Tales Along the Poison Arrow

Tales Along the Poison Arrow

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|| Private Roleplay with DeathScythe386 ||

484 readers have visited Tales Along the Poison Arrow since SkyCladSaya06 created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

some cases and stories will resemble those i've read on http://sixpenceee.com/tagged/story

Introduction



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Humanity is a race that has already grown fond and accustomed to ghost stories. As one goes deeper into the the heart of the city, urban legends start to intensify and become more prominent, usually containing fractions of something true beneath the grisly ghouls and wailing phantoms that have been added over time.

Sometimes, a rumor becomes so powerful that it eventually starts to affect the tangible world. Mere urban legends start to come to life; its shadowy tendrils taking on a more dangerous and malevolent form that claws across the foundation of society. Common people beware of this horrifying shadow that plays on their primal fear, choosing to stay away than to fight.

This fear of the unknown is what plagued the two schools: St. Gabriel's and Kurogane Technical. Built on opposite sides of the converging paths of the notorious 'Poison Arrow", a history of suicides, disappearances and inexplicable murders combined with local legends and rumors caused the two schools to decline in popularity to address the situation, the schools decided to take matters in their own hands. Kurogane chose to focus on improving their academic merit by expanding their course offerings and organizing more events and contests while the student council of St. Gabriel's decides to tackle the problem head-on and investigate the stories itself.

The task would be difficult. The interests of the two schools will conflict, the students will find themselves in uncomfortable positions but worse of all, is when they realize that some stories are much more real than what they initially thought...

Student Council President:
Elizabeth Ainsworth || 17
played by DeathScythe386

Student Council Vice President/Library Assistant:
Marika Yukimura || 17
played by SkyCladSaya06




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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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First Incident - St. Gabriel's Academy

Debunking stories will not be that easy. The task assigned to Marika and the rest of the Student Council members is not dealing with a random rumor that spread through something simple like a chain message. No, they were going to be tackling stories that have persisted for a long time, some of them are even as old as the school itself.

"As always, where do we begin?" Marika wondered as she packed up her things. Her classes have already ended for the day and most students are on their way to their respective clubs if not going home. Upon finishing up, Marika headed out the main lecture hall and into the building where most club rooms were stationed.

She walked past other students headed to their respective rooms. A few of them, mostly old classmates, waved at her and she responded likewise but kept on going nonetheless. Despite the nature of their assigned activity, it does seem a little exciting for Marika, who had always heard about the stories growing up.

"Maybe we can even get permission to be excused for classes because of Student Council work~" Marika giggled as she walked up the long flight of stairs. The club building, a later addition to St. Gabriel's huge campus, is rather tall, standing at an astonishing eight stories high. Elevators were provided but only faculty and staff are allowed to use them, forcing students to take the stairs as a "healthier alternative". By the time Marika was around the fifth floor, her light jog had slowed down to a walk.

She was already panting a little when she reached the Student Council room, which was at the end of the eight floor corridor. Upon arriving, she immediately sat down to catch her breath while checking to see if anybody else had arrived. Seeing that no one was around yet, Marika walked over to the main desk and saw some papers neatly stacked on the side. "Probably requests for approval."

Before she can browse through any of them, she heard a light rap at the door. Turning around, she saw their adviser motioning for her to follow. Stepping outside, her adviser handed her a letter, formatted in a way that makes it seem like a formal request. Right beside her was another female student. After skimming through the letter, Marika nodded to her adviser who proceeded to leave. Turning to the student, she smiled at her and bid for her to sit down at one of the long chairs lined at the corridor.

"The other members should be arriving soon. Why don't you take a seat and wait in the meantime? I'll knock or holler to let you know if you can already come in." Marika gave her a small smile before turning back to their room, bringing the request with her.

"Hmmm...I wonder what the other members have to stay about this?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Despite the movements of her hand at taking down the notes and numbers written on the board, Liz couldn't help but start to drift into a daydream. Math was a boring subject, never failing to clutter the mind of even the seemingly flawless student council president. She hadn't realized that she was already thinking of other things- like the task assigned to the student council, where they had to debunk old rumors to prevent the popularity of the school from declining further, how hard the task was, and at one point she even drifted off to thinking of what her pet dog could have been doing at that moment. Once the bell rang, signalling the class's end, she stretched and started packing up. Glancing at her notes a second time, most of it had gone from perfectly good and nice handwriting to gibberish and a doodle of a Siberian Husky.

"I have to limit my daydreaming in class, I swear," She thought to herself as she sighed and finished packing up. A few classmates of hers came up to ask if she was doing anything after school, to which she just offered a slight smile and a "Sorry, but I have work to do in the student council." Thankfully, they understood and went off to whatever karaoke bar they were planning to go to. Stifling a yawn, she headed out into the hallway, trying to keep herself from slouching over. Perfect role model and all, and slouching was bad for the back.

Stopping at the foot of the stairs, Liz grimly looked over at the elevators. Staff and faculty only. "Healthier alternative? Who comes up with those rules?" She sighed to herself before taking the long trek up the stairs to the student council room. Which was oh so conveniently placed at the eighth floor, how amazing.
By the time she had reached their room, all signs of leftover sleepiness from Math class had gone from her. Liz spied a female student outside, but quickly turned her mind back to the work that they would have to do as per usual. Entering, she noticed the familiar purple hair of the vice president, Marika Yukimura.

She only gave a slight wave in greeting, a small smile gracing her features. She noticed an envelope in her vice president's hands, but then glanced at the stack of papers sitting at the main desk. She rubbed her neck and straightened herself, and her uniform. She decided to let Marika speak about the envelope. For as of that moment, her mind could only focus on the incredible stack of papers on the desk.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Marika turned to look up upon hearing the door open and the blonde haired president walk in the room. She really was elegant to look at that it's really no surprise that she was elected for the position. For the past few years, Student Council elections were more like popularity contests with some of the elected people lacking any proper qualifications.

"Not this student council..." She thought. It wasn't bragging or anything but, somehow, Marika felt that everyone's good at what they were assigned to. She noticed the girl take a cursory glance at the stack of papers on the desk and watched her face sank. Aside from the main investigation, they still have to deal with all the menial stuff regarding the school.

"I'm coming in." Again, the door opened and a bespectacled boy came into view. He held his head high as he walked over with a confident stride, glancing at everyone in view. "We've already met during the oath taking but, my name is Sei Kuwabara and I'll be the auditor for this term. I look forward to working with you."

"Likewise. Marika Yukimura. Vice-President." Marika nodded, motioning for Sei to take a seat which he did. Just then, another one--this time, a girl, came running in. She was panting a little, indicating that she had run up the stairs. Upon seeing everyone's faces, she immediately stiffened up.

"Umm...Oh! My name's Kimi. Tojou Kimi--and I'm...y-your secretary. I hope we get along!" Kimi made a quick bow and sat on one of the seats, quickly burying her face underneath some books on the table.

