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Braeden Carmichael

"'Ey, chin up, ladies. This place has a bar!"

0 · 697 views · located in Youth Center/Hotel Place

a character in “Banana Split--with a side of DEATH”, as played by Griese Lightning

Description

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Braeden Carmichael ✼ Brae ✼ Ultimate Yankee✼ Male ✼ Heterosexual ✼ Chuuya Nakahara

✼Likes:
Β Women, drinking, and parties
✼Dislikes:
His older brother, hangovers, and himself
✼Quirks:
Speaks with a somewhat Brooklyn-esque accent, always playing with his hair, coughs often





Rust ✼ Burgandy
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Lecherous ✼ Loyal ✼ Insecure ✼ Expressive ✼ Aggressive

Braeden is, at his core, incredibly insecure. Despite efforts to hide this behind a veil of perverted comments and lecherous behaviors, a hard-drinking party lifestyle, and a wide range of emotions, those who know Braeden find it fairly easy to see the self-loathing he tries so hard to drown in alcohol. Perverted and more than a little aggressive, Braeden is essentially all the worst things a person could be rolled into one guy...but truthfully, it’s loneliness driving most of his actions. Those who manage to call him a β€œfriend” find him loyal, invested, and caring.

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"Gettin’ trapped in here with all these babes? Ain’t half bad."

Braeden was a child of rape. The husband of his mother took pity on Braeden and convinced his mother, Melissa, to keep the child. Despite worry and a bit of disgust, Melissa complied.

However, it was obvious from the beginning that she never really cared about her second son. She and her husband had already had a beautiful boy named Kaiden--Braeden was just an accident. As a child Braeden learned to act naughty to get attention, and when he was released unsupervised into the world as a teenager, built-up aggression and attention-seeking habits led him to a fight with one of the local gang leaders. Through sheer ingenuity and skill, Braeden won out and took control of the gang.

He began getting involved in alcohol, parties, smoking, drugs, and sex--essentially everything his parents should have warned him away from--but between Melissa’s preoccupation with Kaiden and her husband Aiden’s death years prior, Braeden had no one around to keep him on the straight-and-narrow.

Somehow his gang grew to rule the city from the sidelines, enforcing their own twisted rules with an iron fist. These exploits caught the attention of Hope’s Peak and, desperate to prove he had some kind of worth, Braeden hassled to accept the invitation, leaving his gang in the hands of a capable member he considered his closest friend.

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So begins...

Braeden Carmichael's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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"Hm?" Faussin looked up from a deck of cards he'd found on his person, suddenly aware of the newcomers. "Oh. Oh. Y-yeah, I heard most of it, but I--uh. My name's Fauss. I'm the Ultimate Illusionist, though I don't really remember much of what happened, either."

Uncomfortable, he tugged his jacket closer to his neck. This wasn't the most ideal of situations, that much was for sure, but Faqir wasn't making it any better. The last thing Fauss needed was to be even more nervous. And to think, if they were drugged? It wasn't out of the question, but it terrified him imagining someone able to do such a thing. You'd think such a famous school would have more security, or... or something.

He shuddered. Thinking about it was freaking him out. Taking a deep breath, he began fiddling with his cards, never having been the type to sit still. "Do you think there are others?"



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It'd be a lie if Finnian said Vivara didn't freak him out, but to be fair, all strangers freaked him out to an extent. On more than one occasion people had aggressively appealed to him about his work, and every time it happened the more wary he became of other people.

Her comment about axe murderers didn't help, either.

Vivara leading the way, they stepped into a gymnasium, two other people scouting the room out already. Closest to them was an oddly young-looking girl with blonde hair and a blue a dress. She watched them warily, eyes full of what Finnian interpreted as terror.

"Are you students as well?" Vivara asked. He glanced down at his hand, then at her. He squinted slightly--her eyes were hard. Finnian had no doubt she was ready to throw him to the wolves if need be.

The girl answered, cautiously. "Amelia Temmer, Ultimate Botanist. And you are?"

"Vivara Vernon, Ultimate Librarian," she replied. She then gestured to Finnian, "this is Finnian Harris, Ultimate Scientist. Does your friend have a name? And perhaps, more importantly, do you two remember anything?"

Vivara turned to the other person in the room, a tough-looking guy with orange hair. Back then, Finnian would've been intimidated by him (seeing as Finnian was what many liked to call a total nerd), but his title as an Ultimate gave him a new sense of confidence. He stood up straighter.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Clair suddenly remembered that she didn't remember anything. She felt Madoka grip her arm--her body shuddered, but she suppressed the trembling that usually came with being in close contact with anyone.

Faussin had reminded her to ask for clues. Despite feeling she already knew the answer, she turned to Faqir. "I'm guessing you don't remember anything either? Hence the drug comment."

Faqir shrugged, moving to pace around the room. "Nope, not a thing besides my name and my Ultimate. I know I was heading for the school, but I have no clue how I got here or where 'here' even is. Not a whole lot of help, but at least I still remember how to tell 'The Aristocrats'."

"Please don't," Clair said hurriedly, very aware of Madoka fidgeting behind her and Faussin's nervous twiddling. She took a step back (guiding Madoka with her). "Okay, so here's what we do know. Our names, our Ultimates, and what we were supposed to be doing. There are sixteen students to a class, four of us here now. We should try to find everyone else--or at least some sort of clue as to how to get out of here."

"Say, why's the girl calling the shots?" Faqir asked.

Madoka squirmed, slowly poking his head out from behind Clair. "I-I think we should listen to her. I-I mean, at least...I should listen to her. I have no idea what's going on and I'm not very good at making decisions...I-I think Clair has a good grasp of...well, I just--um..."

Faqir nodded knowingly at him. "Ah, I get it. You got a crush and now you don't wanna leave your girl's side."

"W-what..." Madoka turned bright red, shaking his head. "N-no! I-I'm not even thinking about--I-I mean, sure she's pretty but--anyway, there are more important things to be worrying about right now!"

"Right there! That's the reaction I wanted."

Clair debated between finding Faqir amusing and annoying. She settled on amusing for the moment. "Fauss, right? Do you have any ideas on what we should do next? If no one is opposed, I'd like to check out the rest of the hotel and see what we can see."

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Not knowing things really made Braeden Carmichael angry.

Maybe it was because the only thing he had to really pride himself on was his intuition, or maybe it was because he hated not having some kind of element of surprise, but either way he had spent the last five minutes kicking things and cursing in frustration.

Having a girl around for company was welcome, but for once Braeden was too worried to bother hitting on her.

