***EDIT: Whoops! I forgot to upload the second floor map along with this update, but rest thee well as it is now on my profile. :P

a/n: Alright, first off, I just want to say that I've passed out recently and had to stay overnight in the hospital due to overexertion (Turns out 2 hour naps and caffeine boosts are not sustainable enough to replace actual 8-hour regular sleep, who knew?) and that's pretty much why I've been awol for a couple of days. I actually had about 5000++ words written into this update when it happened and by the time I came around and was discharged it was way past my deadlines :/

Anyways, this exploration scene is actually much bigger than I had anticipated so I had to split it up into two parts. GinMerric has finally finished both parts of his updates (with a broken keyboard too! So he had to write the remainder on his phone) and I'll be substituting the second part of this chapter for Gin this week while next week both updates will be the files that I've received from him.


Day 4: Exploration

Location: Academic Building, 2nd Floor.


{=Box 15=}

*THUMP*

*THUMP*

*THUMP*

Whoa! What the hell is that?! Why on earth is this floor shaking?! Megumi and I had just arrived on the second floor of the academy when got to the faculty office's door on the floor below. Of course, our attention had immediately shifted to the shutters of the stairwell... or should I say lack thereof. It seems that when Monokuma had talked about unlocking previously inaccessible areas of the academy, he was talking about the second floor of the school building.

I gave the faculty office's doorknob a good twist but no dice. It was still locked and I'm guessing that this would perhaps be a reward for the next... trial. I shivered at the thought of another murder occurring here as Megumi called out to me from the middle of the stairs. Apparently, when I was busy checking out the door, she had already gotten a head start on checking out the second floor.

Seeing as there was no one else around and with this door still locked, I presumed that everyone must be investigating the newly unlocked floor and decided to follow Megumi up the flight of stairs... only to be greeted by more earthquakes as soon as I had set foot off of the stairs and into the second floor.

Actually, I don't think it's an earthquake as this ground-breaking vibration seemed to be somewhat rhythmic in nature... almost as if something was being slammed repeatedly? I gulped as my mind started to wonder about what this floor could possibly contain. Maybe... someone was firing rocket launchers into the wall for fun... that was a ridiculous thought but it seems that I had accidentally said it out loud.

"I don't think that's possible... unless this place has a shooting range or weapons testing ground or something," Megumi chortled at my silly comment and I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks as I realized that I had sounded like a complete doofus in front of her.

Taking a few steps past the stairs, I arrived at the door with a huge "2" painted on it with sloppy red paint. As if it wasn't obvious enough that we were on the second floor, I twisted the doorknob and stepped into the new hallway for the first time. I don't know what I had expected honestly as it looked exactly the same as the previous floor with its dim lighting and notice boards filled with more papers stamped with the logo of Hope's Peak Academy.

"Yuuta, look!" I was startled from my observation of the current floor when Megumi pulled me to look at the door to our left. If we were in the floor below us, this room would have the label 'Nurse's Office' stamped onto the door's surface... however this door had the label 'Shooting Range' on it.

... Wait what?

"Shooting... Range?" My eyes lit up when I saw that combination of words. Could it be...? Was this really a room where my talent could shine?

"Why is something like this in here? I was just joking about the whole shooting range thing...," Megumi looked at me with concern but gasped when she noticed I was smiling. "Um... are you alright?"

The joke that she had made earlier had completely slipped my mind as I was thinking of all the guns possibly being stored in the room in front of me. I haven't held a gun in my hand since... since... actually, I can't quite remember when the last time I had my hands on one was. The closest memory that I could remember was the morning my acceptance letter arrived. As I remembered that day, the memory of my father resurfaced itself.

"Eh? Now you look a little bit sad!" Megumi stood on the tip of her toes and reached out to place a hand on my forehead. "Are you feeling alright? Mood swings could be a sign of underlying health issues... or puberty," her last few words made me blush brightly as I tried to break away from her grasp.

"I'm fine Megumi... just thinking about my dad and stuff," she released her hand from my forehead and pressed it on her own. I think she was trying to compare temperatures? Wow that blow to the head must have really did a number on her cognitive skills. I just hope it's not a permanent thing. "Don't worry about it okay? Let's just go in and check out what they have inside. I can't to get my hands on a few... fire arms,"

Megumi looked at me once again with confusion for a few brief moments before she realized. "Oh, right! SHSL Marksman, yeah sorry I almost forgot about that. Bang bang, right?" her moment of clarity was cut short when her smile slowly dropped. "Wait a sec; you're not one of those people who go gun-crazy and cause all kinds of trigger-happy havoc, right?"