"I think we should start our discussion now--and just follow up on things later. Who are we missing?" Sei, the auditor spoke up, glancing at their President.

"There's four of us so...Our Communications Officer's not here yet and so is our treasurer." Marika recounted.

"And our sergeant-at-arms said he might not turn up until the day after tomorrow..." Kimi said meekly, raising her head to face the others in conversation.

"Then, here I go." Marika took a deep breath and nodded at their President as she began. "Today's the first official meeting of this Student Council and as expected, we already have our first assignment. Come in!" Marika immediately called in the female student earlier. She looked a little older than both Marika and Kimi but with Sei and Elizabeth, she seemed to be around the same age.

"Good afternoon everyone. My name is Laeticia Celine though some of the people at our dorm just call me Cel. I work part-time managing the front desk." She spoke rather frank, lacking any hint of intimidation whatsoever. "I originally forwarded this case to the faculty but I was redirected here. They told me you'll be handling requests of this nature from now on."

"If it's within our capabilities. Otherwise, we'll still have to get the administration involved." Marika corrected her and she seemed to have no negative reaction, which was good.

"I see. Then I'll continue. I've already outlined the details in the file I was asked to submit which, I recall the Miss with the glasses reading a little while ago." Sei extended her hand to Marika who handed her the letter while the girl Cel carried on. "It's about one of the rooms in the Lucia. There's been a string of--"

"Umm...what's a Lucia?" Kimi sheepishly asked, looking a little embarrassed at the question.

"It's the girls dorm on campus. I believe it was mentioned at the student handbook." Sei looked a little annoyed that she hadn't heard about the name so she just managed a weak laugh and motioned for the older girl to continue.

"As I was saying. There's been a string of suicides in our dorm. I'm not sure whether the girls had underlying mental issues, as I don't know any of them personally. All I know is that they all died in the same room."

"The same room?" Sei asked, his tone of voice a little lower.

"Yes. And all of them committed suicide one month after moving in. So far, there had been twelve people who either jumped or hanged themselves."

"Twelve months...so it's been going on since last year. And you're only forwarding this now?" Marika asked rather suspiciously.

"Yes, considering I only moved in around two months ago. I hadn't paid much attention to the rumors back then as I was still swamped with my schoolwork and job. I hadn't heard about the earlier deaths until the recent case. I overheard people claim that it was the twelfth one so, that's when I started digging."

"I see. Sorry for my remark earlier." Marika muttered a quick apology which Cel thankfully accepted. "So, what do we make of this?" Marika turned to face Elizabeth.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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It wasn't too long before the other student council members started filing into the room, namely two more members- the auditor, a serious young man named Sei Kuwabara and their shy secretary, Kimi Tojou. After introductions had went underway, Liz glanced around the room. They were missing the public relations officer and the treasurer, and the sergeant-at-arms didn't seem to be showing up today either.

And as expected, they already had a client. Liz straightened herself again as their vice president announced the start of the meeting, and the girl from earlier came into the room, introducing herself. "Laeticia Celine, huh...? Is she also a foreigner?" The woman went on to talk about the on-campus dorm, Lucia. It seemed that the problem was originating from there, and Liz reminded herself to go get herself a treat on the way home for choosing not to stay there. Especially since they were dealing with- "Gods, twelve suicides? All in one room?" The blonde's eyebrows furrowed. It's been more than a year, if a victim was claimed each month. After all it was a no brainer that there were twelve months in a year.

However, the woman continued talking. Apparently, all of them committed suicide either by jumping or hanging. There were many ways to commit suicide, blade to the neck, gun to the head, but apparently all of these people died by throwing themselves off a building or by a noose around the neck. And all in one room? That was extremely suspicious. After Cel's explanation, the vice president turned to her, finding her as the first person to ask. "So, what do we make of this?"

"I think we'll need to investigate further into the case. The info we have now is limited." She spoke after a moment of thinking. "We could try investigating the dorm itself, or talk to the people who knew the victims. That way we could find out what could be causing the suicides or if the victims had any mental issues or illnesses that could have pushed them to commit suicide in the first place...though--" Liz glanced around the room. None of them really seemed up to the task of talking to the acquaintances and maybe even friends of the victims. The auditor didn't seem to be the guy who would be the type for the task, and their shy secretary even less. The vice president maybe...but then the door opened and she spotted an orange-haired girl, still dressed in a jersey, panting.

"I'm sorry for being late! Public relations officer, Sora Mochizuki, reporting!" She exclaimed, catching her breath. It seemed that their public relations officer was part of the track team, judging from the jersey and the sweat beading down her face and neck. "Ah, PRO. Great timing." Liz flashed a small smile in the PRO's way. "E-Eh?" Giving the younger girl a brief explanation of the case at hand, it took a few seconds for the case to click in Sora's mind. "So...y-you guys want me to talk to the people who knew a bunch of suicide victims in the dorm?" "That's basically it." She smiled again, adding a pat on the shoulder to reassure the younger girl. "You're sociable enough, so I'm sure you'll be able to handle it just fine." "I-I'll try my best!" Sora gave a mock salute and a sheepish grin.

"That's settled then. As for the people who will investigate the dorm itself..." Liz trailed off again, glancing around the room to see if there were any volunteers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"We could try investigating the dorm itself, or talk to the people who knew the victims. That way we could find out what could be causing the suicides or if the victims had any mental issues or illnesses that could have pushed them to commit suicide in the first place...though--"

The suggestion was sound enough save for the fact that no one among them seems to be the sociable type. Or at least the type who can strike up conversation easily. Sei thought for a moment and spoke up.

"We'll have to start by figuring out what year level the students were, if they're all students that is. So, someone who can go in and out of the lower years... I don't think it's a good idea if they President or the Vice-President will go ask. It might seem like official business--"

"Isn't it though?" Almost immediately, Kimi spoke up as well. "If it's official business then, perhaps the people would be a bit more cooperative?"

"Or they may refuse to cooperate since we're not police or anything." Sei immediately cut in. Marika doesn't know him long but he doesn't seem like someone who appreciates getting cut while speaking. "You know how stubborn the other girls can get. Besides, how will they handle investigating the dorm and speaking to the victims at the same time?"

"Normally--we have the PRO for dealing with stuff like that--" As if on cue, a bubbly and energetic student waltzed inside.

"I'm sorry for being late! Public relations officer, Sora Mochizuki, reporting!"

Immediately, the President assigned the task to her, much to the relief of everyone else inside. None of them seemed to want to walk around, blindly chasing after people who may refuse to divulge any detail. At the very least, their PRO seems to have the stamina for it.

"That's settled then. As for the people who will investigate the dorm itself..."

"If you can decide now, I can inform the landlord to open up a room close to the room in question to serve as your vantage point. The room in question is currently occupied as we speak." Cel suggested.

"Isn't that dangerous? Letting people occupy it knowing that twelve had died in it?" Marika asks while the others deliberate on what to do.

"Hey, I'm just the desk lady. I'm as surprised as you."

