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File 164108745506.png - (229.18KB , 1000x1000 , 56.png )
1019132 No. 1019132 ID: 629f2e

A mystery/horror quest about children uncovering the horrifying mysteries surrounding their small town.

THREAD 1: https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/1010078.html
WIKI: https://questden.org/wiki/Perpetuity

---

Sunday, Two Days Ago

It had seemed just like any other day. There was no way of knowing what was to come...
Expand all images
>>
No. 1019133 ID: 629f2e
File 164108751724.png - (671.21KB , 1000x1000 , 57.png )
1019133

Jolene: “Uuuggggghhhhh that test was so boring.”
Albert: “Yes, I agree. Waiting for the rest of you to finish was incredibly dull.”

If you were anyone else, she would have punched you in the back of the head for that. Thankfully however Jolene is well aware of your condition, and shows some amount of caution around you as a result.

Jolene: “You know what I mean, Einstein.”
Albert: “It’s Neddy. Or Albert if you’d like to keep things casual.”

You understood that it was a nickname of course, you were just being cheeky.

Jolene: “Jump off a bridge and tell me if you find anyone who cares at the bottom.”

She flicks you in the back of the head. You really shouldn’t bother trying to build a rapport with her, but you live in the same Apartment Complex, and there’s little else to do on your way back home. Might as well share a few words, even if hers are little more than childish insults.

Jolene: “So what are you doing today? Studying so that you can be even more bored tomorrow?”
Albert: “No amount of studying could affect the ease at which I will handle any questions asked of me tomorrow. I was probably just going to lie down while listening to the radio. I’m still supposed to be resting after all.”

Her expression shifts slightly.

Jolene: “Oh yeah, your arm. How’s that feeling now?”

You roll your eyes. The obvious concern was nice, but the moment you give a genuine answer she’d backtrack with a harsh comment.

Albert: “It feels fine.”
Jolene: “Too bad. If you’re lucky, maybe if you’re lucky it’ll kill you next time. Fingers crossed!”
Albert: “If I even make eighteen with my health, I will have to start buying lottery tickets to take full advantage of my luck. Perhaps my fortune will net me a fortune?”
Jolene: “Don’t worry, I’m sure you have a long and miserable life ahead of you.”

Home was in sight. A flight of stairs and a doorway were all that lay between you and this conversation’s end. You couldn’t get there fast enough.
>>
No. 1019134 ID: 629f2e
File 164108761707.png - (852.51KB , 1000x1000 , 58.png )
1019134

Albert: “I’m sure it will be better than yours at least. Not that I see you lasting nearly long enough for us to compare, given that you have No Skills whatsoever that you could sustain yourself with.”

Was your mouth moving? Ah, yes, it appears you were taking the bait and were firing back, despite knowing where that gets you. You start to walk faster to try and avoid it.

No, you didn’t think it would actually work, but it felt better to try.

You get up two steps before she grabs the back of your shirt and yanks you down to the ground. You were definitely going to have an ugly bruise on your back from that, as well as one on your stomach when she pins you down with her boot.

Jolene: “Wanna try that again, smart-@$%?”

The right answer was naturally to take back your comments, but you were finding yourself in a bad mood suddenly. Perhaps it had something to do with the pain you were feeling all over my body, which would certainly change your planned relaxation into yet another rough recovery session. So instead of giving her what she wants, you find yourself targeting her insecurities instead.

Albert: “Do you want to become a killer? A little more pressure, and I’m sure you’ll be able to pop my stomach. I won’t have much of a long and miserable life if you do that.”
Jolene “You-”
Albert: “I’m sure Clive will be more than willing to hand over his position of social exile. Please, go right ahead and convince everyone that he was right to try and put you down.”

…Her leg moves, and you’re freed from the floor. The results of this conversation? More bruises for you, and a heaping tablespoon of self-hate for her. Nobody wins, and you’ve both ruined one another’s days.

Congratulations Genius.
>>
No. 1019137 ID: 629f2e
File 164108768022.png - (812.04KB , 1000x1000 , 59.png )
1019137

Silently, you both walk up the stairs. The thought of apologizing crossed your mind, but you decide that she should do so first. She never will, you know it.

Your door comes up first. She hangs back and waits, not walking past you to her own yet. You know why, but don’t feel like poking the bear further by bringing it up. The bruises you had already received were more than satisfactory.

The normal smells of mold and alcohol that greet you upon opening the door are accompanied by a new, yet familiar scent. Blood. The only difference is that this time it wasn’t your own.
>>
No. 1019138 ID: 629f2e
File 164108771338.png - (867.44KB , 1000x1000 , 60.png )
1019138

No, it was your Father’s, judging by the beaten and broken figure on the floor in front of you.
>>
No. 1019139 ID: 629f2e
File 164108775918.png - (1.14MB , 1000x1000 , 61.png )
1019139

Albert: “...”
Jolene: “...What are you waiting for?”
Albert: “...”

Petrified. Every muscle in your body refuses to move.

You have to call for help. You need to get an ambulance, and get him to the hospital before he bleeds out. All of your instincts are screaming at you to move.

…But a selfish part of you tries to subdue those instincts, telling you to just leave him be.

Because if you do all of that… he might Live.

Jolene: “Would you just go in already!? What are you staring… at……”
Jolene: “...”
Albert: “...Wait-”
Jolene: “aaaa… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!”

The words you were about to say die in your mouth, as other residents start to rush over. It was too late. Whatever choice you would have made becomes moot, as help gets called for.

Things grow fuzzy from there, as the events that follow seem like a blur. You wouldn’t get a chance to sit down and address your feelings until tomorrow it seemed. Hopefully you could reach some resolution before the evening.

After all… tomorrow was Game Night at Phillip’s.
>>
No. 1019141 ID: 629f2e
File 164108783357.png - (644.96KB , 1000x1000 , 62.png )
1019141

...

As the sun peering in through the windows wakes you up, you let out a yawn and stretch out your limbs. You’re quickly punished for this when your sprained leg loudly complains.

Your name is Albert Neddy. You’re a boy often regarded by your peers as The Genius, due to your incredible intelligence. You’re 10 years-old, but will be turning 11 in just three months. You doubt middle school will present a significantly greater challenge than elementary has though, so the change will be mainly in the kids you share classes with. At the moment, you have a minor headache, and a sprained leg. Hopefully the day will not see fit to grant you further injuries.

Today is Tuesday, which naturally means you have class. More importantly, at lunch you and your companions will be discussing yesterday’s investigation, and how you should all proceed. In your opinion? You’re still lacking information, and should expand the range of your search. It’s too early for radical options such as breaking into the high school. Unfortunately, you suspect that you’ll need to talk certain people (Lillian) out of the idea.

Dad still isn't home from the hospital, so it's just you and your mother here. She comes out of the bathroom as you’re picking yourself up, letting you know it's unoccupied.

Without going into too much detail, you go through your normal morning routine. After a brief shower you put on your usual attire of a striped pajama shirt and sweatpants. Your standards for "presentable" have never been very high, so you just wear what you find comfortable. Beyond that, your wardrobe is rather limited, so you don’t have many other options.

As soon as you leave the bathroom, you’re immediately hit with conflict. This is because you come out in time to see your mother pouring herself a bowl of Rice Cereal, which you had been planning to have yourself. Despite making a claim on the only other meal option in the house, she'd decided to take your breakfast instead.

Your stomach growls.

Mom: "Good morning, Albert. Sleep well."
Albert: "Yes mom."
Mom: "I don’t remember you being up for long after you came home. Did you get to last night's Worksheet?"

...Oh dear, you didn't, did you?

Your parents give you daily Homework, since obviously the school's offerings don't pose much of a challenge to you. Their work comes from textbooks far beyond your current grade. It’s always been ahead, the distance has just increased over time.

Your parents' worksheets aren't actually too hard for you either anymore. They used to keep you up all night (which certainly couldn’t be good for your already poor constitution), but you studied ahead of them quite some time ago to reclaim your sleep.

That’s your little secret though. You’re sure mom and dad would just increase the workload if they knew you could handle it. None of this matters of course if you don’t do the work!

This isn’t good, what should you say to her?

Let’s talk about Albert for a moment.

As “The Genius”, Albert is naturally more gifted at Calculating the possible outcomes of his choices. Using whatever information is at his disposal, Albert will analyze his options and give his insights into the potential outcomes.

HOWEVER!

Do keep in mind that these insights can only be generated based on Albert’s knowledge. In situations where he knows too little, they will not be offered at all. In addition, whenever Albert’s biases, assumptions, and any incorrect information he has been given may taint the results significantly. Please consider how well you think Albert knows what he’s talking about before accepting his conclusions.

And finally, if you wish to whisper ideas into his head that Albert hasn’t yet conceived of, then naturally you will not have his insights to go off of. With all of that said…


What should Albert tell his mom?
A: Just tell her the truth and get it over with
-Low chance you get away without consequences
B: I haven’t missed a worksheet in months. If I just say I did it, she won’t have any reason to check
-High odds you get away scot free
-If you’re caught, the punishment will definitely be worse
C: Maybe I can distract her somehow. It isn’t the same as lying, so even if it fails the punishment shouldn’t be worse than normal
-Choose what you want to bring up to distract her
-Variable odds of success depending on topic
-If the distraction fails, 50/50 odds you get a worse punishment (based on whether or not she realizes you were avoiding the question or not)

...And when she leaves, what should Albert do about his hunger?
1: She had my cereal, so she forfeited her dibs on the ham
-There will ALMOST CERTAINLY be consequences for this later today
2: On the other hand, she’ll kill me if I do that. I should just leave and try to hold out until lunch
-There will CERTAINLY be consequences before you make it to lunch

>>
No. 1019145 ID: 8483cf

Let's abuse this newfound power of CALCULATION!

B, and 1. Almost certainly is not certainly, and we're gonna die before we hit 18 anyway, let's make it in pursuit of actual nutrition.
>>
No. 1019148 ID: afe7de

Here's my thoughts, B1, because she'll probably be too focused on the missing sandwitch to care about homework when you get back after school. Also, is it possible to just *do* the worksheet at school during some free time?
>>
No. 1019151 ID: 8483cf
File 164108895231.png - (40.71KB , 600x257 , Dontstarve.png )
1019151

In support of my position I offer Exhibit A
>>
No. 1019160 ID: ce39da

B, followed by... Hey, has your mother actually commented directly on what happened to dad? If not, that might be an excellent topic for leading into C. (Hey, nobody said you can't do more than one; B barely takes one or two words, and we can use C to cancel any attempt she might make to call us on it.)

Not sure what the play is regarding food. It sort of seems like she's even more desperate about food than you are. Can the family just not afford much sustenance?

... Ah, that's why mom was in a bad mood: hospital bills = less food money. The alternative, of course, would be that she somehow still loves that man on some level, and I'm finding that hard to believe.

We need to remember that while the odds are being spelled out for us, the severity isn't being conveyed. The consequences for being malnourished before lunch probably aren't nearly as bad as the ones for taking the ham, which can range from outright injury to early graduation... I honestly can't comment on this; I'm tempted to suggest cutting off slivers from the cut edges and pray mom doesn't notice.
>>
No. 1019407 ID: 629f2e
File 164127134527.png - (480.58KB , 1000x1000 , 63.png )
1019407

After weighing the risks, you decide to lie to your mother.

Albert: “I took care of it right after school, before you got home, since I was planning to be out all day. It’s still there on the desk if you want to grade it before work.”
Mom: “Hm…”

You see her eyes glance over, considering it.

Mom: “Later. I have to get to work.”

She puts her bowl in the sink without even rinsing it before grabbing her keys off the counter.

Mom: “Are you going to be out all day again?”
Albert: “Maybe.”
Mom: “Well if you are, try to stay at one of your friends’ homes tonight.”
Albert: “I don’t think… Most of them aren’t in a sleepover mood right now.”
Mom: “Why not?”
Albert: “Recent Events.
Mom: “...Oh, the graduations. Look Albert, can you just try? I don’t want you keeping me up all night, and pay doesn’t come in until tomorrow. Just try to get someone on board with it.”

Oh, how rude of you. You hadn’t even considered that your stomach’s complaints could have been bothering her this whole time. What an inconsiderate child you’ve been.

Mom: “I have to go. If I’m a minute late that @$*%)!3 will dock me the whole hour. Piece of $!*%...

She walks out the door without another word to you, leaving you by yourself. No “I love you”, no goodbyes, just a stream of profanity aimed at her boss. All in all, a typical morning.

*GURGLE*

You grab your stomach in pain. A thought crosses your mind that you brush off initially. It returns seconds later with greater intensity. You try to ignore it, knowing the Risks it puts you under, however…

You limp over with your cane and glance out the window. Sure enough you mom is walking away, no indication that she might turn around and come back. You should be safe. If you’re going to do this, it has to be now.

With another complaint from your guts, you walk over to the fridge and pull out the Ham, about two small slices that are just starting to stink. You don’t need to check the sell-by date, because it was past that when mom brought it home. The bread comes out of the cabinet, a tied off bag with only the crust pieces left.

These pieces wouldn’t normally combine into anything appealing to consume, but you had a secret weapon. With one extra ingredient, this sandwich would become Tolerable.

All it would take? A healthy spread of Honey Mustard.

By drenching the ham in the condiment, you’re able to eat it without even noticing the horrible aftertaste. Only the horrible thoughts of what this ham would do to your body.

However bad it made you feel in the long run, your hunger was sated for now. Your stomach stops complaining, and you genuinely feel a little better.

Albert has lost a point of Pain due to silencing his stomach
Current Pain: 1/10 (Your leg is still sprained)

Pain is a semi-exclusive mechanic to Albert. All kids technically have it, but it’s only truly worth mentioning on Albert. Due to his tendency to rack up medical issues, he tends to be in some amount of pain at all times.

As Albert acquires new symptoms, his level of Pain will rise. Different symptoms come with different downsides. If Albert ever hits his Pain Threshold of 10, he will pass out and be forced to visit the hospital, ending his POV and removing him from the next thread.

Current Symptoms:
-Headache Lvl 1: A constant. If this ever actually goes away, that might be cause for alarm. Doesn’t even contribute to your level of pain at this intensity
-Sprained Leg: Forces Albert to walk with a cane. Going without one risks injuring the leg further. [1 Pain]

>>
No. 1019408 ID: 629f2e
File 164127146359.png - (696.73KB , 1000x1000 , 64.png )
1019408

Putting most of your weight on your cane, you start your trek to school. Seems like Jolene got ahead of you today, as you don’t see her on the sidewalk. With your leg, you probably wouldn’t have been able to keep pace with her anyways.

A few kids pass you by, mostly ones from the nearby townhouses rather than the awful apartment complex your family rents space in. You aren’t surprised that Roger got ahead of you, it’s only natural given his speedy pace. Still, you had been hoping to see a friendly face on your walk. It was seeming more and more like you were the last of your companions to trudge towards the school.

You arrive before long, and find kids idling about in the classroom and hallway. Conversation, small games, and the sound of kids rapidly trying to complete their homework fills the space. Through it, a few kids strike you as being worth chatting.