"Oh, really? That's how you think of me?" I looked at her with a hurt expression on my face and I can only hope that I have some SHSL Hollywood Start talent in me as I tease her. In truth, she's not too far off about the whole gun-crazy thing... but she's not completely right either.

"If I say yes, can we go in and check out the room already?" Megumi saw right through my charade and stuck out her tongue. "I'm really curious as to why Hope's Peak Academy has something like this. I mean, I know it's supposed to be a very prestigious, world-classed school or something but...," her voice trailed off into silence as she grabbed the smooth, metallic handle of the door and gave it a twist.

The door swung open slowly... and I couldn't believe what I saw on the inside.


Location: Shooting Range

Rows and rows of guns were lined carefully behind a clear glass case. Firearms ranging from small pistols, revolvers and handguns to its much larger variants like shotguns and rifles were strewn about in display cases nailed to the wall on the far end of the room. I recognize most of these... particularly that familiar set of silver revolvers that rested in the middle of the grey gun rack.

Smith & Wesson, Model 686.

A traditional six-shooter revolver that's small in size, but don't let that fool you as this thing packs a powerful punch. In fact, this is actually my favorite type of revolver and boy do I have a lot of fond memories with this gun. Without even realizing it, I've already walked halfway across the room as I reminisced about all the times I've fired this baby in the past.

Wait... baby? Oh boy, I think I know who's saying that...

"Hey, Yuuta. Are you listening to me? Yuuta?" a voice that did not belonged to Megumi called out to me but I don't think I'm able to respond even if I wanted to. As weird as this may sound... it was as if the guns were calling out to me. I can only see what was going on in the room through my peripheral vision by now.

"Oh dear, what has gotten into that boy?" Kotone sighed as she dropped some papers on a nearby desk. It seems that she had gotten to this room first before us... or possibly was tasked with scoping this room out by whoever's in charge at the moment. "Do you know what's going on with him, Megumi?"

Megumi simply shrugged, rolling her eyes at my trance-like state. "I think he just has an unhealthy obsession with guns," She rolled up the sleeves of her sweater and went over to where Kotone was standing. "So what have you checked out so far?"

"Hmm, I can't really tell much from these papers. I think they're registration forms... or something like that. Probably to keep track of all the people utilizing this room and which guns were used and in what order. The funny thing is these papers are really, um... old!" She picked up some of them and held it in front of Megumi's face so she could see what she was talking about.

"Oh, wow. It's all yellow-ish and dusty! How old do you think these papers are?" Megumi paused for a moment to inspect the forms much more closely. "Hey... wait a sec, these dates are just from last month? That's... weird,"

By now, I had already reached the gun case at the other side of the room. I pressed both of my hands against the glass as I stared at its content intently. I wonder if...

*Click*

Of course, the case is locked. There was no way Monokuma would let us have something as dangerous like these now, would he? I wonder if breaking the glass would be considered as destruction of school property... wait, I think it actually is considered that.

{=Mr Monokuma's Lesson=}

"Breaking that glass is most definitely considered 'destruction of school property' and I highly recommend that you do break it so I can have a little fun today!" A cheery voice rang out from behind me followed by two high-pitched screams. "Jeez Louis, if you girls scream like that every time I show up, I'm probably going to need hearing aids!"

Without having to turn around, I already knew who the voice belonged to. Not that I needed to anyways since I can sort of make out the reflection of Monokuma from the glass case. "What do you want, Monokuma? And how did you know what I was thinking about?" I spoke without facing him as I kept my gaze on the pair of silver guns on the other side of the thin glass.

"I'm not an esper if that's what you're implying. I've got eyes all around this room, heck I've got eyes all over the entire school if you haven't realized it by now. I also saw the way you were looking at the gun case... you weirdo, so I know what you're planning to do," Monokuma gave me a weird grin and a wink. "Besides, all you have to do is just hit the button over there by the side of the wall," he pointed over to an area beside the case and I noticed something small jutting out next to it.

