The final arc has begun and I have to say, it feels so good that I'm almost done with the sequel!
Several seconds later, I woke up to find myself back on the beach and Yoruko was beside me.
"Owen, you okay?" She asked.
"Yeah, I'm all good, and it looks like we're not in our avatars this time." I replied. "Where's everyone else?"
"They were logged in via several locations." Someone answered. "Glad to see that the admin privileges worked."
"Dylan?" I responded. "So where can we start looking?"
"Why not start with where it all began?" Someone familiar asked before appearing. "Hoo-hoo! Welcome back!"
"Ah! Monocrow?!" Yoruko jumped as she hugged me.
"Awww, what's with the surprised face? I also like what you've done with your shirt and tie, Owen. And who is this?"
"I'm Dylan Richardson, former Peacekeeper." Dylan answered. "Simply put that I'm the guy who's asked to track down Mikado."
"Fufufu! So you're the one who's been after him. You must be the upperclassman for these group of students."
Dylan sighed. "Hope's Peak been closed for years, so that kind of talk won't work on me."
"Touche, well then, as you can see, this whole world has completely stopped working properly."
"Yeah, we can see that." I said. "So what are you planning to do?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Monocrow smirked. "I'm going to be helping you of course."
"Helping us, how?"
"By conducting what I call...the Ultimate Investigation!"
"Ultimate investigation?" Dylan asked.
"Think of it like this. Mikado is no longer present in the virtual world, so with his influence gone, I can finally be free. Now you have a chance to conduct...one last investigation. The clues that have eluded you will finally make an appearance. But of course, you have to start from somewhere, way not take a look at the monocruise?"
"But didn't the monocruise get blown up?" I asked.
"It did, but the glitches you see have caused it to appear again, but with influence from the real world. But before I continue, I need to tell you one piece of information I was forced to keep private. Mikado Sannonji did NOT create me when he hacked into the simulation system, that was a simple lie he spread to the other Void members to throw you all off the scent. So what I'm trying to say...is that I was originally programmed by Kokoro Mitsume to watch over you all."
"Are you serious?!" Yoruko asked in shock.
"So Kokoro...created Monocrow for the simulation?" Dylan hummed. "Why didn't she tell us that earlier?"
"Hold on, just before you go any further, let's begin the final investigation!" Monocrow announced.
"Ohhh kaaaay." I said slowly.
"As for your question, Dylan. She must've assumed that if she told the others that as well, they would all begin to despise her. Because of what happened throughout this whole field trip." Monocrow answered. "She created me to be an observer for when you were all scheduled to go through a 'refresh course', until Mikado came along and hacked the whole system. I wasn't supposed to look like this you know. I was supposed to be all white, but still the crowest of the crows!"
"So you weren't meant to have the dark side?" I asked.
"Fufufu, that's a good reference, Owen. I dare say that you have grown the most throughout this whole ordeal. As for this virtual reality, you may have already heard this, but the goal of this field trip was to create the personality of Utsuro and use Yuki Maeda as the body for the revival. Kokoro wasn't made aware of the details, she had no clue that Mikado was planning to betray her in order to fulfill his own goals for Void."
"So that was his first step, Mikado had already planned to betray Kokoro from the start." Dylan said. "And he did so by hacking the simulation himself."
"Once that was in place, he hacked my personality system to switch me from an observer to a conductor of the killing field trip. But it seems that he was also aware of Syobai Hashimoto who acted too carelessly for his own good, that's why he sent out the message to him, so he would be lured into the trap that was set at the bell tower. I already understand that you will never forgive me, because I was the one who carried out the punishments. But since Yuki is still alive, that has to count for something, right?"
I nodded. "While it's clear that you will never be forgiven for killing most of us, we can understand why you did that."
"Fufu, I am glad to hear that at least. Now then, you better jot this all down, I don't plan to repeat myself too often."
"That's fine, I've already noted it down with this admin handbook." Dylan replied.
'He has an admin handbook? I suppose it will come in handy.'
Admin Handbook added to truth bullets!
Monocrow's Account added to truth bullets!
"Well then, shall we start exploring the other places?" Monocrow asked. "I can use my teleporting feature to bring you to the places you need to search."
"Yeah, we're ready to go." I replied.
He smirked. "Very well, hold still."
We were teleported from the beach and to what looked like a sports room, but the place was so broken.
"Here we are, the first of many places for clues." Monocrow said.
"What the?!" Yoruko exclaimed. "What's with the moving walls?"
"The glitch did far more with the interior parts of the virtual reality. The virtual world itself has now become corrupted, and its causing for all of this to happen. But as for this room in particular, do you notice anything unusual?"
I looked at what was in the middle and it looked like some kind of coffin from the future.
