Hello readers and welcome to my new chapter. So, this came earlier than expected. Don't know if it's because things in my life are finally settling, finally getting the juiciest part of the fifth chapter, or just keeping myself from overthinking. But whatever it is, I hope it keeps up.

Before we begin, I want to thank you guys once again for all the positive reviews that you've given this fic for the past several years. It's flattering, to read how much you all have enjoyed it, either having been reading since the start or discovering it later on; to know how well I've been writing these characters, and the little developments I've done for them. It keeps me motivated, knowing that I'm doing something right to keep older readers and attract newer ones.

Anyways, we're now at the fifth trial, and the reactions to it. I hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own Danganronpa.

Chapter 100: Watching Chapter 5: 100 Miles; Pain of a Junk Food Junkie Part 12

"Let's begin with the basic explanation of the class trial! So, your votes will determine the results." Monokuma, yet again, explained the rules from his throne. "If you can figure out 'whodunnit' then only they will receive punishment. But if you pick the wrong one, then I'll punish everyone besides the blackened, and the one that deceived everyone else will graduate! …Okay, well! I'll leave the rest up to you!"

"Well then, let's discuss the specifics of the victim." Byakuya decided for the group. "First, we need to clarify who exactly the unidentified victim is."

"It's Kyoko! There's no other explanation!" Hiro interjected.

"...What?" Hina spoke in pure confusion. "But… she's standing in the trial room, isn't she?"

"She is…" Byakuya confirmed, with his tone and expression as flat as a board.

"Oh, do not tell me…" Celeste began groaning to herself, realizing where this was going.

"But Kyoko's standing right there…!" Toko pointed out blankly, pointing at the lavender-haired girl.

"No! That's a ghost!" The fortune teller exclaimed.

"..." The 'ghost' herself was notably silent, eyes closed in exasperation.

"...You're seriously gonna continue pushing that ghost shit?!" Mondo exclaimed in irritated disbelief; something that's being shared amongst the class, judging by the various incredulous and/or annoyed looks.

"Honestly… this shouldn't be much of a surprise at this point…" Mukuro said flatly, pretty much accepting what's about to happen.

"She doesn't even look remotely ghostly…!" Hifumi pointed out.

"Yeah! Has legs, and everything!" Hina spoke in baffled agreement.

"But… she has legs and stuff." Hina pointed out in befuddlement.

"Well that's just because… she's like the latest evolution in ghost technology!" Hiro explained insistently.

And like that, nearly the entire student body in the room face-palmed. Only Chihiro and Makoto, the nicest of the bunch, refrained from doing so; but even they couldn't help but let out exasperated sighs over the sheer stupidity that is Yasuhiro Hagakure.

"Imbecile…" Was all Byakuya could say through his palm.

"Dimwit…" Celeste growled out herself.

"Blockhead…" Toko added in her insult.

"There's a limit to how much ridiculousness I can tolerate…" Byakuya stated flatly.

"Agreed…"

"No kidding…"

"Can he just shut up for once…?"

"Like, 'ghost technology'? Is he actually being serious…?"

"Hiro, just, you have to think. Just think about the things you say…"

"C'mon! It's perfectly valid that future me thinks that Kyoko's a ghost…!" Hiro whined to the class. In desperation, he turned to Makoto. "Makoto, back me up here! You can see why future me thinks this way, right?!"

"Um…" The lucky student couldn't help but look away, unable (And unwilling) to defend Hiro on this. Cause this was just way too ridiculous to defend.

"Um, okay… so I just have to prove that the corpse isn't Kyoko, right?" Makoto said awkwardly. "Then let's compare Kyoko's traits to the traits of the dead body."

"Are we seriously wasting time proving that a clearly alive person is alive…?" Junko questioned, looking as done as everyone else. "Why not just ignore Hiro or something?"

"The fool won't let us move forward until we prove that the dead body is, in fact, not Kyoko…" Byakuya groaned out in irritation. "And will continue to loudly insist that she's dead and a ghost. So, unfortunately, we have to entertain the fool's delusion and prove that it's just that. A delusion."

"Can't believe that this have to be an actual, fucking thing…!" Mondo growled to himself, facepalming.

"And that it's being treated with any modicum of seriousness…" Celeste followed up with her clear annoyance.

"Let's… just get through this section of the trial, and move on…" Sakura sighed, having resigned herself to this.

"Her traits…?" Hina repeated, tilting her head in confusion.

"I'm talking about her gloves." Makoto answered. "They'll give us some insight into the mystery, I'm sure of it."

"In that case, I think it would be helpful if someone explained why she actually wears those gloves." Byakuya prodded intently.

