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File 164405965121.jpg - (253.79KB , 960x960 , Title.jpg )
1022448 No. 1022448 ID: a70a13

A game about probability.
Expand all images
>>
No. 1022449 ID: a70a13
File 164405988184.jpg - (217.50KB , 960x960 , Panel 1.jpg )
1022449

Oh god Oh god Oh god Oh god Oh god you really don't want to be here right now. This isn't a fun time, not in the slightest.

You raise your heads ever so slightly to catch the glance of the figure across the desk from you, before letting your pupils scuttle back to your lap. You don't even wanna see the numbers written on the papers in front of you.

"Thank you for coming at such short notice, my friend." He utters. His tone is unnaturally sweet and you can only guess the expression caked across his face. "For lack of a better way to start this conversation, I should really just ask-"
>>
No. 1022450 ID: a70a13
File 164406020123.jpg - (237.49KB , 960x960 , Panel 2.jpg )
1022450

"How do you plan on paying us back~?"

The lump in your throat is tight like a knot and you stumble your eyes up to finally catch his glance. The loan shark is smiling, all happy and nice as if you weren't DROWNING in the hole you dug yourself in.

This is so fucked.

"I-I..." You putter out. "I'm...I'm so sorry, please I don't have anything..." You sound pathetic like the poor little moron you are, taking money you don't have and then spiraling into the fucking ocean.

"Hmmm, well isn't that tricky." He replies, still keeping that warm grin searing into your brain. "Well, I suppose I should ask what your class is then. We understand that's very personal information, but given your circumstance..." His eyes open just the slightest to show a hint of metaphorical hell fire. "We find this information quite necessary."

Your lips quiver as you reach inside yourself to find the answer, breath tremoring as you finally respond.

"Gambler."
>>
No. 1022451 ID: a70a13
File 164406079097.jpg - (328.79KB , 960x960 , Panel 3 .jpg )
1022451

"Well!" He exclaims, eyebrows raised in intrigue. "Isn't that a fresh one! We must have all kinds of new classes running around nowadays...the gods bring many a new gift, eh?"

His face has shifted from the faux-sweetness to genuine fascination, a hand moving to paw at his own chin in consideration.

"Well, how about we play a game then?"

You have no idea how or when but it seems that as if by the flash of light your loan shark has returned with four playing cards on the table, colors varying on each card. You look back up to the man across from you who returns your attention with a nod.

"Go ahead and choose one of these, and let's see the highest number you can get, shall we? And don't worry, they're all from the same deck...I just think the shades make them more visually fun~"

You take a moment to stare at him, unsure where this entire game thing is headed, but it isn't as if you have much choice in the matter. You look back down at the four cards in front of you, breathing gently as you tap in your spirits' thoughts.

C'mon guys, help me out.

>A. See The Loan Sharks Favorite Color
>B. See One Cards Numerical Value
>C. See The Suits of Each Card
>>
No. 1022452 ID: a2493c

>>1022451
Hm, I don't know the trick to card counting, so I can't really strategize on if seeing a single card's number or the suits of each card is valuable here.

What I can offer is that the favorite color could be used as a distraction. Mind-reading might be more common in your world, but it is likely just as unsettling.

Probably not as valuable as the card counting, so if anyone else has the trick to that I'll go along with your suggestion.
>>
No. 1022454 ID: 35f98c

>>1022452
I believe card counting is just keeping track of whether the remaining cards are more high, or more low. The more high cards that have been drawn, the more low cards you can expect to see on future draws. In this circumstance, knowing the number on a particular card probably wouldn't give us much info about what the other cards are, but if the card we peek at is higher or lower than average, we can be accordingly inclined to pick that card, or any card but that one. Seems to me that it doesn't give us a particularly large advantage, but better than nothing, I suppose.

The suits seem irrelevant, here.

As you say, the color could maybe be used as a psychological trick, though I don't know how beyond "we pick the color he likes and maybe he'll like us more".
>>
No. 1022455 ID: 250cef

This deck is primo material for cheats, with different colors on the back. He might've made good cards correspond to his favorite color.

Having said that, knowing one value is, strictly speaking, the best option here. Either eliminate one of the cards or pick it if it's high.
>>
No. 1022456 ID: 5cadd6

A - if it’s his favorite and this is a game he plays often with poor schlubs like you, it’s the one he gains the most from and the one you don’t want to pick.
>>
No. 1022462 ID: ce39da

>>1022455
>>1022456
These two opposing interpretations are why A is such a high-risk, high reward choice, and I doubt the odds are in our favor, there. B is theoretically safer since it could show us the card we want instead of simply eliminating an option... (If we get to choose which one is hinted at, I say Yellow; he seems to be almost hiding it behind Blue.)

Quick question, what's the range of a "standard" deck in your world? Knowing whether the revealed value falls above or below the median line will be important.

Of course, there's also a chance that he's using color magic, and will try to cheat with it, but given it renders all of our strategizing meaningless and he has little reason to make a move before you make a choice, I'd say that's a pretty unactionable scenario, so let's not think about it too hard for now.

The only reason why you'd pick C is to determine whether all cards may be equally low, but that too is unactionable.
>>
No. 1022463 ID: afe7de

B because you gamble and because it’s high risk high reward, the yellow card! you’ve got a hunch if we picked A it’s the *lowest* card because it’s his favorite because he wins, and that gives us some info but not as much as B does
>>
No. 1022471 ID: c92a02

C the suits of each card.
>>
No. 1022473 ID: bd3403

This looks like quite creative setting and premise. Exciting!
We might try for A, since that one would be the most important card.

Also, why Is the loan shark dressed like he is going to the nightclub?
>>
No. 1022474 ID: 8b82ee

Fuck it go for the B option, at this point we are the gambler and the game has already started so might as well go with it. Also, your character has special eyes.
>>
No. 1022501 ID: 96c896

>>1022451
B is the only one that gives guaranteed useful information.
C, however... I think is the best idea. You want to pick Diamonds, because that is 100% the one the dealer would put the highest number on. It's MONEY.
>>
No. 1022519 ID: a70a13
File 164412333461.jpg - (274.03KB , 960x960 , Panel 4.jpg )
1022519

>>1022462
A deck of cards is the same here as anywhere else. Four suits, 52 cards, you get the rest. You guess there could be jokers in the mix but that seems kinda stupid.

Regardless, the spirits in your head seem to be giving you a lot of good points, but still you need to decide on an action before this pause gets uncomfortable...it looks like we're going for the number.

To keep this going, you focus your attention on the yellow card, tucked behind the rest of them as if trying to keep attention away from itself.
Your eyes tingle as you begin to let the information come to you, as if the paper itself was becoming transparent.

The number on the yellow card is...
>>
No. 1022520 ID: a70a13
File 164412348815.jpg - (430.53KB , 960x960 , Panel 5.jpg )
1022520

SIXTEEN

...

What.

That can't be right can it? That doesn't make sense, that shouldn't BE there. Your chest rises and falls quickly, your breaths getting tight as impending worry sets in on you.

"My friend, are you alright?" You hear from across the table, looking up to see the loan shark smiling as always. His eyes peek open for a moment as your throat plummets into your stomach.
>>
No. 1022521 ID: a70a13
File 164412370954.jpg - (392.25KB , 960x960 , Panel 6.jpg )
1022521

"I see you're a bit caught off guard." He chuckles, and it feels as if the entire room has turned red. You're shaking in your chair as he continues. "I suppose you weren't expecting a number such as that? Well you know how these things go."

How did he know what you were looking for? That is NOT something he should be aware of. Your class abilities are a secret locked away in your own head, this shouldn't be the way things are going.

"Unfortunately, we are a bit tight on time so I must ask that you make a decision now." His tone is tenser, his eyes narrowing daggers at you. This is do or die time, apparently, we have to make a decision.

Which card do we pick?

>A. Green
>B. Red
>C. Blue
>D. Yellow
>>
No. 1022552 ID: ce39da

Calm down, assume that he has his own Class shenanigans at play here to sense what you're doing. We probably should have seen a strange result like this coming, in hindsight; he claims they all came from the same deck, but that means there's either a deck that uses multiple back colors, in which case it's not a standard playing card deck, or he's projecting the colors with some kind of illusion, and he's able to fool your senses. Either way, if this were an all-or-nothing adversarial game, the "high" number on the Yellow Card can't be trusted - even if he didn't project that value himself because he wants you to pick it, the actual range of this "deck" is totally unknown.

However, there is another possibility...

He never actually said what a "high" number would indicate for us. It could be directly good, like clearing some of our debt... but I'm beginning to realize that he won't make it that easy. Even if you do manage to get the highest card, you'll probably still be in the hole in some sense. No, the whole point of this game is to showcase what you can do. This meeting has turned into an interview - why else would he ask for your Class?

"I honestly have no idea if that's a good number or not. I don't know what the range is... but then..." Point to the Yellow Card. "It wouldn't be Gambling if I eliminated the need for Luck entirely." Yes, his words might imply that all the values are out of whack, but there's also a chance that he wanted to draw attention to that to make us doubt, or that not all the weird values are necessarily positive. It's not like we'll get punished for not getting the absolute highest card.
>>
No. 1022553 ID: 8b82ee

Let's go with the C, color blue for the win
>>
No. 1022560 ID: c92a02

Pick red.
>>
No. 1022564 ID: 88cb2b

Clearly his class is why he's here. Our assumptions were fucked, and we got nothing. But we can have confidence.

Yellow. Double down.
>>
No. 1022567 ID: afe7de

What if… what if all the cards have the same number on the back and it’s the color that’s actually the value, like a deck of cards that’s just weird. In which case it’s still a gamble.

Yellow because this is the tutorial
>>
No. 1022631 ID: 96c896

>>1022521
Okay, these aren't from a standard deck. So either they're from a tarot deck, in which case 16 is pretty decent (that's The Tower, and the highest major arcana is 21) or they're from some children's card game in which case there's no clue as to what the number is like compared to the others.

However, considering he knew the number was shocking without knowing what card you chose, it's likely that all four cards are higher than 14. In which case, 16 is on the low range.
Also The Tower is a card with very negative themes.

So... don't pick Yellow. Pick Red. That's the dealer's favorite color, I think.
>>
No. 1022655 ID: b7806a

Red it is.
Let's hope we don't see much of that colour in the future.
>>
No. 1022666 ID: a70a13
File 164421559017.jpg - (214.28KB , 960x960 , Panel 7.jpg )
1022666

You're right...you're ALL right. Freaking out isn't going to help, though it's not like you can cancel the tumbling in your stomach.

Still, even if it's fake you have to stay confident. This is a game, and you were MADE for games, even if you're not so much loving this one.

There's a lot of ways this could go right now, so holding your breath inside of your lungs, you shift your eyes down to the cards and begin speaking.

"I honestly have no idea if that's a good number or not. I don't know what the range is... but then..."

You point to the red card.

"It wouldn't be Gambling if I eliminated the need for Luck entirely."

Your voice is cracking and hesitant, but still you trust the spirits more than anyone else. There's a sense of seriousness beneath the tremors, and as you pull your card of choice towards you, the loan shark begins smiling widely.

You tentatively flip the card over.

You received...
>>
No. 1022668 ID: a70a13
File 164421564665.jpg - (283.87KB , 960x960 , Panel 8.jpg )
1022668

NUMBER 20, JUDGEMENT

Oh shit.

You look up to catch the eye of the loan shark, who suddenly begins laughing, his voice rising in volume as he suddenly stands up from his chair.
>>
No. 1022669 ID: a70a13
File 164421579704.jpg - (411.00KB , 960x960 , Panel 9 copy.jpg )
1022669

"Congratulations my friend, that is the winning card!" He bellows, eyes wide with excitement and a good amount of surprise. "I'm sorry to say, I expected you to choke and beg for another option, or at the VERY least stick with the number you knew...but to do such a daring act as to choose one of the other three mystery cards?"

He releases another round of excited chuckles.

"It's downright maniac! I LOVE IT! You will be very VERY welcome here, my friend."

You're not quite sure what's happening but it seems...you did well?

"Uh thanks." You reply, clearly more confused than anything. "But uh..."

You're not quite sure what to even ask first.
>>
No. 1022670 ID: 96c896

Ask how he knew you were looking at the number. Deduction?
Hey, check the other cards, see if my conclusion was correct and they were all above 14.
Secondly, and possibly more importantly, what happens next? He said you'd be welcome here, is he offering you employment?

Hey, how did you wind up in debt in the first place? Gambling beyond your means?
>>
No. 1022671 ID: 5cadd6

>>1022669
So that was... blackjack?

What does he mean by “welcome here”? Are you being given a chance to pay off your debt here somehow?
>>
No. 1022680 ID: ce39da

Considering he DID actually know which card had the 'shocking' value... Holy crap, that was way riskier than I thought it would be, even if the 'tarot' deduction was on the money.

"I take it you have some kind of Psychic class, considering you were able to read me so specifically and make all the cards from the 'same' deck look like they have different backs?"

"So uh... what are you expecting me to do, exactly, now that I'm apparently 'part of the team?'"

