Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Majoras End
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Majoras End Noot Noot

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The walk to Aladdin's Palace was quiet, as Alice tried to figure out how to break the silence between her and the blood donor. Hiding her cutlass behind her back, the recon decided to speak up. "So-"

She was interupted when Jezebel's announcement about a coalition came on the intercom. "The hell was that about?"

A deep crease formed in between Ice's eyebrows, "That two-faced lily-livered Ruella must have something up her sleeves that's hard to stomach. I know Zach trusts her and all- But she's going to get us all killed. If we create factions, nothing good will come out of it, especially with the trials..." He shuddered slightly, the Blood Donor's mind going back to wished away memories of battlefields. "This all started with Krista's rescue mission. right? Didn't they hear how the whole thing was voluntary? Geez..." The were getting closer to the Cave, but not quickly enough for Ice's taste, "Do you remember what she said at the end of the fight? About Faith?"

"That she was happy to be rid of Tinker Bell? Yeah, every word." Alice nodded, thinking back to the last night of carnage. "She was right about one thing though. I'm not strong." She mumbled, crossing her arms in thought. "But this? What would making an alliance do? Besides making it easier to antagonize and backstab others."

"There's no way I'm going to trust her after a backstab like that. She's good at finding people's insecurites and prodding them, but that doesn't mean everything she says is right." He gripped at his neck tie, wanting to smash his fist into something, preferably the Trickster's face, "We have survived this far, that means we have the strength. I'm assuming the Ruella thinks she can't take control of our group with normal circumstances, so she's making a faction of her own. She wants control and will do anything to get it, all the more reason to be cautious." He glanced down at Alice, "You've seen her in past trials, she's all bark with little to no bite. If she can't even take her own heat, don't let it burn you."

The recon silently looked back up at Ice, before nodding in reply, a genuine smile on her face. "Yeah, you're right. If she dares to harass Henry however, I might have to have a bit of a word with her..." her grip on her cutlass tightened. "I just hope I won't have to fight anyone besides the tincans though." Alice sighed.

The Blood Donor gave a small chuckle, "Neither do I, although... I am a lot more practiced when it comes to fighting someone with a heartbeat."

"Yeah, me too."





As the two came closer to the entrance of the cave, there was no sight of Max, only darkness reached out of the grave of an old monk. Though there was definitely a presence deep within, as the slow methodical beat of cold iron against iron echoed throughout the cavern; Max was waiting.

Alice tensed up when she heard the pulse-like banging of metal emitting from the dark cave. Taking a deep breath, she walked forward, keeping her grip on her weapon. "Hello? Max??" The recon called out. "You wanted to see us for something?"

Ice knew he was in there, and he also knew Max wasn't the most sane right now. With one hand at pressed against his arm, he took another step forward. Pressed against the sleeve was his chain, nice and comfortingly cold. "We came." He had to be calm about this, trying to think back to when the Blood Donor had first woken up. Blood needed to be shed, but there was no one around that Ice would let Max have at it with. "Look, we want to help you, but there has to be a plan. No one wants another Infinite dead." While she may not have liked it, he stood slightly in front of the recon.

"So you did." A voice came within, soon to be supported by the silhouette of Max who stepped forward, finally taking in the light of the outside. "Before we...get to the real stuff-" Max took another step forward, getting ever closer to Ice. "I'd like you to know something." Although Ice was very tall himself, Max loomed over him with the intention of teaching this kid a different world.

"You remember your little outburst in the trial, I hope. Well I don't think I ever answered your question." He said, his eyes darting behind Ice's shoulder to Alice before returning his gaze to Ice's. "But you see, for someone like, aninfinite thug, the police might look a bit underhanded and corrupt. And here's the thing, you're right. I took all the credit when townfoolery happened in your back alley. I took all the credit when people like you saved innocents and I let the pedophiles run wild because they helped my agenda. and to be frank, I would take all the credit for taking out the big bad wolves had I ever gotten the chance." While Max wasn't exaclty shouting these claims, there was certainly a force behind it; one almost melancholic.

"And you know where it brought me? chief officer, top of the mountain; in charge. And the first thing I did after reaching that position...was arresting, and removing every single corrupt police officer i could find. But the only way I could have done so, was by getting to the top and making sure that nobody could stop me; and the only way to get to the top..." Suddenly Max took a step back and seemed to lose his fierceness, only to regain it in an instant. "Is by working along side them, committing the same crimes. There is only one way to fight injustice...You have to be injust."

Max pointed his finger at Ice's chest, pushing into it with reasonable force. "So you can scoff at the force all you want, but if you ever throw me in with them again...Well-" He took a step back once more, finally exchanging his posture for something more approachable. "I think you get the point."

Ice knew he was being treated like a child, why else would Max try to loom over him? If it wasn't to make some kind of threat, it was to teach some kind of lesson. And while the man wanted to ignore whatever came out of his mouth because he wasn't ready to be treated like some teenager, he knew this was Max's answer to his outburst and the Blood Donor had to listen. But... Ice didn't want to be right. He had wanted- he had hoped that his experiences hadn't been the norm. That there was some kind of good in the world... And Max had smashed that hope to pieces. It was sick, it was twisted, and just the thing that had to be done to purge the evil from within. Ice understood and that's what clawed into his chest.

Ice remembered the people he had killed to get information. He remembered the lives he had destroyed whether that meant drugs, whether that meant ripping men away from their families. He had turned into the men who had taken his kids away from him, just so he could sever their heads and hang them on the fence outside. Ice just thought... he had thought... T-That was the underworld! That's what it took to be top dog! Why was it the same in a place where justice was supposed to be their motto, their motive?

He wanted to slip back into an old shell, go back in time, run away and far. Then he wanted to scream and swear and demand that Max take it back, just bloody take it back! But... He couldn't do either. So instead he stumbled to the side of the cave and slipped to the ground, memories echoing around him. Times where he had been drunk enough to find himself invincible and start fights he couldn't win. Times his gang would do low level raids to get one up and find childrens bodies littered around. They didn't want to get to a safe place, she was too afraid to go home. She just wanted more. More drugs, more anything. She had looked too much like Mary. And when Ice had turned his back-

His gun was missing and a loud bang! rang out.

Ice's vision slipped back to the present and he gripped his chain to reassure himself, "Fuck! ..."

She didn't know what to do. Alot of emotions were stiring inside of the recon, as she tried to figure out what to do then. But there was one feeling that seemed to drive her forward more than the rest. Hate. Something she hadn't really felt in a long time. "Hypocrite..." Alice turned to face Max. "You really are a hypocrite, you know that, right?" She said, walking forward to the cop. "Officers of Law Enforcement are supposed to be all about order, about peace and justice, and this is how you strive for it? Working for the enemy!?" The recon raised her voice to where she was yelling at Max. "You let the corrupt and the manevolent roam free, just cause it helps you gain some bullshit renown and title?! To think I wanted to apologize for laughing at your grief, you half-witted bastard!!" She spat at the infinite police officer, before appearing to calm down some. "Are you all like this? Just manipulating the roots of order and chaos like a puppet show?" Alice tiredly chuckled. "Just make this meeting quick, Visser. I don't wanna stay here longer than what's needed."

Max took a seat next to Ice, albeit with a bit of distance between them, and faced Alice. "To uphold order and justice, there's simply no way but to manipulate it from within. If you truly think being a police officer is really all about order, peace, and justice? You're in for a world of hurt. But don't mistake my intentions, those corrupt and manevolent will not harm anyone ever again."

His shuddering was stopping as he leaned his head back against the wall of the cave. This was where the first murder has happened, yet Ice couldn't seem to care. "The damage is done, we can't bring back the dead." He stared up at Alice for a second, two emotions playing through his head. One was that she had a certain innocence to her that he wanted to protect and the other was her strength to be able to stand up to Max even after all of his intimidation. To not soften her blows, even though she knew he was going through something. While she hadn't said it very nicely, they couldn't beat around the bush. "Look, we don't have time for this. I'm a repugnant murderer, he's a deplorable wolf in sheep's clothing, what matters is what we can do with our experiences. I don't want to start something because, god, it brings up too many bad memories. So what's the plan so we don't start trying to off each other?"

"Well, this group is unexperienced and upbeat. They don't know about the hardships and they shouldn't have to. But when I saw how much you two despised mister perfection, how you wanted to rip his heart out, you aren't afraid of getting your hands dirty. I thought you would help me take him down...but-" Max glared at Alice, clearly upset, but also glad. "Turns out you two were already planning something."

The recon glared back at Max. Yet it was more of confusion than anger. "What the hell are you talking abo-" Alice asked, then it hit her. "You were spying on us?!" There just had to be a second reason for her to punch the cop in the face. Or at the very least, throw him in the fountain. She didn't really care.

Ice brought a hand up to his temple, "Quiet down... We'd do the same thing in his position, Alice, or at least I would. We should've waited until we were somewhere more private. Again, he's not prince charming." He glanced between the two of them, exasperated, "It might be better if you took a seat."

"Look I know relations have been shaky these past days, and spying isn't very nice...But talking with that robot behind everyone's back? And keeping all that intel for yourself? We're all commiting crimes here girl." As if in disbelief of what he was about to say, Max scratched the back of his head. "But just like back then, I don't think we're gonna beat Davis without dirtying our hands once more. I'm willing to walk that road, but will you two?"