His attention snapped to the doors of the gym when two new folks entered. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, his posture slumped, he slunk over to the two newcomers and nodded once in greeting.

"Name's Braeden Carmichael," he muttered, eyes sweeping over the female newcomer. She wasn't bad--could be curvier, but he wouldn't be picky. "Librarian, 'ey? You're welcome to check me out all ya like."

Okay, so it wasn't his best pickup line, but Braeden was just a little off his game from frustration. He'd get back into the swing of picking up girls eventually.

He decided to address her second question--maybe they knew something he didn't. It could alleviate the frustration, at least. "'Fraid I can't remember nothin'. Two o' ya don't happen to have any knowledge for me, do ya?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Faussin blinked, not sure why Clair was asking him of all people what to do. He didn't exactly emit the aura of a leader, after all. Flipping his cards between his hands, he thought. "Looking around might be a good idea, but we should be careful. What if something dangerous is just around the corner?"

Like some crazy cannibal that thinks feasting on our flesh will give him our talents, Faussin thought. Then again, if that was the culprit, they'd be eaten already. There was no need for whatever setup this was.

He pursed his lips. Most of the things Faussin was imagining didn't fit with the scenario, which only made everything feel more bizarre. This wasn't normal. But that begged the question, what was it?

Strange, Faussin decided. Very strange.



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Vivara could sense that she was going to tire of Braeden quickly. "I expected nothing less from the Ultimate Yankee. Afraid we don't know anything either, but seeing as how you two are here, there may be more students around. Maybe they remember something, though I wouldn't count on it."

Amelia brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "So we don't know where we are, we don't remember anything, and we're all students of Hope's Peak. This sounds like something terrible in the making."

"Better we face it with fellow class members than alone," Vivara replied solidly.

"That way you have more people to throw to the axe murderers," Finnian mumbled.

Vivara glanced at him. "Do you take offense to what I said?"

He adjusted his glasses. "Well, as far as I know, most people don't throw others into the jaws of death. Not with as much confidence as you do, anyway."

She pursed her lips. "I don't know you at all, so it's only natural I'd place my well-being above yours, as well as everyone else here. I'm sure you'd do the same if it came down to it."

"She does have a point," Amelia muttered. "Though I do see where you're coming from, ah... Finnian, was it?"

He nodded. "Finnian. Ultimate Scientist, or something like that."

"Finnian," Amelia echoed. She muttered his name under her breath one more time as if to confirm, then turned to Braeden. "Alright. Let's see. What do you think, Braeden?"

Vivara raised an eyebrow. "Have you all never heard of self-preservation? We're wasting time with each second we stand here; we could be finding other students right now."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Clair nodded to herself, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. Fauss had a point, after all--they really knew nothing about this place.

Madoka stepped away from her, scratching his neck. "Do you think there's anyone here other than Hope's Peak students?"

"It's a possibility," Clair admitted. "But there's no guarantee they'll be enemies. Come on, if we stick together we have a higher chance of fighting off anything that might attack us. Do you guys know how to fight?"

"Er...fight, I.." Madoka descended into mumbling to himself, wringing his fingers together.

Faqir shrugged. "Depends, you think three years of krav maga will help me in this situation?"

It was better than nothing, Clair decided. She began to head for the door, pausing to wait for Madoka to hustled up behind her. Faqir seemed willing to go along with whatever was happening; Clair noticed him take a step towards the door.

There was no telling exactly what they would find, but it was certainly worth a shot. Clair made her way back into the lobby, her eyes fixed briefly on the gushing fountain in the center. It hadn't caught her attention too much on the way over, but looking at it now with the possibility of danger on her mind...

She shuddered. Water had always been a deep-rooted fear of hers--it was best to ignore it as she usually did.

"Is everyone cool with exploring together?" she asked. "Maybe we should head down that hallway over by the stairs."

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Others. Well, it made sense to Braeden--finding other students meant finding more girls, and maybe more guys he could assemble into a makeshift gang to run while he was...wherever he was. "I ain't got no problem with lookin' around. Could use the fresh faces. 'Sides, I might find some real babes." He paused, flashing Amelia a wink. "Not that I wouldn't bed the two o' you. I don't really got a type."

Something felt wrong. The more Braeden tried to convince himself everything was fine and this was all normal, the more he began to get a sinking suspicion that something was very, very wrong. He swallowed.

"Seen any signs around? Exits? Anythin'?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Faussin coughed, following after Clair. "I have magic, does that count?"

Most noticable of all was the fountain gushing in the middle of the room, setting the scene for a rather fancy hotel-looking lobby. He took a moment to think whether or not the place looked familiar, then promptly decided he'd remember if he had visited a hotel with a fountain parked right in the middle.

He closed his eyes, zoning off for a moment or two. What if this is all just in my head?

"Is everyone cool with exploring together?" Clair asked, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Maybe we should head down that hallway over by the stairs."

Faussin took a deep breath. This was going to be a long day. "I'm okay with it."


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"Nothing," Vivara replied, deciding to ignore his earlier remarks. There was no use in replying when they fell upon (what she assumed were) deaf ears. "But in all fairness, we haven't explored much at all. At least, I haven't."

Finnian shrugged. "I woke up in a fitness room. You were in the first room I went to check, so I haven't seen much of anything, either. What about you two?"

Amelia shook her head. "We woke up here, so same as you two. Our best option here is probably to explore--try to find an exit, a hint, or at least some other people."

"I agree," Vivara declared. She gestured to the hallway door, "so let's waste no more time standing here. Finnian, is the fitness room across from the pool area I awoke in?"

"Yes," Finnian replied. "Which leaves only one door unexplored. Allons-y."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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It was settled, then. Satisfied, Clair pinpointed the two staircases leading to the second floor and headed for the hallway between them, glancing up to the top of the stairs.

For the first time, she noticed that the second floor was blocked by large grates. Whoever had thrown the students into this unusual place didn't want them going too many places, obviously.

Despite the wide-open lobby, Clair began to feel claustrophobic. She zipped her jacket up further, stuffing her hands under her arms. Feeling someone watching her as she made her way towards the hall, she glanced at Madoka, who looked away nervously.

"Are you alright?" he asked quietly. "You seem uncomfortable...a-am I making you nervous?"

Clair felt herself relax somewhat. Admittedly, it was somehow comforting having other people around her, especially when two of those people seemed to be genuine sweethearts and the third had an unwavering sense of enjoyment about the whole endeavor. "I'm alright," she insisted. "I'm really glad to have people around. Thank you guys."

Speaking of people...were her eyes playing tricks on her, or was that another humanoid shape standing in the middle of the hallway? Clair squinted at it, watching the shape pace around the hall in the distance. She fell back slightly to stand nearer to Faqir and Fauss, suddenly apprehensive.