"And would you happen to know the answer?" Kyoko fired back.

"In fact, Monokuma told me." Byakuya answered smugly. "Apparently you have scars on your hands you don't want anyone to see."

"..." Kyoko said nothing more in response.

"I'm… kinda surprised you aren't reacting badly to that…" Leon hesitantly pointed out. "Thought that it would've at least earned a glare, or something."

"Our future selves have more pressing matters at that moment. I'm not gonna bother expressing any anger when it's already out in the open." Kyoko sighed.

"Oh! You know, now that I think about it… the corpse wasn't wearing any gloves, right?!" Hina recalled.

"They probably just got burnt up in the explosion!" Hiro argued. "I'm not convinced! The ghost is just trying to fool us all!"

"For what possible purpose?!" Taka exclaimed in both disbelief and frustration. "What reason would she have to try and trick the survivors?!"

"And… I don't see how the gloves could end up being completely burnt off…" Chihiro pointed out. "They would've been caught in the explosion, yes, but there still would've been remnants left."

"Are we seriously making actual arguments about this shit…?" Leon questioned incredulously, a dumbfounded look on his face. "When we know for a fact Kyoko's not a goddamn ghost?"

"Brain-cells. Dying. One - by - one." Junko groaned dramatically, sinking downward from her seat.

"I'm honestly feeling dumber just listening to the asinine discussion…" Byakuya groaned, fingers across his forehead to suppress the oncoming headache.

'There's no way that corpse was Kyoko…' Makoto thought to himself. 'But if I can't prove why, we're gonna be stuck here and the case won't move forward. So I don't have any choice but to…'

"How about just gagging the fool…?" Celeste growled, her persona slowly slipping. "That could help the case move forward."

"Tempting, I must admit; and I'm sure Monokuma wouldn't mind…" Byakuya honestly mused at the suggestion.

'...Probably not, no.' The mastermind herself agreed in her head. Honestly, she would have half the mind to gag the empty-headed fortune teller herself.

"I can't believe that we have to give the idiot the time of day…" Toko grumbled, her stutter temporarily gone.

"You guys are so mean…!" Hiro cried out, slumping in his chair. "We all thought Kyoko was dead…!"

"Yeah! But you're the only one who thinks that Kyoko's a ghost…!" Hina pointed out, with clear exasperation. "So that says a lot! A whole lot!"

Once again, the non-stop debate started up, with the truth bullets loaded in the revolver. The first to speak was Hiro. "That 'Kyoko' there is just a ghost!" Hiro continued to insist.

"I-Impossible…" Toko denied, rather flatly.

"Okay, then prove it! Prove she's not a ghost!" Hiro challenged.

"The dead body wasn't wearing gloves!" Hina pointed once again.

"They got burnt up in the explosion!" The fortune teller argued once again.

"Then… she was wearing gloves before the explosion…?" Toko then asked.

"Well, yeah!" Hiro answered. "She must've been wearing gloves!"

'No, that's wrong!' The bullet was shot as Makoto spoke up. "No, there's no way the corpse was wearing gloves. Whoever it was, they were wearing fake nails, remember? I imagine trying to wear gloves over nails like that would have been a pretty big pain."

"Besides, Kyoko wears gloves to hide her hands, right?" The lucky student then added. "It'd be pretty weird for someone who's self-conscious about their hands to wear fake nails, don't you think?"

"Jeez man, you don't know women, huh?" Hiro said in response. "They're complicated like that!"

Almost immediately, all eight female students fixed Hiro with varying blank looks. The fortune teller couldn't help but shrink at those looks. "W-What?"

"YOU'RE the one who doesn't know women, Hiro…!"

"For once, I agree with the idiot swimmer…"

"A fool should not speak about understanding women, when he clearly does not."

"You don't even understand what's real and what isn't…"

"I can't imagine any women wearing gloves AND fake nails at the same time. Much too impractical…"

"We aren't so complicated as to do such a peculiar thing."

"My gloves aren't even the size to hide nails like that…"

"You really should just shut up, Hiro; and know when you're digging yourself into a hole…"

Hiro curled up further in his seat as the girls chastised him, an intense pressure coming from their words and stares. The guys, meanwhile, could only watch as the fortune teller got lambasted by their female classmates. They almost felt sorry for him; but he brought it on himself, and any pity was washed away with what his future self put all of them through.

'Better to remain quiet and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt…' Makoto quoted to himself. 'Can't remember where I heard that quote, but it fits here.'

"If anyone doesn't know women, it's you!" Hina threw back at him in annoyance.

"Well, Kyoko? Any thoughts?" Byakuya spoke in exasperation.

