of death wasn't specified?" Ren asked. I nodded.

"If the cause of death was the blows to the head from the pool cue," I began. "Then that why isn't that written in the file?" Sota shrugged.

"Maybe Monokuma got lazy?" He suggested. Monokuma stood up and pointed at the botanist.

"How dare you accuse me of that!" He snapped. "I put a lot of care and effort into those files! There's no way I'd forget something so important! I need to provide you with the information you need!"

"Then what was the cause of death?" Sota asked. Monokuma sat back down.

"It's a secret." He said. Michiyo sighed.

"But what Yui is saying is just speculation." She said monotonously. "There's nothing proving that it wasn't the pool cue."

Just speculation? Oh really?

"No! That's Wrong!" I shouted. Michiyo jumped.

"You don't have to be so rude about it." She said. Whoops. Guess I got carried away.

"Sorry." I said. "It's just that there's evidence proving it. We found the pool cue and blood on the carpet near the door, which means that that is probably where Koharu was hit. If the blows to the head were the cause of death, then why was she sitting on the couch when we found her?" Missa put up her hand.

"Maybe the killer moved the body?" She suggested. Ren shook his head.

"There were no signs that the body had been moved." He argued. "There would also be no reason. What is there to gain from moving the body to the couch?" Saruwatari tilted his head to the side.

"Well, what if Koharu moved there?" He asked.

Could she have done that?

"She died instantly." I said. "So that's not a possibility."

"In that case," Sota began. "If the pool cue wasn't the cause of death, then what was?"

What else could have killed Koharu? I thought back to what I had found at the crime scene.

"She might have been poisoned." I suggested. Ren's eyes lit up.

"That's it!" He exclaimed. Akio jumped from the sudden exclamation.

"What is!?" He asked.

"When we were investigating, we found a cup at Koharu's feet." Ren explained. "The smell seemed familiar, and I just remembered what it is." Michiyo sighed.

"Then stop beating around the bush and say it." She snapped. Ren nodded.

"The smell was poison." He answered.

"Then the cause of death was the poison in the cup." I said. "Not the blows to the head."

"That would make the most sense." Ren agreed. "But then that creates a problem. Why did the killer hit her on the head, and then poison her?"

"Maybe it will be easier to figure out the killer's thoughts if we have a better idea of who they are." Saruwatari suggested. He looked over to me. Was he trying to tell me something? Oh, right! The ace up our sleeve. Or, in my pocket would be more accurate. I didn't want to accuse her, but it was the only lead we had.

"Well, one suspect is Missa." I said. Missa's head snapped up.

"Me!?" She asked. Saruwatari nodded.

"We found your name written in blood in a magazine, and Koharu's finger had blood on it." He explained. "So in other words..." He let his voice trail off. Akio decided to finish the statement.

"Koharu left a dying message!" He exclaimed.

"But didn't she die instantly?" Michiyo asked. Ren shook his head.

"If we're assuming the cause of death was poison, then there would have been some time between when she was attacked and when she consumed the poison." He said.

"So then, Missa is the one who attacked Koharu?" Akio asked. This time, Missa shook her head.

"But that's impossible!" She exclaimed. "I'm not the killer!" Michiyo crossed her arms.

"Do you have any proof?" She asked.

"I left before Koharu got there!" Missa blurted out. She quickly covered her mouth, obviously not meaning to say that.

"So you were at the rec room today?" I asked. Missa sighed and lowered her hands.

"Yes. I was." She admitted. "But I was there at 2:30. I was nowhere near the room at the time of death." Akio tilted his head to the side.

"Why were you there?" He asked.

"I was told to go there." Missa answered. Ren fixed his glasses before turning to the pianist.

"Told by who?" He asked. Missa took a small piece of paper out of her pocket.

"By whoever wrote this note." She answered. Sota seemed to get nervous.

"Note?" He asked. Missa nodded.

"Someone slid it underneath my door this morning." She explained. It says "Come to the rec room at 2:30. I need to talk to you. It's important. Also, please don't tell anyone about the meeting""

That didn't seem suspicious at all.

"Do you know who sent it?" I asked. Missa shook her head.

"No. I don't. Sorry." She said.

"So you were called to the rec room, and you went?" Ren asked. Missa sighed and nodded her head.

"Yes." She answered. "But no one was there, so after about ten minutes, I left." I noticed that Sota seemed more nervous than confused now.

"That's weird" He said under his breath. Apparently I wasn't the only one who had heard him.

"What's weird?" Ren asked. Sota's head snapped up and he started smiling like an idiot.

"Oh! Um... Nothing! Hahaha." He said nervously. Saruwatari raised an eyebrow.

"Sota? You're acting kind of suspicious." He said. Sota looked around at all of us, and we all stared back. It didn't take long for him to break.

"Fine! I'll talk! I got a note too okay!" He confessed.

"What?" Ren said. Sota nodded and took the note out of his pocket.

"Yeah. I got one, and it said the same thing as Missa's." He said, showing the note to all of us. "Only, mine said to meet at 2:00. Not 2:30."

"Did you go?" Saruwatari asked. Sota nodded.

"Yeah." He replied. "But no one was there, so I left."

That's what Missa had said as well.

"What if he's lying!?" Akio asked. "What if he's the killer?"