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"...'Allons-y'?" Braeden shook his head, deciding it didn't matter. He felt around in his pockets for a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, found them empty, and muttered a curse under his breath. "Feelin' a little agitated. Anyone got a pack o' smokes on 'em? And what the h*ll happened to my stuff, anyways? Did you guys lose all your sh*t too?"

He hadn't thought about it until now, but it was awfully strange to have woken up without any of the possessions he'd taken to school.

Not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things, really. Sighing, Braeden moved to stand by the door, indicating that he was ready to leave whenever the rest of the group was.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Faussin saw it too--a distinctly human shape, moving about in the distance. Losing confidence as the unofficial leader of the group stepped back, he slunk behind Faqir, who apparently knew krav maga.

Without warning, one of the many doors beside them swung open and a blonde girl stepped out, greeting them with a polite smile. "Oh, hello. I thought I heard noise out here."

Faussin watched as she stepped foward, gently closing the door behind her and scanning the four of them. He didn't like the way her eyes moved--looking everyone up and down, as if analyzing every move they made. He suddenly wanted to slink out of his own skin, just so he wouldn't feel her stare on him.

The girl's eyes switched to the girl further down the hallway. "Too good to join us, I suppose?"



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"It's French," Finnian replied, looking to Vivara to lead the way. "It means 'let's go.' Anything I say that sounds like gibberish is probably either French or scientific jargon, so you can just ignore it, I guess. And I don't smoke."

Vivara began walking toward the door at the end of the hallway, glancing back at the group. "I don't usually carry much with me, so I don't think I had anything to lose. Finnian, you know French?"

"Among many other languages, yes," Finnian replied. He briefly riffled through his pockets, and when he came up with nothing, checked one more time. "My rubix cube is gone. And my pen. Darn it, I really liked that pen. Where am I going to find another pen like that?"

"Does it matter what pen you use?" Amelia asked tentatively.

He pursed his lips. "I get weirdly attached to my pens. And that particular brand shows up on skin really well."

"I thought pens were for writing on paper," Vivara muttered.

"That may be their most common use, but that doesn't have to be their only use," Finnian pointed out. "Besides, it's easier to just remember a pen than to remember a pen and a notepad. What happens if you go out and a world-shattering theory suddenly occurs to you? Oh, better write it down in your journal. But wait! You forgot it at home! What do you do now?"

He tapped his arm confidently. "I'll tell you what you do. You write it down on your arm and head home so you can start on your new paper."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Madoka was getting really sick and tired of people making him scream like a little girl.

He practically jumped Clair when the new girl emerged from the room, gripping his leader like she could protect him from...a young girl, apparently, but who knew what it could have been?

Thankfully, Clair was able to support his weight--they didn't go crashing to the floor, though Madoka noticed his companion looking oddly uncomfortable. He released her, stepping away to fiddle with his hands. Clair flashed him a nervous smile, then observed the newcomer. Almost instinctively, it seemed, she moved to stand behind Madoka as if hiding herself.

"Are you a Hope's Peak student too?" Clair asked the newcomer, poking her head out from behind Madoka. Madoka stood perfectly still as if his statuesque posture would somehow conceal more of Clair. "We were just on a quest to find everyone else. Um..."

Suddenly, Clair let out a loud, sharp whistle. The shape (Madoka could make out the shapely figure of a woman now) down the hallways turned with a start. Clair made a "come here" gesture, and Madoka decided to aid her with an exaggerated wave.

"Guys," Faqir began suddenly, "what if she's a serial killer? Wouldn't that be hilarious? We're trapped in here with a murderer. Like, classic horror movie stuff right there! 'The killer is one of us! Ooooooh, spooky!'"

Madoka was reminded of why he didn't much like Faqir. He started to step away, then remembered Clair standing behind him and just rubbed his arm instead.

The woman down the hall slowly began making her way over to the others. She paused at least ten feet away, placed a hand on her hip, then continued her slow approach. An odd smile played on her red lips, but her posture was relaxed and she made eye contact well enough--Madoka decided to trust her.

"I did not realize there were other students here," the woman murmured, looking over the group. "I apologize. I would have joined you sooner if I had noticed you. I was hoping to do a bit of exploring--there is what appears to be an infirmary around, and as the Ultimate Surgeon..."

The woman paused, as if suddenly remembering something. "Forgive my manners. I'm Xhevona Abera, the Ultimate Surgeon. As that is difficult to pronounce, you may call me Vona. I assume all of you are Hope's Peak students as well?"

"Darn," Faqir mumbled. "Not a serial killer."

Xhevona laughed airily. "My, my. Did I frighten you that much? I'm sorry to disappoint, but my job happens to be to heal people, not kill them."

Madoka decided now was a good time to actually contribute something useful instead of standing there like an idiot. "U-um, I'm Madoka Himura," he announced. "The Ultimate Lucky Student. This is, umu...that's Clair, the Ultimate...I-I forgot. Clothing designer?"

Clair giggled. "Close: Makeup Artist. That over there is Fauss, the Ultimate Illusionist, and that's Faqir, the Ultimate Jeweler. And that..." Clair trailed off, cautiously addressing the blonde girl. "I don't actually know. What's your name?"

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Braeden shrugged. "Guess that makes sense. Still..." He paused, squinting at something mounted on the wall. "Say, what's--"

Static suddenly filled the air. Braeden whirled around, searching for its source; he recognized speakers he'd seen hanging on the wall during his earlier frustrated rampage. The speakers buzzed for a moment more, then an oddly cutesy voice came over the speakers.

"Upupupupu...."

Braeden reached for his belt to grab a gun, then remembered everything on him had been taken. He cursed, watching the speakers carefully.

The voice continued. "All students please report to the gym for a special class meeting! Time to get the school year started with a bang!" It paused. "Oh yeah, and to you bozos who are already in the gym, don't think you'll be gettin' any extra credit or gold stars or anything! Just find a place to stand and wait for the others like good little kiddies!"

Confused, Braeden looked over at the others. "Don't suppose any o' you know what the h*ll that voice is talkin' 'bout, huh?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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"My name is Eriko Zamora," the girl greeted, bowing. "Or Iko, if you like."

Faussin waved to her, cautiously. He'd thought finding more people would help his nerves (though looking back on it, he wasn't sure why), but these two new characters were only making him more nervous. They felt too calm.

Eriko clapped her hands together, looking over the group one more time. After a moment, she smiled. "You all seem fun. Some more than others, I'll admit, but that I expected. Does anyone know why we're here? Or where 'here' is?"