"These gloves were custom-made to the size of my hands to make sure they don't interfere with my daily life." Kyoko disclosed. "If I wore fake nails, the gloves wouldn't fit properly."

"Then that's that. The dead body doesn't belong to Kyoko." Makoto declared.

"Which should have been obvious, since she's standing right there…" The Togami heir stated, his irritation still present.

"For real…!" Both Leon and Mondo exclaimed in frustration, throwing their hands up.

"But it seems like it's over. Finally…" Sayaka breathed out in relief.

"I was close to throwing something if the fool continued…" Celeste admitted to.

"At what?" Byakuya asked with a raised eyebrow. "The TV? Or Hiro?"

"Yes."

"Fair enough."

"Okay, so then… who's the real victim?" Hiro then asked. "First we need to figure that out!"

"Oh hell no!"

"Don't go taking the lead after all that!"

"That's what they were trying to do!"

"You've been dragging the survivors in circles!"

"That's the first thing I said. You're the one who's been dragging us around in circles…" Byakuya retorted in response.

"Exactly!" Hina huffed, crossing her arms. "Everyone else knew Kyoko was alive, standing right along with the rest of the survivors! He was the only one insisting that she was dead; and a ghost!"

"Hard. Fucking. Falls!" Mondo stated, his tone both blank yet angry at the same time. "He had some hard fucking falls as a kid…!"

At this point, the only thing Hiro could do was just keep quiet, knowing that any defense he tries to make will not have any effects on his classmate's thoughts on him. Or his future self, rather.

Non-stop debate once again, with Hiro speaking first once more. "If Kyoko really is still alive…" He began. "...then who died?!"

"There's gotta be some way to figure it out." Hina said in thought.

"I-I don't think so… the face was scorched beyond recognition…" Toko pointed out. "And there wasn't any description in the Monokuma File."

"Well if we can't identify the body…" Hina trailed off.

'No, that's wrong!' A bullet was shot as Makoto spoke up. "There was one clue left behind that we can use to identify the body."

"What? For real?!" The swimmer exclaimed in surprise.

"If you're l-lying, you'll die a cruel and unusual d-death…!" Toko hissed.

"A cruel and unusual death?! This I gotta see!" Hiro spoke eagerly.

"She's just being stupid! Ignore them, Makoto." Hina spoke in assurance. "Tell us what you're talking about!"

"The key to figuring out who it was…" The luckster lifted his handbook to show the body's right hand. "...is the tattoo on the back of her hand."

"So now the trial truly begins…" Byakuya declared, regaining his composure. "Should be rather easy to conclude that the body belongs to Mukuro."

"Though it will likely confuse some of the survivors, considering they have believed Mukuro is the mastermind." Sakura noted.

"Won't be too much of an issue." Celeste said in assurance. "With the evidence they have gained, Makoto and/or Byakuya can quickly make the conclusion that Mukuro isn't the mastermind."

"Oh, yeah. The design's pretty strange, huh?" Hina noted as she looked over the tattoo. "Is this… a dog?"

"Her master m-must've have made her get it…" Toko suggested, rather perversely. "To be like, 'You're my b-bitch'."

And just like that, over half the class sent silent prayers to the writing prodigy, as Mukuro slowly turned towards with a very unreadable look. However, what could be read was the dark intent that was slowly growing and surrounding her.

"...F-F-Fu… F-Future… m-m-me…" Toko managed to squeak out, looking pastier than usual and shaking like a leaf.

The Ultimate Soldier continued to give that unreadable, rather haunting stare, before slowly turning her eyes back on the screen. The writer nearly collapsed in relief in response.

"Seriously?! They really did something that humiliating?!" Hiro exclaimed in shock.

"No, that's not it." Byakuya refuted curtly. "The identity of the victim is hidden within that tattoo."

"Whoa, really?!" Hina exclaimed.

"The Fenrir Mercenary Corps. That's the name of the military group Mukuro Ikusaba belongs to…" Makoto revealed.

"Okay, so…?" Hiro prodded, looking lost.

"To show that they're a member of the team, each soldier that joins the squad would get a tattoo representing Fenrir somewhere on their body." Byakuya explained further.

"Fenrir…?" Hina repeated in confusion.

Toko then spoke up. "Fenrir, the Wolf of Ragnorak. It's from Norse mythology. A huge, world-ending wolf beast. He's the ch-child of the trickster god, Loki, and a female giant."

"Man! After all this time, we finally got a glimpse of the literacy all-star!" Hiro observed with some surprise.

"You see that side of her once in a blue moon…" Leon remarked jokingly.

"Sh-Shut it…!" Toko gave the baseball star a side-eyed glare. "It's not t-that easy to be o-open with people. Especially w-with a-an inferiority complex."