The Blood Donor pivoted his body so that he was facing the Police man, his legs crossed and his hands resting on each knee, "If you so much as lay a finger on the heads of the people I care about, I will end you. I know what's it's like to lose someone that you were meant to protect, that's why I'm choosing to take a leap of faith with you Max. After taking those considerations, do your worst. And as long as I see Davis crying like a new born babe, I'm all for it."

After a moment of silence, Alice sighed. "Do I have time to think about it?" She asked the cop, her expression softening a bit.

"The night of carnage is coming soon; you have till then." Max said as he placed a hand on the floor, intent on getting up. "And Ice, if it comes down to it, I may have no choice but to hurt your cared ones, but it won't ever kill them, and will always be for their own safety." Max extended a hand towards Ice, hoping he would take it.

Ice stared down at the hand being held out to him. It really was too early for Max to be making such a commitment. If they weren't in this killing game, Ice would have bought him a trip to somewhere across the world so that he'd have time to collect his thoughts and calm down, but this place didn't disappear when you closed your eyes. "And I'll be here to kick your arse if you try," He took the officer's hand and squeezed.

"Okay, cool, can we get back to the diner now? Henry's probably waiting for me." Alice asked, walking out of the cave.

Ice let his hand fall slack and stood up, stretching out his back. His chain clanked loudly on his belt, and he winced, "It's better than going to that trickster ruella's meeting at least."

The recon nodded, walking on ahead and leaving Max in the cave. Silently staring into the blade of her cutlass, she furrowed her brows before speaking up again. "Hey, if one of my eyes got gouged out, which one do you think it would be?"

Ice, who had been following behind, stopped. His eyes widened, "Alice, don't talk like that! Is this about Zach? Are you worried the tincans will hurt you?" He took a step forward and grabbed onto one of her shoulders.

"Look, I just feel like I deserve it, okay?! Nothing excuses being a hitman for most of your li-" as quickly as she said it, Alice immediately covered her mouth before she could finish her sentence.

He went still for a second, before his hold on her shoulder became firm again. The Blood Donor turned her around and brushed the cutlass to the side before bending down to look her in the eye. "Alice?" He said gently, as nonjudgemental and supportively as he could. It wasn't like Ice hadn't imagined the kind of work Alice must have done, hitman was just one of the possibilities, especially with her abilities. If she was going to tell him, she would, he didn't want to press her.

Fear was present on her face. The recon didn't want to tell him, and yet she blurted out the one fact about herself she wanted to forget. Shaking in place, Alice decided to just tell Ice the truth. "That's right. I'm not a good person. Before I became a recon, I worked as a hitman."

"Hey, hey, hey..." Ice smoothed out the jacket over her shoulders over and over again, "There's only one thing going through my mind right now- Well, actually too things. One: Oh god, I might've made her cry. And two..."He gave a small smile, "So?"

"Wait what?" Alice's eyes widened in suprise. "What do you mean 'so'?"

He glanced away for a second. "How do I word this... " He sighed, "You know my past, what I've been through. You saw how I reacted to Maxipad back there, I can't have some kind of moral high ground either way. I'd never hold your past against you Alice, no matter what it was. So we both have a body count, it's not like we're the same people we were before."

The recon couldn't help but giggle at the nickname Ice gave Max. "So, you're fine with me being a murderer too?" Alice asked him.

"You don't wear it like a badge of honor right? If you feel guilty enough and do what you can to make up for it, I don't see why I wouldn't be fine with it. You get to take care of Henry, you went on to get an Infinite title. Me... It's strange to say, but... This killing game is my saving grace. Yes I hate being here, but outside I was only going through the motions, acting like a zombie. I just couldn't bring myself to pull the plug. There's no way you're worse than me."He slipped his hand off Alice's shoulder and pulled her in for a hug.

Returning the hug, the recon burried her head into his chest. "...Heh, I don't wanna let go."

Happy that she couldn't see his blush, Ice tightened his arms around her, "Then don't, silly."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by FamishedPants
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Zachary Ackerson




A familiar young boy bends his knee in prayer to a new, brilliant sun resting above him. Still plagued with an ever-present darkness, he clings to the light provided by it, worshipping it almost as if it were a god. But who could blame him? He no longer had the light of the old sun, and the encroaching darkness only grew stronger by the minute, attempting to devour anything and everything it could. Were it not for this 'savior', he knew he'd be consumed, too.

It was an act of desperation, really. He no longer had any other options.

The boy looked to his right, but did so knowing it was in vain. There was no longer any light there. It'd been taken from him and would not return, even despite the sun. So he turned and looked to his left. The darkness threatened to do the same to the there, too, but it had not yet claimed the area. He was simply too much of a coward to try to look behind him, and the path forwards was sealed. Almost everywhere had been corrupted, perverted, destroyed, removed by this darkness. Almost everywhere, but upwards. Upwards, he could look. It was the one place that the darkness seemed to be unable to reach, and so he had no choice to look up to the new sun.

He wondered if it would be alright to reach out and touch it. Would he defile it with his unworthy touch? He wasn't sure, but he knew he wanted nothing more than to be able to dispel the darkness like it could. Perhaps if he prayed to it, idolized it enough, it would rub off on him? It was worth a try. Anything to keep from falling. Anything to keep him sane in this cruel place. If the new sun was with him, he felt like the darkness could never touch him.

But if she wasn't...

...

...

...

...

Zachary Ackerson had not felt particularly energetic this morning, perhaps to the surprise of nobody. He awoke with the usual morning announcments, only to simply remain in bed, almost lifeless. He knew he should get ready and go eat and start his day properly, but the life just was not in him. He wanted to say it was the fault of the events of yesterday. The outcome of that trial was rather upsetting, considering the circumstances behind the murder. But he was not especially close to anybody who had perished, so it was more likely he was simply being lazy.

But a knock at his door roused the young man from his bed moments later anyway. He perked up as much as he could and hopped from the bed, making sure he was at least semi-presentable before approaching the door and opening it. "Hey Jez, what's up?" he asked the clown with a brilliant smile before realizing that was not who it was at all.

His smile quickly vanished.

George Henry




"'Jez'? I reckon that's one of them other folks, yeah?" was the gunslinger's response to Zachary's incorrect assumption.

To any onlooker, George was currently contrasting heavily with Zachary. He appeared to be fully awake and active, and likely had been for quite some time, while Zachary struggled to look just alive enough that their robotic bear wouldn't accidentally sound a Body Discovery Announcement. Henry was wearing a smirk that suggested he was enjoying life at the moment, while Zach almost seemed horrified at the cowboy's presence. Zachary's quiet reply noticably differed from the confident tone George was speaking. "...Yeah, that's..." The archer seemed very unsure how to speak at the moment, and Henry could not tell if it was due to surprise or if his rival was simply out of it. Either way, the cowboy watched in amusement as Zach tried to continue. "Err, sorry, I'm just a bit tired. Haven't seen you in some time, George." Ackerson greeted with an attempt at more vigor. "I don't believe we've seen each other since the compet---"

"Lets focus on talkin' 'bout the present!" George quickly interjected, frantically waving his hands. However, he regained composure just as quickly and continued, "...I figured I'd seek ya out, on account of us having somewhat of'a shared past an' all." he explained. "Folks nowadays, ya can't trust many of 'em. Learned that the hard way, ever since this darned bear showed up." George noted Zachary's complex expression. He seemed confused at first, but then he shook his head after what George assumed to be him finishing making a decision.

"Yeah, I kinda understand what you mean." the Infinite Archer agreed, a bit to the Gunslinger's surprise. Being destined rivals, he was did not expect Zachary to actually agree with him. George raised an eyebrow as Zach continued, "I mean I would prefer to be able to trust everybody else, but seeing these trials and the fact that they keep happening...I've only really gotten very close to one person." pausing for a moment, Zachary looked George in the eyes, "But wait, why are you approaching me about this?"

The Gunslinger gave a hearty laugh, "Yer a strange one, pal. I ain't got much faith in making good with folks I meet here. Liable'll stab ya in the back before long. But you? We're at least acquaintences, ain't we? Might be less of a chance of ya doing that to me, I figure. And 'sides," he smiled, "We've got ourselves a score to settle once we make it outta here. If we can make it out of here, that is." George pat the Archer on the back with more force than he probably should have before finishing up. "'Course, if ya don't want to hang around this cowboy, I understand."

George waited while Zachary presumably took a moment to think about it. The Archer then nodded, "Well, alright. I don't know what you mean about 'settling the score', but Jez did say I should be trying to make other friends..." he told the Cowboy, who took note of the name drop.

"This 'Jez' feller must be a good friend of yours." he surmised. Henry was pretty sure that Zachary only had a father, so it was unlikely to be a sibling.

Zachary's face was just slightly red. Henry wasn't sure why, though. "Oh, uh, yeah. She's my friend." because of the way Zachary emphasized that particular word, George was beginning to think there was something more to it. But it honestly did not matter to the gunslinger, at least not yet. The old him might've tried to get the Archer to speak more about them, but that was... when he was a lot more innocent of the cruel and perverted nature of this world.

"I see. I reckon I'll get to meet the missus soon enough. Wasn't much in the mood for mingling' when I left the elevator, so I reckon I'll get acquainted with people as I meet them."