You're not really in a position to turn him down, obviously, even if he is being surprisingly nice about this, so you might as well ask what you'll be doing. Part of being a Gambler is accepting when you actually lose - this is referring to the broader situation you're in, not the micro-game you actually did win. Bitching and whining about your past mistakes, even the kind where you're blaming yourself, isn't gonna dig you out of the hole.
>>
No. 1022688 ID: b390fb

So, what jobs will I have to perform to pay off my debt, sir?
>>
No. 1022691 ID: 0838d6

You'd be lying if you said you weren't excited or interested in what their class was and the job, but also mildly terrified.

Ask what he means and get the low-down.
>>
No. 1022695 ID: a70a13
File 164426076940.jpg - (361.79KB , 960x960 , Panel 10 copy.jpg )
1022695

>>1022670
You'd rather not touch on the specifics of how you wound up here, not yet anyways. We'll have that conversation later, when it's a better time.

To keep it brief though, you trusted a friend and that didn't work out so well. They meant well, though.

You stand up from the table, the shaking in your body subsiding as you find your normal voice. "So, what were the other cards then?"

It surprises you that THAT'S the first thing you ask, but you genuinely want to know. How were your chances at suceeding?

The loan shark reaches out to the middle of the desk and flips one after the other, laying the answers in front of you.

DEVIL,TOWER,MOON. FIFTEEN, SIXTEEN, EIGHTEEN.

"I would say, you did well in picking a favorable number AND card." He speaks up, grabbing the pieces of paper in his hand before tossing them up. In a matter of moments you watch as the tarot cards vanish from sight, just as they appeared in the first place.

"So...is all this part of your class? The disappearing cards, mind reading, multiple colors?"

The shark lets out a snort of a laugh before shaking his head. "My friend, you're thinking a bit to linear. The deck was just a deck, nothing more nothing less. A COLORFUL deck, I'll agree, but nothing special." He tilts his head up to look at the ceiling, you follow his gaze and...

There's a camera.

"The vanishing and gathering is done via another person in the facilities. They watch, we talk, she sends me things when I need them. Easy as that!" He places his palm on the table, looking across at you as tilts his head.

He conveniently leaves the last question unanswered as he seems to expect the next confusion out of your lips, which comes as expected.

"So what do you mean welcome me? What am I...here for?"

He grins widely again, toothy and proud as can be. "My friend, we're not just a loaning business, no that is more a trick to get the proper folks in, at best. The truth is, we run a bit of an information gathering service, for those with the money. Nothing illegal I might add!" He raises his hands up to try and dispell any worries you might have, even if this whole place feels sketch.

"Think of us like...private investigators. Police, government, the well paying citizen. We gather information that they need via several methods and keep ourselves funded! I've found over the years that those in desperate positions are the type that have what it takes. A bit clever, a bit gifted, but unsure of their own potential!"

He moves now to face you on the same side of the table, a hand on your shoulder. It's warm...and gentle in grip. "You've clearly had struggles, I know where you are. But this place, we can help. Give you direction, a place to regrow. The money you owe us will be paid in full back if you work with us, and you'll receive more than you'd ever would at a 'normal' job. I think we could help one another, and truthfully, I want you to be my partner." He grins widely.

"You're crazy in the way I can work with."

A lot of thoughts are running through your head right now, wondering what could possibly be the way to respond to this. You want to be hesitant and play it safe, but isn't that what got you here? Safe never worked for you, and the only time you've won lately, was when you took a risk.

And you're going to take one more.

You look up to the loan shark and nod your head, the faintest hint of a smile crossing your cheeks. "I think, maybe, this is a good thing. I'll do it, so long as I can be of service."

He grins and offers his hand out to you. "It's a deal then, you officially work with us here at Down-Low P.I. Good to have you on the team!"

You smile a bit more broadly now. "Good to work with you as well Mr...?"
>>
No. 1022696 ID: a70a13
File 164426090641.jpg - (363.28KB , 960x960 , Panel 11.jpg )
1022696

"Kinesis. Name's Kinesis, my friend." He smiles widely at you as he introduces himself.

"And as your partner, I'll let you in on some special classified info...my ability is to see when someone ELSE activates their abilities. It comes with my class."

He grins from ear to ear.

"A Scout, of course. Now remind me, friend, what is your name again?"
>>
No. 1022697 ID: a70a13
File 164426109622.jpg - (274.69KB , 960x960 , Panel 12.jpg )
1022697

You pause for a moment to take in everything you've just learned, nodding your head along with it all.

If this guy let you know his class, then he must trust you. That stuff isn't light info.

"Me? I'm Clero, man. Good to finally know each other."

You have a lot of other questions to ask, but you're not sure if right now is the time or place. You're honestly pretty tired.

"You've had a long day, my friend." Kinesis speaks up, a hand reaching up to toy with one of his head fin tendril thingies. "I think, perhaps, you should go home and rest. You can meet me here tomorrow if you still wish to work together, 9 AM sharp and we'll get you started at your new gig!"

You consider it for a moment. Should you go home?
>>
No. 1022698 ID: ce39da

Is there any particular reason why you shouldn't? If you've got food at home, then yeah, definitely head straight there. (I assume you do still have some money, right; just not nearly enough to pay off the debt you suddenly found yourself holding?)
>>
No. 1022699 ID: 0838d6

I think the real question is, do you have a home to go to? a non shitty non square apartment that's not like 4 square meters that you dread going back to?

This is probably the most exciting thing that's happened to you in a while, maybe go to like a capsule hotel nearby instead.
>>
No. 1022701 ID: 07ed53

Going home is lame. You aren't lame, are you? Go to a bar or something.
>>
No. 1022702 ID: 769810

A dance club!
>>
No. 1022710 ID: 96c896

Don't spend money you don't have. Maybe have a little treat like ice cream or something.
>>
No. 1022715 ID: c92a02

No.
>>
No. 1022825 ID: a70a13
File 164438604560.jpg - (454.54KB , 960x960 , Panel 13.jpg )
1022825

Stepping outside of the building, you check your phone briefly. Looks like it's 8PM.

The sun is already setting and the alley you're in is cast with a red glaze.

Considering how not awful this whole experience has gone, going home right now does kinda sound...depressing. Especially considering your apartment has turned into a sadness den lately. Plus your roommate might be there and they can be a lot.

Regardless, you don't have a ton of cash to blow at the moment, around $10 bucks to your name, but you DO know a little place where you could snag a drink for free.
>>
No. 1022826 ID: a70a13
File 164438629204.jpg - (267.72KB , 960x960 , Panel 14 copy.jpg )
1022826

You walk yourself a few streets down to the place in question, and entering through the doors throws you into a room covered in head to toe with black lights and neon.

Prima Materia is a grimy little night club in the pocket of a forgotten street corner, and no matter what time of day there seems to be somebody flailing on the dance floor. Right now it looks like there's a small crowd going hard to some violently over stimulating EDM.

You used to come here more often before your most recent downward spiral, but if you're lucky than-

"Hey poor kid! Over by the bar!"

Bingo.
>>
No. 1022827 ID: a70a13
File 164438647335.png - (121.31KB , 960x960 , Panel 16.png )
1022827

You immediately squeeze your way past several dancers and punks to get to the bar, where you find a familiar face staring back at you.

This would be your lucky day, it seemed.

"Haven't seen you in awhile, whatcha up to?" The cyclops asks with a hint of a tease.

"Been a weird day, but kinda good? I got a job, I think...so can you pour me a drink to celebrate?"

She grins at you and reaches out to flick your forehead with her finger. "On the house I assume? Eh you're lucky I don't give a shit."

"Thanks Vinegar." You reply, letting yourself lean on the bar counter and relax for just a moment.

Vinegar shakes her head with a roll of the eye and places her hand on the back of your head, patting you slightly. "What'll ya have?"
>>
No. 1022828 ID: e51896

You'll have the usual. No ice this time around.
>>
No. 1022829 ID: 8483cf

A seven seas! The first seven ingredients Vinegar sees.
>>
No. 1022831 ID: 96c896

How about a mimosa?
>>
No. 1022833 ID: e51896

>>1022829
You know what, yeah, do this. (Thats ur usual drink too)
>>
No. 1022834 ID: afe7de

The usual, with ice, you need something to cool your throat since you were kinda dry throated in the meeting from tension
>>
No. 1022847 ID: c92a02

Vinegar and lime juice.
>>
No. 1022852 ID: ce39da

"Bootleg dark-and-stormy." You say 'bootleg' because some specific rum brand has a trademark on the cocktail's name, and Vinegar refuses to supply that brand on principle.
>>
No. 1022871 ID: a70a13
File 164443606219.jpg - (310.32KB , 960x960 , Panel 16.jpg )
1022871

"I'll do the regular, a seven seas-"

"SEVERAL OCEANS you mean?"

"Ugh. Yes, a Several oceans, PLEASE."

Vinegar's face curls into a playful smirk at your admittance to defeat, rolling your eyes in reply.

Apparently 'Seven Seas' is a copywrited cocktail term or...something, and in true fashion to this place everyone has some issue with just using the proper name of it. Vinegar was the one to come up with the 'improved' name that 'belongs to the common folk' so if you want that free drink you gotta play by the rules.

You watch as she prepares your beverage, seamlessly knowing the measurements of each liquor and mixer like it was nothing...and in the flash of an eye she's jumping the blend from one cup to another, not even keeping her sight on it. She's in her element here, doing more than you could ever so behind a counter.

Makes sense given who she is.
>>
No. 1022872 ID: a70a13
File 164443649812.jpg - (191.00KB , 960x960 , Panel 17.jpg )
1022872

In the blink of an eye, you have a beautiful ice cold beverage in front of you but...

"Wait I didn't say ice?"

Vinegar's smirk expands to a massive smile, leaning forwards towards you and narrowly missing your delicious Seven Se-

Several Oceans. Christ.

You grab your glass as your companion finally begins explaining.

"Sooooo, I was doing this fun little mixology course down at the community college and I was serving this REALLY hot professor who totally had this daddy thing going on. Like seriously I was wearing my tightest plaid mini skirt and I tried to give him a little peek-a-boo but-"

"VINEGAR." You cut her off.

"Oh piss off, fine. Well I was serving Professor Dadlicious and I totally noticed that he was rubbing his throat a bit. It seemed like he had some kind of soreness or dryness and I decided to mix in some drinkable balms to help ease him, and just like that!"

She snaps her fingers in your face, making you flinch just a bit and send a drop or two of precious ichor from your glass to your lap.

"It just clicked in my head! You're looking at a new ability baby! I can tell when someone needs a certain TYPE of drink, even without asking~"

You raise your eyebrows in question, before leaning down to take a sip of your drink. It was smooth and calming, a little less punchy than you usually have but perfectly cold and soothing.

It calms you down in seconds, brings you down from the heat of the past situation and you're left staring at her in surprise.

"...Damn."

She winks...blinks? Regardless she does an eye thing at you and pulls back to her normal standing position. "I know, I'm the greatest, but enough about my acomplishments in life, tell about stuff, but awhile since we caught up!"
>>
No. 1022873 ID: 220854

Talk about how you got a new pet recently... probably was a bad idea considering the financial situation, but it followed you home and you couldn't just leave it abandoned.
>>
No. 1022884 ID: d2f57f

Tell her about your plan to take back the city and beat EDM with the power of Rock!
>>
No. 1022893 ID: ce39da

Talk about the hole you're in - about your friend's scheme which didn't pan out. (Reassure her that the plan you worked out with those guys isn't anything SHADY, but leave her guessing as to what it is, exactly.)
>>
No. 1022901 ID: 96c896

>>1022872
Tell her about how you were neck-deep in debt and had to go beg for forgiveness from the loan office, but wound up impressing them so much they hired you.
>>
No. 1023014 ID: d737cf

Talk about this itch you have on your butt that won't go away. You scratch it but it just hangs around like a phantom tingle.
>>
No. 1023049 ID: a70a13
File 164453355691.jpg - (266.32KB , 960x960 , Panel 18.jpg )
1023049

>>1022873
We are NOT going to talk about Mr. Boogles. That poor hamster didn't know he would be put into a life of destitution.

Plus he kind of got out and your roommate found him inside the vacuum cleaner.

:C

>>1023014

Ew.

Clearly you only have one thing to talk about, but it feels like maybe you shouldn't talk about all of it? You're not exactly sure how these sorts of things are supposed to go.

"Well, I uh...I went to talk to the folks I took those loans out with?" You start, swirling your cocktail in hand as it fizzes lightly. You really wanna know what Vinegar does to these things that makes them all bubbly.

The cyclops across from you nods in acknowledgement, her mouth in a half arch of concern. She wipes a glass clean with a rag as you talk.

"And it went better than I thought it would. They got me set up with a job to help pay it back?"

Vinegar raises her eyebrow in surprise, placing the clean glass down and leaning forward to stare you down. "Oh no way? Holy shit that's good! Clero why didn't you lead with this, I know you've been struggling for awhile...holy fuck!"

Clearly she's happy for you, but you know that in a matter of seconds she's going to hit you with a-

"So what is the job???"

You immediately grimace in response, suddenly realizing that you DON'T want to let Vinegar know what you're doing. You're not sure why, but it seems like getting your friend involved in this stuff right now might not be good for her, and on top of that she's kind of the worry-wart with your safety.

Your eyes shoot to the side, laughing nervously as you tip your glass backwards to your mouth, finishing up the Several Oceans. "I- Uh- Well it's just data entry stuff you know? Just numbers and spread sheets and that kinda thing."
>>
No. 1023051 ID: a70a13
File 164453378411.jpg - (383.28KB , 960x960 , Panel 19.jpg )
1023051

In one swift motion, Vinegar swings her arm out from under the bar and points it right at your little round anxious face. "LIAR!"

