Powerless. It's all Maizono had felt since she had been confined in this building along with 14 other students 3 days ago. Her family, her friends, and world famous bandmates had all stripped away from her like it was nothing. The idol's fans probably had no idea where she'd run off to. Cameras lined the halls, extending even into the dorm rooms and yes, even the bathrooms, offering zero privacy whatsoever. Any opposition to this creature seemed futile to her. In her head, she felt that the entire building was bugged and that there was no means of escape. All she could do right now was lay in bed and think to herself.

'I'm locked in a cage. Just like i've always been..'

No.

Not again.

'I won't let this continue for any longer. I have to get out of here. I have countless people outside who are worried about me. Everything I have is waiting for me back at home. I'll escape this prison if it's the last thing I do for no other reason than to say that I escaped. If I die then it'd be worth it. I'd rather die than serve as a mere plaything. And not to mention what I saw on that god forsaken tape. Are my bandmates even alive? Why were they out cold in that video? What if they're-'

Her thought process had come to a screeching halt before she found herself punching her leg in frustration. There's no way they're dead, she assured herself. Whatever this thing is couldn't possibly have any power in the outside world.. right? It's just a mechanized bear. Looking up at her hand, Maizono noticed the edges of her nails trinkled in a little blood. Reflexively looking down at her leg afterwards, she had found some small scratch marks which had been left by herself. Ah, must've been scratching myself again. Maizono clinched her hand into a fist and watched the small traces of blood on the edges of her fingertips expand and begin rolling down them.

She wasn't going to let herself rot away here. There's no way. Her thoughts were racing at a thousand miles per minute.

'We were going to be the most successful idol group Japan has ever seen. No, scratch that, we're still going to be. So you know what? Screw it. I'll play your little game and I'll win it too. As much as it pains me to do so... if it's the only way out, I have no choice right? Am I really going to throw everything away just to remain trapped like this? I can't. But...'

Makoto.

Indeed, if she chose to kill somebody and escape, everybody gets executed. Even him.

'Can I let him die? I've known him since middle school, and although we have only just now befriended each other, he's been the only person that seems to care about me...'

Her mind was a swirl of thoughts, anger swelling up inside her, angry at the fact she had to make such an incredible choice.

'I can. I will.' she told herself. 'We weren't that close in middle school anyway, so why do I care? Would I really put Naegi over everything I hold dear? I can't do that. I won't do that. I won't let some mere kidnapper bring MY dreams crashing down, it's unacceptable. No matter the cost, even dooming someone as sweet and kind as...'

'I hadn't even talked to him in years before we were forced into this reunion with each other. I'll get out of here even if everyone else has to die. I'll never accept being confined like this. Never again.'

That's what she told herself, yet all she could feel was warm liquid rolling down her cheeks as Maizono buried her face back into the pillow and sobbed endlessly.

She rose out of bed and slowly marched her way to the bathroom. Shooting a quick glance into the mirror, she saw just how puffy and red her eyes were. 'Makoto would start interrogating me if I appear in front of him like this.' She told herself, worried that her mask could slip. 'And his consent is required for my plan to work out.' she thought to herself, before addressing the mental elephant in the room. 'Oh yeah, I'm going to kill someone in a few hours.' A quiet cackle escaped her lips. 'Isn't it funny how the world works? The world would think me nothing more than a harmless girl, yet I'm about to slash someone into pieces.' The irony, she thought, is enough to drive anyone to laughter. 'Maybe when I get out I'll parade a picture of the corpse around to my followers just so that everyone will know what and who I sacrificed to see all of them again! I'm sure they'd all fawn over me, head over heels.'

"You're the best Sayaka-chan!"

"Can I have your autograph?!"

"Wow, you're such a tsundere!"

At this point, her head had become the ravings of a lunatic. Quiet cackles turned into full on laughter. She had unknowingly begun rambling to herself out loud as she began to let the water run in the shower. Removing her clothes and opening the door, she begun thinking out loud.

"I'll be back to the same old life! Without missing a beat. Once I get outside of this building, it'll all be normal again. Every single thing, completely normal!" She began to cackle again. "I mean, just think of the sheer absurdity of it all. I'm about to kill somebody yet none of them would even care! I suppose this is how it feels to be famous after all the nights I spent dreaming about it as a little girl. I can do whatever I want to and face no consequences. I am the Ultimate Idol after all. I mean who would honestly question me?" A slight pause followed her remarks, perhaps a pause that seemed to steam from a long submerged feeling of doubt, before she then continued on.