It was about this time that, coincidentally, the announcement from Jezebel had sounded across Axis Mundi. The two listened closely, and when it finished, Zachary perked right up. "That was Jez." he told George. "We should go, unless you aren't one for crowds?"

"Shoot! And get blindsided when things go haywire? Nah, I ain't for remaining uninformed if I can help it." he denied.

"Huh?" Zach raised his eyebrow, "What do you mean?"

"Don't worry 'bout it. Anywho, we ought to get goin', then? Care to lead the way?"

"Oh, sure."

And so, the two headed to study. There may have been a significant lack of hugging, probably literally quoting Asriel from Undertale in the pacifist ending, and other such stuff, but at least now they would be available for collabs.

"Ya know... yer friend sure has a special way of talkin."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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While Emily felt like she was falling behind in her cooking, it didn't seem like the droves of people she was expected were showing up to eat. Perhaps it had something to do with that announcement. It probably would have been best to attend, but Emily decided to continue cooking. It was what she told Bliss she was going to do, and she wasn't about to go back on her word. The old Emily most likely would have started feeling sorry for herself. Here she was making enough food to serve a small army, and no one was showing up. But that was a selfish way to think. No one owed it to her to eat the food she was making. As is, Emily was continuing a tradition that Bliss had started, and was doing this because she respected the nanny. She wasn't making over twenty plates of food for the infinites, she was making them for Bliss. Miss Buckly could rest easy knowing that this task was being taken care of.

In this place, the world was just the twenty four of them. In the outside world, there were billions of people. On such a large scale, it was possible for a few thousand, or even a few million people to skate through life without really contributing anything. But in here, everyone had to put work in. Becoming an infinite made her feel entitled. Talking to TV personalities and having her photo taken took precedence over actual care giving. When put in a situation like this where people actually had to be useful in other ways, she fell flat on her face. Emily had become a character who's sole purpose was to entertain. But she was not the main character of everyone's story, which was something she should have noticed sooner. But it wasn't until recently she started taking interest in everyone else.



She briefly caught a glimpse of Noah and Juliette entering the dining room. This was a surprise. Emily wasn't really anticipating the new people to come first, if at all. It probably didn't matter, but she had made each plate with a certain person in mind. It wasn't a huge deal, as she could just re cook any plate that was taken. But for the moment, Emily had to work on calming down and not messing anything up. It was important that she didn't impose on anyone too much. Just get them their food, and let them eat in peace. The last thing they likely want is to be bothered by some old lady who'll talk their ear off about any and everything. If they'd like to talk to her, they certainly have the power to do that.

”Noah and Juliette? What a suprise!” After anouncing their presence, she quickly assessed their body shape. She decided that Mary and Caora's plate would work well for Noah and Juliette respectively. Emily picked up the two plates and walked towards the duo, who had already let themselves into the kitchen. ”We have a tradition around here. Bliss typically cooks breakfast for everyone, but today I'm taking over.” She handed Noah his plate and winked at him. ”I hope you enjoy it. Having breakfast made for me every morning is one of the few simple joys we get to have around here.” She stood up straight and handed the other plate to Juliette. ”there's plenty of salt and pepper at the table. So why don't you go have a seat?” She smiled and folded her hands together.






“La la la la...” Jezebel arrived at the study with time to spare. That was to say that she arrived well before everyone else. Of course, not a whole lot had been done to set up the study for a meeting. Seating was limited and poorly positioned. As it was, there was no way everyone was going to be able to see what was going on. It was very important that everyone could easily see everyone else. But Jezebel had already made her announcement, so the clock was ticking.

But she had an idea.

Jezebel skipped her way over to the vault door and rapped on it with her knuckles. “Rise and shine, robo Betty!” Jezebel folded her hands behind her back. “Like, I could use your help, and junk.”

Parker made her presence known.”What do you need? You had better not be asking me for weapons.”

“Nah, that junk's for noids.” She stepped in front of the slot. “Like, I totally want to hold a meeting in here. So like, maybe you could help me? I Totally just need a few of these tables cleared out, and like, it would be tre cool if you could get us some more seats.”

”Ahh, the announcement. That was you.” The robot ajusted itself in the darkness. ”Time is of the essence, we should move quickly.”




As the infinites started to pile into the study. They would notice that things had been rearranged a bit. Various chairs were lined up in a circle, and not all of them originally came from the study. There were a fair number of lawn chairs with bright primary colors. They didn't go great with the decor, but at least there was ample seating. The infinites also more than likely noticed that there were no tables. However, there were scraps of wood thrown all over the place. But the bulk of such scraps were pushed up against the opening in the vault.

“Park your butts everyone, let's get this show on the road!” On Jezebel's command, everyone started to seat themselves. Or at least most of them did. “Alright, so now we're totally going to have a nice meeting where we talk about making everyone happy and junk.” She gestured towards the vault door. “And before we get started,
you should all know we so have a special guest with us today.”


Parker's red eye glowed brilliantly from inside the vault. ”I am not sure what is being discussed, but I am glad I am a part of it.” her voice still sounded like a whisper, even though everyone in the room could hear it. ”I do not wish to be used in a murder where the blackened walks free.”
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Warpcircuit
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Warpcircuit

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Denis was depressed. Not emotionally, but he was literally covered with shards of safety glass and splintered wood in the Chemistry lab. Directly next to him was the remains of a shelf. He wasn’t harmed grievously, but it was clear that he was very disillusioned with what had happened.

*Record Scratch*, *Freeze Frame*

There’s no great story behind this. Denis was clumsy enough to tilt a shelf towards him while exploring the chemistry lab. It’s almost as if some omnipotent creature from a higher stack had contrived this situation as a generic starter for an uninteresting filler post. Or perhaps it was supposed to symbolize the weight of Denis’s past failures bearing down on him, and this was a situation that would segway into a philosophical development in Denis’s character. Perhaps the shelf was an allegory for the rest of the infinites, who thought of Denis as a deviant. There was only one thing for certain…

”Haaaaaaaaaah!” Denis shifted his hands so that each hand was wrapped around an opposite edge of the shelf. Letting out a warcry, Denis began his uphill battle in situating the shelf. Through his adidas tracksuit, one could see his calf’s contract and thicken as they flexed against the shelf bearing down on them. Denis arms were shaking uncontrollably, but the twitches in the tricep area were evidence of the force they were exerting on the shelf. From Denis’s mouth was painful grinding noise, as he clenched his teeth so hard it drew tears from his eyes. A lone bead of sweat began to drip down his forehead, but for all the effort he was putting in the shelf was beginning to win this battle. Denis could hear a creaking from the floorboards beneath his feet. He was unsure how that was possible, as the shelf resided on those very floorboards from the beginning which would suggest they were capable of supporting its weight, but Denis imagined that if he didn’t do anything soon he might cause an expensive vandalism to the floor.

Hey… Wait a second! I’m the Infinite Spy! I could totally like, dodge this shelf before it falls. He thought with sophomoric inconsideration of his situation. With a final heave, Denis hoisted the shelf up a few inches and attempted darting away.

And here he was. Denis pulled himself up from the rubble in the chemistry lab. He’d have to tidy things up.

As he began to clean this room, he laid his eyes on a book that was left on the ground. It must’ve been knocked over by the shelf when it fell. The book’s cover was somewhat destroyed, but he could see a symbol denoting it was a second volume, and the remains was titled “The chemistry of powders”. Denis looked at this book, and started to flip through it. It went over a lot of concepts he didn’t really understand. He took note of the page that was last bookmarked, page 214, and grabbed the book. He’d have to bring it back down to the study, where it would have to have originated.






Thomas was one of the last people to arrive at the study. When he found himself in front of the crowd, he cocked an eyebrow at the fact that there was a crowd. As far as he knew, besides him there was only Jezebel and Lucy that’d spend their mornings in the study. This crowd was actually a positive development though. However, what was most shocking to Thomas was the unexpected cooperation from the vault. He wondered if Alice had something useful in the vault he could coax her into giving him, but quickly pushed that thought to the back of his mind. There was nothing he needed that he couldn’t make right now.

Thomas took a seat, the one directly next to Lucy who was one of the first arrivals, and appraised the group in front of him. Although he was pleasantly surprised by these newbies, some of them he was a little hesitant to speak to at any serious length. If Thomas had to guess, it seemed like some people had arrived just to be a part of what was going on here, not because they actually opposed the infinites self destructive behavior.

Thomas would just have to work with it. At first, he had wanted to begin this discussion with setup for the next Night of Carnage. He would have to exchange that topic for another, but the crowd in the study gave rise to a new idea for Thomas.