"What are you saying, Monokuma?" Kotone walked over to me and stood by the button, leaning in to inspect it. "You're willing to let us have dangerous weapons like this?! What if someone were to... were to...," her voice trailed off as she looked really scared all of a sudden. With a room like this, anyone could have access to an array of lethal weapons.

"Ah, ah, ah! Don't be so quick to jump the gun, upupupu," Monokuma laughed alone at his own terrible pun. "If you would all please turn your attention over here," he then proceeded to point to the third wall between the glass case and the entrance door; the one that separated the classroom and the shooting range. I guess I must not have noticed it before but there was a long banner coupled with crudely written instructions. "All firearms are not allowed to be taken from the shooting range. If one passes through the door, you will be punished!"

"I hope you like my little voiceover job I did there, upupupu! Anyways that's about all the time I have left to entertain you guys. I've got people to see and places to visit after all. If you'd like to have a go at this, there's a control panel on the desk there somewhere that will activate the game for you," just as he promised, Monokuma disappeared underneath a pile of old forms and papers that lay right to the corner by the desk.

"Wait! You haven't even told us why this room is here in the first place!" Megumi tried to uncover the truth behind the matter but it was too late. Well it's not like Monokuma was going to reveal much anyways considering everything he's done in the past. Instead, I took this chance to sneak my way over to press the button and the glass slid open with a satisfying *shing!*

"Yuuta?" Kotone looked a little worried as I side-stepped beside her and made my way over to the now-open gun case. Oh boy, these girls are sure in for a surprise when he shows up...

With a shaky hand, I reached into the display case and let my hand hover over the S&W revolvers. I take in a deep breath and closed my eyes before firmly grabbing one of the pair with my right arm.

{=Box 16=}

"Hello there, ladies...,"

"Um... Yuuta? Are you feeling alright?" a squeaky and feminine voice rang out from behind but I don't think I recognize them. Digging around in my memories, I seem to be able to recall the certain faces that the voice belonged to, but I doubt I've actually met them in this state of mind. Feeling the need to strike while the iron's hot, I raised my gun-toting hand into the air as I did a 180 degree swivel with my feet.

Right before my very eyes were a pair of two stunning women. One of them had lavender hair and a face so beautiful; I think I might've blinked a couple of times in disbelief! She looked like some sort of angel sent from heaven... if I find out that that whimpering sack of meat hadn't hooked up with a girl like that, I swear I'm gonna punch him in the gut for this.

The other one was kinda plain looking: regular brown eyes, regular brown hair, and regular cutesy-girl height. She was pretty much average but I gotta admit, she's got a certain girl-next-door kind of charm to her. But that's not enough for a guy like me though. Having scouted my potential prospects, I sauntered over to the more attractive of the two.

"I'm alright as long as you're the one calling my name, sweetcheeks," the lavender-haired girl's eyes grew wide and her cheeks had started to go red. "I feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here. You seem to know who I am but I haven't the slightest clue who you are... I think your name start's with a K.. Ka... Kagami, right?" this only caused the poor girl to blush even more as she retreated behind the blonde-brunette.

Oh... whoa! I just realized the look she was giving me. It was a glare so intense I could feel chills running down my back. Whatever this pig-tailed girl's problem was, it was none of my concern as I walked over to the desk and leaned against it. "No offense, deary, but you're kinda like plain ol' sushi with a small slice of cucumber in it. Your friend there, on the other hand is like a full bento set complete with fancy and generous serving of top-quality unagi,"

"Wha-?! Hold up right there Yuuta, that's just rude!" the brunette lashed out at me and dragged her pretty friend with her. "I don't know what's gotten into you but that's just pushing it,"

"Yeah," the pretty one poked her head out from behind her suddenly aggressive friend. "If you keep saying things like that then Megumi might get jealous!"

"Wha-?! I am not jealous of this... punk!" the girl known as 'Megumi' pursed her lips and crossed her arms to show that she was not interested but the pink tint forming on her cheeks is a dead giveaway that she clearly is affected.

Huh... Megumi, is it? Weird...

"Yuuta, this isn't funny anymore," the lavender-haired girl stepped out and I can hear Megumi grumbling something like 'when did it even start being funny?' under her breath. "Please stop this game right now, ok?"