Could both Missa and Sota be lying?

"If he had stayed, then Missa would have seen him when she went to the rec room." I argued.

"Oh. Yeah." Akio replied. "Sorry." Ren sighed.

"Before we continue, did anyone else get a letter from this mystery person?" He asked. "No? Okay, so in that case, both of you were called to the rec room, but left before Koharu arrived?" Both Missa and Sota nodded. "In that case?" Ren continued. "Why was Missa's name written in blood?"

"Because she's the killer." Michiyo said bluntly. "Isn't it Koharu's dying message? Like what happened with Koizumi?" I shook my head.

"I don't think that's the case." I said. "Because if we're assuming that Missa is the killer, then something doesn't make sense." Everyone stared at me, silently waiting for me to explain.

"How did Missa get out?" I asked. Saruwatari nodded slowly.

"Oh yeah! That's right!" He said. "The room was locked when we got there."

"That's easy!" Sota exclaimed. "She broke the window and opened the door!"

"Sorry Sota." I replied. "But it was Ren that broke the window when we discovered the body."

Sota had been proud of his answer, but his shoulders slumped with my reply.

"Oh." He said. I felt kinda bad for him.

"Regardless of who broke the window," Ren said, "We may have a locked room murder on our hands." Michiyo crossed her arms. She almost seemed to be bored with the trial.

"I've spent quite a lot of time in that room." She said. "And I can say with complete certainty that the door is the only way out." Missa seemed to be feeling a bit more confident now.

"That means I'm innocent right?" She asked. "If there's no way for the killer to get out, then the killer would have had to still be in there when you broke in." Akio nodded.

"Was there anyone in there when you guys broke in?" He asked. Saruwatari shook his head.

"No." He answered. "The only person who was in there was..." His face suddenly became pale as he realized what this meant. Unfortunately, I had figured it out as well.

"Koharu." I said, finishing the sentence." Sota frowned.

"So that means that... Koharu is the killer?" He asked. Michiyo seemed to be interested now. Interested, but not happy.

"Are you saying she committed suicide?" She asked. I didn't want that to be the truth, but...

"It would solve the problem of a locked room murder." I said. Ren nodded.

"It could also explain the notes." He added. "It's just speculation, but perhaps Koharu wanted to speak with you both before she made the attempt, but then she decided against it and didn't show up." Sota shook his head. I could tell he didn't want to believe it either.

"Why would she want to talk to us?" He asked. This stumped Ren for a moment.

"Maybe she wanted you to talk her out of it." He suggested.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"But, Koharu doesn't seem like the kind of person who would commit suicide!" I argued. Saruwatari shook his head.

"Well, it's not always obvious you know?" He said. "She might have just been hiding how she was really feeling from us."

No... No! There had to be something!

"But what about the magazine?" I asked. "Why would she write down Missa's name?" This time, Michiyo answered.

"She was probably trying to take us all down with her by making it seem like Missa was the killer." She said.

It couldn't be the truth.

"But Koharu... she would never..."

"It's probably the same as what happened with Mayu." Akio said. I shook my head.

"I still refuse to believe it!" I said. "Why... why would she..." I tried to think of something I could say to prove them wrong. Some evidence that I could present. Anything that I could do. I refused to accept that it was a suicide.

"Why would she hit herself in the head?" I asked. This seemed to stump them. I had convinced them! I knew it couldn't be a suicide. But then... Saruwatari spoke.

"Well, she was always talking to her, friends, right?" He asked. "They were probably trying to talk her out of it, so she hit her head to make them disappear."

Everyone nodded. I had nothing left. Did Koharu really commit suicide? Once again, Saruwatari was the first to speak.

"So to make sure we've got things straight, lets go over the case from the beginning." He said. "Koharu sent notes to both Missa and Sota, asking them to meet her in the rec room. She was planning on committing suicide, and most likely wanted them to talk her out of it. However, she didn't show up. This is most likely because she was getting the poison, or had decided 100% that she was going to go through with it. Once they left, Koharu headed to the rec room. She prepared the poison, pouring it into the Styrofoam cup with water and blocking the door. However, subconsciously, she was still uncertain, and her hallucinations tried to convince her to not do it. To silence them, she hit herself on the head with the pool cue. Discombobulated, she made her way to the coach, where she prepared to drink the poison. But first, she decided to take us down with her. She wrote down Missa's name on the paper to make us think she was the killer. She then drank the poison, dying instantly and dropping the cup. Soon after, I saw her in the rec room, got Ren and Yui, and, we all know the rest."

The room was silent once Saruwatari finished the explanation. None of us wanted to believe that it was a suicide. We didn't want to admit it. The silence was broke when Monokuma stood up on his throne.

"I'm going to take your silence as a sign that it's voting time!" He said. "Use the lever to your side to choose who you think did it! Will you choose the right one? Or the dreadfully wrong one? What's it gonna be? What's it gonna be!?"

We pulled the levers and the screen came down. The slot machine image began and the face that came up was... Monokuma's? He began laughing. He had never laughed before during this part of the trial.

"You're absolutely, 100%, undeniably..."

I felt my muscles tighten as I realized that something wasn't right. As I heard him say that word, my blood ran cold.

"Wrong."

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