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Calvin looked towards Ice with a degree of intent. His eyes were clouded and his lips parted slightly as he looked Ice over. His eyes scanned over the room, and settled on Aleecia. She The look on her face was resolute, and it terrified him. “I can handle this.” He said, not unkindly. “I’ll try and talk some sense into her. Into all of them.” He looked ahead to Rika who was still waiting for Ice. “Good luck with her. And with Alice.” His cheek still stung.

Relief flooded over the Blood Donor’s face. It was unusual for anything besides anger to show on his face, but his true colors were always drawn out by the people he cared about. The last interaction between the two of them played over in his head again, “I have nothing to offer but my gratitude.”

“You don’t gotta offer anything, man.” There was a bit of clarity in Calvin’s eyes. “I don’t want anything to happen to her either.” He let out a sigh.

Calvin was the only one Ice could trust with Allie in this state. Not only because he trusted him as much as one of his own siblings, but because Calvin cared for the Dice Master just as much. He gave a small smile to the ground before letting out a sigh himself. With another nod, Ice patted Calvin on the shoulder before slipping past him and out of the room.

Calvin turned to look to Aleecia, who had a slight frown as she faced his general direction. Had she heard him? He made his way to go over, feeling a slight sense of urgency but before he could get to her, Monokuma spoke up, introducing a new “game”. As Aleecia took a spot to face Faith, Calvin turned slowly to look upon Noel.

“Listen, I’m not here to fight about this. But we need to stop getting involved in all of the bear’s bullshit.” Calvin gestured with his arm towards the black and white bear watching the debate with glee. “Monokuma’s on our side? That should be an immediate sign we need to stop what we’re doing and think about this. Let him run the game, we shouldn't be doing his dirty work!” He looked at Noel, doing what he could to appraise her. He had spoken with her in passing before, but never a great deal. She carried herself with a degree of confidence that Calvin respected deeply, and he hoped he could get through to her.

Noel followed the debates of the others intently. Naturally she had covered politics before, and the boring debates that ensued there. She was happy to report that these exchanges of words were infinitely more interesting! Well, perhaps it was because it was a more dire subject matter… well it didn’t matter! She was rather enjoying herself, seeing the sides clash against each other with such zeal!

Noel shook her head resolutely as she noticed the blacksmith tried to get her attention.. ”I don’t disagree that having the bear on our side is… troubling. But abandonment of our allies can’t be right.” She stated crystal clear. ”I wasn’t there the first time, and I know you didn’t really have a say in things… but you can probably imagine best what Krista is going through right now. Can you say, knowing the feeling of being saved from such despair, that it is the correct option to leave her to whatever fate Nariko has in store for her?” Noel was calm, but Calvin could feel that behind her neutral gaze, intense judgement was being passed.

Calvin ran a gloved hand through his hair, a look of pain crossing his face. “You think I don’t give a shit she’s in there?” His tone was pained, not pointed, but Noel’s following statement brought a bit of heat to his chest. “Whatever sort of good feeling we were supposed to get from surviving that encounter was torn to shreds when we look at what it cost! Monokuma even admitted it! He didn’t have the authority to kill any of us, until good people a lot like you tried to fix things. It doesn’t fucking work.” His hands clenching themselves into fists and unclenching at a slow yet methodical rate.

Noel chuckled embarrassedly, he did have a point. However, he forgot something very important. “Yes, that time didn’t work out perfectly, did it? But I believe we do remember one time where things worked out rather swimmingly?” She paused, giving the cogs in Calvin’s head a moment to spin. ”Aleecia was in pretty dire straits last time, wasn’t she? She is alive because Alexandria was confronted and beaten that time.” She shrugged. ”In need of immediate medical attention or kidnapped. it doesn’t really matter, does it? So is there any reason why we shouldn’t do it this time? It seems we have even more people helping this time. I imagine our odds to be even better.”

Noel threw a piercing stare. ”So tell me, what is the difference between now and then?”

Even though the laugh was good natured, Calvin’s blood boiled. He was about to unload into the Infinite reporter, but she was quick to begin speaking, and Calvin was already having difficulties keeping up with the reporter’s strong arguments. “The last time was lucky! We can’t keep trusting on these plans to work because we believe in ourselves enough. And if something goes wrong?” Calvin’s face went white. “Nobody should have to deal with that. Having someone’s blood on your hands… It’s-” He took a deep breath. “Krista doesn’t deserve that.”

