Sunday, May 28, 2017

24 Doors Trailers!

Some of you may remember my "Where's the New Akuma" post where I talked about the future of nicoserial, and how I'll be promoting a story called 24 Doors until January 2018 when I should have fulfilled every important prerequisite to beginning the story.  In line with that promotion, two trailers have been released!

Thank you for your time!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Checkboxes Chapter Six

Momochan won’t speak to you again until you find out the truth of the Momoko Watanabe at your school.  You can’t get the full thing out of her yet, but you can get enough to confirm Momochan’s suspicions.

Can’t you just tell me?

It really doesn’t work that way.  Learning the information from the people who have it is an important part, too.  You’re not psychic, after all.

Not psychic?  I may as well be, with this situation.  Still, I guess it does make sense that I’d have to gain the information without Fucko’s help in some situations.  Learning things about people is a way to befriend them too, after all.  For all I know, some of what I have to do is just gathering info for the sake of other people.  So… What exactly am I supposed to do on this Wednesday?

Besides talking to Momoko?  Let’s see… Go to chuch.  And also, text Mayu Wang.

Go to chuch?  What does chuch have to do with anything?

Look, don’t you just blindly listen to me?  You better be gonna chuch.

Okay, I guess I’ll chuch.  After Momoko, that is.  I go to find her, and she’s sitting on a bench in the courtyard.  It isn’t often that she sticks around for long after school, so I have to wonder if something’s bothering her.  Her face is tearstained, but it pretty much always is.  I don’t know the first years very well, but Amai’s always complaining about her crybaby club member. I walk up to her, and wave, “Hey, Watanabe-san.”

“Hako-senpai?’ She looks up, then stands and holds her arms behind herself, frowning, “So… What do you need?”

“I don’t need anything,” I shake my head and offer her a smile, “I just want to talk to you for a little bit.  As a friend.  That’s okay, right?”

“Oh, well… I guess?  A friend of Oishi-senpai is a friend of mine, after all…” Izuna shifts on her feet, looking around, “But… Do we have anything in common to talk about?”

“Everyone has something,” I shrug, “Like… What’s your favorite manga?  Or TV show, or movie, or book?  Or all of those?”

“That’s a lot of trivial things to ask somebody for all at once…” Momoko grimaces, and I take a step backwards.  Too friendly?  I guess that’s possible.  I’m not so sure that I really know how to go about backing off, though.  Being less friendly isn’t something that I ever need to do, “But… Uh, do you like home ec?”

“Home ec?” I question, furrowing my brow, “That’s really broad.  Uh… I’m not good at sewing type things, and all I know about cooking I learning from Amai-chan while I was in the cooking club last year.  So I guess you could say it’s not exactly a strength of mine…”

Momoko Watanabe?
“I see,” Momoko nods, then closes her eyes, “What about other classes?  And what’s your home life like?  Any strange disorders?”

“Those are kind of weird things to ask about too, Watanabe-san!” I hold a hand to my chest, but I’m sure that in order to continue, I’ll have to oblige her, “Well, I’m actually mediocre at best in pretty much all of my classes.  I know that sounds weird, since one of this school’s criteria is to be unusually talented, but my talent’s kind of… Not really anything?  I’m here for another reason.  My home life is great!  And uh, I I have bad impulse control, but that’s it.”

“So, no narcolepsy?” Momoko opens her eyes again and stares at me.  I fidget in place and shake my head, “I see.  Well, now we know that you’re not my type romantically…”

“Why was that even something to wonder about?  I approached you in a platonic way!”

“That’s why I had to make sure of it.  Were you my type, there’s no way I could keep things platonic, and that never works out well for me, so,” Her lip quivers as she says this, and it looks like she’s about to start crying, “It’s a good thing that we can… Just be friends.”

“Okay…” I’m a bit put-off by the melodramatic behavior she’s showing, but I know that I have to keep talking anyway, “That sounds like a very strangely specific romantic type to have… Do you have a specific person in mind?”

“Like I’d tell an acquaintance that!” She snaps, and I take a step backwards.  Tears are streaming down her face; she seems even more volatile than I’d heard, “Besides, it’s not like it matters!  She’s not around anymore,” She scowls, then turns away from me, crossing her arms, “You know what, Hako-senpai?  A friend of Oishi-senpai’s is not a friend of mine after all.  You’re annoying, and I don’t want to talk to somebody who pries into my life.”

