|Just a picture of good ol' Caden. Ain't he a cutie?|
Danganronpa: Despair unbound
Chapter 2: What does courage mean
(Faithwood Academy – Underground courtroom – Day 06 –12:45)
Jinsei's upper lip curled in disgust. The courtroom had undergone a redesign since their last visit. The walls were now a shining emerald color with a diamond pattern running up and down it. The columns between the walls were silver and lined with straight patterns of circular wavy motions. A rich fanatic's paradise, Jinsei thought. He and the other students took their places at the seats, as Jinsei noticed a new stand had appeared in a seat, that of Cosmic man, a red X marking his face.
(CLASS TRIAL – COURT IS NOW IN SESSION)
The room seemed to spin from the tension as Jinsei readied himself mentally. He didn't have all the answers, but he had to steer this trial In the right direction.
"Alright… how do we start this one?" Asked Taro, oddly a bit quieter than usual.
"I'll get us going." Decided Akari. "Cosmic Man was murdered in the therapy room. Stabbed to death by a knife." Jinsei was about to correct her, but Yakusha beat him to the punch.
"Not so, ma'am!" he said with a flourish, producing Yorick and holding him outward. "The knife in the hero's back was a fake! It's a prop, I've seen it before in the studio." Akari's jaw hung open.
"How didn't you notice that?" mocked Kasper with a tip of his hat.
"Regardless, the prop knife can't be the weapon." Agreed Taro with a stroke of his chin.
"So then what is the weapon?" questioned Cho, sketching down their conversations at lightning speed in her book.
"I'm not sure… perhaps the killer took it with them?" suggested Gina. "There were no other weapons at the crime scene." Jinsei decided it was time to start steering this trial in the right direction. If his suspicions were right, he might be able to get them thinking and uncover something.
"Guys, I have a theory about this." Jinsei began.
"Oh here we go." Groaned Daisuke.
"I don't think the therapy room is actually the crime scene at all." He posed the question to the group.
"Why not?" Asked Cho, checking her book for a few notes.
"Well, there's a heavy lack of evidence. First, the wound." Jinsei began. "The wound was pretty deep and there's evidence of bleeding on the victim's back. But the crime scene is bone dry without a single spot of blood. Add onto that a fake murder weapon, it's simply not possible." The students exchanged glances.
"But that means we have no murder scene and no weapon… so how are we supposed to work out who killed Cosmic Man?!" Blustered Taro, getting extremely flustered and cross.
"Well, I have reason to believe the actual crime scene was somewhere else." Jinsei continued.
"Oh really? Then do tell, psychiatrist." Said Kasper, tipping his hat slightly. As he caught their attention, Jinsei took a breath. He was doing well keeping the trial on topic, now he just had to make his point so they could start making some progress.
"I believe, the actual crime scene was the studio just down the hall from the therapy room." Some of the student seemed surprised by this.
"Why's that?" Haruo asked.
"Well, three specific reasons. First, I checked in there earlier. One of the mirror's was broken." He began, referring to his notes. "Secondly, the area beneath the mirror had been cleaned recently. Furthermore, I found Kiyonari's mop in the prop room, which was stolen earlier today. Finally, the prop knife in the wound. If the killer put it in there to confuse us, it was probably a prop from the store room." He finished with a slight tone of confidence. He was certain he had this worked out now.
"I can confirm that knife is from the prop room." Yakusha agreed. "I remember seeing it in the box a few times."
"So that's where my mop went,…" mumbled Kiyonari.
"Still, was there any blood or something?" Daisuke queried further.
"Well, no." Jinsei admitted.
"Then you've got little actual evidence the murder occurred in there. Maybe Taro broke the mirror with his singing." Daisuke added sarcastically. Taro seemed to double over backwards at the nerve.
"A-a-actually…" peeped Furostomi, having been quiet until now. "I… I think J-j-jinsei's right…" she claimed. The students turned on her.
"How do you know?" Asked Kiyonari, almost spitting the question like a sunflower seed. Furostomi fumbled with her gloved hands.