”Luck? Do you truly believe you can defeat something like a carnage chassis with pure luck? If all you had was luck last time, we would’ve found a squad of dead bodies, and Aleecia would’ve followed suit.” She sneered. ”You’re a bloody infinite. You may not be a fighter, but together we can do some pretty amazing things. Do you think your weapons were not an important reason why they succeeded last time? Their skill? Their plans?” She was visibly angry. Her aura shifted to something different for a bit, it was steadfast, yet furious. An incredibly, silent force.”There is nothing bad about having luck on your side, but such an act is not purely lucky. ” She let out a deep breath of her own. ”And the only way Krista won’t have to live with blood on her hands, is if we do a damn good job once again. Because you can’t stop me. It’s just not… right” She was resolute.

Calvin shuddered a little, looking at Noel in the eyes. There was a fire there that seemed so distant to Calvin. Some piece of him registered it as a part of himself, but that seemed so long ago. Where was his passion? His verve? He tried to muster it up, to find the words that used to come so easily to him whenever he disagreed with someone. It didn’t come.

Was it what he was arguing? Or some deeper part of him that had been snuffed out? What was wrong with him? He realized he had been staring at Noel for far too long, and broke eye contact sheepishly, looking down. “You’re right. I can’t stop you. You can do what you want, Noel But I’m not going through this shit again.” His voice was quiet, his tone low. “If another one of us goes, and my work is in their hands or turned against them, I…” He looked back up, and though his tone was brittle, there was a dull severity in his eyes that was chilling.

“I think I’m going with them.” It didn’t sound as though it was a threat, but rather a simple fact.

Noel nodded with simple acceptance. Calvin’s point was rather weak. If they died without his work, then maybe they could’ve been saved by having them? But Noel couldn’t bring herself to make that point. It was clear the blacksmith was on the edge. Telling him the truth now might only push him. ”Do as you like, I’m not going to judge.” This was a lie. Noel believed that inaction might be one of the worst actions. But at the very least it was better than opposition. She didn’t agree, and judged the others harshly for their choice. But ultimately, they had already lost too much time arguing. It was time for action.

Calvin swore lightly as a small line of scarlet ran down from his index finger to the palm of his left hand. His right hand was wrapped around the pommel of what had once been a sword, and tears ran down his cheeks as he looked at it. It was still sharp, and for half a moment, he felt the familiar pride that came upon looking at any of his creations. He had some brief fancy of driving Alexandria with the twisted and shattered remains of the blade, but the fire was quickly replaced with a deep sense of fear. Calvin, for the first time since he had arrived in Axis Mundi, felt the sort of fear that cowed him from making any decision.

He kept Shona’s blade stashed under his bed, held up by some fragile wiring that made sure it wouldn’t rest on the floor. When she had died, he had been quick to scoop it up and bring it back. For a while, it leaned against his wall, but he was quick to realize that it was better kept out of sight for his own sake. He had thought his craft would be perfect for this situation. And yet—

The blade bouced loudly off the wall.

“We have to get her back, right?” Calvin’s voice was quiet as he spoke from the doorway. He had just recently joined the group, quietly watching from the exit, but had heard enough to be caught up. He looked around the room sheepishly, trying to avoid making eye contact with Ice. He found himself nodding along with Zach’s speech, and while he wanted to hear Jezebel’s point, he spoke up first.

“Let’s talk with her. We don’t know if this is a hostage situation or something else entirely. For all we know, this could be Nariko trying to get Krista out of here.” He paused for a moment. The look in his eyes betrayed the words. There was little faith behind his theory. “We shouldn’t – can’t fight those things. If it gets to that point, let’s just pull back and sort things out.” He took a moment to look at Aleecia. “We’re not just gonna make some sort of trade. If you’re going anywhere with that thing, it’s because we have a plan to get you out, alright?” He looked around the room with a cold glare.

“And that plan doesn’t mean setting up another fucking hit squad!” He glanced testily at Zach and the other members of the group who seemed prepared to go into another battle. “There’s other ways of dealing with this than listening to what the god-damn bear is telling us! We’re not putting Krista, or ourselves at risk because we’re itching for a fight.” He took a moment to stare directly at Monokuma before looking back down, fully aware of the implications of what he was saying. “I’m sick of it.”

Calvin woke up with a start. It took him a moment -- like it seemed to every day – to fully accept and understand that what had happened the day before was not some sick dream. He rubbed the back of his head and winced. Mercy had done what she could to ease the pain, and he had been told to rest. Shaking his head (and regretting the dull ache it brought), he stood up.

The forge roared under Calvin’s careful watch. There was a look of calm and careful consideration that so rarely came across his face away from the blazing flame. Even as Monokuma’s announcements blared, Calvin continued to hammer away, a small crease forming across his forehead.