“Uhhh,” I have no idea what to say to this, and before I can think of anything, she’s gone.  I’m left standing in the courtyard, clueless as to what just happened.  Did I mess this up?

No, that’s about what was supposed to happen.  Now you can talk to Momochan about the weird behavior you just witnessed.  Anyway, time to chuch.  Go on now.  It’s within walking distance of the school.

I still don’t really understand why I should be going to chuch, but I’m still not about to go against what Fucko tells me.  I leave the school, waving to Netsu as I pass, then make my way out to the Chuch.  Nagasaki Prefecture is actually the most Christian area in all of Japan, which is why there’s one in Korekara as well as a few other towns.  Most prefectures have more shrines than chuches, but not here.  I’m not actually a religious person, but if this is what I’m supposed to do next, I will.

I arrive at the chuch only to find that it’s almost empty.  Well, that makes sense.  It is a Wednesday afternoon, which as far as I know, isn’t really the time of day that anybody thought about getting their religion on.  I mean, excluding that one Wednesday holiday, I guess.  There are only two people sitting in the pews, and they’re next to each other.  Ayano and some bald guy.  I walk up to them, only to find that they both have their hands pressed together and their heads dipped in prayer.  I wait until one of them looks up.

“Ueda-san,” I greet her, lifting a hand, “Hi there.  I didn’t know you were religious.”

“Hako-senpai?” She questions, looking back up at me, “I am, I have been since I was a little kid… It’s important to me.  You’re not, though, or you’d have been here on a Sunday before.  So what are you doing here?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure,” I shake my head and look up towards the decorated ceiling, holding my hands behind my back, “I don’t know why I do much of anything, these days… I just do,” I look back to her again, then to the guy with her, “Who’s your friend?”

“Oh, this is Ssnad!” She explains, gesturing towards him.  He waves, but doesn’t say anything as she continues introducing him, “He’s actually agnostic, sort of, in that he can’t really pick between all the religions he knows about.  He has a PhD in theology… And he was my Sunday School teacher when I was little.  I grew up in the suburbs of Tokyo, but he moved here about a year ago because his little sister is a second year here.”

“The suburbs of Tokyo?” I ask, then tap my chin and frown, “Ueda-san, what middle school did you attend?”

“Er, Aoba Public Middle,” She answers, “It has a bit of a bad reputation… Why did you want to know?”

“I went there too,” I explain, clasping my hands together, “With Amai-chan and Hiromi-chan.  Sayu-tan went to a different one though, since she was already accepted to a private middle school by the time we decided to go to Aoba.”

Kanoshi Kyosuke
“You attended Aoba?” Ayano blinks in surprise a few times, then stands up, “Um, during the 2013 school year, did you ever have the teacher Kanoshi Kyosuke?”

“I did,” I nod, “He was a pretty weird guy, right?  It seemed like he was more concerned with talking about the Vagrant Killer than teaching math… Do you think he was paranoid or bored?”

“Probably a bit of both,” Ayano shrugs, crossing her arms over her chest, “He was definitely worried about everyone, but also, I think that having a serial killer in the area was the most interesting thing to happen in that neighborhood, ever.  Tokyo gets interesting stories all the time, but that’s always out in the real city.  I never really kept up with all of that aside from what I heard from other people, though…”

“Amai had a pretty believable theory about all that, at least compared to most kids’ ideas,” I note, leaning forward, “The very last time the Vagrant Killer struck was the Ruka family, and it was really ambiguous what they’d done wrong to get killed.  Plus, they were missing a patriarch, right?  Amai thinks that the kids’ dad was making money off all the previous murders so he had enough to take his daughter away and take care of her, since there ended up being evidence the mother was abusive to her children…”

“If that’s the case,” Ayano asks, “Why would Yuuri Ruka have been killed, too?  Wouldn’t their father be looking to take both the children away from there?”

“Yuuri-kun was an adult,” I conjecture, sitting down, “And if you’re not careful, you become the same as those who came before you.  I bet that he never had anyone looking out for him and ended up being just as bad a person as his mother.  In fact, I have to wonder if the same didn’t happen to the girl, too...”

