Chapter XL: Ended

My vision seemed to be narrowing and focusing on Monokuma as he began tolaugh. I was vaguely aware of gasps from some of the other students, but Iignored them. While there might well be fallout from this, it was far moreimportant that I get confirmation or denial to this hypothesis. On the otherhand, if it was true, I didn’t know what my next move was. Monokuma being ableto alter memories left us in a completely unwinnable position. Hell, even theinformation we had already ‘gathered’ could have been completely faked.However, Monokuma’s next words brought me slight relief.

Altered? No, that just wouldn’t be fair! The whole point of this exerciseis to drive you wonderful lights of hope to despair, after all. It’s no fun ifI cheat…”

“Then what did you do to her?” I queried.

I gave her some new information. Let her know who her real foes are, to putit one way. She just acted on what I told her!”

I whirled back to Oogami, eyes narrowing.

“Sakura, is this true?” I asked coldly.

She gradually raised her head from her hands, grimacing.

“I…I do not know what these memories are. I saw Chihiro order my familymurdered. She gave the command. I saw myself…I saw myself break through yourdoors. I saw you and Kirigiri disabled. There was another with me. A maskedperson. They stayed my hand initially, they kept me from killing Fujisaki onthe spot. And they informed her that she and whoever she was with in 24 andone half hours would be killed.”

She fell silent, clearly trying to muster the strength to continue. I turnedtowards Kirigiri, whose eyes had widened at Sakura’s last words.

“Kyouko, who decided the watch schedule over my body?”

“Chihiro did,” she responded, “It was the first thing he was able to say afterthe attack.”

At those words, I felt a stab of pain through my chest. Fujisaki hadsacrificed himself for us. He had known that had he told us the truth, wewould have fought to stay by his side, and might have died for it. And so, hechose to stay silent for 24 hours and 30 minutes, knowing that his silence washis own death warrant.

As I came to this conclusion, Sakura began to speak again.

“The next thing I remember…is standing over Fujisaki. She was…she was badlyinjured. She would not have survived the next few minutes. However, I decidedto give her the finishing blow to put her out of her pain. As I leaned down, Ifelt a pain at the back of my neck, and then blackness. The next thing I canremember is waking up in the medical wing. At that point, the memories of thisseries of events was gone.”

I motioned for her to stop.

“Thank you, Sakura. I have enough now to reconstruct the case. The events ofthis murder begin when Monokuma and Sakura publically had a confrontation.Before I continue, I’m going to need to tell you all one thing: Monokuma hasthe ability to block and unblock memories from our minds.”

Asahina gasped, and I paused.

“I know this sounds non-credible, but bear with me,” I continued, “At thispoint, Monokuma took Sakura and unblocked the first memory she referred to.This gave Sakura the motive to attack Kirigiri, Fujisaki and I. At some pointover the next few hours preceding the attack, Monokuma or the mysteriousmasked operative to which Sakura referred replaced the hinges on my door witha thin shell of silver. Thus, when the attack came, only a minimal amount offorce was needed to knock the door from its hinges. This attack had twoprincipal aims: acquiring an item from me, and giving Fujisaki the informationabout her soon-to-come murder. After this, the attackers retreated, and Sakurawas likely released into the school with instructions to act normal. Nothingelse occurred until approximately 24 hours later. At this point, Kirigiri andFujisaki switched places watching my unconscious body, and Fujisaki went tothe atrium to wait for her death. About a half hour later, Sakura came andattacked Fujisaki while Monokuma’s masked ally accomplished a secondary aimwhich I’ll keep quiet for now. After completing that aim, the masked personknocked out Oogami and wiped her memories from the preceding day beforeleaving the scene. At this point, Fujisaki was dead, having passed afterOogami was knocked out but not necessarily after the masked person left thescene.”

After describing the crime, I stopped, only to realize Monokuma was looking atme expectantly.

Come on, you aren’t done! What, is little Naegi-kun going to break hisroutine just because someone close to him got killed?”

I froze, my eyes narrowing as I realized what he was referring to.

“If you are being serious, as it seems you are, ” I responded with a voicelike liquid nitrogen, “Then so be it. The murderer of Chihiro Fujisaki…isSakura Oogami.”

Asahina shrieked, tears spilling from her eyes.

“Sakura? No, no, no, no, it’s not true, no! It was Monokuma’s partner! Youjust said it was Monokuma’s partner!”

She dissolved into sobs. Sakura turned to her, expression now turning intosome strange mixture of concern and resigned determination.

“Aoi…it was I who killed Fujisaki. You must allow me to die with honor. It ismy punishment.”

Asahina’s tears slowed and stalled, as she looked up at Sakura with acombination of sadness and near-wonderment.

“You,” she said in a voice which was half sob, “you can face death so easily?”

Sakura nodded.

“It is the last step I must take. It is the end of my path as a warrior.”

Asahina looked like she wanted to respond, but fell silent. Monokuma cut in.

If we’re all done with the sickeningly pointless maxims, it’s ballottime!”