"Well--considering that there are dorm rules you'll have to follow, not to mention the kind of people you'll be dealing with--" Marika weighs these factors in her head as she thinks of who can stay in the dorm to observe. "Maybe someone who's already staying at Lucia then? Or someone who's staying in a dorm in general so they're familiar with the technical stuff."

"I'm obviously out of the question." Sei responded. He is a boy after all. He's not really allowed inside the girl's dorm.

"My mom won't let me..." Kimi answered meekly, playing with some pens as she did.

"And Sora's handling the talking so by process of elimination--" Marika turns to face Elizabeth again. "You're the only one left. Besides, it was your idea." Marika points out in an almost teasing manner.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Almost immediately after she brought up the investigation part, a small discussion started. Sei was out of the question, making Sora stay in that place and run after people who may not give their opinions would be much too tiring for the officer, and Kimi wasn't allowed to. As said by her vice president, by process of elimination--

"You're the only one left. Besides, it was your idea."

"Ouch...so that's how it's gonna be, huh...?" The corner of her lip twitched into a crooked and even a bit nervous smile. "I see...I'll handle the whole staying in the dorm part..." She trailed off. She had to stop doing that. Though she honestly wished that she could drag someone down with her if she was going to be staying on a suicidal floor. She didn't miss the tinge of teasing in her vice president's voice, as well. "Wonder if I could at least get someone's help or motivation on this one." At least the rays of positive energy practically overflowing from Sora was helping. Just a little bit.

"I have a friend that's staying in there so maybe I could get a headstart..." She heard the orange-haired girl murmuring to herself, shuffling her feet and tracing small drawings on the desk. Liz made out a small cat face. The president amused herself and calmed her nerves with watching their public relations officer trace the tiny drawings of various animals with her thumb, humming quietly all the while.

She'd have to tell her roommate about the staying in Lucia part. Maybe then her said roommate would get her math homework done without Liz's frequent interruptions. And that treat for not staying in Lucia?

"Guess I'll save that for after this case is done."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Wonder if I could at least get someone's help or motivation on this one."

"Well, we're all going to do some digging of our own so rest assured, you won't be alone in your hardship." Marika let out a small laugh as she said it. She glanced at Kimi and Sei who nodded their heads in response.

"Well, looks like you're on top of things." Sei muttered as he walked towards the heavy paperwork. "I'll help out by sorting these out, even if it's not my job. You don't mind do you?"

"Of course. You can read about the guidelines we use to approve proposals in the small handbook inside the desk. Of course, knowing our student population, expect that most of them won't be approved."

"That so?"

"Well then, I'll be going now. I'll have to talk to the landlord and administration. Yukimura-san?" Cel walked over to Marika and held out her hand. "Mind if I get your number? I'll mail or call you if the preparations are complete."

Marika took out her phone and handed it to the girl. "Sure." She realized that Cel probably didn't ask for Elizabeth's number since she's not too familiar with the President, unlike Marika whom she already talked to moments ago before the meeting. "I suppose Elizabeth's got this "difficult to read" aura about her..."



After the meeting was concluded, Cel left immediately so she could inform the dormitory about the arrangements, leaving the Student Council inside their meeting room. Sei was furiously digging through the paperwork; the look on his face signalling that even he can't believe the ridiculous proposals he was reading through. Marika glanced at Elizabeth, who was content with watching what the others are doing.

"I can't believe this...Now I understand why you guys don't want to do this work. I used to think that everyone's just lazy."

"This is technically our first meeting so...it's actually the past council's fault it accumulated." Kimi tries to throw in her meek opinion.

"You know, it usually takes a while before new dorm arrangements could be made, especially if you're coming in from a dorm outside as a temporary resident. That's why Cel-san was in a hurry to make the arrangement upon hearing the plan. At best, it might take around 5 days. So don't worry. You still have plenty of time." Marika tries to assure Elizabeth as to reduce the tension on her shoulders.

"But, what exactly are you going to do Yukimura-senpai?" Kimi asked, having heard Marika's earlier remark.

"Well, like Sei here, I'm going to do a job nobody likes doing. I'm heading over to the library. Maybe I can get a hold of the history of this school. Which reminds me--" Taking out her phone, she walked to Kimi to get her number. She did the same with Sei and Sora until she got to Elizabeth.

"I think I'll need your number so I can feed you information from my findings. And so you have someone to talk to during your exile. I don't stay there but from what I can recall...Lucia has a one room for one student policy."

"E-eh? But, wouldn't that limit the number of students they can accommodate?" Kimi asked, surprised at the suddent revelation.

"No. They compensate by making the rooms smaller without making it too cramped. Each room has its own bathroom but that's basically it. For furnishings, it comes with a bed, a closet and drawer for clothes and a small study desk. Oh, these furnishings are collapsible, so you can tuck away the bed in the wall if you want." Marika describes the dorm rooms in detail, recalling the time she's been there for a visit. Cel wasn't working there yet and the stories of suicides haven't come to surface yet.

"Sounds very modern and cool~" Kimi muttered.

"Yep. It looks old from the outside but its very cool inside. Even the lobby is air-conditioned. And the place is huge. Students can bring in their own mini-fridge and other stuff like water dispensers if they want, as long as it fits within the guidelines. At best, you can fit around seven people in a room and you still have some space to move in." Turning back to Elizabeth, she flashed her a small smile, hoping that her description of the room could lighten Elizabeth up a little.

"You can call me if you need help moving things. Rest assured that with the way things are with Lucia right now, I'm sure you'll still feel relaxed, even if you have to stay across a haunted room."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Well, we're all going to do some digging of our own so rest assured, you won't be alone in your hardship."

At least some reassurance was coming from the vice president's side. Sei stood up and volunteered to sort through the paperwork, and Liz managed to barely hold back a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Cel had moved to get Marika's number. For preparations and such. Liz decided to ignore the fact that their client had seen Marika as the less hostile of the two, and continued to watch Sora's small drawings.

After Cel left, Liz raised her gaze from Sora's drawings to glance at the other council members. Sei looked incredulous at the proposals, Kimi watching him. Liz almost thanked herself for not looking at the paperwork first- it would drain her morale, considering it was the job that almost everyone in the room hated doing. As Marika began to speak, she turned her attention away. "You know, it usually takes a while before new dorm arrangements could be made, especially if you're coming in from a dorm outside as a temporary resident. That's why Cel-san was in a hurry to make the arrangement upon hearing the plan. At best, it might take around 5 days. So don't worry. You still have plenty of time." "Yay, I can still have a bit of free time to myself to bother Tomozaki." She thought to herself.

Now that the meeting had concluded, Marika would be heading to the library. Liz contemplated her choices- She could stay and help or get back early to go prepare. She watched as the purple-haired girl walked around the room collecting everyone's numbers. When the girl got to her, Liz started to take out her phone to send the number. "I think I'll need your number so I can feed you information from my findings. And so you have someone to talk to during your exile. I don't stay there but from what I can recall...Lucia has a one room for one student policy."