Thomas leaned back in his chair. ”As opposed to introductions, I’d like to begin by asking a question to all of you. When Marianne Roche, the Infinite Herbalist, was killed by Shaun Ellen, the Infinite Web Designer, what happened to her e-handbook?”
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Entering the break room, Daimyon found it...empty. Surprised, he checked the time—it was still very much the morning and, at least according to him, still breakfast time. He took a look at his e-handbook again, scouring the map and eventually finding another potential place for the first meal of the day: the dining room in the second floor resort. That must have been where the others headed. Making a note of the break room's desolation, he made his way to the second floor. Right away, he could tell his assumption was correct by the delicious smells wafting out of the dining room. Once he had stepped inside, the pleasant atmosphere only heightened. The few people who were sat at the numerous tables did not make much noise, but they were enough to create the impression of company. A much stronger sensation was the source of the pervading smell, the scent of freshly-made breakfast: eggs, bacon, and all that was treasured by a hungry Infinite. Manning—or rather, handling was the better expression here, the poet thought—the kitchen was Emily. Given her talent, it was evident that she was the group's cook. The well-endowed caretaker gave Daimyon a light meal, complete with a glass of orange juice. After giving her his heartfelt thanks, accompanied by a wide smile, he sat down in solitude. While that might have seemed like a betrayal of his set agenda, he felt uncertain about his knowledge for the day, so he laid his notebook open on the table to rectify that.

The low hum of discussion that the poet could shut out without much trouble was suddenly overtaken by a second of shrill static. Following it was an announcement, spoken in a peculiar accent and using words even the seasoned wordsmith did not hear in those contexts before. That alone intrigued him enough, but the content of the message was what convinced him in the end. There was to be a ‘coalition meeting’. Though his notes made no mention of any sort of coalition existing within the group, he had already realised they were not complete. Perhaps he had simply missed its formation. Nevertheless, he deemed the premise to be worth checking out, if nothing else. Finishing his breakfast entirely, he wiped his hands and mouth with the serviette, before taking the empty tray back to where they were gathered. He thanked Emily again for the wonderful food and bid goodbye to the present Infinites, taking his own leave to the study.

Even though he employed the e-handbook's map to navigate, others had made it to the location before him. The study had a pinch of familiarity to the poet—no surprise, as it was where he had found the Ryoshi Membook he had been trying to decode with mixed success. Concerning the diary, he had reached an impasse and did not believe he could proceed without external help. The rearranged composition of the study did not cause him much bewilderment; on the other hand, something else certainly did. Somehow, his notes said precious little about a massive steel vault occupying the whole length of the side of the room and absolutely nothing about the red-eyed creature that it was supposedly guarding.

“W-what is...” he muttered after his customary ‘hello’ to those already gathered, but seeing how everyone else seemed unconcerned about the scene behind them, he decided not to press the issue. Instead, he engaged in some amiable mingling with the Infinites until it was time to begin.
The meeting's organiser was Jezebel, to whom the unique accent also belonged. Shortly after she had introduced their guest of honour—the creature who spoke quite eloquently, fuelling the poet's astonishment even further—, Thomas took the initiative with a question. His mention of a certain name made Daimyon perk up in attention. His notebook was in his hand and he hastily skimmed through a couple lines before answering.

“...I acquired it. Through Monokuma himself,” he said, lowering his head towards his notebook sheepishly. “We were...close. I assume that was why I was bestowed the e-handbook. Marianne is no longer with us, however, so what concern does her empty room have to anyone?”
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~ Carnal Fear ~


More murders. Murder after murder. Faith might have started to lose track, at this rate. But the Tome wouldn't forget. Since the start of the Killing Games she had been keeping a special page for their names - the names of the tormented and deceased. Amidst the noise of the other pages, this was immaculate. Neat handwriting, no doodles, and no scribbles. No mess. Something about her couldn't bring herself to defile that page as she had done the others. Though maybe with their names the page had already been defiled. It was a solemn reminder, and the blasted words at the top stuck with her every time she opened it.

Deceased Infinites.

Felix and Mercy were just two more added to the ever growing list. The Infinite Free runner and the Infinite Plague Doctor... just above them were the Infinite Firebug and Infinite Dice Master. She had never met Rika, but Allie was her friend. Her friend... She traced the names with her index finger, running across each letter, burdened with the visceral memory that accompanied them. The deaths of her fellows in her original game, the deaths of her fellows in this game. For somebody called Faith, she was starting to lose hope of escaping. Starting to.

She'd had trouble sleeping - periodic and sporadic episodes of insomnia keeping her up for the morning announcements and beyond, until the next night rolled around and she gambled as to whether sleep would claim her once again. It would just never leave her head... clutching a bleeding body on a tiled floor, feeling their life ebb away in her arms. How many times would she have to experience that before it became common practice? As distressing as the thought might have been, even that had been the common practice she so longed to avoid.

Get out of bed, or stand up from the desk; shower; sit down again and read through your notebook; leave and smile. It was getting tiring, but whether that was the insomnia talking or some internal defence mechanism screaming for release she couldn't tell. Things were getting more and more out of hand by the day. Infinites being murdered, or killing themselves. Even the party was ruined. How many would be able to keep on like this? From what Faith had heard, that was their third Trial.

She could remember how she was after her games third Trial. It hurt to think that things would keep going, that things might never change. People would keep dying, and nobody could stop it. And then, at the whim of the game, she was whisked away to another, robbing her friends of their leader. There was sadness there, but a small amount of happiness. Happiness she was now ashamed to admit was happiness

The PR system lit up, with the voice of the dreaded. Her dreaded. Her shame. Seeing Jezebel as she exited that elevator gave her a semblance of excitement unmatched since the game started; even the party hadn't elicited that much of a reaction. She had left just after the first Trial. To see her again was a great joy. How she regretted that emotion. The cruelty and coldness in her voice that night...

Faith almost couldn't bring herself to attend the Meeting. Almost. But here she stood, at the entrance of the Study, peeking in to catch a glimpse of those already gathered. She was late, and things were about to commence, but a kind of fear paralysed her at the door-frame. seeing Jez there was more than she could bring herself to handle. Aleecia's death had rocked her, but the Trickster before her had only served to amplify that feeling. Carnage Sisters were one thing. They could only kill you. Deep down she knew Jez would never lower herself to murder. Just emotional torture.

And for the first time in a while, she was scared.

It was a genuine fear. Nowhere along the lines of physical harm, but psychological. This was a girl that, somehow, could hurt her in ways to make a stab wound feel like a feather duster. That was the kind of fear she'd developed of this girl - a fear she had never felt, and might never feel again. The Killing Game was a primal sport, and the primal feelings elicited had begun to close in on her.

But she couldn't linger. People would question her, tell her to sit down or leave. In her head, Faith could imagine Jez doing that. But she couldn't leave. This would be important, without a doubt, and she had to be in attendance. Thomas was already speaking, addressing the group. It was now or never, but now was the only option available in good conscience.

So she stepped towards the group, and took a seat - as far away from her tormentor as possible - and listened.
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"Interesting... How interesting..."

Thomas was taken aback, if for a moment, by this convenience. Things would move much quicker, and Thomas immediately made an addendum to his own future.

“Hey.“

The sound of silent and steady footsteps could be heard in the hallway near the study, but Thomas must’ve drawn the attention of the majority of the Infinites. Thomas stood up, and began walking towards Daimyon. He jerked his arms behind his back, and clasped his hands together at the base of his spine as he walked. When he spoke, his voice was clear and precise as the shattered edge of a mirror. In some ways, the words were even sharper than such.

”I might’ve asked you to give it to me any other day, to which you might’ve refused had I not given you a reason. If I explained my reason though, I don’t think you would’ve given that handbook to me to me. Well, as it turns out, I don’t think that’ll be an issue. I'll skip all that fluff crap. I’ll explain why I need Marianne’s handbook, and you can refuse in turn. But first...”



Instead of stepping in front of Daimyon, Thomas veered so he was walking towards the door. An out of breath Denis slowly emerged from the doorway, holding the book from the chemistry lab. He looked disheveled from his quarrel with the shelf, but upon further inspection, he also had dirt all over his tracksuit. He smelled vaguely sour, like a lemon, and the Infinite’s nearest door could very faintly smell a bland aroma, similar to that of a bar of dove soap. On top of that, there was some scratches on his upper arm.

Most importantly, though, was the small vial Denis was carefully holding in front of him alongside the textbook. It had a clear fluid in it - that had bits of what appeared to be dirt in it - and Denis was being extremely careful while carrying it.

The corners of Thomas's mouth twitched erratically. He reached out to grab the vial and the chemistry book.

”It looks like everything went swimmingly. I'm so glad."

Thomas turned around, and began walking towards the infinite nearest the door. Denis followed in suit, standing behind Thomas. If anyone was paying attention him, they might’ve noticed that his head was tilted slightly downward, as if he was staring at his feet. ”I was planning to showcase that thing to everyone after this thing was squared away, but I hardly think there could be a better opportunity than now. Hey, Infinite Match Maker, right?” — Thomas stopped behind her seat, and extended his arm with the chemistry textbook around the chair, offering it to her. With his other hand he uncapped the vial with his thumb and inched his third digit into the tube to submerge momentarily in the fluid.

”I’m gonna have you take this book, turn to the book mark: page 214, and tell everyone here what’s on that page. I wouldn’t recommend trying to move away from me once you do. Afterwards, you, Infinite Poet, can decide whether you’re gonna need me to explain why I need that handbook.”
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~ Confrontation ~


Daimyon was only just replying as Faith took her seat, discussing something or another about Marianne's Handbook with Thomas. Marianne... was the person who died before Faith had entered the game; Noel had spoken about her. It was a bloody affair, or so it was told. Tired up and butchered like an animal - no, worse than an animal. Even despite the murders she had already bore witness to, the atrocious act of their second Trial was on another level than she had experienced.

