Disclaimer: I do not own HP, DR:KnGtZnK, or 'This Town, Your Grave' by Innerpartysystem.

Warning: Crass language in this chapter, courtesy of Oowada's potty mouth.

Emerald Musician: Chapter 10

The first thing I felt as the dark relinquished its grasp upon me was the gentle pulling feel of fingers carding through my thick hair. Slowly, I opened my eyes, blinking several times try and rid my vision of the blurriness.

My eyes felt fry and gummy, like I'd fallen asleep with my contacts on. Then I remembered.

I sat up straight and scrambled away from the person who had been running their hands through my hair, blood suddenly pounding in my ears through the lethargy. I stared blankly at the calm form of Celes-san before my mind registered the fact that Celes-san was sitting right in front of me ad had been running her fingers through my hair.

I felt my face flush as she looked at me for a moment before remarking, calmly; "You have very soft hair."

I could have sworn my face burned at that. Why couldn't the floor just swallow me whole?

"You didn't come to the cafeteria this morning," she continued, "so while the others look for Togami-kun, I came looking for you." Then, oh-so-calmly, she turned to the portly form of Yamada-san, whom I had not really noticed standing in the doorway. "Yamada-kun, will you please hurry back to the kitchen and make both myself and Suzume milk tea? Royal, if you please."

There was a tone in her voice that said it wasn't really a request.

Yamada-san flushed a bit before agreeing and running off—presumably to do as Celes-san had 'requested'. Celes-san then turned back to me and said, "You've been crying. Why?" she leaned over and pressed a finger to my lip, her red eyes narrowing before meeting my own green ones squarely.

I blinked down at her for a moment before raising my hand to my face. Sure enough, there were grainy tear tracks where the salt had dried on my cheeks, and I lowered my head shamefully, avoiding Celes-san's piercing gaze.

I had been far too weak ever since coming here—my emotions had been a mess and I kept losing control and making weird things happen, like before. Why couldn't I just control myself?

I swallowed, before looking up and looking Celes-san straight in the eye.

"Nothing," I lied, straight-faced. Celes-san's eyes narrowed at me once again, and I knew that she knew I was lying. I didn't crack or cave, though. I just kept staring her straight in the face, refusing to allow myself to be cowed.

Eventually, she nodded, ending our little staring contest just as Yamada-san re-entered, carrying a tray with two fragile looking teacups and a teapot.

Carefully, he poured tea for the both of us and handed us the cups, sweat running down the side of his face. Delicately, Celes-san took a sip, before nodding at Yamada-san, who seemed to wilt with relief. "Adequate," she allowed, and I sipped at my own.

The sheer ridiculousness of the situation seemed to hit me over the head in that moment. We were in the music room, where Celes-san had found me after I had passed out sometime earlier, and now we were having tea, like—like some sort of nobles at a tea party!

I stared at the calm, opaque surface of my tea like it held all the answers to this situation. Naturally, as it was inanimate, it didn't give me those answers. Why me? Why did the weirdest things happen to me?!

Just then, interrupting my internal monologue (rant) to whatever deities existed, Asahina-san poked her head into the room and said, "Hey, Naegi-kun and Kirigiri-chan found Togami-kun, let's go!" then, she noticed me. "Oh, hey, Asahi-chan!" she chirruped before vanishing back out the door.

With a sigh, Celes-san placed her teacup back on the tray that Yamada-san still held. She stood, brushing herself off before straightening regally.

"Well then, we'd best be off before she leaves us too far behind—she didn't even tell us where Togami-kun was found." Celes-san sounded particularly disdainful at that, as though thinking lowly of Asahina-san's intelligence.

She sighed again, daintily. "Yamada-kun, you'll carry our drinks, won't you?"

Again, it wasn't really a 'request'.

The portly boy nodded, and held the tray out for me to place my teacup on. I stood and brushed myself off, following as Celes-san left the room.

We followed the sound of Asahina-san's voice before we eventually ended up at the library, entering quietly. Inside, Oowada-san was yelling at Togami-san.

"Why the f*ck are you calling this a 'game…?! You f*cker, this isn't something to laugh about!" he snarled at the impassive form of the Super High School Level Scion.

"A game is just a game," Togami-san scoffed coldly. "A game with only one winner and our lives at stake. That's all it is."

"A zero-sum game, is it." Celes-san mused out loud thoughtfully in the ensuing silence after Togami-san's statement.