"At least you are aware of your issues…" Sayaka said with a sweatdropped.

"A wolf tattoo… then that means-!" Hina slowly realized.

"Exactly. The body we found had a tattoo of a wolf." Makoto confirmed. "Which means that person must have once belonged to Fenrir. So it must have been Mukuro."

"What?!" Hiro shouted out incredulously.

"H-Hold on… isn't she the one that was behind the whole thing?" Hina pointed out, looking just as surprised.

"Ah-ha-ha-ha! You sound so surprised! But you're absolutely right!" Monokuma laughed. "Yes, indeed! The trial this time is to solve the murder of Mukuro Ikusuba!"

"Wh-What?" Toko stuttered out in shock and confusion. "Are you saying the m-mastermind is dead… and now we have to have a c-class trial?"

"No. It means we were wrong in thinking that Mukuro was the mastermind at all." Byakuya deduced.

"But, I mean… being the Ultimate Despair seems like a pretty mastermind-y title to me…" Hina argued.

"Maybe we shouldn't have been thinking of her as the Ultimate Despair in the first place." The Togami heir suggested. "After all, looking at her profile, I didn't see anything that would fit such a description. All it said was that she was the Ultimate Soldier."

"If I remember correctly, that other information came from…" Byakuya's eyes then shifted towards Kyoko. "Kyoko, that's what you told Makoto, right?"

"..." The lavender haired girl was silent at that.

"Again… where did she get the idea that Mukuro is the Ultimate Despair?" Celeste spoke, narrowing her eyes. "That can't have been from her profile."

"At the very least, it's not something that was pulled from nothing…" Sakura stated neutrally. "Kyoko isn't one to just say things without concrete evidence or reasoning."

At the topic, some took glances at Mukuro; some subtle, others not so much. The soldier did her best to ignore those looks.

"So that means… Kyoko got it wrong?" Hiro gaped in surprise.

"Then… who was she? Who was Mukuro Ikusuba?" Hina then asked. "She's been gone this whole time, and when she finally turns up, she gets killed!"

"Usually, when there's a s-scene where an important character dies, it has a lot m-more detail…" Toko said with a small frown.

"Not unless the details are part of the mystery…" Hifumi openly mused. "Then it makes sense to hide what exactly happened, to make the scene more shocking."

"S-So if it continues like any mystery, then the survivors s-should figure out the true circumstances of Mukuro's death…" Toko murmured, her creative side taking over yet again. "And find out that Mukuro, rather than Junko, has been with them since the beginning."

At their words, Kyoko took a subtle glance at Junko. Taking the words of Hifumi and Toko, if one would look at it as a mystery show, or novel… would the true circumstances of Mukuro's death be the only mystery solved? Or is there another hidden within it?

"So you're saying she wasn't an important character?" Byakuya asked rhetorically. "Which would mean she was the same as us - just another participant."

"Then who's the real mastermind?" Hiro questioned.

"It must have been th-the Hope's Peak Academy headmaster, a-after all…!" Toko concluded.

"No, the headmaster has nothing to do with it." Kyoko refuted.

"But how can we trust that?" Byakuya argued. "We already know your information about Mukuro was wrong."

"My information was not wrong…" Was the lavender haired girl's fierce statement.

"She… really does sound certain about it…" Makoto noted with a frown.

"And with the file about Mukuro being from her room… this doesn't seem like a case of getting wrong info…" Sayaka added, looking as concerned as the lucky student beside her.

"..." The detective looked down in thought. There had to have been something else that made her future self so certain. Something that would give Mukuro the title of Ultimate Despair. But does her future self have it? Or has it remained in the principal's office?

"Okay, okay! We're in the middle of a trial right now! Figuring out who killed Mukuro is first and foremost!" Monokuma interjected. "Please limit all future prattle, chatter, and chit-chat as much as possible!"

The bear's interruption caused several groans from the students. "C'mon! I wanted to hear what Kyoko had to say…!" Leon griped.

"Doubt she would've said much; at least not while the mastermind has us in their sight." Byakuya huffed. "So whatever information she has will have to be revealed later. If there's a later, that is…"

His last statement caused a bit of tension to rise back up, awareness of Monokuma's true intention back on their minds. "Did you have to add the if?" Hina whined, biting her lips nervously.

"...Fine. Uncovering the identity of the mastermind will have to wait. But remember this…" Byakuya aimed a fierce stare at the monochrome bear. "No matter what happens, we will find out who you really are. I stake my family name on it!"