"W-w-well… I p-p-passed by the st-t-tudio earlier today… and I saw… I…I saw…" she was having trouble actually saying it, she seemed scared out of her wits.
"It's ok Furostomi." Assured Gina. "You can tell us." Furostomi nodded shakily.
"When I p-p-passed by the st-t-tudio… I s-saw… C-c-cosmic Man…a-and he was st-st-stabbing someone!" the group was silent as the bombshell hit them. A testimony definitely confirmed that the true crime scene was the studio, but now this…
"A…are you sure it was him?" Asked Gina, fazed incredibly by this shocking news.
"Y-yes… t-t-there was something flashing in his hand-d-d…" she continued shivering.
"Could you see whom he attacked?" asked Akari, peering over at her.
"N-no… I'm sorry…" she looked on the verge of tears.
"Well, at least we know now… the flashing must've been a knife, right?" Taro suggested, adjusting his cravat. Jinsei wondered about that when Kasper piped up.
"Actually… considering there were some pretty large shards under the mirror." He began with a sly smile. "I'd bet one of those shards was the weapon."
"That's just speculation." Kiyonari pointed out. "Unless you've got evidence-"
"I do, darling." Kasper said slyly. The janitor frowned slightly. "One of the shards had a smudged surface, indicating someone held it." Jinsei gasped. Why hadn't he thought to do that?
"So, we can confirm the murder happened in the studio and that the weapon was a mirror shard." Confirmed Akari, bringing everyone up to speed. "But. Cosmic Man did the attacking?"
"That's not the biggest issue here." Gina pointed out. "That mirror was broken during a fight, yes?" Everyone seemed to agree on that. "Then how did someone beat Cosmic Man in a fight? I've fought the man to a standstill and I couldn't beat him. So who could?" The group was silent as they thought on what it could mean.
Jinsei set himself back as he continued to think on the case. Too much about this didn't make sense. A false weapon, a wrong murder scene, the victim attacking someone and the victim being beaten in a fight. All these elements mixed together made for a case that was impossible to puzzle out. Elements were contradicting themselves or other elements. What could the answer be?
"Well, why not just look at the facts?" Kiyonari stated flatly. "Furostomi was upstairs at the time of the murder. I think it's her and that account is just a pack of lies." The shivering skier flinched as she looked up to the unflinching glare of the janitor.
"N-n-no! I hid in the g-g-gym locker room afterwards! I s-swear!" she claimed, shaking all the while.
"It makes sense though… seeing Cosmic Man attack someone yet he turns up dead. And no-one else was upstairs." Akari continued.
"Well… Jinsei was upstairs for a long time." Cho pointed out. Jinsei gritted his teeth, fearing this might happen. Now the trial was quickly turning against him and Furostomi. But he couldn't think of any other way to explain the strange nature of this case yet. The accusations flew back and forth as he just tried to fit the pieces together in his head.
A fight between victim and killer… a mirror shard as the weapon… the prop knife… Kiyonari's mop… the studio… the padded suit… the suit… something seemed to click in Jinsei's mind. It seemed outlandish just in his head but… it was a possibility. He had to try it. To find the real killer and save their lives.
"I think I've got it!" he announced to quiet down the students. They turned their attention on him at his sudden outburst. "I think we might've had this case wrong from the very start…"
"What do you mean?" Haruo asked, scratching his head as always.
"I mean… I don't even think the victim is Cosmic Man. In fact, I think Cosmic Man is the killer." The room was silent for the longest time as everyone gave Jinsei the oddest looks. Eventually it was Daisuke who broke the silence.
"Jinsei… make like an imaginary number and GET REAL!" he shouted, slamming the banister. "You're saying the victim is the killer?! You're fucking mental!" Everyone else seemed to share his feelings as they looked at Jinsei.
"I realize it's hard to accept but… this whole case just makes no sense. This is the only way it makes any sense." The psychiatrist continued to explain. "It explains why Cosmic Man was seen attacking someone."
"But it doesn't explain the fact that it's Cosmic Man who died." Said Akari, as dubious as everyone else on Jinsei's theory.
