Chapter XXXIX: Forgotten
The elevator clunked down into place and each student filed into the trialroom, taking their places for the third of these macabre ceremonies. As I sat,I dispassionately wondered how the trial rooms were constructed anew eachtime: the decor seemed completely different in each one, which seemed like itwould be a rather costly endeavor. Also, given the amount of time betweenmurders and trials, Monokuma would have to have had these rooms set up inadvance. On the other hand, that would mean that Monokuma had these roomsmounted on some sort of modular frame, and could set up and switch them out atwill, itself an impressive feat of engineering. While this thought patterndidn’t precisely add new information, and I’d need to gain access to the trialroom in between trials to confirm my hypotheses, this could theoreticallyprovide a new avenue for attack: modifying the trial rooms beforehand. After afew seconds more of thought, I cleared my mind: while the idea held merit, Ihad a far more important purpose to achieve now, and I couldn’t afford to havemy cognitive processes divided. As I remembered that, I felt another stab ofmental pain, my imagination flashing up another image of Fujisaki’s bloody andbattered corpse. I grimaced and forced that image back into the depths of mymind. There would be a psychological reckoning soon enough, but for Chihiro’ssake, I could not afford to have that debt come due now. For this trial morethan any other, I needed my mental faculties unburdened. As I finished sealingaway the pain for another day, settling back into my seat with renewedresolve, Monokuma appeared at the front of the room, landing in his throne-like seat.
“Court. Is. Now. In. Session!”
Immediately, Kirigiri began to speak.
“Unlike the other murders, this one came without motive before it. Also,unlike the other murders, this one was precipitated by an attack.”
“Attack?” Togami responded, “Why, to what are you referring? And, moreimportantly, why was I not informed of this?” His voice went hard on thoselast words.
“The attack to which she refers happened approximately a day before themurder.” I cut in, “It was what left me unconscious for much of the interimperiod.”
Celeste’s eyes widened so imperceptibly that I almost missed her change inexpression.
“So you were injured,” she replied, “Kirigiri and Fujisaki would say nothingabout your predicament beyond barring others from entering the medical room.What caused this injury?”
“My face had a little tete-a-tete with a door, ” I deadpanned, “To be moreprecise, Kirigiri, Chihiro and I were in our room, when the door was blown offof its hinges. Since I was standing directly in front of the door, I wasinjured worst, and was knocked out for approximately 25 hours. Because ofthis, I cannot speak to the second portion of the attack. However, from theexplanation of the events which Kirigiri gave me after I awoke, I know thatKirigiri was knocked unconscious for about an hour following the attack.”
Kirigiri cut in there.
“Sadly, I cannot tell much more of what occurred. After the door explodedinward, all I saw was a blur of motion before falling unconscious. I couldn’thave told you whether our attacker was human, let alone what they looked like.After I awoke, I asked Fujisaki whether he had seen anything else, but hedemurred. Either he hadn’t seen anything, or he wasn’t willing to reveal whathe had seen.”
After she finished, I began to speak, silently praying that Kirigiri wouldn’tcontradict the lies by omission I was telling.
“After I awoke, Kirigiri entered the medical wing to check on me. After abrief conversation, we both left to check whether those who had attacked ushad made a try for another assault. When we reached the atrium, we found thescene that I presume you have all scene by now, with one difference: when wefound it, Oogami was unconscious about 20 feet away from the body. At thatpoint, Kirigiri went to bring Oogami to the medical room, while I beganexamining the scene.”
“Was this when the corpse discovery announcement activated?” Togami asked.
“No,” I responded, “Apparently, the announcement requires that 3 people,including the murderer, have seen the body before it goes off. Because ofthis, the announcement did not occur until Oogami had again seen the body.”
“Does the announcement include the murderer in its count of students?”Kirigiri cut in.
“Based on what Monokuma said when I asked, I believe it does. And that leadsme to the first point of the trial: the murderer did not see the body. Now,this, on its own, is an oddity. However, when it is combined with the way inwhich Fujisaki was killed, it is incredibly strange. Did anybody else noticethe method?”
I paused briefly, and Sakura began speaking.
“Yes. Fujisaki died of a combination of direct blows and blood loss.Especially given the grave nature of the injuries she received to the skulland spine, she would have fallen soon after those injuries were inflicted.Also, those injuries would almost certainly have to be delivered in person.Given this, I cannot see how the murder was committed.”
She fell silent. After a few more seconds, I replied.
“And there is the first seeming problem in the case. Now, there is anotherevent which happened at approximately the same time as Fujisaki’s death. Forreasons which I will not yet disclose, someone was sent into the locker roomto accomplish a certain objective. After removing a paper from Fujisaki, whowas either unconscious or dead at the time the paper was removed, the agentproceeded to perform their task. However, unbeknownst to them, they were beingwatched. Because of this surveillance, I now know that the person who was sentwas approximately 1.7 meters tall, moved with controlled fluidity, and wore amask with a stylized design. If they show their face again, I will know them.”
Switch POV to ?