For what reason Thomas could have with a dead girls room, she couldn't begin to fathom. If Daimyon and Marianne had been as close to each other as was suggested, no doubt he would have gone through her room, on the off chance anything was left behind that could prove useful, either for the group, or for himself. There was nothing an outsider could hope to find that Daimyon wouldn't have found already.

But he was insistent. And something struck her; something that didn't quite make sense. The way he spoke, the way he stood up, and made his way to the door like he did. It was like he knew what the outcome would be - like he knew Daimyon would refuse. Like he knew he wouldn't have to convince him to hand it over. Her eyes trailed him across the room, to the exit, where the worn down Denis resided, out of breath and decidedly worse for wear than any of the patients had the right to be. Something was going on here, and she didn't like it.

At all.

Whatever book he was holding wasn't the thing that took Faith's attention, it was the vial. It was her gift to identify behavioural traits and body language, and Denis was clearly nervous. And then he started walking again, and kept walking, whilst Faith kept him in her sights, until he vanished from anything but her periphery. He was stood behind her - right behind her. He was addressing her. The chemistry book he had procured was extended over her shoulder in front her her. Evidently she had no choice but to take it.

”I’m gonna have you take this book, turn to the book mark: page 214, and tell everyone here what's on that page.


He thumb riffled through the pages until it hit the bookmark, and slowly spread the pages to reveal their contents. Her eyes locked to the bold word, and her pupils narrowed, before she lifted the book slightly to prevent the people either side of her from reading along with her. Every word she took in carefully, up until the end of the second paragraph. And then she simply closed the book.

"How cute~!" Faith's cheerful voice resonated across the room, no doubt eliciting a few odd reactions. Gently, she placed the book on the floor, and slid it under her chair with her foot. At the same time, her free hand raised to a pocket in her outfit, "Is that how this is going to be, hmm, Thomas~?" and from it slowly drew the same sacrificial blade she had used to deal with Julia, and Alexandria's Horse, "Give me the Handbook, or I'll kill everyone in this room~? How terribly unsporting of you."

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Emily made plate after plate, but it didn't seem like anyone was coming. Of course it was obvious to her why. They must have been having so much fun at that meeting that they decided to all attend. Well, it didn't really matter. She reminded herself that she was making meals for bliss, who was hopefully catching up on sleep.

But maybe she could peak out the door...

Though after walking out of the kitchen, she was able to see the three original carnage sisters standing in the art plaza. The caretaker dropped down onto her hands and knees and crawled closer to the window, to see if she could hear them.

”It fuckin' sucks!” Geina stomped her feet. ”He killed Nariko? What the fuck man?!”

Alexandria sighed. ”I thought we were unboopable.” she squealed in disgust. ”And I don't like the cut of the new girl's jib!”

”Sisters, relax.” All Willow had to do was place her hands on the two and they calmed down. ”A blow has been dealt to the monarchy that we will not soon recover. But as your queen, I implore you to focus! We are not the same as those blood bag vagrants!” she folded her arms. ”Your queen already has a most savory ruse cooked up, no different than the chief's finest turkey!”

Geina turned to look at the crowned carnage sister. ”What are you talking about.”

Willow leaned in towards Geina. ”One of the vagrants told me that I deserved to rule all, and so I'm ready to put that plan into motion! But first, I need to tell you something.” She leaned in close to Geina's ear. ”whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper.”

”Wow, fuckin' A! That plan is rock solid!” Geina turned around. ”Let's set that in motion right now!”

Willow then turned towards Alexandra. ”And you” She leaned inonce again. ”whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper.”

”Tee-hee!” Alexandra skittered off.

That was pretty strange. With most of the food made, Emily felt pretty good about leaving to tell the others. She just needed to wait for Willow to leave.






Jezabel was all set up to start the meeting when Thomas asked for Mariette's handbook. After locating it, Thomas made some rather strange moves. It ultimately ended with him drawing a vial, and Faith identifying the vile as something powerful enough to blow up everyone in the room.

”Is this true?” Parker was excited by the development, bobbing up and down inside the vault. ”This is fortunate. If he lobs that vile at someone, it's sure to kill them.” She reached out of the vault with one hand and clamped onto the door, as if she was going to attempt to push herself through. ”And then a trial will start, a simple one.” A second arm was flung out of the vault and took hold of the ground. ”It would be a simple case, and I'd be one inch closer to freedom! Then you'd just need to do one more.” A third, considerably larger hand reached out of the gap and clawed at the outside. One more! And then I get to go free!

But the jester broke out into laughter. “Oh Faith, Parker, don't be silly!” She waved her hand dismissively. “If Thomas was going to do something so drastic, he'd totally do it in a way that wouldn't screw him over. Like, You don't threaten everyone with a bomb like a noid and not expect something to happen.” She gestured towards Thomas. “He could, like, blow up the door during the night of carnage and junk if he wanted entry. You two really are way too dramatic.” Jezebel turned to face Daimyon. “So like, you're not going to stop him from entering. He could totally blow the door down.” She crossed her fingers behind her back.
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(instructions on reading the poem are in this post!)

Dear, you leave me stunned and smitten, well-hypnotised
As I stand here and look into your amber eyes.
Silky shadows fall down your back, swirling darkly.
Gazing upon such bright beauty, I smile widely.

I'd wait in this place where it's just you and I.
Wait in this place where our love is not just a lie.

I'm so sorry, but no strings can secure me here.
I shall embark on a journey and disappear.
Lone wanderer, that is my share; heavy burden.
My then is lost, my now is you, next uncertain.

I'd wait for you, dear, I would wait forever.
Stay with you where our ties would never be severed.

My heart shatters to tell you that we will part soon.
One last embrace, one stolen glance under the moon.
It's better to have it this way; you'll be set free.
I am unfit for your sweet love; I was carefree.

Don't fret, my darling! The problem is in me.
When the sun comes, you'll be but a lost memory.


—Daimyon Londe: Parting at Night




Daimyon shuffled in his chair for a moment as Thomas approached him. Perhaps he had said something wrong? As far as his notes were accurate, his words were the truth. Yet, he was unable to shake an impending sense of dread, further exacerbated by the biomechanic's ominous words. The poet had few records of the green-haired man, precious little aside from what was written in his e-handbook entry. Thus he instinctively judged him on the information readily available: his posture, with hands behind his back and the slightest hunch, and demeanour, with his measured steps and cold, calculated words. If Daimyon was to draw a parallel, he would have likened Thomas to an interrogator. He almost felt tied to his seat—only released when the attention shifted to a new arrival.

Said arrival was Denis, Denis Orlov, another name Daimyon only knew from the e-handbook. The poet recalled what he had read about him in his head—Infinite Spy, age 17, Russian—and felt relieved. His daily memory still held, at least, even after being put to the test numerous times. Refocusing on the current scene, he watched as Thomas handed a white-haired, crimson-eyed Infinite—Faith Lambert, Infinite Matchmaker, age 27, went his quick mental recall—a thick and dusty book, compelling her to read an excerpt. His curiosity piqued, Daimyon listened intently, but much to his dismay, the topic turned out to be something utterly unfamiliar to him. This resulted in a few phrases sounding especially threatening to the laic: explosive properties, non-freezing dynamites. He connected the dots soon enough and realised that the substance in the vial that accompanied the book had to be dinitroglycerin, a substance used to create explosives. The implication was clear, but the escalation seemed even more imminent as Faith drew a blade and accused Thomas of murderous intentions.

Daimyon's whole body tensed. The vault creature smashing against the wall of its cell almost made him jump out of the chair. This was a living nightmare, he thought. Only such a horrible dream can be so absurd. Jezebel's out-of-place snickering did nothing to assuage his fears, and though she did not believe the situation to be as grave as Faith did, her explanation set off different alarms in the poet. Did Thomas truly want to enter Marianne's room so much that he was willing to blow up the door? What could he have sought after there? The poet had already been there. He believed that the only valuable item was her letter, in which the late Infinite professed her love to him, and what he kept in his notebook ever since. Regardless, there had to be a reason, one that he could not figure out. The uncertainty propelled him to act.

“It appears to me that you have the means of entry regardless of my decision.” He stood up, clutching his notebook, and turned to Thomas. His agitation was masked by verbosity. “Which renders my role almost moot, doesn't it? Out of moral principles, I shall still decline, make no mistake. Despite that, I hope you do not mind explaining yourself in front of myself and the others.”
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As opposed to the telling movements of Daimyon and Faith, Thomas was unnaturally still in the meantime between his question and Daimyons answer. The only part of him that moved was his beady eyes, which darted from speaker to speaker like a child through a park full of attractions.

"...or I'll kill everyone in this room~? How terribly unsporting of you."

Faith's movement was first. He didn't know much about Faith's behavior, but he had gambled incorrectly on her reading comprehension. Not only had she misinterpreted the passage entirely — which was anything but hard to interpret — she immediately likened Thomas to an aggressor. Although that was arguably correct, Thomas could only come to the conclusion that Faith did not understand the situation she was in. He was not sure whether she was trying to be discreet about drawing a weapon on him — a novel concept, when your enemy specialized in movement — but her actions with the knife were not alarming to Thomas in the slightest. Although he had vastly overestimated Faith's ability to read about basic textbook chemistry, he was certain that she would realize why attacking Thomas right now was an extremely poor idea. The truly aggravating thing she did was kicking the textbook under her chair. It was already haggard, and Faith kicking it was definitely going to damage the book which was very valuable to Thomas. Thomas hand, the one with the vial, seemed to have moved when she was reading the book, but it was uncertain whether it had actually moved or not.