"But is it?" Jinsei asked innocently enough. "Remember something. Cosmic Man was always in costume with a helmet on. We didn't remove it during the investigation. So how can we be sure it's the same person inside the suit?" The students stared at Jinsei as his words resounded in his head. Something did seem to make sense in what he said.
"But how can you be sure it's not him? You didn't look either." Kasper asked, pointing a finger.
"Well, two things." Jinsei began, checking his notes. "First, the suit. There wasn't a single drop of blood on the suit. Second, the wound was fairly deep and there was blood on the victim's back. Joining these two facts, I think that the victim was put in the suit after already being killed."
"But then… what does that mean?" Queried Cho, confused as she attempted to make sense of his sentences in her book.
"It means… Cosmic Man is the killer… and he took the victim's place. He could've stolen a wig from the studio storage room and taken their clothes too… he could be among us right now."
The words landed like a hefty anvil in the middle of the courtroom as the words sunk in deep. They knew the true murderer was amongst them, but the murderer was also disguised as someone else? Now things were only more complicated.
"So… how do we find the faker?" Kiyonari wondered aloud, looking between the students along with her fellows. Yakusha had the answer as he grinned and produced Yorick, clacking his jaws to make him speak.
"I know! An actor is only as good as his ability to stay in character! The cracks will appear to anyone with any idea of who they are!" He explained. "Or to put it simply… the perpetrator is bound to be acting differently to normal!"
"So we just look for differences?" Asked Taro, leaning forward slightly.
"Exactly! And we do have one other leading guideline!" the actor continued. "Cosmic Man was male… therefore, he is impersonating someone male in this room!" Jinsei nodded in agreement, that did seem to make sense… but at the same time, something was nagging in the back of his head, as if something was amiss.
"Actually, sirs." Began Yayoi, having been quiet most of the trial thus far. "You're off the mark. Cosmic Man can't be impersonating a male."
"And why is that?" Cho asked inquisitively, pen writing everything down in her book.
"Because… I investigated the corpse a little more closely. " The maid explained. "And something I learned is… Cosmic Man's suit is particularly padded in certain areas, like the stomach, chest, arms, legs and groin." Jinsei nodded, he remembered finding that too.
"And? Isn't that simply to protect him during battle?" Gina suggested. "Now that I think about it, my strikes never did seem to land much impact…"
"No, I'm afraid not." Yayoi shook her head as her ribbon bounced. "The padding was actually used to disguise the wearer's gender. I'm sorry to break it during such a sensitive time but… Cosmic man was, in fact, a woman."
The ball dropped once again. The information struck hard in the room as preconceptions were smashed and a particular samurai realized her greatest opponent was on equal ground to her in every way.
"B-but… Cosmic Man had a male room…" Taro stated dryly, trying to adjust himself. It was now that Monokuma started laughing and bounced onto his feet.
"I can confirm this one folks! Cosmic Man was a reverse trap! Female to the bone!" he announced with a hearty laugh.
"But if she was female, why'd you say she was male?!" Haruo shouted in shock. The bear simply shook his head.
"She chose to appear male, so I went with it! Besides, it sure made this trial more dramatic, didn't it?!" The group was quiet once more as they now turned to look at their female line up. Amongst them hid their illusive hero...
"…but." Continued Kasper. "That still doesn't clue us in onto which of our girls is in fact the faker." The point was direct as everyone was still reeling from the shock of Cosmic Man being female. Jinsei looked over each of them in turn. He thought back to what Yakusha said. Cracks in the usual behavior would reveal who was the faker. He cast his mind back to the day before. Theoretically, the moment after Cosmic Man was dead, the killer was already pretending to be someone else. So far as he knew, no-one was missing during the investigation except for Furostomi…
He turned the events of the day before over and over in his head. There had to be something. Was anyone acting different to before? Could he have missed someone acting suspiciously? There had to be something… there had to be…
That's when something clicked in Jinsei's head. There was an incident today that had made him wonder about someone… it was a little loose, but at this point, anything to go on would be good enough. Then it was just a case of linking it with the evidence.
"Akari?" Jinsei began, looking to the firefighter. She raised an eyebrow and looked back at him.