You stumble back a step, gulping as the crowd behind you stares at the situation, before noticing it's just Vinegar being Vinegar and go back to whatever it is punks do in this kind of place.

"You know, I can read your face like a book. If you don't wanna tell me something you just have to say so!"

You struggle to find a response back to her words, god when did you get so soft?

It doesn't take long for the expression on your companion's face to switch, moving from frustration to slight annoyance to interest?

"Well, for your punishment in not being honest with meeeeeee-"

Vinegar disappears underneath the bar for a moment, scrumbling around with various objects and boxes, before popping back up with a deck of playing cards.

"We're gonna play for the info!"
>>
No. 1023053 ID: a70a13
File 164453401471.jpg - (377.17KB , 960x960 , Panel 20.jpg )
1023053

"We'll play a game of mini war, just 10 cards each!" She announces, slapping the cards down on the table between the two of you.

"If I win against you, you have to tell me what you're REALLY doing for a job~" She winks at you with as much confidence as a greedy tiger.

"And if I win?" You reply.

She sighs and nods in response. "Then...how about I give you free drinks for a month? As many as you want, no strings attached."

You consider your options as the music behind you shifts to some random emo sound track, something you listened to back when you were a sophomore you think. If you take the bar bet then there's a chance you'll have to come clean to Vinegar and that might get complicated, but if you refuse than you might really hurt her feelings and that's gonna be a valley to get across...and you could really use free booze for a month.

The power is in your hands, what do you wanna do?
>>
No. 1023055 ID: 629f2e

Play the odds! Play her game.
>>
No. 1023056 ID: 98cae5

Vinegar, I know it sounds I got into something spicy and shady, but it's more that it is something that requires a bit of professional confidentiality, so I can't just start talking about it right after being hired, is all.
>>
No. 1023062 ID: c92a02

Go home. War is not a game of skill, it is pure luck.
>>
No. 1023069 ID: 96c896

Yeah War won't let you use your ability to get an edge. It's a 50/50 shot and you cannot blow your cover immediately after being hired!

Let her down gently. Tell her you really shouldn't say what kind of job it is, but it's not illegal or anything. Also you haven't signed a contract yet, so if there's an NDA you'd rather not break it before your first day on the job.
>>
No. 1023095 ID: 96c896

Ah, I thought of a compromise. Tell her you can ask your employer tomorrow if you're allowed to talk about your job.
>>
No. 1023096 ID: 8483cf

Play play play!
>>
No. 1023102 ID: e51896

Honestly, it sounds fun, but it is getting late and you should get to bed pretty soon to wake up early for your job. But maybe next time.
>>
No. 1023126 ID: ce39da

"... Alright, fine, let's play, but I won't divulge it in public, and you can't tell anyone if you win, okay? I'm serious; it isn't illegal or anything, but knowing might get you mixed up in some trouble. Bartender's confidentiality?"

"Oh, and I want to examine the deck we're playing with, first. I almost got tripped up by assuming stuff about the deck recently."

What are the rules to "mini" war? I imagine we'd get some actionable choice. It'd be a pretty abrupt section for a quest about playing games, otherwise. (Also, try to remember what Gambling facts you've divined about Vinegar already over the years while you check the deck.)
>>
No. 1023133 ID: a70a13
File 164460712341.jpg - (341.95KB , 960x960 , Missing Panel I'm not sure where it goes whoo.jpg )
1023133

You're really torn on what to do this time around. Despite it all, Vinegar is always pretty fun to play games with. She's fair and never cheats, and she actually likes it when you use your ability. However, you have no idea if you're even ALLOWED to talk about your job, and it does make sense to keep quiet on it for right now. You finally decide that despite the urge to take the gamble, you need to keep it on the down low for now.

Looking to Vinegar, you shake your head and move to start leaving. "I'm sorry dude, I really can't tell you yet. I haven't even signed contracts or anything so I have no idea if I'm under NDA or something else."

She looks at you with a glance of unbelief. "You wouldn't be under NDA until you SIGNED a contract, dude." There's a definite bite behind that, but you continue with your explanation.

"Fuck, sorry. It's not something I wanna get you involved in right now, alright? I'll tell you about it when I feel...better about everything. I promise."

You get up to move away from the bar, turning so as not to see the look on Vinegar's face. "I'll see you later, alright? Be safe."

Despite not seeing her expression, you know that the cyclops isn't exactly taking this all well, and you realize your wording could've been better.

Whatever, you're already out of Prima Materia and heading home.
>>
No. 1023134 ID: a70a13
File 164460728316.jpg - (316.88KB , 960x960 , Panel 21.jpg )
1023134

It takes about a half hour to walk from the club to your apartment complex, and in that time the sun has fully set. When you get inside it seems that your roommate isn't around yet, and honestly that's kind of nice considering the day you've had.

You enter your bedroom and flop directly onto your mattress, releasing all that tenseness in your body with one long groan into the blankets. This was a good day, this was a good day, you keep repeating that to yourself.

But Vinegar's frustrated tone still plays in your head.

There's not much else to do at this point, though. You need to get sleep and be ready for your new job! You quickly set your alarm for 7:30 AM and let yourself adjust until you're comfortable...drifting off to sleep.
>>
No. 1023135 ID: a70a13
File 164460730787.jpg - (73.03KB , 960x960 , Panel 22.jpg )
1023135

.....
>>
No. 1023136 ID: a70a13
File 164460741535.jpg - (359.62KB , 960x960 , Panel 23.jpg )
1023136

You wake up to the buzzing sound of your alarm clock next to you. Groaning and opening your eyes, you feel the glint of warm sunlight stab your pupils as you quickly squint and look away from the window.

Apparently at some point during the night you shrugged off your clothes, and now you need to get ready for your gig at Down-Low.

What do you want to do first?
>>
No. 1023137 ID: 09bb32

Get five more minutes of sleep.
>>
No. 1023138 ID: 0838d6

>>1023136
Shower, Clean your teeth, take a dump, and get your nice clothes out.
>>
No. 1023142 ID: ce39da

>>1023138
This. If you're overdressed, they'll tell you, but no consequences beyond that. Put your best foot forward, and most importantly, be punctual.
>>
No. 1023146 ID: 4d401c

Shower and look S O G O O D
>>
No. 1023463 ID: a70a13
File 164486059105.jpg - (225.01KB , 960x960 , Panel 24 .jpg )
1023463

You consider letting the alarm go for another five minutes, but you know that's gonna turn into another hour and you CANNOT risk it today.

You hop out of bed and go through your usual routine, showering and brushing your teeth before hitting the toilet and finally staring at your closet. You don't have many nice clothes, you've never really needed them before, but getting a head start in presenting yourself is a good idea.

You scrounge around a bit before settling on a button up and a decent sweater over it. Not your favorite outfit, looks a little too much like your highschool uniform, but the patches you put on the sleeves make it feel more like you. It'll do until you get yourself something nicer.
>>
No. 1023464 ID: a70a13
File 164486091382.jpg - (432.93KB , 960x960 , Panel 25.jpg )
1023464

You move yourself into the living room, the TV casting some morning talk show into your head. A quick glance would reveal it's none other than your roommate hanging out on the couch. It's hard to tell if he's been up all night or if he got up super early, this dude is an enigma in your eyes.

Sensing someone in the room, the long haired guy turns behind himself to see you standing there, and widens his mouth into a doofy grin. "Mornin' Clero!"

"Hey Conway." You reply, offering a loose raise of the hand to return the gesture. You're never quite sure how to have a conversation with this guy, and he's definitely the odd sort, but at least he pays his rent on time?

You wish he would wear pants like...EVER. Seriously the dude goes outside wearing just that, it's weird.

"You're lookin' a lil more put together than usual bud, what's the occasion?" He asks, stretching his leg out across the cushions with a light grunt. "Cuz now we're sweater brothers!"

You think about correcting him by saying he's wearing a sweatshirt, not a sweater, but you don't feel like it's worth it. "Well ah, got a new job after that loan meeting yesterday..."

"A new job? Hell yeah dude, that's fucking legit!" He raises his fist supportively. "We gotta celebrate my dude, gotta get into it!"
>>
No. 1023465 ID: 41caaf

conway seems like a really chill dude. what kind of celebrating?
>>
No. 1023466 ID: afe7de

After work, sure, what do you have in mind? (waiting for the reason you feel weird about the guy other then the clothes to drop)
>>
No. 1023476 ID: 96c896

Maybe after work.
>>
No. 1023508 ID: 8483cf

I like this guy. Let's hang out with him after work, as long as he wears pants. That's our one condition.
>>
No. 1023513 ID: 34dfce

>>1023464
Could ask if they have any nicer clothes you could borrow(since you seem to think yours aren't good enough).

I'd say switch the bowtie for a regular tie if you can borrow one. Maybe throw on some colored makeup accents (is that socially acceptable for guys to do in universe? it seems like it but idk). Idk, maybe some dots or something geometric.

...actually, are the colors how they are because we are a synesthete?
>>
No. 1023570 ID: 34dfce

>>1023508
Or a skirt/dress(assuming our new boss isn't just a crossdressing weirdo in this culture).
>>
No. 1023714 ID: a70a13
File 164513502739.jpg - (404.14KB , 960x960 , Panel 26.jpg )
1023714

You wouldn't be able to fit into any of Conway's clothes even if you wanted to. He's like, a WIDE BOY. And it's not like you HATE your clothes, just not used to them is all.

You also don't have makeup anymore, it's been awhile since you wore any and it's a reminder of yourself from back in the day, so that stuff is long gone.

You don't know what a synesthete is.

Conway wraps his arm around you in his big old bear embrace, still wearing that dopey grin. "Whatever ya want man! We can go to that bar you like downtown...what wuz it called...Prima Donna or something like that? We can get our freak on my treat, Cuz!"

You cloister into yourself, remembering the conversation last night with Vinegar. You're not sure you want to go to THAT bar but it seems like your roomie is really putting in an effort...

"Uh, alright we can figure out where to go later but after work we can do...something" You offer. "BUT you have to wear pants or a skirt or something okay? No free lower halfing!"

You can't see Conway's eyes but the closing of his mouth seems to imply he's thinking about it. Eventually he nods and releases you from the bro hug, flashing a thumbs up. "Whatever ya want chief, it's your party bud!"

You at least appreciate the effort, and sigh a breath of relief. "Alright Con, thanks. Listen, I gotta get going but I'll text you later okay?"

Conway gives you a dopey salute and with that you're out the door into your new life!
>>
No. 1023715 ID: a70a13
File 164513542806.jpg - (578.90KB , 960x960 , Panel 27.jpg )
1023715

The walk to work is brisk but mildly anxiety inducing, but then again EVERYTHING gives you anxiety nowadays. The morning is slightly brisk as the sun has yet to warm the world up, but people are already making their ways around town and getting started with their days.

You slip through an alley and briefly notice the posters lined across the walls, grimacing at the name and moving onwards.

You really hate Roki.

In about a half hour you've made it to your new job entering the front door and making your way to the front desk. The secretary is an unremarkable woman who quickly directs you to the place you need to go, and with a brief hustle to the elevators, you ride your way up to the fifth floor.

Exiting, you find the door labelled KINESIS P.I in bold lettering, and with mild hesitation raise your fist to knock on the door.

Before your hand can even make contact, a familiar voice rings out from inside.

"Come in, my friend!"
>>
No. 1023716 ID: a70a13
File 164513554568.jpg - (366.08KB , 960x960 , Panel 28.jpg )
1023716

You enter the room and standing at a desk is Kinesis, reading the contents of a folder with a large window behind him.

This must be his office.

"Clero, my friend and partner! Hello hello! My, you look dapper today, a bit different than the tank top of last day!" He smiles widely.

"Well, no need for formalities, paper work has more or less been handled it seems, I think we should jump right into starting, yes? Our first case together!"
>>
No. 1023717 ID: afe7de

MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmaybe ask to see the paperwork just in case... Just to steel your nerves and know the... breadth of your work, and penalties for otherwise fluffing it up.

Then check out the case and maybe make smalltalk?
>>
No. 1023718 ID: 274b8a

Compliment the flower decoration.

Lets get this mission breifing started!
>>
No. 1023719 ID: 274b8a

Oh yeah, ask about company policy on discussing work to people during off hours. A friend wanted to know our business, but we kinda weren't sure if it was a good idea or not considering we're just getting started so we kept silent
>>
No. 1023720 ID: b4b79f

Is that pencil broken in half? Is this job that stressful? If so, bring a stress ball.
>>
No. 1023721 ID: ce39da

"May I see the paperwork, at least? I think confidentiality clauses are of particular urgency, as my friend was really bummed out last night when I wouldn't tell her what my new job was. Whether I can declassify that or not would be good to know." 'Technically okay' is all the confirmation we need to make things right with Vinegar as soon as we have free time. Also, ask about dress code - better to be overdressed than under, and all, but knowing exactly what we can get away with (not that we plan on pushing it) should let us relax in that regard.

After that, then yeah, begin the briefing.
>>
No. 1023785 ID: 96c896

>>1023716
Wait, don't you need to sign a contract? Also, how much can you tell your friends about the job? What kind of job IS it anyway?
>>
No. 1023837 ID: fe7daa

>>1023785
Investigation/mercenary corporate espionage. We talked about that already.