He shook his head. "No. We all--"

Before he could finish, he was interrupted by static. Fairly obvious speakers that he somehow hadn't seen before broadcasted an announcement, ordering that all students report to the gym. Faussin stood for a moment, staring at the speakers in disbelief.

"Bozos in the gym," Eriko repeated, seeming completely unaffected. "I suppose that means there are even more of us. Shall we go greet them in the gym? Assuming you folks know where the gym actually is, because I don't."

A gym? How big is this place? Faussin tucked his hands under his jacket, eyes straying to the camera in the corner of the room. He met its gaze, but only for a second--it was as if he could feel someone staring right back at him. "Uh, I-I think I saw a sign in the other room about a sports center. Maybe the gym is over there."

Eriko smiled. "Perfect. In what direction is the 'other room'?"

Faussin gestured to the lobby door. Not looking back to see if they were following, Eriko headed toward the door and the supposed direction of the gym. Faussin followed, and when they stepped into the lobby, he realized there was a camera there as well.

"A-are there cameras in every room?" Faussin mumbled, mostly to himself.

Sure enough, there were. As the group made their way to the gym (other students joining them along the way, all seeming just as lost as everyone else), Faussin spotted a camera and speaker in every room they passed. He rubbed his arms nervously, unable to shake the feeling of eyes constantly staring him down.

Faussin and several other students made their way into the gym. A tall girl with a pair of glasses and an authoritative stance took a headcount, then pursed her lips and looked back toward the door. "There are fifteen of us here, but sixteen in a class. Where's the last person?"

"Uh." A voice came from outside the door. It opened, slightly, then closed on itself. "Hold on a second, I just need to--okay, I think I've got it."

The door opened again, and a young man hauling a chair began to ease his way in. He maneuvered carefully, apparently trying very hard not to hurt his chair in any way.

"Do you, uh. Do you need some help with that?" Someone called.

"I'm fine, don't worry," the boy assured them. A few moments later, he somehow got his chair through the doorway and triumphantly set it down, sitting on it as if it were a throne. He sighed wistfully. "Yes, I knew it. I love my chair."

Another person coughed. "Weirdo."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Madoka swallowed, subconsciously reaching out to grab Clair's hand. She smiled assuringly at him, calming him just enough to resume a more confident posture.

"WHO DARED SUMMON THE GREAT DEMON QUEEN, KURANO ONI?! MY LEGIONS OF FOLLOWERS SHALL DEVOUR YOUR FLESH!" a particularly loud girl yelled, her multicolored hair swirling around her in a swath of black and gold.

"Does anyone know what the purpose of our being here is?" a man in a suit called.

"Why, I haven't the slightest idea, my dear!" a girl in a white dress called, looking around worriedly. "What manner of mysterious scenario is this, pray tell?"

Madoka took a deep breath, trying to remain calm. "M-maybe we can--I mean, I just think that there's a--um..."

There goes his shot at a first impression.

"Upupu...upupupu...."

Madoka jumped, squeezing Clair's hand. Clair stepped closer to him.

Suddenly, a tile in the ground popped open and from the hole sprang a two-toned teddy bear. The bear waved sporadically, a hideous grin painted onto the black side of its body and its eerie red eye leering at the group.

"Welcome to your nightmares!" the bear exclaimed. "Good, all you bunch o' crazies made it! Welcome to orientation!"

"What the heck kinda 'orientation' involves drugging us and dragging us to a--wherever this is?!" the girl in the white dress demanded. Madoka shuddered--her abrupt change was unexpected, to say the least.

"Shut up when your headmaster's talking!" the bear ordered, brandishing sharp-looking claws. Madoka yelped, trembling. As the group quieted down, the bear began to speak once more. "In case you losers haven't noticed yet, you're all trapped here. No escape, no goin' home to your mommies, no nothin'! Capiche?!"

The loud girl shrieked. "YOU DARE TEL LTHE GREAT DEMON QUEEN THAT SHE IS TRAPPED?! NONSENSE! MY UNDERLINGS SHALL SWARM YOU AND TEAR YOUR TEDDY EARS OFF!"

"Hey!" The bear glared at her, pointing its claws. "Monokuma is no 'teddy'! Now can it, weeb, I'm talkin' here! Or do you want to be our example of what happens when you break the rules?!"

Before the loud girl could interject, Madoka raised his voice and addressed the bear. "I-is it okay to ask what's going on?"

The bear looked pleased. "Wellllll, I guess I can enlighten you twerps. Alright! We've covered the whole 'you're stuck here forever' thing, I gave you losers my name..."

Forever? That was worth speaking up again. "W-what do you mean...'forever'?"

"Forever means forever, pipsqueak! Although there is one way to escape."

"Wait, y-you mean we really can't get out?!" Madoka clutched Clair's arm, shaking. Clair stiffened, but seemed oddly relaxed; she maintained a slight smile.

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Faussin shrieked. "Wh-what? But that's--this isn't real, right?! It's all some sort of sick joke!"

A girl with long tassel earrings and lilac-colored eyes spoke, her voice shaking. "This seems far too extreme for a joke. I-It's starting to scare me..."

"Really? It's just some talking toy," a redhaired girl murmured, her arms crossed. "What did it call itself? Mono-something?"

"I am Monokuma, and I am no toy! My design is so complex that not even the brightest of engineers could understand it!" The bear--Monokuma, apparently--declared.

Faussin shrunk behind Clair and the others, trembling. He had never wished so strongly to be home with his brother, huddled up in a blanket where everything was okay.

"Can I try?" A young man with messy black hair and glasses asked.

"If you're going to ask the bear questions, ask it something useful," another voice said. "We don't know how many it'll answer, after all."

Eriko hummed, seeming to be thinking. "Here's a useful question. You said there was a way to escape, Mr. Monokuma. What is it, if I may so bold as to ask outright?"

"Oh, I'm glad you asked!" Monokuma cooed. "Well, you're all here to live a nice and harmonious life until the day you die. But for those who want to get out, there's a special exception."

"I don't like where this is going," someone muttered under their breath.

"If someone disturbs the peace, then they and they alone will be able to leave," Monokuma explained.

The glasses-wearing girl narrowed her eyes. "And what counts as 'disturbing the peace'?"

"Upupupu... why, murder, of course."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Murder.

Madoka's throat closed up, his stomach knotting. Everything seemed to slow--he was only vaguely aware of the girl in the white dress screaming something, a redheaded boy taking a threatening stance, and his own hand closing around Clair's. She squeezed back, smiling calmly at both Madoka and Fauss.