"Yeah, what?" She asked nonchalantly.
"Remember earlier? That appointment we had?" Jinsei continued. Akari shook her head.
"No, I told you, I don't remember making any appointment." Jinsei nodded.
"Yeah, I thought so. I remember you asking me about it specifically yesterday. And since you didn't show up… it's making me wonder if you didn't just forget. Maybe you didn't know in the first place." Akari tilted her head slightly.
"Really? That's pretty sketchy Jinsei." She said nonchalantly. "Besides, you could just be making that up." Jinsei flinched slightly. He had to keep this lead if he wanted any chance of making this work.
"Actually…" Cho piped up, flicking back through her book. "I remember that too. You asked Jinsei specifically to meet in the therapy room at 10. It's written down right here." Akari twitched slightly as she looked over at Cho.
"So that's two accounts… you can't go denying that, Akari." Jinsei stated as attention started to shift toward the firefighter as her teeth gritted and beads of sweat formed on her head.
"W-well, I guess I did just forget then… I can do that sometimes. Hell, Cho does it all the time!" she argued.
"Actually… you have been acting different today." Cho continued, flicking back through her book. "Earlier when we found the body, Daisuke acted rude and you didn't smack him. You usually do that all the time." Akari flinched again.
"Yeah… in fact…" Daisuke started to pick up on what was going on as he looked over to Akari. "Do you remember what you told me about last night?" Akari looked over as she started to mumble and think on the spot.
"I uh… how um… how bad you are?" she guessed as Daisuke gritted his teeth.
"Not at all." He growled, as more accusatory glances turned to her.
"L-look, this just isn't making sense…" Akari claimed. "It's all confused from the get go." Jinsei flicked up his sketchbook.
"It makes perfect sense. Let's take this from the top." He decided a case summary would work right about now. "You, Cosmic Man, first stole Kiyonari's mop and took it to the studio. Then, you met with Akari. The two of you fought and you got knocked into the mirror. Thinking on the spot, you snatched up a shard and stabbed her in the back, that's when Furostomi saw you. Then you used the mop to clean up the mess and switched outfits with her, putting on a wig too. Then you added the prop knife to her wound and moved her body to the therapy room. And as Akari, you didn't know secrets about her and missed acting like her…" He brought his finger up and pointed it straight at her. "Isn't that right, Cosmic Man?!" He finished with a strong sense of gusto. Everything had fallen into place.
The possibly fake Akari was now extremely anxious, hands gripping the banister and sweat rolling down her face as she shuddered.
"So… are you ready to admit it?" Jinsei asked, peering closer at her.
"Admit… what?" Akari said slowly as she raised her head up. "I've done nothing you mad son of a bitch!" she declared loudly, slamming her fists on the banister. "You're trying to pin me with small personality changes? What kind of second rate bullshit is that?!"
"But the connection makes sense! And you've been acting differently!" Jinsei tried to argue but the possibly fake Akari was having none of it.
"What bullshit! People have off days! I mean hell, I'm being accused of murder in a school of murder! Of course I'm acting different!" she screeched, teeth grinding like drills into rock. "You need concrete proof! If you have no actual evidence, then fuck you and your second rate, lame claims you corrupted mind magician!" her ranting became increasingly deranged, but a legitimate point was sitting in its midst. Jinsei had no real evidence to pin Akari to the crime. If he didn't have that, there was still a chance it couldn't be her. He had one chance to end this trial now and prove that this faker was the killer. But what… what could there be? What could he use to pin her to this crime… he went back over the crime scene… the mop… the fight… the switch.. the fake knife… was there anything he could use?
"Akari." Jinsei cut off her ramblings quickly and sharply, like a knife. "I can prove you're Cosmic Man. I have evidence."
"Bull fucking shit!" she shouted louder.
"I can! If my theory is correct and Cosmic Man did switch outfits, that means his outfit wasn't damaged at the time of the crime!" Jinsei started.
"So what?!" Akari continued to oppose him.
"That means that the victim's clothes were torn in the kill and he ripped the costume to cover it up! Which means the clothes you're wearing should be ripped!"