Which TWO people will you speak to?
A: Enid - The Homeschooler
-She isn’t looking well
-You have a feeling that you’ll have to address her before school ends, and that you’ll have a chance to later.
B: Clive - The Antisocialite
-He looks like he wants to talk to you
-You have a few questions for him as well
C: Roger and Lillian - The Artist and The Athlete
-They’re already talking. You can tell from here that Roger has bad news
-You can probably just get the details from Lillian at lunch
D: Louie - The Class President
-He seems anxious
-He always seems anxious
-He seems more anxious than usual today though
E: You could find a middle schooler to talk to...
-If you have questions that only a middle schooler can answer, you can grab one on their way to class
-What would you want to ask about?
F: What about Mrs. Chamberlane?
-Talk to the teacher
-You have a feeling she won’t tell you much
-That doesn’t mean you can’t try
G: Other
-Pick any other kid present to talk about anything you have in mind

>>
No. 1019410 ID: 3439d7

B, c
>>
No. 1019415 ID: 8483cf

B and D. Let's see some new faces!
>>
No. 1019424 ID: afe7de

B/C
>>
No. 1019525 ID: a58d3b

Clive and Louie. Since we don't know their schedules, this may be our only opportunity to chat with them today, and it'd probably be trivial to flag down the others after class.
>>
No. 1019532 ID: ce39da

B and D - Clive actually wanting to interact with someone is a momentous occasion, and Louie might be aware of a new, evermore unfortunate development.
>>
No. 1019996 ID: 629f2e
File 164169972180.png - (925.17KB , 1000x1000 , 65.png )
1019996

Better start off with Clive. You get the feeling that isn’t going to be an easy conversation, so better to have it now and give him time to cool down before class starts.

Through the doorway, you shoot him a nod. He gets the signal and joins you in the hallway. The two of you go around a corner to a part of the hall where there aren’t any other students.

Albert: “I’m guessing you want an update regarding our investigation, don’t you?”
Clive: “Do you know what happened to Rodney or not?”

His eyes locked onto yours with a glare, but it lacked weight. More than anger, all his expression conveyed was the immense toll this situation was taking on him.

For all your classmates like to gossip about this kid being some sort of Sociopathic Monster, the real thing didn’t live up to the hype. His incident with the classroom’s resident bully aside, Clive Doesn’t get into fights. That would involve him interacting with anyone, which he avoids; or anyone interacting with him, which they avoid. He simply minds his own business, and doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of him.

Maybe he’s a coward, so afraid of being social that he’d rather be feared and avoided. Or maybe he just prefers not to be bothered, and appreciates the isolation his position gives him. You don’t know, but whatever it is, Rodney has always been the sole exception to that rule.

It’s no wonder he’s desperate to get him back. Rodney may be the only person in the world that Clive actually Likes.

Albert: “We have a clearer picture of the mechanisms involved in early graduation, but there’s still much that eludes us. Specifically, in the pattern we uncovered, Rodney seems to break many of the rules.”
Clive: “What pattern? Explain that first.”
Albert: “It’s really quite simple. Early graduation is something decided upon by the Parents.

For a brief moment, his eyes go wide. He hides it quickly, but you’re already reading into it.

Albert: “We ran through all the examples we could find, and it’s clear. Every child who graduated early gave their parents good reason to send them away.”
Albert: “Well, not good reasons, but clear Justifications. High expectations not met, the children being nuisances, conflict between them.”
Clive: “That’s… That’s not it. Rodney gets along with our parents just fine.”
Clive: “You say he breaks your pattern? I say your pattern is Wrong.
Albert: “...Hm. I suppose you would say that.”
Clive: “What?”
Albert: “Clive, let’s cut to the chase. I don’t think the pattern we identified was wrong. I think Rodney is an exception to the rule.”
Clive: “Prove it.”
Albert: “Certainly. Would you mind answering a question for me first though?”
Clive: “Shoot.”
Albert: “How did you Know that your parents didn’t talk to anyone about Rodney’s graduation?”
Clive: “...”

He clicks his tongue, thinking for too long before answering.

Clive: “...I was with them all day. That’s all.”
Albert: “Is that so?”
Clive: “They never left the house, and we didn’t have any visitors. That’s how I know.”
Albert: “...Then what of the days that preceded? Could a conversation not have happened while you were at school? Can you honestly say it’s Impossible?
Clive: “...Fine, maybe it did. They still wouldn’t-”
Albert: “No. That conversation never happened, and you’re sure of it. Don’t acquiesce to get out of explaining yourself!”
Clive: “No, you made a good point. Could have happened any other day. Guess I just didn’t think about it too hard, my bad.”

His voice carried an empty bored tone. It was almost as if he realized you couldn’t prove anything, so he was tired of talking about it like this. You weren’t going to get him to slip up.

Alright then. If that wasn’t an option, you’d ram through his defenses by elucidating your leading theory.
>>
No. 1019997 ID: 629f2e
File 164169979159.png - (866.13KB , 1000x1000 , 66.png )
1019997

Albert: “...Fine. You don’t want to tell me. Then I’ll talk instead.”
Albert: “There’s an easy explanation for why you’d feel certain that conversation never took place. Because you already knew it Couldn’t. It was physically impossible for it to happen.”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “Your parents couldn’t meet with anyone. Your parents couldn’t agree to anything, let alone decide that Rodney should graduate themselves. Any idea why that might be Clive?
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...The conclusion I’ve reached is that your parents.”
Clive: “Stop!

He grabs you by the front of your shirt as he interjects. It isn’t a threat. The boy in front of you is almost shaking in Fear at the words that were about to pass your lips.

Clive: “Don’t say it. Please…”
Clive: “You’re right.”
Clive: “Just... Don’t say it...”

He lets go of you, pulling his arms into hold himself.

Albert: “...What happened to your parents, Clive?”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...”
Clive: “...I… It doesn’t matter.”
Clive: “They’re… They can’t be responsible for Rodney graduating. That’s all.”
Albert: “That’s all!? Clive, putting aside all the questions that arise about your brother’s circumstances, this isn’t something we can just sweep aside.”
Clive: “We can, and we will.”
Albert: “What happened to them Cl-”
Clive: “Stop. We’re not talking about this.”
Albert: “What Happened?
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...”
Albert: “...Did you have something to do with it?”

He doesn’t flinch. There’s no immediate reaction, but slowly he tilts his head up towards me.

Clive: “...Yeah.”
Clive: “I did it. I…”

It didn’t need to be said. You don’t push it.

Despite the painful confession, he seemed a little better than before. Perhaps talking about it with someone about it helped.

Clive: “...Don’t tell anyone.”
Clive: “You’re smart, you can guess what’ll happen if you do.”
Albert: “I don’t imagine I could survive what Jolene went through.”
Clive: “Fine. We’re done then.”
Albert: “Ah, could I make a Request before you leave?”
Clive: “?”

He halts his retreat, turning back to look at me. His gaze starts to darken, so I quickly clarify.

Albert: “This isn’t blackmail, it’s unrelated to what we just discussed.”
Clive: “...Alright. What is it then?”
Albert: “I’d like you to join my companions and me in our Investigation. You’re planning to dig deeper into what happened to Rodney anyways, aren’t you?”
Albert: “We’d be able to share leads and information far more easily if you came along with us, wouldn’t you agree?”
Clive: “That’s a terrible idea.”
Albert: “Oh?”
Clive: “...Your friends would never agree to it.”

You bite your cheek at that. He wasn’t entirely wrong. Franklin could probably be convinced easily, his friendship with Jhonen is proof that he doesn’t hold grudges, and you doubt Lillian would put up too much of a fuss. Roger and Enid though…

Well, Roger was completely terrified of Killer Clive, and Enid seemed to have taken Roger’s accounts of how bad he was to heart the other day. It wouldn’t be an easy sell for them.

Albert: “...They’ll see that the benefits outweigh the risks. I’ll see to it that they agree.”
Clive: “...”
Clive: “Fine. If it’ll help Rodney, I’d even work with JoJo.
Albert: “She’s really not that bad once you get to know her.”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...Alright, that’s a lie. Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to go anywhere near her.”

That’s probably a more important measure to take for her sake rather than his.

With a final promise that he’ll join your group at lunch, Clive heads back to class. You’re left with answers that you hadn’t wanted to believe, but which you now know to be true.

Clive and Rodney’s parents are Dead.

...You just know this has to have something to do with Rodney’s graduation. Somebody had to make the call. But who?
>>
No. 1019998 ID: 629f2e
File 164169985960.png - (771.96KB , 1000x1000 , 67.png )
1019998

You spend some time thinking about it before heading back to class. Roger and Lillian managed to drag Franklin into their conversation, and Enid appears to be talking with Able about something (likely something completely meaningless, given your experience with the younger boy.)

Since you still have time, you decide to speak with the class president. His name is (not spelled this way, but neither your parents nor school have forced you to learn Chinese characters) Julong Leoi, but since that’s a bit hard to pronounce correctly, his nickname “Louie” is more common among your classmates and even the faculty.

He was pacing around the room nervously, anxious about something. Trying to guess what would be like trying to find a specific piece of hay in a haystack. Better to just ask the boy himself.

Albert: “Good morning, Louie.”
Louie: “Oh! Albert, hi. Thanks for the help yesterday, I know it was really short notice.”
Albert: “It’s nothing. You didn’t have any notice yourself, so you didn’t have the luxury to offer me any.”
Louie: “Well… Th-Thanks anyways. Does Enid seem like she’s adjusting well?”

You glance back at her for a moment. She seems to be in an equally bad state as the last time you looked.

Albert: “...She’s doing alright. All things considered.”
Louie: “Oh, that’s really good. I can’t imagine going through what she did...”
Albert: “How about you? You seem a little on edge today, has something happened.”
Louie: “Well... I-I’m not sure yet.”
Albert: “Hm?”
Louie: “It’s just... After yesterday, if somebody doesn’t show up it wouldn’t be crazy to think-”
Albert: “Someone isn’t here yet?”

You glance around the room, trying to identify the missing party. Louie beats you to the punch.

Louie: “It’s Lemmy.
Louie: “We’re neighbors, we almost always run into each other on the way to school, but he still isn’t here.”
Louie: “He could have overslept, or maybe he’s sick, o-or maybe he’s cutting class to set up some stupid prank…”
Albert: “...But you’re worried he Graduated.
Louie: “...I mean… What do you think?”

…You literally name dropped him as an example yesterday as one of the most likely kids in your class to graduate. To be perfectly honest…

Albert: “...It seems very possible.”

He runs his hands down his face as he moans with frustration.

Louie: “Everything is getting out of hand. First it was those three, now Lemmy? Is this just going to keep happening?”
Albert: “Well, we don’t know that Lemmy has graduated yet for sure…”
Louie: “I just wish I understood why this was happening. I’m supposed to be the class president, you’d think they would tell me things like this. It is school-related after all.”
Louie: “But nobody tells me anything! I’m completely in the dark about why kids are graduating early and what I should be doing about it.”
Albert: “If it makes you feel better, that just puts you on the same level as everyone else in this class.”
Louie: “It helps a little...”
Louie: “I just... The waiting is what kills me. Not knowing if someone is late, absent, or is going to high school now. It’s so stressful.”
>>
No. 1019999 ID: 629f2e
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1019999

He taps his foot to the ground in some sort of stress ritual. It doesn’t look like it helps all that much. After a few seconds he stops and sighs.

Louie: “...Maybe I should talk to Saihu about this.”
Albert: “Your brother? What can he do to help?”

Saihu used to be in your class, but he’s eleven now, probably closer to twelve you think. Back when he was here, you remember he was considered The Astrologer. You didn’t interact with him too much, but he was interested in space, symbols, and a lot of other things you just never cared for. Really, you just remember him calling you a Tauros, and never understanding what that meant.

Louie: “He’s good at dealing with stress. Talking to him makes me feel… Calmer.
Albert: “Well he is your brother.”
Louie: “I guess that’s true. Nothing quite like family to help you feel better, right?”
Albert: “In my experience, they’re the greatest sources of stress.”
Louie: “O-Oh.”
Albert: “Yes.”

You hadn’t really considered Saihu much, due to your limited interactions with him, but maybe you should. After all, if your investigation continues to turn up upsetting truths, you might need help managing your Stress and Fear.

Albert: “Do others say that about him too?”
Louie: “Um… Yes, I think I’ve heard at least a few kids agree. Why?”
Albert: “Then do you think he’d be available to talk later today?”
Louie: “O-Oh! Sorry, of course. If you’re feeling stressed out Albert, I’m sure he’s be happy to help. I could talk to him, and during Recess you’d probably have a chance to meet with him.”
Louie: “He has a lot of good Advice on how to manage your stress that you can apply at home too.”
Albert: “Really? I hadn’t thought about that...”

That advice would probably be more helpful in the long-term. However, there’s no denying that there are a few people you know in the short-term who could use some stress relief. You can only push people so far before they break. So the question was, which would you prioritize for now?

A: I should ask Saihu for tips on managing Fear
-You’ll lose half of recess talking to Saihu
-If he has any applicable knowledge, you may just learn a few things about managing Fear
B: But if his presence really is calming, then maybe someone should spend time with him
-Pick one of your friends to spend their recess with Saihu. They will lose an amount of Fear
-You won’t get any direct advice on Fear management
-Among your companions, only Roger, Clive, and Enid appear visibly stressed, Enid most of all
C: Perhaps I could get someone else to talk to him for me? It would leave my own schedule clear
-Pick one of your friends to talk to Saihu for you
-You will have your full recess period open
-Instead of getting Saihu’s explanation, you get a summary of his explanation whichever friend you picked
-For some reason, you don’t think you should pick Roger
D: Or I could just decide later…
-Push your decision back ‘til recess
-At that point, it will be too late to ask someone else to talk to him for you (Option C will be off the table)

>>
No. 1020002 ID: 8483cf

B. Send Enid to Saihu. We need the party face to be well-adjusted and not stressed!
>>
No. 1020007 ID: ce39da

> Saihu
Send Enid. She's going through a lot, though Clive could definitely use it too. You can talk to him yourself if stress and fear ever become an issue for you personally.

> Why Rodney?
This is... incredibly obvious, if you stop to think about it. If it can't have been their parents, and it clearly wasn't Clive, then that just leaves Rodney himself. The motive is clear, going from there; he resolved to take the fall for Clive's deed. Regardless of how long ago this took place, the death of two adults wouldn't stay hidden for long, at least not from the other adults. Rodney Protected Clive.

I... I can't imagine how well Clive would take that theory, obviously.
>>
No. 1020009 ID: afe7de

Send Enid is the obveous best choice., I agree with DC that taking the fall seems to be the likeliest reason for this to happen. Though, if he DID take the fall, then why isn't he in foster care or under someone else's care like Enid is? Which means he has another GUARDIAN. Hmm..
>>
No. 1020273 ID: 629f2e
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1020273

Gotta keep your priorities in order. You can always find Saihu again later if you really need that advice. Right now though, it’s plainly obvious that Enid is stressed out. This is the closest thing you can offer resembling Therapy.

Albert: “It’s not for me. I would like it if Enid were to talk to him.”
Louie: “Oh, that makes sense, given everything that’s happened.”
Albert: “Exactly. Could you introduce them to each other during recess today?”

He gives you a thumbs up, so you nod and return to your seat. You would have liked to talk to Enid about this now, but class is about to start.

Mrs. Chamberlane arrives seconds later, looking a bit less composed than usual. She brings an uncomfortable air into the room with her. We can all tell something bad has happened, but none of us know what. The tension hangs thick, all conversations go dead quiet, and we silently stare towards her awaiting the moment she chooses to break the news.

After setting down her bag and pulling out some papers, she turns and looks back at us all. Her forced greeting comes through an even more forced smile.

Mrs. Chamberlane: “Good morning everyone. I hope everyone else is here. If I call your name, please say “present”.”

