Mia tried the key on the newly found door, which reminded me that I had to think of a way to get that key back from her, but my thoughts were quickly interrupted.
"Dammit, the key doesn't work." Mia said, frustrated as she returned the key to her pocket.
"W-well what are we supposed to d-do? I-if we can't get out of here, then…" Jinju choked out, panicking. Risa also didn't seem to like the reality check that Jinju just provided, as she started to panic as well.
"Hey, hey, it's ok." Urkstin said, while he, Joseph, and Poppy tried to comfort the two, while the rest of us thought about our remaining options.
"We have no way out, no source of food or drink, and no way to know whether or not this 'motivation' is a bluff," I started quietly to our small group of Mia, Jambo, Liam, and I, "Where does that put us?"
"In a pretty gutted situation." Jambo responded bluntly, "If we can't get any nosh then we're just going to starve."
"Unless we want to resort to cannibalism," Mia stated, her hand holding her head as she thought out loud, "Maybe that's the whole point of this 'game'."
"If the goal really is to drive us to cannibalism, then that was not choreographed to us very effectively by the one on the loudspeaker. No one here seems to be the type to fall off the deep end or even begin to think about consuming any of us," Liam added in, glancing back to Risa and the others, "Or at least, not all of us here."
"For the time being, in my opinion, we need to conserve our energy, try and scavenge for anything that they might have left behind in terms of food or a hint at a way out of here. Most importantly though, we have to try and stay calm for as long as we can." I spoke, getting head nods from everyone, including a rare one from Mia.
"Not a bad plan, Nishinzu. It's the best option we have at this point, much as I hate to admit it." She said, turning back to everyone else, who seemed to have calmed down the two having panic attacks.
"Alright listen up, all of you. Until we find a reliable source of food, the best course of action is to conserve our energy." Mia announced, getting some interesting reactions from everyone else.
"Is that all we can do now? Sit around and hope nothing bad happens?" Akira asked, sounding and looking defeated.
"Unfortunately, for the time being, yes." I joined in, warranting even more reactions. Most notably from Risa and Poppy. Poppy just seemed genuinely concerned, and upset at the desperate situation. Risa looked as though she was trying to keep her composure, most likely to try and not waste her energy crying.
"Can we leave now?" Risa asked, shaking slightly and clenching her fists, "I would like to go back to my cell." Mia just responded with a nod, and Urkstin led Risa out and back to her cell. The rest of us slowly dispersed and made our way back to our cells. As I walked alongside the others, I decided I would spend some more time with Poppy. I located her in the crowd and started making my way towards her.
"Poppy?" I called out, approaching her.
"Oh, hey Aka. What's up?" She responded, lacking her usual happy tone.
"I was just wondering if you wanted to come with me to check out something." I offered, which made Poppy flash a small smile.
"Sure thing. Where to?"
"It's something in the showers that I forgot to check out, if you wanted to tag along." I said, heading in the direction of the shower, happy to hear Poppy trailing behind. While we made our way there, I tried to get her to cheer up a bit more.
"So, do you only use Reddit?"
"Yesterday, you said you showed off your comedy on Reddit, but is that all you use?"
"Ohhh, nah! I have a ton of different places to make fun of people!"
"Any specifics that you're fond of?"
"Hmmmm, that might hafta go to my youtube channel!"
"Well, some people were askin' me how I was so gosh darn funny, so I decided to make a channel called 'PoppyTutorial'!"
"It was a channel for comedy tutorials?"
"Nope, it was a channel for stupid tutorials like 'How to pick up chairs', or 'How to stand up'. I made it just to piss off the peeps that wanted it!" Poppy explained, smiling like a goof.
"Well that's a bit mean, don't you think?" I asked, though it was impossible to hold back a snicker at the idea.
"Look Aka Shacka Lacka, comedy is subjective! I can't just make tutorials on that stuff!" I nodded in agreement and noticed that we reached our destination.
"So, why're we here again?" Poppy asked.
"We're here for that." I replied, pointing at the vent on the wall, "Urkstin mentioned hearing voices coming from there, so I wanted to check it out."
"Ohhh, do ya think it connects to the one in the bathrooms?"
"Maybe." We approached the vent, and I got down on my knees to peer through the vent. I could faintly see the light coming from the opposite side, most likely coming from the bathrooms. Interestingly, I could see that the vents split off to the right as well, leading to a room we haven't been to. My pants were starting to soak from kneeling in a puddle on the ground, so I stood back up.
"Whaddya see?" Poppy asked.
"Pretty sure this vent leads to the bathrooms, but there's also another path going to the right." I explained, while trying to remove the vent cover. Unfortunately, it seemed to be screwed in, so there was no hope in getting it open for the time being.
"Oh, marAka, you should go get changed." Poppy said, staring at my pants, which were covered in wet spots from the water on the ground.
"Oh, yeah I probably should," I noticed, before thinking for a moment, "...Hey Poppy?"
"Hm? What's up?"
"How do you come up with all of those nicknames for me?" I asked, feeling curious.
"Well, it's not as funny just sayin' your name normally, so I always try and think of a new way to say it on the spot!"
"I see...do you have any nicknames for yourself?" I questioned, feeling it was unfair for her to have all sorts of nicknames for me, but none for herself.
"Nah, I never think of jokes for myself, but if ya can think of anything, you can run it by me!" She responded, excited at the idea of a nickname.
"Hm… how about Pop? Popster? Poppers? Popgoes? Poo-"
"Ok, Jesus stop, those are all cringe." Poppy responded, disgusted at the horrible ideas. I laughed in response at my own stupid nickanmes for her.
"Can't say I didn't try, right?" I asked, still laughing a bit too hard at Poppy's disgust.
"Yeah, you could say that." She replied, starting to laugh too. After a couple of seconds we were both just laughing together, occasionally repeating one of the nickname ideas, and laughing harder because of it.
The rest of the afternoon, we messed around in the showers, splashing each other, laughing, and having a fun time. It was a good, and enjoyable distraction from the oppressive atmosphere outside of that room, and it was one of my fondest memories of the time I spent in that prison.
By the time that Poppy and I had finished messing around, everyone, including myself, was tired. Unfortunately, the hunger started to set in as well, so Poppy and I split off for a moment, and I ended up going to the cell block together where everyone else seemed to be located.
I didn't even know what time it was, but I was too tired to wait for the announcement. I walked up the set of stairs to the second floor, and as I passed by Mia's cell, I noticed that her and Risa were in there. They seemed to be having fun doing whatever they were doing, and even through the tiredness, I smiled at the sight, and walked over to my own cell and walked in.
"AH-" Within a second of walking into my cell, Poppy jumped in my face and scared me, leading to me slapping her in the face out of instinct. After her initial recoil in pain, she looked up, seeming less cheerful than a second ago.
"Aw, what the hell?! What was that for?"
"You scared me! What were you expecting?"
"I wasn't expectin' a slap to the face!"
"Well, now you know not to jump at me!" After that brief argument, Poppy and I couldn't take it seriously anymore, and started to laugh at the stupidity of what just happened while I walked over to my bed and sat down.
"Why did you come in here?" I asked, sighing due to being able to sit and relax after today.
"Oh right, well uh…" Poppy started, sitting down next to me, starting to sound more serious, "I was thinking about Ceáser earlier and well…" She trailed off, finding it hard to say whatever she was going to say.
"I want to get him out of there just as much as you do, but we need to get his key from Mia." I replied, which made Poppy look up at me.
"I know that, which is why I think…" She seemed conflicted, but she finally spoke her mind.
"I think we should tell everyone about him."