*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Snowy Mountain Syndrome- the third (and last) short story of "The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya" (novel 5).
Much like how Remote Island Syndrome started, things start out at the bleakest point in the chapter, that being that the SOS Brigade are lost wading through thick snow in the middle of a snow storm. Then the flashback starts.
This flashback takes us back before Love at First Sight. It starts during the SOS Brigade Christmas hot pot party, starting right where The Disappearance left off on December 24th.
When Kyon walks into the club room, he finds Tsuruya among the usual brigade members. Haruhi has invited her as a guest because she has invited the SOS Brigade to her family's villa to go skiing to see the new year in. Kyon thinks that Mikuru must have mentioned something about Haruhi's winter vacation plans to Tsuruya sometime in the last 5 months. Koizumi then chimes in by saying that Tsuruya is providing the setting, but he is planning the event, which will be another detective game involving the same people that were on the remote island.
The hot pot goes well. Afterwards they continue their party around Yuki's apartment, where Kyon and Haruhi play a game of Twister. Unfortunately not much else is mentioned about this party.
Fast forward to the 30th December. Kyon's packing to leave very early in the morning, and his sister finds out. She clings to his bags and demands to go too. Unlike last time, Kyon allows her to tag along. The cat Shamisen is also needed so he tags along in a carry cage. Everyone meets at the station and boards a train which takes them deep into the mountains. They are met at the mountain station by Butler Arakawa and Mori the maid, where they then board a truck driven by Mori to a short journey to Tsuruya's family lodge. There is a ski slope a short walk away and Haruhi is raring to get out there. Tsuruya explains that the complex used to be privately owned by her family, until they sold it 10 years ago. Hence why its not very busy or popular by the tourists.
Yuki takes to the slopes with no fuss. Mikuru gets into it after a bit of practice. Tsuruya teaches Kyon's sister how to ski, but they end up building snowmen. Haruhi gathers the official SOS brigade members to ski together, but out from nowhere an unexpected snow storm turns up. They stick very close together because the snow comes down so hard they cannot see that far ahead. Yuki leads the way but after a while she informs Kyon that they should be back by now. After half an hour of walking and getting lost, Haruhi spots artificial light in the distance. They walk towards it, which turns out to be a huge western style mansion with its lights on in every room. They knock on the door but nobody answers. They decide to go inside otherwise it would mean freezing to death. Haruhi and Kyon inspect the house for residents whilst the others stay in the lobby. Every room is devoid of people.
Haruhi has a heart to heart with Kyon alone on one of the upper floors. Its the first time shes had a chance since Someday In The Rain. She suspects Kyon of becoming intimate with Yuki. Kyon makes a story up on the spot about how shes feeling emotionally wrecked due to family issues which could see her being transferred from school in a few months for the start of their second year. He strains the point that she lives alone but her family want her back. Its a lie but Haruhi buys it.
They go back to Mikuru, Koizumi and Yuki in the lobby. Kyon is taken to one side out of earshot of Haruhi. Apparently they have been gone 3 hours, whilst it seemed like only 10mins or so for Kyon. The group decide that its best to stick together. They end up making sandwiches, deciding on the rooms to sleep in, and eventually Haruhi and the two other girls take a lavish bath together. Its during this time that Kyon talks to Koizumi about events that happened and things that still need to be sorted out from the Disappearance arc. Koizumi says that he feels like Yuki's power may be slipping because she's becoming more like a typical high school girl, and the same goes for Haruhi too. hummmm........
We learn that Yuki's connection to the Integrated Data Sentient Entity has been severed, and that the mansion is a trap designed to keep them locked in there together forever, which means its not Haruhis fault this time.
In each case the real person chases the duplicate out of the room. They then wake up and begin to continue chasing them out into the hallway. They all simultaneously open their doors to find each other standing there at the exact same time. They then explain each of their dreams to each other.
I would like to point out here that Haruhi is coping quite well under the circumstances. This is her first proper adventure with the SOS Brigade, discounting the time She and Kyon had that adventure in the school grounds with the Celetrials blowing everything up.
Yuki collapses right there and then in her doorway, saying that things have taken a toll on her. Haruhi takes charge and concludes that she has a fever. She orders everyone about to collect things to aid her.
After Kyon collects an ice pack from the fridge, he finds Koizumi wondering what on earth a maths equation is doing placed on the front door. They deliberate what its all about for a while until Haruhi turns up. She nags at them to get a move on, but then she too helps them figure out how to solve it.
In a nutshell according to Haruhi, Yuki was muttering a word that sounded like "Kyon", but Koizumi realises must have been the word "Yon", or four in Japanese. This is the answer they need to solve the maths problem. Koizumi explains that the dreams they had was all done by Yuki on purpose to determine the answer of four. Anyway, they sort out the riddle and the door opens.
A second later they all find themselves back on the ski slope on a beautiful day. Haruhi broods over Nagato, despite the fact that Nagato is now back to normal. Koizumi, Kyon and Yuki refuse to speak of their adventure whilst Haruhi talks about it to them as if it was as real as anything. Mikuru slips up and agrees with Haruhi about the experience. This leaves koizumi to start explaining some ridiculous story about group hypnotism. Haruhi buys it, eventually, though sort of doesn't because she carries yuki back to the lodge on her back, and forces her to rest in bed.
Personally I think this adventure has shown Haruhi to cope well with strange goings on happening around her. I would bet that she's ready to know exactly what she is now.
Tsuruya explains to Kyon that her intuition tells her that she knows the SOS Brigade is mysterious, and that its members are not normal humans, apart from Kyon that is. Kyon feels like she should become a full time brigade member.
9-10. As I mentioned this chapter is interesting because Haruhi is active during when all the weird stuff is going on. She copes really well, including during the moment when things go from the mansion back to reality.
Tsuruya explaining to Kyon that she 'knows' about the club activities is interesting. I'm now expecting her to join in next time something weird happens. Haruhi would cope too, but I doubt she will join in until the end of the series, though she kinda proves here that she wont freak out about it when she learns the truth.
Kyon keeps mentioning Sliders. He's expecting one to turn up, which makes me think that this may happen soon.
Up next: we are continuing with the snowy retreat story in Where Did The Cat Go?
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