She goes through a normal roll call, getting affirmative responses from everyone in the room. After your talk with Louie, it doesn’t pass your notice when she skips over Lemmy’s name entirely. It was hard to miss, since she was going through names alphabetically. You sigh, just waiting for her to say what you’d already concluded.

Mrs. Chamberlane: “Alright then. Now, before we begin today’s lesson, I have some Unfortunate news to share with you all.”
Mrs. Chamberlane: “Mrs. Fitzsimmons visited me this morning to inform me that her son Lemmy has gone Missing.

…Wait missing?

Mrs. Chamberlane: “Abigail believes that her son ran away from home for some reason, and we’re all hoping that somebody in town has seen him.”
Mrs. Chamberlane: “It’s very likely he could be staying with a friend rather than out in the woods. So I’d like to ask if any of you were visited by him last night.”
Mrs. Chamberlane: “It’s not safe for children to be out so late on their own. If any of you know, it’s your responsibility to tell an adult where Lemmy is. Please understand, it’s a matter of safety.”

Lemmy… Ran Away?

He didn’t graduate… He just left his home without telling his- no, of course he didn’t tell his parents. It was probably to get away from them if anything. Let’s not forget, he was a top contender for early graduation. Perhaps he was attempting to escape that very fate. Then again, it could have been something far more mundane. He could have gotten into an argument with them about something trivial, such as his bedtime or how many treats he could have.

You wouldn’t describe Lemmy as Mature in any sense of the word. It’s perfectly conceivable that he’d be childish enough to have left over something so petty.

Hmm… It’s tough to determine which is more likely. Recent events naturally bias you towards graduation as a motive, but you don’t know enough about him to really say one way or the other. Perhaps you should put a pin in it for the moment and return to the question when you have more information.

There is one other noteworthy part to this announcement however. Simply put, Mrs. Chamberlane told us outright that Lemmy ran away. It does lessen the credibility of a certain other theory your companions had brought up yesterday.

Enid: “What if Rodney Didn’t graduate?”
Roger: “Huh?”
Enid: “...The only reason we think he did is because the teachers say that’s what happened.”
Enid: “But if we can’t trust them, because they’re being suspicious and keeping things from us, then maybe we can’t trust that ‘fact’ either.”


It doesn’t fully disprove Enid’s point, that we can’t take our teacher’s claims for granted, but it does at least provide evidence that if any of the three who graduated the other day had actually run away, they likely would have been Honest about it.

Nobody responded to the teacher’s query for Lemmy sightings. Eventually, she sighs and breaks the silence.

Mrs. Chamberlane: “Fine, I guess none of you know anything. But please be aware class that if this situation continues, we may have to assume the worst happened and institute an Early Curfew on the town.”
Mrs. Chamberlane: “There is a chance that Lemmy could have been abducted. If he isn’t found soon, we may conclude that there’s a kidnapper in town.”
Mrs. Chamberlane: “Nobody wants to have to go straight home after school, right? Having to stay indoors and be unable to play with friends would be just awful.
Mrs. Chamberlane: “If you know anything about where Lemmy is, be sure to report it so we can avoid that. Okay?”

It didn’t matter how much pressure she applied, you didn’t have any information to spare. That seemed to be the case for most of the class, as even the threat of curfew didn’t change the non-response. If anyone knew anything, they were keeping it to themselves.

The teacher seemed frustrated, but continued on with class anyways. That was thankfully the only announcement for today. The rest of class goes swimmingly.

You don’t even need to visit the nurse’s office at any point. All in all, not a terrible start to the day.
>>
No. 1020274 ID: 629f2e
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1020274

---

When lunchtime arrives, your friends are naturally very accepting of Clive’s presence at your table, going as far as to not mention it at all.



Okay, so it isn’t that clean-cut.

Lillian: “What’s this jerk doing here?”
Clive: “Ask him.”
Albert: “I invited Clive to join our investigation, since he’s going to be looking into many of the same things. Two heads think better than one, so it carries that six would be better than five.
Lillian: “Yeah okay… But why’d you bring Clive here? The dude sucks.”
Clive: “Alright, I’m leaving-”
Albert: “Sit back down! Look, he’s here because he wants to uncover what happened to his brother. Surely you can relate to that.”

She opens and closes her mouth, face contorting as she thinks about it for many seconds. You imagine a microscopic version of her clearing away the cobwebs in her head and turning her brain on to produce its first real thought in years.

Lillian: “...Meh, fair enough I guess. If it’ll help us get Phillip and Rodney back, he can stay.”
Lillian: “If he wails on anyone though, I get to deck him in the face.”
Albert: “Those are agreeable terms.”
Clive: “Fine.”
Franklin: “...You aren’t going to hit me if I sit next to you, right?”
Clive: “...I wasn’t planning on it.”
Franklin: “...Does that mean it’s going to be a spur-of-the-moment beating?”
Clive: “I won’t bite. Just sit down.”
Franklin: “Oh. I hadn’t considered teeth in your assault.”
Clive: “Oh my gosh. This was a mistake.”

He stands up and tries to escape again, so you grab him by the shirt.

Albert: “Would you stop trying to leave!”
Albert: “Jeez, Roger isn’t even here yet, and he’s the one I’m worried about.”

…Actually, come to think of it… You didn’t see Roger anywhere in the room.

Albert: “Lillian, have you seen Roger? Did he leave for the bathroom?”
Lillian: “Nah, he’s with his dad talking to the coach about joining Little League.
Albert: “...Excuse me?”
Lillian: “Oh yeah, his parents are forcing him to take up a sport by the way, so he’s gonna be busy all day with practice.”

…You want to bash your head into the table, but with your luck you’d get head trauma.

Albert: “So… Just us today then?”
Lillian: “Yep.”

You take a look over who all is here.

You have Clive, who seems averse to interacting with anyone and is only here for his brother.

Franklin. Nothing more need be said there.

Lillian. Again, really speaks for herself.

And Enid, who from the terrified expression on her face may not even be in good enough shape to accompany you all today; which is a shame, because she seems generally competent otherwise. This is all the assistance you’ll have on today’s investigation. If Roger doesn’t show, and Enid can’t participate, then you won’t even outnumber the Deadweight like you had been hoping to.

…Wait, Terrified? Enid just seemed unsettled earlier, what happened? Did Lemmy’s vanishing act have that much of an impact on her?

You follow her gaze to the boy in black sitting beside you, sliding the pieces into place. Ah, of course. Roger decided to run his mouth at the library and tell Enid all about your classroom’s black sheep, mincing no words. Congratulations Roger, even without you here your fear of Clive is still negatively impacting things.

[Those who had pleasant dreams lost Fear, while those plagued by Nightmares only gained more since last we checked in]
Enid is terrified of Clive’s very presence, and has gained 2 Fear as a result

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 10/100]
[Clive: 21/100]
[Enid: 54/100]
[Franklin: 10/100]
[Lillian: 3/100]


Enid really isn’t holding up well, and you have doubts about how effective a few minutes with Saihu can be for her. As much as you’d like to keep her around, you have to acknowledge that doing so may put her at risk of a total Meltdown if her fear grows more intense than it already is. It’s no secret that some of what you want to look into will likely be upsetting, but you can’t predict the scope of how bad what you find will be.

The fact is: You don’t think Enid has even had enough time to process her father’s death, let alone all of the other things you’ve started to dig into.

If you don’t say anything, it seems likely that she’ll just go along with the flow and continue helping with the investigation.

You think she’ll listen if you tell her to go home, however… Well, that’d leave you with Franklin, Lillian, and Clive. Perhaps, if she can hold on for one more day, you might at least have Roger on top of that tomorrow?

How do you want to handle Enid right now?
A: You know, there is a non-zero chance that Saihu’s a miracle worker. Maybe we can push this decision to AFTER recess?
-Decide not to make a ruling until you see where her Fear is at after recess
-You’re CERTAIN you can convince her to go home now. That may not be the case later…

B: Is it really worth the risk? Send her home and let her rest
-Enid will go home for the remainder of the day
-Enid should recover from MOST of her Fear by tomorrow (Somewhere between 30 and 50 points)
-You and Clive will have to carry the less capable members of your group today

C: Let’s not be hasty, we need Enid here
-Hold your tongue and let Enid participate in today’s investigation
-If a character’s Fear reaches 100, VERY BAD THINGS will happen
-If you really think about it, it’s her own fault if those things happen

D: If I’m going to keep her here, I should take responsibility for her
-Enid will participate in today’s investigation BUT you vow to keep her close at all times
-You’ll have the option of sending her home at any time if you’re worried about her Fear
-You feel like the pressure of babysitting will be very stressful, negatively affecting your rate of Fear gain

E: This isn’t my choice to make, it’s hers. Maybe I should talk to her
-Pull her aside and talk with Enid
-Give some idea of what Albert will say or what options he’ll push for
-You aren’t sure at this point how she’ll respond to you

F: Am I missing an obvious solution?
-Suggest an alternative way of handling Enid
-You have no way of knowing how it will affect Enid until you try it

>>
No. 1020275 ID: afe7de

E: Leaning on getting Enid to talk to Saihu by letting her know he does know how to help with this kind of stuff if she wants it, but that taking a day off is perfectly fine to cope with it on her own.

Also say you're sorry that no one has asked her if she wants to just go home and process, this is a big deal and you feel bad.

Something like that!
>>
No. 1020276 ID: 8483cf

B. Send Enid home, she needs time to decompress, especially now that kids are disappearing left and right.

We're capable of carrying our team- well, not literally. But Enid needs a break BAD.
>>
No. 1020290 ID: e51896

E, and B if enid wants
>>
No. 1020296 ID: a2493c

>>1020274
F, I think it might be smart to pull her and Clive into a private conversation between the three of us to clear the air. With his permission, of course, if he's not down for that.

Clive has a bad reputation, but his motivations for being the way he is are understandable with context (especially given Enid's circumstances), and it may assuage some of her fears to get a direct conversation with the object of her fear about that. I suspect they might bond on similar traumas.

Potential obstacles:
-Albert isn't the most socially tactful person, and I get the feeling he might run his mouth. Managing that is going to be pretty important in general.
-Clive might react poorly to introspection. If he doesn't seem down to discuss his motives with the girl, we back off. Pushing the issue seems a bad idea.
-On a more meta angle, Enid might be too nervous to operate as an individual due to prior choices. We're probably going to take a stress hit playing mediator here, and should be prepared for that.
>>
No. 1020297 ID: f25cae

>>1020296
This
>>
No. 1020509 ID: 629f2e
File 164230376296.png - (717.59KB , 1000x1000 , 71.png )
1020509

Ultimately, you feel that it would be best to speak with Enid directly. If you lay out your concerns, she can decide for herself whether or not she’s fine to continue on today or not.

The idea of bringing Clive into it does cross your mind. Perhaps you could introduce them properly and show her that he isn’t quite the beast she fears.

…And as quickly as the idea comes, you decide against it.

Clive would probably treat the whole thing as too much trouble, and would definitely make a more serious effort to leave if you suggested the idea. Enid meanwhile might not feel comfortable enough to open up to you with someone she’s obviously afraid of present. And even if you wanted to try and break her fear of Clive, her fears are currently based on reality. Clive did get into a nasty fight, and he nearly killed Jolene by most accounts. It isn’t as if those rumors were incorrect, and Clive isn’t nearly personable enough to assuage her concerns. If anything, talking to him may just frighten her more.

No, probably best to speak for him rather than ask him to speak for himself.

Albert: “Franklin, I’m going to step away for a few minutes. Can you make sure Clive doesn’t leave while I’m gone?”
Franklin: “...Yeah, I can do that. If he tries to get up, I’ll think about what Jhonen would do to me and do that to him.”
Franklin: “...Which move though? He knew a lot of different ways to Restrain someone.”
Franklin: “Hmm… Can’t do that one, I don’t have handcuffs… Chokeholds could make his head pop off if I do it too hard…”

Him mulling it over openly should be a clear enough threat to keep Clive at the table while you’re gone.

Albert: “Alright. Enid, can you come with me.”
Enid: “Huh? What do you want me for?”
Albert: “Just a short talk. Is that okay?”
Enid: “Um… Okay.”

She stands up and follows your lead out of the room down the hall. You needed a space with some privacy, so you guide her to an empty classroom between the cafeteria and bathrooms.

Albert: “Here should be good.”
Enid: “For what?”
Albert: “Enid, are you feeling well?”
Enid: “What? Y-Yeah, I’m fine.”

…You lightly knock her on the head with your cane, eliciting a quiet interjection of pain.

Enid: “What was that for!?”
Albert: “It’s very fortunate you’re wearing a dress, as I imagine any trousers you wore would burst into flames from a Lie of that magnitude.”
Albert: “Let’s try this again, and at least try to be honest this time. Hello Enid! Are you feeling well today?”
Enid: “Um… What are you trying to say?”
Albert: “...How to put this…”

You consider reigning yourself in and honeying your words. Enid is clearly in a vulnerable state, so dialing back the Pressure could be the right way of handling her. If you just make her feel safe, then she shouldn’t have any trouble expressing herself.

Instead of doing any of that, you say this:

Albert: “You look like you’re a single sad song away from bursting into tears, and it’s physically painful to observe you in such a pitiful state.”

…This was a calculated response. You aren’t just bad at showing empathy, you have a plan.

Everyone is giving Enid the fragile porcelain doll treatment right now, so you’re separating yourself with a far blunter approach. By approaching her differently, you should hopefully break through her automatic barrier of half-hearted assurances and force her to actually consider the question.

At least you hope that’s how this goes, as if it doesn’t you’ll likely appear to be quite the jerk.

Enid: “I…”

Her eyebrows furrow for a moment, Anger briefly overtaking her fear and sadness. It mellows out a second later into a light displeasure.

Enid: “...Yeah, y-you’re right.”

Ah~ Nothing quite as validating as seeing a plan come together.

Albert: “Would you like to talk about it?”
Enid: “What is there to say? Saying “I miss my daddy” doesn’t bring him back. He’s… gone.”
Albert: “You’re staying with the Fosters now, right? Are they treating you well?”
Enid: “...Yes?”
Albert: “Is that a question?”
Enid: “No, it’s- They’re doing their best. I think they’re both nice people, and they really are trying to cheer me up, but…”
Enid: “The way they talk about what happened makes it sound like they want me to Forget about daddy.”

She grips the hem of her dress, tugging at it as she goes on.

Enid: “I don’t want to forget about him. But I don’t want to just be sad forever either.”
Enid: “Is the only way to feel better really just… pretending he never existed until I really do forget him?”
Albert: “I won’t pretend that I’m not the worst person to ask about that.”
Albert: “I haven’t heard mention of a mother yet. If you went through the loss of a parent once before, I imagine the same coping method you used then would apply here.”
Albert: “...Unless it involved your father of course.”

She shakes her head.

Enid: “Mom doesn’t count. I was a baby back then, I never knew her. I couldn’t miss someone I didn’t ever meet. It was always just me and daddy.”
Enid: “...”

She gets a far off look in her eyes, indicating she was probably getting lost in her thoughts. You snap her out of it quickly.

Albert: “Have you tried talking to anyone about this yet?”
Enid: “Um… A little bit here and there, but-”
Albert: “So no then?”
Enid: “...No.”
Albert: “Then why don’t we fix that?”

She looks up at you appraisingly. An uneasy expression begins to form.

Albert: “...To clarify, I know Somebody Else who I think it would be advisable for you to talk with today.”

You tell her about Louie’s older brother, leaving out any mentions of his stranger obsessions. She can find out about those herself after she agrees to engage in some much needed self-care.

When you finish your pitch, Enid is fiddling with her hands, uncertainly.