"…eh?" Naegi-san blinked at her.

"Game theory…it's a field in mathematics," she elaborated. "In that field, this kind of game is called a 'zero-sum game'. When there is a limited number of gains to be had, as someone's share grows larger, the greater burden is left on the others…It's the kind of game where players scramble over a limited resource."

"Getting ahead…by driving the rest down…is it." Oogami-san summarized quietly.

"School entrance exams and work interviews…most of the things we do as a society fit the description." Celes-san continued, and I shifted uncomfortably. What she was saying…was very true. "Everything…is a struggle within a limited framework, try to steal from your equals…this school like we're currently challenging is just the same. In our case…the limited resource…that's the framework where 'only a single person is the culprit'."

Togami-san stared disdainfully at Celes-san for a moment before speaking. "In short, this game was created from the start to make us kick each other down." Togami-san summarized coldly.

"N…no, that can't be right…!" Naegi-san choked out.

"That's exactly why adaptation is essential." Celes-san stated lightly, smiling a tiny, satisfied smile. "If there's no one here who wants to get out, we have to reason to fear being involved in this game."

"Why is avoiding the game so important? It looks like so much fun, doesn't it?" Togami-san demanded before laughing a wicked dark laugh that contorted his face into a vicious parody of its usual aesthetic 'handsomeness'. He looked like a madman in that moment, and I felt a shiver run down my spine.

"You have never even considered for a microsecond that you may lose this game, have you." Celes-san murmured after a moment, staring right at Togami-san with her cold, ruby red eyes.

"…of course I haven't." Togami-san said arrogantly, seeming to scoff at the mere idea of him losing at anything.

"As expected from the next head of the Togami financial conglomerate that controls the world's economy. But I think you're wrong." Celes-san said sweetly.

"It's just excessive self-confidence, right?" Hagakure-san asked hesitantly, glancing around nervously.

"Hey, if you say such things you'll end up dead!" Asahina-san snapped angrily.

"I will not die." Togami-san sniffed. "This is not even a possibility."

"Who the f*ck do you think you are you b*st*rd!" Oowada-san boomed furiously, cracking his knuckles menacingly. I found myself pulling behind Celes-san, desperately trying to make myself smaller. Irrational, but I couldn't stop myself.

"You know," Togami-san mused, "every time I'm surprised again."

"Aa? What of?!"

"Of the fact that shoddy, no-good punks like you still exist in this day and age." Togami-san replied cuttingly. Oowada-san nearly roared in rage.

"I'm going to kill you!"

"Didn't I just tell you?" Togami-san snorted, "I cannot be killed."

"Just saying it isn't enough, you know…" Hagakure-san muttered.

"It's useless talking to him," Celes-san stated. "The very concept of 'losing' is something he doesn't understand…he's a 'Super High School Level Scion'. A super-elite who was taught he was king ever since was a child.

"He has a destiny of victory attached to him since birth. And when someone comes to test that destiny…it's nothing but a game to win for him. Even if it's a game of life and death…" Celes-san smiled sweetly at him, and I shuddered at the venom her next words hid. "…isn't that so?"

"So you do understand…" Togami-san smirked.

"I'm just to same as you. A game is something to be won; I feel the same."

Togami-san rounded on her. "Don't compare me to you. Shut your filthy mouth," he snapped.

"Oh, my," Celes-san murmured mockingly. "I'm very, very sorry."

"…Anyway," Togami-san continued, seeming satisfied by Celes-san's insincere words, "let me say this: try putting some fighting spirit into this game. If my enemies aren't serious, it's no fun at all…"

"N…no…please stop…" Fujisaki-san stuttered tearfully.

"What…?" Togami-san demanded.

"This is…not a game…" Fujisaki-san pleaded. "People's lives…are not something you can play with…how can you…even talk about killing your friends?" she asked, sniffling. "That's definitely not right…!"

It was the wrong thing to say.

"…Friends?" Togami-san asked. "Who decided that we're friends?" he demanded.

"…Eh?"

"We are not friends." Togami-san announced. "We are just the opposite. We're opponents in a struggle for victory." Fujisaki-san began to cry in earnest at that.

"B…but…after all…"

"'But'? Someone like you shouldn't use such a conjunction, being so high and mighty." Togami-san belittled her. "It would be much better if you just acknowledge what I say."

