Sara Chidouin and her best friend Joe Tazuna are kidnapped and find themselves trapped in a facility with nine other people. There they're put in various dangerous situations as part of a Death Game. With no other option, they go along with their kidnappers and must choose who will die using majority vote.
|2 Sara and Joe|
|3 First Trial|
|4 Meet the Cast|
|5 Discussion (Introductions)|
|6 Exploration with Sou|
|7 Discussion (Russian Roulette Challanger)|
|8 Russian Roulette|
|9 Exploration with Joe|
|10 Meet Sue Miley|
|11 Second Trial|
The chapter opens with an unsettling conversation between the listener and the shadowy figure of a nondescript man. He asks if the listener knows what a majority vote is. He explains it using two figures-- Mr. Blue and Ms. Red. The former loves majority votes, the latter hates them. The man asks whom you agree with more, and whomever you pick, the other person dies. Presumably, the listener says they wouldn't have picked if they knew someone would die, and the man says that's not how it works.
The man says they should hold a majority vote-- his vote against theirs.
In the present, Sara Chidouin wakes up in a classroom late in the evening and decides to leave while there's no one else around. She notices a figure at the school gate-- it's her best friend, Joe Tazuna. He excitedly regales Sara with the tale of his date with their mutual friend, Ryoko, as they walk home together. After their conversation peters out, Joe asks about Sara's stalker. It's the reason he walks her home after school.
A figure appears in the light of a street lamp, and the two run to Sara's house. When Sara enters, the house is dark and quiet, and she finds her mother passed out in the living room. She grabs a key from the table and runs into the foyer, where Joe is waiting. She walks upstairs and unlocks her room. Hands reach out to grab her, and then everything goes black.
Sara and Joe wake up strapped to a terrifying death trap in their First Trial, with strange collars around their necks, strapped to beds. Sara wonders if her stalker is behind this. Joe finds a phone and a voice from the other side tells them they have five minutes to escape, lest they die trying. Joe unlocks himself with a key and sands it down with a piece of sandpaper, then unlocks Sara's restraints. The two walk along a dark, long hallway, and then the ground opens up under them, and they plummet below.Sara comes to her senses in a large hall, awoken by a blonde man, where she and Joe meet up with nine other people who also had various First Trials, all wearing the same collars. None of them seem to have any idea where they are, and are varying degrees of flabbergasted. After getting her bearings, Sara goes to speak to Joe, revealing their camaraderie to the others. The blonde man thanks her for letting him know his name, and suggests they introduce themselves. He has Sara lead the discussion. A number of the others are hesitant to give their names.
Sara meets Kazumi Mishima, a high school teacher, Reko Yabusame, a singer-songwriter, Kai Satou, a homemaker, and Q-Taro Burgerberg, a baseball player. In talking to Kai more, Sara gets the impression that she knows him, though he doesn't seem to recognize her. She tries to coax information out a frightened girl, and manages to calm her down a little.
The blonde man introduces himself as Keiji Shinogi, a police officer.
Joe wonders aloud to Sara if there's a traitor amongst them who helped kidnap them, and she figures that's why he was so hesitant initially. This suggestion seems to greatly amuse Keiji.
Nao Egokoro, a former student of Mishima's and art college student, introduces herself to Sara. She explains that she and Mishima were in the same First Trial as Sara and Joe were, and Sara wonders if the point of the trial was to test trust. A seemingly petulant grade-schooler named Gin Ibushi introduces himself, and quickly takes to calling Sara "big sis" (nee-chan, or just nee, in Japanese). A timid man introduces himself as Sou Hiyori, a job hopper. None of these people have any memory of the kidnappers.
Finally, the frightened girl introduces herself as Kanna Kizuchi. She talks about her sister in a fashion that suggests the two of them were kidnapped, but only Kanna is present. When Sara probes, Kanna has a breakdown, tortured by memories of her sister, who died in the First Trial. She passes out.
The group decides on what to do next, and Q-Taro shows them a box he got during his First Trial. They unlock it using keys from their own First Trials and find a doll head. A note attached tells them to "find [her] body." Although wary and reluctant, with no other information, they proceed to find the doll's missing limbs. The group break up to explore, and Sou asks Sara if they can search together.
The two begin to explore, and in the cafeteria, find a dart and a lighter on the tables. In the back of the cafeteria, there's a dark room with an eerie red lamp above a door. The door isn't locked, and inside the walls are pink and stuffed animals line the sides. Most notably, though, there's a doll torso leaning against the back, which Sou and Sara connect to the note. Amongst the stuffed animals, Sara finds six bullets, which Sou identify as dummy bullets. He recommends they show them to Keiji.
They head to a Game Room, and in the hallway preceding it, Sara finds a cigar in the vending machine dispenser. The game room itself has a dartboard, a red door, and a blue door. The red door is locked.
In the blue room, there's a number of chairs, some empty, some with dolls attached to them, and a painting on the wall, with Joe, Keiji, Kai, and Q-Taro investigating. Joe finds the painting peculiar, and Keiji gives Sara three bullets he found on the chairs. Sara herself finds a revolver between one of the dolls and its chair. Sou asks what she's going to do with that, noticeably dropping the miss/-san he usually refers to her with. He asks if she'll give him the gun, but Sara doesn't feel comfortable handing it over.
