"What!?" I exclaimed. "What do you mean we're wrong?"
I felt a strange mixture of relief and fear. Koharu hadn't committed suicide, but at the same time...
"Wrong! Incorrect! Mistaken! Fallacious! Not the correct answer! Wrong!" Monokuma replied.
"Wait!" Sota shouted, cutting off the walking thesaurus. "But if it wasn't a suicide then, who killed Koharu?"
That was right. If it wasn't a suicide then one of us killed her. While we waited for Monokuma to answer, I heard a slow, blood chilling laugh behind me. It slowly grew more intense until it was practically maniacal.
"I did! You idiot." Saruwatari revealed.
"I-Idiot?" Sota stuttered. Saruwatari tilted his head to the side, nodding slowly.
"Yep. Idiot." He said bluntly. "You guys are a bunch of gullible, unintelligent, pathetic idiots."
This wasn't like Saruwatari at all! Just like Mayu, it was like he was a different person entirely. He started to laugh again.
"I can't believe you guys actually fell for that!" He said once he caught his breath. Then his face became neutral. "You have no idea how tiresome it is to play such a boring character day after day!"
We all stared at the boy before us, completely dumbfounded. I had no idea how to react to this. Apparently Akio didn't either.
"I'm so confused." He said. "What is going on?" Saruwatari sighed.
"Fine. If I have to explain it." He said. "The Saruwatari you guys have been talking to this whole time, was just an act! There's no way I'd actually be someone so quaint and nice and just so, so boring!"
His face scrunched up as he talked about his other persona. Had that really been an act? Or maybe this was just a nervous breakdown. Yeah! That had to be it.
"Your personality aside," Ren said. "You're telling us that you killed Koharu? But how? All the evidence pointed to suicide." Once again, Saruwatari sighed, seeming more annoyed than bored this time.
"Do I really have to explain every little thing to you losers?" He asked. "Fine. I sent notes to Sota, Missa and Koharu. Sota and Missa came and left just like they said, then I hid in the rec room. When Koharu got there, I knocked her out with the pool cue, and used the blood to leave the message. Since she was super gullible, she believed me without a second thought when I told her someone had attacked her and ran off. I helped her to the couch and gave her the cup. Then I gave her these instructions."
His face changed to the relaxed, kind Saruwatari we had known before.
"Koharu, the killer may still be out there. I'm going to get help, but when I'm gone, block the door with the chair and don't open it for anyone but me. Also, drink this. It will help with the head ache."
Once again, Saruwatari's face changed.
"I told her to sit down when she drank it, since it might make her sleepy. Then I left to get tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber over there." He pointed at Ren and I. "They did exactly as expected, and Koharu played her part perfectly as well."
So Saruwatari had manipulated all of us? He had manipulated Koharu? Using her trust to his advantage? Why? Why would he do this?
"Why are you acting like this, Saruwatari?" I asked. Saruwatari held up his arms when he answered, almost as if he were praising something.
"To avenge my greatest love, Junko Enoshima." He said, before lowering his arms again. "There's no need to tell you more than that. You're all going to be dead soon anyways."
"Then does this mean..." Missa began. "Saruwatari, are... are you the mastermind?"
"Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!" Saruwatari said loudly, making Missa jump. "We've got a winner! You are absolutely correct Missa!" He started laughing, pointing at the pianist.
"Oh! You should see the look of despair on your face! It's priceless!" He said. Ren shook his head. He looked about as confused as I felt.
"But, if you're the mastermind, then who's controlling Monokuma?" He asked. Saruwatari stopped laughing, becoming serious once again.
"If you just need to know, then I guess I can tell you." He said, like a little boy desperate to share a juicy secret. "He's being controlled by my sister. Junko Enoshima!"
What? How did that even make any sense?
"But isn't that the girl you're avenging?" Michiyo asked. "How can you avenge her if she's still alive?"
Saruwatari answered with a groan.
"Why do you guys keep asking so many questions!?" He asked. "It's so lame! Why this, why that, blah blah blah! Just shut up already!"
We wouldn't need to ask so many questions if he would just give us a straight answer.
"We just want to know why you would do this!" I said. "We didn't kill your friend, so why are you taking this out on us?" Saruwatari laughed and began praising the invisible object again.
"It's my sacrifice to the Ultimate Despair!" He answered. "For Junko Enoshima will never truly die so long as despair exists in this world!" He turned to one of the cameras.
"Your time is up!" He said. "Now, I've prepared some very special punishments for these students." He turned to Monokuma. "Right Monokuma?"
All eyes turned to Monokuma. The bear was silent, and it almost looked like he had shut down. All of a sudden, he sprang back to life.
"Everyone run to the elevator! I'll stop him!" He shouted.
"What!?" Saruwatari exclaimed. I agreed. That wasn't like Monokuma at all. But I didn't have time to question it. Using the confusion to our advantage, we ran to the elevator. It went back up to the surface. We were in there for what seemed like an eternity. When the doors opened again, Akio was the first to step outside.
"Where should we go?" He asked. Ren started running towards the train station.
"Follow me." He said, waving us over. At the train station, he jumped onto the tracks before doubling over. Was he having an attack? He took out his inhaler and began to use it.
"Get... to the... bunkers." He said between breaths. We continued running, Akio carrying Ren over his shoulder. As we climbed onto the fifth train station, Missa pointed at one of the cameras.