Yet again, the buttons slid up before every student. Yet again, everybodychose their culprit. The slot machine slid down from the ceiling and Sakura’shead slotted into place. As the word Guilty flashed beneath the rows andSakura was dragged away by the metal claws, Monokuma again began to speak.

Since you all seem so hopeful and resolute, I guess I’ll just have to showyou what that hope brings! I now present you with…the Arena!”

The back wall dropped away to reveal Sakura standing in the center of afighting ring. Suddenly, a Monokuma leapt out at her, and she effortlesslywhirled around it, launching it into a wall where it detonated. A few secondslater, another Monokuma jumped at her, and she destroyed it just as easily.After a few more minutes of Monokuma attacks, she almost seemed to be enteringa martial trance, moving calmly between Monokumas as she disabled or destroyedthem with practiced motions. If Monokuma wanted to kill her, he was eitherhoping for a battle of attrition or he had something else up his sleeve.

Switch POV to Sakura

I danced lightly between the Monokumas, my hands flashing out and destroyingall those I encountered. The fear I initially felt had dissolved, now replacedentirely by the song of battle which now thundered through my mind. Everymotion I made flowed from the previous, and none of the Monokuma dolls beforeme could even stand before my blows. As I spun around the last of the wave,back kicking the doll into the sparking body of another, I heard a footstepfrom behind me. I turned, and my eyes widened as I caught sight of who wasbehind me. There, not 20 feet away from me, was Kenshiro. Something seemed offabout his eyes, but I couldn’t tell what it was. All that mattered now was whyhe was here. As I stared, he removed a blade from his side and raised it atme, eyes now narrowing.

“Kenshiro, why?” I asked, some fear now entering my voice.

“Please…” he responded faintly, “please…just let me die…if I kill her…will youlet me die…?”

He paused as though he were listening to someone, and then turned towards me,launching himself forwards. My eyes widened, before I quickly bent and pickedup one of the sharper pieces of metal from the ground and brought it up todefend myself. His first strike landed with a massive clang, almost knockingmy makeshift blade from my hand. I saw his next punch coming and raised myhand to block. His blow smashed into my arm, fracturing my ulna. His followupslash cut through the tendons on my palm, leaving my hand useless. Kenshiromight have been fast, but he was never this fast. Something was wrong here. Ashis next stab caught me directly in the gut, slicing through my stomach beforecutting upwards to my lungs, I realized what it was.

“Your eyes…you have Monokuma’s eyes…”

As I collapsed to the ground, blood pouring from my mouth, I saw him look atme uncomprehendingly before he raised his blade to his throat and slit it. Thelast thing I saw before my vision went black was his body, falling on top ofmine.

Switch POV to Naegi

I turned away from the execution, eyes dark. It seemed my previous uncaringonly went so far. As I began to walk away from the trial room towards theelevator, Monokuma began to speak.

This class trial is over! You are dismissed!”

The elevator doors opened, and I, along with the other students, filed in. Asthe elevator rose, I began thinking to myself. Given that Monokuma had enteredthe password, there was no reason to avoid mentioning Alter Ego. Also,something which Sakura said has stuck with me. She had seen Fujisaki givingthe order to those who killed her family. Now, assuming that the memories weretrue, there was only one way that could have happened. And there was only onereason the person would have acted as they did. And so, immediately after theelevator reached the top, I ran to the dressing room and recovered Alter Egofrom the locker, placing him in my pack. I then stepped outside the dressingroom and motioned for Monokuma. He appeared a few seconds later, an expectantlook forming on his face.

Whaddaya want, Naegi-kun?”

“I want to give you a warning, Monokuma,” I replied, “And here it is. If youattack another one for whom I care, or you interfere to cause another murder,I will no longer consider you the lesser of the two possible evils in thisschool. And then I will have to take drastic action. Remove restraints if youwill. I know you know of what I speak. And, I ask…are you certain of thestrength of your incentives?”

Monokuma paused for a second, before his expression morphed into a dark grin.

So Naegi-kun is finally ready to play for big stakes? So be it. I’ll keepthat in mind. Just remember…how certain can you be of your own incentives?”

With that, he vanished, and Kirigiri walked up next to me.

“Naegi, I realize he knows of Alter Ego, but I still must question, was thatwise?”

“It was the best I could do on short notice,” I responded, “Because, as ofnow, I’m done hiding. It’s time to take the fight to him.”

End of Arc 4

Current dead: Sakura, Chihiro, Mondo, Kiyotaka, Yasuhiro, Sayaka, Leon,‘Junko’, Hifumi

A/N:Well, here’s the end of Arc 4. I hope the execution came out well, it’sone of my more unique ones. The interlude after this arc, Mourning, might takea bit of time to come out, because I may collab this one with a friend ofmine(it’s partly from a new POV which I’ve never tried to write before)

Oh: Plot point: the list of current dead after each arc is from Naegi’sperspective/knowledge. However, the number of current students left alive inthe summary is accurate

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