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Eriko Zamora

"We're a peculiar bunch, aren't we?"

0 · 904 views · located in Youth Center/Hotel Place

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




Eriko Zamora ✼ Iko ✼ Ultimate Puzzle Solver ✼ Female ✼ Asexual ✼ Kaori Miyazono

Puzzles, questions, cherry pie, all kinds of music, answers, and challenges

Boredom, junk food, not knowing something, giving up

Asks too many questions, no sense of personal space,
seemingly obsessed with puzzles

#FFABAB ✼ #1194B6
Obsessive ✼ Sociable ✼ Analytical ✼ Peculiar ✼ Curious

Eriko is a friendly young girl who tends to rub people the wrong way. She asks far too many questions to be deemed appropriate, has no sense of personal space,
and seems to say the worst of things at the worst of times. Perhaps worst of all, she knows these things bother people but has decided she doesn't care. Eriko cares more about solving puzzles than she does sparing feelings. In fact, puzzles are perhaps all she cares about. She is obsessed with them. You'll never see her unoccupied--often she carries around all sorts of puzzles, solving them all simultaneously and then moving on to the next one in her pocket. Furthermore, she keeps every puzzle she's ever solved. It's said she has thousands upon thousands of solved crosswords, rubix cubes, word searches, 1000 piece puzzles and more locked inside a storage vault somewhere just because she can't bring herself to part with them.

And make no mistake, Eriko is nothing short of a puzzling genius.

"You were quite easy to solve."

Eriko was born to a well-off family that bought her all the puzzles in the world. She honed her puzzling skills from a very young age and grew from there, only getting better and ignoring more social cues as time went on. Nothing very eventful has happened in her life, or if it has, she was too busy solving puzzles to notice.
When Hope's Peak academy invited her to join them, she was more than ecstatic to meet other students and start bombarding them with personal questions.


So begins...

Eriko Zamora's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris
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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?"


"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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Finnian Harris
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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?"


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.


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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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.


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?!"


"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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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 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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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."


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


"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?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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 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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"Let's waste no time," Eriko declared, almost certain Bonnie was now a lifeless corpse.

Vivara nodded. "Agreed. Let's go. The sooner we find Bonnie, the sooner we can feel at ease."

"You say that assuming it's not a body," Mercy muttered, standing. She made an A-line for door, her expression calm but her eyes filled with dread. Eriko could only assume she felt it as well--the feeling that hung over the group, growing stronger and stronger with each minute Bonnie remained missing.

Gesturing for those in her group to follow, Eriko stepped out the door and headed over to the girl's hallway. No corpses leaning against the doors was a good sign. She hummed thoughtfully. "Would one of you knock on her door and see if she's in her room? I'm going to check the laundry room."

True to her word, Eriko opened the door to the laundry room and began looking around. Everything seemed to be in order. Just in case, she began checking all of the machines for a dead girl, and was about to declare the room clear when she opened the door to the last one and stepped back instinctively.

Eriko thought she would've been ready for such a sight, but it was foolish of her to think so. Human bodies were built to move and think. Seeing one so devoid of life was...

She stumbled backward, losing her balance.

"You might want to see this."

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For all his joking around, Faqir absolutely, one-hundred-percent, did not expect for Bonnie to actually be dead.

Oni took off to knock on the door with a shout of, "THE GREAT DEMON QUEEN SHALL ROUSE THIS MORTAL CREATURE!" As Eriko headed for the laundry room, Faqir lingered just outside the door, unsure of where else to go.

He was by Eriko's side in seconds when she made the call.

The door to the washing machine hung open, creaking eerily. A dark-toned hand hung just outside of it, black hair knotted and fallen over the cramped up form of a young girl. Bonnie's trademark white dress was stained in blood and a slight bump sat at the back of her head. Her skin was still robust--Faqir vaguely realized the body must be relatively fresh.

His head swirled.

Maybe she was still alive. Desperate to prove himself right, Faqir reached out and took Bonnie's fallen hand, pressing his fingers to the wrist to check for a pulse. He was just about to confirm the lack of one to Eriko when a loud tone sounded over the speakers.

"A body has been discovered!" Monokuma's voice announced cheerfully. "You have 30 minutes to investigate, then the trial will begin!"

Trial? The word felt strange and sour--Faqir droned it out by doing what he did best. "Just saying I still totally called this."