I gave her a playful smile as I switch the empty gun into my other hand and brought my now free hand down to the table to use as support as I edged closer to her face. "Sorry, but that command is a no-go for this guy. I've mostly been the dominant personality for a few years now but lately I've been given the boot by Mr. Herbivore over here," I brought the gun up to my head and gestured with it.

"What... are you talking about? Who's Mr. Herbivore and what boot are you referring to? And please, not in front of Megumi!" she batted her eyelids as she pulled her face away from mine.

"Why 'not in front of Megumi'? He can do whatever he likes with all the girls here," Megumi turned her head away as she retreated from our conversation. Shit, I didn't mean to break a little girl's heart or something... although the title 'SHSL Heartbreaker' does sound awesome...

"Hey there... Megumi, was it? Look I'm sorry if I upset you are anything but I've been 'sleeping' for like a few months now I think? Not too sure since Herbivore hasn't switched with me in a while. Don't blame him for anything that's going on now, okay? He's got absolutely no control over this once he's got a gun in his hands," I extend my equipped hand out to Megumi and aimed the gun at her.

"Hey! Don't point that gun at me! Even if it's not loaded, jeez," she quickly ducked and just when I was about to retract my arm, the sudden shaking of the ground caused me to lose my grip on the gun I was holding. Shit, looks like I'm going to 'sleep' again.

*THUMP*

{=Box 15=}

"Eh? Wasn't I just standing in front of the gun case just now?" I blinked rapidly as my vision seemed to have just changed instantaneously. I looked up to Megumi and Kotone but they were just staring at me... really invasively. I felt like a side-show performer or a test subject with the way they looked at me up and down with a piercing stare.

I noticed that my arm was stretched out mid-air and when I looked down; I saw the answer that I was looking for. The Smith & Wesson revolver which I was about to grab was now lying there on the floor. As I alternated my view between the gun and my hand, my brain made the connection that my more... assertive side has made his appearance.

"Oh... I see you guys have met him. Um... before we go any further, please let me explain that this only happens when I hold a gun in my hands. I guess in retrospect I should probably have told you guys that before taking it out of the case," I sheepishly brought my hand to the back of my head and smiled apologetically... but they still stare at me like I'm some kind of abomination. "I was just really excited to hold a gun in my hand once more?"

I wasn't sure if they're buying my excuse as I recall my failure from before with Megumi. Kotone however simply smiled and bent over to pick the gun up from the floor. "Well, let's just put this away then before you... um... get caught in a love triangle," she chuckled as she carried the silver gun over to the case and hung it in its rightful place.

"Yeah, dissociative personality disorder is a serious issue so I guess I can let it slide," Megumi frowned for a few moments, thinking that I did not catch it in time before putting on a gentle smile.

"Let what slide?" I asked her, curious to see if I might be able to pick out a few details from the time when my brain was all foggy. It's not some split personality thing like she's saying since I can remember some of the stuff that happened... but it's just really foggy and vague.

"Oh, nothing," she walked over to the door and passed right next to me on the way. A brief sensation of pain shot up my arm and I yelped out loud in an unmanly voice as I realized that she had given me a slight pinch on my hand. "Nothing at all,"


Location: Weapons Testing Room

"Wow, this place is a mess!" I blurted out the obvious as I took a gander at the piles and piles of papers littered throughout the floor. The room that I had stepped in had a metallic *clank* as I took a few steps in. For a room that was labeled as 'weapons testing' there sure seemed to be a lot less weapons than I had anticipated, in fact there was no weapons at all in this room.

"I think this mess itself is the actual weapon," Kimiko replied with a generous amount of snark as she popped out of a pile of papers, giving Megumi and I quite the scare.

Once Megumi calmed herself down she went over to help Kimiko out of the huge paper pile. "What are you even doing under all of this?" there was even a piece of paper stuck in her hair too.

"I thought there might've been something interesting in one of these piles but they're all redacted. I can't even read a single one of these," as she spoke, I reached down to pick up one of the papers and all I saw was line after line of black highlighter. It was the same case with several other papers I found lying next to it.

Whoever had been using this room definitely did not want anyone else to find out what sort of weapons they were developing, probably in a hurry too. I held the paper up under the light, which was really dim and was casted from a blue-tinted bulb, bathing the room with a blue hue. The paper itself was still not readable under the light.

