I felt a cold wind on my face. That was an unfamiliar feeling. The large city walls usually blocked all of the wind. Wondering where I was, I moved my arms to rub my eyes. Or, I would have if I could move my arms. I opened my eyes, instantly awake and alert. Obviously, I was in a dangerous situation.
Looking around, I saw that I was strapped to a chair. The sun was bright and the wind was biting at my skin. On either side of me the others were strapped to chairs as well, still unconscious. In front of us was something that looked like a large screen, similar to the one that showed the executions in the trial room. However, the most prominent feature of this new area, was the fact that it was extremely high up. I was able to look slightly behind me, and I soon realized that we were at the top of the wall in the centre of the city. All of the dividing walls converged into one place, creating a sort of tower looking structure.
I almost screamed when I realized that out chairs were right at the edge of the wall, but I managed to stop myself. It seemed that Sota couldn't.
Apparently he had woken up and seen the same thing as me. His scream woke up the others and while they didn't scream, they did have the same panicked look on their faces.
"Geez." Saruwatari said, appearing from behind the screen. "There's no reason to shout. It's just a 100m drop." He started laughing. No doubt because of the look of fear in our eyes.
"100 metres!?" Akio asked. "But that's 328 feet!"
How did he? Well, I suppose the Ultimate Carpenter would work in imperial. Not metric.
"Why are we up here?" Michiyo asked. "I thought you were going to execute us?" Saruwatari shrugged and walked up to her.
"I was going to." He said. "But that would be soooo boring! I thought that we should have a bit of fun instead!" I saw Michiyo try to kick Saruwatari, but unfortunately her legs were fastened to the chair. Missa on the other hand, seemed to scared to move.
"F-Fun?" She asked. Saruwatari clapped his hands together, a cheerful grin on his face.
"Yeah!" He exclaimed. "We're going to play a game! It's a really fun game!"
"And what do we get if we win?" Ren asked.
"You get to live!" The Mastermind answered.
What? Had I heard that right?
"We get to... live!?" I asked. Saruwatari nodded several times and pointed to the centre of the tower.
"Yep! There's an elevator in the middle here that will bring you to the exit." He said.
Looking over, I saw that he wasn't lying. There was a circle shaped indent on the ground, that looked like it was detached from the rest of the tower. I felt more hopeful just by looking at it. Ren on the other hand, didn't seem impressed.
"I'm almost afraid to ask." He said. "But what happens if we lose?"
Saruwatari's lips curled into a smirk.
"Do you think I chose this location for the view?" He asked sarcastically. "If you lose, your chair will lean back and you'll fall of the ledge!" Sota looked over his shoulder at the extreme fall.
"You could get really hurt if you fell from this high!" He said. Missa looked over at him.
"I think that you would die, Sota" She replied.
"So if we win we get to leave, and if we lose we die?" I asked. Saruwatari nodded.
"Yep! It's that simple!" He said cheerfully. Akio sighed.
"What do we have to lose?" He said. "If we don't play he's probably going to kill us right?" Ren nodded before turning back to Saruwatari.
"Fine Saruwatari." He said. "We'll play your game." Saruwatari grinned and clapped his hands together again.
"Okay!" He exclaimed. "In that case, let's explain the rules!" He walked over to a chair on the opposite side of the tower.
"I'll be participating in the game too since I'm technically still a student. Or... I guess student wouldn't be right. Either way, take it away Monokuma!"
Monokuma appeared from behind the screen. He had a microphone in his hand and was wearing a suit.
"Alright!" He said. "Welcome To Are You Smarter Than An Ultimate Despair!"
What kind of name was that? Everyone seemed confused, but Monokuma just continued.
"On this show, I will ask you a series of questions." He explained. "If you get them right, you will get a point! But three wrong answers will get you eliminated, and you will be forced to vacate the premises."
"But won't Saruwatari know all the answers?" Michiyo asked. Saruwatari shook his head.
"I won't be answering them." He said. "I'm in this chair to make things fair. If you guys win, I'll be thrown off the edge."
"What!?" Missa exclaimed. That hadn't been in the agreement. Michiyo shrugged.
"Good riddance." She snapped. "I'd push him off myself if we weren't stuck here." Missa looked from her, to Saruwatari and back again.
"We can't kill him to save ourselves!" She argued.
"Why not?" Saruwatari asked. "You've been doing that to your friends the whole time? Haven't you?"
Missa was silent after that. She knew he was right. Monokuma looked around before bringing the mic to his face again.
"If your pregame chatter is finished. Let's get started!" He shouted. He hit a button and the screen flickered to life. The game's title was there for a moment before the first question popped up.
"Okay! Question one! What is the current state of the world?"
a) Everything is normal
b) Society has been destroyed by mankind
c) The world is actually a video game.
So it was a multiple choice quiz? That made things a bit easier. We would be able to use the process of elimination. It seemed like Ren was thinking the same thing.