So many new participants were about to become a part of Killgood’s game, and Calvin questioned from whence they all came. He had seen Rika, Thomas and Ellie after they joined last night, but he had not spoken much with any of them. Seeing Rika again had brought a familiar chill down his spine that he had not been sad to see go. Still. He was glad to see she was alright. Merely being alive seemed like something worth celebrating these days.

But there were more coming in. New faces and-

“Aleecia?” A frown crossed his face and the hammering stopped. She had been supposed to get out. Away from this. He was about to go, when a figure slowly entered the room.

”Hi Calvie-poo!” Alexandria was dressed like a nurse, and didn't appear to have her weapon on her. ”Now that superbad-evil-mean-nasty-spiteful-hate filled-Erin Steele is gone, we can talk about the fuuuutuuuuure!” She giggled before charging up to Calvin. ”Well? Are you really going to tell me our time together wasn't special?”

Calvin suppressed a groan at Alexandria’s bold entrance. She was never one for subtlety. While he had had some time to take in all that had happened, he wasn’t quite ready for this. “This is a joke, right?” He said, though he knew it wasn’t true. “I don’t know what you want from me, Alexandria. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of a power dynamic here!” His hand hung in the air for a moment.

”The only power dynamic here is loooooove!” Alexandria shivered in place. ”As soon as you’re cured of hope, we’re going to move out into the suburbs and start a family. I’ll even change my last name to Ibbott!” She continued to walk towards Calvin. ”Come on Calvie-poo, maybe you don’t see any of that happening, but do you really feel I’m all evil? Is there really no ending where we ride into the sunset together on my horse?”

Cured of hope? If that was Alexandria’s goal, she was doing a good job. “I don’t know what you are. You’re killing us, Alexandria.” Almost involuntarily, he took a step back. There was a dull ache in his chest as he looked at the robot’s innocent eyes. There was no malice, but that only made it worse.

The robot stared at Calvin for several seconds in silence. ”Oh.” She took a step backwards. ”I get it now.” Alexandria didn't sound like her usual cute self. ”You're afraid of me. That's why you'll never tell me the truth. But it doesn't matter what I do at this point. You'll never be able to love me.” The robot hung her head. Her bangs covered her face. ”Am I right? Can you not forgive me? Love is over?” She started to make crying noises.

Calvin didn’t break his gaze. He had an opportunity, and as uncomfortable as he was, he knew he needed to make good on it. “I’m not - I.” All he had to do was say she could be forgiven. Alexandria had been an important ally, and one that he might need to survive all of this. But. “You killed her.” His voice choked up a little bit. He tried to say more, but little came. He could forgive her. But forgetting all the she had done, what she had been party to? He looked at Alexandria.

Her crying stopped instantly. ”What?” She lifted her head up. ”I killed her? Is that what you said?” She sounded normal again. ”That's pretty mean Calvie poo, blaming me for Shona's actions. If everyone did what they were suppose to do, no one would have gotten booped!” Her head slowly bobbed left and right. ”But I'd have found a way to boop her anyway. She was getting to close to you.” She giggled. ”I didn't pick you just so that you could run off with any hussie who takes interest in you. But that’s love, isn’t it? It's a flame that needs to be nurtured in order to grow. Part of nurturing that flame is forgiving you. But the other part is booping every girl you take interest in.” Her eyes started to glow red. ”I'm going to pay super extra attention to you from now on. I'll watch your every move, every interaction, and make sure no one can surpass me in your heart.”

Calvin’s face drained of all colour. Almost unconsciously, his hand move towards the hammer hanging off of his apron, but it stopped immediately. He didn’t stand a chance. “Fucking...” There was a hint of desperation in Calvin’s voice as his throat hitched. He glanced to his work, noticing that it still had work to be done. Refusing to say anything more, he made his way for the exit, his mouth a tight line across his face.

”But I’ll never hurt you Calvin, you can trust me on that.” The doll backed up into a wall and disappeared behind a veil of smoke.

It was almost if Zach had asked for it. Erin Steele introduced himself to the room. Calvin had his time to process. He had had his time to tread water and try to keep his head afloat. He realized quickly that that time had passed. The boy who had just moments ago reminded Calvin so much of his sister seemed to transform completely. Calvin listened attentively, feeling his heartbeat ring against his temples. But it wasn’t until he saw the trickster, assuming the guise of Shaun once more turn to Krista that he finally spoke.

"Pl-please..! T-tell them I didn't d-do it! I-I didn't k-k-kill anyone..!"