There was one thing, however, that all of these pages had in common. They all had some kind of watermark on them which I determined was only viewable when placed under the light. The watermark looked like a... wheel, I think? Or maybe it was just a huge asterisk of some sort. The censored part of the document is making it harder for me to identify the shape.

"Hey, can you guys come and take a look at this?" I called out to the both of them as I walked over to where the two of them were busy going through some papers. As I brought the paper up to them, Kimiko quickly scrambled up to her feet to take a peek at the item in my hand and Megumi followed suit albeit at a calmer pace.

"Hmm," Kimiko stood directly beneath it as I held my hand high up. Her short stature made it easier for her to view the hidden watermark under the paper. "Is that a circle...? Or a... ring, maybe?" she shrugged after a while and gave up. "I dunno, can't really make it out with all the black lines in the way,"

Megumi had to bend over slightly to see what Kimiko was talking about and after a brief moment of silence, she gave a distinct 'hmm'. "I think that's like... a target reticule?"

"What?" Kimiko and I both asked that at the same time as we narrowed our eyes at her.

"Well... you can sorta see the circular ring over here at the centre, right?" she traced a finger along the faint circle on the paper in slow strokes. "It's like one of those things you see in first-person-shooter games, you know? Like when you aim at the enemy and that little ring with the 'X' shape inside of it shows up?" she pointed over to the middle of the ring and I could make out an asterisk-like shape in it.

"See, there's the crosshair right there. It looks like two 'X's overlapping each other diagonally," she explained the double-cross shape further and Kimiko and I nodded our heads in unison. "And if you look back at the ring, you can sorta make out more lines bisecting it in a cross shape... just like a target reticule!" she finished her presentation on the mysterious logo in a happy tone.

"But usually there's only one cross shape as the crosshair, rather than 2 of them," She tilted her head and stared at the ceiling as she pondered this weird anomaly.

"... How could you even see something like that?" I asked her with a mouth that's hanging wide open. It's funny now that I can clearly see the logo after Megumi showed it to us when before this I couldn't even make heads or tails of the image. "You must have some really sharp eyes, wow!"

Megumi raised an eyebrow at me as she looked back down from her daydreaming state. "Actually, I'm surprised that you couldn't see it. It's quite obvious, isn't it? After all, we did just arrive here from the room across the hall... which was full of paraphernalia that includes a targeting system in its operation," she gave a smirk and I could hear Kimiko giggling.

"Maybe Yuuta here needs to borrow Fujiwara's glasses!" she joked at my expense.

"Hey! That's not fair. You couldn't even see it in the first place too, you know... and besides I don't think Fujiwara has a spare?" I frowned as I tried to defend myself.

"Yeah, but at least I found something else that may be a clue or something," she shrugged her shoulders as she fished something out of her pockets. "This is the only piece of paper that actually has words on it and after checking the rest of these papers, I'm pretty sure that this may be the only readable clue in this room," she unfolded the paper and held it up as high as she could for us to read it.

"...,"

"Ne...,"

"Wo... l...,"

"...ro...ram...?"

{=New World Order=}

The paper that Kimiko had in her hands, while not completely covered in black lines, was actually quite illegible to read. The uncensored words were stained heavily with a faint reddish-white substance. I found myself wondering if it could in fact, be blood...

Besides that, there was really nothing else about the paper that was remarkable other than the fact that this one did not seem to have the watermark that was stamped on all of the papers in here. There was also the fact that the paper was also a bit yellowed at the edges and it felt a little crusty too as I reached my hand out to test its surface.

"Designed by... I can't really make out who this person is. It's all smudged with red ink and stuff," Kimiko voiced out and I prayed that she never loses that innocent mind of hers. "I think this part here makes out the word 'Hi' and over here, I think it says 'Fu' and 'Saki' over there," she pointed over to the bloodstained paper, carelessly tracing her hand all over the reddened surface.

"Why are we even bothering to check that? I mean, does it even say anything about our situation?" Megumi leaned in really closely to the paper as she ignored Kimiko's observation. "... next-gen... virtual reality software?!" she gasped as she took a few steps back in horror.

"What does that mean? Like people can put those high-tech sci fi helmets with all those clunky wires sticking out to experience some sort of 3D gaming world? Sounds a little too far-fetched to me... I mean you'd think we'd hear about that kind of news online and everyone would be talking about it but I've never actually heard such a thing like that before," Kimiko spoke as she twisted the paper around and proceeded to read it.