"It's not C." He said. "There's no way something like that could be true." I nodded. That left A and B. The answer would be A right? After all, the world had been fine before we got in here. But... my mind jumped back to the letter I had found. Something had been threatening the city. There were also all of those corpses in city hall. If everything was normal, then that wouldn't be the case. Which meant.
"Is the answer B?" I asked. The screen began flashing.
"COOOORRRECT!" Monokuma shouted. "The world has been destroyed by despair induced riots, violence and other such activities."
"What!?" Akio said. "That can't be true!" Monokuma shook his head and held up a book. It was the journal I had found in the mayor's office.
"It's definitely true!" Monokuma said, flipping through the pages of the book. "This journal Yui found proves it. Ah! Here ya go!" He began reading from the journal.
"The world has fallen into despair. So many cities have already fallen to violent riots and killing sprees. I've decided to turn this city into a safe haven. We'll build walls to keep the citizens safe and city hall will act as a keep if those demon bears attack." He closed the book.
"See?" He asked. "Society has been destroyed by mankind!"
So it was true? How did we not know about something like that? Had it happened while we were in the city? No. The city was destroyed before we got here. None of this made any sense. The other looked just as confused as me. Monokuma didn't seem to care that we were confused, and moved on to the next question.
"Alright!" He said. "Question two! Who caused all of this?"
A) That cult with the eye in the triangle
B) Saruwatari Kureno
C) Junko Enoshima
Well. It obviously wasn't A. I tried to figure out an answer, but Ren beat me to it.
"The answer is C." He said. "After all. Saruwatari said he was doing all of this for her."
"COOOORRRECT!" Monokuma exclaimed. "This destruction was put into motion by Ultimate Despair, Junko Enoshima!"
"One girl caused all of that destruction?" Sota asked. Saruwatari nodded.
"Yep! Such beautiful despair couldn't be created by anyone other than the Ultimate Despair herself."
Ignoring him, Monokuma moved onto the next question. I wished he would give us time to just process the information he was throwing at us.
"Question three. True or false bonus! You are the first people to go through this situation. True? Or false?"
I thought back to my theory. It seemed like now was the time to test it.
"False." I said.
"COOOORRRECT!" Monokuma exclaimed. He didn't need to be so enthusiastic every time. Some footage came up on the screen. It looked like shots of Hopes Peak Academy.
"Before you guys got to the city." Monokuma began. "A television show was aired called High School Life of Mutual Killing! There, 16 high school students had to do the exact same thing you guys did!"
So we weren't the first ones after all. Monokuma took out the book again.
"And if the footage isn't enough proof, then I have the mayor's journal as well! Here's what he said about it. "The Ultimate Despair has started airing a horrible show. The students of Hopes Peak Academy are being forced to kill each other! We've already lost the young pop star Sayaka Maizono." Monokuma flipped ahead a bit. "More and more students are dying in the show, and to make things worse, the demon bears are coming dangerously close to the city. I keep telling the citizens that they'll be safe but... I know that's a lie. Soon, I may need to move everyone to the city hall. I can't do anything else for them.""
It seemed like the corpses in the city hall had been the bloody result of that plan. Saruwatari laughed.
"I was actually a huge fan of the show that Junko aired." He admitted. "I even based my murder off one of the deaths in the show!"
"You're horrible!" Missa shouted. I agreed. Koharu's death had just been a result of his twisted adoration of this show? Did he even have a heart?
"I have a question." Ren said. "What happened to the students in the show?"
Monokuma thought for a moment, and then hit another button. The screen flashed to a shot of six students. They were silhouetted against the brightness of an opening door, but it was still obvious that they were teenagers.
"These six got out after Junko Enoshima was executed." Monokuma explained.
Junko was executed? But I thought Saruwatari said she was controlling Monokuma? Apparently, Michiyo had noticed this contradiction too.
"That makes no sense." She said. "I thought that Junko was controlling you?" Monokuma laughed.
"Don't try to skip ahead!" He said. "It'll make sense after the next question."
He hit the button and the screen switched to question four.
"How is Junko Enoshima still here?" Monokuma asked.
A) Her brain was transplanted into a different body
B) She's immortal
C) She was brought back to life with magic
Did this one even qualify as a question? Two of the answers weren't even possible.
"The answer is A" I said.
"Yes Correct. We get it." Michiyo said, cutting Monokuma off. Monokuma seemed to pout for a moment, but then the energy was back again.
"Yes. That's right!" He said. "Junko's brain was transplanted into a different body by... drum roll please." He pointed over to the solitary chair across from us. "Saruwatari Kureno! The Ultimate Doctor!"
So he had even lied about his talent? With every passing second I hated him more and more.
And if they had transplanted Junko's brain into a different person's body, then what had happened to the original brain? Had he killed someone just to keep her alive? I suppose that wouldn't be surprising.
It was strange though. With every question, I was becoming less and less surprised by the answer. Was I just unable to believe these things anymore? Or was I just accepting the fact that things were messed up now and that I just had to ride this out until the end?