"So, let me confirm this," Clair began, her voice surprisingly level. Madoka had never been more glad to have the unflappable makeup artist beside him. "We just have to live here forever? And if we kill someone, we get to escape."

"Bingo!" Monokuma said. "Easy peasy, right? Oh yeah, and here--student handbooks! So you can see the other school rules."

From out of seemingly nowhere, Monokuma pulled out an armful of strange, electronic tablets. He tossed them in the group's general direction; Clair whipped her hand out of Madoka's to catch two. A third smacked into Madoka's forehead, but he barely noticed--there was far too much going on. Noticing, Clair passed one handbook to Fauss and scooped Madoka's off the floor.

He took it from her, observing it. Clair glanced at hers beside him. Madoka heard a slight gasp emit from her, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Clair hurriedly stuff her handbook in her pocket, suddenly pale.

Madoka flipped through his handbook, droning out Monokuma's voice to focus on what it contained.

Student ID...school rules...we should go over those.

"And that's that!" Monokuma exclaimed. "And don't even think about breaking any of those rules! I'm a fair bear, okay? No rule-breakers! Oh yeah, and don't worry about those handbooks. They can take one h*ll of a beating!"

"This is bullsh*t!" the redheaded boy shouted.

"Sucks to be you!" Monokuma pulled open the panel in the floor again, waving. "Well, you kiddos have fun with that! And before you ask, no Chuck Norris-ing your way outta this with brute force or whatever. See ya later! Upupupu~"

And with that, the bear dropped into the floor. Madoka stared at his handbook, swallowing.

What luck.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Faussin stared at where Monokuma had disappeared, suddenly more aware of everyone else in the room. He coughed, pulling on the collar of his shirt--he could hardly breathe. He was choking on his disbelief. Nauseous, he looked down at his hands, then at Madoka and Clair.

Clair. She was calmer than Faussin could ever hope to be. Grating his nails against his arms, he began to take slow, deep breaths. Though, as calm as he tried to be, nothing stopped that suffocating feeling.

"What an interesting concept," Eriko spoke, breaking the silence that had briefly washed over the group. "If not somewhat disturbing. What should we do now?"

He barely heard what she was saying, counting to ten in his head to try and get a better hold of himself.

The glasses-wearing boy seemed far more wary of the glasses-wearing girl now, stepping away from her slowly. The girl herself was standing, shocked. After a moment, she brushed herself off and took a deep breath, addressing everyone. "Well. I'd like to think we're all mature enough to not kill each other as we look for an alternate way out?"

Eriko smiled mysteriously. "You underestimate how easy it is for some to kill another. But perhaps cooperation is our best strategy, at least for now. Why don't we all introduce ourselves to each other?"

A young blonde girl nodded. "That... seems like a good idea. I'll start. My name is Amelia, and I'm the Ultimate Botanist."

"Wonderful," Eriko cooed. "I am Eriko, Ultimate Puzzle Solver."

The glasses-wearing girl cleared her throat. "Vivara Vernon, Ultimate Librarian."

"Finnian," piped the glasses-wearing boy. "Ultimate Scientist."

A girl with red hair and a steely look spoke next. Like Clair, she was calm and confident, though somehow her aura wasn't as comforting. "Mercy Crocker, Ultimate Hunter."

"I am Ysabel Cross," spoke another girl. She too had red hair, though her voice was far more gentle. There was a brief pause during when she was supposed to announce her Ultimate. "I-I'm afraid I don't remember my Ultimate."

Vivara narrowed her eyes. "Perhaps it's a symptom of whatever drug they used to bring us here?"

"Perhaps," Ysabel replied.

Eriko poked Faussin, who yelped. She gave him a look. "You have to introduce yourself."

He stared at her for a moment. "Oh. Haha. D-don't do that, you scared me. I'm Faussin, Ultimate Illusionist. I prefer Fauss, though."

The guy who'd dragged a chair into the room crossed his legs. "I'm Graham. Ultimate none-of-your-business."

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Clair couldn't say she was disappointed in this turn of events. It was such an easy solution--just live in the hotel. It wasn't like anyone could get lonely with fifteen other people around, there were bedrooms and a dining hall, and there was so much to do that they'd never get bored. She could attribute her eerie sense of calm to that simple fact--there was no reason to kill each other.

She focused back on the group, deciding getting to know each other was a great first step.

"Eriko has the right idea," Clair murmured. She waved, smiling. "Nice to meet you all! I'm Clair LaBelle, the Ultimate Makeup Artist."

Madoka shifted next to her, seemingly choked. Clair patted his back. Relaxing somewhat, he cleared his throat and announced, "I-I'm Madoka Himura. Th-the Ultimate Lucky Student. Clearly I'm not really that lucky, because this..."

He trailed off, whimpering. Clair rubbed his back.

Xhevona dipped her head, seeming slightly agitated but oddly serene. "My name is Xhevona Abera, or Vona for short. I am the Ultimate Surgeon."

The girl in the white dress gestured wildly, curtsying low. "Nice to meet you all! I'm Bonnie Clyde, the Ultimate Shakespearian Actress. These are indeed difficult times, but as Shakespeare once said, 'To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.'"

Clearing his throat, Faqir stepped forwards, raising his hand. "I just want to begin by saying I totally called this."

Clair chuckled. He wasn't wrong--his comments during their meeting of Vona were right on the money.

"Anyways, name's Faqir Nawabi. Ultimate Psychic."

Madoka sighed. "F-Faqir, please..."

"Alright, you got me. Ultimate Jeweler."

"LISTEN UP, MORTAL SWINE!" the multicolor-haired girl screamed, pointing her finger to the sky. "THE GREAT DEMON QUEEN KURANO ONI HAS CHOSEN TO GRACE YOU WITH HER PRESENCE! YOU MAY ALL BOW DOWN TO THE MIGHT OF THE ULTIMATE EXORCIST!"

Clair hesitated a moment. "So wait, is it Kurano or Oni?"

"YOU MAY CALL ME HER EMPRESS, MORTAL."

"I'll...settle on Kura."

The man in the suit bowed low. "My name is Romano Pselli. It is a pleasure to meet you. I am deemed the Ultimate Butler, and it is my duty to serve you in whatever manner you please."

"So does that mean I could get a handjob?" Faqir asked.

Clair twitched, the tone striking something within her. "I think it's important we focus on something other than manipulating poor butlers into doing you a sexual favor."

Faqir shrugged. "Worth an ask."

Romano seemed agitated, but maintained his blank stare. "With all do respect, sir, I can think of at least sixteen more productive things to do with my hands."

"Ouch. Harsh, man."