Definitely ask the rest of the questions though.

>>1023720
Looks like an uncapped green pen.
>>
No. 1023842 ID: 96c896

>>1023837
We know it's a PI company, but not what role we're being hired for specifically.
>>
No. 1024032 ID: a70a13
File 164531451110.jpg - (291.95KB , 960x960 , Panel 29.jpg )
1024032

You don't necessarily distrust Kinesis, but you do want to make sure that you're good with your contract for the sake of just...knowing what you're getting into.

"Hey so, I actually want to see the paperwork if that's cool? Like, I know I'm not really in the best position to make choices but I figure it's worth knowing the basics."

Kinesis smirks at you and nods, though doesn't move to pull any papers or such out. "My friend, I've already emailed you the details. You really must remember to check such things. Go ahead and take a look if you like."

You do indeed pull out your cellphone and quickly find the email. They must've gotten it when they signed you in at the front desk. Regardless, it all seems pretty standard. You pay back the loan with your work here, no interest on the amount, if you leave the job you'll have to pay the money back out of pocket...yeah pretty much what you imagined.

"Oh, I also have to ask...I think I need to know about any confidentiality clauses, my friend was really bummed out last night when I wouldn't tell her what my new job was. Whether I can declassify that or not would be good to know." You try to be as direct as possible.

Kinesis nods thoughtfully as he glances to his desk for a moment, a finger idly playing with the cap of a green pen. "Clero, in this job you'll be taking on sensitive topics. You and I are info gatherers, and primarily it will be face to face conversations. I chose you for a very specific reason, I think interrogation will be your strong suit. But with that comes data and knowledge that may not be best kept in the hands of some."

He glances upwards to you with sharp eyes. "I won't tell you not to tell your friends, but if you make the wrong decision and you're left in a bad place because you mistrusted someone? That will all be on you, my friend."

You feel that slight lump in your throat as your new boss...partner? Well your new coworker explains the intensity of the situation.

You can only really ask one more thing.

"Uh...dresscode?"

"I'm in a crop top, Clero. Dress as you will. Now shall we get onto the case?"
>>
No. 1024034 ID: a70a13
File 164531462803.jpg - (301.72KB , 960x960 , Panel 30.jpg )
1024034

You nod your head in response to Kinesis' question, finalizing your contract talk and moving on to the actual gig.

"I've sent you the case documents to your email, but I'll go through it with you as well since this is your first time. Don't worry about getting everything right, and ask me any questions if you need help!"

You glance back down to your cellphone as you indeed find an email labelled "IMPORTANT STUFF, MY FRIEND."
>>
No. 1024036 ID: a70a13
File 164531506866.jpg - (401.76KB , 960x960 , Panel 31.jpg )
1024036

You open the email and find two pictures and various information surrounding them.

"The girl on the bottom would be our client this time around, a construction worker by the name of Lime. Seems she's been working on a site with several other employees for months now, but their boss has mysteriously vanished and the lot has gone upaid. Lime has taken the lead on this, demanding we find said boss for the sake of getting their earned checks, a sentiment I can understand."

You look over the girl with streaks in her hair, wondering how such a delicate type could be a blue collar worker like that...then again you're no muscle person.

"It may not be necessary, but her class is DISTORTIONIST so keep that in mind later if you will."

You nod your head and glance to the other person. "And this Mau guy? What's he got to do with it?"

Kinesis smiles. "Well, the missing boss seems to have been pretty secretive about his business practices. Under the table pay, and a definite wall between his personal life and his job. Lime has no idea who this guy's family or spouse or such is, but apparently this Mau character was seen multiple times with the missing man in public. Apparently they were good friends, or so it seems. Regardless, we've tracked down the location of them, and they're the best lead we have so...they're going to be your first interrogation, my friend."

You look over the guy in the photo, noting the beanie they have donned across their head, before finally slipping the phone into your pocket. "Alright, makes sense."

Your new partner stretches his arms above his head in response, grunting as he cracks a knot in his shoulder, before moving around the desk to face you. "Good good good. Do you have any other questions, or are you ready to head out?"
>>
No. 1024037 ID: 96c896

>>1024036
Any chance of violence? Just to be forewarned.
>>
No. 1024044 ID: 0838d6

While I'd like to know what practical applications of your class you should expect to see in... interrogations? Dialogues? I think you should ask the level of violence/self defense required, mostly because while this does seem relatively straightforward, you get the feeling this might be a bit rough.
>>
No. 1024055 ID: ce39da

"Just to make sure, this is everything we know? We've yet to really do any preliminary stuff like constructing a timeline or whatever? Like, what day he didn't show, whether she noticed anything leading up to it, what contract they were building, etcetera?" Might help to draw up something like that on your phone or whatever the organization hands you for that. "While we're at it, remind me what a Distortionist does?"

"You mentioned that interrogations would be my strong suit. Could you explain what you mean by that? Not that I doubt you or anything, but if I'm going to handle a particular aspect of our cases, I'd rather not jump into it blind to your expectations."

"Also, are there regular hours to keep? Am I 'off the clock' at any point before a case's end?"

If so, send (assuming you can) the following to Vinegar via text: [Hey, sorry for being a spaz last night.] [I was just nervous about my job and last lifeline, and it involved secretive (but not illegal!) stuff.] [Maybe I'm still a little paranoid about telling anyone, IDK. Not gonna do it over text, obviously; someone with the right class could pluck these easily.] [But I shouldn't have lied to you, obviously.] [I wanna talk to you {AFTER SHIFT ENDS}, but not in public. After blowing off your game, I figured just telling you with no added fuss is the least I can do.] [... We cool?]

"Aaaaaaand sent. I figure just letting her know what my job is - no case details - is fine, right? I mean, your recruitment process is kinda on the down-low, but the PI office itself seems to be public?" You can assure him that you only arranged a meeting to talk about it and apologize if he presses you; you're not that dumb.

"Okay, I should be ready. Oh- Where and how do we plan on approaching this guy?" (Figure he's the guy in charge of those decisions.)
>>
No. 1024208 ID: a70a13
File 164547454478.jpg - (311.65KB , 960x960 , Panel 32.jpg )
1024208

You consider all of these things as you quickly return to pulling out your cellphone and opening a document for your own use.

"So we don't have a timeline or anything? No sequence of events we can refer to?"

Kinesis nods his head with a chuckle. "I'm glad you're asking questions, my friend. Questions are the business of this game, you're doing well. Yes, we have a bit of a timeline, but it has found itself to be rather limited. The disappearance happened about a week ago, and the case was brought to us 3 days before today. Yesterday was the beginning of the investigation, and that leaves us here."

"Any other info or importance? Like what was the boss' name anyways and what about other employees?"

"Believe it or not-" Kinesis chuckles. "The Boss' name was BOSS. So...at least we have that? And we've already talked to other employees, no leads. Either a lack of willingness to talk or absolutely no information of use. You can keep them in your mind if later they become relevant, however."

You nod and write these notes down, but hold back from asking about the Distortionist.

To make a complex subject as brief as possible, class abilities are specific to the person, not always just the class. What one Gambler and another can do is vastly different most of the times, and unless you have a wide base to search from it's best to use context clues when it comes to these things.

That being said, a DISTORTIONIST may very well distort things in their control but that's kind of obvious.

"Last questions, am I going to be in any danger and two, what do you have in mind with interrogations?"

Kinesis shuffles to the door, gesturing you over as he begins opening it. Seems he wants to walk and talk. "There are countless dangers we face in life, Clero. Every day we leave the house we risk being hit by a car or getting stuck in a shoot out. I will not lie, people are unpredictable and while unlikely, I cannot promise no one will grow aggressive...however, I will NOT allow you to become injured. That is a hard rule of mine, and if it were to break? Consider your loan forgiven." He smiles honestly at you and in your heart you believe him to be telling the truth.

"And as for your interrogations...?" He chuckles. "Think about what you can do, Clero. Think about your skills and what certain things you can gain from them. Now come, we have to make our way to Mau's apartment...it seems that's where he stays most of the time."

And with that, the two of you are on your way to the location of your first person of interest.

While you do, you fling off a few texts to Vinegar about last night, typing as fast as your little fingers can.

CLERO: Hey Vin, sorry for being a spaz last night. I was just nervous about my job and last lifeline, and it involved secretive (but not illegal!) stuff. CLERO: Maybe I'm still a little paranoid about telling anyone, IDK. Not gonna do it over text, obviously; someone with the right class could pluck these easily.

CLERO: But I shouldn't have lied to you, obviously.

CLERO: I wanna talk to you {AFTER SHIFT ENDS}, but not in public. After blowing off your game, I figured just telling you with no added fuss is the least I can do.

CLERO:... We cool?

It takes a few minutes while you're walking, but a response does come in from her.

VINEGAR: K.

Eesh. Yeah maybe focusing on this case might be better for now.
>>
No. 1024209 ID: a70a13
File 164547464592.jpg - (489.81KB , 960x960 , panel 33.jpg )
1024209

Apparently the two of you are hoofing it, as 10 minutes later you find yourself staring at one of the many old apartment buildings in town. A few cracked windows and busted brick, but otherwise just another building in town.

You glance briefly over to Kinesis who looks up to the top of the structure, pointing at the top left window. "If I'm right, should be his place right there."

Immediately he begins walking and you follow suit, entering the complex and quickly finding your way to the top floor.
>>
No. 1024210 ID: a70a13
File 164547484658.jpg - (305.37KB , 960x960 , Panel 34.jpg )
1024210

When you reach the floor in question, Kinesis moves to knock on the flimsy wooden door in front of you, listening as it echoes through the building's halls like a bomb.

It takes a few moments but quiet scuffling is heard from the other side, until eventually someone comes to open it partways. It takes a moment to realize who it is, as you shift your vision down to see...the little shorty you're apparently interviewing. You would describe the cat ear hat wearing guy as a 'lil guy.'

"Good morning!" Kinesis echoes happily. "Me and my partner here and investigators involved in a case regarding a Mr. Boss? We've been led to your apartment for information and it would be GREATLY appreciated if we could come in for a few questions."

Mau stands there quietly for a few moments, grimacing to himself and thinking it over, before finally seeming to reluctantly agree.

"Aight. Come in."

He opens the door fully and you and Kinesis are both ushered inside.
>>
No. 1024211 ID: a70a13
File 164547512938.jpg - (435.13KB , 960x960 , Panel 35.jpg )
1024211

The inside of the apartment is dim, with soft green light filling the space. The window curtains are drawn closed and the entire room is somewhat warm and damp like fresh dew. The main points of interest in here are the variable FUCKTON of plants this guy seems to keep, and the pet snake in the tank resting against the wall. The rest of the place is rather bare with only a table, chair, and television with hallways leading to the other assumed rooms.

Kinesis gives you a light pat on the back, nodding over to the rather disgruntled looking small boi across from you, indicating it's your turn to step up.

"Ah...well, Mr. Mau was it?"

He nods curtly.

"My name is Clero, and I uh...well, we have some questions about Mr. Boss and his possible whereabouts? Now, last week Boss seems to have vanished after not paying him employees, and-"

"I don't know a Boss. Can we stop now."

You blink in confusion as you glance between Kinesis and Mau, wondering what to say next.

"S-Sir I'm sorry?" You ask.

"I don't know a Boss. I have no information for you."

You glance to Kinesis for help, where in which he leans forward with a smile, whispering into your ear.

"He has information, but he seems to be stubborn...think about what you're good at Clero, offer a way to get that knowledge...think about how you got this job."
>>
No. 1024221 ID: ce39da

The {WHEN SHIFT ENDS} thing was supposed to be a variable based on what answer we got for the whole "shift" question.

> "Would You Like to Play a Game?"
"I dunno if he'd be down to play games with a stranger who barged into his home, Kinesis... I can try, I guess. By the way, you got a description of the guy? I've got one more angle to try, just to be sure this is malice and not ignorance we're dealing with here. I mean, unless you can confirm to me now that our guy was meeting Mau as 'Mr. Boss.'"

> A New Angle
We know that "Mr. Boss" kept up a wall between his work and private life. We also know he did shady dealings of some kind somewhere in all that. Ergo: "Well, there are several witnesses who place you as meeting in public with a guy matching Mr. Boss's description. Perhaps he used a different name when interacting with you?" Give Mr. Boss's description if he wants to play ball here. If he still denies knowing anyone of that description - which we know to be patently false - then we can proceed into a game offer.

> One More Thing
"Do you like games, Mau? You seem to be making a good run around on us, but I'm wondering if we can't try to make this worth your time. How about it? Only, all you'd need to ante is information." You can let him pick the game, but do insist on examining the playing pieces.
>>
No. 1024223 ID: 8483cf

Adding on to the above, I recommend we get Mau talking about something they DO want to talk about. Like the pet snake. It's easier to build rapport like that.
>>
No. 1024227 ID: 96c896

Tell him they were seen together. No point denying it.
>>
No. 1024285 ID: 34dfce

>>1024211
So, i know this is going to seem like we are off to a bad start, but until we get some solid evidence that they are friends and do know each other, we aren't going to get anywhere. Idk, have him confirm that he doesn't know a Boss, and then leave. We could then ask Mau's employer about whether they have been seen together in the past.
>>
No. 1024436 ID: a70a13
File 164568265214.jpg - (330.03KB , 960x960 , panel 36.jpg )
1024436

You glance to Kinesis for help, to which he simply nods to your pocket. You wonder what he means, but quickly remember your phone. Opening the device would pull up the information sent to you by Kinesis, where indeed it seems Mau is seen with a larger man you imagine to be Boss.