"Question five." Monokuma said, moving on. "If Junko's alive, then what's the problem?"
A) The body is rejecting the brain.
B) Junko's consciousness is needed.
C) All of the above.
Yet again, I found myself confused by the question. Did Monokuma want us to win? The answers were way too obvious. Why put an "all of the above" choice if it wasn't the answer?
"All of the above." I answered. Missa nodded.
"Does anyone else think these questions are too easy?" She asked. So I wasn't the only one who thought that.
"Too easy?" Monokuma asked. "I can up the difficulty if you want!" Missa shook her head. The easier this was, the better, right? After all, if we won, we got to leave! Though I still couldn't shake the feeling that they were easy for a reason. What was Monokuma planning?
"You're right by the way." Monokuma said. "The new body is rejecting the brain, and to fix that we need a certain USB in the hands of the Future Foundation."
"So are you saying Junko Enoshima's consciousness is on this USB?" Ren asked. Monokuma nodded.
"It sure is!" He said. "And it's the only way to get the body to accept the brain. Otherwise we'll have more mishaps like the incident after the trial today."
Was he talking about his change of character? So that was a result of the body rejecting the brain. Perhaps it was going back to the old host's personality.
"Sixth question." Monokuma said. It seemed like his enthusiasm had completely disappeared after Michiyo's interruption. Had she hurt his feelings or something?
"Who are you?"
A) Students of Hopes Peak Academy
B) Members of the Future Foundation
C) Characters in a book
Once again, C was out. We obviously weren't characters in a book. Which left A and B. I would have answered A immediately if it weren't for what Monokuma had said in the bunker. He said we were all members of the Future Foundation. I looked over at Ren. He seemed confused as well. No doubt he was thinking the same thing as me. It looked like no one else was going to answer, so I decided to take a leap of faith.
"Is the answer B?" I asked. We had three strikes, so it would be fine if we got just one wrong. To my surprise, Monokuma's enthusiasm came back.
"COOOORRRECT!" He exclaimed. "All of you are members of the Future Foundation!"
"What the heck are you talking about?" Akio asked. I agreed. I had chosen B because of what Monokuma had said, but I didn't want it to be true. Were we really members of a horrible group like that?
"You guys work for the Future Foundation. Monokuma said. "In fact, that's what got you into this situation in the first place! You guys are technically hostages. The cameras around the city, weren't just for me to see the murders. This entire thing was being broadcasted to the Future Foundation as a motivation. When they sent us the USB, the game would end!" Monokuma laughed, looking at one of the cameras. "But the Future Foundation abandoned you guys just like they abandoned this city."
"No! That's not true!"
I looked over to the source of the objection. That wasn't a voice I recognized. It had come from one of the walls branching off from the tower. Running towards us was a young woman in a white dress shirt, grey shorts and black tights that matched her tie. She had brown hair pulled up into a ponytail and seemed pretty muscular. I was surprised to see her, but apparently not as surprised as Monokuma.
"Swim freak!?" He asked in a shocked tone. I guess the two of them knew each other. Apparently Saruwatari knew her too.
"It's you!" He exclaimed. "It's actually you!"
The woman stopped running and looked at Saruwatari.
"Yeah. It's me." She said. "And you're the weirdo who's been showing us all those videos."
Videos? Then that meant...
"You're part of the Future Foundation?" I asked. The woman nodded.
"Yeah. I'm sorry we didn't come sooner." She said. "The higher ups wouldn't let us, but we broke the rules and came here anyways."
"We?" Missa asked. The woman nodded and a young man stepped out from behind her. I wasn't sure how I hadn't seen him before. He was wearing a black suit and had very spiky light brown hair.
"Yes." He replied. "After the final murder, I couldn't have stopped Asahina, even if I wanted to."
The woman, Asahina, pointed at Saruwatari. She seemed furious.
"That guy is a freak!" She shouted. "Copying Sakura's suicide like that. It's completely disrespectful and he needs to pay." I heard Ren sigh.
"Well, now that you're here," He said. "Wouldn't it be better to help us rather than just talking?" Asahina turned to face Ren, the anger immediately fading.
"Oh! Right." She said. "About that..." Her partner shook his head.
"All the chairs control mechanisms are attached." He explained. "It doesn't matter who wins or loses. You'll all go off the side."
So that was why the questions were so easy. Monokuma just wanted to toy with us before going through with the group execution we had escaped earlier. I noticed that Akio was practically fuming after this new information.
"Saruwatari! You were totally cheating!" He shouted. Saruwatari shook his head. He looked shocked, but there was a chance that it was just an act like before.
"I didn't have any part in that!" He said. "I made the game fair! Just like the Ultimate Despair would."
Once again, an unfamiliar voice filled the air. This time, it came from behind the screen.
"One thing you should know about the Ultimate Despair," the person said. "Is that I get bored easily."