C: Who would do this?
N: Chiaki, was that your stomach?
C: Drinking all that water kinda made me hungry.
N: It’s good to see you still have an appetite.
C: You say that as if a normal person wouldn’t. But the more you think about how you don’t have food, the hungrier you’ll just make yourself.
T: We’ll probably get some food the next time one of us gets killed off.
N: Takeshi! Now’s not the time for that.
T: I’m just joking around.
N: Those aren’t the types of jokes you should be making. Especially not when it’s your friends’ lives on the line.
T: Yeah but, if we keep starving ourselves, we’ll all just end up dying anyways.
N: Are you saying you’re fine sacrificing your friends?
T: Natsu, I understand what you’re trying to say, but Arisa’s death benefited us. Now we have water and don’t need to worry about dying of thirst. Hell, weren’t you over there just a minute ago guzzling down that water?
C: Speaking of which, who voted for Arisa? We’re kind of forgetting that one of us just killed her, you know. Doesn’t that make them like, the perpetrator?
N: Chiaki, what do you mean by perpetrator?
C: The person who set this whole game up. I mean, don’t you find it weird that they knew exactly how many of us were here? In that case, the perpetrator has to be one of us.
N: That’s impossible. There’s no way any of us would make up such a twisted game. Whoever voted for Arisa probably didn’t even think she would actually die.
C: How would you know that? Unless you’re the one who voted for her.
N: No! You’ve got it all wrong!
C: Playing the nice girl act only makes you look more suspicious you know. Don’t you think, Takeshi?
C: What are you even doing?
T: I’m trying to look through Arisa’s phone, but I’m just wasting my time. It looks like your phone stops working when you die. Damn it. I could have voted twice with this thing.
C: You’re awful!
T: Tch. That fucking fountain is annoying!
Everyone one was on edge at the moment. Who wouldn’t be, not knowing the purpose of this twisted game or even who put it together, alongside a fierce hunger. Nobody could stay calm worrying about what was to come. All except for one.
T: Huh? What the hell are you doing!?
Y: There’s a valve behind the fountain. We can’t assume it won’t run out. It would be best to shut it off when we’re not using it.
Y: At a time like this, we need to work together and think up a way to get us out of here. We shouldn’t be at each others’ necks.
C: But we can’t just ignore the fact that one of us killed Arisa. I can’t work together with anyone knowing that.
T: Chiaki! What’re you trying to get at?
C: You’re an awful person, but you’re so stupid, we’d know right away if you were the killer.
T: O-oh… But, yeah!
C: The one I’m suspicious about is Natsu. It’s like on TV where the culprit is the one you least expected.
N: I would never do that…
Y: I see. How about we show each other our phones?
N: Our phones?
Y: That way, we can see right away who voted for Arisa. On the count of three, we’ll show everyone our phones. With that, we’ll see who the perpetrator is. Are you okay with that, Takeshi, Chiaki?
C: That’s fine.
Y: Natsu, I don’t want to pin you as the perpetrator, but at this rate, it’ll naturally happen. So prove to us you’re innocent.
Within our ranks was the one who voted for Arisa. Within our ranks was Arisa’s murderer. Nervous and with phones in hand, we formed a circle.
Y: Here we go guys. One, two, and…
C: Huh? How is that possible?
T: There’s no way nobody voted!
Y: It looks like the phones don’t keep our votes recorded.
T: That means we can’t tell who voted! Damn it!
After that, nobody spoke a word, let alone open their mouths. All faith between us had been lost. I wondered what time it was. There were no windows in the room and the phones did not display time. Under the light of the dim, old lamp, we had not even the faintest idea of how long we had been trapped in this room. For the time being, we all slept for a while, tired from all the mental strain.
How long was I asleep for? I soon realized someone was trying to wake me up.
Y: Natsu. Wake up Natsu!
N: Hm? Who is it?
Y: Ssh! It’s me, Yuuto.
In an attempt to try not to wake anyone else up, Yuuto took me to the smaller room at the end of this one. He also gave me the jacket he had been wearing.
Y: How are you feeling? Are you cold?
N: No, I’m fine.
Y: Everyone is blaming each other right now. Nobody trusts each other. But at the very least I’d like you to trust me. I am not the one who voted for Arisa!
N: Don’t worry, I believe you, Yuuto.
Y: Thank you. I believe in you too, Natsu. Whatever happens from here on out, let’s keep believing in each other at the very least. Is that okay with you?
At that moment, Yuuto gently hugged me.
Y: Natsu, don’t tell anyone about our conversation just now, okay? If they find out we’re going out, we might be put in a tight spot. But as long as they don’t find out about us, we should be able to survive until the very end.
Y: What’s wrong?
N: I don’t plan on voting on anyone to begin with. I don’t want anybody to die.
Y: I feel the same way, but we might be the only ones who’re thinking like that. We can’t assume the others won’t vote for anyone. Just think about how Chiaki doubts your innocence.
Y: Natsu, I want to protect you. Whatever may happen, I want to protect you! I’ll do anything to that end.
Y: Whatever happens, we’ll fight through it! We’ll get out of here alive, together!
Yuuto looked at me with nothing but kindness in his eyes. I loved those eyes of his.
Y: There’s no need to worry. Everything will go well.