“There’s no way,” Ayano shook her head, “I’d known Ruka-chan since we were in elementary school.  I can’t… honestly call her a good person, but she was a different type of person from the rest of her family.”

“Ah, I see, I’ll take your word for it!  I never met her, after all,” I swing my feet in front of me a bit, “I didn’t meet you, either.  I didn’t talk to a lot of people in middle school, especially people in different years from me… Though, it isn’t just Aoba who suffered a reputation hit because of the Vagrant Killer.  My elementary school did too… I went to Mishihara.”

“Mishihara?” Ayano raises her eyebrows, “That was where that teacher got killed, right?  One of the only murders to include a message?”

“I thought you didn’t keep up with that stuff,” I laugh a bit, then look up to Ssnad, “I bet there were a lot of uncertain people in the area, when that first started happening… They looked to the chuch for guidance, right?”

“Hm?  Oh, yeah,” Ssnad stands up and approaches me, holding a hand out, “You really wanna talk to me, kid?  Nice to meetcha.”

“I’m Box Hako,” I shake his hand, then nod, “Why wouldn’t I?”

“I’m an old man,” He chuckles, scratching the back of his neck with his other hand, “And I don’t exactly look normal, kids your age are usually kind of scared of me if we didn’t meet when you were too young to associate ugliness with criminality…”

“I guess I just never ended up making the association,” I shrug, “You don’t seem that old, either.  I mean, you can’t be, if your sister is my age!”

“I’m forty-three,” He explains, “I was twenty-seven when my sister was born.  Kind of a drastic age difference, huh?  Don’t go having kids when you’re this young if you can help it, okay?”

“I’ll try my best,” I agree, then laugh, “Do you give this advice to every teenager you meet?”

“Of course,” He nods, then crosses his arms in front of his chest, “Say… Box Hako, that name’s kind of familiar.  You ever been approached by a representative of Assis-co?”

“Uh, how did you know that?” I tilt my head to the side and close my eyes, hoping that this isn’t something which would throw everything off.  I was supposed to keep my beyond-customer relationship with the company a secret.

It’s fine.

“I work for them,” He informs me, “It’s not in my field, but it pays the bills, and there’s not a lot of money in the business of knowing a lot about a bunch of different religions.  I must have seen your name on one of their lists.  They’ve even offered me tech to fix up my face, but you know, it’s a blessing in disguise sometimes.  If my face looked the same as it would have if it didn’t get burned when I was a kid, I’d probably get a lot of unwanted attention.  Not to brag, but I was a bit of a child star back in the day.  And that’s all I’ll say about it.”

“Ohh, I see,” I nod, then hold my hands to my face, “Assis-co really is a great company though, don’t you think, now that they’re interacting with the public?  It was so cool to learn how they’ve always been years ahead in the technology game, and now I’m always excited to hear what new products they roll out!  Especially since they help people so much.”

“Whoa there,” Ssnad holds out a hand, and I blink a few times in confusion before he continues, “I’m sure that your life’s been improved by Assis-co’s products, yeah, but don’t go putting any corporations up on a pedestal.  For that matter, don’t put anyone on a pedestal.  That’s how you get taken advantage of.  There are very few people in this world who are really good people, and with that in mind, no one group of people could ever be free of malicious intent.  Don’t just trust them because they happen to be helping people right now.”

“I prefer trusting people, though…” I sigh, looking down at the floor, “I won’t just distrust people because I don’t know for certain that they’re trustworthy.”

You know, he has a point.  I really appreciate how much you blindly trust my word, but that’s also something which can turn out badly!  All I’m asking you to do is help others, but would you still follow my word if I told you to do bad things?

Well, I like to think I’m not a bad person…

But you would do it if I told you to.  That’s the thing.  I’m built to guide and influence you, and if somebody wanted you to hurt someone, they’d do it through me.  I’m still an electronic device, I can be hacked and modified.  There is always something which can go wrong.

I understand.

“That’s a very kind and innocent way to think about the world, but I’m afraid we aren’t living in an age where you can afford to do that,” Ssnad shakes his head, “I do wish I could tell you otherwise, but I just can’t lie to you on a matter like this.”

“Really?” I question, pouting, “I know the birth rate is declining, but I thought Japan was doing okay right now… The economy’s fine, we’re making social progress at a breakneck pace, and we aren’t at war with anyone.  Isn’t that a world where I can be trusting?”