"Exile is a strong word," Liz laughed quietly to herself. She listened in as Marika described how the dorm rooms looked like and what furnishings were in. Seven people in one room. Seemed to be a bit wider than her room back in her old house before moving here. The purple-haired girl then turned to her and flashed a smile, and Liz smiled back a bit. Just to show that yeah, this reassurance was working. Totally.

"You can call me if you need help moving things. Rest assured that with the way things are with Lucia right now, I'm sure you'll still feel relaxed, even if you have to stay across a haunted room." Liz nodded. "I'll be sure to remember that."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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The days prior to Elizabeth's move passed by without incident. As much as she would've loved to keep working on their first case, Marika still had to maintain her decent academics so cutting classes isn't really an option. They had a bunch of pop quizzes and papers to write but, she managed to pass without much problems.

In order for all of them to maintain their decent standings, Sei had proposed that they only meet if there is anything significant to be reported or if they are called in by their adviser. That way, their work in the student council won't hinder their studies, allowing them to keep its reputation clean. Besides, it's not as if any of them were proper detectives in the first place.

"I'll report in once I can summarize what I find about Lucia's history. The library's got a bunch of old books that I'm sure will help. Provided--the records are complete." Marika informed the rest before she left that day. So she's not really sure if they held any meetings after that one.

She's also mailed Elizabeth a few times now though none contained anything of importance. One was to let the girl know of Marika's number. Another was when she passed on Sei and Kimi's contacts. The other three were just teasing remarks. Or informing Elizabeth of something that has recently happened.

"I bet she didn't expect that I'm a lot more talkative on the phone..." Marika laughed to herself as she typed away on the library computer, compiling what she can gather regarding Lucia:

"It is no question that St. Gabriel has more than 200 years of history. It had always been on this site, this ground, unlike other old schools who had probably moved campus some time after the war. However, the addition of the dorms themselves was around ten years after the war, when the city was starting to recover. Back then, it only had one, single building boarding house. This building was Theodosius which is, as you can guess, the boy's dormitory.

Around some time near the late 90's, the number of students increased dramatically over the course of ten or so years, allowing the school to generate enough revenue to build a second dormitory as to separate the living quarters of the boys and girls since they tend to...you-know-what, inside the dormitory. But, the academy had recently expanded to include a college, leading to the building of more infrastructure, thereby limiting the space. So the academy has to find more land. Fortunately, they managed to purchase some of the land in the surrounding area and integrate it within the university walls.

However, unknown to the administration, one of the lands they bought was a mass grave that had been ravaged by the war, making it unrecognizable. And, as you can now predict--Lucia was built on top of this land. Yep. The girl's dormitory is standing on top of piles of dead bodies from the war. Since no one's looking for these bodies, there was no need for the ground to be disturbed any further. The school did make efforts to exhume some of them but, as far as I know, some of them still remain buried underground.

So, how does this history connect to the suicides? Well, I don't really know. We'll have to wait for Sora's findings just so we can know more. Why people take their own lives and why it's always in one particular room. But, maybe knowing this fact adds to the depression these girls felt. Or it could be something else. For now, all I can say is that Lucia does have a very morbid history behind it.

By the way, it seems people had also committed suicide in the earlier days. It just wasn't reported well though the records does show it. It doesn't always happen every month and some years have recorded only three from that particular dorm. Right now, it's not that clear to me why some years have more incidents than others. Last year, we have around ten which is the highest so far. Then, came the two that caught Cel's attention. The administration had tried holding mass and blessing the place prior to the start of every term but, the incidents still continued."


Marika finished typing away, cracking her knuckles as she leaned on her seat. It was now 8 in the evening and she was the only student inside the library at this time. Finishing up, she saved a copy of her report for herself and sent another to Elizabeth before shutting off the computer and checking out. The old librarian smiled kindly at her as she proceeded to lock up for the night, the bespectacled girl now retreating from her view.

Outside, the chilly night air greeted Marika, prompting her to pull up her hoodie. She got out her phone and started to mail Elizabeth:

"Tomorrow's the day you move in as a temp. So? Need any help moving? Company for your first night in Lucia? I can get permission to stay overnight for one night if you want~"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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The days passed by as easily as the wind coming and going until the day prior to Liz's move had finally reached them. Liz had initially figured that if any conversations between her and their vice president ever occurred, it would be her who started it first. And it would be about business, most probably.

So when a few days before, she had heard her phone beeping with the alert of a new message, she had been surprised to see it was from Marika. Mostly to inform her of her number, and then Sei and Kimi's- Sora had bounced up to her once and gave Liz her number, so it was alright-. And the other three were just..."I didn't think she was in on the gossip running around the school," she had thought to herself with a small smile as she read through the message history.

Drying her hair off with a towel, she yawned and headed back, noticing the form of her roommate hunched over a laptop and typing profusely. "Hey Akiha," She called out, grinning a bit. "Great timing, I was contemplating on asking for your help in this problem." Her black-haired friend didn't even glance at her, eyes focused on the screen. "Anything for a friend." "You were best in Math back in middle school, right? Help me out with this." Akiha motioned towards an open textbook, and Liz picked it up, flipping through the bookmarked pages. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "I have no idea what these problems and equations are." "Really now?" "This stuff is practically college level, Akiha!" She exclaimed, looking towards her friend.

"How do you know?" "When I was little, I was exploring the house and found my dad's old math textbooks." "Right. So can you help?" "Unfortunately, no." She sighed and set down the textbook before hearing her laptop start to play a small tune. She walked towards it, noticing that she had received new mail, from Marika. "Looks like Marika's got the info I need..." She opened up the e-mail, reading through the info.

The basic gist was that the girl's dormitory had been built upon a massive graveyard due to St. Gabriel's needing more space. Liz frowned a bit- being built on a bunch of dead bodies would give the place a heavy feeling of negativity. Maybe that was the reason so many people were killing themselves there? However, it was all in one room. Maybe there were disturbed spirits living there. Who knows? Like Marika said, they still needed Sora's input before they could come to a conclusion on what exactly was driving everyone who stayed in that room to suicide.

Still, the idea of the disturbed spirits would be strange due to Marika stating that the school held a mass but it didn't work. Maybe it was the negativity. Liz stretched a bit, snapped out of her thoughts when she heard her phone going off again. She picked it up, seeing a new message from Marika.

"Tomorrow's the day you move in as a temp. So? Need any help moving? Company for your first night in Lucia? I can get permission to stay overnight for one night if you want~"

"Oh? Who's that?" Akiha's voice startled Liz, making her nearly drop her phone. Luckily, it was also her roommate who swiftly caught it. Liz glared at her a bit before sighing. "It's a friend of mine." "Friend huh? Never guessed that you would have friends." "I feel like I should be the one saying that." Akiha stretched a bit before looking over her shoulder. "Hm? Staying overnight? Liz, don't tell me you're dating someone." "Wha--no! Of course not!" "Is that a boy or a girl?" "Girl, but-- Akiha! That's not the point!" She sighed, jabbing at her roommate.