I looked over to Megumi, who was staring at the paper with wide-open eyes. "Are you okay?" I tried to reach out to her but she turned to look at me with the same blank stare.

"Oh... yeah, I'm fine," she shook her head for a bit before turning her attention back at the paper. "Um... but it does sound like a really cool idea, right Kimiko?"

"'Ya'... 'Ke'... 'Suda'...," Kimiko was still trying to read past all the bloodstained letters on the paper when Megumi had asked her about that. "Hmm? Oh yeah, I guess it would be cool and all, but for now I'm pretty sure this concept should be confined to games and movies," she gave a half-hearted shrug as she went back to deciphering the written words.

"Hey, how did you even find something like that underneath all of this mess?" Megumi asked again.

"Patient's brain... avatars... uploaded... designed to be... completely authentic... breakthrough in rehabilitation...," once again, Kimiko was still in the middle of making out the words on the paper when she looked up and shrugged. "It's probably an occupational hazard, I guess. When you've got like a dozen scenes to shoot and more than half of them are for different films and TV productions, you kinda have to learn how to power read through hundreds of script pages in a few min-,"

She stopped her speech abruptly in mid-sentence when she looked up at us with a concerned look on her face. "Guys, listen to this! It says here that whatever this virtual reality stuff is, it's already completed the early testing stage and should be relatively safe for humans to use, though there are still a few more complex commands that have yet to be tested out... but this isn't even the best part yet!"

Megumi turned to look at me and I did the same. "Well, what is it then?" we both ask in a 'hurry up' tone.

"This program... wait for it... was designed by the SHSL Programmer, Neurologist and Therapist! It's by us!" she shouted out in excitement as she looked expectantly at Megumi and I. "Ok, yeah, not us exactly but like, other Hope's Peak Academy students! Do you think there are more of us here than we originally thought?"

Megumi tilted her head again as she processed this new information. "Hmm... I'm not sure about that... Maybe it's just a trick left behind by Monokuma?" she gave a little shrug and I could see Kimiko frowned from the corner of my eyes.

"Awh, why do you have to be so pessimistic!" she pouted as she tossed the paper down to the ground and stomped her way out of the room.

Megumi turned to look at me after we both heard the door slam shut. "I didn't mean to be so... cynical, I guess? I was just wondering how on earth three high school students could have created something so sophisticated. I mean, where do they even get all their components from? Who's their manufacturer?"

I sighed as I started to walk towards the exit, beckoning Megumi to follow me. "Sometimes, you can be a little bit too... uptight, I guess. It doesn't hurt to just entertain our imaginations, you know," I think this is the first time I'm lecturing someone and all I saw was more eye-rolling on her part.

*THUMP*


Location: 2nd Floor Hallway

{=Box 15=}

"Oh, did you finish checking out the shooting range, Kotone? Any news to report?"

"Yes, I just did. As for news, not really,"

Two voices instantly came into earshot as I stepped back out into the hallway. Looking down the long stretch of a hallway I see Kimiko walking over at a brisk pace towards the now duty-free Kotone who was standing in front one of the classroom doors. The smaller girl peeked behind her and stuck out her tongue when she saw Megumi appearing from the weapons testing room.

"Well actually...," Kotone brought a hand up to her chin as she smiled gleefully. "I did find something else in the room but I don't think it's very vital to our plight as of the moment,"

At this point, every little bit helps and I don't care how small or irrelevant the clue is; if it takes us one step closer to getting out of here then I definitely do not want to waste it. I quicken my pace over to the two girls to get a better listen at their conversation.

"I found a list of addresses in the room. It was actually stuck underneath the table leg so my guess is that it was probably used as a wedge to balance it out," Kotone went on. "That's what I meant by it not being very vital to our situation as I don't see how something that's used to straighten tables could be of any help to us,"

"That's a bummer," Kimiko sighed as she proceeded to peek into the classroom. "Hey who's that in there? And why are they venting out their frustration at the window?"

"Oh, that's just Makoto trying to see if any of the windows are loose. She said that this is supposed to be the last classroom on this floor for her to check when I saw her just now," Kotone mused as she too, turned her attention into the figure in the classroom.