Akari's ranting stopped as the point sliced her arguing to pieces. With a forlorn sigh, she lowered her head and turned around, showing her back. Sure enough, the back of her shirt was torn vertically. A clear evidential point that linked her to the crime.
"Akari… no…" Daisuke muttered unbelievably, staring at the red headed faker.
"Well well well!" Cackled Monokuma, popping up onto his stubby feet. "I think it's time to make a decision! Press the button to vote for who you think the killer is!" The class voted in silence and pressed their buttons. The slot machine appeared on it's pillar in the middle of the room, reels ablaze with neon fire. The reels stuttered to a halt, landing on the helmeted image of Cosmic Man. The lights flashed, the fake crowd cheered and the case was decided.
"Well done indeed! The one who killed Akari Himura and now impersonates her, was Cosmic Man! Now to be known by her real name, Noriko Watanabe!" The false Akari, now known as Norkio, hung her head and clenched her fists up. The class turned on her.
"Cosmic Man… Noriko…" Gina managed, seeming the most crushed about all this. "Why… why would you do this?!" She demanded, tears in her eyes. Noriko flinched as she couldn't look Gina in the eye.
"Please… I can explain,…" she managed slightly, seeming to bite her tongue.
"We're all ears." Sneered Daisuke, frowning immensely.
"Well… this!" Noriko shouted, reaching into her pockets and producing a piece of notepaper. On it was a note written out along with a few small diagrams of the second floor along with a few arrows.
"What's that?" Asked Haruo, tilting his head a bit.
"These are murder plans!" Noriko claimed. "I found them outside her room… I wanted to confront her and ask her about it! The kill was spur of the moment during the fight!" She claimed. "I didn't want to kill her… but she was ready to kill too!" The students rested uneasily on this.
"That's bullshit." Kasper quickly pointed out. "You stole Kiyonari's mop in advance. You knew you'd wind up killing her." Noriko flinched.
"N-no! That was simple precaution! I didn't truly intend to kill!" Noriko cried out, quaking in her boots.
"Dis…honorable…" Gina managed through gritted teeth.
"Cosmic Man… how could you…" Cho hung her head and sighed greatly.
"A shame to us all…" Agreed Yakusha. The whole room stank of gloom and shame, staring at their fallen hero. Dispair's horrible mist was settling upon them once again.
"Well, enough with the drama!" Cried out Monokuma with a cackle. "It's punishment time! And I have a very special punishment in mi-" he began, when suddenly Noriko cut her off, leaping in front of Monokuma and crying out loudly.
"No!" In a sudden flashy transformation sequence, Akari's clothes went flying off of Noriko's form as she was suddenly once again wrapped up in her Cosmic Man suit, helmet and all. "Students of Faithwood academy! The oppression ends now! I swear, for the sin I have committed, I will seek redemption via the destruction of this bear and all his twisted schemes!" The rant wasn't enough to inspire confidence in any of them though Cosmic Man was unfazed.
"Arkus." Said Monokuma as the large cyborg guard stepped into the path of the suited hero.
"Come forth! I will slay you both!" Shouted Cosmic Man, running at him with his fist outstretched. The two collided and began to do battle, exchanging blow for blow in front of the bear. It was a clear clash of titans.
But it was finished in one swift move. Arkus moved his mechanical claw to grab Noriko's helmet and yank it off of her in seconds, finally revealing her to the students. Her shallow green eyes were revealed, her short brown hair bunched up behind her head, her scared face. She stopped fighting as her helmet fell to the floor. Her identity revealed she had been disgraced. She covered her face with her hands and made a slight sobbing noise.
"…anyway!" continued Monokuma, not skipping a beat. "It's punishment time! And I have a very special punishment in mind for our super duper high school hero!" Noriko made no move to stop him. She was done. "Let's get this ball rolling!" Producing the small mallet from his back, he smacked it onto the button on the podium that rose before him.