"What the heck?!"
When I looked closer, the top part showed a face of someone familiar.
"It is indeed, that is Syobai Hashimoto from the real world." Monocrow confirmed. "Aside from his short hair, he had changed the least over the last few years."
"Yeah, he looks almost the same." Yoruko said. "But still...seeing him like that."
"Because of what he's in...he's either in a coma or dead." Dylan added.
"Unfortunately, Emma Magorobi was correct in her explanation." Monocrow sunk his head. "Mikado hacked the system to ensure that anyone who dies in the virtual world, dies in the real world as well."
"So it's all true, what Emma said was all true..."
Dylan had a closer look and quietly read what was said below Syobai's head and noted something to the handbook.
Syobai's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
But then, something caught my eye in the corner. I found a folded photo, I unfolded it and gasped.
'Is this a photo of a dead person? Looks like they were killed horribly...'
But seeing it closer, the dead person looked familiar...no, it's Mikado! But why was this doing near where Syobai was...unless...
Photo Of Mikado added to truth bullets!
Suddenly, Yoruko changed into her younger appearance and then changed back.
"AH!" She jumped.
"My apologies, but I wanted to show you what Mikado was able to do." Monocrow said.
She wasn't pleased by that. "You could've warned me before you did that!"
Monocrow smirked. "Sorry about that, I just wanted to have a little bit of fun. But as you see, I was given the role to have you appear in those avatars. Mikado ordered me to do so, as it would make the field trip feel younger and brighter, as he put it. Now then, let us travel to the next place."
We were then teleported to one of the student rooms on the cruise. The place was corrupted, but there were a lot of papers filled with reports and interviews.
"This is Nikei's room." Monocrow said. "He may have been quite messy with his stuff, but he was quite sharp in writing down what piqued his interest."
I then saw another future-like coffin, and it had Nikei's top half showing.
"Nikei...he was the one who was looking into finding out the Void members." I said. "And then got killed by Yuri, who was one of them."
Nikei's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
"Ah yes, speaking of Yuri, let's go and look in his room."
We were teleported to his room where there were broken space toys and a coffin which had Yuri inside it and I nearly jumped.
"What the heck?! That's Yuri in the real world?!" I exclaimed.
"Surprised? His avatar and real life appearance are indeed very startling." Monocrow answered. "Did you know that he was going to be a symbol of hope after the remnants of despair were defeated? Well Mikado didn't want that to happen, and so Yuri's dreams were replaced with carrying out orders for Void."
"Mikado...how far and how low did you go?" Dylan muttered.
Yuri's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
Monocrow flapped his feathers. "Alright, next location!"
The room around us changed and we were now inside a swimming pool and some of the walls were broken, we then saw a coffin...with Kanade inside.
"Hic...sniff..." Someone was crying, we then saw who it was.
"Hibiki?" Yoruko asked.
Hibiki gasped and saw us. "Yoruko...Owen!"
She rushed to me and hugged me. "I was...taken here and then I saw...Kanade inside that...thing."
We took a closer look and Kanade looked a lot older for sure, just as old as Hibiki looked.
"Hibiki, we'll always be here for you." I said. "And I'll always love you."
"Yeah...thanks, Owen...I'll always love you too."
"At least we found someone." Dylan smiled. "Still need to find the other three."
"As for Kanade and Hibiki being a symbol of hope, did you know that some of their music once gave motivation to cause despair?" Monocrow asked. "Of course, that was put to an end by the Future Foundation when they, along with the rest of you, were captured."
"But what about when Iroha told us that she went crazy?"
"Hmm, I wish to tell you, but I don't want to upset Hibiki anymore than she is, right now."
Hibiki shook her head. "It's okay, I wanna know too."
"Alright...before the killing game began, Mikado suspected that as a remnant of despair, Kanade used to be a serial killer in secret."
"A serial killer?" Yoruko asked in shock.
"Kanade must've somehow regained her obsession to murder, when she noticed Hibiki refusing to trust anyone." Monocrow continued. "Mikado sensed that, as a potential threat to his plans. So he ordered Iroha to kill her before Kanade could do any damage."
So she was going to kill, because her obsession with it came back...well, at least Kanade's in a better place now, watching over Hibiki.
Kanade's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
I then noticed something behind the coffin, it was a single file paper with information on it.
"Huh? Syobai Hashimoto...a former 'Double Agent' infiltrates killing field trip?" I read.
"A double agent?" Dylan asked. "Hmm, why didn't Future Foundation tell me of that detail?"
"Syobai was a double agent? Well, no wonder he was so rude to everyone." Yoruko said.
File On Syobai's Background added to truth bullets!