Looking back up to Mau, you think for a moment. "So, you've never met with a Mr. Boss then? Perhaps he went by a different name then?"

Mau...you assume he raises an eyebrow? It's hard to tell with the beanie. He doesn't say anything as he waits for you to continue.

"Our Mr. Boss is a large man, broad shoulders and buzzed hair with small eyes. Anything like that come to mind then?"

Mau narrows his eyes and shakes his head quickly and curtly, shifting his weight to the other foot. "No. Never met a person like that."

There you go! You quickly reveal the image on your cellphone, eyes narrowing at the suspect across from you. "Well, it seems that you're lying to us Mau. We have proof that you were seen with Mr. Boss not too long ago, so there's no point in playing dumb."

You take a moment to think of your next move, remembering the words of Kinesis. You have something that no one else can do, a way to pull information our of someone.

"Do you like games, Mau? You're definitely giving us the run around, but I'm wondering if we can't try to make this worth your time. How about it? Only, all you'd need to do is ANTE UP some information."

You feel a sudden spark inside of yourself, something akin to the moment when you received your class years ago. Inspiration? Revelation? You're not sure. It just feels right, connected to your very being and burning like fire.

Mau's eyes meet yours and between the two of you a spiritual lock has been sealed. He grimaces at you with disdain and grits his teeth. "Fine."

CLERO HAS AWAKENED TO A NEW ABILITY "ANTE UP."

Once per day, Clero can force another person into a gambling match against them, along with choosing what their reward will be if they win. However, the forced challenger has the right to pick the game, as well as their own reward if they come out victorious. Bets do not have to be of equal value, and can result in unbalanced challenges if not careful.

Please use with caution.
>>
No. 1024437 ID: a70a13
File 164568318459.jpg - (444.01KB , 960x960 , Panel 37.jpg )
1024437

Mau doesn't make much noise, but moves to the snake tank in the corner of the room. Opening the cabinet beneath it, a fold out table pops out ironing board style from within, and in a moment he's already beginning to build the game together. "The game is Cat and Mouse." He utters quickly. "And if I win you will never mention the name Boss again, to anyone."

You realize that considering this is a maaaaaagic deal, there might very well be rules binding you to that outside of good sportsmanship. Putting that thought away for now though, you find your place at the table, squeezing between it and the wall behind you with just enough room to stand. Across from you Mau has set up two pairs of dice and a small wall between the two of you. "I'd like to look over the pieces if you don't mind."

He gestures with his hand to do so and you quickly scan and handle each individual part. Everything seems to be in order, just normal dice and a little plastic wall with cat ears. You put everything back in place.

"Cat and Mouse starts with each of us rolling our dice. We can't see what the other rolls until we've declared whether we are a 'cat' or 'mouse' at the same time."

He glances over you to make sure you're paying attention. "If you are a cat, you need the higher roll to win. If you are a mouse, you need the lower roll. If you win, you get the points based on what number you rolled. Roll six and you get six points. If we tie, neither gets any points. First to 24 wins."

You're pretty sure you understand all the rules, and nod to Mau that you're ready to start.

"Alright then, roll."
>>
No. 1024438 ID: a70a13
File 164568332483.jpg - (215.58KB , 960x960 , Panel 38.jpg )
1024438

You roll the dice.

You rolled a four.

It's not a particularly high number but maybe that's not the worst in this kind of game? It's tricky to say.

What action will you take?

>A. Use "LUCKY GUESS" ability for a hint.

>B. Declare CAT or MOUSE
>>
No. 1024439 ID: 8483cf

Hello yes this is cat
>>
No. 1024440 ID: 629f2e

Mouse is the clear pick. The odds that Mau rolled a 2 or 3 are only 1/12, and even if he did... it's 2-3 points. If he rolled something like a 10, we need to lessen the gap between our scores by guessing right. A difference in his favor isn't optimal no matter how much it is, but the stats don't lie here.

Choose Mouse
>>
No. 1024441 ID: 96c896

>>1024438
Ugh, 4 is a terrible roll. Only 8.3% chance for the opponent to roll 2-3 which would prevent them from gaining points by calling mouse (the only reasonable situation where they would lose), and we only gain 4 points from winning.

I think 6 and 8 are the numbers where you can mess around by calling the opposite role just from pure probability. Maybe 5 or 9 depending on how close the opponent is to winning. For now...
Mouse.

Watch Mau's face from here on. It's like poker, if you can figure out how high the opposing dice are, you can avoid losing. Also, see if you can fake him out with a bluff at some important point.
>>
No. 1024446 ID: 96c896

Oops I got mixed up: the opponent would only lose if they got 5 6 or 7 (maybe 8) and chose mouse. 2 or 3 they would win and we'd lose.
>>
No. 1024447 ID: 6194de

How often can we "Lucky Guess"?
>>
No. 1024449 ID: 094652

Mouse this sucker.
>>
No. 1024459 ID: ce39da

4 is very low, yes, and even if he beats us outright, he won't get ahead by much. This game will be decided with a few "Cat"-related upsets, I'm sure. Pick Mouse, given the assumption that we have limited uses of LUCKY GUESS. Not a great round, considering he'll likely win a decent Cat total unless he fucks up and bets Mouse on a 5 or 6. Maybe glance at the terrarium between rounds, see if there's something off.
>>
No. 1024691 ID: a70a13
File 164584452991.jpg - (387.20KB , 960x960 , Panel 39.jpg )
1024691

>>1024447
You have 1 LUCKY GUESS per game, unless specified otherwise.

You think about your situation, and decide that it's highly likely that calling MOUSE is the way to go. There's just not enough chance that he's going to be below you.

You nod over to Mau as he lifts the small wall between you, the both of you calling your rolls at once.

"MOUSE." You declare.

"Cat." He calls.

Mau has rolled a FIVE, one point ahead of you, meaning both of you have won the round.

Currently MAU is winning by a 1 point lead.

You try to read your opponent's face but it's like he's this impenetrable wall of stoicism. Any facial expressions he makes are muted and small, simple blinks as he stares between you and his side of the wall. While you're looking around you glance to the terrarium next to you, seeing Mau's pet snake inside. You don't really know much about these creatures, but you're pretty sure he's sleeping? He's moved over to your side of the table though, as he rests on the log in his little glass box.

Regardless, it's time for the next round. You roll your dice.
>>
No. 1024692 ID: a70a13
File 164584462765.jpg - (228.41KB , 960x960 , Panel 40.jpg )
1024692

You rolled a seven.

This might be...good? At least it's higher than a four.

What action will you take?

>A. Use "LUCKY GUESS" ability for a hint.

>B. Declare CAT or MOUSE
>>
No. 1024694 ID: 96c896

Ah. The snake is helping him cheat. It's pointing to whoever's higher.

Cat.
>>
No. 1024697 ID: 96c896

...actually, we don't know that for sure, do we? Twice could be coincidence. Maybe this is a good time to use LUCKY GUESS.
>>
No. 1024698 ID: 629f2e

>>1024694

Y'know, while I recognize Mouse to be the safer pick if we have no information on what he rolled, I'll go with Cat because I also think the snake is part of a cheat here.
>>
No. 1024724 ID: ce39da

> ODDS
7 is dead center, which is actually worse. Both options are equally likely, here, and there's even a significant chance to tie.

> SNAKE
That snake has moved since the last round; that it's "sleeping" is suspicious. I'm sure Kinesis would have pointed it out if Mau used an active ability. Ergo, we can conclude that the snake is helping Mau on its own, if at all. He probably has a passive ability that gives him that kind of rapport. We can rule out the snake telling him directly, then. We might be able to wager "Cat" here to test our theory.
>>
No. 1024846 ID: e51896

cat
>>
No. 1025159 ID: a70a13
File 164624745254.jpg - (398.49KB , 960x960 , Panel 41.jpg )
1025159

While a small part of you wants to use lucky guess, you hold off on it until next round. For now, you nod to Mau as he raises the little wall between you.

"CAT." you call.

"Mouse." He responds.

Mau has rolled another FIVE, one point behind you, meaning both of you have won the round..

Currently YOU are winning by a 1 point lead.

You're really not sure what's going on at the moment, but there's a certain glint in Mau's eyes that you didn't notice before...

Something is going on here, and you think it's time Lucky Guess came out.

You roll your dice.
>>
No. 1025160 ID: a70a13
File 164624776206.jpg - (225.43KB , 960x960 , Panel 42.jpg )
1025160

You rolled a nine.

You've gotten an even higher number which is definitely a good sign, but right now your focus is on figuring out what the power difference here is.

You activate LUCKY GUESS, and the spirits are in control now.

What information would you like?

>A. See One of Mau's Dice.
>B. Investigate the Snake.
>C. Know If Mau Will Call Cat or Mouse.
>>
No. 1025161 ID: 629f2e

B. If the Snake is helping him cheat, we take advantage if we rolled higher and call him on it if we rolled lower. If not, then we play the odds and follow our intuition to keep things in our favor.
>>
No. 1025163 ID: ce39da

Seeing one of his dice isn't very actionable - at worst (a 6), there's a 50% chance calling Cat is wrong, and our result is high enough that calling wrong in either direction will be costly if he guesses right. All that knowing that die result does is turn up or turn down the heat, despite our call still being the same in all but one of the results.

Meanwhile, we already know he's cheating, somehow. The snake's just the most likely medium he's doing it through. And what can we do, either way? We can think up a countermeasure between rounds, we can act like we already know the ruse and call him on it. But in any case, getting magic confirmation doesn't help us this round unless... we pick Option C, and call the opposite of what he's planning.

I suggest asking Kinesis for something big and flat between rounds; see if blocking the snake's line of sight does something.
>>
No. 1025222 ID: 96c896

B. If it's a red herring then we need to know now.
>>
No. 1025421 ID: a70a13
File 164653992089.jpg - (335.96KB , 960x960 , Panel 43.jpg )
1025421

You glance over to look at the snake next to you, seemingly sunning itself on the log inside the glass. Immediately your head is full of knowledge you didn't previously have, and goes as such:

The snake in question is a ball python, and appears to be about three feet long.

The snake has 20 stripes along its length, and those numbers have not changed since the beginning of the game.

It's eyes are definitely closed, and has no way of visually seeing anything, but does have pit organs as it is a snake.

You figure that the information could be important in some way, but you're still not quite sure. Your hands are sweating, or rather they've BEEN sweating the entire game, but still you keep rubbing them together under the table to try and calm yourself.

It looks like you need to figure out what to do next, you could declare CAT or MOUSE, or decide to do something else entirely with your new information.

Where do we go from here?
>>
No. 1025425 ID: 8483cf

Count the stripes and see if they move or change as a way of communicating.
>>
No. 1025432 ID: ce39da

If the snek is perceiving us, it's through the way our hands have warmed the dice, considering we're not directly touching the insides of the pips, for the most part. If we're going to foil the snake, our best bet is to just lay our arm between the snake and where we plan to roll. Maybe start doing that now.

The unfortunate fact is that, regardless of whether we can figure out how he's cheating, this doesn't tell us anything about what we should do in the current round. We'll need to declare Cat just to play the odds as well as out of optimism (since in a "perfect" game by both parties, whoever has more Cat results wins).
>>
No. 1025435 ID: 629f2e

Pit organs for those unaware:

"What is commonly called a Pit Organ allows these animals to essentially "see" radiant heat at wavelengths between 5 and 30 μm. The more advanced infrared sense of pit vipers allows these animals to strike prey accurately even in the absence of light, and detect warm objects from several meters away." -Wikipedia

If the dice are warm enough, either by design or by our warm hands heating them, then the snake COULD still see the result using its pit organs, even with its eyes shut.

So here's the rub: We may not actually be able to rely on its positioning. We assumed that was how it worked before, and while we did guess right we can't necessarily confirm that we were right for the reasons we believed. It could be something else. Maybe they can communicate mentally, some sort of pet and owner bond. We can't prove that isn't the case.

I think we should call Cat for this round, but just to be safe we should try to trick him. Rub your hands together under the table again, and then try to subtlyplace the tips of three of your fingers on the die that has a three face up. If we're lucky, the snake will project this to Mau as 12, and he'll call Mouse even if he rolled higher than a 9. Request that the snake be taken away following this round.
>>
No. 1025439 ID: 96c896

You could foil the snake's heat senses by covering your dice...
Do the dice feel hot?

Oh, do keep in mind your own facial expression. It changed, unlike Mau's.
>>
No. 1025449 ID: 96c896

Wait, what's keeping players from changing their dice after rolling them? There's a wall in the way so how would the opponent know?
>>
No. 1025464 ID: 34dfce

>>1025421
This is a longshot, but check the one dot on the dice. It could be an IR light. Given the distinctive silhouette of the dot, one could tell the orientation of the dice (and thus what number is facing up) just from seeing which way the dot is facing.
>>
No. 1025465 ID: 34dfce

>>1025464
It is also the only dot big enough to potentially have an IR light backlighting.
>>
No. 1025502 ID: 96c896

If the one dot is the trick (and I feel that's likely, since it's non-standard) then it'll be difficult to fool the snake, because the orientation of the dot is important and a finger can't copy the little ears on it.