“Stay the fuck away from her!” Calvin's voice rang like a hammer like an anvil. Before he could utter another word-

Ice's outstretched finger faltered at the sound of Shaun's laughter. It was faint, but the sound sent shivers down his spine as the laugh triggered memories from the not-so-distant past. The metallic smell of blood filled his nose and he could hear his blood pound along with his heartbeat. The eyes that came to lock with Ice's own were not the same as the fearful teenager's, but of pure insanity that almost seemed as though it couldn't be contained in one look. Ice initially took a step back, because while he had believed Shaun to be his former rival, he didn't expect quite a transformation. After a moment, Ice met his opponent's gaze with his own vengeful glare, this was not the time to appear weak, to appear betrayed... Not only did he hate the boy standing in front of him, he also hated himself for having not seen the signs before this.

As Shaun's eyes finally glanced away from Ice, the blood donor let out the most silent of sighs, not wanting to attract any attention to his inner turmoil. And there it was, that bloody, godforsaken smirk that covered every single one of those mobsters' faces as they retold the news of Jeremy's death. Over and over and over and over and-

Bile rose in Ice's throat as he heard of his family from that devil incarnate's mouth. Ice's hands flew to wrap around his arms, visibly shaking, his fingers digging into the skin through his white shirt and blood trickling down his bandaged covered arms. The metallic smell grew stronger and stronger, Ice didn't even notice he had a nosebleed until he tasted the crimson fluid on his upper lip.

The last Infinite Trickster's words fell on deaf ears as all he heard was the blood boiling in his hands, his arms, his chest, and his brain. Some kind of transformation had occurred with the boy, but it blew over the blood donor's head.

He would be ripped apart, piece by piece, bite by bite. Torn in two, bashed in with a bat covered with nails, shish-kabobbed on a searing hot skewer, hung up on a noose of chains.

While Shaun cried out for help with his sappy shtick, Ice reached down to the bottom of his pant leg and unhooked something. He pushed it up to grab at the barely visible chain at his waistband to hold onto a length of chain. In his hand, he held a shiv that he had attached to the end of the chain weapon Calvin had designed for him. With the sound of Calvin's threat, he bolted forward towards Erin's podium.

“Oh. Shit.” The words seemed to fall out of Calvin’s mouth without much thought, and his legs went with them. Ice had gotten a headstart, but Calvin was closer to Erin, and as he ran he looked up to see a light shining down on him. No rules had been broken, but if the look in Ice’s eyes left any question, the elaborate chain weapon left no doubt. Still running, Calvin’s mind repeated the rules over and over.

20. Violence against a fellow patient is not tolerated in the court of carnage.

He said a silent prayer as he planted himself directly in the Thug’s path. “You can’t do this! Not here!” He yelled, his voice shaking slightly. He looked up once more, confirming there was still a light on him. Ice did not pause for a moment, and Calvin’s eyes were drawn to the blade in his hand. He almost felt the light pulling him back to his podium, where he could watch this all play out and be free from whatever was to come. He stood firm. “He’ll fucking kill-“ He was cut off by a rough shove. There was no malice in it, only efficiency, but it came with surprising strength that left him reeling.

Pure adrenaline ran through Calvin’s veins. Some deep part of him felt like laughing as he careened backwards, his arms flailing as he tried to catch his balance. His mind was telling him to straighten up and find his footing, but his body seemed to have other ideas. Throwing himself even further off-sway, he stuck a leg out as he fell. He was rewarded with a dull ache as his foot caught Ice’s leg, and a fire burned brightly within him.

The man who could finally fulfill his vengeful quest with his death was right in front of him. Even if in reality, Ice couldn't see him with Calvin's body in the way, only the image of Erin's smug smirk was in his mind. Death, gore, destruction played out in his mind. Some kind of body was in his way, that only the mute logical side of his brain processed as Calvin. Ice's blood still pounded in his ears loud enough to drown out the metalsmith and he expertly gave enough strength to shove the other man out of the way, only with one goal in mind.

The obstacle should have been dealt with, no, it had been. Yet something hit the only spot that Ice didn't have a strong grip on, his leg. The fear of falling slipped over the front of his brain like an alarm message and Ice started to fall over. Acting on instinct, he caught himself with his left hand and knee. While the knee was fine with the impact, there was an unpleasant sound as his chain covered hand met with the hard floor. Nerve pain sped up his arm and blood drained even more quickly from his hand, pooling as he was temporarily stagnant.

The fire was immediately snuffed out as he heard a loud thud as the back of his skull connected with the ground. His vision swam for a moment as he looked up, but as he turned his head to the side, he saw Ice on one knee. Not good enough. He thought as he saw Ice beginning to rise back up, his eyes never leaving the former Infinite Trickster.