The redheaded boy chuckled. "Y'all are crazy. Not that I've got any room to judge. Braeden Carmichael, Ultimate Yankee. 'Cause apparently that's a talent."

Clair surveyed the crowd. "Well, I suppose we've all met now. What should we do now?"

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera Character Portrait: Bonnie Clyde
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Vivara's gaze lingered on Graham for a moment, as she tried to recall what his Ultimate was. Though, the more she thought, the more she began to remember how little information on him there was online. She pursed her lips. He must've erased all trace of himself from the internet.

She took a deep breath. "We should familiarize ourselves with the building, and look for any kind of exit. If we're expected to be here...forever...then I should hope there are places for us to sleep and food for us to eat."

"There are," Eriko confirmed. "When I was looking around, I stumbled across a cafeteria and several bedrooms labeled with our names. I looked through my room already, though I couldn't seem to get into anyone else's."

Vivara relaxed slightly. If anyone was going to die, at least it wasn't going to be by starvation. "Alright. That's good news, at least. I still move that we look around. And considering what Monokuma just said, I... perhaps it would be better if we were to all stay together. Wandering around alone seems dangerous in this situation."

Ysabel nodded. "I agree."

"Does anyone disagree?" Amelia asked, looking around.

There were no objections. Vivara, satisfied, began orchestrating their exploration of the building. Like Eriko said, there was a cafeteria with lots of food as well as two different hallways of bedrooms, each one assigned to a single person. The boys' bedrooms were connected to one hallway while the girls' were connected to the one next to it. They also found an arcade, a laundry room, a nurse's office and security office. Perhaps predictably, the two offices were locked.

A few days passed. The students settled in as well as anyone could, considering the situation. Holding a bagel in her hand, Vivara made her way to the conference room, where most of them had agreed to meet every morning. She was early, as she always was.

Opening the door, she took a bite of her bagel and examined the empty room. Cautiously, she checked underneath the table, just to make sure there wasn't someone waiting there to kill her. When she saw that no one was there, she quickly stood back up, sighing in relief.

As much as she wanted to believe no one among them planned to kill another, she knew better. Desperation brought out the worst in people, and this situation was no exception.

Taking a deep breath, she took a seat at the far end of the table. Vivara sat in wait of everyone else, mulling over what to do as she began munching on her breakfast.

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Twitching, Romano reached out to arrange the collection of pastries and breakfast foods into more manageable piles. He brushed the crumbs off the counter and into his hand, going to brush them into the trash can. Clair reached out to help him, finding that the act of cleaning something comforted her somewhat.

"What should we do?" Madoka asked. "I-it feels like we're just stalling now...d-do you really think it's going to be okay?"

Truthfully, all of Madoka's constant worrying really wasn't make Clair feel better. She frowned, reaching out to take his hand. "Madoka, calm down. Graham's right, we should talk about something else! Like, what do you think of the fitness room? Sometimes I go in there just to work out for a bit and I have so much fun. It's awesome."

Faqir opened the door and emerged inside, followed by Braeden. He waved, hopping onto the table and laying across it. Braeden plopped at a chair and propped his feet on the table. Romano looked ready to punch both of them.

"'Sup, ladies?" Braeden saluted, winking at Clair. It seemed he'd been relaxing more since the announcement--his flirtations now came more practiced and smoothly, like this was just another normal day for him. "None o' ya happen to be willin' to take me up on that offer yet, do ya?"

"The one where you sleep with us in case we die so no one dies a virgin? No thanks, I'm not interested," Clair sighed. "For crying out loud, Brae. Are you trying to manipulate us or something?"

Clair strived to be kind and courteous to everyone she met in this place, but truly she was closest to breaking that rule with Braeden. Perverts had never sat well with her and he wasn't much of a conversationalist to make up for it.

Faqir raised a hand, using his other hand to stuff pastries into his mouth. "Dude, I'll do it."

Braeden recoiled. "Gross, man, I'm only into the ladies!"

"None of you people know how to take a joke."

If nothing else, Clair admired Faqir for refusing to lose his sense of humor in the frightening situations. Even if his jabs were inappropriate ninety percent of the time, they did keep the place light. Clair allowed herself to smile, admittedly pleased by how normal things were beginning to feel.

This hotel would become home. No one would die. She was certain of it.

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Vivara took a bite of her pastry, thankful she decided to take one before the boys came in and ruined both the table and the food. Grumbling something under her breath, she scooted her chair a few inches away from the table. Braedon's feet were the last thing she wanted in her face while she ate.

"You know, there are chairs in this room," she muttered. "Maybe they're there for a reason."

"Don't waste your breath," Mercy muttered. "I've met his type before. Your words fall on deaf ears."

Scoffing, Vivara began to push Braedon's legs off the end of the table. "Figures a hunter would have. I usually don't run into many slobs, seeing as my life is a bit more refined."

Mercy raised an eyebrow. "A 'hunter', huh? I'm glad I know where you stand."

Vivara seemed to realize her mistake. "Well. No, that's not what I--nevermind. It's just that my father has always had a rather negative look on hunters, so adjusting to your presence is taking a bit."

"Mmm." Mercy didn't seem convinced. She took a bite of her muffin.

Graham took a small, shimmering diamond out of his pocket and began to admire it.

Ysabel and Finnian walked in, both discussing something about holiday decorations. As Ysabel was commenting on lighting, Finnian was talking about how easy it would be to make something that would liven up the hotel.

"...But anyways, I'll stop rambling now," Finnian finished. He waved to everyone, then paused briefly to stare at Braeden. "I see the table is taken."

Ysabel walked in after him, taking a seat near the edge of the table. She tucked her hair behind her ears. "Hello. How did everyone sleep?"

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Braeden scoffed, moving his feet off the table. Clair reached for a scone, grateful when Faqir reached for one that was untainted and passed it to her. He yawned.

"Yo, Finn, I can hook you up with some danishes," Faqir offered, waving a cheese danish in the air. Romano finally dashed in to collect the rest of the food and carry it.

Oni threw the door open, slamming it against the far wall. Clair noticed Madoka jump and patted his leg. He muttered something about how difficult it was to remain relaxed when people like Oni existed.

"THE GREAT DEMON QUEEN HAS ARRIVED!" Oni yelled. "MORTALS, YOU MAY NOW COMMENCE EATING."

"I'm afraid all our food has been tainted, madam," Romano muttered. Faqir winked at him.

Clair thought for a moment. "We're waiting on Vona, Eriko, Fauss, Bonnie, and Amelia, right? Have any of you seen them?"