We could... scratch at it? Flake off some of the likely-IR-material to change the orientation, which would make the snake make mistakes.
>>
No. 1025517 ID: 34dfce

I got it.

Say you are parched. Ask for a glass of ice water. If they refuse, glance over at Kinesis and see if he will help you get that drink.

Once you have the drink, place it between the dice and the snake. Try to get at least one die to land between the glass and the snake.
>>
No. 1025732 ID: a70a13
File 164683362021.jpg - (433.04KB , 960x960 , Panel 44.jpg )
1025732

It hits you slower than it should've. Of COURSE the dude could have heat vision or some shit, why would we sit next to his big stupid ass snake tank otherwise? I mean, you guess it could be because this just seems to be the only table in the room but STILL.

You consider your options, feeling the eyes of Mau across from you. His expression has stayed neutral but there does seem to be a slight glaze to them, like he's not actually staring at you. Your hands gently move across the dice without flipping them, examining how they seem to be structured. It seems they're just normal die with indentations to indicate numbers, nothing too fancy.

Regardless, it's time to make a decision and you can't put it off any longer.

The wall is lifted between you two and you declare your rolls.

"CAT." You announce, trying to keep a steady face.

"Mouse." Mau replies as flat as ever.

Mau has rolled EIGHT, one point behind you, meaning both of you have one the round.

You are now sitting at TWENTY points, with Mau at EIGHTEEN.

This next roll is going to decide things, like it or not, so with a glance up to Mau you ask a question.

"Could I please have a glass of ice water?"

You see his eyes glint for a moment.
>>
No. 1025733 ID: a70a13
File 164683381708.jpg - (251.49KB , 960x960 , Panels 45.jpg )
1025733

Mau seems to hesitate for a moment, gears turning in his head.

"I'm not sure I have any." He replies in an excuse that is incredibly lame.

"Tap water and ice will be fine, please. I'm feeling dehydrated." You respond, eyes glued to the man. Your opponent glances between you and Kinesis, who's simply standing against the wall and smiling in his very Kinesisy way, before sighing and relenting.

Standing up he moves to his kitchen and returns with a glass, offering it out to you quickly.

It's definitely cold, and you quietly place it between you and the snake who has yet to move.

Picking up your dice, you scratch a little at the ONE on the die, but it seems that the coloring is completely dyed into the plastic, not a coating or anything. Regardless there doesn't seem to be any altering or manipulation.

You roll your dice.
>>
No. 1025734 ID: a70a13
File 164683402366.jpg - (356.55KB , 960x960 , panel 46.jpg )
1025734

You've rolled a six.

Any thoughts about the numbers you've gotten are taken away by the sudden movement you see across from you. Mau's face displays the most emotion you've seen from him, eyes wide below his beanie and shoulders rising up to either side.

His mouth is crossed in a grimace as you realize that you landed your dice right in front of the glass of water.

He's totally BLIND to what you've got.

You glance back down to your dice, contemplating your next move. Your last roll is right in the middle, figures. You've used your LUCKY GUESS for the game so all that's left is...

>A. Declare CAT

>B. Declare MOUSE
>>
No. 1025735 ID: 680c8e

That's not actually right in the middle: the possible rolls for two six-sided dice go from two to twelve, so the middle roll is seven. Assuming both of your dice rolls are random (and I think we should, there's no indication he's using loaded dice), he has a better than even chance of having a higher roll than us.

>B. Declare MOUSE
>>
No. 1025738 ID: 629f2e

Mouse!

If he rolled lower than you, then even if he calls it right he can't hit 24, so you're guaranteed one more round.

If he rolls higher than you, then the very worst you can do is tie, which would mean you both get what you want. You get your information, and you will stop using the name Boss. But frankly, unless he rolls super high he's very likely to call Mouse out of paranoia. It's a safer bet, if he's right then bare minimum you tie, and he doesn't lose. If he's wrong, then at least there's a chance that you don't get the points you need to win this round.
>>
No. 1025739 ID: ce39da

If he's actually sweating, that means he rolled close to the middle. Sucks to be him, I guess. Declare Mouse, because 1: seven is the dead-center result (since it's physically impossible to roll a total of one, keep in mind) and 2: You'll tie or get another round in the absolute worst-case - and, of course, you can totally declare the game a draw because you never agreed to what happens if both cross the finish line in the same round; since your wagers aren't mutually exclusive, you should lay down "both" as the result before he has a chance to say it's "neither" (or "higher total" or "closer to 24" if he has either of those on you).
>>
No. 1025769 ID: 96c896

Can you trigger a latent ability by accusing him of cheating?
>>
No. 1025807 ID: ce39da

>>1025769
If Skill gains aren't partially based on abstract EXP or something, then yeah, calling him on it in a moment of confirmation while accurately describing the cheat could trigger something - maybe we get to name a penalty or something. (If we need to include "How are pit glands able to perceive the orientation?" in our explanation, we can explain that our hands warmed the sides, missing the insides of the pips - the "one" on these dice are particularly distinctive for determining orientation.) That Mau is trying to cheat in a magically reinforced wager could be what tips it over into acting as another Skill. (Plus, I imagine this might be Clero's first experience dealing with an out-and-out cheat (that he caught in the act).)

If some abstract experience point/class level system does exist in this setting to Clero's knowledge, then I think we should say nothing and spare Mau the indignity, at least.
>>
No. 1025834 ID: 794ae4

Ask him what's wrong before you call MOUSE
>>
No. 1026336 ID: a70a13
File 164737136934.jpg - (448.98KB , 960x960 , Panels 47.jpg )
1026336

There's no experience point system to abilities or anything, it's a little more...individualistic? When you realize something about yourself, about how you want to approach things and solve problems, sometimes a little bell in your brain starts ringing and you can do something new.

It's hard to MAKE it happen, it just naturally occurs.

Anyways, you figure that MOUSE is the best way to go, but before that you glance across to the now squirming man across from you. "What's the issue Mau? You look kinda...sick."

Mau doesn't look up at you, instead he's clearly sweating and grimacing at his dice, then the snake, then to your glass of water, and any form of poker face on him is gone. "N-N-N-Nothing...nothings wrong." He replies in a mess of stutter, licking his lips in an effort to keep calm.

It's time to reveal your dice, and like that you raise the wall, declaring at the same time.

"MOUSE!"

Both you and Mau have called mouse.

Mau has rolled SEVEN, one point ahead of you, and you have won the round.

YOU have won the game!

"W-Wait!" He exclaims nervously. "I-I panicked, I mean I-"

Kinesis steps up from behind you.
>>
No. 1026337 ID: a70a13
File 164737158050.jpg - (671.39KB , 960x960 , panel 48.jpg )
1026337

"Come now my friend, you know better than to be a spoil sport."

Kinesis looks across at Mau, and it's obvious that his ability is in full swing. "You used your snake as a second pair of eyes and even after figuring out that advantage you still want to draw this out? Not very sportsmanlike."

You feel your own eyes starting to shine, something you can't see but you can feel, and you realize the lock and chain has finally been set. ANTE UP has been resolved.

Kinesis' voice is still going. "Now, let's keep this brief so we can all go on with our lives shall we? Clero, would you do the honors?"

The two of you briefly make eye contact before you nod, a sense of pride across your partner's face as you finally get your well earned information.

"Tell us about Boss. What's your connection to him, and where and why did he dip? And...you don't have to answer but how did the snake work?"
>>
No. 1026339 ID: a70a13
File 164737203149.jpg - (409.52KB , 960x960 , Panel 49.jpg )
1026339

Mau looks away from you two, silently moving to open the snake container before letting his pet quietly slither onto his arm. He holds it gently as the little guy stares up at his owner's face.

"I-I...I'm not good with words but okay." He responds, his tone somehow more tense but more real than his stonewall before.

"...I'm a beastmaster, I can...connect with certain animals. Loops here has a special bond with me and I c-can sometimes use his heat vision. I could tell how you were holding the dice and what side landed up...I'm sorry, it wasn't alright to do I..."

He goes quiet for a moment, unsure of what to say. Kinesis leans over the table gently. "My friend, please. We're not trying to hurt anyone. Tell us what you know."

Mau nods gently. "I don't do well w-with people, and...and Boss was really patient. We met in school and we were friends and he started a business...he didn't talk to his family besides a foster sister he had, her name is Columbia. When we both grew up he started his business and he kept it downlow, didn't wanna get involved with the system..."

He paused again. "He stopped by here before he left. He was scared, wet with s-sweat and panting like a d-d-dog......He said something was really wrong and he was leaving the city, and he wanted to tell me before it happened. He hugged me, and before I could get answers he was gone, alright? I don't know why he left, but I know that something was seriously f-f-fucked up."

You know that he's telling the truth, ANTE UP doesn't allow lies.

It seems you got your information...now what?
>>
No. 1026340 ID: ce39da

> JUST ONE MORE THING
Considering Mau seems one of the more in-the-know people about the 'work' aspect of Boss's life: "Just the one business? The building contract-work? Can you recall anything about his business - aside from its lack of officiality - that might have gotten him into trouble with someone?"

I assume Kinesis will get right on the sister hunt, either here or later.

Also, do reassure him that you aren't with whoever it was that spooked Boss, you think, and bid him good day.

> SCENE DEBRIEFING
Once you're outside, maybe voice twinge of fear you got: "What do you think Boss was talking about with Mau, there? What's 'messed up' about this city that most people don't know?"

> NEXT COURSE
Well, as much as I want to grill Lime about the full extent of the work these people did, our job is technically to "find Boss." Ergo, if anybody knows where, exactly, he went, it'd be the sister. "I assume you'll need time to track her down?" Do voice your opinion about Lime, though, even if you know it likely won't reveal anything relevant to this particular job.
>>
No. 1026445 ID: 96c896

>>1026339
Well tell Kinesis that Mau is telling the truth. Later, you'll want to tell him that your ability only works once a day.

Ask if he knows where Boss would go, and how you can contact Columbia.
>>
No. 1026562 ID: 8a8cfd

>>1026340
>Something wrong with the city.
He could have meant that, but if you look how it is worded, to me it almost seems like Boss did something to himself that went awry and he left the city to avoid collateral damage.
>>
No. 1026847 ID: a70a13
File 164786101193.jpg - (598.48KB , 960x960 , panel 50.jpg )
1026847

You glance back to Mau for one last question. "Is there anything about his business that could make it...shady? Something that would get him in trouble with someone?"

He thinks on the question a bit, before slowly shaking his head. "Y-Yeah. He had a habit of hiring...not people with the cleanest record. Nothing s-serious but usually folks who couldn't hold a job and had...trouble in the city. He felt bad for 'em. Nothing ever happened before 'cept s-some arguments he told me about but he treated them w-well..." He looks up into your eyes with a grimace. "I always told him it'd get him into something, but I didn't w-want to be right."

"And what about that sister...Columbia?"

"I'm n-not gonna lie, I have no idea...he didn't like mixing friends and f-family."

That certainly might help fit a piece into the puzzle, but that's just about all you think you're getting out of him.

You nod your thanks to him before glancing between him and Kinesis. "And as far as we're aware, we're not with the people that spooked your boss, Mau. We're just trying to help...we wouldn't hurt him for no good reason."

He still seems hesitant to fully trust you but what's done is done and the two of you make your leave.

At the door, Kinesis offers Mau a small business card, presumably with his information on it. "If you need anything or have any other information you can call me, alright? Or even if you just need help, I'm around." He smiles somewhat genuinely. "And by the way, I really like Loops. He's a good little guy."

Mau seems to brighten up just a tiny bit from the comments on his snake, going from about dour to something closer to confusion. With that, he simply nods and closes the door, leading you two to walk yourselves back outside.

"So new ability..." You put into the air.

"Yes, I noticed my friend." Kinesis responds with a slight grin. "It seems this job suits you more than you want to admiiiit~"

You hate that this dude reads you like a book, especially when he gets all sing-song'y about it, but you can't exactly turn him off.

"Looks like I can use it once a day, and somehow I can tell everything Mau said is the truth. It's like a contract, y'know?"

Your partner ponders the rules of your powers for a moment, nodding his head in contemplation. "It may not be the best tool to use right off the bat, but in a pinch we might have something. Good to have in the arsenal, at least." He continues walking with you, his expression shifting to a serious consideration. Before you can ask he's already monologuing. "Wellll, it looks like I'm going to be doing some digging, or rather sending it off to the backround department. They handle the info search of these sorts of things, so until we can find this Columbia girl, the two of us are off the clock until tomorrow."

He glances down to you with a serious glance, and you realize he's expecting you to respond with something. He kind of took your first question out of your mouth, so only thing left to add is: "So what was Mau talking about back there? What's messed up in this city that most people don't know?"

Kinesis actually stiffles a chuckle, which gets him a glare from you. He finds his composure but still manages to grin. "Well I suppose I could say the crime and the drugs and all those things, but isn't that a bit obvious? Things like that happen everywhere, I mean...there's NOTHING special about this city." He places a hand on his chin, fingering his scruffy facial hair for a moment. "But if I had a say in it, it's the Class System."

You raise an eyebrow.