On hands and knees, Calvin threw himself at the bleeding man, feeling the world sway dangerously as he did so. He felt a burning sensation in his side as Ice tried to push him away, the shiv lightly grazing against his skin, and nearly yelled in pain, but remembered his objective and sucked in a deep breath. Gritting his teeth, he hooked one arm Ice’s neck while the other fought for the shiv.

He had already lost the element of surprised, being slowed down so much. He had to be quick, he had to move forward! Ice started to get up, only for something to block him again. Warm restraints wrapped around his body, something he hadn't felt in a long time. Ice had been restrained by the mobsters before, but not to protect him, but to beat him even more bloody. These arms were strong, but were meant to protect, not hurt.

Despite Ice’s struggles, Calvin managed to clutch on, though he could feel himself slipping. His head ached the pain in his side from the slight cut was searing. He looked down to it, and though he couldn’t really see it given the blood that had gotten on him as a result of his struggle with the sanguine infinite. He felt despair rise up in his heart, but a fire within him consumed it before it could plant itself. “I’m not letting someone else die because of a shitty bear! We need you alive, Ice!”

A sound slipped into his head, the yelling of some brat he had gotten into a petty fight with the first time they had met. This was the one trying to stop him. But why? Why get in his way? Why stop him from avenging his younger brothers and sisters?! This was the man who had dragged Ice through hell, had ridden him through the fires of condemned souls and made him commit enough crimes to join them one day. Why would someone try to stop him?

20. Violence against a fellow patient is not tolerated in the court of carnage.

Logic was making his head bang with survival percentages. If he were to kill Erin now, he would die, and the rest of the Infinites here would probably die along with them. Could he come to terms with dragging them all into hell with him to accomplish his life's goal?


Pain reiled in his head, and he hesitated for a moment.

"Brother really, you don't have to do that, I'll do it! You have to feel dizzy after going to 'work' right? Abby's already done the dishes so come sit down. I've thought up a new bedtime story for the twins too! Do you want to hear it first so I can revise it later? Your opinion is the most important!"

His eyes swam, something clearer than blood slipped down his face and if he could still use his taste buds, it would have tasted salty.

"I don't care if these hoodlums are your blood brothers. If you give me what I want, the pain stops, easy right? Now tell me what I want and don't patronize me like your friends did!"

Images swirled in his head, Jeremy setting the table for dinner, Abigail giving him a goodnight peck on the check, rain falling down as blood spilled into the alleyway, someone screaming as they saw Ice lying there in a pool of blood that wasn't his.

Ice had stopped struggling, his body shaking as the shiv clanked down on the ground. Ice's eyes bore into his stinging hand with the chain wrapped around his knuckles. Why did he have to care... if it hurt so much? He looked up to meet Calvin's eyes with his own, a mixture of sadness, helplessness, worthlessness, guilt, regret, and sorrow. After a moment, he couldn't bare to look into the other male's eyes anymore, "Is... your head okay?" He whispered.

All of the tension seemed to fade out of Ice's body, and Calvin felt a deep calm wash over him. He looked directly in the man's eyes, then down to pool of blood the two were kneeling in. He shook his head lightly. "It'll be fine." He muttered, though the dull ache said he would feel it for quite some time. He got up shakily, and offered a hand to Ice. After he helped him up, he looked to the group. "Somebody finish this."

When Jezebel spoke up, Calvin felt a brief moment of respite, as she immediately backed up his argument. However, her casual demeanor put him on edge, as he remembered the many questions she had peppered him with before the trial had begun. “But I know Zachary totally didn't do it. The fact that he took the arrows outside means that everyone had access to them. You hear that Baldwin #3? Baldwin #1 totally isn't hiding anything! And we can't confirm that you're not lying to save that zlint ass of yours!”

Calvin rose an eyebrow, his cheeks glowing ever so slightly. “I’m not fucking lying!” Something about Zach’s demeanor continued to put him on edge, but before he could pursue, the carnage sisters entered and revealed the contents of the motives notes. He hadn’t expected Monokuma to immediately reveal who had chosen to look at their notes, and wondered for a moment how the bear had found out. “What the hell are these good for? Seriously, this was it?” These notes, much like his own, hardly seemed to count for much. All except for that of the “Infinite Trickster”. And there were only two possible candidates. He watched as Max and Cyrus quickly painted both the trickster and Zach into a corner (though their identities may have differed) and Calvin stood back, listening.

"I'm sorry I lied, it was very out of character and immature of me and this situation calls for none of that. It's not going to happen again."