Sara asks Keiji why the kidnappers would give them a weapon such as the gun, and he posits it may be to introduce tension into the group. He says they won't fall into the trap because they've got Sara with them, and she asks why he trusts her so much, despite only just meeting her. He tells her it's because she's cute, which she finds to be a dubious explanation. She hands over the dummy bullets for him to investigate.
Just as they're about to leave, bars shoot up from the floor to cover the door, separating Sara and Sou, and trapping Sara, Q-Taro, Joe, Kai, and Keiji in the room. The painting on the wall begins to speak, explaining the game they're about to partake in. Before telling them the rules, he instructs them to choose someone to be the Challenger, or the gun-handler. Joe asks if the Challenger will be safe, and then elects Sara upon hearing they will be. Keiji agrees, but the others don't seem enturely sure, Q-Taro especially. Kai suggest they hold it to a vote.
It's up to Sara to convince the others of her trustworthiness.
Q-Taro says he has experience handling guns, so he should be the Challenger. Keiji says that even with that, he can't trust Q-Taro. Kai says he feels uncomfortable placing all of the responsibility on Sara.
Keiji says he can't imagine the game requires skill with a gun-- probably something about shooting a human or a doll. He says what's important is keeping a cool head, which he thinks Sara has. Since Sara has the added burden of protecting Joe, she'll be the most focused. Q-Taro asks Keiji why he shouldn't be the Challenger, since he's a police officer. Keiji reveals that he shot a person once, presumably in the line of duty, and now can't bring himself to shoot a gun. Q-Taro remains uneasy, and now Sara has to debate him in a War of Words.
She brings up points from earlier in the conversation to get Q-Taro to believe in her. Made aware of her determination, the debate comes to an end. The group votes, and Sara wins majority. The rest of the group settle into the free chairs. The painting begins to describe the rules-- Sara can load her three real bullets and six fake ones into the barrel in any order she wants. After she loads it, the barrel will spin and start on a random bullet. She'll then be tasked with shooting the targets, though she can't shoot the same target twice. Since Sara can waste two dummy bullets, the ideal pattern is two dummies and then one real. Shooting two dolls first will solidify the pattern.
Sara successfully gets through Russian Roulette, much to the relief of every participant. They get a doll arm as their prize. After the rest leave, Kai stays behind to voice his gratitude for Sara in taking on the role, but warns her that she shouldn't shoulder too much on her own. At this point, Sara comes to the realization that Kai is her stalker. Just as she begins to panic, Joe rushes in to help her, offering her his arm. Once out of the room, she manages to calm down.
The pair leave the Game Room to find Kanna wandering around by herself. She wants to ask Sara about her sister-- since Joe and Sara had the same First Trial as her, and they're both alive, she's wondering if she could have saved her sister. Before Sara gets to answer, Mishima intercepts, and tells Kanna that they had to remove some of the restraints by force. Since Kanna and her sister are young, slight girls, they didn't stand much of a chance. Kanna continues to express her crushing guilt, upset that her sister used the key on Kanna, not herself. Mishima gently tells her that she was loved and that her very existence brought her sister happiness. He tells her to live for her sister's sake, at which point Reko shows up to admonish the professor and take away Kanna. Sara thanks Mishima for his kind lie, who asks in return for her to act like Kanna's sister for the remainder of the Death Game.
Sara and Joe then return to the Game Room, where Sara uses the gun to fire the dart into the dartboard. The dart bypasses the airflow which would have previously pulled it down and the two receive a left leg for their troubles.
They find a bar with a list of participants who can and can't drink, where Gin and Mishima are investigating. Joe and Sara find a cabinet in the counter, inside which contains a cigar cutter and the right leg. Sara gives the lighter, cigar, and cutter to Mishima, who makes a poor attempt at seeming unexcited. He uses the cutter on the cigar, which is actually comprised of a 1000 yen bill. He gives the money to Sara as well as the unused ligher.
Sara puts the bill in the vending machine and gets another doll arm. All doll parts assembled, Sara goes to the Pink Room, and Joe goes to call the others. Sou reveals that he found a hidden room. Keiji attaches the appendages to the body, causing a white gas to fill the room, making it so that they can't see.
The doll that they assembled comes to life, and says that she has revived to offer support to the participants, and guide them to the Main Game. Her name is Sue Miley, the Laughing Doll. In response to the participants' retaliation, she sets off Joe's collar to quiet them. She says she's going to make Joe's collar explode, causing him to freak out, before she shuts it off. She then begins to explain how they'll come to a Main Game, a situation where they will choose who among them will die by a majority vote. The participants are in disbelief, and Sara can barely register her words.As a practice round, Miley hands out tablets to everyone and has them vote for someone. Mishima ends up with the majority vote, three of them. His collar starts going off, and begins heating up so hot it burns through his flesh and neck. The group panics, and Nao becomes hysterical. Mishima eventually collapses, dead, and Sara is sickened after witnessing it. Kanna wets herself and tells Miley that all of the participants are good people that didn't deserve to die, and Miley calls her a sister killer. Sara becomes enraged with how she so easily tramples upon the words that Mishima left her as Miley continues to antagonize her, before Kai hits her with his frying pan, causing her to bleed. Irate, Miley leaves, telling them she'll be waiting on the stage of the Main Game.
Sara, unable to wrap her mind around Mishima's death or Kai's identity, finds herself brimming with the determination not to die, no matter what the doll says.
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