"Oh come on, Clero. You're what, 26? You know how the world goes. You get your class, your family and school know, and suddenly you're being put on a path you didn't ask for. Is it successful? Maybe! Does it make you happy? Who cares!" He actually seems to flare up for a moment, his head fins starting to flick in irritation. You never thought that your boss would feel this way. "Aaaaaand as it goes, some people end up on the unhappier side of things, it gets messy, and now we have crime...we all like to act like it's so many individual problems in the world and not just one weaving web related to each other...feh."

Before Kinesis could go on, your phone begins to chime, and you're kind of glad that the politics are being put aside.
>>
No. 1026851 ID: a70a13
File 164786202394.jpg - (452.61KB , 960x960 , panel 51.jpg )
1026851

You open your phone to see that it's 3:00 PM in the afternoon. The notification you received seems to have come from none other than your roommate.

Con-Con: HEY BBY!!!! Don't forget we have PLANS 2NIGHT!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3
Con-Con: I got us tickets to a TONE SHIFT show at HEAVY ROTATION!!!!!!
Con-Con: MEET ME THERE AT 6 and we can ROCK OUT :D :D :D :D
Con-Con: I'm even wearing PANTS!! PANTS!! P A N T S!!


You wince in mild discomfort at the texts in front of you, mostly because someone needs to take that shift key away from him, but regardless he has you pegged. Tone Shift is your favorite band and its been awhile since you got to hang with them. How can you say no?

Cleroro: Alright, cool. I just got off work so I'm heading home and getting ready. Meet you inside there.

Con-Con: ALRIGHT MY D O O D!!! Hope you had a BOMB ASS FIRST DAY \(owo)/


You are going to shoot whoever invented that emoticon.

You glance back up to your boss, gently clearing your throat to get his attention. "Well if we're done today, I'm gonna start heading home. I got plans tonight and I gotta get ready but...see you tomorrow at the same time?"

Kinesis beams in that way that only he seems to be able to, reaching out to pat your shoulder at least twenty times. "Indeed my friend indeed! Go on and have a fun time, just remember to keep all that info we have updated in that file you made and we'll be golden! I will see you around then!"

You nod and quickly slap all the info you've learned today into the case file on your phone, glad to be filling that info in so today doesn't feel like some weird board game fever dream. You wave to Kinesis before going separate ways, walking to your apartment and trying to disconnect your 'crime sleuth' mentality for a moment.


CASE FILE UPDATED[b]
>>
No. 1026852 ID: a70a13
File 164786211387.jpg - (424.34KB , 960x960 , panel 52.jpg )
1026852

It takes about a half hour but soon enough you find yourself home. It seems that wherever Conway is, he's not here, and for once the apartment is quiet as can be. You make sure to savor this moment. After a chance to just shower the day off and get yourself decompressed from work, you shrug off your outfit and move to the bedroom.
>>
No. 1026853 ID: a70a13
File 164786219921.jpg - (428.65KB , 960x960 , panel 53.jpg )
1026853

HEAVY ROTATION was a club you used to go to a lot before you met Vinegar and she founded PRIMA. It's mostly a goth and raver club but honestly anyone with alternative taste is welcome there.

You figure if you're gonna go to the show, dredging some of your older clothes from back in the day is a viable choice, so the question is in the air...

Whatcha gonna wear?
>>
No. 1026862 ID: ce39da

> PLANS
Ah, shoot. Check if you have enough time to be with Conrad and meet with Vinegar. Do you have the afternoon and evening available to you? Text Conrad and say you want to head to PRIMA at some point, too - you promised Vinegar you'd actually tell her what's up as soon as you could.

> OUTFIT
Whatever you wear, aim for more "techno raver" than "goth," as I think you'll be visiting multiple clubs today.
>>
No. 1026869 ID: fc1eab

>>1026853
Fuck, it would be awesome having like a full black and white suit with like some kickass sci-fi glasses, but that would break the lore cuz we would have worn the suit part to the interview.

damn
>>
No. 1026884 ID: 798908
File 164789543095.png - (460.62KB , 960x960 , max.png )
1026884

>>1026853
it's not a proper rave without properly questionable mad max fashion choices
>>
No. 1026888 ID: fc1eab

>>1026884
We need to dress at least somewhat modest, since we gave our roommate shit for not wearing pants.
>>
No. 1026889 ID: fc1eab
File 164790109254.png - (511.50KB , 960x1200 , Chum Drum Bedrum.png )
1026889

I feel like this fits the aesthetic.
>>
No. 1026891 ID: fc1eab
File 164790157754.jpg - (426.99KB , 960x960 , SteveTax.jpg )
1026891

Lets just get this out of the way.
>>
No. 1027103 ID: 629f2e
File 164808261826.png - (693.84KB , 960x960 , Clero Paperdoll.png )
1027103

My take on what Clero should wear.
>>
No. 1027109 ID: 8483cf
File 164808323271.png - (522.90KB , 960x960 , NoisyDoll.png )
1027109

CLOTHES BEAM
>>
No. 1027111 ID: e51896
File 164808690862.png - (615.24KB , 960x960 , clothes.png )
1027111

>>
No. 1027403 ID: a70a13
File 164835990780.jpg - (311.13KB , 960x960 , panel 54.jpg )
1027403

It takes a little digging but soon enough you've found a few pieces that you forgot you even had. You start with a zippered tank top, and pair it with your favorite LUCKY SEVEN JEANS.
After that, it makes sense to grab your thigh boots, which match perfectly with several pieces of jewelry including your bangles, pocket chains, and spiked bracelet. You pop in a spiked earring, thanking yourself for keeping your piercings clear even if you don't wear them that often, and wah-la!

You glance at yourself in the mirror, not bad!

Thinking on your plans, however, you realize you still have to try and tell Vinegar what's going on as soon as you can. You decide to text her now and just tell Conway that you wanna go to PRIMA after the concert, he's usually down to go wherever.


CLERO: Hey hey Vin, I'll try to hit up your bar later tonight. Conway is taking me to a concert at Heavy Rotation, we're seeing TONE SHIFT...unless you're gonna be there?

It takes a moment but you get a response.

VINEGAR: Nah, I'm just gonna do my thing at the bar, but say hi to Po for me alright? Haven't gotten to take her out lately, she's been busy.

CLERO: Yeah no worries, I got you covered, see you later tonight.

VINEGAR: See you then.


Well, that seems better at least. With a sigh you check the time and find it's 5:30 PM. If you choose to do anything else before heading to the club you're bound to run late, should you head straight there?
>>
No. 1027404 ID: 629f2e

Be responsible and head straight to the club, like a loser.
>>
No. 1027412 ID: 8483cf

Head straight to the club, but check your dating apps while you do. Play the field!
>>
No. 1027440 ID: e51896

ever heard of fashionably late?

unfortunately, I can't think of anything we can do, so, whatever, lets just go.
>>
No. 1027815 ID: a70a13
File 164878654768.png - (13.63KB , 500x500 , A48FD6B5-D68F-41C1-96C7-1C545271E24E.png )
1027815

With nothing else to do, you flick the lights of your apartment off and head forward into the streets. You got a show to catch!
Unlike the commute to your new job with Kinesis, the walk to Heavy Rotation is actually pretty easy. It might be because both of you are located in THE SHANTZ, which ain’t the BEST neighborhood in town, but hey it’s not like you’re going to be getting mugged around here.
Regardless, you quickly notice that those ROKI posters from earlier today were in fact not just an anomaly you wished you hadn’t noticed. Walking through an alley that normally has a variety of band posters and party fliers strewn across the walls…it looks like it’s all ROKI. What the fuck is with this? A part of you wants to rip that shit off the walls and stomp on it, but a quick check of your clock shows that you don’t have Vandalism time on your hands. For the moment though, you shoot the closest poster a dirty look before moving on.
>>
No. 1027816 ID: a70a13
File 164878657292.png - (15.21KB , 500x500 , 79DDC333-0DD1-4898-9366-CECCD5641B82.png )
1027816

After escaping the linear maze of frustrating posters, your walk only takes a few more moments before you’re staring at the club. The place was some kind of industrial building at one point, you’re pretty sure it was some kinda shoe factory or something? Regardless, the place has been gutted of machinery for years now, and has become the homeland of most punks and freaks in the area…which kind of explains why you’re here.
You can see the line up front to get in, various people wearing raver gear, spiked collars,and violent amounts of eyeliner. You’re pretty sure one person is just in leather gear. These are your people, alright. In a weird way this kinda environment feels like home.
>>
No. 1027817 ID: a70a13
File 164878660226.png - (7.30KB , 500x500 , 2AAB6654-3ECB-4FF7-8054-312337069874.png )
1027817

Before you get in line you look around to see if you can find Conway, but it’s not looking like he’s around out front. With a shrug you make your way to the back of the line, only to feel a tap on your shoulder.
“Cler, Cler! Sorry I was around the corner, did you wait long?”
You sigh and let out a breath of relief, turning around to face him. “Yeah no worries, I just got he-”
You stop mid sentence as you see your roommate standing there…
Are we gonna react calmly to what you’re looking at, or be spazzy?
>>
No. 1027818 ID: 629f2e

I'm feelin' spazzy today.
>>
No. 1027828 ID: 8483cf

Spaz because we remember that our last instruction to him was that we would only come if he was wearing pants.

WE REGRET TELLING HIM TO WEAR PANTS
>>
No. 1027886 ID: c89bc5

>>1027828
this guy's out here in nothing but a pair of leather chaps isn't he

fuckin miracle he ain't busted on indecency charges
>>
No. 1027903 ID: 713339

Let’s go be a total spaz 2013 style
>>
No. 1027904 ID: 713339

Let’s go be a total spaz 2013 style
>>
No. 1028317 ID: a70a13
File 164919818520.jpg - (416.62KB , 960x960 , Panel 55.jpg )
1028317

"What do you think? I had trouble finding pants in my closet but these were perfect right?!"

Your eyes glance over Conway's outfit from top to bottom, really focusing on the fact that somehow the dude managed to find a pair of fucking see-through pants that show off his damn thong even further.

Part of you recognizes that it's not like....the WRONG place to wear this kind of getup but on the other hand this feels like a fucking loophole.

And also he's kind of hot like this?

A U G H

You can tell that Conway is staring at you despite not being able to see his eyes, as he tilts his head curiously.

"I even did my hair kinda different to match...does it look alright?"
>>
No. 1028318 ID: a70a13
File 164919849228.jpg - (359.11KB , 960x960 , Panel 56.jpg )
1028318

You don't think he looks BAD but by all means you're taken off guard and it's not like you had a good poker face to begin with. You feel a few beads of sweat run down your face as you finally spit out.

"A-A-Ah, yeah!"

You sound like a busted motorboat but you still keep going, why are you like this??

"Y-You look like a uh...like uhm...a cool genie?" You try to offer the best compliment you can even though you know your roommate can tell you're fucking up. You KNOW it.

Conway considers your words for a moment before snorting out a laugh. "Cool genie, I like that! You're funny, Cler." He seems to have found your 'compliment' at least somewhat appeasing, or whatever the Conway equivalent to that is. He moves ahead of you as he notices the line moving. "C'mon man, we're almost in, this is gonna be fucking rad!"

You sigh and place a hand over your head, running over your mowhawk and feeling the tightened hair SPROING back up like a spring. Looks like the night continues!
>>
No. 1028319 ID: a70a13
File 164919874483.jpg - (538.21KB , 960x960 , Panel 57.jpg )
1028319

The inside of HEAVY ROTATION is just as industrial as the outside. From head to toe the place is a concrete slab with wires and pipes breaking up the cement. The lights are a thick red and the noise inside, though not at its peak quite yet, is heavy and full of bass. People across the room are talking, dancing, or making their way to the concert space behind the bar. The usual suspects seem to be hanging around and as expected neither you nor Conway seem to be standing out too badly.

"A'ight dude it's gonna be a minute till TONE SHIFT makes its way out, so we've got a minute. What do you wanna do first?" Asks Conway who seems to be sticking with you for now.

You consider your options, you could always grab a drink first at the bar. The bartender looks somewhat familiar so it might be a slightly easier conversation than your next option which is to mingle with the other club goers. You could also just make your way to the dancefloor and party for a little bit....or find a spot against the wall and chat with Conway.

Either way you've got time to kill until the show starts.

What do you wanna do?
>>
No. 1028320 ID: 4ecd00

Anything interesting on the tv monitors? Check it while talkin to Conway
>>
No. 1028351 ID: 8483cf

Early evening clubs are basically an excuse to socialize while drinking and scoping for hotties. Hit the bar and talk with Conway. Dance floor is for later.
>>
No. 1028377 ID: f7f1cf

>>1028351
This
>>
No. 1028381 ID: 1c0351

>>1028317
>roommate
k, so your roommate is just a pervert. Got it.

--

So, are you gay then? Is your roommate gay? Are they trying to send you a message?
>>
No. 1028383 ID: 1c0351

>>1028381
...does your roomate's potentially feminine tendencies give you strange feelings that even you don't truly understand?
>>
No. 1028630 ID: 321114

Grab a drink. It's gearing up to be an interesting night and ya gotta grease the wheels for a smooth ride.

>>1028381
Hey, he avoids pants regardless of Cler's presence. He's just not a proponent of the whole "pants" thing. He's doing his best.

Having said that, the bartender might be nice, but you can also talk to Conway. Does he drink? What's he like?