By now, Megumi had caught up with us and asked me what she had missed. I gave her a non-committal wave of my hand as I told her that she didn't miss much but she was persistent.

"Did you find anything else in the shooting range, Kotone?"

Upon hearing her name, Kotone turned around to answer. "Oh, yes. As I've said before to Yuuta and Kimiko, I found a list of addresses stuck under one of the table leg. The strange thing about it that I'd noticed is the fact that they were not just local addresses but also included various addresses from all over the world like America, Europe and China,"

"What does that even have to do with anything?" Kimiko absently asked as she kept her gaze locked to the window. "Uh-oh, I think the punkette's coming this way... and she doesn't look too happy!" she gasped as she stumbled unsteadily backwards from her view of the classroom.

"Hmm... that's odd, I haven't heard of Hope's Peak expanding their intakes to international students..." Megumi mused to herself as she walked further down the hallway when all of a sudden, the classroom's door swung wide open.

This time however, Megumi managed to sidestep just in time before the door met her face. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," she rested a hand on her hips as she scolded the door.

"Whoa, what's up with twin-tails here? I think she's gone bonkers when she hit her head back in the trial room," Makoto narrowed her eyes in disgust as she referred to the girl who was talking to an inanimate object.

"Any luck with the windows?" Kotone chimed in after she gave a weird look to Megumi.

"Nah, everything's boarded up just like downstairs. I gave most of them a good, solid punch but it's no good; there's not even a scratch on them. Whoever bolted up all the windows sure used a really sturdy material," Makoto scratched at her ear as she relayed the information that she had gathered to us.

"Well, yeah that makes sense. I mean, what would be the point of kidnapping us all here if we can just sneak out the windows," Kimiko agreed with Makoto's statement. "Maybe... we'll find another way out of here instead of the windows? Or maybe we there's a loose metal sheet on the next floor?"

"Um... I don't think windows would be a viable option once we get to higher floors...," Megumi had finished with her rant towards the door when she rejoined the group.

"Oh, right! I forgot about that," Kimiko stuck her tongue out. "But... maybe we can fashion a rope using bedsheets like they do in the movies?"

"Do you think that this is a game or something? That plan will never work, not with the bigger students anyways," Makoto rolled her eyes as she dragged her feet towards the point where the 4 separate hallways met and we quickened our pace to keep up. "Besides, who's to say Monokuma won't just show up and cut the rope while we're all dangling outside like that,"

"Dangling out like what? Did you mean 'hanging out'?" a figure suddenly darted from the southern hallway, giving Kotone quite the scare as her scream rang out through the entire 4 corners of the 2nd floor. "Oh my god! You could be a voice actress that specializes in horror projects!" the unknown girl shouted as she plugged her fingers into her ears.

"Don't scare me like that!" Kotone breathed a huge sigh of relief when she realized that no imminent threat was upon her. "Oh... it's just you Akiko. Please don't do that again,"

Akiko grinned and held out both of her hands in a playful peace sign as she giggled at her little prank. "Oh, I can't promise you that, Kotone. Maybe just for today but who knows what'll happen tomorrow!" she giggled even harder when she saw the worried look Kotone had on her face.

"Alright, alright, you guys can have your little prank wars later. Akiko, what did you find at your side of the search?" Makoto rubbed the bridge of her nose as the black-haired girl's antics was starting to test her patience.

The perky and light-hearted behavior of the SHSL Billiard's Player had suddenly vanished just as abruptly as she had made her appearance. "Jeez, way to kill the mood here. And I was just trying to be the plucky comic relief, you know? Too much tension is bad for you!"

A groan escaped from Kimiko's lips as she mumbled under her breath. "Statistically speaking, the rate of death for the comic relief type character is pretty high in horror movies," she snickered as Akiko looked at her with confusion.

"That's enough! Just spit it out already, if you know what's good for you...," Makoto balled her right hand up into a fist and gently pounded it on her left palm, signifying a more physical approach at the conversation if Akiko didn't hurry up.

"Eep!" came the shocked reply as that certainly got Akiko's attention as she raised both arms as if to surrender. "There's nothing but more classrooms and a bathroom down the hall!" she was borderline screaming as spewed out those string of words in a hasty speed. "I'm sorry for trying to be nice, forgive me!" Akiko brought her arms up to her face in defense, her voice shaking with fear. "Please, forgive me already!"

