After the trial, no one could get any sleep. All of our minds were haunted by the crime scene. Haunted by Kinji's execution. Haunted by what we had done. We were the ones that had pulled the lever. Kinji had been so nice to me. To everyone. He had brought us hope in this despair ridden world. But then he was gone. We voted for him to be punished. We killed him.
I got out of bed and began pacing back and forth. I needed to do something to keep my mind occupied. My thoughts turned to Ren. He had seemed so distressed in the dining hall. I decided to go check on him.
Grabbing my hoodie, I left my room. After locking my door, I turned around and ran straight into Isoya.
"Oh! Sorry!" I said quickly. "I didn't see you there." I backed up out of his personal space.
"It's fine." He said. "I should have been looking where I was going."
Once he finished speaking, we stood in silence for a bit. Since I couldn't get a read on him, I never knew what to say to Isoya. Instead, I looked around. It was very dark out, and besides a few scattered lamp posts, the only source of light was the stars. I couldn't make out anything on the ground, so instead I looked up. I wasn't used to being able to see so many stars. The view was breathtaking. I realized however, that I was standing with my head back and mouth open in awe, with Isoya less than a meter away watching. Embarrassed, I looked at the ground, trying to distract him from what I had just done.
"So what are you doing out so late?" I asked. He shrugged.
"Miss Missa was in a state of shock after what happened. He explained. "She wouldn't leave the dining hall, so I stayed with her and carried her to her room once she fell asleep. Now I am heading back to my own room to rest."
"Right." I said. "The rules say that you can't sleep anywhere other than the hotel, so it would have been bad if she had slept there." After bit more silence, Isoya spoke again.
"Might I ask what you are doing out so late?" He asked.
"I was having trouble sleeping." I answered. "So I thought that I should go check on Ren." Isoya shook his head.
"It's best to give him time to come to terms with the loss of his brother." He said. I nodded. He was right.
"Do you feel sad that we lost Kinji and Koizumi?" I asked. He always seemed so composed, so I wanted to know. Isoya was silent for a bit. Perhaps he was trying to figure out his answer.
"Death is simply a part of life." He said. "When someone close to you is lost, rather than mourn for them, you should honour them. Promise that you will never forget the effect they had on your life, and use their death as a reminder to cherish every moment of your own life as if it is your last."
I was speechless. Not only had I not expected him to say so much, but I hadn't expected his words to be so profound either. Seeing that I had nothing to say in response, Isoya gestured to my door.
"You should try to get some rest." He said. I nodded before returning to my room and leaving the cold night air behind me.
For some reason, I found Isoya's words very comforting. Laying down on my bed, I pulled the covers around me. Feeling warm and relaxed, I fell into a deep sleep.
A few hours later I was up and about again, heading to the dining hall in the morning. I noticed Hamano walking ahead of me and decided to say hello. Perhaps some positive energy could help people cope with what had happened the day before.
"Good morning Hamano!" I said cheerfully. He brushed off my greeting. I could see the dark circles beneath his eyes.
"I don't see what's so good about it." He spat. "I was kept up all last night by someone crying."
Someone had been crying? I felt an urge to help whoever it was. Now that Kinji was gone, someone had to try to make people smile.
"Do you know who?" I asked. He shook his head.
I decided that I didn't want to talk to Hamano anymore, and it seemed like he felt the same way about me. Instead, I walked over to Bessihiki who was a bit ahead of Hamano.
"Good morning Bessihiki!" I said, once again trying to be cheerful.
"Morning." Bessihiki mumbled, before quickening his pace to get away from me. I sighed. It seemed like I wasn't as good at cheering people up as Kinji was. Suddenly, I felt someone tap my shoulder.
"Don't mind them." They said. Turning around I saw that it was Koharu. She smiled and continued talking.
"They're all just trying to cope with what happened yesterday. Everyone adjusts at different speeds." I nodded. Perhaps it was best to just leave them be, just like Isoya said to do with Ren.
"Yeah." I said. "I guess what Isoya said helped me out a bit."
But even so, his words weren't going to change the fact that the dining hall was going to be emptier. It had been around this time that we had noticed that Koizumi was missing the day before. I felt my stomach knot at the thought. I hoped that everyone would be there today.
"If you don't have anyone to sit with, you can sit with us." Koharu offered.
Us? I looked around trying to see who else she was talking about. Since Hamano and Bessihiki had passed us already, we were the only ones there. I shrugged. Koharu could be a bit odd at times, but it was still nice of her to offer. We headed to the dining hall and I opened the door for her.
As the door opened, it was almost like the atmosphere had a physical presence. It sent a chill down my spine. Was it fear? Sadness? I tried to figure out a word to describe it.
Looking around I saw that besides Nori and Hamano, who were eating their food complacently, everyone was silently picking at their breakfast. Koharu and I walked inside, taking in the dreary room and people. After a moment, Sota entered as well.
"Hey guys." He said encouragingly. "I know that our situation isn't the best, but we need to try and lighten up! I mean... If we don't do that, then we'll..." His voice trailed off as he realized that his words were having no effect. Defeated, he walked over to a table and sat down, Koharu did the same. I almost felt like leaving, having lost my appetite, and even turned towards the door to do so. Instead, I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw Ren standing in front of the exit. Everyone turned to look at him before looking away again. I could see that they felt guilty. I did as well. After all, we were the ones who condemned his brother to death. Ren however, simply cleared his throat.
"I don't need your pity." He said. "But if you will give me your attention for a moment, I have some news that might interest you."