The response in return? "I have officially decided to completely ignore all such attempts at provocation!" Monokuma declared. "Now then, just so nobody's confused, let me state this one more time for the record… The reason we're having a class trial is because a murder among the students has taken place! Hammer that point straight into your big ol' brain!"

"Yeeeaaah, I call bull-shit…!" Leon remarked with an angry scowl. "A fake trial is going on for a murder that you did, you piece of shit!"

"The mastermind wants to make certain none of the students can draw the conclusion that this is a trap…" Celeste deduced, pursuing her lips. "And keep any attempts of drawing the dots towards them."

"And considering four trials has happened, three of them with murders and another with a suicide…" Byakuya recalled grimly. "That, unfortunately, gives credibility to his statements."

Several of the students couldn't help but look and/or feel ill at that fact. The would-be murderers, especially, didn't like the idea that they made the mastermind's words credible. Sayaka and Celeste found themselves keeping their eyes away from anyone, while Mondo and Leon had their heads bowed, angry scowls aimed at their laps.

"What you're saying is that both the victim and the culprit are part of the student body?" Byakuya asked for clarification.

"Then… one of us killed Mukuro?" Hina then asked hesitantly.

"Wait, no! There's a chance that there's some mystery 17th person who's been hiding all along!" Hiro quickly suggested.

But Monokuma immediately discarded that idea. "Nope! There are only 16 students in total that have been taking part in these events!"

"Seriously?!" Hiro exclaimed in shock. "Then… one of us killed Mukuro?!"

"Who d-did it?! Who's the killer th-this time?!" Toko spoke in demand.

"Get a hold of yourself. We've already narrowed down the list of possible suspects." Byakuya told the group.

"Huh…?" Hina looked at Byakuya in confusion.

"I'm sure you realize who I'm talking about, right Makoto?" Byakuya prodded the luckster. "Who the evidence points to?"

And with that, the tension became thicker, with the air becoming colder. 'Here comes the difficult part of the trial already…' Makoto thought grimly. 'Proving mine and Kyoko's innocence…'

"You've narrowed it down to… Kyoko, and me. Right?" Makoto answered hesitantly.

"...Why do you say that?" Kyoko inquired.

"Allow me to explain…" Byakuya stepped in. "Just after nighttime last night, I went to the garden. So I can confirm that at that point, there was no dead body there. So, the murder must have taken place after I left the garden. However… Hiro, Toko, Hina, and I were in the gym the entire time."

"The gym…?" Kyoko's eyes widened slightly at that.

"That's right. The four of us were there trying to dismantle Monokuma." The Togami heir explained. "The whole time we were very careful not to go anywhere alone. We even went to the bathroom in pairs. All of which is to say… the four of us all have alibis. The only ones without alibis…"

"...are me and Makoto." Kyoko concluded in understanding. "That's why you're able to narrow down the list of suspects."

"Exactly so." Byakuya confirmed haughtily.

"Well, if she's already suspected something, then she definitely knows she's being targeted now…" Leon remarked, crossing her arms.

"Unfortunately, with her brisk investigation, there is information that she clearly lacks…" Sakura noted, catching the surprise reaction from the detective. "It'll make it all the more likely she gets cornered by circumstantial evidence…"

"And Makoto has to prove his innocence too…!" Hina added, biting her lips. "Since he still has no alibi…!"

"He'll likely have an easier time proving his innocence, however, since he had a more thorough investigation compared to Kyoko…" Mukuro spoke in musing. "And know pretty much all the events that transpired."

'So the only suspects now are me and Kyoko. Dammit…! I can't let this stand. Somehow I have to clear my name…' Makoto thought to himself, before speaking up. "Um, I have something I'd like to say regarding the whole alibi thing…"

"...Are you thinking of raising an objection?" Byakuya questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"Well, before that, I just want to try and get a better idea of what time the murder took place." Makoto explained. "Doing that might reveal some kind of clue…"

"Whatever you want. Somebody go ahead and help him out." Was all the Togami heir said.

"So… it seems as though future Makoto, rather than try to immediately object or disprove any guilt, is fishing for anything that would prove he couldn't have done it." Celeste spoke in musing. "By figuring out the mysteries behind the murder, it would give a clearer picture of who did or didn't do it."

"That would be the smartest to do in his position." Byakuya said with a small nod of approval.

"Maybe if they figure out the surrounding mysteries, they'll find something that can point to the mastermind…" Chihiro hummed in thought, being a bit optimistic. "Something that is off about the murder and trial."

'Doubt it~' Junko sang to herself. There's nothing that can directly point to her, at least not anything she could see. Unless Kyoko ends up pulling something from those scar-covering gloves, there's no way for any of them to figure out the actual truth.

It makes the trial kinda boring, thinking about it. But hey, the despair that Kyoko's death would inspire would more than make up for it.