Oni laughed. "I TAKE NOTICE OF NO MERE HUMAN! HER EMPRESS KURANO ONI HAS FAR BETTER THINGS TO DO!"

Clair deliberately ignored her, glancing at Graham. "Are you going to keep those trays?"

"Do not bother him with such questions, madam," Romano said. "I'm afraid our food is already ruined."

Faqir waved his cheese danish around as if inviting someone to take it from him.

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael
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Vivara frowned. Braeden's feet were gone, but the dirt from his shoes were now all over her spot. She grumbled under her breath some more, disgusted.

Finnian took the cheese danish Faqir was offering, looking over it carefully. "I'm scared to eat this, but I'm really hungry."

"Take a risk! Also, yes, these trays are mine now," Graham decided, staring down at them. "I like the way light reflects off of them. And you guys have other trays, right? You won't miss these."

"Friends," Eriko greeted the group, walking through the door. Amelia was on one side of her and Faussin on the other, her arms hooked with theirs. "Another day starts. How are you all doing?"

Faussin and Amelia split away from her, both seeming equally unnerved. Vivara wasn't surprised by this, seeing as Eriko had already shown her blatant disregard for personal boundaries. Every morning, she would latch onto one or two students and bombard them with uncomfortable questions as they made their way to the conference room.

Amelia lingered in the corner of the room while Faussin took a seat next to Madoka, seeming somewhat distracted.

"We're doing well enough, I think," Mercy replied, sighing slightly. "How are you?"

"Good, as always," Eriko said. "Thank you for asking. Is everyone here?"

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Clair waved a "hello" to Fauss, offering him the scone Faqir had passed her. "That's almost everyone. We're missing Bonnie and Vona."

"Someone called?" Xhevona poked her head in, then slowly emerged fully, her usual pleasant smile gracing her features. Xhevona's serenity had never died down throughout the time after the announcement. Though her polite smile and relaxed posture was off-putting to some, Clair recognized in Xhevona another person willing to spend eternity in this hotel. There was no reason to leave, and Xhevona seemed to know that as well as Clair did.

Romano swept towards the table and began to brush the dirt from Braeden's shoes into his hand, muttering about cleaning supplies. Faqir waved to him. Romano deliberately ignored him.

Time continued to trickle onwards, but no sign of Bonnie ever arrived. Clair began to get more and more worried--they'd been doing so well, surely she was just tired--but when Madoka finally spoke up beside her, she found she couldn't deny the possibility.

"Do you think someone killed Bonnie?"

Clair bit her lip. "Nonsense," she insisted. "She's probably just still asleep, or rehearsing something in her room. Bonnie always spends a lot of time putting on one-woman shows or reading Shakespeare alone in her--"

"C-Clair, I'm..." Madoka swallowed, fiddling with his hands. "I-I'm serious. We knew it was going to happen some time. It's been a really long time and she still didn't show up. I-I don't want to...but what if someone...you know?"

She did. Clair knew exactly what he meant--she just hated to think about it.

"Let's go look for her," she suggested. "Maybe she's just spending the day in the pool or something. Madoka, Fauss, Amelia, we can go check the boy's bedroom hall. Vona, will you go with Finnian and Vivara and check the sports center? Faqir, Oni, and Eriko can look in the girl's bedroom hall. And Braeden, you go with Ysabel, Mercy, and Graham to check around the lobby. Come back here in an hour and tell us if you find Bonnie."

"Aye aye, Boss." Faqir saluted. "I'll let you know if I find the body."

"There's no body," Clair insisted quickly.

There wasn't. There couldn't be. Things were going so well.

No one would stoop to that sort of level...would they?

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Eriko gestured toward the door. "Shall we?"

The group quickly made their way back to the conference room, the others meeting them inside. Eriko explained what Monokuma had told her and the others, placing the Monokuma file in the middle of the table for anyone who wanted to look at it. Vivara was the first to reach for it, scanning its contents with a quickness fitting to the title "Ultimate Librarian." An unspoken heaviness hung over all of them, and Eriko was sure they were all thinking the same thing: someone in the room was a murderer.

Mercy leaned against the door, crossing her arms. "So Monokuma said he wants us to find the killer?"

"Yes," Amelia confirmed. "And he mentioned something about a 'class trial', though he was gone before we could ask him what that was."

Vivara adjusted her glasses. "This file says Bonnie died by a small incision to the heart, made by a sharp object. With a wound like that, it only makes sense that the murder weapon was small, meaning that this was no regular knife. Perhaps a needle of some sort?"

"The girls have sewing kits, don't they?" Mercy muttered.

"I believe so," Vivara replied. "And there's one more thing that occurs to me. Such a precise move would require advanced medical knowledge--knowledge that the Ultimate Surgeon and Ultimate Scientist most likely have. And before anyone here takes that a step further, I'm not accusing anyone just yet. I'm merely stating the facts."

Eriko hummed. "As the Ultimate Librarian, you too may have stumbled upon that knowledge. While I agree that both the Ultimate Scientist and Surgeon are now higher on our list of suspects, so are you."

Viviara nodded. "I expected that and I am fine with it. I know I'm not guilty, and so naturally, the evidence will not point to me in the end."

"You sound so sure," Mercy commented.

"Is that a bad thing?" Vivara asked.

Mercy just shrugged.

Faussin shifted uncomfortably. "Hold on. Can I say something?"

Vivara nodded. "Go ahead."

Several eyes shifted to him. Seeming even more uncomfortable than before, he began fidgeting with the hem of his jacket. "Well, I guess--Finnian. He's the Ultimate Scientist, but just 'scientist' is really vague. Isn't his focus more in chemistry and stuff?"

"It is," Vivara confirmed. "But I researched most of you before I came to attend, Finnian included. His focus is in chemistry and related sciences, but he has thoroughly explored all of the other sciences as well."

She paused, looking pointedly at Finnian. "In fact, I am one-hundred percent certain that Finnian has the knowledge needed to have committed this murder. But again, that doesn't mean I think he's the killer."

Finnian was quiet.

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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How much longer did they have? Faqir felt like this time was dragging on forever.

"What's all this about a trial, anyway?" he blurted. "There was nothing mentioned about that at orientation. I'm startin' to think that bear's just making stuff up."

Clair folded her arms, then unfolded them and placed Bonnie's note on the table. "We can worry about that later. In the meantime, Faqir found this stuffed into Bonnie's dress. It seems to be some kind of note she wrote herself."

Xhevona--unflappable as always, her expression vaguely concerned but not frightened--opened her mouth to speak. "You say the incision was precisely aimed for the heart? If it was indeed small, a sewing needle may be the best guess, leading us to assume a female suspect...but I can tell you as a surgeon that it would have to be an incredibly long and somewhat thick one to cause any actual damage. I have not yet opened my kit, are there any needles involved that would actually work for such a task?"