(GAME OVER – NORIKO WATANABE HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY – COMMENCING EXECUTION)
When Noriko looked up again, she was in an unfamiliar place. She appeared to be in the middle of a metropolitan city, atop a tall building. Standing across from her, she saw a man in a suit similar to her own, except it's color scheme was black and white and its helmet was a different shape. The figure turned to look at her and Noriko recoiled in horror. The helmet this figure wore looked exactly like the face of Monokuma.
HEROIC JUSTICE COMBAT: HAJIME!
Without even thinking, Noriko charged at the suspicious Monokuma hero. The two began to battle atop the rooftop, trading blows and fighting with their all. Noriko was quickly gaining the upper hand, landing strong punches and kicks on the enemy. But as she was doing so well, the hero suddenly leapt backward and struck a strange pose. In an instant, he was joined by four other heroes that looked just like him!
Noriko flinched, now the odds were against her. But nevertheless, she charged and continued to fight the five individuals. This time it was no contest. The increase in numbers made the match almost too easy for her opponents as they attacked her from all angles, beating her to the point of senselessness. Eventually they had her down as she crouched on one knee and tried to regain her strength. Her three opponents leapt backward and struck a pose, putting their hands together as an energy ball began to form in between them.
"Super cosmic despair cannon!" shouted the five heroes as they charged their shot up. Noriko's eyes widened in horror as the energy ball grew in size and sparked with destructive force. She tried to stand, legs wobbling, as she tried to inch her way out of the blast. But it was too late. The ball grew to its maximum size and burst like a bubble, shooting a long blast of black and white energy towards Noriko in the form of a laser beam. The beam struck her clear in the chest and covered most of her body.
For the briefest of moments, she was flying backward on the energy, screaming in pain. And then it was silenced, as her body broke apart under the extreme power behind the laser. She was vaporized in an instant, blown into a million pieces with no visible remains left. The five Monokuma heroes struck a pose of victory and cried out happily for their defeat of Cosmic Man, before they disappeared from the rooftop entirely.
The students were quiet as they watched it all from the TV screens in the courtroom. Another murder solved, another student destroyed and another day reduced to despair. Gina knelt to the ground and picked up the only remnant of their fallen comrade, her helmet and held it close to herself.
"…you will remain honorable… to me…" she managed as tears sprung to her eyes. Everyone else tried not to look at her, for fear of recalling what had just happened.
"Woo hoo!" Cried Monokuma. "That was fun! Like the end of a super hero show or something! Aaahhh I gotta see the recording for that one! Arkus, were the cameras rolling?" he turned to his cyborg henchman, who simply nodded. "Awesome! I'm gonna go watch that again! Bye!" And with that, Monokuma was gone, his cyborg guard trudging out of the room behind him.
(Faithwood Academy – Jinsei's room – Day 06 – 23:00)
What does heroism mean? What does it mean for someone to be a hero? After today I… really don't know how to answer that question. My perspective has become skewed.
Was Cosmic Man a hero? For how he may have saved someone else by killing Akari? But was she even going to kill someone to begin with… that murder plan. I still can't believe it. I trusted her and she had something like that hidden? It's just… it seems unreal.
I can smell it again… Despair hangs in the air like a raincloud. I must admit, I add to this cloud extensively… I thought I might get used to after Hanako's execution but… the feeling is just as stomach wrenchingly rancid as ever.
I wish I could have you here for support… you'd know what to do in these dark times… then again, I'm glad you're not here, lest you become part of this twisted game…
Yours truly, Jinsei."
He slipped the note into the desk drawer and slid into bed. He was done with this day. And he was prepared for the nightmares that were destined to come.
Little did he know, his nightmares would become far more physical this night than he could ever have imagined.
Current Residence: A leather chair...the one's that bond villains always sit in.|
deviantWEAR sizing preference: none atm
Print preference: none atm
Favourite genre of music: Game music...don't laugh
Favourite photographer: don't have one
Favourite style of art: Manga <3
Operating System: wut?
MP3 player of choice: Ipod
Shell of choice: wut?
Wallpaper of choice: I prefer paint.
Skin of choice: uh...i suck at these qestions ;
Favourite cartoon character: Count vile from Press Start
Personal Quote: Could be worse.