Enid: “...I don’t want to be a burden on anyone.”
Albert: “Good, then you’ll talk to Saihu and cease encumbering me with your emotional troubles.”
Enid: “I- Hey! Why do you have to say it like a jerk?”
Albert: “Because it works.”
Enid: “...”
Enid: “...Darn it, you’re right. Fine, I’ll talk to him.”

A small sigh of relief escapes you at her acceptance. That still left one question on the table though.

Albert: “Do you still wish to investigate with my companions and I later today?”
Albert: “Nobody will begrudge you taking time to properly rest and recover from the things you’ve gone through. Be honest with yourself.”
Enid: “Honestly… I just want to go home after school and sleep.”
Albert: “I imagine you didn’t rest well last night?”
Enid: “Not even remotely. I had Nightmares.
Enid: “It’s better if I go home and sleep anyways. Then I won’t be ‘cumbering’ you with my ‘emotional troubles.’”
Albert: “That’s ‘Encumbering’, but I see your point. I’m happy to know that you’re taking care of yourself.”

That wasn’t entirely true. There was a much louder voice in your head screaming in anguish at the loss of not one, but now Two of your teammates in today’s search. You aren’t entirely sure how you’re going to manage with such a massive hindrance, but it’s worth the trouble to know that Enid will feel better.

…You believe it will be worth the trouble. Eventually. The pit developing in your stomach now wouldn’t sway you.

Albert: “Come on, let’s go back before Franklin actually tries to put Clive into a chokehold.”
Enid: “Okay. And, um, thank you. For everything.”

The small but genuine smile she gives is enough to fill up the pit inside you. Even if it was going to be inconvenient, you know deep down that this was the right choice.

Enid will not be participating in today’s investigation
Albert has lost 3 Fear
Between talking with Albert, meeting with Saihu, and taking a full day’s rest, Enid will start tomorrow at 0 Fear barring changes to this course of action

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 7/100]
[Enid: 48/100]

>>
No. 1020510 ID: 629f2e
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1020510

When you both return, you’re personally pleased to find that Clive didn’t ditch you in your absence. If you lost him on top of Roger and Enid, you would probably just send Lillian and Franklin home as well and investigate by yourself.

Still, that left a pretty big lingering question… What exactly are you going to investigate today? You had a few different leads you could follow up on, but which were the best to pull on first?

The people around you start to talk, each raising different points and thoughts about what threads were most important. You can’t fully disregard their Opinions, but there’s only so much time in the day. If you split into two pairs of two, you can look into Two Leads at most.

So what was it going to be?

HOLD IT!

Before we can do that, there’s something you need to know.

Among your friends, Roger is the unofficial leader. This is due to him getting along with everyone well, and maintaining the group harmony better than any of you. As such, when Roger makes group decisions they usually go uncontested. You and your companions trust Roger to have your best interests.

You are not Roger Bannister.

As such, you will have to consider the opinions of others when making decisions as a collective. Every kid present gets to influence group choices, some more than others if they feel strongly enough.

In addition, while the spirits are many, Albert is only one. Keep that disparity in mind, it may become troublesome later.

With (hopefully) the final tutorial of this thread wrapped up…


What leads should your group investigate today? (Pick two to discuss now, you’ll decide after school which of them you’ll focus on today)
A: Lillian: “Phillip totally shouldn’t have graduated. He’s an exception too, just like Rodney.”
-You have a counterargument to that claim
-Dig deeper into the mysteries of graduation by looking into the three kids who graduated early
-Probably the most reliable lead, gives you a number of clues to look into
-Lillian and Clive both want this, +2 Votes

B: Enid: “...Daddy. What did they do to you?
-You don’t know how relevant this lead is, but following up on it will certainly help you learn more about Enid
-Dig deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Anderson house fire by learning more about it from Enid
-This will probably cause Enid to take back her choice to stay home today
-Enid wants this, +1 Vote

C: Franklin: “What was I going to… Oh! Right. Is your dad still in the hospital, Albert?”
-Ugh
-Dig deeper into the mysteries of why your dad was attacked
-You only care as far as wanting to know that his assailant won’t come after you
-If this wins, you’re locked into following up on it due to your personal connection

D: Clive stares at Franklin, assessing the strange boy.
-Franklin is an anomaly that you’ve ignored for too long
-Dig deeper into the mysteries of class alien Franklin by asking him directly
-Franklin REALLY doesn’t want you to choose this, -2 Votes

E: Albert: “I feel that there might be other things worth considering”
-Suggest an entirely different topic to investigate, creating an entirely new route
-Albert is conditionally interested in this, and will give +1 to any ideas that he thinks have merit

>>
No. 1020513 ID: afe7de

I think that even though I really want to know about Enid's situation, like REALLY want to know, we should respect Enid's agency and let her rest. If she's willing to talk about it but not go searching today, just so we can have that information I would like that.

If we can't do that then C/D, if we can, then that and C
>>
No. 1020514 ID: 8483cf

In order to better develop our hypothesis on graduation, we need to flesh out the exceptions. Look into A: Phillip.

Let’s ignore Franklin’s weirdness. He’s weird, but his weirdness isn’t so weird it’ll collapse into itself and form a black hole of weird. Yet.

Don’t focus on Enid’s dad. Let her rest, and let her be a part of the investigation later. She has information we don’t.

I vote E: Investigate the school’s attendance records, roll calls and administrative files. If someone’s graduating, there HAS to be paperwork involved.
>>
No. 1020517 ID: ce39da

Yeah, A and C. B should be saved for when Enid isn't on a fear-detox prescription, and D for when Roger can override Franklin's adamant non-desire. A seems reliable for clues, and C seems important to your personal wellbeing.
>>
No. 1020523 ID: afe7de

>>1020514
Actually I retract my C/D thing I want to do this, the E action of looking at records, there should be a public database students can access if it's a regular school with a library and documents. I LOVE this idea.
>>
No. 1020554 ID: afe7de

>>1020523
Editing my suggestion again to E, and a second E, which is talk about needing to stay with someone tonight because of stuff at home. Better to get this out of the way now.
>>
No. 1021207 ID: 629f2e
File 164307340271.png - (648.04KB , 1000x1000 , 73.png )
1021207

[The Suspicion surrounding members of your party has changed. Updates will be shown at a later time.]

As Lillian insists on her brother’s lack of consistency with the patterns established, you consider objecting. Frankly, you saw him as an even clearer example of the Jonah example than Roger. You don’t know why Lillian is being stubborn about it when she should be more aware than anyone. Perhaps you’re asking a bit much of her though. There’s an entire one thought she’d have to make to reach that conclusion, and making that connection would require her to hold two whole thoughts in her head simultaneously. You’ve never expected such out of her before, why start now?

Talking about the kids who graduated won’t get you anywhere. It’s clear why Phillip did, easy to assume for Jhonen, and utterly perplexing for Rodney. Even if you established each of their specific reasons, that wouldn’t tell you anything new about the high school itself, or what graduation entails...

Albert: “How can we learn more about what Transpires at high school?”
Enid: “...‘Trans ires?’”
Albert: “‘Happens’. How can we learn what ‘happens’ at high school?”
Lillian: “We break in!”
Clive: “Bad idea.”
Franklin: “...Ask a teacher?”
Enid: “But we can’t trust the adults to be honest with us.”
Lillian: “We can’t trust any adult?”
Clive: “...What if there was someone in town who went through it already? Someone on the Young side?”

...Huh. There was an idea.

Albert: “The book I found was dated 1956. Ideally we’d want to speak with someone close to 18, or at less than about... 25 I think.”
Lillian: “Less than 25... Hmmm...”
Franklin: “...Huh... How old is Mr. Snyder? He seems younger than most adults I know.”
Enid: “Giovanni is 29 I think. Maybe 30 now actually...”
Albert: “That’s a bit out of our window. Who else?”
Lillian: “Um...”
Franklin: “...”
Clive: “...”
Enid: “...”
Albert: “...Hm. That’s strange, isn’t it?”
Lillian: “The heck? Why’s everyone in town so old!
Lillian: “I... It made sense we wouldn’t know any teenagers, but people have definitely come out of high school before, right? They should only be like 18, or in their early 20s at least.”
Enid: “I dunno... I never went outside much...”
Clive: “Are they really not letting Anyone out?”
Albert: “...Let’s rephrase the question.”
Albert: “Name anyone you know who is in high school that should be out by now.”

Compared to unanimous silence that hung over the table before, this query has a more mixed response.

Lillian: “Oh! What about Leo Foster! He got into high school before I even started elementary, he should definitely be out already.”
Clive: “Wally Stenbeck. Too annoying to forget.”
Franklin: “...”
Lillian: “Oh yeah, and what about Amber’s sister, Dawn- what’s their last name aga- -Marick! I got it. She was so cool.”
Clive: “Wasn’t there a boy with a massive mole on his cheek?”
Lillian: “There definitely was, and he had that really terrible name too. I think it was Eren’s brother, right?”
Clive: “Lorenzo Wells.
Lillian: “That’s the one! Lorenzo, it’s so bad!”
Enid: “...”
Lillian: “Man, I haven’t thought of some of those guys for a while. I miss Leo, he was really good at gathering kids for massive games of Battle Tag.”

You wince at the thought. There were sports that you could participate in to some degree, but Battle Tag was a game of pure carnage. Participating in even a single round would likely mean a trip to the hospital for you.

Franklin: “...Oh. What about Judy?
Lillian: “Judy?”
Franklin: “She was 15 three years-ago, wasn’t she? She should be out of high school by now.”
Lillian: “...Uh, Judy who?”
Franklin: “Um... Hmmmm... She was the girl with long black hair, dark clothes, and she liked the Occult- don’t you remember-”
Albert: “Franklin, that’s impossible. What are you talking about?”
Franklin: “...Huh?”
>>
No. 1021208 ID: 629f2e
File 164307348427.png - (0.99MB , 1000x1000 , 74.png )
1021208

He tilts his head curiously, urging you to go on.

Albert: “Franklin, nobody even knew you Existed until around two-and-a-half years ago. You were a complete shut-in.”
Albert: “Unless you had a sister you never told us about, you shouldn’t know someone you never shared a class with. If you did, we would have known about you before then.”
Enid: “Wait, you didn’t used to go to school?”
Franklin: “...Oh yeah, I didn’t.”
Enid: “What do you mean, ‘oh yeah’!? You forgot!?”
Lillian: “Yeah... Also, I don’t think there was ever a girl named Judy in town.”
Clive: “...Never knew one.”
Albert: “I’m sure there wasn’t anyone in town that fits that description.”
Franklin: “...”
Franklin: “Hmmmmmm... Sorry, I must have gotten mixed up. Must have been another Made-Up Memory.
Enid: “A what?”
Franklin: “You know, a memory that feels real but isn’t. Like... Uh... When you think a TV show’s plot went one way, but it actually went another.”
Enid: “Oh. I guess I know what you mean.”
Albert: “Memory can be fuzzy, and Franklin’s is especially terrible to begin with. Frankly, this is barely worth mention compared to most of his absurdities.”
Franklin: “Yeah, my memory is the worst. At least I think so. ...I don’t remember how many things I’ve misremembered... If I did, wouldn’t that mean my memory was actually good?”

It takes you a few moments to realize that your conversation had been thrown entirely off track by yet another Franklin Moment™. You let out a long drawn out sigh, before trying to navigate back to the original point.

Albert: “ANYWAYS. We know a few people who likely should have graduated by now. The fact that we haven’t seen any of them leaves a few possibilities.”
Albert: “Either they’re in town, but we all haven’t seen them for some reason; they’ve left town; or they Never Left The School.
Lillian: “Ugh. I hope it’s one of the first two. Forever-school is the kind of thing I’d come up with in a nightmare.”
Lillian: “Do we just ask around then? See if anyone’s seen them?”
Enid: “Then we’re right back to the first problem: Adults lie.”
Albert: “It would be one thing if they’re still in town and we could be directed to them, but there’s no way to verify a claim of them having left town.”
Lillian: “Then what can we do?”
Clive: “...Administrative Documents.
Lillian: “What?”
Clive: “We can’t break into high school, but what about this one here? If the schools are connected, there could be some Documents that can tell us what to look for.”
Clive: “Old roll call sheets that show which adults in town went through high school recently, early graduation forms, private notes between staff that are more candid about high school, etc.”
Clive: “Not much security here. You could probably walk right in...”
Franklin: “...But we’re not allowed inside after school.”
Clive: “...You’re right.”
Clive: “That’s why you want to sneak inside. You don’t get punished if you don’t get caught.”
Albert: “Speaking from experience?”
Clive: “...”
Clive: “No.”
Albert: “You hesitated.”
Franklin: “...No Albert , he can’t have experience. Everyone knows what Clive did, remember?”
Clive: “...”

He slowly turns to stare Franklin down, shooting a pointed glare. It’s completely ineffective, Franklin doesn’t even blink.

Lillian: “Breaking into school... I’d rather break out honestly, but it’s not a bad idea.”
Enid: “Don’t actually break anything though. That could get you in a lot of trouble.”
Clive: “...Not if you don’t get caught.”
Enid: “That’s a risky mindset to take...”

You were shocked by the direction things had gone, but everyone seemed on board. Breaking Into School was apparently a legitimate option for moving forward.
>>
No. 1021209 ID: 629f2e
File 164307355522.png - (506.21KB , 1000x1000 , 75.png )
1021209

That conversation had reached its conclusion, but lunch wasn’t yet over. What was going to replace it? There were still a few worthwhile topics on the table that you could all address, particularly-

Franklin: “Hey Albert, is your dad still in the hospital?”

...Ugh.

Well, he asked. There’s no avoiding the topic now. Might as well get it over with.

Albert: “Yes.”
Lillian: “It’s nothing serious, is it? It’s usually bad if you have to stay the night.”
Albert: “I’m well aware...”
Franklin: “...”
Lillian: “...”
Albert: “...*sigh*”
Albert: “He was Assaulted.
Lillian: “What!?”
Franklin: “...By who?”
Albert: “I don’t know.”
Franklin: “...Why?”
Albert: “I don’t know.”
Franklin: “...How?”
Albert: “I do- Actually, I believe from the injuries described by the officer that he was mostly Beaten, lots of bruises and broken bones. There was also a Stab Wound in his abdomen, but no knife was found.”
Enid: “That’s so... awful.
Albert: “Well, somebody should think so I suppose.”
Enid: “...What?”

You pinch your brow in frustration. Trying to make Enid understand this, given how sad she clearly is about her own father’s death, would be tricky. In truth, you’re predisposed to not discussing your home life, so this endeavor does not seem worth the trouble. Better to just appease their curiosity and end the conversation there.

Albert: “Look, I don’t know any more than that. If my father knows anything, he hasn’t been conscious enough to say a word to anyone.”
Lillian: “Dang, that’s... I’m really sorry that happened.”
Albert: “It’s fine. If I was attacked, then your concern would be appreciated, but I wasn’t. I’m fine...”
Clive: “...Where did it happen?”
Albert: “Hm? Back at our apartment, why?”
Clive: “And the door? Was it broken in any way?”
Albert: “...Y-Yes actually. I didn’t notice when I first arrived, but the doorknob had been Damaged. There were signs of a Break-In.
Clive: “You said you lived in the apartment-complex? North-West, overlooking the beach?”
Albert: “...Yes. Where are you going with this?”
Clive: “...That isn’t the rich part of town. If someone broke in and attacked your dad, it was probably Targeted. They wanted to hurt him.”
Albert: “...Ah.”