Monocrow teleported us to a student room with sketchbooks and paintbrushes, this had to be Iroha's room.
"Hm? There's something I found here." I said, looking at a file on the table. "Confidential files on Void?"
"Looks like Iroha left that laying around carelessly." Dylan added as he looked at her coffin.
"Her hair's all tied back just like Emma's." Yoruko said. "She looks beautiful as a young adult."
I looked at the files and took note of the instructions they were ordered to follow.
'This is all well cleared and detailed, I'll raise the details if we have a trial...'
Confidential Files On Void added to truth bullets!
'The same goes for Iroha's simulation pod...'
Iroha's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
The next location we teleported to, was the oracle room in Babel's Tower, where Kokoro and Setsuka were present, as well as Hajime's Pod coffin.
"There you both are." I exclaimed.
"Ah, there's Ro-Ro and the others..." Setsuka said. "...and who are you again?"
"Setsuka..." Dylan sighed.
"Pfft hehe, sorry, I had to."
"We were wondering where you were." Kokoro said. "And Monocrow, did you tell them?"
"I'm afraid so, they know about your involvement in creating me as the observer." Monocrow replied.
"Why didn't you tell us, Kokoro?" Yoruko asked.
She looked down and felt sad. "I'm sorry, I didn't want to lose the bonds of friendship I worked hard to gain."
"Kokoro..." Hibiki said.
"We can talk about that later." Setsuka added. "Right now, I think it's time to stop hiding this now. Have you worked out why I never open my right eye?"
"I could've asked about it, but I didn't wanna be rude in case it was too personal." I answered.
"Well, Dylan already knows this, but after I had my 'remnant' memory wiped, I was asked by the Future Foundation to go undercover as a detective in order to find any leads on Void's whereabouts and anyone who was associated with Mikado." She explained. "As for my right eye, well a long time ago, I was involved in a freak accident and I lost the use of my right eye, but Future Foundation was able to get me a special one fitted in."
"A special one?" Yoruko asked.
"It's actually a spy camera in the shape of an eyeball and the sinuses are connected to it, so I'm able to see through it like a normal eye. The problem is that when I blink, it takes a photo and it gets sent to my work files at Future Foundation. That's why I keep it closed all the time so I don't end up taking too many photos and waste storage space on my work computer."
'So Setsuka was actually an undercover detective...I guess that's how she got good at being a billiards player...'
Setsuka's Background added to truth bullets!
"So you were an undercover detective the whole time." Kokoro said. "We looked at Hajime's background, it's just like what we knew about him, he was a renowned boxer and that his determination to achieve goals such as becoming a boxing champion was an example as a symbol of hope in the eyes of the Future Foundation."
"Indeed, there was nothing out of the unusual about him." Monocrow added. "He was just another unfortunate victim, but one who agreed to save others."
Hajime's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
"But that isn't all, is it, Kokoro?" He asked her.
She sighed. "He's right, I find myself responsible for this, because I was the one who taught Mikado to create an A.I of himself."
"Did he tell you to do it?" I asked.
She looked down. "He kept asking me non-stop one time, so I agreed in the end."
'So Mikado gained knowledge and experience to create an alter ego of himself, better note that down.'
Kokoro's Account added to added truth bullets!
We were then teleported to a vast and blank area with only a coffin in the middle, this one had to be Shinji's...the last member of Void. I was in shock, he looked much older than the one we knew. I then saw his background...he was in his late 40s, married and had a family...holy shit!
"What? He had a family and was married?!" Hibiki asked. "How?"
"Because of what he said before." Kokoro answered. "Shinji once said that he had to go back to high school because his dream job kept him away for a while, and ended up graduating late. That's why he looks much older than the rest of us...getting in touch with his family will be heartbreaking."
'Oh yeah, it definitely will be...'
Shinji's Pod Coffin added to truth bullets!
So taking all of the pod coffins into account. With the exception of the Void members, the rest of us had went through a refresh course to help be rid of our memories as the remnants of despair and become the new symbols of hope for the next generation. That's what the pod coffins must be trying to tell us.
Symbols Of Hope added to truth bullets!
I also made a mental note of what I had learnt about Akane Tiara, it'll help.
Info On Akane Tiara added to truth bullets!
Our next location was a corrupted warehouse, but instead of seeing a coffin, we saw Emma who was in shock.
"Emma!" I exclaimed.
She gasped. "Owen, there you are!"
"Hmm? There's no coffin in sight." Monocrow said. "Where could that be?"
Emma rushed up to me and hugged me. "Owen! Something's just happened!"
"What's wrong?!" Yoruko asked.
"Can we do something about it?" Hibiki added.
"YOU WILL DO NO SUCH THING!" A voice yelled.