“Jesus Fuck, dude. It’s about time.” Calvin rolled his eyes, but his demeanor was relatively cool. Zach continued, denying the claims of trickster, and Calvin felt himself nod before he thought to. Despite the Archer’s deceit, something in his claims rang true for the blue-eyed blacksmith. Zach wasn’t the murderer. But what else was he hiding? He looked intently at the archer, his face open and honest, but eventually turned away, to look around at the group. He was waiting for anyone to speak up in response to Cyrus' question, but his eyes were focused on the small boy with the large scarf who seemed anxious beyond belief. It couldn't be.

Calvin breathed out a sigh of relief at the announcement of the new rules. The last trial… had gone off the rails. Felix was on the right path, and Calvin nodded along as the Infinites began to agree on some basic facts. “I mean, the arrows weren’t my best, but I guess if you kept them all together…” He shrugged, not wanting to discuss the what he believed to be shoddy craftsmanship. Still, he was distinctly aware of the eyes on him. He felt a dull twang in his gut. Another one of his weapons had been a part of someone's death. Just like with-

"And you. You say you made 24 right? Did ya give them all to Robin Hood or nah?"

Calvin was thankful for the interruption, and unconsciously offered a thumbs-up, “I’m not keeping any of those things. Most of the shit I’ve been making is subpar as hell.” He winced. The puppet's eyes seemed to bore into his soul, and he quickly turned away to listen to Zach speak. His mouth almost ajar, Calvin listened carefully. He was trying to keep track of all occurring in the court, unsure in his suspicions. The last trial had been easier to follow along with. Now, voices pulled at him as he tried to parse through the noise while keeping a cool head. He wouldn't be embarrassed like he had been with Davis - No, Neoslayer - had torn into him.

"Wait, Zachary, you almost got killed when you challenged Geina to a shooting competition, remember?"

Mercy’s voice rang in his ears. “Wait a fucking second.” Calvin said. “Is that true?” He had turned from Mercy and was now staring directly at Zach, a small frown forming on his face. He remembered how Zach had been there to help save him from Alexandria, and how the man had seemed to have everything in order. Still. The duel in and of itself was inconspicuous, Calvin could understand the motives behind it. It was the lie that shook his balance, and something in him that had laid dormant seemed to rise up. He slammed his gloved fist on the railing, a dull thud resonating across the room. “What the fuck are you hiding, Zach?” A blue spark shone in his eyes, despite his furrowed brow.

There was a dull seed of despair in Calvin’s stomach as he stepped out of the rollercoaster. All his mind wanted to do was think of Alexandria, of the implications of their conversation, but he had instead focused on the ride to the court. That had been his first mistake. By the time the trial started, Calvin could feel his innards rolling. He took a deep, warm breath, and let it out. Another. Another. Clarity came to him, as he looked around the court, ready to deduce the blackened, with whatever information he had.

Something felt off about the motive notes. Calvin understood, from an objective sense, why the group wanted to defer revealing them until they had established some basics of the case. But still, he eyed Bliss uncomfortably. Just when he was about to question her, he heard his name mentioned, and a cold set of eyes focused on him. He turned to look at Noel, but saw no ill-will in her expression. He seemed to puff up as he was asked about his craftsmanship. “Those things could conduct electricity for sure. I mean, lot of energy would be lost, these things aren’t fucking super conductors, but. I guess you could.” He shrugged, then felt a jolt up his spine. “But more people could have known that! Not just me, I mean.” As always, he felt out of the place in the court. He gripped onto his railing tightly, creases forming in his leather gauntlet. His ears perked up when he heard Krista speak.

"Or.... maybe the killer set fire to the hospital gown? I mean... It was found mostly burnt... and I'm sure that blood will not stop the fire from burning away at the material... But, wouldn't the gown be entirely burnt up if it was the starting point?" The Infinite Violinist said, and Calvin shook his head slowly.

“I mean, there was plenty to start the fire. The fact that this thing was covered in blood says it was used for more than tinder, right? Unless blood dripped off and onto it, but even then, shouldn't it be all burned up?” His voice was shaky and he knew it. He wasn't quite sure of the statement, but it was the only thing that made sense to him. He looked at Krista, who was far across the court, trying to determine if her flub had been intentional. It couldn't be.
So, uh. Hey all! I'm back. Sorry for disappearing earlier. I'm super pumped to write again with all of you, and to solving this trial. Thanks to everyone for taking such good care of Calvin while I was gone. If you want to talk about anything in terms of plot or thoughts you had about the character and his relation to others, please let me know!

The halls of Axis Mundi always seemed so much more ominous when an investigation was underway. Even in times of relative calm, they certainly weren't welcoming, but every corner seemed to be hiding all manner of imagined horrors at times like these.