"U…um…" Fujisaki-san stammered, tears dripping from her chin.

"If there's something you want to say, just say it clearly. If you can't, don't even open your mouth." Togami-san interrupted her caustically.

I flinched at the cutting words, knowing that they could have just as easily been aimed at me, had I been brave enough to speak up like Fujisaki-san had.

"…" Fujisaki-san remained silent, sniffing as snot dribbled from her nose. "I…I'm sorry…"

"Hey, f*cker!" Oowada-san snarled, moving to stand between Fujisaki-san and Togami-san. "Are you having fun, bullying the weak?! You're making me sick…!"

"So you're acting all nice and friendly again." Togami-san noted coldly. "How long do you think that can last?"

"Shut the f*ck up!"

"Did you say…" Togami-san glared at Oowada-san with icy eyes. "…I should shut up?" he sounded absolutely furious. I resisted the urge to cover my ears like a child; all this arguing, all the tension in the room…it made me sick to my stomach. "All I hear are such simple, meaningless words."

"Move out of the way!" Oowada-san bellowed, moving forward with murder in his eyes. "I'm going to kill that kid right now!"

"W…wait!" Asahina-san exclaimed, grabbing his wrist. "Calm down!"

"I'm a picture of calmness already!" Oowada-san yelled at her, trying to pull away from her strong grip.

"Yeah, sure…" Asahina-san muttered sarcastically.

"Anyway, I don't intend to participate in your activities anymore." Togami-san stated clearly. "Trying cooperate in this kind of a game…such meaningless acts are just a waste of time."

"M…meaningless…"

"Going to friendly meetings in the cafeteria is preposterous." Togami-san continued. "Someone might poison all the food there ahead of time. I have no intention to be a participant in the Last Supper."

"Stop being so theatrical…!" Oowada-san gritted out.

"I'll let the rest of you do as you please. Later."

As Togami-san left, I could feel his icy cold gaze burning into me. It made me nervous, and I licked my lips and swallowed dryly. Without prompting, Monobear's comment during the School Trial popped into my head, sounding in my ears.

"Love, friendship, compassion…the stronger those feelings are, the deeper you fall into despair when they are broken! If you don't believe me, ask Asahi-san over there! She has more than enough experience."

A chill went down my spine just at the memory. Monobear had been correct, of course. I had my fair share of betrayal of trust, but there was one incident more poignant than any that had occurred. The first time my trust had been broken.

But…how could he have known? Such things…were private, personal, particularly that incident.

That incident…had permanently broken my trust of any who tried to grow close to me. Of course, as the foolish child I was, I had allowed people back in, hoping that they wouldn't be like all the rest. How pathetic. I bit my lip, reopening the wound I had inflicted upon myself the night before.

This school was supposed to be a new start, somewhere I wouldn't be judged simply because of my 'talent'. An escape. The last thing I wanted was for that incident to be known. For any of them to be known.

I just wanted to bury it all at the back of my mind and hide from it all.

For if they knew…they'd surely mock me for my weakness and naïveté.

All their limbs are stretched,

Holding tight what could have been.

No one here is innocent,

Because we can't forgive.

God made this place a haven,

For the motionless and weak;

A paradise of endless hope,

No progress to be seen.

/End.\

Alright, this one's done! And a day late…ugh. I tried to upload it yesterday, but RL got in the way. Why me? Anyway, I'm going to try (try) to update this on weekends. I make no promises, though.

Also, for any questions as to why Asahi wasn't punished for passing out in the music room, it actually explicitly states in the rules that 'intentionally sleeping elsewhere other than the dorm rooms in forbidden'. Asahi didn't pass out intentionally, so that circumvents the rule.

So…yeah. Also, any who haven't yet, there's a poll on my profile for this story, so please vote! And I also have a couple of questions for you guys:

#1: If I were to begin to attempt to translate this fanfic into Esperanto (which I'm trying to learn) as a practical exercise, would any of you guys be willing to read it and give me feedback?

#2: If I were to start a YouTube channel where I upload my own original music (which would be mostly background music-like stuff) along with covers of songs I like once I get something better than a phone camera to record with, would you listen to it?

Also, the song above is called 'This Town, Your Grave' by Innerpartysystem. As always, I don't own it and I highly recommend you look the song up and listen to it and watch the MEP of it with Dangan Ronpa that's on YouTube.

Ja ne, Minna-san!
~Happy Camper27