We all turned to face him again, curious as to what he he had to say. Seeing that he had our attention, Ren continued.
"As I was was taking a walk this morning, I noticed two things." He said. "First, the crime scene has been cleared away."
"What do you mean cleared away?" Akio asked.
"The message, the books strewn across the floor, Koizumi's body, they're all gone." Ren replied. Saruwatari slowly nodded his head.
"It must have been Monokuma." He said.
"Probably." Akio added. "After all. None of us would have wanted to go near that place."
Finally looking away from his food for a moment, Hamano tilted his head to the side. Slowly spinning his fork in his hand.
"I agree." He said. "But this raises the question as to why you went there Ren? Remember what happened to your brother when he went to the library at such an early hour?"
Mayu stood up, her fists clenched.
"Hamano!?" She shouted. "How can you be so insensitive?" Hamano just shrugged.
"I'm just saying that we should watch our backs." He said innocently. "After all, we all voted for his brother to be punished, so what's stopping him from trying to get revenge?"
I turned to Ren, fearful that that might have been his plan, but I could see that I was wrong. In response to Hamano's comment, Ren closed his eyes. He almost looked... hurt. But he snapped out of this quickly and continued speaking.
"No. I voted for him as well. I'm just as much to blame for his death as all of you. Perhaps even more so. Nonetheless, I'm not looking for revenge. Kinji was executed so we could live, and I'm not going to throw away the life he gave us so easily."
Once again we were all silent. I couldn't help but notice that Ren seemed to be blaming himself for what happened to Kinji. Hamano simply scoffed and turned back to his food. Seeing that we had nothing to say, Ren continued.
"To answer your question, I'm not sure why I went to the library. For some reason, I just happened to wander there. I understand that that's a horrible excuse, but it's the truth."
"You said you noticed two things." Michiyo said, interrupting. "What's the second thing?"
"I also noticed that the trains are now working." Ren answered.
I felt the atmosphere shift. People began muttering to each other, shocked by this new development. Saruwatari's voice was louder than the rest.
"So that means we can go through the tunnel right?" He asked. "Do you think that it's a way out?" Bessihiki shook his head.
"I doubt it. Monokuma isn't that nice."
"Even if it's not a way out," Mayu began. "We should still go check it out! Who knows! Monokuma could have had a change of heart!" Nori tossed her hair. I realized that she did that a lot.
"You're such an idiot." She said. Mayu frowned and sat back down. I decided to see if I could use this new development to help cheer everyone up. Or at least distract them.
"Way out or not," I said. "We should go check it out."
Nodding, everyone began to stand and head out the door, until only five of us were left. Looking around, I saw that Nori, Isoya, Missa and Ren had all stayed behind.
"Idiots." Nori said. "Why waste your time looking at something like that? It's too much work to head all the way over there just to be disappointed."
Something told me that I wasn't going to be able to change her mind, so I headed over to Missa instead. I hadn't expected her to stay behind.
"Are you going to go, Missa?" I asked. She shook her head.
"I want to." She said quietly. "But I don't think I can. I'm feeling kind of light headed."
"Do you want me to stay with you?" I asked. It wouldn't be right to leave her alone while she wasn't feeling well. She quickly looked up, shaking her head again.
"No, that's fine!" She said. "I'd feel horrible if they found something important and you missed it because of me."
I was still reluctant, but then I felt someone's hand on my shoulder.
"Don't worry Yui." They said. "I'll stay with her. You can join the others."
Turning around, I saw that it was Isoya. I remembered that I still needed to thank him for what he had said before, but decided that now wasn't the best time. Nodding I headed towards the door. Ren was still standing next to it, seemingly deep in thought. I gently tapped him on the shoulder.
"Are you going to go, Ren?" I asked. He jumped at the sound of my voice.
"Certainly. I just..." He cleared his throat. I realized that he was having trouble with what he was trying to say, but I was pretty sure I knew what it was.
"It's weird not having him here. Isn't it?" I said. He nodded, glad that I had understood.
"Yes." He replied. "We've been together our whole lives, and now, it feels strange. It feels like something is missing." I nodded. I could understand what he was feeling, but I wasn't sure how to cheer him up. I thought about what Kinji had done to help me.
"The night before it happened," I said. "Kinji came to my room. He told me about how you and him didn't have many friends growing up."
Perhaps mentioning that wasn't the best plan. It's not nice to remind people that they don't have friends. Ren smiled anyways.
"He told you that did he?" He asked. "He must have held you in high regards."
"What do you mean?"
"He may have seemed like he was social and open to the world," Ren explained. "But in reality there were very few people he really trusted. If he told you about his childhood, you two must have been close." Ren was still smiling, even if his eyes still seemed sad, so it seemed like this was cheering him up a bit.
"Not nearly as close as you two." I replied. Once again, I thought back to when Kinji had visited me. Without thinking about what I was doing, I wrapped my arms around Ren. Holding him close just like Kinji had done for me.
"I'm really sorry Ren. I..." Tears began falling down my cheeks. Ren seemed shocked for a moment, and then quickly backed away.
"There's no need for you to apologize." He said, looking away as he fixed his glasses. "If anything, I should be apologizing to you. Because Kinji tried to save me, you lost your friend. I'm sorry for your loss."
With that said, he nodded and turned towards the door.
"We should try to catch up with the others." He said. I nodded and followed him outside. It was weird. Even though Ren seemed rude and seclusive, he was actually a nice guy. He did care about the rest of us, even if he said he shouldn't.
Him and Kinji were more similar than they had thought.