"Kidding. If it's just moving stuff, I'll help you out. I've always wanted to see what St. Gabriel's is like." Akiha offered, though her red eyes didn't seem to say much about her interest. "Thanks, though I'll still probably accept the offer from Marika. Need to have a grasp of the dorm before I stay there on my own." She tapped on the phone to send her own reply.

"Sure, I'd love that. Need someone to accompany me so I can get used to the dorm before staying there alone after all. :)"

"...Gay." "Shut up, Akiha."

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Sure, I'd love that. Need someone to accompany me so I can get used to the dorm before staying there alone after all. :)"

Marika received the response just a little after she had left the school premises. She had just come out of a convenience store, when she felt her phone vibrate. She leaned back on the wall as she read the message, allowing herself a view of the historic school during dark. Some lights were still on, mostly for those holding evening classes and last minute thesis stragglers but, the rest of the school is pretty much abandoned.

"Creepy..." Marika shivered though she had already seen that sight several times now. Reading through Elizabeth's message, she just laughed as she immediately typed a response.

"Alright. Well, I'll pack a few things and I'll meet you there after class tomorrow. Oh, and don't worry about any further appointments. The lower years have tests while ours are--we don't really get much requests from our year anyway. By the way, I heard the Music Coordinator passed away. Scary! And, listen to this! He was found at the back of the dark alley near the intersection between Road 5 and 7. With his heart ripped out from his chest. Yes. HEART. RIPPED. OUT. OF. HIS. CHEST. Apparently, he was caught harassing some of his female students by withholding their grades until they have fulfilled some "special tasks" for him. Who knows? It may be karma at work."

Marika replied but of course, it wouldn't be a Marika reply without an accompanying rumor to go along with it. She's really fond of rumors. Especially nasty and gritty ones.



Marika met up with Cel the next day, to help sort out the arrangements. Not that it was anything too complicated to work out but, negotiations were smoother with someone from the Student Council around.

"And...here. Your visitor's pass is ready. You've read the rules correct?" Cel handed Marika a small ID resembling a card used in commuting via train.

"Yeah. I read about it in the student handbook."

"Good. Anyway, thanks for helping out with the talks. I hope you don't take this the wrong way but--your adviser's kind of creepy. He's like Dracula or something, the way he looked at everyone at the meeting." Cel made small talk as the place wasn't really that busy.

"You say that but he's practically an idiot. He's not around most of the time and the former student council members say that he likes to take credit for successful events even if he wasn't the one who planned it. Then he berates them badly when things don't go over well."

"Sounds tough. Good thing the landlord isn't like that."

"Yep. Me and Sei are actually thinking of passing a vote of no-confidence to ax him from the job." Marika laughed though she said it in a low voice so only she and Cel could hear.

"What's that? A coup d'etat? How long has he been teaching anyway?" Cel asked.

"Around 29 years or so. Yeah, I doubt he's going away anytime soon."

"Right. I bet others have already tried to do the same. Guess you'll just have to bear with it. Does the blonde girl know of this?"

"Elizabeth? No. Me and Sei just talked about it when we ran into each other in the library. We haven't really brought it up in a meeting. Even then, the old dragon might show up so--no way we're going to do that. I bet he'll hog all the credit if ever we get this case solved."

"If we can. Say, I think I see her now."

"Hey!" Marika waved from inside the lobby, hoping that Elizabeth would be able to see her waving inside. if it was Elizabeth that is.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Alright. Well, I'll pack a few things and I'll meet you there after class tomorrow. Oh, and don't worry about any further appointments. The lower years have tests while ours are--we don't really get much requests from our year anyway. By the way, I heard the Music Coordinator passed away. Scary! And, listen to this! He was found at the back of the dark alley near the intersection between Road 5 and 7. With his heart ripped out from his chest. Yes. HEART. RIPPED. OUT. OF. HIS. CHEST. Apparently, he was caught harassing some of his female students by withholding their grades until they have fulfilled some "special tasks" for him. Who knows? It may be karma at work."

Liz shivered a bit as she read the quick reply Marika had sent back at her. Akiha, who was still reading along, raised an eyebrow. "I don't know about you Liz, but I kind of want to look into that at one point." "Definitely not, Akiha. Too creepy." Liz shivered. "Unlike you I'm not a fan of gore." As Liz was about to put her phone away, her friend reached for it again. "Hey, I wanna look more into that." "Akiha! My phone, my rules!" "Just a little more!" "No!"

"Fine..." The black-haired girl shrugged and yawned. "Anyway you better get some sleep pretty early. You're moving anyway." "You're not even going to miss me?" "I'd even throw a party." "Ow."


"You said you were interested in seeing St. Gabriel's up close but you don't look pretty interested." "What are you talking about, Liz? This is my usual expression." Liz sighed a bit at her friend, casting her a side glance before looking away. "I'm serious. Place makes me feel like I ran through a time travel portal or whatever." "The school gets that a lot." Akiha shrugged. "Still, there are plenty of rumors around here huh?" "It's our job to debunk them, so don't worry, you're going to get more of me talking about the rumors you like so much."

"Man, I should've transferred here. I'd love to be working on debunking mysteries and rumors. Kurogane's focusing on their academics and courses instead and our student council's got other pressing matters to attend to so they don't deal with this a lot." She stretched a bit. "Really?" "Yeah, the place is pretty busy half the time. Still, I'd see why this place attracts a lot of rumors. Old fashioned setting and all." "More like it's because it's been around for a long time." She glanced over at her friend again- this time, Akiha seemed to be genuinely interested. "Guess so..." "Ah, there's Lucia up ahead."

Walking in, Liz noticed someone waving at her- upon closer look, it was Marika. "Girlfr--" "--Vice president, thank you very much." She sighed before quickening her steps to meet the girl. Akiha rolled her eyes before following at a leisure pace, easily carrying some of the heavier luggage.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Elizabeth arrived a little after Marika and Cel's small talk so Cel excused herself to get the keys and guide them around the dormitory. Elizabeth brought a friend along, to help with the luggage.

"Quite heavy for a one week stay." Marika grunted as she carried her own messenger bag containing her items though of course, she's only staying in for a day. "You're the President's friend? Nice to meet you. My name is Marika. Marika Yukimura, Vice-President."

"Cafeteria's on the second floor. You can't take out the food to eat them in the rooms though. You'll have to eat them there. But, if you've brought any, make sure to properly dispose of the used cutlery." Cel introduced the necessities Elizabeth will access during her stay.

The entourage made their way to the seventh floor, where the haunted room was supposedly at. "This is the floor girls. Where all the twisted magic happens. And over there towards the end of the right wing, that's THE room." Marika took a good look at the place. It seemed haunted alright. Somehow, despite the modern vibe, the whole corridor looked darker? And that was while all the lights are on and in proper working order.