"Yup. That's right. I'm untouchable. I'm practically a god when you really think about it, at least to those who follow me. That's totally it! Alright. I'll let my physical appearance return to it's usual look and then I'll go and ask Naegi to switch rooms. My plan is full proof. There's no way it'll go wrong. And once it succeeds, my escape and return to normalcy is guaranteed." She convinced herself.

Yet.. her mind kept drifting off. After a few moments of somber silence, she lowered her head and let out a whimper followed by a mumble that sounded something like "Poor Naegi.", which had exited her lips without even her own realization. Her plan was to set him up, fake an encounter at her door in the night, have the two switch rooms, and then kill Kuwata in Naegi's room, all while slipping out and leaving everyone else to come to the obvious conclusion that Naegi was the only one who could've killed her. Not only that, but there was simply no way a little girl like her could be responsible for an athlete like Kuwata's death. She'd be the last one suspected.

...her thoughts trailed off once more. That boy who trusted so easily. Was it right? Morally, clearly not, but morals were the last of Maizono's concerns. Far more important than any moral code was her entire life, her reason for living: Being an idol. Poor Naegi indeed, she told herself, his trusting nature would be his downfall. But was it worth condemning not just the innocent boy, but everyone else, also innocent, to death?

If it meant the furtherance of her dreams, the answer was yes. It was yes. Yes. Yes. It WAS yes. It had to be yes. No doubt about it. She was so sure of it that she found herself chanting it to herself internally over and over again. Yes! It absolutely is. Right? It has to be. What's everything in her life led up to if the answer isn't yes? As she participated in the front line of the war in her head, she stepped outside of the shower, got dressed, and put her clothes on.

Time had passed, and it had become mere moments until the nightly announcement. Oh right, she thought to herself. It's almost time, huh?

Walking out of the bathroom and around her room, she gripped the holt of the knife she had retrieved from the kitchen earlier and stored it in her pocket, grabbed her room key, and stuffed the note addressed to Kuwata in her other pocket. She had begun to tremble as she went to open the door.

'Get it together Sayaka, be a big girl. You can do this.' Nervousness crept on her like a shadow.

She had mumbled that under her breath, yet without even having to look deep down Maizono knew that all of the color was drained out of her face already. Collecting herself, Sayaka finally built up the courage to twist open the door knob and begin making her way towards Makoto's room down the hallway of the building.

Naegi had been preparing for bed, and was already wrapped up under the covers attempting to doze off. He didn't feel staying up very late tonight, after what they had seen in the gymnasium it had been a long day for all parties involved. Just after the night time announcement aired, Naegi heard a knock at his door.

'What? Who could be out at this time? It's almost night time...'

Letting the announcement conclude, he had walked over to the door and opened to find Sayaka waiting for him. She was in a cold sweat and looked distraught, clearly bothered by something. Trembling in front of him, it looked like she had used just about all of the energy she had even to make it to his door. Almost immediately Naegi felt a wave of concern rush over him.

"I'm sorry to bother you so late at night... but something really strange just happened... when I was at my room.." Her voice caught in her throat mid-sentence, before she mustered up the power to continue. "My door was like... rattling and shaking... like someone was trying to force it open and I'm really scared.. My door was locked so nothing came of it b-but.." For a moment Makoto almost thought that he saw her eyes watering a little bit but perished the thought. He found his own heart racing, and it took him a second before he could finally muster up the courage to respond.

"So what happened after that?"

"Well after a while.. it just stopped.. after a few minutes I got up to look around outside and didn't see anyone."

"So you're saying someone tried to force themselves into your room? I can't imagine someone here would do that..."

"I don't know. I mean, it's not like I think anyone here would try to hurt me, but it makes me really nervous. Like what if someone got into my room while I was sleeping... wh-what then?"

"Why don't you stay in my room tonight. Would that make you feel any better?"

Makoto instantly felt like a dumbass.

"What?!"

He immediately began backpedaling quicker than a world-class cyclist.

"O-oh I'm sorry I didn't mean it like that.. haha.." Naegi was furiously scratching his head as a nervous laugh eeked its way out of his throat. "After all the regulations just said that we had to sleep in *a* room right? Not who's... apologies, it really didn't cross my mind!" He looked across at her face, his eyes practically pleading, as he saw a blush formulate on her cheeks and Naegi could feel his warming up too.