”...One more! And then I get to go free!”

"...He could totally blow the door down.”


Jezebels reaction was impressive, despite her simple misunderstanding. The fact that she was able to identify the telltale signs of an explosive Thomas and Denis left in the vial without Faith spelling it out was somewhat unexpected. Although, there was only a few things implied by the situation they were in, so it may have just been a guess on Jezebels part. Despite this, her assertion was incorrect. She didn't even know if Thomas needed the handbook to enter Marianne's room. Perhaps there was another, less obvious reason for his request.

On top of that, Jezebel made the incorrect assumption that Thomas would screw himself over. He was a little disappointed, as his position in the room should've made it particularly obvious who would be the blackened for a fairly straightforward case if Daimyon didn't give him the handbook.

Alice's reaction was less unexpected, however, it's spasm in the vault was nothing short of jarring. Someone who claimed the have a talent for destruction would surely be specialized in this type of thing. In some parts, Thomas sympathized with the robotic Alice. Allegedly, all it wanted to do was end this killing game. That is truly a novel concept. Thomas couldn't help but wonder if this Alice would be upset that he would beat her to the punch, though.

“Which renders my role almost moot, doesn't it? Out of moral principles, I shall still decline, make no mistake. Despite that, I hope you do not mind explaining yourself in front of myself and the others.”


Which left him with Daimyon. Thomas wasn't sure if Daimyon was purposely being dense, or if he really thought he was in any position to be refusing Thomas's proposal, much less making demands of him. The fact that he was declining on moral principle was laughable. Perhaps, Daimyon believed that Thomas didn't have the resolve to follow through on whatever threat Daimyon perceived from him because he didn't understand the situation, just like Faith.

Thomas broke his statue stillness and spoke... except it was now obvious that one part of him was moving extremely slowly while everyone else was speaking. His other hand, the one with the vial, was extended around Faith's chair, just like the hand that had offered her the textbook. He continued to stare straight ahead.

"No. You make no mistake, Infinite Poet." Thomas's miniature bicep twitched, and his empty hand trembled slightly. "Your claim to having moral principles is cognitive dissonance. I'll prove it now."

Thomas's arms began to move.

"Monokuma. I know you're watching this. I need you to explain something."

Thomas would quickly clasp his hands together, so that they were both holding one part of the vial and his arms were encompassing Faith and the chair she was sitting at in a hug from behind. Assuming there was no last second resistance, his hands, which were balled into fists around the vial of fluid that was now sloshing uncomfortably, would find themselves at the base of Faith's sternum.

"I have absolutely no intention of causing harm to anyone. However, I do intend to stay like this until I am given Marianne's handbook or the Night of Carnage starts. Assuming that the fluid in this vial is indeed a nitroglycerin based explosive, it is very unstable, and will react if it is disturbed too much. Knowing this, I will try my hardest to keep this fluid from being disturbed while I wait for the Infinite Poet to give the handbook.

However, Monokuma, this is where you must explain --

Should the Infinite Matchmaker disturb this fluid through her own movements, causing me to shake, drop, or otherwise trigger the proverbial explosive... I'd like for you to explain who would be responsible for any following damage."


Denis remained still, staring at the ground.

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hey does anyone know what ligma is?



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”Did someone call?” Monokuma's cheery voice came over the coms, and he appeared on a monitor in the center of the study. ”Well Thomas my boy, it's a bit of a gray area admittedly. You did create this situation. However...” Monokuma threw both paws into the air. ”Since you've explained the situation so well to everyone, that means that Faith would be responsible for any damage incurred. Like that one time a guy put poison into some containers and had his classmates throw them at him. You can't argue the students didn't kill him.”

”I see, so he planned this so that he would be absolved of any blame.” Alice Parker stroked her chin with a fourth hand. ”But now he's saying that he won't drop it. Not until the night of carnage rolls around. The situation keeps getting more precarious, for everyone involved.” Parker turned towards Daimyon. ”I still say you shouldn't give it to him however. Look at those scrawny arms, there's no way he can hold that position for sixteen hours.”



Jezebel just watched the spectacle unfold before her eyes without much of a reaction. It was impossible for anyone to tell what was going on in her head, per the usual. Again, she looked to Daimyon. With a groan, she folded her arms and looked at the poet. “Daimyon. Like, just give it to him.”
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George Henry



What have you gotten yerself into now, George?

In truth, George almost had to hide his face to mask the fact that this entire situation was humorous to him. It was not that the threat of a potential death was funny, or the fact that someone was resorting to taking a hostage to obtain someone's handbook. No, the funny thing about this situation, at least to Henry, was that his aversion to trusting people was justified mere minutes after the meeting's start. Not to speak of how flamboyant this whole situation was. Directly threatening to blow someone up in front of the whole group? What audacity. And how foolish. Was this item really that important? Hell if George knew, he only just got here. But he did know this: people like that weren't safe to keep around.

There was not much for George to do. While it did concern him, he was not directly involved in the situation. It was up to the others to decide if they were going to cave into his demands or if someone were to die today. He did have to wonder just what kind of yield a vial that size might have, and if it truly was enough to cause as much damage as they were being led to believe. He was an expert on firearms, not explosives, so while skeptical, it was not as though he could confidently claim otherwise.

So George remained quiet, acting as an observer for now. Zachary seemed to be taking this stance as well, but rather than the unamused expression Henry was attempting to wear, Zach's was dire. As if he was concerned about the situation escalating. George couldn't say he felt that way. Even if the potential victim was somebody he actually recognized, it was not as though he had an attachment to Faith. But if she were to die, if this man were to go so far as to kill someone over a handbook, even abusing the rules of this 'game', then so be it.

It just might bite him in the ass later.
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It was a far cry, Daimyon realised as much. He hoped that his acknowledgement of the explosive would abate the debate, for if Thomas truly possessed a powerful-enough substance, he could simply knock Marianne's door down during the Night of Carnage. Neither the poet nor anyone else would be able to stop him. There would be no reason for thinly-veiled threats, no reason to involve and risk making the better part of the group distrust him. Distrust meant lack of allies, lack of allies meant constant paranoia which lead clearly into a paralysing fear of death.

Thomas was a smart and devious man—that much was certain for the poet. One needed not to be a scientist to reach the conclusions he had just reached in the uneasy seconds of silence, which made him believe that the biomechanic had also reached at least this far in his thought process. Perhaps Daimyon was wrong in his initial assumption: perhaps Thomas needed the e-handbook for entirely different reasons. Before he had any time to ponder about other possibilities, however, the young man pressed the vial against Faith's chest, effectively trapping her. The Infinites could but watch. Daimyon, snapped out of his thoughts, let out an exasperated sigh: could Thomas just do whatever he pleased while they sat powerless?

The ultimatum was issued. If the poet did not deliver the late botanist's e-handbook, Thomas would hold Faith hostage until the Night of Carnage. As with any decent hostage situation, attempting to free her meant only a quicker and surer death by the explosive vial. The cherry on top was Monokuma's—who very audibly enjoyed the unfolding conflict—declaration that the person causing the substance to be released would be responsible for the destruction it caused.

Whereas before this he was an important part, now Daimyon became the linchpin of the whole situation. He was the only one with access to what Thomas, who had transformed into a villain before their eyes, coveted. The vault creature and Jezebel wasted no time in trying to convince him of their truth. Others, as he looked around, were all looking at him, some with dread, some with detachment. Either way, the ball was in the poet's court. The buck stopped here. Grave responsibility weighed on his shoulders for the first time, as he would have assuredly wrote down any similar occasion that had happened before.

It was a heightened feeling, but not the heroic kind he had imagined it to be. He had to make a decision where there was a lot he did not know: most crucially, just what were Thomas' reasons? What was he planning? How did he procure an explosive in this hospital; was it even an explosive? What if this was all...a bluff, or a test? All Daimyon had were bits and pieces of scattered information, with gaping voids of unknown dispersed between.

Familiar ground, one could call it.

“Very well, Thomas.” He broke the silence at last, making a step forward. The jitter in his legs was gone. He spoke slowly and articulated every word. “No one needs to be hurt. I will bring the notebook here. It is...not here with me now, as you can see. I will need to get to my room for it.”
After the first, uncertain step, he got into a brisk walk, heading straight for the exit. No one moved to intercept him, at least for now. He glanced back from the door, his gaze pointed at Denis.
“And I will do this myself. Worry not.”
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~ Unfettered ~


Faith could feel her own head tilt in confusion as Jez spoke. This was an odd situation, yes, but the reasoning she gave was, in some ways, even stranger. She would never voice as such, though, but it still stood at such - if Thomas was bent on blowing up the door to the room, why bother acquiring a handbook? It would save a lot of time and effort on both his part, and the parts of everyone else involved at the meeting. Was she bluffing? Biding time? No matter how she reasoned it, there was an oddity to it that seemed completely off base, unless it was her intention to do as such.