The idea that Clive was hinting at had been on your mind to some degree, but the realization that this had been a targeted attack made it seem all the more likely.

If somebody really wanted to hurt your father, they might go after his wife and Child.

Albert: “I don’t have the luxury of not caring until I establish that his attacker won’t pursue me as a means of harming my father.”
Clive: “Yep.”
Franklin: “...I’m confused, why would they do that?”

You let Clive handle the explanation, turning your attention to your meal. You needed something more positive to focus on for a minute. Taking in the spread of pizza, brussel sprouts, and a brownie, it becomes clear that this wouldn’t be it, seeing as you couldn’t eat a large portion of this.

The brownie was out entirely, you know that they use milk in the batter, and you’re Lactose Intolerant. Not to mention the fact that they had nut brownies as well, and if you were unlucky enough to have caught a stray peanut, that would be a trip straight to the hospital for you.

The brussel sprouts should be fine, you would put up with their awful flavor if you could, but you couldn’t! Because these are soaking in butter, consuming them would glue you to a toilet for half the day.

That just left your cheese covered pizza. Conventional wisdom tells you that you obviously can’t eat this.

Conventional wisdom doesn’t account for your strategy of scraping the cheese off with your fork, leaving you a few perfectly good pieces of sauce-covered bread. You’re even able to rescue a few pepperonis from the cheesy ocean most had melted into.

It didn’t leave you full, but for the time being you were Satiated. You’d be hungry again before dinner, but that was a problem for the future. For now, you push your tray over to Lillian, the athlete taking the hint and merging its contents with her own.

As the others finish getting caught up on your situation, they start asking more questions.

Enid: “Who would do something like that?”
Lillian: “Yeah, what’d your dad do to get someone who hates him that much?”
Albert: “Considering his personality, I would say the list could include anyone he’s ever met.”
Franklin: “...What if... Hmm...”
Lillian: “Come on Franklin, spit it out.”
Franklin: “...It can’t be your mom at least. And you know you didn’t, unless you did and are lying, but I don’t think you did. So it’s just everyone else other than you and your mom... Right?”
Lillian: “Uh, yeah. Course it ain’t his mom, what’s the point of even saying that?”
Franklin: “...He said anyone.
Enid: “I-I’m with Lillian. Why would she kill someone she loved in the first place? They got married because they loved one another.”
Albert: “Things change over time, and love can diminish.”
Franklin: “It’s just... If the door was damaged, it probably isn’t anyone with a key. Right?”
Albert: “Look, I already know it wasn’t my mother, because she would have been at work when the attack happened. Eliminating her still leaves too many suspects to easily narrow down.”
Lillian: “You really need to figure it out then. Maybe you should dig around the scene of the crime for clues? It is your home after all, you can get in there.”

It seemed like a worthwhile venture. You needed to be sure that you wouldn’t become a target, even if that meant dealing with your dad’s business for some time. It was a bit of a side venture to your high school investigation, but Finding Your Father’s Assailant has proven to be very necessary.

The bell rings, and you all start walking out of the building for recess. It dawns on you as you go that you’d spent the entire time talking about the topics of your upcoming investigation, and hadn’t thought to bring up staying the night with someone like your mother had asked you to.

Oh well, you had the entire rest of the day to think about it, so you could bring it up whenever was best. Besides, you hadn’t given much thought yet to who would be best to ask.

As you step out onto the playground, you consider who to talk to.

Albert has gained 5 Fear from his new understanding of the danger he’s in

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 12/100]

Who will you speak with? (Pick Two again)

A: Temmie appears to be alone
-You don’t have any money. You’ll have to pick a friend to borrow a quarter from if you want your fortune told
-Your pride will take a hit from asking even one person, you’re not approaching a second if you get rejected
-You could also just talk to Temmie and have a nice conversation

B: Jolene seems a bit on edge today
-You feel like she has something on her mind, possibly a clue that could aid your investigation
-Jolene is rather aggressive. There’s a possibility she may get violent if you upset her
-You are very bad at not upsetting her. This has moderate potential for pain

C: ...Why is there a shady-looking middle schooler skulking around out here?
-You vaguely recognize her as Rebecca, but you never knew her very well
-It’s unclear what she’s doing, but she’s attempting to be stealthy you think

D: Perhaps I should address my evening arrangements now
-Talk to one of your friends about staying the night
-Lillian’s home is pretty nice, but you don’t have much in common with her. It would be an awkward visit for both of you
-Franklin lives at the Morgue. You have never visited, and don’t know what to expect
-Clive lives alone in one of the townhouses near your apartment complex. The chances of him letting you come over are low, and you aren’t sure about his food situation given the lack of parental income
-Enid is unavailable at the moment, due to her current therapy appointment and scheduled relaxation.

E: Hmm... I suppose I shouldn’t ignore my other options
-Talk to anyone else about anything else
-Roger, Louie, and Enid are currently unavailable, as are most middle schoolers (they’re at lunch atm)
-You could also DO something else with your time if you think it would be worthwhile

>>
No. 1021215 ID: ce39da

C, followed by either B or D: Franklin. The former because new info is always good, even if it comes with pain, and the latter because we do need to figure out what Franklin's whole deal is. Heck, he could be the Key to Everything, for all you know! Slim chance, sure, but you never know.
>>
No. 1021217 ID: afe7de

C and D: Franklin, why franklin? Well its because you've never been to the morgue, and come ON, there has to be something juicy there for you to secret upon. Also Franklin has memory problems, and yes you find him annoying, but this could be your chance to [UNDERSTAND] him, why he's like this either familywise or like the situation he's in. It's hard to admit you're not [CURIOUS]
>>
No. 1021234 ID: 8483cf

C, followed by B. Let's try and actually communicate. Communication can be painful sometimes.
>>
No. 1021285 ID: a2493c

>>1021209
Franklin gets my vote, something weirder than his personality is up with that kid and I can't help but think he'd be the most likely to have weirder diet options you can actually stomach at home.
>>
No. 1021358 ID: 073707

C, D (the Frankster)
>>
No. 1021607 ID: 629f2e
File 164343705783.png - (1.32MB , 1000x1000 , 76.png )
1021607

The girl you recognize as Rebecca is lurking close to the school building, hanging around a corner out of Mrs. Chamberlane’s sight. Her eyes were scanning the playground with intent, but her expression was otherwise unreadable.

Curiosity gets the better of you, and you decide to approach. She spots you as you near, her expression quickly souring.

Rebecca: “Piss off.”
Albert: “...Hello to you too. What are you-”
Rebecca: “Sorry, was I not clear enough? Leave.
Albert: “Why?”
Rebecca: “‘Cuz talking to You isn’t worth my time.”
Albert: “Ah, of course. I’m cutting into your valuable time, which you’ve chosen to spend standing here and doing nothing.”
Albert: “If that’s all it’s worth to you, I think even I can afford it.”
Rebecca: “Go f!@% yourself. What do you want?”
Albert: “I’m indulging my curiosity. What are you doing out here? The middle school class should be at lunch.”
Rebecca: “I already ate. Got a problem with that?”

…Why does it feel like you’ve been talking to many difficult people lately? If nothing else, you appreciated the glimpse into what Jolene would be like as a middle schooler.

Actually, her apparel and attitude resembled Jolene a lot. Were they perchance Related?

Albert: “Personally, no. Why don’t I ask the teacher if she feels differently?”

You turn to walk away, but are quickly grabbed and pulled back.

Rebecca: “Knock that off! Look, you’re Poor, so you can’t afford anything I have, get it?”
Albert: “Ah, you’re here to make sales. You should have just said so.”
Rebecca: “Bite me. Either bring me a customer or beat it. I don’t have time to be dealing with kids with empty pockets.”

She had a point, you were broke. Still, you wanted to see what she had to offer. What could you say to convince her…?

Albert: “...Would your tone change if I mentioned that I’ve recently been spending a great deal of time with the daughter of Frederick Anderson?
Albert: “We’re on good enough terms that I could easily borrow from her if I asked.”
Rebecca: “D^@%! Way to bury the lead, why didn’t you open with that?”
Albert: “You didn’t inform me you were selling anything, remember?”
Rebecca: “...Fine, that one’s on me. You can look, but if you rat me out to anyone I’m coming for you. You can’t hide, I know you live at the s%1$hole apartments too.”

Too? So Rebecca was one of your neighbors, you hadn’t realized that.

She reaches into her jacket, and pulls out a small notepad, flipping through it before stopping on a page. She writes a fair number of lines in pen and hands it over.

Rebecca: “Here. I don’t have any of it on me, too risky. I’m good at getting my hands on things though, so just ask if you want something not listed.”

What you’re presented with is a list of Illicit Goods and exorbitant prices.

Adult Magazine - $2.00
Carton of Cigarettes - $0.75
Can of Beer - $0.30
Cheatsheet - $2.00
Completed Homework Assignment - $0.25
Bottle of Painkillers - $4.00
Poison Ivy - $1.50
Keys - (Prices vary per lock)
Gossip - $0.10 to $0.50 depending on juiciness
Pistol - $10.00
Babysitting - $1.00 per night
Tutoring - $0.30 per session
Misc. Favors - (Prices vary per request)


Albert: “Oh, it actually becomes relatively innocent towards the end.”
Rebecca: “You read the rest already?”
Albert: “Yes.”

Without warning, she grabs the page and rips it from your hand, tearing off everything on the list before babysitting. She then crumples it up and tosses it in her mouth, chewing it up and swallowing.

Rebecca: “No evidence.”
Albert: “...Okay then.”
Rebecca: “You know what you want if you want it, and you can double check the prices with me later.”
Albert: “I suppose it’s important to stay secretive when dealing in business such as this. I have it all memorized though, so I shouldn’t need to check in.”
Rebecca: “If you say so. I’m not gonna correct you if you try to pay too much though. Consider it an idiot tax.”
Albert: “For a saleswoman you’re not very charismatic you know.”
Rebecca: “Don’t have to be. I’ve got a Monopoly on this $@!*. You want the goods, you shut your mouth and deal with it.”
Albert: “Very well. I’ll need some time to think about what I want, is there a usual spot I can expect to find you?”
Rebecca: “Yeah, catch me at the Field if you’re interested. I spend a lot of time there, since so many kids come by, and most adults don’t. Good place for business.”

You make a mental note of where to find her, thinking you’ll need it later.

While some of her wares did strike you as being useful, the fact that you didn’t have a cent on you hadn’t changed in the last few minutes. For now, you decide to tuck away the knowledge of Rebecca’s business for later use. If you wanted to buy anything however, you would need to acquire a fair bit of Wealth.
>>
No. 1021608 ID: 629f2e
File 164343711876.png - (608.81KB , 1000x1000 , 77.png )
1021608

As you leave her, you spy Franklin talking to Temmie from a distance. Given your options for who to stay with, Franklin seemed rather clearly the best option. Visiting would give you a chance to study him more closely, it seemed reasonably likely that you could expect a meal, and as Frustrating as trying to understand Franklin could be, he’s generally tolerable if you let his odd comments slide.

You don’t catch any part of his exchange with the fortune teller, as you’re quite slow to arrive due to your leg unfortunately. Whatever it was, Temmie walks away shortly before you reach them, leaving Franklin by himself. He seems to be pondering something.

Albert: “Franklin, a moment of your time.”
Franklin: “Huh? Oh, hi Albert. What is it?”
Albert: “I know it’s a bit sudden, but could I stay the night at your home?”
Franklin: “...Why?”
Albert: “No reason. It’s something we haven’t done before.”
Franklin: “...”
Franklin: “...Is something wrong?”

The question itself is reasonable, and rather apt given that you did have a need to stay with someone else. You’re simply shocked that Franklin was asking it. It’s true that you haven't given him much of a reason for your actions, but you didn’t think you would have to. It’s Franklin! He can barely understand himself, how were you to know he’d find your actions suspicious?

Shoot, now you’re on the backfoot and need to come up with a semi-plausible explanation for your sudden desire.

Albert: “N-No. Why would you think that?”
Franklin: “...Well… You’re acting weird, right?”
Albert: “I- No. Nothing about this is strange.”
Albert: “Think about it. I’ve been to sleepovers in the past. Thus, my asking to have one is not unnatural in the slightest.”
Franklin: “...I guess that’s true?”
Albert: “And you’ve had people stay over before, right?”
Franklin: “Well… Only Roger, but yeah.”
Albert: “Then what part of this do you consider to be weird?”
Franklin: “Uh…”
Franklin: “...The fact that we’re talking right now? Because I… Well maybe… No, I don’t think you’ve ever come to me alone.”

He wasn’t wrong. You and Franklin were only acquainted because you spent time with the same people, but you weren’t really interested in him outside of that group. You’re both friends out of obligation to your other friends, as it would be awkward if you weren’t.

Albert: “...All the more reason we should have a sleepover. It’s a good opportunity to bond, wouldn’t you agree?”
Franklin: “I… guess so?”
Franklin: “...Are you sure you’re okay?”
Albert: “I-I am! Now are you interested in us bonding or not? We’re Friends aren’t we?”
Franklin: “...Hm… Okay, you can come over. I don’t think dad will mind.”
Franklin: “Just don’t go into his bedroom, or his lab, or his office, and Especially not Mom’s Bedroom.
Albert: “Of course. I’ll come over this evening after our investigation. See you then.”

You walk away, not giving him time to rethink his answer. Not that you expected him to remember.

In retrospect, you probably could have just said that he’d agreed to a sleepover, and he probably would have believed you.
>>
No. 1021609 ID: 629f2e
File 164343714869.png - (422.03KB , 1000x1000 , 78.png )
1021609

School passes without any other points of interest. Class was dull, the faculty gave out no further horrible news, and you end up sleeping through most of it. The teacher doesn't disturb you, she knows that you understand what she's teaching perfectly well already.

As you’re leaving school, you catch a sight of Roger and his father. Your friend looked miserable, only faking a smile when his dad looked down at him. His dad says something to him, which Roger pretends to agree with. It made you sick to watch.

Mr. Bannister ends up bumping into Clive while he isn’t looking, mumbling an apology to the boy before continuing more briskly out the door with his son.

…Hm. You’re actually rather certain Clive Collided with him on purpose. You weren’t sure why though, something to inquire about later.

Your group meets up outside of the school building. It takes seconds for everything to go wrong.

Lillian: “We should Split Up into pairs.”
Franklin: “Yeah.”
Clive: “Makes sense.”

Okay, that’s not entirely unreasonable-

Lillian: “Franklin and I can search the school, while you and Albert try to figure out what happened to his dad.”
Clive: “You two? Together?”
Franklin: “...Is that okay? You and Albert seem like you get along.”
Clive: “...Fine.”
Lillian: “Besides, I barely got to hang out with Franklin yesterday. I’m due for some quality time with the weirdo.”
Franklin: “I didn’t do much with any of you, especially not Clive, so I’m fine with whatever. I really would like to go with Lillian though.”

NO!

You need to say something Now! You were heading straight into a Disaster situation.

Lillian and Franklin cannot be paired alone. They have the combined mental acuity of a glass of water, and the subtlety of the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. They’re at best harmless when babysat, but Unmonitored? Forget not finding anything, they were liable to reveal your investigation to all the wrong people. They would literally be more helpful doing nothing than whatever would come of them going by themselves.

You need to stop this, what pairings should you actually use?

