One week later.
-I WAS WRONG!
(This game was more than I could have expected! The way the characters were shown and who we discover they background without telling directly about it makes the player more involved in the story! Plus, the mini-games placed where the player would be bored to just look at the screen was made as the perfect way to make the gameplay more active! Truly, this isn't one of the bests games of this year just because there were some reviews saying so!)
The snow continues to fell outside Chris's room, but he forgot about it after his second day playing the game. He didn't have a good night of sleep since the first day, but he couldn't stop thinking about what would happen next in the game.
To make the matters worst: he already cleared the game. On different save slots. One for each of the five heroines. Since he spends two days to clear one story, he skips the dialogues he already knew and could finish the others the day he had started it.
(Really, how good this game can be?! I never knew visual novels could be like this!)
Chris was overreacting; this was but the first visual novel he played, so he couldn't know some elements it copied from others games of the genre, like the open-world style from [Ganganronpa] which allowed the player to explore various sections of the game or the unannounced choices from [Steins; Door]. Still, they managed to put them together into a good game.
And now Chris cleared the story, getting the happy true ending on each heroine counting the secret one. Truly, he managed to pass one week without boredom and was filled with joy and happiness after completing the game-
But, there was one problem.
-Wait...and now, what?
He realized: there was still no internet and he already played the only game he had without holding nothing back. Now, how can spend one more week without-
-Welp, guess I'm playing it again. Who knows what I could have missed.
-That was an option he chosen to do and didn't even bother thinking much about it. He grabbed his headphone and started a new save file.
-Dang it, how did it know I was here?!
And then comes the regret. Again, he couldn't know there was something inside the game after you cleared the story.
-C'mon, I know I hid here last time, but this is ridiculous!
The AI changes the gameplay to match the player's style. If Chris had played to conquer the same heroine after the last save, he would find out about this one, but he went straight up to the next file to conquer another heroine.
-*Tsk* You wasn't that hard the first time!
He keeps trying to get away from that very same AI that, of course, he didn't know it was an AI. It was a character you need to interact to trigger the most important event to conquer the heroine. For the first time, it was not hard to pass over it, just doing what the mini-game is telling would make it easy for any no-brainer to pass. That was, again, for the first time.
-Ok, now this is getting really annoying!
It was a simple hide-and-seek. You can command your character to hide inside classrooms or washrooms or even spend each turn running. If Chris manages to hide in the school building for 10 turns, he wins. If he is found by the AI, he loses and needs to start over again.
Each time he fails, the AI learns his patterns and went to where he would most likely to be. This would repeat until it becomes impossible to beat the AI, so the developers made something that allowed the players to skip the mini-games after an X amount of times. The "Skip" button was shinning on the top screen of the monitor for a while, but Chris wasn't planning on quitting like that, even though-
-I get it, ok?! You kill me and I need to start over again, but can't you stop grinning like that each time you win?!
The AI Chris's facing right now was a character common on each heroine story: a serial killer named Midnight Pumpkin. It wears a long black coat to hide its body and there is a pumpkin with a Halloween's face on its head, so there is no way to figure out is it was a woman or man. Besides its looks, it signature is it's giant scythe it wields with its white-gloved hands.
Each time the killer founds Chris, it showed a satisfying grin in the middle of the pumpkin's mouth. By now, Chris could probably draw it exactly as what it's on the screen blindfolded.
-Fine! Let's do it your way!
He couldn't take it anymore. He gives and clicks "Skip". The cut-scene is shown.
The killer manages to trap the player in a corner. It slowly walks towards him with the scyther in hands. The in-game message displays how terrifying this was for the protagonist and how unlucky he was for meeting the end. Then, when Pumpkin would strike him down, the childhood friend heroine appears and saves the protagonist. When they escaped, a dialogue about how important the protagonist and the heroine are to each other was displayed and now the childhood friend managed to raise her love matter in the protagonist.
This was the scene that played after you cleared the mini-game, but, if Chris hadn't skipped it, he would manage to escape on his own and take the childhood friend with him. Instead, he was shown a pathetic version of it-
-...This is not what I saw before.
And Chris was not fine about it.
-*Sigh* Guess it's another hour of fun time...
He opened the menu and loaded the save file, before the mini-game starts and in front of the school building at night. Before, he entered without second thoughts; now, he was a bit more cautious about it.
He chooses to look outside the building first to see if there was another way to go inside, going around the areas near it. Since it was night time, there wasn't anything happening in the school, but the game allowed freedom to go inside it if you unlocked a secret path, which Chris knew where, how and when to unlock it.
And what he found walking around the school building? First, the sport's field was empty without a single soul, the entrance was deserted, the west and east wing of the building were also without anyone.
-This is a waste of time, isn't it?
He whispers to himself. There was just one option to do here and it was the mini-game or go home and sleep for tomorrow's morning. Just like Chris said, a waste of time.
But then, he saw it. Both of his eyes open wide.
Behind the gym, an area without events nor accomplishments, Chris saw...it.
He saw the killer, one of the antagonists of the game, without being inside an event. After all the times he played the game differently, never had him encountered Pumpkin without being inside a mini-game. But, what shocked him the most was:
The Midnight Pumpkin, a serial killer whose death count was rumored to be over three digits, the reason as to why there were patrols at night, one of the most wanted criminals in the game, was playing with a stray cat.
-...W-what is going on here?
Even in shock, Chris tries to figure out what caused this event. He subconsciously tries to approach Pumpkin, but-
Marks appears above its head. It turned around and saw Chris going near it. It quickly charged forward and attacked the character with the scythe. The screen displays the following [Game Over].
But, what Chris was most confused about wasn't the fact he died, but rather-
-Why...did it look so sad?