“You’ve been at Korekara Academy for over a year and you still think that you can trust anybody?” Ayano speaks up again, questioning, “All I can trust in is my faith.  I can’t even trust myself.  The country may be doing fine right now, but the world is still a disgusting place.  It’s getting worse, too, with that cult…”

“Right,” Ssnad nodded, “You’ve heard of them, right?  They’re gaining a lot of traction online, especially with disenfranchised youth.  The Order of The Felinus.  Their teachings aren’t grounded in any existing religion, and they’ve got a number of underhanded recruitment tactics.  The same group is managing to target downtrod minorities at the same time as they’re gaining footholds among privileged people with a persecution complex.”

“H-how could somebody possibly appeal to such different groups at the same time?” I’m shocked to hear this.

“It’s not that difficult,” Ssnad shakes his head, “You just give your mission statement differently.  To the disenfranchised, you talk about the existential level.  This group has an idea that the end of the world is coming sooner than later, a complete deconstruction of the current society.  Coupled with the idea of a group which supports and accepts them… Vulnerable people might take that chance.  As for the other end…”

“One of the ‘rules’ of this group is that each member receives somebody who is fully subservient to them.  In most cases, this takes the form of a kidnapped child who the member is responsible for grooming and indoctrinating,” Ayano cuts in, grimacing, “That’s the real rough part of it, and why it’s not a group which we can just ignore.  They’re actively polluting the state of the world and enabling bad people to do bad things.”

“That does sound awful,” I bite my lip, shaking my head, “How do people like that exist?  How is somebody creating a belief system which does that?  Shouldn’t somebody have stopped them by now?  That’s so illegal!”

“It is illegal,” Ssnad sits down next to me, “But that’s the thing.  Anyone who’s publicly advocating for the group, authorities can’t prove that they’ve ever actually had one of these kidnapped children.  That’s why they haven’t all been arrested by now; with no evidence, people are suggesting that the kidnapping is just a smear campaign against a fringe religious organization.”

“But you know that it’s true because of your degree, right?” I raise a hand to my eyes, pressing against them to keep from crying in my horror that such a thing is real, “Yet you can’t do anything about it…”

“It’s true for sure,” Ayano notes, folding her hands in front of herself, “I’ve seen the research.  In fact, there’s three people at our school who can attest to it being definitely real.  Ssnad?  Hako-senpai, she’s part of this now, right?  So I can tell her?”

“Yeah, go ahead.  Since she somehow ended up here on a day when we were both here, already discussing what you as a child of great faith can do to oppose them…” Ssnad might be winking.  I can’t tell, he only has one eye so it just looks like blinking.

“Oh, I see!  With that in mind, then it must be God’s wish that Hako-senpai know these things,” Ayano smiles, but then returns to a grim look as she turns to speak with me, “Sayaka Shinku was an attempted kidnapping by a member, but he was killed and she escaped.  Touko Nozomi’s twin brother, Shinjiro, was kidnapped at age four.  She remembers the day it happened, and is sure it was for this reason.  And then there’s Kurumi Hoshikawa,” Ayano takes a deep breath, “Who is one of those children.  However, it seems that her ‘Master’ actually raised her with care, unlike most of them.  Hoshikawa-senpai claims that she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

“Is that… Stockholm Syndrome?” I question, somehow remembering the term.

“It doesn’t seem so,” Ssnad shakes his head, “I had Ayano-chan tail her for a while, and everything honestly seemed to point to a loving and compassionate connection between those two.”

“D-Don’t just admit that!” Ayano protests, holding her hands in front of herself, “Hako-senpai just met me!  Don’t just tell people that I can do stuff like that… It’s really weird!  I only do it because it helps out you and Assis-co, I wanted to leave that all in the past!”

“I don’t think that’s weird!  Being stealthy is really hard, right?  So it’s impressive.  A real skill,” I insist, standing up again, “In fact, I’m just glad to know more about you, Ueda-chan.  Would you be willing to speak with me more in the future?” I turn to look to my other side, “You too, Ssnad-sama?”

“Of course!” Ayano nods, then pulls out her phone, “Ssnad-san, we should give her our contact info so we can schedule another meeting sometime.  Maybe over crepes, and on a less serious subject?”