A: Splitting up is a bad idea in general
-Suggest that you all go together
-You will need to choose one of your two topics to pursue, either your father or the school’s documents
-PRO: You and Clive can monitor the liabilities
-CON: Inefficient use of time
-Clive won’t like this grouping as much, as it means he interacts with three people instead of just one, -1 Vote

B: You’re already staying the night with him…
-Suggest that you go with Franklin, and Clive and Lillian pair together
-PRO: You’ll be accompanied by someone tolerable
-CON: Lillian and Clive seem likely to come to conflict if left alone

C: These pairings seems the least likely to cause conflict at least
-Suggest that you go with Lillian, and Clive and Franklin pair together
-PRO: Franklin should be much more tolerating of Clive than Lillian would be
-CON: You’re stuck with Lillian again, and Franklin is the greater liability regarding the stealth mission
-Lillian definitely wants to go with someone else, -1 Vote

D: …Lone wolf?
-Suggest that either Clive or You go alone, and the other three stay in a group
-PRO: One group has 0 Liabilities
-CON: The other group is outnumbered
-Clive would definitely vote against being in the group of three, conditional -1 Vote

>>
No. 1021614 ID: e51896

B. I was going to go with C, but something tells me B will be better.
>>
No. 1021631 ID: 93ba79

C or D (Clive alone, he seems to work better alone anyway)
>>
No. 1021639 ID: ce39da

D: "Actually, two heads are not better than one when it comes to matters involving Stealth. If the goal is just to infiltrate and examine the school records, Clive is the only one who actually needs to be there, as I imagine that any of the rest of us would just be a liability for reasons that should be obvious. That's assuming he's comfortable with going it alone, that is. That's not to say we won't be on the lookout for ways to help him prepare, of course; for instance, I have a lead on someone who might be able to get us a Key to the School, though I am unsure of whether she can get it to us in time. I'm sure the Price wouldn't be an issue to you, though, as it wouldn't be an issue to Enid, either."
>>
No. 1021647 ID: 0838d6

>>1021639

I want B because I want to get to know Franklin more, however there are better merits to D, Clive going solo and you helping him find that middle schooler to get a key would be pretty cash money. Also maybe convincing a friend to spot you money for some JUICY GOSS on your dad would help too. Then you could get the other kids to help you investigate your dad AND learn a bit about Franklin. Plus it might convince him that you actually are in a bit of a pickle without you needing to explicitly state it through IMPLICATIONS which seems like something that is right up your alley, not explicitly stating it, hoping that they're too dumb to get it, but that if they're smart enough to connect the dots that they earned the information and you won't feel emberassed by it.
>>
No. 1021692 ID: 8483cf

Strong A. Here’s why.

B is likely to have Clive and Lillian fight, or at least conflict. If they’re searching the school (the only real choice, since Albert will be looking into Dad), them fighting is likely to cause attention. At best, they’re inefficient with their time. At worst, they draw attention to themselves and give up the game, raising suspicion.

C is also suboptimal because Lillian is double dead weight with Albert. You’re taking a liability and upsetting them to boot. That’s even worse than option D with Albert paired with L&F.

D is also a very bad choice. Clive with two liabilities is like filling a deck full of jokers and trying to play go fish. Nothing really gets accomplished, the results are obvious, and it’s a giant waste of time. Albert might be able to wrangle Lillian and Franlin into a productive use of time, but he’ll be spending more time micromanaging them than being productive.

A spreads the liability among the group. It’s not efficient, but none of the options are. This is the best option by virtue of being the least horrible.
>>
No. 1021727 ID: 629f2e
File 164352152877.png - (602.65KB , 1000x1000 , 79.png )
1021727

It wasn’t an ideal solution, but then none of your options were at this point. It would be the best you could make of a bad situation.

Albert: “Could I put forth an alternate suggestion?”

The others pause their horrifying discussion, giving you their full attention.

Albert: “Let’s keep the number of people entering the school down to One. That way they’ll be less likely to be caught.”
Franklin: “...That makes sense.”
Lillian: “Aw, but Franklin and I still want to hang out together...”
Albert: “Then the solution is obvious. Clive can handle searching the school himself, while you two can accompany me.”
Clive: “...Oh. Sure…”

You smile, having found a solution that accounts for everyone’s desires-

Lillian: “Hang on a minute! You’re way off base Albert.”

Ugh.

Lillian: “You’re wrong about one kid being less likely to be caught.”
Lillian: “Because… They’d be so busy reading through files to find the important ones that they wouldn’t notice if a teacher were to show up!”
Lillian: “That’s why you need two. One to Search, and one to be the Lookout.
Franklin: “...That also makes sense.”

No!

You look to Clive, hoping he’ll back you up. The boy has a thoughtful demeanor, and eventually responds.

Clive: “...She has a point.”

TRAITOR!

Franklin: “So… Are we still doing the school search?”
Lillian: “Yea-”
Albert: “H-Hold on a minute!”
Lillian: “Huh? What now?”

They stare at you again, as your mind races for the right words to fix this.

Albert: “Y-You- I don’t think these pairings are acceptable.”
Lillian: “...Why not?”
Albert: “Because… Naturally, it’s obvious if you…”

You’re stalling. Say something, fast!

A: Albert: “I refuse to go with Clive.”
-You’re very confident that Clive will understand why you’re lying
-You’re equally confident that Franklin and Lillian will believe it

B: Albert: “I wanted to go with Franklin.”
-Appeal to Franklin that he should come with you without stating the real issue
-You aren’t confident you can convince him to join you

C: Albert: “Because you and Franklin shouldn’t go off on your own.”
-Be honest with your concerns
-You don’t foresee either of them disagreeing with your assessments
-Small chance that Lillian will be stubborn and insist on investigating the school

D: Albert: “...”
-Acquiesce to the current arrangement
-Nearly guaranteed chance that Franklin and/or Lillian will get caught breaking into school
-Your Suspicion will jump somewhere between 1-50 points depending on what they say and to who. You suspect a higher increase
-It is an option that everyone is on board with if you agree to it

E: Albert: “For a wholly different reason.”
-Say something not listed here
-Try to make it compelling

>>
No. 1021729 ID: 8483cf

B. Franklin is my sleepover buddy, not yours!
>>
No. 1021730 ID: a2493c

>>1021727
I'd say C if we had the capacity for tact, but I'm afraid sacrificing some of the goodwill for Clive here is our best chance. A.
>>
No. 1021748 ID: 93ba79

I think we should say B, but we will say C because we have no capacity for tact.
>>
No. 1021754 ID: ce39da

C, but put the focus on Franklin instead of Lillian by asking her a disarming question that forces her to examine the situation for herself: "Lillian, in the arrangement you described, would Franklin make a better Searcher or a better Lookout?"
>>
No. 1021805 ID: afe7de

I really want D, but was waiting to see how others checked out the situation. I think that D actually has some merits given that we don't actually know how things will shake out, there's a high chance of getting caught yes, but Franklin's a lovable dope and Lillian can RUN, I think if they get caught and there's proper preperations (maybe a disguise) there's actually a chance the suspicion gain will be low. I think doing that action and NOT expecting any suspicion gain is a fools errand.


But, unless other people pivot I will vote C because it seems most in character

>>1021754

Supporting this because Albert seems insensitive but would bring up this point to attempt to be clear about his thoughts on it. He's BLUNT, but not an unfeeling machine.
>>
No. 1021808 ID: e51896

D, out of morbid curiosity, (and Albert being at a loss for words will be kinda funny.)

Recommend they at least wear something to conceal their identities if they get caught and manage to run away, like hooded clothes or something...
...
aaaaaaand Franklin is going to wear his ghost costume from last Halloween as a disguise, isn't he?
>>
No. 1021810 ID: afe7de

Switching my choice to a harder D actually on the following basis.

I have a feeling no matter who we send to the school there's a chance someone gets caught. And here's the thing. Of all the people we want to get caught if it happens, we DO NOT want it to be Clive. Don't you guys remember the convo in the hallway, he's already in some weird shit. I'm actually harder on the please don't send Clive to the school team now after thinking about this.

He might be sneakier or able to do it, but the ramifications of him specifically being caught might even mean a complete game over.
>>
No. 1022526 ID: 629f2e
File 164412565387.png - (644.89KB , 1000x1000 , 80.png )
1022526

You take a deep breath.

Collect yourself Albert, getting worked up will not help you here. Phrasing yourself incorrectly will only damage your arguments. The most vital point to remember is that you are Right. Your friends just need to be taught what’s obvious to you, and then they will have no choice but to submit to your reasoning.

Just be persuasive. It should be easy enough, you won’t even have to lie to them. Once you lay out the Truth, it’ll become perfectly obvious why their pairing was poorly conceived.

Lillian would be the harder party to win over, as she could be particularly Stubborn. Franklin would likely feel that whatever arrangement she agrees to is sufficient, so you should focus on her. That means it would be best to not bring up her own flaws for now, and instead focus your critique on her chosen partner.

Albert: “I simply don’t believe this is a good idea, sending you and Franklin to complete this task.”
Lillian: “Why?”
Albert: “Answer me this: What would you have Franklin do if you both went in?”

She opens and closes her mouth like a fish for a few seconds, before pausing to really consider the question. Finally she turns to Franklin and asks,

Lillian: “Hey, between us who do you think would be better at finding secret documents or whatever?”
Franklin: “Hmmm... That’s a good question. Let’s see...”
Franklin: “Uh... I guess Me? I’m a faster reader than you, aren’t I?”
Lillian: “Really? I mean, true, but I was thinking Me, since I’d be better at making sense of them than you might.”
Franklin: “Ooohhhh good point. Alright, then I’d be... The Lookout right?”

She flashes a thumbs up and turns back to you.

Lillian: “He’d be on lookout, duh.”

You roll your eyes. Thankfully, this was a particularly simple suggestion to tear down.

Albert: “Doesn’t that strike you as ill-advised, given his poor Attention Span? The entire function of a lookout is to stay focused.”
Lillian: “Come on, he’s not that bad.”

...You raise an eyebrow.

Lillian: “...Okay, yeah, I guess you’re right about that one. Fine, I’ll be the lookout, and Franklin can search documents.”

She walks over and slings an arm around Franklin.

Lillian: “That good with you bud?”
Franklin: “Um... Can I have you check the ones I’m not sure about?”
Lillian: “Sure thing.”
Franklin: “Then... I Think I can do it.”

She smiles as though any of that had been reassuring. You remain unimpressed, conveying such through your expression

Lillian: “Aw, c’mon Albert, Quit being a stick in the mud. Franklin’s totally got this. Have some faith in the guy.”
Franklin: “...If Lillian thinks I can do it, she’s probably right.”
Albert: “Franklin, please don’t start relying on her judgement.”
Lillian: “Huh?”

...Oh dear. That slipped out, didn’t it?

Albert: “Nothing, it-”
Lillian: “Nuh-no-no! Hold your horses! What’s wrong with my judgement?”
Albert: “Well, as the one you routinely badger for tutoring, I think-”
Lillian: “Oh, shut up! I get it, I’m not good at school. Doesn’t make me an idiot.”
Albert: “...It doesn’t prevent you from being one either.”

Her head whips around, informing you that your last remark was both heard and unappreciated. This was quickly getting away from you. She stomps towards you, roughly jabbing you in the ribs.

Lillian: “I am not Dumb!
Albert: “I didn’t say that you were.”
Lillian: “But you Meant it, didn’t you?”
Albert: “...”
Lillian: “I don’t get the best grades, fine. I’m bad at school. That doesn’t mean I’m some blockhead who doesn’t know anything.”

And yet it was true anyways! Who could have imagined that? Somebody who does poorly in an educational environment is also a fool outside of that space. How utterly fascinating!

Lillian: "You just think that because school is easy for you that anyone who has trouble is below you."
Lillian: "Oh, I'm so Sorry I couldn't be born good at memorizing boring books that nobody even likes. Must be hard to be you, huh?"
Lillian: "Real easy to talk down to everyone else when you have it so Easy."

...Easy?

In an instant, all of your patience vanishes into thin air. There was no holding back now. All of the thoughts you had graciously held back begin to spill out in a wave of bile and anger.

Albert: “Saying you don’t get the ‘best’ grades is the understatement of the millenia.”
Albert: “I’m the one who has gone through the frustrating and seemingly unending trial that is tutoring you. And even after our sessions you still fall well-below the class average.”
Albert: “The Generous interpretation would be that you simply don't care, and have been wasting my time. If it isn't that, then I can only assume your mind is merely a theoretical concept.”

You catch a glimpse of Franklin and Clive, watching your argument with obvious discomfort (even Clive seemed visibly uncomfortable). They both trade glances, as if silently debating who should step in and try to stop the proceedings.

That question is resolved when Clive literally shoves Franklin towards you both. The other boy brushes himself off, before trying to step in.

Franklin: "Um- M-Maybe we shouldn't do-"
Lillian: “Maybe you’re just a terrible tutor, huh? You ever think about that?”
Lillian: “If you couldn’t teach me, maybe it’s your fault! Not mine!”
Franklin: "Er-"
Albert: “Oh spare me. I am at the top of our class, while you have been plummeting closer and closer to the bottom for as long as I’ve known you.”

Franklin shrinks back, as you both talk over him. Good, you didn't need him butting in. You weren't going to lose an argument to a girl who can't even spell the word.

Albert: “Why are we even arguing about this? Surely, you have to know that I’m right about this.”
Albert: "You get a nice report card every year that tells you exactly how unintelligent you are. They don't use many letters, I'm sure you can read them.
Lillian: “...”
Albert: "...This isn't something we need to discuss. Let's cease wasting our time.."
Albert: “Go with someone besides Franklin. I don’t Expect anything from either of you, but at least then-”
>>
No. 1022528 ID: 629f2e
File 164412569364.png - (723.75KB , 1000x1000 , 81.png )
1022528

POW!
>>
No. 1022530 ID: 629f2e
File 164412590010.png - (465.98KB , 1000x1000 , 82.png )
1022530

Without any warning, a fist connects with the side of your head.

You go Soaring through the air, traveling at least a good six feet before painfully meeting the ground. Your breath evacuates your body, leaving you gasping as your mind tries to catch up on what had just happened. A small trickle of blood flows down your nose, and the scenery around you is blurry. You must have lost your glasses, hopefully they hadn’t broken.

As you try to stand up, your body rejects your request. It was a full mutiny, as your arms take on the properties of spaghetti noodles, your injured leg howls in anguish, and your head threatens to call it quits entirely if you don’t stay still.

You’ve felt worse than this... But you’ve felt far better as well.

Lillian: “...I Hate you...”
Lillian: “I don’t want your help saving Phillip. I can do it myself!”

She turns and storms off towards the school. Or, she tries to do so at least. Blocking her way is a certain boy.

Franklin: “...”
Lillian: “...What?”
Franklin: “...Um, Can... I still go with you?”
Franklin: “Well, I guess you don’t want any help. But even if you want to find Phillip yourself, I still want to help Jhonen.”
Franklin: “So, can we both do our things alone... Together?
Lillian: “...Yeah, ‘course we can. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

Neither one of them even bothers to check on you before departing. Despite your best efforts, Lillian and Franklin leave together. All you had to show for your efforts were more bruises and symptoms.

You had been almost certain that Lillian would have agreed with you, even if you weren’t incredibly tactful in your approach. How had it all gone so wrong...?