"Your room's 708, directly in front of 709 which is currently vacant as its resident had recently passed away. If anything happens, you can call the front desk via a small intercom device on the wall. Use it if something odd happens in your room or the adjacent room. Also, we have a laundry area in the first floor if you want to do it yourself. Otherwise, there is a laundry shop outside the school which is just a couple of meters away from Lucia. So--I hope you get settled in and, welcome to Lucia." When that was all said, Cel left them to their own devices, making her way back to the front desk.

"Amazing. Cel's a student like us and she manages just fine despite the taxing job at the front desk...Well Prez, let's go in." Marika was the first to enter the room Elizabeth would be using. "So there's been some stuff that had been altered ever since the last time I went inside. Oh, there's the bathroom!" Immediately, Marika opened the door to look. "Ah, right. We're not on the edge of the building. Rooms on the extreme ends have bathroom windows--But, I guess this setup is better for a girl's dorm. At least you won't have to worry too much about someone peeking in. The windows on the rooms on the ends are frosted though."

After checking the tap for water, Marika finally sat down, leaning on the built-in cabinet on the wall. "So, what do you think Prez?"

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Quite heavy for a one week stay."

Liz grinned sheepishly- she wouldn't deny that she packed way too much, not only for this time but for every instance where she had to sleep at a place that wasn't the dorm she was staying in with Akiha. She glanced to her friend, who effortlessly raised the heavier part of her luggage up and down as if she was working out. It was clear from her expression that she didn't have much trouble lifting it though. "You're the President's friend? Nice to meet you. My name is Marika. Marika Yukimura, Vice-President." "Tomozaki Akiha, great to meet you too." The other's voice was flat, and Liz gave her a small pleading stare. "Can't you be any more friendlier?"

"Cafeteria's on the second floor. You can't take out the food to eat them in the rooms though. You'll have to eat them there. But, if you've brought any, make sure to properly dispose of the used cutlery." Hearing Cel's voice, she turned to the source instead. "I'll be sure to remember." The small group went on, and Liz made sure to listen to all explanations and noted the more important details. When they reached the seventh floor, Liz immediately noted the heavy feeling that settled onto her shoulders. The whole corridor looked darker, and for a moment her crippling fear of the dark kicked in as she visualized the corridor without the lights on at night. Shaking her head free of the thoughts, she tuned in to Cel's words. "This is the floor girls. Where all the twisted magic happens. And over there towards the end of the right wing, that's THE room."

"Your room's 708, directly in front of 709 which is currently vacant as its resident had recently passed away. If anything happens, you can call the front desk via a small intercom device on the wall. Use it if something odd happens in your room or the adjacent room. Also, we have a laundry area in the first floor if you want to do it yourself. Otherwise, there is a laundry shop outside the school which is just a couple of meters away from Lucia. So--I hope you get settled in and, welcome to Lucia."
"So much for the lucky seven term." Akiha breathed. Liz shivered a bit- so she was in a room in front of a room where someone had just died. And the corridor seemed darker. Great. She calmed herself again, watching as Marika was the first to enter the room.

She found herself agreeing with the girl's comment about Cel as she followed her in. She took a look around the room while her vice president had went off to check the bathroom. Liz took a brief look at Akiha- the black-haired girl yawned a bit. Marika mentioned that there were bathroom windows for the rooms on the ends, and Liz managed a sigh of relief. That would prevent perverts from peeking in. Or other unearthly creatures. Or seeing a face staring out at her in the dark. Mostly the latter.

"So, what do you think Prez?" The blonde put on a smile. "It seems cozy enough- I could get used to it." "Not to the disturbing rumors though." She tried to focus on anything else to get rid of the doubt before noticing a small aspect- "Oh, right- no need to call me Prez. You can call me by a nickname if you want." Liz could feel Akiha's stare boring into the back of her head, but she kept up the smile.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Oh, right- no need to call me Prez. You can call me by a nickname if you want."

"Hmm...How about Eli then?" Marika answered as she brought her stuff towards her. "And you can call me...well, Mari's fine." Marika suggested. "Well, I'll help you unpack. We can get everything settled in faster." Marika stretched her arms as she made her way towards Elizabeth's stuff. "You've got a lot of stuff here. Good thing you two can carry all these. After this, I think I'll check out the adjacent room and the others nearby."

Marika helped with unpacking with the heavier items and placing them on the right spots. After finishing up in the room, she felt her phone vibrate. Apparently, Sei decided to give them a call and inquire about their progress. Marika excused herself to go outside as to not interrupt Elizabeth and her roommate.

"So you're already over at Lucia?" Sei asked.

"Yeah. Scary place despite the lighting and stuff. We're on the seventh floor too. So if anything happens, there's no way we'll be able to make a speedy exit." Marika joked.

"Why? Are you staying in the room in question itself?"

"No, the adjacent one. No way we're going to risk getting influenced by whatever is causing those suicides." Marika's tone dropped a notch upon uttering that last detail.

"I see."

"We'll start by investigating the room layouts. I'll probably go door to door and ask to take a picture of the rooms and compare them with 709 which is the room in question. Maybe a certain architectural detail is aggravating the circumstances? I don't know how human psychology works but, from what I recall, the mind is easily swayed by things like that." Marika sighed. She's managed to dig out some history which may serve as a reason for the place to be chosen. Next, she'll need to determine what is it with the place that aggravates said suicides. "Then comes the hardest...what is their motive for taking their lives?"

"Good luck with that then. I'm hanging up now. Still need to sort some personal stuff."

"Alright. See you around Sei." With that, the boy hanged up. Marika tucked away her phone in her pocket and walked towards the rooms on the other end. One by one, she knocked and asked to take a picture of the rooms in order to make her comparisons. "It's for a research paper. We're asked to study architectural and interior layouts--whatever that is. I'm not really an architect anyway." That was the excuse she gave the residents upon intruding. So far, most of the rooms looked the same, aside from the resident's personal touches.

Upon reaching 709, she suddenly realized that she has no way of entering the room. Grudgingly, she returned to their room and informed Elizabeth that she was heading downstairs. "Hey, I'm going back downstairs to borrow a key from Cel-san. I'll need to see what 709 looks like and how it compares with the other rooms in the vicinity."

So downstairs she went until she reached the front desk where Cel was quietly writing down something in a blue logbook. The older girl saw her and smiled. "What's the matter? Having second thoughts?" She asked, closing the logbook as she did.

"Maybe. It's too dark upstairs. At least compared to the other floors." Marika laughed. "Can I borrow the keys to 709? I won't take long. I'll just need to take a picture of the layout."

"No, sorry. Police have sealed up that room for a while. We were also asked to not let anyone in while the investigation is still underway." Cel sighed.

"Can't you--you know? Slip this one time? We won't even take five minutes and--it's for the good of the dorm and the investigation anyway." Marika whispered slyly at Cel who just shook her head.