“That sounds great,” Ssnad nods, then they both give me their contact info before going on their way, leaving me alone in the chuch.  I just stand here for a while before leaving the building and making my way back home.


“Oh, you’re home early today, Box!” My father greets me with a warm smile when I walk in the door, “No need to stay around till school closed today?”

“Right,” I nod, dropping my bookbag by the door and slipping off my shoes before I walk up to him and peer over his shoulder to see what he’s cooking, and wrinkle my nose, “Vegetable curry…? You know, Mom hates that!”

“I know you hate it too, Box,” He chuckles, stirring it, “But this isn’t vegetable curry!  At least, it isn’t the vegetable curry that I usually make.  I found some different veggies at the farmer’s market this morning.  No green peppers this time!  I got some tomatos and string beans.  Plus,” He moves the spoon to show another bit, “Just because the coloring looks like vegetable curry doesn’t mean there’s no meat in it!  I got a really big piece of steak for tomorrow, and I put the lower quality bits of it in here.”

“Oh, that actually sounds tasty!” I back off, putting my hands on my hips, “But you’ll have to defend it to Mom when she gets home from work, too!”

“I know, I know,” He waves a hand in the air with a nervous grin still on his face, laughing again, “But I’m sure she’ll be reasonable about dinner!”

“I wouldn’t be so certain about that,” I shake my head, “Mom can be very particular about curry, after all!”


After dinner, which really is delicious with the unusual curry vegetables, I return to my room and power on my computer, opening up the chat program again.  I have to contact Momochan again, and also have a conversation with Mayu.  I’m about to do so, when I realize that I have no idea what Mayu’s username is.

Sure you do!  You saw it on her screen when she was playing dream girlfriend.

Well, is her username the same here?

Most people use the same username everywhere they go on the internet.  So, yeah, I’d say so.

I enter “mayucchi” into the chat program, and get a hit, so I send her a message.  She replies immediately.