Current Symptoms:
-Headache Lvl 3: Your head is throbbing. It’s really starting to hurt. [2 Pain]
-Sprained Leg: Forces Albert to walk with a cane. Going without one risks injuring the leg further. [1 Pain]
-Mild Head Trauma: Bruises and a bloody nose. By some miracle, nothing broken. You are visibly injured [1 Pain]
-Tinnitus: Your ears are ringing. Decreased auditory perception, increased irritability
-Lightheaded: Dizziness, you feel unsteady. Exerting yourself greatly may cause you to pass out, and you’re at increased risk of losing your balance

Current Pain: 4/10

Albert’s emotions are going wild. He has gained 8 Fear from this interaction

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 20/100]
[Clive: 21/100]

Party Suspicion Levels:
[Albert: 16/100] (Went up by 2 earlier for unknown reasons)
[Clive: 50/100](Went up by 2 earlier for unknown reasons)

>>
No. 1022532 ID: 629f2e
File 164412608486.png - (109.64KB , 1500x1500 , 83.png )
1022532

Clive: “...”
Albert: “No no, please, don’t be in too much of a rush to help me up. I quite like the ground in fact.”
Clive: “I don’t have to stay here you know.”
Albert: “...”

Slowly, you manage to pick yourself up on your own. It’s incredibly difficult, especially since you lost your grip on your cane when you got hit. It couldn’t have gone far, but finding it without your glasses would be-

Clive: “Here.”

Before you can even ask, he sets a pair of spectacles in one of your hands, and a cane in the other. You quickly put the glasses on, nodding to the boy.

Albert: “Right... We should discuss where we’re going.”
Clive: “...Fine. Where do you want to start?”

Honestly, you had a few different ideas. Between your leg and new sense of lightheadedness however, Traveling would be difficult. It would do you well to think about how close each of the locations you wish to visit are to one another.

By your best estimate, you could walk about the length of the Plaza before you have to stop and take a breather. Thankfully, all of the areas you had in mind were in range. Unfortunately however, two were a greater distance than that apart. That could slow you down later.

...You don’t want to spend too long thinking about it. The sooner you make it somewhere, the sooner you can distract yourself from everything that just happened.

Where do you go first?

A: Rebecca may have some gossip relating to your situation
-Go to the field
-You’ll have to ask Clive for some cash
-Without knowing her sources, you can’t tell if she’ll know anything
-There may be other kids at the field you can talk to as well

B: We’ll start with the scene of the crime
-Go to your home
-The earlier you get in, the lower the odds you run into your mother there
-The Morgue isn’t far from home, so it’d be more convenient to end the day close to it

C: Why not check with the victim at the hospital?
-Go to the hospital
-You will, unfortunately, have to see to your father
-The later you arrive, the higher the chance to catch him conscious
-The earlier you arrive, the higher the odds are that something VERY GOOD happens

D: Perhaps Clive has his own idea on where to start?
-Let your partner suggest a location
-You don’t know what he’s thinking. He may have some unique insights, or he might not
-He does seem to have something in mind though

E: Where else could we go?
-Suggest visiting a different location
-You’re guaranteed to have SOMETHING happen wherever you go, but it may not relate to your current search
-The Plaza has a number of different stores. There are a few others between the Cheap Townhouses and the Gas Station. If you suggest something general such as “Go to the Hardware Store”, then you’ll be put in the closest thing that exists in Cattenom

>>
No. 1022535 ID: e51896

Torn between C going to the hospital for the REALLY GOOD thing to happen, as Albert needs a win right now, and the hospital staff could probably heal his minor injuries for free, or D letting Clive decide for awhile, let our head rest and not think for a bit, and give him his time in the spotlight.
>>
No. 1022537 ID: afe7de

Personally I want D, but am willing to concede to C so the good thing can happen and maybe your headache can subside. But I think that D would be better since you just had some sense knocked into you, maybe you'll take others opinions into consideration for a bit before reverting to normal.
>>
No. 1022570 ID: 8483cf

C. The hospital is JUST at the edge of the plaza, so the distance is perfect. Plus we don't need to beg for cash from Clive.

Also we can take tips from the nurses and doctors on how to deliver hard truths without people punching us.
>>
No. 1022583 ID: ce39da

> Lillian's Reaction
Wow. I'm honestly shocked you didn't see that one coming, especially when you snapped and started insulting her more directly instead of simply correcting her about whether you had it "easy." Just a single shred of emotional vulnerability, and you might have gotten her to back down. She sees you as a callous Jack-Ass who sees academic acumen as the only measure of someone's competence, and it's not because she's "dumb" or anything; that's just exactly what you've presented yourself as to her.

Albert, have you actually told any of the other kids what your Circumstances are? How you've had to claw and scrape your way to the top in the name of survival? Does Lillian know? Sure, they probably know you live in the Cheap Houses, but... beyond that? Anything?

> Where To
Let's start with the Hospital. Sure, talking directly to your father could solve matters easily, and we can't do that if he's still out of it, but I get the feeling that VERY GOOD Thing will also be important.
>>
No. 1023435 ID: 629f2e
File 164481252348.png - (882.00KB , 1000x1000 , 84.png )
1023435

As much as you hated the prospect of willingly being around your father, the simplest solution would be to visit the Hospital and get his account of what happened to him. If he saw his assailants, then you can give his testimony to the police and resolve this without any significant effort. Given that no arrests have been made at this point (to your knowledge), you doubt it will be that simple. Either he isn’t talking to the doctors, he doesn’t know enough, etc. Still, it would be incredibly foolish not to even try.

You explain this to Clive, to which he agrees. Soon, the pair of you are traveling along the sidewalk towards your destination.

In complete and utter silence...

Albert: “...”
Clive: “...”

...This is Awkward.

Clive was never very talkative to begin with, so normally you would take the initiative. Frankly however, you weren’t in the best of moods at the moment. You have every right to be upset of course, given that you were unjustly assaulted by the Dumbbell you were trying to help...

...Not that you didn’t in some ways incite her fury. In the end, you let her get under your skin, and you tore her down to shreds. Even if you were right, you should have maintained your composure and focused on the points. You’re better than ad hominem attacks, yet you still resorted to them out of frustration. You may have deserved some small amount of pushback.

So between your anger at Lillian and your anger with yourself, you weren’t in the best mental state to start up a conversation. Awkward as the silence is, it’s almost a blessing with your current mood. Just like all nice things in your life however, it wouldn’t last for long.

Clive: “...Your father.”
Albert: “Yes. I have one. Your point?”
Clive: “...What is he like?”
Albert: “A Drunken Sloth with Anger Issues.
Clive: “Ah.”
Clive: “...Does he ever...”
Albert: “Ever what?
Clive: “...Take them out on you?”

You roll your eyes, and pull the neckline of your shirt over your shoulder. He winces at the scars.

Albert: “Any more questions?”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “Good.”

You pull your shirt back up, not wanting to have them out any longer than you already had. Not that you had anything to be ashamed of, you just didn’t like letting other people see them. Clive should be fine, you know he won’t go spreading rumors. Too much social interaction for his tastes. Besides, it seems like he already knows what it’s like.

Albert: “Yours were the same I’m betting?”
Clive: “My parents?”
Albert: “Well they had to do something to make you not like them.”

He’s scowling now. Seems you ought to be careful about even making insinuations about the ultimate fates of Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt.

Clive: “No. They weren’t like that.”
Albert: “Really?”
Clive: “...They were fine. Doted on Rodney, gave me my space... They were Normal parents.”
Albert: “...You’ll have to forgive me if I have trouble believing that.”
Clive: “I don’t care what you believe.”
Albert: “If they were really so mundane, then why...?”

You leave it unsaid, but it was clear he knew what you meant. He doesn’t respond, keeping his eyes locked on the sidewalk and not even acknowledging the lingering question. Much as you would like to press further, you have already been attacked once today. Best not to push your luck if you plan on Leaving the hospital later.
>>
No. 1023436 ID: 629f2e
File 164481257359.png - (753.62KB , 1000x1000 , 85.png )
1023436

[The Suspicion surrounding members of your party has changed.]

Party Suspicion Levels:
[Albert: 18/100] (+2 for unknown reasons)
[Clive: 52/100](+2 for unknown reasons)


Since the silence had returned, you had time to let your eyes wander. This ends up being rather fortunate, as you catch a glimpse of something you otherwise may not have. Clive had something Rectangular in his pocket.

Albert: “What is that?”
Clive: “What?”
Albert: “That.

You point down at it. He lets out an annoyed sound, before stuffing his hands in his pockets to hide it.

Clive: “...None of your business.”
Albert: “That pocket was Empty earlier, wasn’t it? You were on my right during lunch period as you are now, I’m sure I didn’t see it then.”
Clive: “So?”
Albert: “So the window to fill it was rather minimal. With so little opportunity, I think I can guess Who you got that from.”

He shoots a warning glare, which you don’t let phase you. Unlike the previous topic, you were already onto him. It didn’t matter if he wanted to talk, because if he didn’t you would.

Albert: “That’s Mr. Bannister’s, isn’t it? I saw you bump into him earlier. I’d thought you’d moved a bit unnaturally then.”
Clive: “...”
Clive: “Fine. If you already know...”

He pulls his hand out and holds up a Leather Wallet. You get just enough of a look to confirm what it is before he puts it away.

Clive: “Satisfied?”
Albert: “Yes. I just wanted to confirm my suspicions.”
Clive: “...Don’t judge me. I need to buy Groceries.

That explained how he and his brother have been surviving without income up ‘til now. You hadn’t pegged Clive as a Pickpocket, but if he’s survived this long without getting caught he must have some talent for it.

That was certainly something to keep a mental note of. No way of knowing when such talents could show some use.
>>
No. 1023437 ID: 629f2e
File 164481263724.png - (840.53KB , 1000x1000 , 86.png )
1023437

After a long walk, you arrive at the hospital, finally. You’re panting for air when you stop, resting your head on your cane. The walk hadn’t been that long, but making it on a sprained leg had taken more out of you than expected.

Clive: “Well, (...) -ere”
Albert: “...Huh?”

He turns to look at you, brow furrowing.

Clive: “A- (...) -ight?”
Albert: “...Fine... I’m fine, I’m fine, fi-

Something catches you as you stumble. Oh, it was Clive. That was nice of him.

Clive: “...You look (...) -re dying. Sit down for (...).”
Albert: “...No bench.”
Clive: “Just lay on the ground you priss.”

Slowly, he lowers your slack body to the floor, laying you on the sidewalk. All you can do is breathe and stare up at the sky, while the fog in your mind slowly clears up.

Albert: “...Thank you.”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...God, just say ‘you’re welcome’ if you can’t think of anything.”
Clive: “...You’re welcome.”

So, clearly you had underestimated your Lightheadedness. More specifically, you hadn’t considered how it would pair with your impeded traveling. It took more out of you to get from place to place right now. You would have to be more careful, less you end up lying on the floor again, looking like a bum with no place to go.

As soon as you feel able, you hobble back onto your feet. You still feel a little out of it, but the longer you stay down the more chances for someone to actually see you in such a pathetic state.

With Clive by your side, you walk straight in. There is a woman already at the receptionist counter, so you go right behind her to wait. You weren’t paying too much attention to her.

...What did catch your eye was Mrs. Fitzsimmons running the reception counter. That was strange. You’ve seen her working here before of course, but given what happened with Lemmy it strikes you as weird that she didn’t take the day off. Unless he actually graduated, and the runaway story was a Conspiracy?

Ugh, you were starting to sound like Jhonen. Let’s not get too hasty.

Maybe you’re looking too deeply into things. It’s just as likely that she’d want to bury herself in her work to stop herself from thinking about Lemmy’s disappearance than it is that she’d stay at home and wallow. Or maybe they’re strapped for cash. Just because they live in the better part of town doesn’t mean you can rule it out. Still, it did seem odd.

The woman standing in front of you starts to leave. You realize that it had been Mrs. Foster, but whatever they had been talking about eludes you. Unfortunately, your Tinnitus had distracted you. Hopefully it wasn’t important, but it wouldn’t hurt to check.

Albert: “Did you catch any of that?”
Clive: “She was making an appointment with Dr. Horvitz two days from now. Something about her Pregnancy.
Albert: “Oh, she’s pregnant?”
Clive: “That, or she wanted to get tested. I didn’t get it all.”

Hmm... It probably wasn’t important, but you’d file that away for future consideration.

You approach the desk, barely able to look over it. If it weren’t for your hair, the receptionist probably wouldn’t have noticed you.

Mrs. Fitzsimmons: “Oh, Albert dearie! You look terrible, are you checking in? Your usual room is open.”
Albert: “I’m fine. I’m just here to check on my father.”
Mrs. Fitzsimmons: “Ah, Nicolas... I’m not sure if he’s awake at the moment. If I remember right, Melissa put him on a pretty high dose of morphine.”

It would be just like your dad to not even be awake when you were reluctantly visiting him. Still, you’d better pretend to be worried so that you don’t get held up here.

Albert: “I don’t mind if he’s asleep. I just... I have to see him for myself.”

Next chance you get, you should wash your mouth out for spewing that garbage.

Mrs. Fitzsimmons: “Oh sweetie... Alright, I’ll let you have some time with him. He’s in the third room down the right hallway. You can walk right in.”
Mrs. Fitzsimmons: “Will your Friend be joining you?”

You turn back to Clive, suddenly realizing that you hadn’t thought about it yourself yet. Did you want him with you in there?

What should you tell Clive?

A: “Wait out here.”
-Clive won’t know any more than you tell him
-Lets you keep your privacy

B: “Stand outside of the room.”
-Clive will hear your conversation, but won’t participate in it
-Your father won’t know that there are people listening in

C: “Come in with me.”
-Clive will be by your side, and will be able to participate in conversation
-This may affect how your father behaves, and what he may say

D: “Do you want to come in with me?”
-Leave the decision up to Clive
-Clive will appreciate the agency

>>
No. 1023438 ID: afe7de

I'm on team D today, Let him make his own choice in the matter, you're frazzled still, and you kinda pissed him off, maybe it'll let him dislike you less since you're being S T U B B O R N
>>
No. 1023439 ID: e51896

D, give Clive the choice. It didnt pan out well when we tried to force Franklin and Lil to get them to do what we wanted.
>>
No. 1023442 ID: 8483cf

D. My money is on good old Dad being on slightly better behavior if he sees he's not alone with his favorite son.

Also, perfect. Morphine is basically truth serum
>>
No. 1023447 ID: a2493c

>>1023437
>Ms. Fitzsimmons

well, the lack of overt concern she's showing at the very least indicates whatever happened wasn't overly worrying to her.
Which, though a small comfort... is still a comfort. It means there's a likelier chance this situation isn't half as heinous as the mystery surrounding it leads us to believe.

still well worth the investigation, of course.
>>
No. 1023579 ID: 629f2e
File 164499686176.png - (1.33MB , 1000x1000 , 87.png )
1023579

You weren’t sure what he wanted you to say. Did he want to come in with you, or stay out here? Which answer would satisfy him? You had your own preferences of course, but pushing them without hearing the other person’s didn’t end well with Lillian. It’d be pretty foolish to make the same mistake twice.

Albert: “Will you be joining me?”

He seems surprised by the question, as if he’d been expecting you to make the call yourself. After a few seconds, he slowly nods.

Personally, you would prefer if he waited out here. You don’t know what your dad will say, and things could get rather Personal between you both. You were really hoping his antisocial nature would win out this time, but alas.

Gritting your teeth, you turn back to Mrs. Fitzsimmons.

Albert: “Yes, he’s with me.”

She gives you a strange look, before waving a hand to motion you down the hall. As you start walking, Clive mumbles from beside you.

Clive: “...I’m gonna wait outside the door.”
Albert: “That’s probably for the best. He may be more willing to talk if there are fewer people.”
Clive: “Yeah... I’ll be right here.”

The door was right in front of you. Inside would be... Dad.