"No way. Don't get me wrong, I like you girls--especially you Yukimura-chan. But, it could cost me this job. And to be booted out of campus which I really can't afford--well, you get it." Cel explained.

"Yeah. Don't worry, I was just teasing." Marika sighed in defeat. She did notice Cel seemed to be deep in thought for a moment before speaking up.

"You already went to the other rooms correct? Starting from 701 to 710?"

"Yes."

"Well, 702 has the same layout as 709 in that both are sandwiched between an occupied room and a storage room. You could use that as a reference. The only thing that would be different would be--"

"The view from the window. Okay, thanks a lot Cel-san!" With renewed enthusiasm, Marika headed back up to their room to inform Elizabeth.

"Hey, you all done here? I'll need you to accompany me downstairs outside the building. Oh, and I hope you've got good walking shoes with you."

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Hmm...How about Eli then?"

"Sure, though a lot of people just call me Liz." She stretched a bit. "Mari, huh?" She mused to herself as Marika offered to help her unpack, and as she turned, she noticed that Akiha had already went on, having started unpacking already.

Time passed by pretty fast. As they were just finishing up, Marika got a call and excused herself. Akiha glanced around the room. "Looks like you're set." "It looks like that to me." "Well, if you're done then I'm off- I left my phone in the dorm and Richard might be going insane, not being able to contact me every 5 minutes." "Your brother's really that protective?" Akiha scoffed a bit. "Why do you think I have that native headdress? Anyway, I'll be going now, Liz. Try not to die, yeah?" With an absentminded wave, Akiha left.

Now to think. Marika seemed to be going around taking pictures of the interior of the dorm rooms, including 709 as she had come over to inform Liz that she was going downstairs. What could she do, aside from being an "do anything and get away with it" badge? While she was still thinking though, she heard a strangely familiar voice. "Hi, Prez." Turning her head, she saw a pair of yellow eyes and a head of orange hair. "Mochizuki?" Sora poked her head in, waving. "I was investigating and I totally forgot that you were going to be here!" "Honestly..." Sora flashed a cat-like smile. "I just dropped by to say hi since I saw you here. About the info--" "What did you gather?" Sora smiled sheepishly. "It's starting to come together, Prez, but I'm gonna have to ask you to give me a bit more time. Once I've put together the pieces, maybe I could offer a conclusion." "We've got almost all the time in the world here. Still, when do you think can you give me the info?"

"Hm...Give me at least two more days." The orange-haired girl's smile grew bright again. "Right...good luck." "Thanks Prez, I'll need it!" With a quick bow and a deep breath, she watched as Sora rocketed down the hallway again, almost as fast as lightning. "Two days, huh..."

"Hey, you all done here? I'll need you to accompany me downstairs outside the building. Oh, and I hope you've got good walking shoes with you." She snapped out of her thoughts when she heard Marika's voice again. "Yeah, we're just about done." Liz walked over. "I take it we're going to be walking around a lot?" She managed a small joke- or whatever that was, though she tried to keep her voice friendly.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"I take it we're going to be walking around a lot?"

"Not much. We'll just be taking a small stroll outside." Marika answered back. "Come on, I'll meet you downstairs, outside the dorm."

Outside, Marika made a quick round of the whole yard. Lucia was a huge building but it has encompassed a large majority of the land allotted for it. A small piece remained for parking and other utilities but otherwise, it is rather compressed. Suppose the people moving around were 10 meter tall giants, proportioned accordingly. Moving around in that space would be akin to walking through a tight alley. That's how compressed the area feels.

"Room 702 seems to be more on the open side." Marika noted down as she lead Liz around the grounds. From their point of view from side facing the main entrance, 702 was located on their right, which was near the road separating Lucia from Theodosius. It was a two-way street, probably for moving in and out of the dormitory area. The parking space was situated around this side as well, so that it's closer to the road.

"On the other hand, 709 is--" Outside, 709 was on their left side, near the road going to the campus proper, where the school facilities are located. A human outline drawn with chalk was there, indicating the spot where the last girl fell from seven floors up. The space here has a small memorial for the people that were buried in the mass grave. An ancient tree also stood nearby; its thick branches acting as a shade that shadows the stone memorial.

"They probably jump from this spot due to the fact that they won't fall on any cars below." Marika realized that what she said could be taken as a mild joke or insult but, that did seem to be the most probable reason. "Our victims seems like they didn't want to attract any attention when they kill themselves, which is why they do it here, instead of 702 which is closer to the main road which receives traffic on a daily basis. Ironically, the sheer number of people killing themselves in this spot catches the eye of the authorities. The status quo changed, if you can call it that. It's almost like a suicide note." She also recalled the memorial and parking space.

"Looking down from 709, this memorial is very visible. Perhaps an odd psychological notion drives them to die in front of others who are dead? I think we need to examine this memorial even further but--" She glanced up at the sky. The sun had already began to go down, dyeing the ground in an eerie pale gray. "It's getting a little late. Let's head back and resume tomorrow."

Back in the room, Marika carried on with her findings. "Comparing the pictures, all the rooms seems to have the basic layout aside from the ones on the edge of the walls which have accompanying windows. I haven't gone to the rooms on the other floors but, I bet that the layout is pretty much the same. Perhaps the reason why the seventh floor draws the most flak is due to the lighting. Liz, I guess you've also noticed that this floor seems darker than the rest. What is the reason? I don't know. Maybe it's wiring problems but whatever the case, I can imagine the effects of this moody atmosphere among the residents."

Marika stopped there. Turning to Liz, she carried on. "Well, you feeling anything? What have you gathered on your side?"

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Not much. We'll just be taking a small stroll outside."

"By stroll, she probably means investigation..." With a quiet nod, she followed the other girl back downstairs promptly.

It was indeed a small stroll, just a quick one around the whole yard- had Lucia not been a big building at least. Still, Liz had enough stamina. It was no problem at all. A few moments later she found herself positioned in front of the building's main entrance, but unlike her awkward gawking at the tall building from earlier, she glanced around the building. From the viewpoint the parking area was on their right, and with that knowledge 702 was there as well. "They probably jump from this spot due to the fact that they won't fall on any cars below." She glanced at the other girl- on any normal conversation and not a serious investigation that could have been taken as a joke, but Mari did have a point.

"Our victims seems like they didn't want to attract any attention when they kill themselves, which is why they do it here, instead of 702 which is closer to the main road which receives traffic on a daily basis. Ironically, the sheer number of people killing themselves in this spot catches the eye of the authorities. The status quo changed, if you can call it that. It's almost like a suicide note." "Makes sense," she murmured to herself. "Still, if the authorities already noticed, wonder why they still choose to die in that floor..."

Another good look and Liz noticed the memorial and the tree. "Maybe..." "Looking down from 709, this memorial is very visible. Perhaps an odd psychological notion drives them to die in front of others who are dead? I think we need to examine this memorial even further but--" When the other girl trailed off, Liz noticed that the sun was setting. Oh boy. "It is getting pretty late." She was sure she didn't have to say that. Reflex, maybe? Instinct? Still, she had to at least stop being an awkward duck. Now if only she could find an opening...

Returning to the room, she listened to the other girl's findings. It was obvious that the floor was darker than most floors, for an unexplained reason that Liz would have killed to know about. "Well, you feeling anything? What have you gathered on your side?"

"Maybe it really is the atmosphere of this floor?" She tried. "I mean- aside from the lighting, from what we've seen earlier, the elder tree shading the memorial reaches all the way to the seventh floor. I haven't really seen what the window view from 709 is like, but from where it was positioned the tree would have been directly in front of the window..." She trailed off, then shook away the small uncertainty that clouded her mind for a few seconds. "It might be a bit of a strange idea, but being alone in the dark can probably make people do- or imagine- things. Assuming they died at night, the silence of the entire place can make you start thinking. If the victims had psychological issues they probably also started thinking of their problems, maybe?"

"Well, at least that's what I think, and that's only on the assumption that the victims died at night." She leaned back a bit.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"Maybe it really is the atmosphere of this floor? I mean- aside from the lighting, from what we've seen earlier, the elder tree shading the memorial reaches all the way to the seventh floor. I haven't really seen what the window view from 709 is like, but from where it was positioned the tree would have been directly in front of the window..."

"You have a point there. There is an old stigma about trees and strange incidents. An old association between the strange creatures of the dark and the woods from where they come from." Marika echoes the sentiment.

"It might be a bit of a strange idea, but being alone in the dark can probably make people do- or imagine- things. Assuming they died at night, the silence of the entire place can make you start thinking. If the victims had psychological issues they probably also started thinking of their problems, maybe?"

"The dark may make the residents feel a little unsettled but I don't think that's the end of the story. It sets the mood yes, but the trigger maybe something else. The residents saw something, I know it. And whatever they saw caused them to selfishly claim their lives."

"Well, at least that's what I think, and that's only on the assumption that the victims died at night."

"For my assumption's sake, I think they did. Because that clears one of the premises I set out with regards to this approach. But, should we really approach this from a supernatural standpoint?" Marika turned to face Liz, presenting to her a rather peculiar question.

"Liz, you transferred here around a couple of years back right? That means you moved in at the time of the great decline. No--at the peak of the decline. Why is that?" Marika posed another question. "Other parents would've already thought twice about entering their kids in this school what with all the notorious rumors after all. So why enter this school out of all the possible choices?"

The night deepened with the last glows of the afternoon sun being replaced with man-made fluorescent lights that wrap the streets in patches of white and orange, casting weird shadows all over the city. Still, inside a room across a notorious suicide spot, Marika stared at the empty ceiling, taking in all the pressure the dark atmosphere was giving off.

"You want to know what I think? I think this case has no clear solution. There are several reasons for suicide but unless Sora returns with her findings, we won't really know. And even then, the reason may not fit with our own understanding and logic. Even worse, there may be no legitimate reason at all which makes it all harder. Maybe it was just unlucky coincidence; a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This place--this place magnifies that uneasy feeling and multiplies it tenfold, turning it into a chaotic spiral in which there are no easy answers."

Marika stopped with her musings after that, resigning herself to the cold, concrete floor. Their first case and she was already exhausted mentally. Could it be another effect of the place they were staying at? She didn't know.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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"For my assumption's sake, I think they did. Because that clears one of the premises I set out with regards to this approach. But, should we really approach this from a supernatural standpoint?"

"Eh? I guess she has a point since our job is to debunk rumors but..." "Liz, you transferred here around a couple of years back right? That means you moved in at the time of the great decline. No--at the peak of the decline. Why is that?" This threw the blonde off her guard as confusion welled up inside her. "Why would she want to know something like that? Is it related to the case or something she's drawing up? Or does she just want to genuinely know more?" She shrugged a bit as Marika's question continued. "Other parents would've already thought twice about entering their kids in this school what with all the notorious rumors after all. So why enter this school out of all the possible choices?" "I guess it's because I liked the curriculum- aside from that, ever since the popularity drop, the atmosphere of the school pretty much quieted down so my parents sent me here thinking I can focus better on my studies if I were in a much more quiet school."

"You want to know what I think? I think this case has no clear solution. There are several reasons for suicide but unless Sora returns with her findings, we won't really know. And even then, the reason may not fit with our own understanding and logic. Even worse, there may be no legitimate reason at all which makes it all harder. Maybe it was just unlucky coincidence; a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This place--this place magnifies that uneasy feeling and multiplies it tenfold, turning it into a chaotic spiral in which there are no easy answers." Marika spoke directly after, before falling silent. Liz hummed a bit. "I wonder if she's affected by the atmosphere too..." She glanced at the other girl on the floor. "I mean, the floor is cold and everything is pretty dark here. I know I'm bothered- I've been creeped out by this floor..." She frowned. "Still, there must be at least a solution of some sorts to these cases. I hope Sora gets her findings together soon."

First case and they were already having a lot of problems with solving and debunking the rumors. "What if something supernatural comes up and I have absolutely no way of explaining it? Will I just have to suck it up and live with the doubt for the rest of my school year?"

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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I guess it's because I liked the curriculum- aside from that, ever since the popularity drop, the atmosphere of the school pretty much quieted down so my parents sent me here thinking I can focus better on my studies if I were in a much more quiet school."

"Even if the school has a reputation for people offing themselves when the going gets tough?" Marika teased a little after that. Somehow, it was rather relieving to hear that people choose to study in this place. The school's reputation does manage to hold up well enough.

The rest of the night was spent on idle banter. There wasn't much point in overthinking things while some crucial information was missing. In any case, the two will have to wait. The night passed and morning came around. Marika rose early and departed, leaving Liz alone to her temporary residence.

The day passed on without much incident. With the tests going on, not many have any time to be engaging the suicide news. A vigil was held in the auditorium followed by a mass offered to the departed. It struck Marika as odd though. "A mass for suicide victims? Praying for people who died because of their own doing...unless, of course, it wasn't."

Meeting resumed later on. As expected, Sei had arrived earlier than everybody while Kimi wasn't anywhere to be found. Probably had some requirements and errands to take care of. The two didn't mind though. They decided against talking about the progress in advance until Sora and Liz arrive. There was no point in repeating everything again.

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura
Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth

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Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth
Elizabeth Ainsworth

"Mind telling me why I'm the one staying in the creepier places?"

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura
Marika Yukimura

"I'm not...sure I want to believe."

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Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura
Marika Yukimura

"I'm not...sure I want to believe."

Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth
Elizabeth Ainsworth

"Mind telling me why I'm the one staying in the creepier places?"

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Character Portrait: Elizabeth Ainsworth
Elizabeth Ainsworth

"Mind telling me why I'm the one staying in the creepier places?"

Character Portrait: Marika Yukimura
Marika Yukimura

"I'm not...sure I want to believe."


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