No...it can't be...we saw two people enter...it was Mikado who now had a glitched side, and he had a hold of Yuki who looked braindead.
'So it's true, he is an A.I...'
"Do not take another step, or I will kill him for real!" He exclaimed.
"Mikado Sannonji!" Dylan called.
"Well, if it isn't the one and only Dylan Richardson! Finally caught up to me, have you? You sure took your time getting to this point!"
Dylan glared. "Yeah, sorry for the long wait, but I already know what you've become, there's nowhere for you to run now!"
"Really...and as for you all, did you really think you saw the last of me? What complete idiots, the lot of you!"
"Mikado?!" Monocrow exclaimed. "How are you still alive?!"
"Did you forget, Mr. Monocrow? I am the Ultimate Wizard. While it is true that Yuki kicked me out of the robot, he forgot that I could still use my magic at anytime. As for the blood you saw in the rubble...that was nothing more than just a blood pack I stole from the infirmary! Fufufufu!"
"So...we were wrong this whole time?" I asked. "And Monocrow went along with it, never realizing that everyone of us was wrong."
"In other words, Monocrow got played by Mikado's magic." Dylan said. "So he was a victim just as much as the rest of you were."
"Right you are, Mr. Richardson!" Mikado smirked. "You know, I truly despise how intelligent you are! Seeing your face reminds me of how much of a fool Ms. Tiara was in trying to achieve her own ambitions, it's one thing to use Monokuma to kill you all, but sacrificing Utsuro...that was a step too far."
"So the moment she did that, you declared that she was no longer a Void member?"
"Exactly! But at least I do not have to deal with her interference anymore! I have what I want and while my appearance may have changed, I am still the same Mikado that my original master created!"
"So that confirms it." Kokoro said. "You killed your human self inside the simulation and became an A.I?"
"Yes indeed, Ms. Mitsume, and I have you to thank for that. Having Monocrow inside the simulation worked wonders for setting up the stages of my plans!"
"How dare you, Mikado!" Monocrow exclaimed. "I knew you were suspicious the moment I saw you, I should've punished you right then!"
"Oh dear, Mr. Monocrow, I'm sorry to tell you that you are no longer useful to me." His dark appearance showed. "Now that you've told them the details I kept secret, you are no longer needed for this world...BE GONE!"
Suddenly, Monocrow was set on fire and we stood back in shock.
"WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!"
"Fufufufufu...look at you, Monocrow. You're on...fire!"
A small explosion followed and what we saw, was a tiny crater and a few flames that were flickering away.
"So long, Monocrow! I was going to get rid of you after I revived master Utsuro."
"Mikado...I can't believe this." Kokoro said. "In hindsight, I should have never agreed to your help!"
"Too late for regrets, don't you think?" He stood back and held Yuki. "Now then, since we have gathered here, I shall take you all to the trial room."
"Trial room, what are you trying to pull?" Dylan asked.
"I told you, the resurrection of master Utsuro is at hand! But if you want to stop me, than I have one condition...one last trial!"
Setsuka gasped. "One last...trial?"
"I will explain the details, but before that...allow me to create a passageway, Yuki and I will see you there, oho!"
He vanished with Yuki and then, a part of the floor gave way to reveal a hidden staircase.
"I should've known it would've come to this." Dylan sighed. "Come on, you six, we've gotta stop Mikado and win the last trial!"
"R-right, we can't let him revive Utsuro!" I agreed. "Girls, we need to do this!"
The girls nodded and holding my hands, we followed Dylan down the staircase and along a very long hallway until we reached the trial room which, the carpets and floors were in grey and sitting on the throne was Yuki who looked lifeless, but there was also a portrait of Yuki's moving face on it who looked happy to see us.
"Everyone, you're here!" He exclaimed. "And Dylan, you finally came!"
"Yuki! I'm sorry that I couldn't get here sooner." Dylan replied. "But I'm here now and don't worry, Kiyoka is monitoring the simulation."
"I'm so glad you got here, you gotta help me!"
"We know, but if we wanna save you, we have to do this trial." I sighed. "So...let's get ready to face off against Mikado, one last time!"
He then appeared on the opposite side. "I see you have all chosen to stand as one on those podiums? Very well, then let us begin!"
The final class trial...the final showdown against the mastermind...we cannot lose to Mikado and let him revive Utsuro. I'll do everything I can to stop him, even if it means believing more than I really should. Because as for Akane who might still be lurking around as an A.I, where and when should she turn up?
I'll find out...I will...and then...finally put this all to an end...in this final...class trial!
Surprise folks! You didn't really think Mikado was dead, did you? How's that for despair?!
Next time! The final trial begins and everything is at stake!