After Naegi fell silent, I mentally cursed, hands tightening. While mycommander and I had discussed the possibility that my objective had recordedme, it was still a shock to hear it discussed so freely. Thankfully, I hadworn a mask, or a good deal of preparation might have been lost. What was moretroubling, however, was how readily Naegi had obtained the information fromthe AI. The camera I had placed in the back corner of the room had done itswork, and I had acquired a full recording of the previous conversation betweenNaegi and the computer. That recording was, while enlightening, still withinthe tactical predictions we had received. Now, there was nothing left to dobesides sit and watch. If my commander needed me to act, then they wouldinform me.
Switch POV to Naegi
After I finished explaining what I had found, the room was silent for amoment. A few seconds later, Asahina spoke up.
“And? What does this have to do with the murder?” she piped up, clearlyimpatient.
“I am getting to that, ” I responded exasperatedly, “To proceed, thisoperative could provide the possible missing piece in the case. If theoperative was able to stop the murderer from seeing the dead victim, and wasthemselves not a student, then the discovery announcement would not play until3 students saw the body. However, there is yet another piece to this puzzle:Sakura was also initially at the scene. She was found unconscious near thebody. Now, she would have had to be disabled before the murder, given thetiming of the corpse announcement. Of course, there are few students who wouldhave been able to do so. All that remains is to eliminate the students who donot fit. Given the nature of the wound on Sakura’s body, only one possibilityrealistically remains: Genocider. However, had she been the murderess,Fujisaki would not have been killed with blunt trauma. However psychoticGenocider may be, she lacks the raw strength that would be required to commitsuch a murder. Therefore, only one possible suspect remains. Is there anythingthat you would like to tell us, convict, before I reveal who you are?” Myvoice had hardened over the last few sentences, until the words shot out likeicy bullets. After I finished laying out my chain of deductions, I paused,eyes searching the room. As I expected, most of the students appeared confusedor intrigued, none showing any signs of guilt or confession. Of course, theyhad not committed the crime. However, as my eyes swung towards her, Sakuragasped, her hands flying to her temples.
Switch POV to Sakura
As Naegi finished explaining his evidence, I realized where he was leading us.Of course, given what we knew, there was only one possible suspect. What Icould not see, however, was how this had been done. And now, all I could dowas to remember. For, it seemed, my memory of this case was paramount. Ireturned to my mind, attempting again to break through the mental wall whichsurrounded my memories. As I pushed, it suddenly cracked, and I wasoverwhelmed with a confusing collage of memories. As I was subsumed in therecollection, I was dimly conscious of a searing pain in my head.
Start memory fragments(in italics)
I knelt there, watching the screen placed in front of me. Again and again,the same video played, showing my family’s last stand against the mercenarieswho came to the dojo. Again and again, I was forced to watch them drag out mymother’s unconscious body and take turns cutting her until she finallymercifully passed. Again and again, I saw them spit on my father as hefruitlessly tried to stand up again, blood pouring from his mangled ribcage.The tears had long since run from my eyes, and nothing blocked me from seeingwhat lay before me. However, this time, the video went further. My eyeswidened as one of the mercenaries stepped away from the main group and openedup his comms unit. As it turned on, I caught sight of his commanding officer,and something tingled at the back of my mind. That face…was one I should haveremembered. I pushed that feeling behind me. Whoever this person was, they nowhad my undying enmity. They had ordered the killing of my family, and for thatthey would fall.
I strode into the room as the dust settled behind me. The foe knelt in themiddle of the floor, her shoulders shaking, as the body of her other friendsettled to the ground. I briefly considered killing her two compatriots butdecided against it. They had done nothing to wrong me, after all, and while mywarrior’s way might have been damaged, I still followed it. As if she sensedmy intention, my foe reached towards the body which had been hit worst by theexplosion. Suddenly, there was a blur of motion from the door, which resolvedinto my masked ally. Their hand gripped the wrist of the foe, and they beganto speak coldly.
“I would not make sudden moves if I were you. My compatriot is very annoyedat you, and I wouldn’t do anything to flare up her annoyance. My friend herewants you dead, but cares not about your friends. So, I’m going to offer you adeal of sorts. In 24 hours and 30 minutes, we will come for you again. If youare alone, only you will be killed. However, if there is anybody else withyou, they will die. Understood?”
The foe nodded fearfully. With that, my ally released her wrist and stood,walking away calmly. While I did not like having to wait for my vengeance, Iunderstood why it had to happen. The person who had given me this planexplained that much.
I stood above the foe’s bleeding body. While she was not dead yet, she wouldbe soon. The very room in which we stood paid testament to the horrendousbeating I had doled out. I knelt down to finish the job, when I suddenly felta sharp pain at the base of my skull. The world went black.
End memorial fragments
Switch POV to Naegi
I watched Sakura’s pain dispassionately more out of curiosity than anythingelse. What would have caused her to have a headache at such an…inopportunetime? Suddenly, I gasped as I made the connection. Sakura’s earlierforgetfulness, her unexpected actions, her current pain…all of these pointedto one thing. I turned to where Monokuma was sitting.
“You altered her memories.”
A/N: Sorry for the delay on this chapter, RL intervened. Hopefully thequality/plot revelations make up for it. Storywise: Yep, that’s who committedthe murder.
< Prev Next >