Oni finally raced into the room. She took one look at Bonnie's body, stumbled backwards, and left the room in a hurry without a word. Faqir watched her, then decided to let her be--maybe she would tell the others.

He took a deep breath. "Maybe she's acting. Shakespeare wrote some creepy sh*t, after all."

Please let it be true, he begged inwardly. Please let this be some kind of elaborate joke. Please let it all be a dream.

It wouldn't do to start losing his nerve now--the others were probably counting on him to be the source of constant comic relief. Faqir tried to refocus himself, reaching up to the chain hanging around his neck. What I wouldn't give for some angelite and amethyst right now...

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Eriko blinked rapidly, willing herself not to stare. She knew this was going to happen. It had only been a matter of time until someone snapped. She rubbed her eyes, repeating this in her head. Eriko was fine with the concept of death, as she always had been, but seeing it in person was jarring. More than anything, Eriko loved analyzing people and why they did what they did. They were puzzles in and of themselves, some remarkably complex.

Eriko suddenly missed watching her family, friends, and even just strangers on the sidewalk. They all felt so alive in her memory, now especially that she stared at Bonnie's motionless body. It was scary to imagine someone's liveliness disappearing so suddenly.

Taking a deep breath, she crouched down next to the washing machine, fingers trembling slightly. She went over Monokuma's words in her head. 30 minute investigation, followed by a trial. Does he expect us to find the murderer? If he did, then that would turn this into a puzzle. As the Ultimate Puzzle Solver, it was only natural for Eriko to commit herself to finding the murderer.

She closed her eyes, thinking. No puzzles were solved by standing still. "Faqir, you were in the conference room before I was. Who was in there when you arrived? Who arrived after you did? If you could be specific about the order, I would appreciate it."

Eriko paused, opening her eyes. "And if you don't mind, I need help taking our friend out of the washing machine."

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Faqir's head swam--he took a deep breath to refocus.

Who would even kill Bonnie? What had she even done to warrant it? Desperate to keep the mood light, he said, "I would have thought Oni's be the first one to die. At least Bonnie wasn't too annoying."

It's not working. Why did he still feel so dizzy? Making light of the situation was supposed to keep everyone's heads off of the bleakness of the scenario, including his own. He forced a smile, deciding to focus on what Eriko had asked first. Maybe talking about it would clear his mind enough to remember what she'd asked.

"I came in with Braeden," he began. "Uh, Clair was there. I remember Romano and Viv. And then..."

Focus. Focus. Just try to calm down, you know this. Geez, get a hold of yourself, stupid.

The reality of their predicament was starting to hit full-force. Faqir was suddenly very aware that there were people in this group who were willing to kill to escape the hotel.

Thankfully for his fleeting thoughts, he heard heels clicking rapidly against the floor racing down the hall. Clair burst into the room, breathless, Oni a few feet behind her. Madoka passed by, but refused to look into the room.

"Oni told us you found her," Clair panted, stalking into the room. She glanced over at the washing machine, her hand flying to her mouth automatically. Her eyes squeezed shut, tears already tugging at the corners.

Thank goodness. She can finish. Time to go back to what I know.

"Eriko needs help tampering with the crime scene," Faqir murmured. "Can't tell if it's a good idea or not, but who knows? Anyway, do you remember the order of who came in to the conference room? I remember you were there before me because my face was level with your chest while I was lying on the table. Good show, by the way."

"Faqir--" Clair clenched her teeth, taking a deep breath. She fiddled with the zipper of her jacket, rubbing her eyes. "No. No, it's...I'm sorry. I know what you're trying to do. I remember the exact order. Vivara was already there when I showed up--I arrived second. Romano came in third with the two trays of pastries. Next was...Mercy. Yes, Mercy, because...then Madoka came in, he sat next to me the whole time. Then Graham--he took the trays, Romano had to rearrange the pastries into neat little piles."

Faqir realized she was doing the same thing he was, but using anecdotes about the day instead of bad jokes. It wasn't fair to make her do all the work--he moved towards Bonnie's body still crammed into the washing machine, moving to drag her out while Clair continued.

Clair took a deep breath. "Th-that was when Faqir and Braeden showed up. Faqir immediately lay across the table and Braeden propped his feet up. Romano was furious, you could see it on his face. H-haha."

"I think we gave him an aneurism," Faqir added. He glanced over his shoulder as he managed to free Bonnie's torso, realizing that Clair was trying to smile past her trembling. He concluded his little jibe had managed to do what he'd hoped it would--relieve the tension just a tad.