Daimyon was up next to voice his opinion. Out of all the people sat in the circle, only four of them were discussing anything, it seemed. The Carnage Sister shook restlessly in her prison continuously, but Faith paid it no heed; her attention was more closely paid on Thomas, in her periphery, and every action he made. His uncanny, sharp, and deadly serious attentiveness was unsettling at best, and downright strange at worst - like he was trying to process everything in the room at once.

She sighed. Casting a look towards Denis, whom carried the vial to the Study, she was already beginning to realise her mistake. Daimyon was right, the choice was entirely out of his hands. All they could do was listen to the madman and his ravings, and his ridiculous methods by which to attain his goal. From the corners of her eyes, it almost felt like he was moving. Almost. Maybe she was just preoccupied. There was no way he'd do that here. Not with that.

Though apparently she was wrong. Faith sat still, perfectly, almost rigidly, though not in fear, moreover in patience, as his arms wrapped around her body, clutching the vial between his hands before her.She finished drawing the knife, as his little speech continued. He was implying that she would be the Blackened if the explosive went off, was he? The joyous demeanour that had accompanied Faith into the mess she found herself in had all but vanished. You could see it in her eyes.

"This is getting boring now, Thomas." she simply stated, as Daimyon stood to leave the circle for his room. Her eyes followed him to the door, where he stood before Daimyon. That was obviously a futile lie - a reasonable one, but futile nonetheless, "There's no need for that, Daimyon. The handbook isn't necessary anymore."

Nitroglycerin was a volatile explosive that detonated when disturbed. Faith may have been the "Infinite Matchmaker", but she was a Demigod and a Magus besides that. She had a room of alchemical ingredients. He would stay there until the Night of Carnage? In a swift movement, she flipped the knife into another grip, so the blade faced the ceiling.
"After all, the thing in this vial isn't a Nitroglycerin-based explosive." if the boy made no move to avoid it, her hand angled down to his wrist. The blade cut into his skin as she drew the knife across his flesh, leaving a deep wound that would no doubt leave a scar.

"Even in such a small concentration as this vial, no sane man would hold an explosive in their bare hands. It might kill me, sure, but it's doubtful he'll be using his hands after this. Maybe it'll burn the skin irreparably, or tear a finger or two off, or cut the tendons in his thumbs..." she positioned the knife to begin a second cut, "His Talent does use his hands a lot. He's not suicidal. If he was... he'd kill himself in his room. That, or he'd threaten a lot more people than me." the blade slashed across his arm, "Right Thomas~?"
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Just when things seemed like they had escalated to a point, Faith found a way to make the tension raise even higher. She gave her reason for doubting the thing was explosive, and further insisted her doubts with her knife. She was cutting Thomas. Her knife was coated in the blood of another person.

Up until this point, Jezebel seemed calm about everything going on. The destruction crazed robot, the cryptic message about the explosives, none of this rattled the clown. But when Faith started carving up Thomas, that changed. Her eyes expanded, her hands curled inwards, and her mouth hung agape. This was not an expression many people had seen Jezebel make. But Faith had seen it a lot. Faith had seen it many times.

“Enough, enough!” Jezebel's voice stung everyone's ears. She marched into the center of the room and stopped. “When is it going to be enough for you?” She grit her teeth. “Like, when is the demi-god going to be happy with her sacrifices?” Jezebel folded her arms. “How many more people need to get hurt because you think you're immortal!?” She locked eyes with Faith. How many more of my friends are you going to butcher!? Jezebel was starting to tear up. “I-it's endless, so totally endless. I just can't get away from you. Like, why did you have to come here? Why? Wh-” In an instant, her tears dissipated, and her face was plastered with a jack-o-lantern's grin. “Oh, I get it now. You want me don't you?" Jezebel wasn't going to pause long enough for Faith to respond. "But you haven't been able to kill me yet, so instead you try to set me up with people and hurt them instead.” She placed her hands on her hips. “Is that why you wanted to set me up with Zachary? I bet that's why you're hurting Thomas right now. There's no way you're stupid enough to do it on the frail logic he's not wearing gloves.” Jezebel raised a hand and placed it on her cheek. “I'm not going to lie Faith, a sick part of me wants to hurt your friends back. Just so you know how I feel. But like, I would never do that. It totally got me thinking though....” She gestured at everyone around Faith. “Who are your friends? It's not me, you've made that painfully clear already. I think you want to see me dead more than anyone else in this stupid game. But like, I know Krista isn't one. She just sort of used you for her little murder party. Ice doesn't seem to particularly care for you either. And Alice with the exodus eye doesn't see any reason to trust you.” She folded her arms behind her back. “So tell me, who wants to see you come out on top in this situation? What harm could possibly come from Thomas getting what he wants?” Jezebel turned her head to look at Daimyon, who was still standing in the doorway. “Get that fucking handbook before we have an announcement!” She screamed at him, and he immediately took off out of the room. Once he was gone, Jezebel's eyes rested on Faith again.
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Despite the going on's around him, Denis continued to stare at the ground. It was becoming unnatural, but there was more important developments to focus on besides him.

Daimyon’s obvious lie was insulting to Thomas, but he couldn’t think of what Daimyon would actually do besides bringing the handbook to diffuse this situation. There was exactly two people with enough conviction to oppose Thomas in this killing game, and one of them was already taking his side in this conflict. There was no tools tailored to stopping him, and even someone with a talent like Cyrus would find it difficult to negotiate with Thomas (not for lack of skill, but rather through Thomas’s own stubbornness in this situation).

Regardless, Thomas felt slightly uneasy about letting Daimyon out by himself. It was the same as the fear of the unknown. It went against his intuition to leave Daimyon unaccounted for. After all, It was only moments ago that he caught Thomas’s interest for anything other than his physique by claiming ownership of Maryanne’s handbook. It was difficult for Thomas to reduce him to predictions, and if he couldn’t do that then Daimyon was a threat.

Despite this, Thomas appeased Daimyon through his own inaction. He was gambling on his own resolve, and Daimyon’s morality. Even if he came back with reinforcements, or some sort of tool, or anything; it would all be in vain. So, Thomas was confident in the eventuality that he would receive the handbook from Daimyon.

Thomas, however, didn’t have much more time to think things through. He had vaguely been listening to Faith, but the moment she angled the knife upward he had shifted his full attention to her. He was about to speak, when the sharp pain of the knife shocked his mouth shut, like a door slamming on it’s stop. His teeth momentarily clenched, and he accidentally bit his tongue.

Thomas’s eyes hardened, and his face took on a tone. It was the first time a definite emotion escaped his stoic facade. For the first time in the killing game, a true emotion was plastered on Thomas’s whole face. His eyebrows were drawn down. His lips were drawn tight like ropes. His eyes were glaring at the back of the head in front of him. Thomas’s face spelt one thing.

Unadulterated, visceral, spitting anger.



But just like that, his face softened, and he relaxed his jaw. When he opened his mouth next, one could see the mess of blood and saliva covering his teeth and gums as a result of biting down on his tongue so hard, but Thomas spoke as if there was no damage in his mouth. He spoke as if he wasn’t feeling the pain of Faith slicing into him. He spoke normally, even as Faith drew her blade across his wrist in her second cut. The only requiem of this outburst was his eyes, which bore into Faith’s skull like drills.

“...You're wrong. This is entertaining to an exact measure, Matchmaker. You know...”


Like a broken record, or a clock which kept on ticking, Faith made a fool of herself in never ending cycles. While it was clearly her intention to disenfranchise him with her nonchalant behavior, it was nothing short of childish and admittedly predetermined by Thomas. He foresaw a reaction like this minutes ago, and had already accounted for it.

”...it must be painful…”


As Faith cut, Thomas began to bleed unnaturally quickly, as if his wrists were faucets that had suddenly been turned on. Although it was somewhat easy to guess based on his figure, there was no doubt now that Thomas was in fact anemic. The large stains that were now forming at the midriff section of Faith’s dress were a testament to that.

Despite this, Thomas set into action. His hands were somewhat shaky from the sudden blood loss, but he showed no signs of what should have been extreme pain. His third digit, which was still submerged in the vial, slowly retracted itself. Thomas let go of the vial with the hand to which that finger belonged, and raised that hand above the vial so that his wrist was now in front of Faith’s bosom, bleeding down onto the vial and hand beneath it. Thomas angled the hand now holding the vial so that the vial was shielded from the downpour, and positioned the other hands thumb beneath his glistening third digit as if he was about to snap. A large drop of the vials fluid had accumulated on the pad of his middle finger, and was beginning to run down towards the thumb he had positioned beneath it.

”...to be as inconsequential as you are.”


Without needing to see his hand or the front of Faith’s head, he took aim. With precision, he rapped his thumb upwards across his middle finger.

CRACK


With a loud crack, two things happened.

The first was a small explosion, if it was even an explosion, localized entirely to Thomas’s thumb and middle finger. It created a loud crackling noise, and suddenly imbued the room with the sickening scent of sulfur mixed with another awful, acrid odor. When Thomas opened his thumb and index finger, they were both burnt considerably. His thumb was only burnt on the pad, but the residual fluid on his middle finger burned all the way to his proximal interphalangeal joint -- the middle of his finger. Anyone who had been burnt to any degree could only imagine how painful it must’ve been.