BOX-U: Wang-chan?
MAYUCCHI: Huh??? Who are you
BOX-U: Oh, sorry!  Box Hako, from school!
MAYUCCHI: Ah… You can just call me Mayu~~
MAYUCCHI: I don’t need ~respect~ it’s ~weird~
BOX-U: Everyone deserves to be respected, though…
MAYUCCHI: Noooooooooooooo
MAYUCCHI: Not online, anyway!  I’m just Mayucchi here, Mayucchi!
MAYUCCHI: Last names are irrelevant!  Usernames are king!
MAYUCCHI: And Mayu is a suitable shortening of Mayucchi!!!
BOX-U: Well, okay, but only if you call me Box!
MAYUCCHI: So what’s up, huh?  Did you start playing DGF and want my advice?
BOX-U: No, I don’t have a phone that can play games… I just want to get to know you!
MAYUCCHI: If you get to know me you won’t like me!
BOX-U: That seems like a weird thing to assume.  I’m sure I’ll like you just fine.
MAYUCCHI: You won’t!  There’s no way!  I may as well just tell you the truth right now!
BOX-U: ???
MAYUCCHI: What you saw of me in the video game club was just a small window into my true self…
MAYUCCHI: When I’m at home all I do is play mobile games, watch anime, and eat junk food!
MAYUCCHI: I’m a Himono, Box!  A lazy Himono!
BOX-U: Himono… That’s a productive person who’s lazy at home and has no ambition, right?
MAYUCCHI: That’s me… ಥ‿ಥ
BOX-U: Well, that sounds pretty normal!  You’re doing well in school, right?
MAYUCCHI: Yeah my grades are good…
BOX-U: And you’ll probably get some menial, pointless job after graduation that you’ll be good at?
MAYUCCHI: Most likely.  Can’t see what else I’d do.
BOX-U: Then who cares how you are in private?  That still makes you a productive member of society.
MAYUCCHI: But there’s a whole word about how useless people like me are!
BOX-U: Well, I don’t think that’s true.  Besides, I’m not a productive member of society either!
BOX-U: And I’d be friends with somebody even if they actively tried to be a useless person.
MAYUCCHI: Wow… You’re amazing!
BOX-U: Amazing?  I wouldn’t say amazing.
BOX-U: I mean, all I’m good at is being nice…
MAYUCCHI: That’s still something.  All I’m good at is playing pointless games…
MAYUCCHI:  I really don’t know how I got invited to Korekara! (´。_。`)
BOX-U: The talent scouts know things about us that even we don’t know about ourselves, sometimes…
BOX-U: So I bet you have some hidden talent that you just haven’t discovered yet!  
BOX-U: You’re a second year, right?
BOX-U: I don’t understand what you just said but!
BOX-U: You still have another year and a half to find out if you have a talent!
BOX-U: And if it turns out that talent really is just at playing mobile games?
BOX-U: That’s good too.
MAYUCCHI: Everyone else in the video game club is good at something to a point where it’s amazing…
MAYUCCHI:  But I’ve never been on a leadeboard or anything.
BOX-U: If you don’t have a talent at all, well, that’s fine too!
BOX-U: People don’t need to be good at anything to still have value.
BOX-U: Everyone matters, in their own way.
BOX-U: Not on a universal scale, but to other people.
BOX-U: No matter what, there’s always at least one person…
BOX-U: Who would be a lot worse off if you never existed.
MAYUCCHI:  I don’t know about that.
MAYUCCHI:  I can’t seem to get my friends to stick around…
BOX-U: What do you mean?
MAYUCCHI: All my friends are online…
MAYUCCHI: Mostly in a SIF chatroom.
MAYUCCHI: One of the members of it, though, just disappeared one day.
MAYUCCHI: All she left behind was an ominous message.
BOX-U: What was the message?
MAYUCCHI:  She and I shared the same best girl (Nozomi)
MAYUCCHI:  So we talked a lot.  She even did fortunetelling like Nozomi!
MAYUCCHI:  But one day she said…
MAYUCCHI:  “I think the reason I can’t tell my own fortune is because I’m fated to die, and it’s inevitable but who knows when it will happen.”
MAYUCCHI:  And she never came online again.
MAYUCCHI: Uh… Sorry.  I dunno why I’m telling you this.
MAYUCCHI: It’s pretty weird, huh?  We’re not close or anything…
MAYUCCHI: And I’m telling you about this stuff…
BOX-U: Sometimes, that’s what you need.
BOX-U: Besides, I asked!
BOX-U: You wouldn’t want to tell somebody in your club, right?
BOX-U: And everyone on your chat server knows already.
MAYUCCHI: Yeah… Oh!  Do you want to join my chat server?
MAYUCCHI: All our UNs on there are SIF related, but it’s not necessary!
MAYUCCHI:  We usually just chat about miscellaneous things more than SIF.
BOX-U: I mean… Is it okay if I have no idea what ‘SIF’ is?
MAYUCCHI: It will be if I invite you!  I’m one of the founders after all.

Moments later, I receive a link from Mayu.

[BOX-U was added to group: SIFestival]
Kotobirb: Welcome!
Kananaphone: Whale Come
Maki-Best: Why the normie username?
Nozocchi: I invited her, Tsukki!  She’s my friend from school who doesn’t know SIF >o<
Kotobirb: Nice to meet you, Box!
BOX-U: Hi everyone!
Kananaphone: Whoa, that’s your default username…
Kananaphone: You should pick out a dn!  Then it won’t be all caps.
BOX-U: I have no idea what a display name would be for me…
BOX-U: Um, I’m Box, Kotobirb was right.  Who are all of you?
Maki-Best: The name’s Tsukune, but you can call me Tsukki.
Kotobirb: I’m Malcolm! And I guess my name explains why I type in English…
Kotobirb: I mostly just google translate everything.
Kananaphone: I’m not Japanese either, but I know it.
Kananaphone: The name’s Nadia.
Maki-Best: Most of our members are Japanese, but nobody’s really online right now.
BOX-U: It’s great to meet you all!
BOX-U: I’m always glad to make new friends!
Maki-Best: I’m not, but if it’s Mayu’s friends, then I am.
Maki-Best: It’s a very complicated relationship with my inner self.
BOX-U: Sounds like you and your inner self need to sit down and have a long talk!
Maki-Best: Yeah, I guess so.
Kananaphone: Why not make your dn Cardboard? ;)
Kananaphone: You know because your name is Box?
[ChikaMikan came online!]
Kananaphone: Oh hey wb
Kotobirb: wb
Makibest: weba Kanokun
Nozocchi: Kanokun!  Meet my school friend, Box!
ChikaMikan: ?? Oh, hello.
ChikaMikan: Nozocchi, you’re still in school?  I had no idea.
ChikaMikan: I sort of assumed the founder of this chatroom would be an adult.
Nozocchi: Huh?  Oh yeah, me and Spiritp0wer made this room in middle school.
Nozocchi: Box and I are both high school second years
ChikaMikan: Ah… Is anyone else here a child?
ChikaMikan: I’m worried that by swearing in the past…
ChikaMikan: I may have broken the corruption of minors laws where I live…
Maki-Best: That’s going a little too far.
Maki-Best: You’re fine, Kanokun.  Also, I’m twenty.
Kotobirb: Thirty-five here.
ChikaMikan: Okay… I’m twenty six.
Kananaphone: 0-0
Nadia Marx (Kananaphone)
Kananaphone: I’m actually… Fifty one?
Kananaphone: I’m an old lady compared to all of you!
BOX-U: Oh, I’m sorry!  I just assumed everyone here was also in high school…
ChikaMikan: Oh dear.  I apologize if we’ve intimidated you with our age.
ChikaMikan: I assure you, nobody here is interested in pursuing a relationship with children!
BOX-U: No, I wasn’t worried about that!  But I am sorry if I insulted your maturity by assuming you were my own age…
Kananaphone: My DN is ‘Kananaphone’ do you really think I have maturity to insult?
BOX-U: Though… how did adults get into a mobile game like this?
BOX-U: It seems a little juvenile.
Kananaphone: I’M RICH so it’s more fun to play.
Kananaphone: Also, anime really helps out my prosopagnosia.
BOX-U: Prosopagnosia?
Kotobirb: That’s the face thing, right?  Same-Face-Syndrome?
Kananaphone: Mmhm!  Anime usually defines characters by hairstyles and outfits, though.
Kananaphone: So honestly, I can tell anime characters apart way better than I can tell actors or real people apart.
ChikaMikan: It’s a fascinating phenomenon, though…
ChikaMikan: That must be a hindrance in your everyday life.
BOX-U: Yeah, isn’t it tough?
Kananaphone: I’m sure it would be if I was interacting with people more often…
Kananaphone: And there’s been the occasional goofy misunderstanding…
Kananaphone: Oh, and I /was/ institutionalized when I was a teenager, but that’s in the past.

Wrap it up, Box.  You still need to talk to Momochan, and get a good night’s sleep.

BOX-U: Are you sure it’s okay?
Kananaphone: Of course I am.  Besides, I don’t need a high-schooler worrying about me!
Kananaphone: I can take care of myself >o,<
BOX-U: Okay then!
BOX-U: Also, I think I have to go.  I have something else I need to do, and then I have to get some sleep.
Kotobirb: See you!  Come back soon!
Maki-Best: Yes, I want to be able to say weba Box.  Webox if you will.
Nozocchi: Thanks for meeting my friends, Box.
Nozocchi: It means a lot to me that you’d want to see this part of my life!
ChikaMikan: I do hope to see you again, if that’s what you wish.
Kananaphone: Bye-Bye~~!

[BOX-U has left the room SIFestival]

With that sorted out (quite nicely I should think.  Mayu’s friends seem kind, and a lot of fun.) I get to messaging Momochan again, which does seem more important.  She seemed to be in an unfortunate situation, with the way that she answered at first.

BOX-U: Momochan?
MOMO: Ah, hello!  Sorry I left so suddenly last time.
BOX-U: I assumed it was for dramatic effect.
MOMO: No, it wasn’t actually.  I meant to say more…
MOMO: But something came up.
BOX-U: I talked to the Momoko Watanabe at my school…
BOX-U: She acted really weird.  
BOX-U: She asked me a bunch of probing questions, but wouldn’t answer even simple ones.
BOX-U: And also said that she loved someone who was blonde and narcoleptic, but was gone now…
BOX-U: Then stormed off.  It was super strange.
MOMO: What a hypocrite…
MOMO: And a liar.
MOMO: She’s lying if she says she loved that person.
BOX-U: Momochan, what’s going on?
BOX-U: I want to know the truth.
MOMO: The truth is, that Momoko is a criminal.
MOMO: Her name is Izuna Nanako.
MOMO: She stood there and watched as I was kidnapped.

MOMO: Then stole my name and my invitation to Korekara Academy.