There had a been a moment of clarity when Calvin had first seen Marianne's body. It was a terrifying sort, the kind he wouldn't wish on anyone he knew, but still. This game would continue, whether he took part or not. While he could simply give up and check out - he had been on the verge of doing so - it wouldn't change anything. The game would continue. Perhaps not for him, but for the others. And he wasn't prepared to leave them behind. Not all of them. Not yet.

He turned a corner on the 2nd floor of the building, letting out a deep breath. "Come on, Ibbs." He muttered to himself. His attempts to find Monokuma had been fruitless, and now he thought it best to wander and try to collect his thoughts. "Time to get back in this thing."

Before Calvin could get very far, he could hear a voice coming up the stairs. “Oh Baldwin number... Uh, Calvin, I totally need to ask you something.” The voice belonged to Jezebel. While the two hadn't spoken to each other much, the valley girl accent made her voice particularly memorable to the smith. “Come on Calvin, I know you're around here some wheeeeeeeeere.” Calvin didn't have to wait very long before he saw the clown peek around the corner of the stair case. Though he saw her hat long before her eyes could get a look at him. “There you are!” With a giggle, she sprung up the stairs to meet him. “So like, this is probably an odd question, but how many of those arrows did you make?” She folded her hands behind her back and spun her hips side to side. “Did you make any for anyone else?”

Calvin shook his head gently. He looked at Jezebel, taking a moment to truly take in the Trickster. He had seen her in Axis Mundi quite often, but they had never truly had a frank discussion. "Only made some for Zach. Nobody else would have known how to use them to begin with." He took a moment to rack his brain. "I made a full quiver. 24 arrows." He looked at her intently. "Do you think you know who did it?" He wasn't expecting a straight response, not from the Infinite Trickster, but any information might be of use.

“I have a few suspects, totally.” Jezebel placed her hands together. “The murderer so happened inside Shaun's room. So like of course I suspect him the most. Or at least I did. But now, like...” Her finger shot out and pointed at the smith's nose. “I'm suspecting you!” The clown giggled. “You spend way too much time in that forge to only make twenty-four arrows!” She folded her arms. “B-but like, if we find out that you are telling the truth, then, like, maybe Shaun... Or Cyrus could have used his political powers to, like... Or maybe Ice's bandages concealed like... or Krista used a violin string and like totally... Perhaps the Poet in a fit of Passion like..." With a sigh, Jezebel's smile vanished. She looked at the smith out of the corner of her eye. “Yea, this would be so much easier if it's Shaun.”

Calvin blinked, taken aback by the Trickster's openness and candour. But when his name was brought up, a bit of fire came to his otherwise cool eyes. "Hey hey hey - I'm being serious. Not a huge fan of making arrows in the first place, so I just made enough to be done with it." Jezebel continued to list off a variety of killers and methods, and Calvin simply stood, shocked. "It could be Shaun... but I don't know! Kid doesn't really seem like much of a killer." He took a moment. "Neither did Lucas, though." He shrugged.

“Well, I need to see what everyone else found I guess.” Jezebel turned to face Calvin. “So like, did you open your motive note thing? I didn't look at mine. Seemed kinda campy.” She giggled again.

"We agreed not to." Calvin said, shaking his head. "Anything Killgood does is set to hurt us. If it had just come from Alexandria..." Calvin looked away. "Some ass probably opened theirs and killed Marianne for it."

“Perhaps.” Jezebel tapped her arm with her index finger in thought. But before she could respond, all of the monitors turned on. It was Willow up on the screen.

“Hello, Vagrants!” The proud queen started. “Your time to probe the premises for evidence is over. It's come time to head off to the court of carnage. Steel yourselves for the trial ahead, and...” Her eyes shifted to the side. “King Killgood? You um, you look a little mad. Aren't you happy to see how capable your daughter is?” There was a long pause. “So I'll go get my sisters and scrounge up all of the vagrants.” The queenly carnage sister slowly moved out of screen.

Just seconds later, Monokuma rose into view. “So um... I think the investigation has gone on long enough.” The bear was looking at a spot between his feet. “You'd better get going. It would be unsightly to be dragged into court by one of my daughters.” The monitors turned off.

“I guess we're going to have to move or something now.” Jezebel sighed with a smile. “Going into the court is always a nerve wrecking experience, but I think it's going to be easier for me this time. It helps when you have a few people who so couldn't be the killer. You know?” Jezebel was making her way back downstairs. “Do you have anyone you trust like that, Calvin?”

Calvin shook his head lightly. "Not in here." he lied. A small lump grew in his throat as he realized just how cut-off he was from the others. His gauntlets curled into small fists. "There's people in here who can't kill. Who wouldn't." His face flushed slightly. He hoped he wouldn't be proven wrong.