Makoto dropped her fists and let it hung loosely by her side, but not before giving a huge sigh and rolling her eyes. "... If you don't stop wailing soon, I'll give you a good punch that'll send you flying into space," a short squeak was heard from the smaller girl before the hallway was once again filled with silence.

*THUMP*

... Except for that incessant thumping which... I swear sounds louder than before now that we're in the middle of the intersection.

"Hey, wait a minute!" Makoto winced as she recalled something. "I was the one who checked the classrooms! I already know about that, of course. What I meant was that other room, the one opposite the bathroom," she narrowed her eyes as she leaned over, hoping to intimidate Akiko.

"What other room?"

For a second there, I thought I saw Makoto's eyes twitch. Whether it was because of annoyance or just plain fury, I'll never know. "Don't play dumb with me, I'm talking about that 'Monokuma Fight Club' room, duh!"

"Okay, first off, we do NOT talk about Monokuma Fight Club!" Akiko yelled back with all her might.

"That sounds really familiar... but I can't quite place it," the SHSL Hollywood Star absently commented on the situation, a finger resting on her chin. "Oh! I remember it's that one movie, right? The one with Brad-," her words however were immediately cut off when the floor began to shake again with tremendous force.

*THUMP*

*THUMP*

*THUMP*

This time however, instead of just the regular series of thumping, a guttural roar seemed to emanate from behind us... it sounded pretty inhumane as the roar grew louder and louder with each repetition. I looked around and saw Kotone shaking in her boots. Her eyes darted around and were the size of frying pans as the beastly roar echoed throughout the hallway.

All of a sudden, there was a loud banging sound behind of us in the northern hallway and when we turn around, we saw the door to the right side of the wall swung open and out came the SHSL prosecutor with a serious look on his face. "Everyone, we must investigate the source of this horrible noise!" he darted further down the north hallway without even waiting for our answer.

"That is exactly what the first one to die says in the movies!" Akiko cried out before running after him. "And why am I blindly following what he says?" was all that was heard as she sped towards the source.

"Oh my, this room is a mess!" Kotone got side-tracked from the current urgency as she took a peek into the room Seijun popped out of and I saw exactly what she was talking about. The floor was strewn about with various weapons, guns and survival knives; basically, a full military arsenal was kept in this room... in a very disorganized manner.

I was about to step into the room when Monokuma suddenly popped out of thin air. Jeez, the amount of jump scares today itself are incredible. Monokuma stood on his bear toes and raised both arms out as if to bar me from entering and spoke in an angry tone. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up right there, bub. Don't you have some investigation to do in the next room?"

"But... ,"

"No buts! Nope, none at all. You can't go this way, at least not until I clear up this mess first! Wouln't want you trip and fall onto a knife or something. Wouldn't that be a pretty sad view if one of you got speared in the guts? Upupupu, now go away and check somewhere else!" Monokuma stomped his foot as he slammed the door shut. The label on it read 'armory' which I guess would make sense... but why doesn't he want to enter just yet? Wasn't Seijun just in here?

"Hey, slowpokes, get your asses over here now!" Makoto's loud voice brought me out of my little day dream and I saw the whole group standing in front of an empty door further down. Some of them looked positively scared while other's just scratched their heads. I nodded in response and hurried over to them.

Upon nearing the mob of students, I noticed that the label here read 'training room', which I'm guessing is like a gym? Either way, the thumping sounds are getting louder as I took more and more steps towards it. The ground shook rhythmically in a steady pace and... I think I hear a faint grunting sound coming from inside? Whatever it was, the only way I could find out was to step inside to see it for myself...

Oh boy... this better not be something pg18 ...


a/n: Oh dear, are hidden personalities becoming a trend in the Dangan Ronpa universe? especially in the 2nd chapter of both games too... And look at that, someone left a file concerning the Ne_ Wo_l_ _ro_ram lying around. And what could those other pieces of information be? They certainly seem too random to be connected. What could all this possibly mean? Stay tuned to Dangan Ronpa: The Courage of Hope and The Strength of Despair to find out!

Marketing hook aside, I want to elaborate a little on this new planned schedule. It's to give GinMerric some time to finish with his moving- He'll be starting the move this Friday and it might take him quite a while to set things up at his new joint. That is all, goodnight.