"Next was...Finnian and Ysabel. Then Oni--I remember her because she was ridiculously loud. Um, afterwards was Eriko, who came in with Fauss and Amelia. And last was Vona."

Vona. Her dissonant serenity came to mind immediately. She would probably be perfectly calm in the face of such a tragedy. They could use her rock-hard resolve while trying to get Bonnie's corpse out of the washing machine.

Touching her skin--freezing cold and lacking all life--felt horribly wrong. Faqir tried to pretend she was still alive and this was some sort of ridiculous scene in Romeo and Juliet.

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Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum Character Portrait: Amelia Temmer Character Portrait: Eriko Zamora
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Eriko absorbed the information, nodding slowly. She watched as Faqir carefully took Bonnie's body out of the washing machine. Knowing the time of death would help narrow down suspects, and the best person to determine such a thing was most certainly the Ultimate Surgeon. She'd have to ask Vona for help once she arrived.

She glanced over her shoulder as Amelia walked in, silent.

"Thank you for the information, Clair," Eriko muttered as she thought about what to do. Of course, she'd have to confirm everything Clair just said with someone else--Vivara, most likely, since she was supposedly the first to arrive.

"Oh!" Monokuma's voice suddenly exclaimed. Eriko whirled around, the bear having appeared behind her with a black folder in his paw. "I almost forgot to mention: here's the Monokuma file!"

Eriko took a step back, wary of his claws. "What does it contain?"

Faussin tentatively looked inside the room, apparently having been outside in the hallway.

"The Monokuma file contains the details of the death. You can use it to help you in your search for the blackened!" Monokuma said. He handed the file to Eriko, who took it carefully.

"What is the 'blackened'?" Amelia asked.

"The killer, of course!" He replied as if it were obvious. "Now hurry up and start investigating. You only have twenty-nine more minutes until the class trial, yanno!"

"And what is the class trial?" Eriko asked, looking up from the Monokuma file. But by the time she finished her sentence, he had already disappeared back under the tiles. She huffed.

Amelia stared at where he had left. "He... he doesn't expect us to find the killer, does he?"

Eriko flipped open the newly obtained file, narrowing her eyes. "I believe he does. This file will prove quite useful in that endeavor, assuming it's accurate."

She read it aloud so everyone could hear:

"The time of death was around 9:36. The body was found in the laundry room, inside of the washing machine. The cause of death is a small incision to the heart made by a small sharp object. Other than that, there are marks that suggest a blow to the head."

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Faqir placed Bonnie’s body on the ground, brushing her hair out of her face. He remembered the first meeting they had staged--he had become friendly with Bonnie quickly after one of the roles she played actually laughed at one of his poorly-timed jokes. The two then spent a while in the arcade where Faqir got his butt kicked in a game of Mortal Kombat.

Sure, when she wasn’t playing a role Bonnie could be detached and cold, but she wasn’t evil.

Her eyes were closed--she looked oddly peaceful. Faqir felt a wave of relief that, if nothing else, her killer had made sure she didn’t feel her death.

He sighed, reaching out to brush Bonnie’s hair off of her shoulder.

A crumpled corner of paper caught his eye, poking out of the corner of the neckline of her dress. Curious, Faqir reached out to take hold of it.

Clair noticed, gasping in alarm. β€œFaqir! What the heck are you doing?! The poor girl is dead, don’t you dare!”

Faqir whipped the note out of her dress and rose to his feet, holding it out to Clair. β€œVoila, my trick.”

Scowling, Clair snatched the note out of his hand, unfolding the paper and smoothing out the wrinkles. β€œWhere was this?”

β€œIn her dress. Woulda been a lot more hot getting it out if she was still alive, but still.”

Clair read it over, frowning. Faqir joined her, reading over her shoulder--the paper was full of little notes Bonnie had supposedly written herself.


Bring scripts--internet on the handbooks???

Study medicine--could be useful--Romeo + Juliet???

Costumes? --nah *

* masks!!!

β€œWhat do you think it means?” Clair asked. β€œLook, the time at the top is only 6 minutes before her time of death. What was it all about?”

β€œViv’s a librarian, maybe she can interpret this foreign language.”

Clair nodded. β€œWe should go back towards the conference room--Oni’s probably getting the others as we speak. Everyone should know what happened so they can help us investigate. I’ll hang on to this note so we can figure it out together.”

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Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Vivara Vernon
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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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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?"