"What about the cameras?" She said.
"We'll just have to break them." I answered.
"If we spilt up, we can cover more ground." Michiyo suggested. I nodded.
"We don't need to break all of them." I said. "Just enough that it will be harder to find us." They all nodded and split up. Akio stopped me and put Ren down.
"I can reach the cameras easier than you." He said. "Take Ren to the bunker and keep an eye on him."
I nodded and Akio ran off. I offered Ren my shoulder for support, but he shook his head.
"I can walk." He said.
We headed over to the bunkers as quickly as we could. I broke some cameras on the way. We both climbed into the closest bunker and closed the door. I broke the camera there as well. Ren seemed to have caught his breath, but I still made him sit down on one of the beds. It didn't take long for everyone to get there.
"Are you all okay?" I asked. They all nodded. Missa pointed to the now locked door.
"There are Monokumas all over the place." She said.
"Did they follow you here?" Ren asked. Michiyo shook her head.
"I don't think so." She answered. "I know that I got here without them spotting me."
The others nodded, saying it was the same for them. I sighed.
"But it's probably only going to be a matter of time before they find us." I said. We all sat for a bit, making ourselves comfortable on the beds, but still alert.
"I just can't believe what just happened." Missa said after a bit. "Is Saruwatari really... was that really him?" Ren nodded.
"It seems that the Saruwatari we met at the beginning of this whole ordeal wasn't his true persona." He said. "The real Saruwatari Kureno was the person we saw at the end of that trial."
Once again we all sat in silence. How had we all been fooled by his act? He had been a source of hope for all of us. He had done so much for everyone, figuring things out in the class trials, cheering us up when we were sad. And now... Had all of that really been fake?
"Well, we don't have time to just sit around." Sota said. "We need to get out of here!" Michiyo shook her head.
"We've been trying to get out of here since day one." She said. "It's not possible."
We heard a rustle outside. Something was moving around near the entrance. It was muffled, but I could still make out Monokuma's voice.
"Where are you rule breakers?" He asked. "You can't escape your punishments!"
"He's right outside!" Akio said. Ren covered the carpenters mouth.
"Then keep your voice down you idiot." He said. Akio nodded and Ren lowered his hand. He seemed to be deep in thought for a moment.
"The only thing I can think of if the class trial room." He said in a hushed tone. "Maybe there's a way out there." Missa shook her head.
"I'm pretty sure the only way in and out of the courtroom is through the elevator." She said before we heard another rustle outside. We all froze until the footsteps moved away. It seemed like whatever miracle that had caused him to save us in the class trial had passed now.
"Then what are we going to do?" Sota asked once it was silent again. Missa gestured to the door.
"What if someone distracted the Monokumas?" She asked.
"And then what?" I replied. "We don't have anywhere to go."
Before anyone could respond to what I had said, the monitor flickered to life. We all jumped at the sound of Monokuma's voice.
"Ahem. This is a Public Service Announcement." He began. "For the wanted criminals hiding out in the city, I have some important information for you. So listen up! Before coming to this city, none of you knew each other. I didn't wipe your memories at all! None of you ever stepped foot inside Hopes Peak Academy."
What the heck was he talking about? He was the one who had told us that our memories had been wiped. Why was he suddenly changing what he said?
"He must be trying to trick us." Sota said. The monitor turned on again.
"You're probably saying "He must be trying to trick us," but I can honestly say that this is definitely the truth." Monokuma said. "You guys aren't students! You're members of the Future Foundation! The school shut down right before your first year. I guess you guys just have rotten luck huh. Now, if you're curious as to what this all means, then come out and I'll tell you! If not, I will find you eventually anyways. Seeya! Puhuhu!"
This time, the monitor stayed off.
"What the heck is the Future Foundation?" Akio asked. Now seemed like a good time to tell them what I had found, since Monokuma was after me anyways.
"I've heard of them." I said. All eyes turned to me. I explained what I had found. About the Future Foundation leaving the city to defend itself, and then I told them about Monokuma stealing the book and letter. They all listened patiently and in the end Ren was the first to speak.
"So you didn't get a chance to read the journal?" He asked. I shook my head. Ren sighed. "Then it must have had some important information in it."
"Not to mention the fact that the Future Foundation Members are complete jerks!" Akio said. "Monokuma said that we're part of a corporation like that?" Missa shook her head.
"That can't be true!" She exclaimed. "After all, there would be no reason to join. There's no way Hopes Peak Academy shut down. Monokuma has to be lying."
She was right. If Monokuma was lying about stealing our school memories, then three years hadn't gone by. If that was the case, then Hopes Peak would still be open.
"You're right!" I said. "This is probably exactly what Monokuma wants! He's trying to confuse us!"
"Well he definitely succeeded." Sota groaned. Michiyo sighed.
"We can worry about all this later." She said. "Right now, we need to focus on the current situation."
"Michiyo is right." Ren agreed. "We need to figure out a way out of here." He stopped talking and started sniffing the air, a look of concern on his face.
"Does anyone smell that?" He asked. I started sniffing as well.
"It smells like... gas?" I said. Sota yawned.
"It wasn't me..." he said, his voice trailing off. My head started going fuzzy and my vision blurred. Before I knew it, I was falling, both to the floor and into a deep sleep.
Everything went black.