The second was a drop of fluid be catapulted upwards, directly towards Faith’s philtrum. The fluid would likely not explode or cause any damage, as the force applied by it splattering on Faith’s upper lip [ ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ] would not be nearly as much as the force applied by Thomas’s thumb on his finger, and therefore wouldn’t be enough to trigger the explosive in such a small quantity. Instead, it would serve as both a warning to Faith and a demonstration of Thomas’s own self control. On top of that, it disproved her theory. What Thomas had was indeed an explosive.

”I can just make a new pair of hands, Matchmaker. After all, I am the Infinite Bio-mechanic. But you, you are finite. There's no revoking whatever damage I might do to you.”

Thomas upper hand began to shiver, and he lowered it back down so it was back around the vial. His wrists continued bleeding.

Faith Lambert, you’re not nearly as intelligent as you think you are. I’m ten steps ahead of every single one of you, and not one of you have even figured out what game we’re playing yet.1

There’s nothing you can do to escape my checkmate. Everything was decided the second the poet told me that he had the handbook. There’s only one thing left for you to do.”


A nerve wracking smile began to inch across Thomas’s face. His smile was different than Jezebel's wide grin. It wasn't an expression of joy, or laughter, or insanity, or anything like that. It was merely a dull expression of satisfaction.

“To you, I am Ultimate Despair. An eclipse of any hope. Give up.”

(1 youtube.com/watch?v=RA5sHv5jWqA it was done first and better on arrow)
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~ She Was Right ~


Faith had only one course of action. It was the only one available to her. It was the right path to take, no matter what anyone else said. It didn't matter whether what Thomas had really was an explosive, she was safe. All she needed to do was prove a point, and she'd done it, without recourse nor mercy. Everything Thomas was doing was wrong. Blackmail? Threats? He deserved this. He could either admit his bluff of get himself hurt. There was no other choice.

She sat, in her confidence and the ever spreading stain of Thomas's fresh and warm blood, waiting for her victory. A genius, that's what she was. Did Thomas think he was clever with such a bluff? The holes in it were more than obvious, they were palpable and tangible, and Faith was more than happy to stab a few more into his argument until he gave up the act. Blackmail was a horrible way to go about something like this. She was right. He could have just asked nicely - what could be so important that he wouldn't want Daimyon along with him? She was right.

But then Jezebel took the stage. And in the circle, among all the others at the Meeting, she called her out. That "Fear", whatever it was, crept into the back of her throat, ever word a pound of weight on a bed of eggshells. Every word. Every pause. She was right. She was right. What was happening? Wasn't she right? They had no need to comply with the demands of someone like Thomas, who exploited them with threats for his own personal gain.

A ticklish feeling settled at the back of her throat. It was that fear. She could feel it - Faith could feel it; they could both feel it. A kind of mirrored reflection, with every word staring back among a spider web of "Her". It hurt. It hurt. A cacophony encroached deep on her mind, drilling into parts of her brain that weren't meant to be drilled into. Maybe she wasn't listen, but she was seeing - beyond what she was supposed to see. She wasn't meant to see anything. She was right.

Apologise.
I can't.
Somewhere in the distance was a crack, a smell, a damp feeling on her flesh, and the dull echo of talking - somewhere far away. There was blood everywhere. How had this happened? Did nobody even notice it happen? The regret of failure spread among blood, spreading between a tiled floor. That's right, she had failed. She had failed. She wasn't right. Faith was never right, was she?

"Whenever I ask if you love me, you always answer right away; but when I ask if you trust me, you hesitate. Why, ▅▃▃?"


Apologise.
I can't!
It was probably too late for that. It was always that grin with her, wasn't it? That god awful grin that lingered with every god awful memory of her. She was wrong. She was sorry. It didn't matter, though. As quickly as it had been drawn, the knife was slid back into her breast pocket, allowing the residual blood to spread out into the rest of her outfit. It's for the best. Probably. It probably is.

She didn't know what to do now. It wasn't like she was afraid of dying, but if she could have it her way... dying like this wasn't going to be her first choice. There was only one thing left to do now. Apologise. Of course not, it wouldn't matter either way. She swallowed the tickling feeling - gulping down the fear that Jezebel had instilled these past weeks. What a foolish girl.
"Your despair doesn't mean anything." her head titlted, not far enough to face Thomas head on, but just enough to catch him in her periphery, "You're too irrational to have any measure of true despair."

And then, she turned back towards Jezebel, her eyes lingering on hers for just a little too long. They weren't looking at her though. Her piercing red eyes looked past her, beyond her, and towards the wall.
"If I wanted to kill you, Jez..." she spoke quietly - less soft, though, and more in resignation, "I would have done it a long time ago."

Apologise.
...it doesn't matter anymore.
And then she fell quiet.
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While this entire situation had proven most interesting, the real oddity that Noah found most compelling was Denis Orlov. By the way the other Infinites were looking at the two at the beginning of the meeting, they didn't seem to have any real connection before this, or at least, that's what Noah assumed. Even though Noah hated assuming, but alas, he was the newbie. He had heard of the Infinite Spy's eccentricities and yet, Denis stayed stone cold silent throughout most of the exchange.

When he had arrived, it seemed like the Blonde had been through some hardship to acquire Thomas's items, but Noah couldn't seem to grasp why he was helping Thomas, this man who called himself the Ultimate Despair. Why did his actions seem so stressed, so forced? It shouldn't have been too hard to refuse the small teenager, yet Denis looked ashamed of his actions. And that was interesting in it of itself.

Alice Parker was another oddity as well, but Noah would have to contain his fascination with her until another time, or else his brain would be focused on too many things at once. Each trial gave her prison more of an opening, so this was the perfect gift at her feet. But Noah's attention span was already spread thin as is, with all the death threats and the strong need inside of him to get ahold of the Chemistry book and research the vial at once.

Faith did seem to be on the eccentric side. She was supposed to be a hostage in this situation, with a seeming explosive right next to her abdomen and yet she chose to call it a bluff. She did seem skilled enough with a knife, but Noah was much more worried about such a sudden loss of life so early in his arrival. Nitroglycerin! That was always a fun chemical to use.

Noah could only take a quick glance at the makeup-covered girl who had started the entire meeting before staring back at Denis, who had still not moved. The boy really hoped she took the time to clean it off every night and moisturize or else she would look much older than she was and have unhealthy skin. She seemed to have some kind of complex involving the white-haired Faith that didn't seem very realistic. If she really was a butcher, there was no way the others would let the Infinite Matchmaker go free. Jezebel Volcov was doing some emotional damage on the other girl, seeing as how she froze and started to break out into a sweat.

But he couldn't drag his eyes away from the Infinite Spy and his uncanny behavior. The boy hadn't moved and continually stared at the ground. What was driving him to show his neck?

Something did inevitably snap Noah out of his observations and make his eyes widen. Thomas looked as though he was going to bleed out soon and that would mean a body announcement, which he couldn't let happen. If this had been during the Night of Carnage, Noah would have resolved not to get involved, but he also didn't want Alice Parker out before his investigations were thorough and to his satisfaction. Both Thomas Herringson and Faith Lambert were wild cards that would speed the mastermind's plans ahead far too quickly. Wounds caused by Faith's knife along with some wound in the mouth leaked blood down Thomas's body, but the blood leaving his arms were a lot more harrowing.

The sudden explosion made it all the worse. Thomas Herringson was the Infinite Biomechanic, but he might not have the technology he would need to replace his hands. A quaternary wound like that would need to be covered, but the real question was why Thomas wasn't going into shock from his injuries. It didn't matter whether he was Ultimate Despair, Adolf Hitler, or otherwise, Noah would not let there be a trial.

The Infinite Biologist slipped off his white coat, flipped it over and ripped it in two at the seam. The boy didn't have any of his necessary equipment, but he was wearing extra layers. Everyone around him was too distracted by the death scenario and the small boy had to push and shove to get into the heart of the action.

"...We need to apply pressure to stop the bleeding or you'll die." He held out the coat separated into each hand. "I can't say why it is so important that you get ahold of the victim's notebook, but you should be alive to receive it."

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Jezebel closed her eyes in glee. “Like, if you're going to give a cliche line like that, you totally need to be looking me in the eyes, noid.” Jezebel looked away from Faith. Her facial expressions became normal again.
Davis was confused.
“We've totally been getting off track here though. We haven't even started the meeting yet. You guys want to know what we're here for, right? I'll totally tell you.” The clown started to pace around the room.
Davis did not understand why there were so many memes in everyone's posts. Grey text old meme!
“So the reason why we called this meeting was to totally get on the same page as everyone. I think we can agree risking everyone's lives to rush out during a night of carnage is not really a smart move. Especially now that we know that noid Davis can like, call upon extra sisters whenever he pleases. Like, that's so uncool” She folded her arms behind her back. “But like, we know monokuma is going to come up with another reason for us to go out there and junk. So we totally need to to be ready for that. So here's my plan...”
Davis didn't really understand what made secret text so cool anyway. Old meme, dead meme.
“We're going to capture Caora and hold him hostage!” Jezebel threw her hands up in the air. “This way, if some barf bag gets captured again, no one will be tempted to go rescue them. Because like, they'd be putting Caora's life at risk!” She eyed Thomas and Faith, but only briefly.“I think it's a brilliant plan myself, and like, nobody has to get hurt and junk.”
Davis was going to write a new rule to prevent memes in the future, but that seemed like a waste of time.
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