With that, Yuuto once again hugged me, tighter than before. It had been a while since last I felt so loved. That warmth made me think that I might survive long enough, long enough to get out of here safely, out of this dangerous situation.
Y: We should go back now. They’ll suspect something of us if we stay here for too long.
We did our best to not make too much noise as we went back to where everyone was sleeping and joined them in their slumber. Despite our efforts, someone had seen us.
T: Natsu! Natsu!
T: Ssh! Come with me.
Just like Yuuto had done, Takeshi took me to the small room.
T: What were you two chattin’ about earlier?
N: Nothing in particular.
T: Don’t play dumb with me! You’re hiding something from us with Yuuto. Don’t think I can’t see that!
N: No, really. That was nothing.
T: Was that you trying to get close to Yuuto?
T: So you did kill Arisa, didn’t you?
N: Takeshi, you suspected me too?
T: I know you like Yuuto, but Arisa was in your way. Am I wrong?
N: Arisa was in my way?
T: I told you not to play dumb! After all, Yuuto and Arisa were…
Y: Hey! What’re you doing!?
Yuuto was standing there behind us. Yuuto grabbed my arm and pulled me away violently from Takeshi.
N: That hurts!
Y: Natsu, what were you talking with Takeshi about?
N: Yuuto, you’re hurting my arm.
Y: Tell me! What were you two talking about!?
Yuuto had a frightening look in his eyes. I’d never seen him like this before. It was almost as if I were looking at a different person.
C: What’s going on?
It looked like we had woken up Chiaki and Mina with our little fuss. Takeshi then made a bold statement.
T: I figured it out. Natsu was the one who killed Arisa.
C: So I was right.
Y: No you weren’t!
T: Yuuto. Natsu’s trying to trick you.
Y: Aren’t you the one trying to trick us?
Y: You were the one who killed Arisa, weren’t you?
T: What do you mean?
Y: You never really cared for Arisa, did you? You didn’t care if she died, so you voted for her.
T: You’ve got it all wrong! I didn’t kill anyone! You’re right. I didn’t give a shit about her but I didn’t want her dead!
Y: I find that hard to believe. Don’t you remember what you said to her when you two were fighting earlier? I do.
A: Don’t lump me in with the rest of you. I am far above you all. This is no place for someone of my status to die!
T: You know why nobody’s come to save you yet? Because no one gives a shit about you!
Y: Takeshi, that’s enough!
T: This is no time for you to be looking down on people!
A: Have you thought about this? At this point, they’re going to need to send helicopters to come save us. Do you know how much it costs to send out even just one helicopter? I’ll tell you. It costs far more than any one of you can afford. That’s why if and when the helicopter gets here, it was because I was here! If you keep talking to me like that, you can forget about making it out of here safely!
T: If and when that happens, I’ll happily kill you if it means getting on that helicopter!
T: That… That was just a figure of speech.
Y: That’s a bit harsh for a figure of speech.
C: So, Takeshi was the one who killed Arisa?
T: No, Chiaki! I didn’t kill her! You have to believe me!
Y: If you just admit to it, the weight on your shoulders will lighten up. You did it out of the heat of the moment, didn’t you?
T: Yuuto, you son of a bitch!
N: Stop it you two! Don’t fight with each other!
C: It’s that noise again.
P: At this time, a vote will commence.
Once again, the minute long countdown appeared on the phone screens.
T: Don’t you dare write my name down unless you want an ass beatin’!
As Takeshi said that, I turned to look at Yuuto. He was looking back at me as well. Under the pale light given off by the phone screens, I could see a cold look in Yuuto’s eyes.
P: The voting period has ended.
C: What’s that noise?
T: The hell is that thing? Something’s being dropped down.
From the high ceiling above us, a shining, silver, rectangular box slowly came down.
C: Is that one of those…
T: Yeah. It’s one of those boxes were they carry the ramen when you order delivery.
Y: An okamochi?
T: That means…
Takeshi lifted the grate on the okamochi. Inside were bowls of porridge.
T: Alright! We got food! Come get some you guys!
Takeshi started wolfing down the porridge. The rest of us just watched him from afar, wondering who was going to die next. Soon after…
P: Now for the results of the vote. With one unregistered vote, one vote for Kanazawa Yuuto, one vote for Ibuki Natsu, and two votes for Iizuka Takeshi, the sacrifice is Iizuka Takeshi and the relief item is food.
With a mouth full of porridge, Takeshi dropped dead.
C: How long is this game to last? I’ve had enough of it! I want to go home!
Just like Chiaki, all of us were shocked at Takeshi’s sudden death. But unlike with Arisa’s death, nobody shed a single tear for Takeshi. If the phones recorded our votes, everyone would understand instantly. The only who didn’t cast a vote was me. Everyone else however, had the heart to vote for someone. They had the heart to kill a friend. One of them with a heart to kill me. In order to try and calm my shocked self, Yuuto explained the situation.
Y: It’s safe to assume Takeshi was the one who voted for me. Which means Chiaki voted for you, Natsu.
N: That can’t be…
Y: But there’s no need to worry, Natsu. I’ll protect you. You can rest assured.
Yuuto said, as he looked at me with his usual kind eyes.
P: Number of remaining survivors: 4.