Clair bit her lip. "Actually, she has a point. Those things aren't that long, but I guess if you hit the right spot..."

Braeden shook his head. "Nah, that don't make sense to me. She had good-sized boobs, a needle wouldn't get through 'em to reach 'er heart."

Clair glared at him--there was a level of untapped fury in her gaze that made Faqir decide to work harder to stay on her good side. "No one asked you to contribute if you're just going to be disgusting. God, show some respect, the poor girl lost her life and here you are talking about her chest!"

"Shouldn't we save some discussion for the trial?" Faqir asked. "I mean, who knows how much longer we have to investigate? We should focus on that and worry about punching Braeden for being a sleaze later."

"You're just as bad as me!" Braeden retorted.

"I didn't comment on poor Bonnie's chest, bro. Just touched it."

"How the h*ll's that better?!"

"Would you two shut your f*cking mouths?!" Clair nearly shouted.

Faqir instantly went quiet. He noticed Madoka, glued to Clair's side as usual, jump with a start; the boy placed a hand on Clair's shoulder and she took a deep breath, silently counting to ten.

"Sorry," she murmured. "I just...look, there will be time to fight later. W-we can't let all this...we've worked hard to build up a harmonious existence here. Let's not let it break just yet...Faqir was right, though, we need to investigate. What do you all suggest we do first? I-I'm not--I can't focus right now. I'm sorry."

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Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Eriko tapped her chin, recalling everything she'd found in her sewing kit. Upon coming into her room, she'd thoroughly checked everything inside, leaving nothing untouched. And if she recalled correctly...

"A regularly sized sewing needle may not be big enough for the task," Eriko muttered, "but what about an extra long one? There were two needles in the pack, both in varying sizes."

Finnian frowned. "That would probably do it."

She turned to Clair. "And as for investigation. Considering the longer sewing needle may have been enough to inflict such a specific wound, why don't we check all the girls' sewing kits? If anyone's needle is missing or bloody, that may point us in the right direction."

Mercy nodded. "We'll need everyone's cooperation, however. We can only get into someone's room if they let us in."

Graham shrugged. "Not necessarily."

Vivara narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean, 'not necessarily'?"

"What I mean is that," Graham took a handbook out from seemingly out of nowhere, "all you really need to get into someone's room is their handbook. That being said, Faqir, you should really keep a better eye on yours."

Amelia stared at him. "How do you know that?"

"I just watched. It wasn't very hard to figure out," he said, talking as if it were no big deal. He extended the handbook to Faqir. "Also, here. This is yours."

Eriko tilted her head. "Why did you give that back to him? Usually, when you take things, you never plan on giving them back."

"Usually, yes," Graham agreed. "But some things are different. The handbook was assigned to him by an evil teddy bear thing, his name is programmed into it, and... I don't know, it's just not shiny enough."

"Your chair isn't very shiny," Eriko pointed out.

"Yes, but it's comfy and inviting," Graham said.

Mercy crossed her arms. "There are 30 other chairs just like it. Why just that one? Why not all of the chairs?"

"Don't give him ideas!" Vivara hissed.

"I can't make sense of my madness! I just liked the one chair more than the others. What's done is done," Graham replied. "Now let's get back on track. We don't have a lot of time."

Amelia nodded. "To the girls' rooms, then?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Faqir scrambled in his pockets for his handbook and realized that, yet, it was in fact missing. Admittedly impressed, he reached out to take it from Graham. "Swiper, no swiping."

"Askin' Graham not to steal's like askin' me not to hit on chicks," Braeden stated plainly. Faqir shrugged.

Oni, who had gone amazingly quiet after the body discovery, shuffled out into the hallways and headed for the girls' rooms. Clair followed her (with Madoka predictably trotting after her). Faqir yawned, going to stand with Xhevona.

"So you think a longer needle could work, Dr. X?"

She thought, rubbing her chin. "It's possible...the pressure of the heart bursting against uneven pressure of a small hole could potentially burst the heart and cause a great leak of blood. The internal bleeding would cause some issues. Though it would be easier to simply burst a blood vessel and allow the victim to bleed out that way."

"That's why you're our resident creepy serial killer!" Faqir thumped her on the back twice, skipping off to join the others. She laughed behind him, following.

"I understand I have been brought up as a suspect, so I feel the need to defend myself--I will repeat that as a surgeon, it is my responsibility to save lives, not take them. My medical expertise does place me in the green, but I am confident the evidence shall clear my name as we uncover the truth," Xhevona announced. "That said, I shall check my own room, as it is easiest for each student to maintain control of their own handbook--will one of you check Bonnie's body for her handbook and look in her room for any other clues?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Romano Pselli Character Portrait: Finnian Harris Character Portrait: Oni Kurano Character Portrait: Ysabel Cross Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora Character Portrait: Braeden Carmichael Character Portrait: Xhevona Abera
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Eriko laughed, walking with everyone to the girls' hallway. "Checking your own room? That's silly. If you're the murderer, then checking your own room will allow you to clear any potential evidence inside. I move that no one checks their own room, and every room be checked in pairs in case of potential framing."

"I second that," Mercy said. "Let's see. Eriko and I will check Bonnie's room, Faqir and can check Xhevona's room, Romano and Vivara can check my room, Madoka and Fauss can check Amelia's room, Braeden and Graham can check Ysabel's room, Amelia and Finnian can check Vivara's room, Ysabel and Xhevona can check Clair's room, and... Romano and Viv, when you finish, check Eriko's room. We don't have enough to evenly distribute two people to each room, so I hope you don't mind checking two."

Vivara adjusted her glasses. "I don't mind. I should hope Romano doesn't, either."

Finnian stared at Xhevona for a moment. "Wait a second. I think that's wrong, actually. I'm a little rusty, but the more I think about it, the more it comes back to me. The needle would be able to get through to the heart and puncture it, but it wouldn't be able to kill quickly. Someone could live for hours--even days--with that kind of injury. What makes more sense is that someone used the needle to get through, then used something else to make the wound larger and kill them more quickly."

He paused, eyes narrowing slightly. "As a surgeon, shouldn't you know this, Vona?"

"Let's check the rooms first," Eriko said, handing her handbook to Vivara. She started toward the laundry room for Bonnie's handbook. "We can discuss everything later. We need more evidence first."

Mercy handed her handbook to Vivara, who handed her own handbook to Amelia. Amelia handed her handbook to Fauss, and Ysabel handed her handbook to Graham.