Chapter 2: Club games.
I don't own Neuro or Higurashi!
"I bet you think this is just hilarious, Neuro." Yako grumbled to herself, unsure of how she had gotten herself into this situation. One moment, she was blissfully enjoying the peaceful, rustic appeal of this tiny village they had somehow stumbled into, and the next, she found herself with degrading marks all over her face (courtesy of Neuro) and wearing some ridiculous maid outfit (courtesy of the Games Club). And that was only round one.
Round two was even more brutal, although Godai got the worst of it this time around. She wanted to consol him, but she was afraid that if she approached him, he would literally explode. And also, she couldn't bear to see him in that state. After all, this was an ex-criminal, a guy who had once threatened her at knife point. And now, here he was, in what looked to be some sort of frilly pink princess tutu outfit. They had even put bows in his hair, little pink bows! She turned away, but once it had been seen, it could not be unseen.
"This image… is forever burned into my retinas. I don't think I'll ever be able to see you as a man again, Godai…"
"SHUT THE HELL UP!" He shouted, every vein in his body looking like it was going to burst.
Mion, Satoko and Keichi were laughing their heads off, while Rena started drooling something about wanting to take him home. Rika was much more reserved, but she gave an innocent little giggle that seemed completely unsuited to the occasion.
"Two down, one to go!" Mion declared, eyeing Neuro with a competitive glint. "I don't know how you've managed to last this long without loosing, but all that changes now!"
"That's a really bad idea." Yako whispered, but no one seemed to pay her any mind.
The game didn't last all that long. Neuro had easily deduced that the games club had memorized which card was which from the folds and scratches on the backs of them. Of course, they had no way of knowing that he could literally see through the cards backs, and with the help of one of his demonic tools, he was able to shift everybody else's perception of the cards, so the backs were all switched. Needless to say, this led to a victorious Neuro and a very bewildered games club.
Neuro gave one of his signature fake-innocent smiles. "I suppose that I've won, haven't I? Perhaps it was beginners luck." Suddenly, his smile became much more sinister. "Now, what shall I have you do for your punishment game?"
Yako flinched. It was rare that he would show his true smile in public like this. "Neuro! Don't overdo it! They're just kids!" He turned and looked at her, and for a moment his eyes glinted with gleeful anticipation.
"N-Neuro? Why are you looking at me like that? They're the ones who lost. I wasn't even playing this round!" She began to step backwards, sensing her impending doom.
Moments later, she found herself tied over a bed of spikes, suspended by a rope on a pulley. Neuro was holding the other end of the rope, and he was grinning sadistically.
"How did you manage to build all of this just now? And furthermore- THEY CAN STILL SEE YOU! WHY AREN'T YOU TRYING TO HIDE YOUR TRUE NATURE ANYMORE?!" She shouted, unable to understand the demons bizarre behavior.
"According to rule number five of the club, you cannot struggle in a punishment game" He stated, matter of factly.
"Are you telling me that you've joined their sadistic club? But since you're the king of all sadists, I guess it makes sense."
"It's true." Mion said. "He passed our initiation with flying colors! I'm not sure what kind of trick you pulled, but it sure was impressive. I don't say this often, but it looks like I could learn a few things from you."
"Ohoho, I doubt that you would be able to learn, but I suppose that I could try. However, your brain would most likely explode if I did."
"Kukuku…. We'll just see about that."
Yako's eyes nearly popped out of her head. "WHY IS HIS SADISTIC BEHAVIOR ACCEPTED HERE?!"
"Even though he did win admirably…" Keiichi began "Don't you think this punishment game is a bit extreme? She could seriously get killed."
"EXACTLY!" Yako shouted. Finally, a normal person!
Rena didn't seem to agree. "Don't you think it's romantic, Keiichi? He's holding her very life in his hands, and also…"
"Also?" Keiichi prodded
"This bed of nails is ADOWABLE! I'm taking it home with me!"
'What is wrong with these people…?' Yako thought, perturbed.
Rika approached her. "How are you hanging, ni-pa?"
"Oh, I'm just doing super. I just don't get why I'm up here and you guys aren't. You were the ones who lost."
"Miii… I think that you lost too."
"HOW CAN I HAVE LOST IF I DIDN'T PLAY?!" Yako shouted, confused as hell.
"Mi~ Because everyone else played and tried their best, even Princess Godai."
"Princess Godai?" Yako mumbled, unsure of how to take what Rika was saying to her.
"You should have played and had fun too!" She smiled sweetly.
"I would have just lost again anyway."
Suddenly, Rika's smile vanished, and she looked up at Yako with eyes that seemed unnatural, almost inhuman somehow.
"If you don't play, then you're just dooming yourself to lose before the game even begins."
Yako shuddered. But as suddenly as it had appeared, the ominous atmosphere disappeared as Rika gave a big, innocent smile.
"So don't give up! Ni~pa!"
"All right, next time I'll play, I'll promise!" Yako smiled nervously.
Around sunset, Neuro finally let her down, and they started to plan out just where they were going to sleep for the night. Since they had originally planned for a camping trip, they had all the supplies, but when they asked Mion where they should set up their tent, she insisted that they stay with her.
"Are you sure? We wouldn't want to be a bother!"
"Don't worry about it, I've got plenty of room! I'll just have to ask my grandma."
"Really, you don't have to…" Yako started, but Neuro silenced her with a sharp blow to the abdomen.
"Sensei, you shouldn't be rude, this girl is inviting us into her home after all."
"Sure… whatever you say, Neuro" she gasped.
Mion was right about having plenty of room. She lived in a huge, traditional-style house. No- house wasn't the right word. It was more like a mansion.
"Some pace that damn green-haired girls got here" Mumbled Godai, who had finally been allowed to return to his normal cloths. "You don't think she's yakuza do you?"
"Don't be stupid, Godai. Just because you're a criminal doesn't mean that everyone else has to be." Yako whispered back at him, feeling a little guilty that she too had secretly entertained the idea when they first arrived at the gated mansion.
Mion had let them stay in one of the guest rooms, which Yako grudgingly acknowledged was larger then her entire apartment. She sat down on the futon. Neuro was off having tea or something with Mion and her Grandmother, so it was probably safe for her to relax a little.
That Neuro… She thought. I wonder what he thinks is so special about this village..
She had been with him long enough to not doubt his intuition when it came to mysteries, but even so, despite the strange, semi-sadistic children that inhabited it, this sleepy little town certainly didn't seem like a crime scene waiting to happen.
She rested her head on the pillow, and after a quick check to make sure Neuro wasn't hiding on the ceiling above her, she closed her eyes and listened to the rhythmic screeches of the cicadas as she unknowingly drifted into the last and only calm, peaceful sleep that awaited her on this trip.