After Aramaki-san disappeared from the monitor, no one opened their mouths for a while.
Aramaki-san's employer. In other words, the mastermind of this death game is among us. There was no way I could be at peace.
The atmosphere was heavy.
Unsure of what to do, I look around with an upward glance.
If I suspect something, everyone is suspicious.
In such an indescribable atmosphere, the first to move was Hikami-kun, who stood up from his seat and walked up to the President.
Akira-chan and Yamauchi-san also stood up, and the four of them started whispering to each other.
Then, two people who seem to be new models and Fumijima-san begin to gather around Misuzu-chan.
The President's group and Misuzu-chan's group, or should I say....
If this death game is to be played by majority vote, the votes of these two groups will surely decide the outcome of the game.
（But only two of us can survive... right?)
Even if the four of them work together to kick out the others, they will have to part ways at some point.
For example, if the President survives, who will become the other four?
It is obvious that the President loves Akira-chan very much, but it is also well known that Yamauchi-san is the President's lover.
If he has to choose, which one will he choose?
On the other hand, he might not want Hikami-kun to be cut off.
If President's group and Misuzu-chan's group crush each other, the key to victory or defeat will be the remaining people.
Me, Kaneko-san, and the hard rocker.
I turn my attention to Hard Rocker and Kaneko-san, both of whom have barely moved since last time.
Hard Rocker is looking up at the ceiling with her feet on the table, and Kaneko-san is looking at Hikami-kun with cold eyes.
I've seen my fair share of death game anime, manga, and novels, so it's not like I have zero prior knowledge.
I want to get around somehow and survive.
If I had to choose one of them to team up with, or survive with, it would be Misuzu-chan.
In the first place, I went to First Beauty's agency to protect Misuzu-chan, and got caught up in this death game.
However, I think it's dangerous to join Misuzu-chan's group at an early stage.
It could make me a target for the President's group....
（I think I should talk to Hard Rocker first... she's experienced. But she's kind of scary... but, yeah)
Just as I stood up to talk to Hard Rocker, I heard Misuzu-chan's voice.
「Fumijima, first of all, you're dead」
「N-no way... Misuzu-san, you're kidding, right?」
Misuzu-chan kicked Fumijima-san's legs and said coldly.
「Stay away from me. You're disgusting. You should be glad to die so that you can be of use to me. Are you stupid?」
Then she said to the two new models in a high-handed manner.
「You two, vote for Fumijima for now, got it?」
「Huh? Natsumi, when did you become someone who can speak up to me?」
Misuzu-chan glared at her, and the short-cut girl fell silent.
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「So? The one who deserves to live the most in this world is me. I'm going to be big, and I'm going to achieve fame. If I die here, it'll be a great loss to the world. But as long as you do what I say, one of you will survive, okay?」
Frankly, I was stunned.
I hadn't expected Misuzu-chan to be so bad.
If anything, I had thought she was a good girl with good manners.
But now, she's behaving badly, antagonizing everyone with her overbearing attitude, and cutting off her own group's votes.
「Please, give me a chance. Misuzu-san...I don't want to die either...」
When Fumijima-san got down on his knees, Misuzu-chan stepped on his head, laughing.
「Ahahahahaha! You should be happy that you can die for me」
As I watched in amazement, I heard the hard rocker muttering to herself.
「...I guess we'll have to pick the first one」
「Looks like it」
When I turned my attention to the President and the others, even they were scowling.
Misuzu-chan was sure to get the votes. That's all I could think.
But Misuzu-chan, perhaps oblivious to this atmosphere, smiled broadly and raised her voice.
「Everyone! For now, please vote for Fumijima. That's how we'll survive the first day」
「Please forgive me... please...」
Fumijima-san's desperate plea as he was kicked to the ground was shameful, but Misuzu-chan's arrogance stood out even more.
（This... if Misuzu-chan is like that, the President's group will have a definite advantage. But if President survives, there's no chance for me to survive... right?)
Even if the President is sure to secure four votes, it's not a good idea to approach Misuzu-chan. She's like a muddy boat.
It would be better to keep quiet for a while longer without teaming up with anyone. In a voting system like this, I have to keep a low profile. That's important.
Now that I've made up my mind...
「Well, I suppose the breakfast should be in the room by now」
Hardrocker leaps out of her chair and walks over to one of the doors.
「Oh, here, here」
Then she opened the door and walked in.
Kaneko-san stands up and walks into the doorway as well.
Since I have decided to keep a low profile, it is not a good idea to stay here.
I look for my name, too, and go through the names on the door in turn.
And--I found it.
『Ryoko Terashima or Yasuko Kinuta』
That's what was written on the door.
I was horrified.
Perhaps someone was supposed to die as an example from the beginning.
And that person was either me or that detective.
I guess that's what it was.
With trembling hands, I turned the knob and stepped into the room.
On the other side of the door is a simple room of about six tatami mats.
The walls are still white, there is no window, and there is a simple bed and desk. It looks like a cheap business hotel room.
I was relieved to see that the door could be locked from the inside.
I stepped into the room, locked the door, and looked under the bed. No problem, there's nothing suspicious.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I look around and see a hot sandwich, salad and boiled egg on the desk. There was a cup of coffee and a teacup on the table.
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The hard rocker had said that breakfast should have arrived by now, and I guessed that this was it.
I wondered if it was safe to eat, but I was hungry. There's no advantage to poisoning it here, so it should be fine.
That's what I told myself, and I reached for the hot sandwich.
The hot sandwich was still warm and quite tasty. It tasted expensive, like breakfast at a fancy hotel.
Looking at the desk with my hot sandwich in hand, I noticed a few things that caught my attention.
A black box with a hole in it, like a piggy bank, labeled “Voting Box”.
Beside it, there is a stack of papers and a ballpoint pen.
I guess this is where I am supposed to write the name and put it in the box.
The votes open at nine o'clock in the evening. Since I don't know the exact time, it might be better to vote early.
There is also a saddle-stitched booklet beside it.
It is a booklet printed in gallettes on straw paper. On the cover is written “Death Game Handbook”.
The picture on the cover is a cartoon of a boy and a girl laughing happily. However, the boy has a rope hanging around his neck.
（I think it's a dark joke...)
While frowning, I opened the book to the second page and read, “It's a death game until you get home. Follow the rules and have fun killing each other”, it said.
The rest of the page is a list of detailed rules. It's hard to remember them all, but it's necessary to know the ones that might be violated.
The main ones are as follows.
1, Make sure to vote. Invalid votes or multiple votes will result in immediate death as a penalty.
2, Three meals will be served on the desk in the room.
3, You may stay in your room except during the vote counting.
4, There are no fixed seats at the round table. Feel free to sit as you like.
5, You may not enter another person's room without the permission of the room's occupant. The penalty for doing so is instant death.
6, The name you vote for is valid even if it is a misspelled name or a nickname, as long as you can identify the person with certainty.
7, It is okay to kill each other if necessary.
8, Bananas are not allowed as a snack.
The one I should be especially careful with is #5.
I think some people might try to use it as a trap. For example, someone could pretend it's their room and lead them to another person's room. ....
As for the rest... #7 is too disturbing.
As for #8, it's too late to say anything.
Bananas are not a snack, of course.
Shouldn't I just avoid contact with anyone as much as possible?
At any rate, there's only one person in this group that I really want to die.
I picked up a pen, wrote “President Kurashima”, and threw the paper into the voting box.