Yeah, yeah, don't rush me. Also, pressing right to skip text only works after you've beaten the game, or so I've been told, and yeah, 'persons' is pretty redundant, isn't it? I guess they were just trying to keep up the naming aesthetic by having all the words end with an 's', and since 'persons,' while redundant, sounds marginally less stupid than 'peoples', I guess they just went with that.
Or maybe I'm just guessing. Who knows? But, you're here to hear about the fantabulous exploits of Junpei and the mysterious boat, so let's get back to it.
When we last left Junpei, he was thinking about stairs. Exciting! But then...
Junpei saw another person out of the corner of his eye. He stopped short, nearly tripping over the next stair, and looked. It wasn't just 1 person he'd seen...
On the landing to the left of the stairs, there were 4 people◊ staring at him... And on the right side, 3 more.◊
All told, there were 7 of them. It looked as though they had been on their way down the stairs. They'd stopped short when they saw Junpei, their eyes wide.
Meet our supporting cast. They stand and stare at each other for a few seconds before things get going again.
The woman spoke to Junpei, and time began to move again.
???: I guess there's another one of us now.◊
The woman was dressed, Junpei thought, rather like a [dancer].
Yeah. A dancer.
Her clothes covered very little, and her prodigious jewelry little more.
Dancer: Hey! You! Come on! Hurry!
With no further ceremony, she ran, straight past Junpei and toward the doors behind him.
And of course, she has an attitude as big as her... ah... tracts of land.
The sudden proximity of a woman with such striking assets left Junpei momentarily stunned...
Normally, girls like that never get close to him, much less speak
to him! Junpei's on a freakin' roll here, you guys.
Nobody else, however, really cares about the half-naked 'dancer' running around. It's just Junpei.
...But the others wasted no time, and quickly followed the strange woman. The first to pass Junpei was a young man with [silver hair]. He threw a quick glance in Junpei's direction as he ran, muttering...
Silver: Hmph. One of us, huh...?◊
The urban kid! A classic addition to any ensemble.
Following him was an older man◊, his face calm and without fear. Soft wrinkles sprouted from his eyes, and he came close enough as he passed for Junpei to see wisps of grey in his hair. His composure and shock of hair struck Junpei as rather like that of an elderly [lion].
Lion: Going up won't do you any good! There are 2 doors, but neither of them will open!
The old guy! Another staple character.
The next to speak was a girl◊ with [pink hair] and a high voice.
Pink hair: Come on! Aren't you coming? You gotta hurry!
Loli! Of course. Can't have a game without one-a those.
Her small hand was wrapped around the wrist of another man◊...
His eyes were closed, almost as though he were sleeping. His features were graceful, almost serene... And he was dressed rather elegantly for someone his age.
Something about his posture seemed very refined, and Junpei couldn't help feeling he was noble and dignified, somehow. He'd certainly never seen one, but this man seemed like what Junpei had always imagined a [prince] would be like.
Prince: That's 9 of us, then. All of the cards are in hand.
I think this is the closest we'll get to a bishonen guy in the game. Bonus points for giving him a disability!
and good lord he looks like Edgeworth
What does "All of the cards are in hand" mean, he wondered. Junpei opened his mouth to ask what the other man had meant, but the girl with pink hair rushed past him, and they were gone.
He turned just in time to see 2 more people◊ running toward him.
One of them had hair like a [bird's nest], and looked as though a stiff breeze might topple him...
The crazy one! Because scrawny, glasses-wearing men with frizzy hair are always crazy. Or nerds. Besides, just look at the guy. He looks unhinged.
...And the other was a veritable [mountain] of a man.
The big guy! Gotta have that muscle.
The scrawny one said nothing, and scuttled past Junpei as though he were running from something...
Mountain: Hey! What the hell're you just standing there for!? Didn't you hear him?!
Mountain: The doors on A Deck are no good! We gotta check the doors on B Deck! Got it!? Now go!
And Junpei, pasty weakling he is, gets his ass handed to him not 10 minutes into the game.
Ignoring the near hour I spent on that fucking briefcase puzzle, anyway.
Before he had a chance to respond, the man laid a massive hand on Junpei's shoulder. With no more effort than Junpei would have used to brush aside a fly, the man shoved him out of the way.
Thrown off-balance by the man and recent events, it took Junpei a few steps to get his bearings. He finally regained his balance and looked up, at what the other 7 had been running toward.
There were 2 pairs of large iron doors◊ set into the wall in front of him. They looked quite sturdy, and each had handles jutting from them. Written across the surface of each door in red paint was a number.
The door on the right◊ had a .
And the door on the left◊ had a .
Silver: They're the same...
The guy Junpei had decided to call Silver was mumbling to himself.
Silver: The room I woke up in had a number on the door, just like that.
Lion: You too, eh.
With an arched eyebrow, the lion looked over at Silver.
Lion: My cell was the same. A number upon the door. I opened it, ran down the hallway outside, and found myself in the rather grand room full of stairs, as, I suspect, did the rest of you.
It was as though the floodgates had been opened—they all began to talk at once.
"Me too." "I did too." "Yeah, a door with a number on it."
It soon became clear that each one of them had awoken in a room with a locked door, and solved a puzzle to escape. They'd all ended up in the same room... Almost as though they'd been guided there...