"Oh no.. it's okay. I mean, I'm not even really that opposed to the idea-"

At this point, Naegi's brain had just devolved into an ocean of internal screaming.

"-...Um.. if you don't mind.. maybe we could switch rooms instead? Just for tonight." As the screams of thousands of past souls at last exited Makoto's brain, he gathered himself and started to think it over as silence filled the air between the two.

'Switch rooms huh?' He pondered to himself. 'I mean, if it'll cheer her up I can't really say no.'

"Yeah. That's fine with me, but are you sure it's okay for me to stay in your room? I mean, I'm okay with you staying in mine but.."

"It's fine, don't worry about it. I trust you." That same old cheery smile crossed over her face, subconsciously causing Naegi's own face to twist in a smile as well.

"Sure. That's fine with me. I hope that you're able to sleep better here.. my room's pretty much the same as it was when I first arrived here. I'm not exactly the most interest-"

Sayaka's face turned into a pout, and before he could finish what he was saying she grumbled back at him. "Oh shut up dummy, you're plenty interesting. Anyway thank you, this really means a lot to me. I promise that I'll pay you back somehow."

Though to Naegi any form of payment wasn't exactly necessary, he decided to just nod in return and let the conversation end there as they exchanged room keys and Makoto headed towards the door of her room. Waving as he exited, Naegi headed to her room to sleep for the night. Making his way down the dark corridor and towards her room, he unlocked the door and entered carefully. 'I didn't want to go snooping around', he thought. He quickly made his way over to the bed and laid down. Staring at the ceiling, Naegi wondered if he might be in danger himself since she had stated that someone had tried to come in here earlier. He decided to perish the thought and simply let himself drift off to sleep. Even if someone was there, they had no means of entrance. 'I'll just make sure to be extra careful when I head to the cafeteria tomorrow morning and it'll all be fine.' Spacing out his thoughts, he desperately tried to convince himself that everything would be okay.

'Everything's going to be fine. We're all going to make it out of this together. Nobody will die.' That's what Naegi had told himself as he drifted off into a deep, deep sleep.

The first thing Makoto heard when he woke up was the sound of his doorbell being frantically rung over and over again. At first, his initial reaction was that of fear. Still being on alert from what he had heard from Maizono, he carefully tiptoed his way towards the door. Yet for whatever reason.. all he could feel in his stomach was a pit. Something felt wrong. He had a hunch that this wasn't coming out of malice. No... the door itself was rattling, the frame of the door was shaking. It was so fast that it was making his heart rate rise. Finally conceding, he opened the door to find Hiro in a state of panic.

"Makoto!" Yasuhiro's voice started off in a shout before a pause and then a gradual descent into a mumble "Th-there's.. a body.."

Every hair on Makoto's body stood up on end and his mind entered into a state of blank terror.

"Y-you're joking right? Right?!"

That's what he told himself, but he knew by the grim look on Hiro's face that this was no joke. Following Hiro down the hall, he began to make out a bright light contrasting the otherwise pitch back hallway. As his approach neared the strange glare, it became clear that the light was emanating from inside of a room, which had seen it's door left wide open. They stopped at this room. And inside of it, Makoto couldn't have prepared for what he was going to see. Upon looking inside, he felt himself almost start to lose conscience. Everything blurred as his brain scrambled to process what it was looking at.

What was he looking at? Asahina's corpse staring up in the ceiling. A pool of blood surrounded the grim scene, a knife embedded in her abdomen, and all of the life had long since perished out of her eyes. A look of pain remained permanently ingrained on her features. A scene that would become well known to the students of Hope's Peak Academy.

A/N: Right, so I was really happy with how this chapter turned out. Honestly I think it's my favorite of all of the ones we've done so far despite being quite a bit shorter. Oh yeah, that 'we' word. This is being co-authored with a good friend of mine named Bemhawk. He has co-authorship on the AO3 cross-post, but there is no way to do such a thing on unfortunately so I've decided to credit him here. Obligatory thanks a ton for reading, truly hope it was an enjoyable experience for you :)

If anyone ends up actually liking this, perhaps I'll answer questions and comments and things in this little author's notes section. We already wrote 3 chapters, so the first 3 will just be short comments on the final result for now. This is my 2nd story that I've ever really tried to write, though I do have help it's still a pretty intimidating task so hopefully this comes out decently!