Most important, of course, are the Whys
>>
No. 1030703 ID: a70a13
File 165118132233.jpg - (293.46KB , 960x960 , Panel 59.jpg )
1030703

Listen, you don't have an issue with Conway or his...lack of pants or anything. It's more just that he's really sorta...floaty through life and it makes you anxious?

You don't have a better way of explaining it, and the more you word it out the worse it sounds.

And as for the gay thing? You're non-binary they/them and all that. You kinda just date whoever seems right.

Glancing at the TV Screens you can see that they're currently blank. It's been awhile since you've been here but you're pretty sure those are for people who can't make it into the main concert area whenever they've got live bands playing. You shouldn't need those since you got here early, though.

You decide to move yourself and Conway to the bar, quickly finding a seat in front of the bar tender.

"Well well well well well well WELL" The bartender quips, their face, er, mouth lined ear to ear(?) in a grin. "What a sight for SORE EYES! Clero, it has been one hell of a while and is that Conway right there next to you? Didn't know you two got along together!"

It has been awhile indeed, so long that you've totally forgotten what the hell their name even is, but as if by magic Conway pipes up.

"Haha, you know me Xenia, I know every dang person in town!" His face is cocked in a wide smile and you realize that you're the only person in this conversation who seems to have visible eyes. Conway seems to continue "Just grab us two beers, whatever's best on tap alright? Tonight's on me."

Xenia flicks the two of you a peace sign before wandering over to grab some glasses.
>>
No. 1030704 ID: a70a13
File 165118169539.jpg - (281.24KB , 960x960 , Panel 58.jpg )
1030704

As your drinks are being prepared, you shift yourself to the left, focusing back on your companion. "So...what's been up dude?" You offer out. You've always had a hard time talking to Con, but if your awkwardness was noticeable he doesn't point it out.

"Not much not much, just been keeping a float like usual. Doing the odd jobs, helping people, oh! Yeah I met a cute chick the other day and I gotta date coming up so that's exciting!" His tone is smooth and sprightly, the usual joyful bout of smiles from him. You're not sure Conway has even ever frowned in front of you.

"A date? That's cool man, really cool, hope it goes well...by the way, didn't know you knew ah...Xenio was it?"

Conway snorts and tilts his head at you. "Xenia, Clero. And yeah, she's cool. We met awhile ago when we got stuck under an awning in the rain. Then again you know me, I know EVERYONE."

That indeed would be true, it seems that whenever you mention someone in your circle, Conway is already in the know...you figure it comes with his Class or something. Otherwise he's just weird like that.

As you ponder this, your drinks are quickly served by Xenia who quickly moves onto the other customers.

"Didn't know you liked to drink, Con." You pipe up, sipping at your beer. It's a little too bitter for your taste but hey the damn thing was free, right?

Conway nods his head a bit and takes a gulp, licking his lips free of the foam. "I don't do it often...alcohol and me aren't always the best of friends but I don't think a beer is gonna hurt me. I used to be waaaaaay worse about it though."
>>
No. 1030710 ID: ce39da

"Oh... Well, I'm glad you've been doing better, then."

Seems like the sort of thing that'd be rude to pry about.

"Oh, you keep mentioning that you know EVERYONE, right? How far does that go?"
>>
No. 1030715 ID: 34dfce

>>1030704
...you do know your roommate, right? Have you not been living together for very long? Seems like you don't really know much about them.
>>
No. 1030741 ID: e51896

Nah, one beer is fine. assure him at most he'll feel a buzz. But let him know you'll make sure he'll keep it light with the beer as long as you're here if he wants.
>>
No. 1031549 ID: 15a025

Well, hey. We don't need alcohol to have a good time tonight. We're here to hang out and enjoy some good tunes.

Which also might be a good time to learn more about your roommate. Ask Conway how he met his upcoming date?
>>
No. 1032129 ID: a70a13
File 165247784876.jpg - (364.25KB , 960x960 , Panel 60.jpg )
1032129

"Oh... Well, I'm glad you've been doing better, then." You and Conway have only been living together for...3-ish months so far and in that time you'll admit you haven't put a lot of effort into connecting with him. Your brain has just been in different places and the endless smiles he offers always just made you a little jittery. It's not a good excuse but it's the truth, but all of this is to say you most definitely DIDN'T know that Conway might've had a drinking problem.

You take a moment to think of where to take the rest of the conversation and settle on asking about his upcoming date. "So where'd you meet this girl you were talking about? The one you're going out with, I mean."

Conway nods his head and turns himself closer to you, reaching a hand to toy with his bands a bit. "Oh yeah! So like, I have these buddies Tread and Taunt and we were doing some window shopping stuff. They said that there was this place their friends worked and when we went in it was like, this cool ass antique store right?" He takes another sip of his drink before he continues. "So we go inside and said our Hi's and stuff and get to know their friend, her name's Shein by the way, and then we ended up talking some more 'cuz I bought this cool music box that she was thinking of getting, and we swapped numbers and started textin' and long story short we hit it off and we're going swimming later!"

Despite the explanation being short, you're reminded that the way Conway socializes seems somewhat inherently complex, if just by the nature of his...friendship chain? You never actually stopped to ask him how in the hell he seemed to know all these people in the first place...maybe that'd be worth investigating?

"Well I'm glad that you clicked with her Con...Oh, you keep mentioning that you know EVERYONE, right? How far does that go?"
>>
No. 1032130 ID: a70a13
File 165247840223.jpg - (304.52KB , 960x960 , Panel 61.jpg )
1032130

He perks up at the mention, seemingly surprised? Was it your question? You're not sure, but he seems to slip back to his usual collected self. "Ah, yeah well like...I don't know EVERYONE but it's definitely more than the usual people." He takes his last sip of beer, letting the empty glass clink back down onto the wooden bar as he considers how to explain.

"Okay so...it's a class power kinda right? So most people can only recognize so many people, right? Like you could only handle 150 friends in your life, and maybe remember a couple thousand names and faces off the top of your head and with a little help, yeah? So...I don't really work like that? Like obviously I can't be friends with EVERYONE but like, when I meet someone it kinda gets stored in my head. It can be a name or a face for starters but like, once it's there I can just recall it like looking through a dictionary."

He thinks for a second before pulling a napkin from nearby and grabbing a pen from who fucking knows where and begins doodling. "So the more I know about someone, the more gets tucked in their file, and I also can remember a person's relationship to someone else so like..." He pauses and starts drawing arrows between the various crudely drawn faces on the napkin. "So I'm here right? and I know you, and Vinegar, and Xenia. I know that you three all know Poster, and I know that Poster and Xenia know a couple people that come to the bar like Zippo and Pascal." He seems to finish off the chart and hands it to you, and it takes a few moments for you to fully understand everything he says. "Most people would usually forget this kind of stuff, but I just...don't."

"Damn." You respond back bluntly. That's genuinely impressive and you never would've expected it from CONWAY of all people. You wonder for a moment what kind of Class would let him do something like this, but the question stays pulled back in your throat. You know that's not something you bug someone with, not anymore anyways.
>>
No. 1032131 ID: a70a13
File 165247884161.jpg - (491.45KB , 960x960 , Panel 62.jpg )
1032131

"Con, that's like...really cool, man." You offer him a small smile, a genuine smile, and switch your weight to face his direction. Maybe it's the beer in your system but the big guy seems a lot more real than you've ever thought of him before. I guess this is what learning about people is like?

"Well, I'm glad you think so, dude. It definitely comes in handy sometimes...hah." His smile is still there but his laugh isn't super convincing. This is the first time your roommate has ever shown himself to be anything other than super-duper fun times and you genuinely aren't sure what that means for him. It takes you a minute to find your next words but you finally grab them.

"Hey, if you want I can kinda...keep a check on you tonight? Make sure you stay light with the beer so you don't have any issues. We don't need booze to have fun tonight right? Just like, you and me." You offer your assistance to him, hoping this wasn't the way to bring the mood down at the party, but instead you feel the warm touch of your friend's giant hand on your back, seemingly supportive in nature.

"Hey man, I would actually really like that. It can be tough doing this stuff on my own and all that shit but like...yeah. Thank you Clero." His smile isn't the usual bombastic grin you've found yourself accustomed to but the smaller arch on his face seems more honest, more real. It seems you've made a real connection with Conway, and it's nice.


Well, it seems you two have already had a deeper talk that you expected, and in the time it took to discuss dating and class powers and possible alcoholism, it's been about a half-ish hour. Do you wanna keep talking with Conway, or do you wanna do something else? Dancefloor is still open, other people are around, the night is young!
>>
No. 1032186 ID: ce39da

Remember, you still got a second club you need to visit so you can apologize and explain to Vinegar. I assume you don't need to worry about that until after the band starts playing?

Either way, you should stay (relatively) sober until then, so make this the last (alcoholic) drink either of you have here.

Head out to the dance floor with Conway and see who you meet.
>>
No. 1032197 ID: 8483cf

Disagree. MORE DRINKS WITH CONWAY he's a cool dude
>>
No. 1032213 ID: bb82e9

good talk, but looks like (significant amounts of) alcohol's off the table. Celebrate the good talk with dances
>>
No. 1032270 ID: 15a025

Bust a grove on the dance floor with Conway. Maybe you can learn more about each other by talking about bands and music you each like?
>>
No. 1033674 ID: a70a13
File 165360743401.jpg - (409.92KB , 960x960 , Panel 63.jpg )
1033674

Remembering you still have to visit Vinegar at Prima Materia later, you do a little math in your head and confirm that even if you stick around for the whole concert there's more than enough time to head over there afterwards.

You make the executive decision that drinks are expensive but dancing is free. Getting up from your barstool you turn to look at Conway with a grin. "Dude, let's go to the dancefloor, it'll be fun!" At first, it seems that Con is somewhat off-kilter from your apparent excitement, which is fair considering you're kind of a mess most of the time, but even then he warily stands up to join you.

"Alright man, we ARE celebrating you-" He responds, though his tone is less enthusiastic than usual. "But I'm kind of a crappy dancer so uh...sorry if I'm kinda awkward?"

In all the time you've known your roommate, you never would of thought that he'd be the type to be nervous about a DANCE PARTY, but it goes to show you that people are more complicated when you give them a chance to talk...or give yourself the chance to talk to them, rather.

You offer out your hand to Conway, the thumping beats of the music filling the air as you both walk closer, and tentatively he accepts your grasp. "It'll be fun, I promise! Listen, I think they're playing some shitty scene music, we GOTTA do this! Just stick with me, alright?"

Conway nods and soon enough the two of you have found a comfortable place on the red-lit dancefloor.
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No. 1033677 ID: a70a13
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1033677

You're pretty sure the song playing is called THICK BABIES and it's just the kind of horny nonsense garbage that gets you in the mood to rock out! It's been months since you've hit up a nightclub, and already you're experiencing the return of the beat in your body. Thick resounding thumps in the floor and walls pound in your ears, and soon enough your arms and legs are swinging to the beat.

Looking over to Conway, he indeed seems to having a little trouble getting into the swing of things, so to speak. His arms are angled somewhat awkwardly and he doesn't seem to know what to do with his feet...but still he's trying to smile.

"Just keep your eyes on me, Con." You offer up to him, your face more grin than his, as you sway yourself back and forth to the rhythm surrounding you. It takes time, but eventually your roommate loosens up, joining your fluid motions as the two of you jam out to the increasingly edgy bullshit this club thinks is music.

Your pocket chains and jewelry jangle against your body while you move, little pulses of energy in your wrists flicking out as the world really shrinks down to just you and Conway in the moment, and suddenly a thought hits your head.

"So like, what kind of music do you like, dude?"
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No. 1033678 ID: a70a13
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1033678

Conway seems to think about your question for awhile, the two of you still banging to some trashy baby goth shit, until his mouth opens back up to respond.

"Honestly I'm kind of a music omnivore. Never really got too into any scene so I just kind of listen to stuff that I've picked up along the way. Guess I listened to country in highschool though?"

You actually take a moment to PFFFT at his response. Never in a million years would you've expected that from your pantless wonder of a friend, the plot keeps thickening! "You with country??? Oh my god that's fucking gold, please tell me it was tractor bro country!"

Conway actually blushes and nods, letting an embarrassed laugh out. "Ahhhh yeah it was a fucking weird time for me man, but what can I say? I really like that Woodly guy that was around a couple years ago but then he got kinda hate-speechy and I jumped that train...but outside of that?"

He thinks for a moment. "I really like Ro-"
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No. 1033679 ID: a70a13
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1033679

...
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No. 1033680 ID: a70a13
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1033680

!?!?!?!?! :O :O :O :O :O
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No. 1033681 ID: a70a13
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1033681

Conway has suddenly stopped talking and is gaping his mouth open like a person who forgot how breathing works. It doesn't take much context to realize he's looking at something behind you, even if you still can't see his damn eyes under those bangs. Keeping your feet bouncing to the rhythm you glance over your shoulder to see what he's looking a-
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No. 1033682 ID: a70a13
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1033682

Oooooooooooooooooooh Shit.
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No. 1033684 ID: a70a13
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1033684

"CLERO? OOOOOOH SHIT!"

TRACK 1 HAS ENDED. PLEASE FLIP SIDE TO BEGIN B SIDE.
>>
No. 1033688 ID: a70a13

https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/1033686.html


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