Chapter 27:

Let Sleeping Bats Lie

Cupid's BLAME!

Carefully, timidly, bravely, they all made their way past the barbed wire fence and onto the other side, where they were no longer within the protection of the school or its teachers.

Not that they offered much protection in the first place.

They were all equal parts afraid and excited, even the ones that didn’t want to come at first.

Past a few more trees and a good few minutes later, they reached a rocky hill with a large hole in the middle - the cave Emma had seen from afar.

The entrance wasn’t too big - maybe four people could pass through it at the same time side by side at the most. It would have definitely been hard to see at a distance for any ordinary person, but Emma’s eyesight was surprisingly impeccable.

Inside the cave, there was nothing but darkness. It obviously was larger than it looked, and led somewhere deeper that they could see without a source of light.

“Dude,” Rika put her hands on her hips, staring inside. “This looks like something straight out of a horror movie.”

“You don’t suppose there’s actually a bear in there, do you?” Airi asked, concerned.

“There are no bears in this area,” Yusei said, reaching down to pick up a small pebble from the ground, bouncing it on his palm. “But, who knows.”

He raised his arm backwards and gained some momentum to throw the rock into the cave with all his strength.


The girls shrieked.

The pebble made a few sounds as it crashed against the walls, getting further and further away until they heard it plummet to the ground.

“You frickin’ idiot,” Rika huffed. “Give us a warning next time!”

“Hah? A warning for what? It’s not like I threw the rock at you!”

“W-W-What if there is a bear!?” Agatha pulled on her braids. “What if it was hibernating and you woke it up!?”

“It’s the middle of summer! And there’s no bears!”

“But there are deer around these parts,” Ren said, looking inside the cave.

“So?” Yusei scoffed.

“Oh no,” Airi covered her mouth with her palm, giving Yusei her most tearful eyes. “What if there was a deer inside, Wilde? What if you injured it? What if you injured its mom and now it has to watch her die in front of its eyes?”

“When did this become a depressing kid’s movie!?”

rustle, rustle

A noise from inside the cave caught the attention of them all.

Agatha started biting her nails.

“D-D-Did anyone else hear that?”

Rustle rustle rustle

Flap flap flap flap

Adam squinted, trying to see through the darkness.

“Sounds like… wings…”

“I-I-It’s getting closer…”

The sound kept getting louder and louder, and the louder it got, the more they could tell something was stirring through the shadows, rushing quickly towards them.

Not even a second later, a large colony of bats swarmed outside, flapping their wings and obscuring the sky with their sheer numbers.


The girls shut their eyes and crouched down in a hurry. The guys all tried to cover their faces and heads as the bats surrounded them with their loud chirps, wings flapping from every direction.


It didn’t look like they would stop coming out any time soon; the flapping of their wings was overlapping and constant, and almost sounded like a buzz.

They had no idea how long it took for the last of them to fly out, but once the deafening sound dwindled and they felt they were in the clear, they started slowly getting back on their feet one by one, breathing loudly.

“Holy shit,” Rika gasped. “That took out like, ten years of my life.”

“Tell me about it,” Yusei dusted his knees.

Rika glared at him.

“You're gonna act like this wasn’t your fault for throwing that rock into their nest?”

“How was I supposed to know what was inside!?”


A single bat separated from the flock and flew back into the cave, brushing past Emma’s hair in the process.


Emma suddenly shrieked, touching her head frantically.

“Emma!?” Ren looked at her in a panic. “What’s wrong!?”

“The bat… the bat took my hairclip!!”

“Huh?” Rika scoffed, looking at Emma’s hair which indeed was missing one of her hairclips.

“You’re telling me a single bat came back from up there just to steal your barrette and then go hide inside?”

Emma quickly bounced to her feet.

“I have to get it back!”

“Wait, don’t go after it!!” Rika reached her arm to stop her, but Emma had already bolted inside the dark cave at full speed.

Ren felt all color drain from his face.


He rushed over to follow her, but was immediately stopped by another wave of bats flying outside, probably stirred awake by Emma’s footsteps.


He covered his face with his arm, unable to move a step until they were all gone again.

When he couldn’t feel them close anymore, he opened his eyes and looked back inside the cave.

Emma was gone.

“Emma!? Emma!!”

There was no reply.

“Where are you!? Come back! Emma!”

“Shit…” Yusei said, rubbing the back of his neck.

Ren started to run inside the cave when Rika yanked his arm back with all her might.

“Ren, stop! What if you get lost, too!?”


Agatha was holding onto the edge of the cave, also in a panic.

“W-We gotta go look for her quickly!”

“Yes, we do…” Airi carefully approached the entrance with small steps, frightened. “But how? We can’t see anything in there…”

Yusei clicked his tongue, quickly making his way to a tree nearby and cutting off some thin, fresh branches from it.

Tch. Grab some twigs and get something to tie ‘em up. I have a lighter; we can make some torches.”

“Good thinking, Wilde,” Rika nodded, rushing over to help him gather some more materials.

Julius squinted in their direction.

“Care to explain why you have a lighter, Yusei Wilde?”

“To fucking roast marshmellows. Does it matter right now? Help us out, jackass.”

Yusei’s answer only served to irritate Julius, who crossed his arms, huffing.

“...Perhaps I should go back and find a teacher.”

“Shut up!” Rika suddenly snapped at him, holding onto a small batch of twigs in her hand. “You don’t have to be an ass all the time!”

“Excuse me?” Julius placed a palm on his chest, appalled. “I don’t think I said anything outlandish.”

“You don’t like us, you’ve made your point. We all know it. You don’t have to keep rubbing it in, okay? You know full well the teachers won’t be any better than any of us, so would it kill you to stay and help us out!?”


Julius was speechless.

Being yelled like that so openly...

He didn’t like it.

But also… he didn’t hate it?

He huffed, looking away from Rika but still addressing her.

“......You’ll need a piece of cloth to wrap at the end of the torch - ideally soaked in lighter fluid, but we’ll make do with what we have.”

Rika’s scowl turned into a wry smile after hearing this.

“Thanks, princess.”

Julius rolled his eyes, but was apologetic enough to not retort, looking for something they could use to light up the torch.

Ren was frantically collecting twigs for his own torch, breathing unevenly, staving off a panic attack.

There was no time for that right now.

Wait for me, Emma!