"Me and Byakuya can both confirm that the body wasn't in the garden at…" Hiro spoke up in thought. "Well, it was after nighttime for sure. I'd say it must have been around 10'clock. So the murder musta happened after 10 pm."

"Then I guess we can say the time for the murder was between then and when we found the body…?" Hina guessed. "Oh, but… what time did we find the body?"

"The one who saw the body first was Toko, right? When she went to go get the pickaxe…" Hiro recalled.

"Then the body must have been discovered at 9 a.m., since that's when Toko went to get the pickaxe…" Makoto deduced. A flashback of Byakuya ordering Toko to go get the pickaxe was then shown.

Toko then spoke up to confirm it. "H-He's right, it had to be around th-then."

"So we can be totally sure the murder happened sometime between 10 at night and 9 in the morning." Hiro concluded.

"For me, I was already asleep before nighttime hit. So I don't have an alibi after 10 o'clock…" The lucky student admitted to. "But I'm sure I met up with everyone else before 9 this morning."

"We ran into each other in the dining hall, right? That was around…" Hina spoke in recollection. "Oh yeah! Right around 7:30! I remember checking right before I went in, so I'm totally sure of it."

"Which means from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., you don't have an alibi." Hiro stated.

'The murder happened between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. And I don't have an alibi from 10 p.m. till 7:30 a.m.' Makoto summarized to himself. 'Okay then, it looks like the game has begun. If I can't provide an alibi for that period… then I just have to prove the murder didn't happen during the time I don't have an alibi!'

"So it seems that Mr. Naegi will be working more independently this time around…" Hifumi noted, adjusting his glasses.

"Huh? What do you mean by that?" Hina asked, tilting her head in confusion.

"In previous trials, Mr. Naegi had guidance either from Mr. Togami or Miss Kirigiri…" The fanfic creator explained. "While those three have been the main ones solving trials and putting together the mystery, Mr. Naegi had help, more often than not, from those two…"

"So it'll be the first time that he'll have to connect the pieces by himself…" Chihiro said in understanding. "Since Kyoko has very little evidence to work with, and Byakuya sees him as one of the suspects."

"Indeed, Mr. Fujisaki." Hifumi nodded in confirmation.

"I don't think it'll be too tough for him…" Sayaka stated, confident in her luckster. "We saw how he was able to keep up with Byakuya's and Kyoko's thinking. He'll be able to figure things out himself."

The vote of confidence got a blush from said luckster, who could only duck his head and rub the back of his head sheepishly. Were the previous trials, the parts he played in them, really that big of a deal?

The non-stop debate started up once again, with Byakuya speaking first. "We've established a timeframe for the murder." He began. "It took place between 10 o'clock at night and 9 o'clock in the morning.

'No, that's wrong!' The bullet was shot as Makoto spoke up. "Actually, the murder couldn't have happened anywhere near 10 o'clock. It had to have taken place way later!"

"And what makes you say that?" The Togami heir questioned.

"Because of the sprinklers in the garden." Makoto answered. "The sprinklers are set to go off at 7:30 every morning, right? So if the body had been in the garden before 7:30… then it should have been completely soaked!"

Eyes lit up in remembrance of that little fact. "Oh yeah! I totally forgot about the sprinklers!" Hina spoke in realization. "Makoto's right! The body should've been way soaked if it was there before 7:30!"

"Alright! It's looking like he's gonna have a solid alibi for himself…!" Hiro cheered.

"H-Hold on! I remember this part p-perfectly!" Toko protested. A flashback of the body was then shown. "The body w-was wet! Dripping wet, in fact…"

The scene then went back to Makoto. "Sorry Toko, but you're wrong."

"I'm wrong? H-How?" The writer questioned. A scowl then entered her feature. "Are you saying o-only the mouth down south was wet? How dare you spew s-such indecent words?!"

"...The fuck?" Mondo, along with several other students, gave the writing prodigy weird looks. "Where the fuck you draw that fucked up conclusion?"

"Toko, just… no. Just no." Was all Sayaka could say, shaking her head.

The writing prodigy could only stay silent, curled up and cheeks burning for reasons different from the usual ones.

"No…" Makoto denied, giving Toko a weird and baffled look. "I'm saying that the body was wet, but not because of the sprinklers."

"What do you m-mean…?" A look of confusion entered Toko's face before her scowl returned. "By d-denying the sprinklers… are you trying to deny my e-entire existence?!"

"Man! You're totally wacko!" Was all Hiro could say to that.

"Seriously…" Leon found himself nodding along with future Hiro's words. "Like… every part of that sentence is wrong and messed up!"

"Where did she even come to such a conclusion…?!" Taka questioned, question marks practically floating across his head.

"You need help, Toko. Like, major help…" Hina told the writer, who could only remain curled up.

"If you r-really think it wasn't the sprinkler… y-you'd better tell us why!" Toko shouted in demand.

Makoto had an easy enough explanation. "Just remember what the body was like after the explosion and you'll see why it wasn't the sprinklers." He advised the survivors. "The top half of the body was wet, yes, but the bottom half was completely dry. If the sprinklers got the body wet, shouldn't the whole body have been wet?"

"S-So the only got the top wet? The bottom was c-completely dry?!" Toko whimpered. "What a brutal m-maniac!"

"I'm so sick of her…" Was all Hina could say to that.

"Agreed…" Was the unanimous statement from nearly half the class.

"Just… get the fuck out of whatever fantasy playing in your head…!" Mondo stated, shaking his head. "We don't want to hear any of that shit!"

"Like Hina said; we really should probably find you some mental help…" Sayaka sighed. They even have an Ultimate Therapist at Hope's Peak, don't they?

"Let's just… move on…" Makoto suggested awkwardly. "The reason only the top half was wet was because, while the body was still on fire, I doused it with water. But the only part on fire - the top half."

"O-Oh…" Toko said, calming down. "Then I guess the sprinklers r-really didn't do it…"

"She was there, wasn't she?" Leon asked with a raised eyebrow. "How did she not remember that…?"

"Actually… technically, she couldn't have noticed." Makoto spoke up in defense of the writer. "She was controlled by Genocide Jack, remember? And she got blown away after, so neither could have seen me douse the body with water…"

"Oh. Yeah. That makes sense." The baseball star nodded in acceptance to that.

That got Toko to lift up her head slightly, to give Makoto an embarrassed yet thankful look. The luckster smiled in reassurance in response.

"So if the sprinklers didn't get the body wet, then the murder must have taken place…" Makoto began concluding. "...sometime after the sprinklers turned on at 7:30 in the morning!"

"Which means she must have been killed sometime between then and when the body was discovered at 9." Hiro deduced.

"But Makoto's alibi was only missing from 10 o'clock last night to 7:30 this morning, right?" Hina recalled.

"So there's no way Makoto could have done it!" The fortune teller then realized. "I guess you had an alibi, after all. Good for you!"

"Woohoo…! Great job, Makoto!" Hina cheered, pumping her fist up. "You were able to prove that you couldn't have done it!"

"I knew you would be able to prove your innocence…" Sayaka stated, smiling at the lucky student. "You really did good there, Makoto."

Again, the luckster couldn't help but blush at the praise. However, he didn't let himself focus on his future self securing an alibi for too long… cause now…

"In which case, the only one left without an alibi… is Kyoko." Byakuya declared.

"..." And the girl in question was silent at that.

At that, any good cheer was wiped, the group now being confronted with the fact that Kyoko is the only suspect left. "This will likely be much tougher now…" Celeste stated, a fist over her chin.

"H-Hey! It's still pretty early in the trial, and Makoto was able to prove that he didn't do it…!" Hina said optimistically, in an attempt to not get incredibly nervous. "Maybe Kyoko got something up her sleeve!"

"With the girl having done a last minute investigation? Doubtful…" Byakuya snorted, no trace of humor in her tone. "Kyoko's good. But like all of us, she remains human."

Makoto cast a worried look towards the detective. "Kyoko…"

Any worry she may feel was perfectly hidden behind her stoic mask. "It's still fairly early in the trial…" Kyoko assured him. "And plenty of things to touch on. So I wouldn't worry too much yet."

Yet despite her words… the lucky student couldn't help but notice the tight grip she had on his hand. Something that did little to alleviate his own concerns.

'Kyoko's the only one without an alibi… which would mean that Mukuro's killer is…' The lucky student shook his head in denial, an anxious frown across his face. 'No, I refuse to believe it…! Kyoko murdered someone? That's…'

"...I'd just like to say one thing." Kyoko suddenly spoke up. "If you vote for me, and I die here, the mystery of this school will stay hidden forever. Which is why… I can't let that happen!"

Her statement caught several of the students by surprise. None of them were sure what they were expecting, be it the detective showing evidence against her guilt, or requesting time to look at the case more… but they didn't expect something this direct.

"...Does that mean she has something to prove her innocence?" Chihiro asked tentatively, a bit of hope in his face.

"If she did, I would assume she would reveal it at this point…" Mukuro debunked, a small frown across her face. "I don't think the first she would do is make a statement like that."

"I must agree. No… this seems like a statement against a trial she knows is rigged." Byakuya surmised. "But with little to prove otherwise."

The detective herself, beneath her stoic demeanor, was in turmoil. No matter how much she looked, she couldn't figure out a way that her future self could get out of this. The only thing she could do is protest this, to attempt to convince the others that this is actually a trap.

But could she do it? Is it possible to convince the other survivors that at this point? With so little evidence to actually point to that? In her heart… that small pit of fear found itself growing.

'Huh…?' Makoto had a look of surprise by that statement.

"So are you saying… you're not the culprit?" Byakuya inquired.

"Of course I'm not. I have no reason to kill anyone." Kyoko stated. "This is a trap the mastermind laid for us."

"A trap…?" Hina repeated in confusion.

"To say that so bluntly…" Sayaka bit her lip in trepidation. It really does look like she has little in the way of evidence.

"Perhaps… Perhaps she can convince the others of this!" Taka spoke optimistically. "Prove to them that this is indeed a trap!"

"It'll be a tough sell…" Leon remarked with a frown. Hina and Makoto, he could see listening; but Byakuya, Toko, and Hiro? They're probably already dead set on believing Kyoko's the killer.

That earned a laugh from Monokuma. "We're this far into the game, and now you decide to blame me?" The bear mocked. "Stop wasting time! Stop wasting energy! You really think your little trick is gonna work?!"

And of course, hearing the bear himself got several of the students scowling and glaring. "Says the fucker who made this fucking sham of a trial…!" Mondo growled hatefully.

"Get off your high horse, you cheating bastard!" Hina shouted angrily.

"A lying little hypocrite, is what they are…!" Sayaka hissed.

Makoto said nothing; merely aimed a dark, hateful glare at the monochrome bear. Honestly… he never thought he could feel so much anger, hate even, for one person; especially one he has yet to meet. But seeing what the mastermind would do to his friends, each low bar they would reach, how they even treated those loyal to him…

Honestly, it would be more of a surprise if he didn't end up detesting the one hiding behind the damn bear.

"Shut up, you!" Byakuya interjected sharply.

"You got it, boss! Shutting up now!" The bear accepted happily.

"Anyway…" The Togami heir sighed, calming down. "Kyoko, you actually did have a reason to kill her."

"Huh? She did?" Makoto spoke in surprise.

"She thought Mukuro was the Ultimate Despair. In other words, the mastermind behind everything…" Byakuya explained. "So she killed her to try and put a stop to this. Isn't that right, Kyoko? But you made one catastrophic mistake - Mukuro wasn't the mastermind at all. And as a result, we were forced into another trial, something I'm sure you weren't at all expecting."

"So th-that was her motive…?" Toko questioned, biting her thumb.

"If she had a motive, and no alibi, well then… I think it's pretty clear Kyoko's gotta be the culprit…" Hiro nodded to this.

"They're not listening…!" Hina cried out in frustration, pulling the sides of her hair. "Can't they just bother to hear the other side out for once?!"

"Byakuya… have your future self learned nothing from past events?" Taka spoke in admonishment. "Doesn't he remember the last time he nearly jumped to conclusions?"

"Of course he does…" The Togami heir sighed. "But he and the others lack information we have. The idea that the mastermind would cheat like this is beyond us at this point. And with the lack of trust Kyoko has developed with the other survivors… we will not be convinced easily that this is actually a trap laid out for us…"

"In other words… she got everything working against her…" Leon sighed in frustration, rubbing the side of his head.

"...Let's… Let's not give up yet…!" Makoto said, attempting to keep up confidence. "Like we said, it's still early in the trial! No doubt future me won't easily believe Kyoko has killed Mukuro! If they can put their heads together, then maybe-!"

"I'm not the only one without an alibi. Makoto's explanation is still insufficient."

…Huh?

Slowly, all sixteen pairs of eyes directed themselves towards the screen; with their brains being even slower to catch up to what they just heard.

"...Wha-?" Hina stared at the screen dumbfoundedly.

"Huh…?" Leon's jaw dropped in pure shock.

"Wha- What did she just…?" Sayaka stuttered in disbelief.

"..." Even Kyoko found herself visibly reacting to the words coming out of her own mouth, her eyes completely shot open.

"..." But the one most in shock was one Makoto Naegi, who could only stare blankly at the girl currently on screen.

They… They didn't hear that right, did they?

And that's the end! I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter; and the little cliffhanger at the end (Insert evil laugh). Like I said, hopefully the speed in which I'm writing currently keeps up. Next chapter, we're continuing the investigation; with the class finally coming to witness Kyoko Kirigiri's betrayal of Makoto Naegi. Review, favorite, and follow and I will see you later.