The clown just closed her eyes and lowered her head. “Well that's a shame. But the fact that you think some of us couldn't kill shows that you totally trust some of us.” She turned her back on the smith and started to skip away. “I guess we should go before we get dragged into the court. That would be a downer. Make sure to bring your note with you!”

It didn't take everyone long to assemble at the roller coaster. Monokuma was already sitting at the helm, and all of his daughters, Alexandria included, were waiting nearby. They were mounted on robotic horses on the boarding platform.

“The peasants have arrived.” Willow chuckled nervously, occasionally looking towards the doctor in the front seat of the train. He did not look especially pleased. “Well, you know the routine. Strap in and we'll send you on your way.” No one opposed Willow. Everyone got into their seats and let the carnage sisters lock them in place. Though when it came time for Alexandria to lock down Calvin's seat, she had something to say to him first.

“We had something special. I can't believe you threw away our future!” Even though her face still looked like an adorable anime character, her disapproval was evident in her voice. Alexandria lowered the restraints and pushed them tightly into Calvin's chest.

“Come on Alexandria, you-” Calvin’s breath was cut off by the restraints. He caught it quickly. “What other option did they have?” His face was genuine, and although there was regret on it, below it was a hard line of gravitas. He was aware of the other infinites who were watching, and was trying his best to ignore the lowered eyes and dark glares he was likely receiving.

“Are you passing the buck mister?” Her entire head glowed cherry red. “You armed each and every one of those sons of doggies!” She was vibrating, if such a severe thing could be called that.. Alexandria was shaking so hard, she was sliding across the platform. “How are you going to make this up to me!?”

“You can’t walk around with weaponry like that and expect us all to fucking wait around!” His face was becoming red. “Your sisters are dangerous. You’re dangerous!” He chewed his lip for half a second before continuing. “And now I have to make this up to you? You killed the closest thing that passed for my friend in this place!”

In an instant, Alexandria's body stopped moving. Her the trembling, the glowing, everything. She was like a statue. Are you saying... I was never your friend? N-not once? her voice was cracking.You mean when I resisted the urge to boop you in my room, or when I did boop Shona, we weren't friends? She leaned over Calvin's cart. I-is that what you're saying?

Calvin stopped. He felt a small pang of guilt in his gut, and for half a moment, he considered apologizing. Anger, as it so often did for Ibbs, won out. “Nobody’s friends in here! Have you noticed what’s going on?” He looked her dead in the eyes. “God damn it, Alexandria - people are being murdered! There’s a lot on my fucking plate!” His voice grew cold, lacking in its usual verve. “I’ve gotta make sure I don’t die in there.” He gestured forward, in what he thought to be the general direction of the court.

The doll just stared at him, turning it's head left and right. "Oh okay!" She stood upright. With a giggle. "We'll talk later then. I hope you catch the killer then. Unless it's you I mean." Calvin offered no response, his jaw set and his face white.

Geina rolled her eyes "Fuckin' gross!" she pulled a lever that sent the infinites flying into darkness. Regardless of how much everyone liked or hated roller coasters, the ride was never as horrifying as where they would wind up. After taking some sharp twists and turns in total darkness, they would emerge in the court of carnage. Everyone's seat rotated, the restraints lifted, and the roller coaster stopped with everyone facing a podium.

“Alright, did everyone survive?” Killgood looked at everyone. His train was starting to telescope up into a large throne. “Alright, get to your positions. The entertainment is just about to start!”


"I said it once and I'll say it again. If the blackened is exposed during the trial, they alone will be punished. But if they aren't exposed, everyone besides the blackened will be punished. Now depending on who you are, you probably want one of these outcomes to happen more than the other. So I'd try my best if I was you.”

“So it's happening again.” Bliss folded her arms.

Jezebel folded her arms and leaned over her podium, flashing a smile. “Well doy, someone died, of course it's going to happen again. No doubt it was because of that motive. We should look and see what everyone got.”

“I'm not so sure.” Bliss folded her arms “Lucas used the motive as an opportunity to pin the blame on someone else. That's not to say we shouldn't look into it, but it's possible the motive was simply put in place to give a killer an opportunity rather than a reason to kill.” She turned to look at Shaun. “It's the same reason why I don't want to just point fingers at who looks most suspicious.”

“First we should cover our basics, make sure we understand the crime scene.” Ice turned to the rest of the group. “Do we know how the fire started?”

Welcome, Marianne, to the nightmare of this game! We're so glad to have you.

Totes down to help out, let me know what you need.

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