Noooo. That's UNPOSSIBLE.
Dancer: Yes, we all saw the same thing! That's not important! We need to hurry!
Silver: Ya think I don't know that, lady!?
Before the dancer had time to finish— Silver was already running. He grabbed hold of the door labeled  and pulled.
Silver: Fuck! It's not opening! This damn thing won't even budge!
Mountain: Move. You're in the way.
The Mountain-like man does to Silver what he did to Junpei, then proceeds to slam himself into the door— the locked, solid steel door —repeatedly. Do I need to get a Dumbass Count going for everyone in this cast?
Of course, much like using xyzzy, nothing happens, so Junpei decides to flex the only muscle he's got— his brain.
Junpei turned toward door .
Next to the door, on the wall, was a small box.◊ It looked just like the one that he'd seen in his room, next to that door. If it was the same, then...this door was likely locked as well... Still, he had to check.
Junpei grabbed a handle and threw all of his weight onto it.
GRRR RAGH GRAAAH EXERTION NOISES
It was locked as tight as the door next to it, as he'd suspected.
Junpei punched the door. It did not respond.
Wh— Didn't we just cover why this is a bad idea not one installment ago? This kid has a fetish for punching shit made of metal, I guess.
Junpei Dumbass Count: 2
In a stroke of brilliance(?), Junpei wonders if there are any more doors (even though the Lion man already told him there were, they were just locked), Junpei gets up and runs for the stairs to check out the other decks.
Of course, something stops him before he can.
He had scarcely taken a step, when—
At the top of the stairs, next to an ornate clock embedded in the wall, he saw a person. It was a girl.◊ She looked to be the same age as Junpei.
Oh god. Please don't let this be the obligatory love interest. Please don't let this be that
sort of game.
He froze, unable to look away from her face. He wasn't confounded by her beauty, or something equally silly...
Well, it's a start...
No, there was another reason he couldn't take his eyes off the girl. Junpei had seen her somewhere before. He couldn't quite remember where, but he knew... He knew he'd met her before.
...but I can't say I like this any better.
The girl, too, stared at Junpei, similarly stunned. Her response suggested she'd seen him before as well.
Because that's exactly what I do when I see someone I think I know: I stand awkwardly and stare at them in crushing silence!
That's not even sarcasm; I think I actually do that.
Still, I don't see how standing there saying nothing suggests she knows him.
Without saying a word, Junpei walked slowly toward her. She didn't move. It was almost as though she was held in place by some sort of magic spell.
Just gag me now.
As Junpei stepped onto her landing, the spell broke.
No sooner had he set his foot down, than the whole ship shook a second time.
The quake caught the girl unprepared, and she fell—
Moving on instinct, Junpei leapt to catch her... Or so he thought.
Her face was far closer than it should have been; mere inches from his own.◊
He was flat on his back, and she had landed squarely on top of him. The girl seemed as confused as he did, and her face suggested she still hadn't fully recovered from seeing him.
For a moment that seemed to stretch for a very long time, they stared at one another.
I really, really hate scenes like this, because 9 times out of 10, it results in a very rushed 'romance' for the sake of having someone with the main character. It can't be ambiguous, they can't just be friends, there's no Will They or Won't They?
or build up of any kind to make it believable.
It's just, "Hi, I love you" from the start and almost nothing turns me away from a game faster.
But... It's early. This could be that one rare time that this doesn't happen. I mean, this is supposed to be a survival horror/puzzle sort of game. Who has time for romance in a game like this?
Well, getting back to the story at hand...
The ship stopped shaking. Everything was quiet. Water could be heard from the bottom of the ship, lapping faintly at walls and ceilings, but eventually that faded as well. The silence was complete, a thick, muffling blanket...
At last, the girl opened her mouth.
???: Oh my gosh... Is that you, Jumpy!?
...Ahahaha. I approve of this nickname.
Jumpy... Jumpy... Her words echoed through Junpei's head, and suddenly, his memory returned.
Why hadn't he realized it before?! The girl was [Akane Kurashiki]. She and Junpei had been friends in childhood◊—they'd gone to elementary school together for 6 years.
But...what was she doing on the ship?!
Uh, being trapped like the rest of you, I assume.
Her soft eyes were only inches away from his own... He could feel the warmth of her face... Feelings he'd thought long-forgotten began to work their way to the surface... He could feel his face heating up.
Okay. I can get maybe remembering the feeling of a childhood crush when you see the object of your crush again after a long time. It happens. It's reasonable. But surely he can't still be crushing on a girl he hasn't seen in at least ten years or so, since they were both children. That's... just improbable, and kind of crazy, even if she is cute.
But thankfully, we get a well-timed distraction to break the story free of this new romantic subplot:
At that moment... A speaker crackled to life, and a cold, eerie voice filled the room.
???: Welcome aboard. I welcome you all, from the bottom of my heart, to this, my vessel.
DUN DUN DUUUUN!
With the voice's invasion, the spell between Junpei and Akane was broken, and all hints of burgeoning romance instantly forgotten.
Well, our big bad has made his first appearance... of sorts! Who could it be? *
We'll have to find out next time, right here on
9 Hoes, 9 Positions, 9 Dollars
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors!