Shuichi knew something was off, he knew it.
He was a detective after all, he had the skills necessary to tell when someone was lying or when something was out of place. He knew when Kaito was playing dumb versus when he was actually dumb. He could see when the corner of Maki's lips tugged up just a little to form a hint of a smile whenever she was around the Ultimate Astronaut, no matter how quickly she attempted to hide it. He could see when Kokichi was pretending to grin, when deep down he was probably crying. He could see all those things.
And that's how he knew Miu Iruma was lying straight to their faces.
"Don't worry, there's nothing dangerous in the simulation, I swear!"
"I made sure to get rid of anything that could be lethal!"
Miu had just convinced the group to go into her "other world." It seemed like an idiotic decision, but everyone was searching to find a way out of this god-forsaken prison; they got desperate. Desperate enough to go into this, "Paradise," as Miu calls it.
But something was off, very off, and Shuichi could feel it. The face Miu made while begging them—yes begging them—to go into the simulation was not only desperate, but completely forced. Add in the fact that her classmates were essentially going onto her turf, and Shuichi could deduce that Miu may not be as so generous as she seemed.
He hated to doubt his friends, but in order to make sure no one else died, he decided to pull Miu aside from the rest of the group. He was rather forceful too. As everybody was marveling at Miu's creation, he grabbed her by her pink sleeve and hauled her away to where no one would hear them.
Of course, Miu was not only shocked, but completely pissed, throwing out a number of profanities into the wind. When Shuichi finally felt they were far enough away, he let go of her, just in time to get an earful.
"What the fuck was that," she screamed, causing Shuichi to flinch just a little.
"S-sorry," he apologized, "I needed to talk to you and-"
She cut him off, "Uh…earth to Shithara, you could've just asked!"
He frowned upon hearing the nickname, "Y-yeah, I know, but I couldn't risk anyone seeing us, so-"
She spoke up again, "Couldn't risk anyone seeing us? What do you think you're doing, you pervert?"
"I just want to talk to you," he attempted to reason without realizing how impossible it was to reason with a person like Miu.
"Yeah right," she snorted, clearly fuming, "You probably were trying to get a quickie. Well guess what? No fucking way!"
"I-it's not like," Shuichi stuttered. He was having a rather challenging time attempting to talk with the Inventor right in front of him. It was making him both scared for his safety and annoyed at how utterly ridiculous her accusations were.
"I can't believe this, I try and give you a gift with my lovely, "Paradise," and you repay me by asking me for sex-"
Miu's eyes widened, it wasn't every day that Shuichi of all people got pissed. She wanted to shout back at him, but all that came out was a little "Eep!"
"Look," Shuichi began, "I don't know what you're planning to do in that program thing, but I can guess it isn't going to be good."
"N-no, I swear, it's s-safe," she meekly replied, still frightened by the young detective's sudden outburst.
Shuichi ignoring her comment continued, "I just-I think you're going to hurt someone or get hurt yourself and I don't want that to happen."
Miu again tried to argue that nothing bad would happen, but found herself at a loss for words.
"I don't want you to try and hurt someone, you'll be suspected immediately, you'll get voted out, and then you'll die and-" Shuichi seemed to choke on his own words.
"I don't want that to happen."
Miu was now in complete shock. Not just because Shuichi had seen right through her, but that he wasn't necessarily upset with her. He even seemed to worry about her.
Shuichi sighed, fiddling with his cap as a way to relieve his tension, "Y-you mean a lot to me a-and I don't want you to die. I really, really don't."
If there wasn't already a little shade of pink appearing on her cheeks, there was now.
"I don't want anyone else to get hurt and that includes you."
Oh, so she was being paired with the rest of those idiots, huh?
"Y-you're one of my b-best friends, and I don't want to lose you!"
Or maybe not.
Miu weakly held up her arms in self-defense, "S-Shuichi I swear nothing bad will happen."
"I really hope so…"
They stood there in silence for a good while before Shuichi spoke up again.
"Y-you know how you said the world needs you, how a great mind like yours can't go to waste?"
"Y-yeah," she was just know realizing how wrong that sounded.
"I a-agree, someone as smart and as kind you doesn't deserve to die. So please, please be careful."
"I-I will, I promise," she responds. And with that, he leaves, apparently satisfied that any ill intentions the Inventor might have had were gone or not there to begin with. Sadly for Miu's heart, he flashed her a small, genuine smile, the kind that would make a girl swoon and feel on top of the world.
But Miu Iruma felt only pure despair. Shuichi was a total liar; she wasn't kind, she wasn't smart. She was a traitor. She was going to effectively kill one of the only people in her life that genuinely liked her, that saw her as she so wishes she saw herself. Someone who actually convinced her, for just a millisecond, to believe the lie that the outside world needed her, when in reality, she so desperately needed it.
And that smile, god that smile made her so happy and yet so miserable at the same time. The fact that her actions would mean no one else would be able to catch a glimpse at it made her stomach twirl.
It was because of that smile that when she returned to where the others were, she pretended to check the machine before declaring that that the Neo World Program was faulty and therefore too dangerous. She apologized for wasting their time, and didn't even snap when Kokichi taunted her about being a "failure as an inventor."
One by one, they all left, each with a look of confusion on their face. All of them except for one. A certain Detective, who was very well-aware that the Inventor was only acting when she was "inspecting" the machine. Before leaving, he looked at her one more time, flashing that same grin.
Her heart started pounding again, but unlike last time, she let it continue. Because this feeling in her heart was going to help guide her to being a better person. Because that person was going to make sure she didn't fall into despair. And if that meant not seeing the outside world for a while longer, so what?
The most important person in her entire world was right there beside her.
That was only a small moment in the story of how five survivors managed to escaped the horrors of the New Killing School Life. Two of whom, where rather close. Walking hand in hand to a new tomorrow.