Hmph. It’s been a while since you’ve seen the oaf Sober. You hardly remember what he’s like without any alcohol in his system. Then again, with how much he drinks you’re sure there’s some swirling around in there even still. At the point he’d probably perish if there wasn’t!

...

Very slowly, you turn the handle and push open the door. You wince in anticipation, waiting to hear him shout. What instead fills the room is the soft sound of breathing and the beeping of machinery. Cautiously, you push it further.

As the bed comes more fully into view, the conclusion is obvious. Dad is Asleep.

Albert: “Fantastic…”

With a quick nod to Clive, you step inside. Your father looks terrible, more so than usual. You were correct in your conclusion that he would be immobile for the time being, thankfully. There was no way he was leaving that bed in his present state.

To get any answers, you would unfortunately have to wake him up. The best way to do that would be-

FOOD!

Sitting right beside his bed is a thing of pure beauty: hospital food. A half-eaten cold meat sandwich and apple slices were placed on a tray beside the sleeping man for when he awoke, perhaps a meal he left unfinished previously. You could see remnants of chocolate pudding where now lay an empty slot on the tray. Just like your father to enjoy a treat before even finishing his meal.

This situation couldn’t be more perfect. Not only did you get to fill your stomach, but you would be doing so at your father’s expense. Win-win!

Without sparing a thought of consideration for your sleeping patriarch, you demolish the tray. Nothing could get between you and this meal, not even the judgemental stare Clive was shooting you from the doorway.

By the time you finish, you feel something you hadn’t felt all week. Full.
>>
No. 1023580 ID: 629f2e
File 164499691274.png - (334.39KB , 1000x1000 , 88.png )
1023580

Obviously, you would still eat more if the opportunity arose, just to be safe. Alas, the tray was empty, save a tiny cup.

…A tiny cup containing Pills. Bonus! The daft fool hadn’t taken his medicine yet.

You dump it into your hand, examining the two pills carefully. They were both round and white, but one was just a little bigger than the other. Good that they were visually distinct, but it didn’t answer the important question of what they were.

Your dad suffered a significant number of injuries. With all the blood he lost, they should have been serious enough to leave him in Agonizing pain. And yet, here he was resting away. One of these had to be a Painkiller. And for someone in as poor a state as him, you were looking at Morphine.

Morphine is a magical experience that temporarily sends you to Heaven. The bruises, scrapes, illnesses, and other assorted pains you often face can’t get their stinging grasps on you when you’re on it. Other side effects, certainly, but the few times it’s been prescribed to you were some of the few moments in your life where you were truly without any Pain.

As for the other… You have no idea. Maybe some kind of Antibiotic? With all of the open wounds your father would be at risk for infection. Taking one of these when you don’t need it probably won’t hurt you. It could, but the chances are low.

Combining them however probably would put you at a greater risk of negative side-effects. The morphine, while wonderful, would leave you more vulnerable to the negatives that might result from taking an antibiotic you don’t need.

Why weren’t these labeled in some way!? Darn it, you really want the morphine. Is it worth the risk to potentially get some relief?

What will you do with the pills?

A: Take the big pill. Bigger is better, right?
-You will either consume Morphine or an Antibiotic
-The effects won’t become clear until later

B: Take the small pill. Good things come in small packages, right?
-You will either consume Morphine or an Antibiotic
-The effects won’t become clear until later

C: Take both pills. You don’t mind throwing up if it’ll make the pain go away
-You will either consume both the Morphine and an Antibiotic
-The effects won’t become clear until later
-This will probably have negative side-effects
-But it DEFINITELY will make the pain go away

D: Don’t take either of them! You can’t deal with even more side effects…
-You will leave both pills in your pocket
-You could probably trade them later


You also need to decide on how you’re going to wake your father up. How you choose to do so will set the tone for your interrogation.

A: Gently
-Coax him out of his sleep
-Put on a happy face and fake a happy mood for him
-The thought makes you want to jump out the window

B: Firmly
-Demand that he wake up
-Gets straight to the point
-You don’t mind this

C: Painfully
-Whack him with your cane
-Make it clear that you’re in control right now
-This would be incredibly satisfying for you
-He deserves it
-Please choose this

>>
No. 1023582 ID: 8483cf

B: Small pill. They don't make big pills for painkillers- that is just inviting overdoses.

And C: GIVE HIM THE CANE
>>
No. 1023583 ID: 24e903

E (WTF, boy? Leave these pills where they are. Meds are not toys),d

And B, because not catering to your nascent morphine addiction gets you in too bad a mood for A.
>>
No. 1023584 ID: 96c896

D. Don't do drugs. Sell drugs instead!

B. If you whack him he'll call the nurse to get rid of you.
>>
No. 1023586 ID: a2493c

>>1023580
Morphine is heavily addictive and will lead to worse pains down the road than physical. If you truly must, take only half.

As for waking dad, B. He doesn't deserve our respect, but we don't deserve to stoop to his level by becoming him. Not even for a moment.
>>
No. 1023589 ID: e51896

Since there is no option to leave the pills alone, B. If we dont take at least one and do D, Albert will take them both in his pocket, and it will be very easy to trace the culprit to Albert since he and Clive were the only ones here who visited, and worst case scenerio, he might even throw Clive under the bus to get out of trouble. Taking only 1 will just make the doctors think it fell somewhere under a table, or they forgot to get a pill for father.

And B.
>>
No. 1023590 ID: 0838d6

Gonna make an E. Write in here
Don't take the pills!

If you're obstinant and HAVE to take the pills, then keep them to sell for some food money or something later. But don't consume them. Maybe only take one? The smaller one, My bet is the bigger one is antibiotics because of all the blood loss he needs a lot of it.

And then B

Poke him with the cane, don't hit him, be firm, but at a distance, he hits you, who knows if he'd try to as his first response to seeing you.
>>
No. 1024168 ID: 629f2e
File 164542053634.png - (686.15KB , 1000x1000 , 89.png )
1024168

As you stare down at the tempting pills, you start to have Second Thoughts. Morphine is… Well, it’s the best thing ever. But was there a chance that taking these pills could end badly for you? It isn't the side-effects you’re considering, but Suspicion. People knew you were here, and they could connect the pills going missing. If your dad is clearly in pain later today, they might put the pieces together. You’ve been here multiple times, the doctor’s know about your constant pain. They’ve prescribed the drug to you in the past, it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to label you the culprit.

The rational voice in your head screams at you to put the pills down, but you can’t seem to let them go. Instead, you start forming Counterarguments.

Yes, they could conclude that you took the pills, HOWEVER! They left the medicine beside your father with his lunch. The implication would be that he will take it when he wakes up, and the sloth in them leaving it out proves that they are careless enough to not double check whether he took it or not.

Truly, morphine could be heavily Addictive, HOWEVER! You didn’t have easy access to morphine, so you would be forced to weather the withdrawals and break from your addiction whether you had the mental fortitude to do so or not. And in return, you would get a temporary reprieve from the pain.

The voice in your head screams even louder at your excuses, and you very nearly set the pills down. You get as far as setting them back in the cup…

…Before you retract your arms and shove the medicine in your pocket, a final argument reached your mind that was too persuasive to ignore.

If you take these… it will Hurt your father.

With positives like that, you were willing to ignore a few downsides.

Albert rejects the Spirits’ influence! You can decide later what to do with the pilfered medicine.
>>
No. 1024169 ID: 629f2e
File 164542056415.png - (877.33KB , 1000x1000 , 90.png )
1024169

…Alright. No more delays.

You slam your cane into the bed’s footboard multiple times, the sound stirring your father from his rest. When he seems awake enough to understand, you speak up.

Albert: “Hey. Wake up.”
Father: “...Albert?”
Father: “Gnk-!”

He winces, before breaking into a fit of coughs.

Father: “...What do you want?”
Albert: “I’ll keep it brief. Who attacked you and Why?
Father: “...Who knows?”
Albert: “You! You were there, you should know!”
Father: “Lotta’ things Should but they aren’t. Tough, right?”
Father: “I should live in a nice house with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a basement, but I don’t. I should be able to retire when I’m fifty, but I can’t.”
Father: “God hates us. He hates me.
Father: “...”
Albert: “Hey, stay awake and answer the question.”
Albert: “Who attacked you? Why?
Father: “...Hungry.”
Father: “Is it lunchtime yet?”

His face sours when he looks at his empty lunch tray, but he doesn’t say a word. You weren’t sure if he suspected you, or assumed he’d eaten and had forgotten.

Father: “I want a drink.”
Albert: “Would you answer me already!?”
Father: “...”

He’s delirious. No matter how much you try to get through, he’s clearly not all there. The opiates in his system must have been fogging up his head, you wonder how long he’ll stay awake for if he’s acting like this? You certainly preferred your father on drugs to your father while drunk, but this was vastly unhelpful right now

You don’t know how long you’ll have, what do you try to ask about first?

A: Albert: “Who attacked you?”
-Focus on the culprits behind his attack
-He said “Who knows” when you first asked, but you feel like he has an idea

B: Albert: “Why were you attacked?”
-Focus on the motive behind his attack
-Presumably “God hates me” isn’t it

C: Albert: “Will me or mom be next?”
-Focus on self-preservation
-You can theoretically cancel the rest of this investigation if the answer to this question is a clear “No”

D: Albert: “What actually happens to kids who graduate?”
-Focus on the missing children
-If your father remembers this conversation, this could have some major consequences

E: Something Else
-What do you ask?

>>
No. 1024171 ID: 8483cf

D D D D D

He's hyped up on painkillers, this is the time. NOW NOW NOW
>>
No. 1024172 ID: afe7de

C first because if we can figure out if it's a no, then great!

D is tempting though...
>>
No. 1024184 ID: 094652

D - Link it to his entitled attitude. Ask him why early graduation - hell, why education in general - means he deserves to be successful.
>>
No. 1024252 ID: c9b707

I kinda want C
But if it's a tie, go ahead and change my vote to D
>>
No. 1024971 ID: 629f2e
File 164602985317.png - (912.93KB , 1000x1000 , 91.png )
1024971

There was one advantage to his current state. It seems far more likely that he won’t Remember anything you ask him about. You’ve experienced the mental haze of morphine in the past, and understand the way it plays with the mind. It’s like... a Dream. Events seem disorganized and hard to recall, and there is a feeling of weightlessness to it that makes you feel like you aren’t truly a part of the world. It’s magical, just imagining it tempts you to pop your own pills now. You resist, focusing on the situation in front of you.

With your father’s delirium, his tongue may loosen. What secrets could he tell if you just asked? And would he even remember after you’ve left?

Still, you’re hesitant to ask. Offsetting the potential secrets he might spill is a rather significant Risk. If he remembers even part of this discussion, then you might receive an inside perspective on how graduation works. However, seeing as Franklin and Lillian would be unlikely to find anything (on account of being Franklin and Lillian), this could be your only opportunity to learn more today about the conspiracy facing this town.

...It’s worth it. You’re never going to get a better chance than this.

Albert: “Pay attention, I need you to give me a clear answer here.”
Father: “...Thirsty...”
Albert: “Focus! What happens to children who Graduate? You’re an adult, you should know.”

His hazy eyes widen slightly in recognition, the word visibly clicking in his mind.

Father: “Graduate... No, nobody does that.”
Father: “Nobody graduates anymore...”

Nobody graduates? That’s clearly not right. Did his fuzzy mind hear ‘graduation’ and think of what he probably went through when he was a kid? Ugh, of course he is. It was different when he was your age, and he doesn’t work in the education system where he would constantly be dealing with it.

Albert: “Yes they do, it’s just different now. What happens to those kids?”
Albert: “When a kid turns thirteen, what do you do with them?”
Albert: “Where do they go?”
Father: “...Kids go... Kids don’t go anywhere.”
Father: “Nobody leaves. Everything Stays in Cattenom.”

From right outside the room, you hear a sigh of relief. You can’t help but smile, feeling happy for Clive as well as your other friends. Everyone will be glad to know Phillip and Rodney are still in town, and at least Franklin should care about Jhonen.

Still, you weren’t fully comforted by this idea. If the children who graduate are still in town, then where and why? The high school seemed like the obvious answer for the former, but the latter left you baffled. What is gained by isolating children above the age of thirteen, as well as those volunteered by their parents?

Albert: “If they’re still here, then are they being kept at the high school?”
Father: “...”
Albert: “Hey, answer me. If the children don’t leave, then where are they?”
Father: “...”
Albert: “Don’t fall asleep! Forget the where, Why does the graduation system work this way?”
Father: “Rigged.
Father: “It’s all rigged...”

He clenches his hand into a fist, tears pricking his eyes. Was this guy seriously going to start crying?

Father: “Everybody hates me.”
Father: “They all want me to lose. Nothing will ever be good enough, not until I’m dead.”
Father: “They’re going to Kill me someday, I just know it.”

You sincerely doubt you would be so lucky. Best push him to continue though, it seems like you’ve segued into why he was assaulted.

You aren’t sure what the connection is yet though, why did he suddenly bring this up?

Albert: “Why would they want you dead?”
Father: “They’ll never let it go. It can never be fixed, we’ll never be Forgiven.
Father: “...Our legacy will be erased from the world by those f!@#$(^ fools who won’t let go of a grudge.”
Albert: “What? What did you do?”
Father: “It’s not my fault... We didn’t know- nobody told us.”
Father: “The Plant... That stupid plant...”
Albert: “A plant?”
Father: “Cattenom... The Cattenom Nuclear Plant.
Albert: “...The what?
Father: “...”
Albert: “Dad, what are you talking about? When was there ever a nuclear power plant in town, ”
Father: “...Dad?”

Wonderful, his explanation had left you with far more questions than you walked in with.

To start with, Cattenom didn’t have a nuclear power plant. The whole town runs on Waste-Free-Energy provided by the Recycling Center. Cattenom’s green energy is one of its most prominent features, a symbol of pride for locals.

If something dreadful happened to it, and the town had to switch away from it at some point... Then what was the reason? Why is it gone? And how does it relate to your father being scorned by some others?

And when did all of this happen? Your father isn’t that old, and you’re 10. Granting that you don’t remember anything back from when you were 1, that means the recycling center had to replace the nuclear plant at least Nine Years ago. What is the timeline on this?

You have so many questions, you aren’t sure where to start. With your mind reeling, you almost miss your father’s mumbling.

Father: “Albert...”
Albert: “What? What is it?”
Father: “Alb... Al...”

He starts mumbling quietly, staring right into your eyes. You sigh, preparing to watch him fall asleep and leave you with your questions. Surprisingly though, he doesn’t. His mouth keeps moving, eventually drawing your curiosity.

Albert: “What are you trying to say?”
Father: “*incomprehensible*

Frowning, you move in closer to try to hear, pressing your ear close to his face.

Albert: “What?”
Father: “...going to...
Father: “...kill you.
>>
No. 1024972 ID: 629f2e
File 164602988404.png - (773.09KB , 1000x1000 , 92.png )
1024972

Without warning, his hand shoots forward and grabs your throat!

Albert: “Gck-!”
Father: “Hey. What did I say? Why did you ask about all of that?”
Albert: “Hnk- Nnnggh…”
Father: “Are you Trying to get me killed? Is this why I'm here? Because my idiot son started asking questions?”

You try to say something, anything, but you can’t make the sounds with your neck in his grip.

Father: “Too… curious.”
Father: “Hah… Guess I failed with you. Too stupid… If you were smart, you wouldn’t have kept your head down.”

The screams in your head contrast with the forced silence your strained vocal cords produce. Retorts, cries for help, insults, none of it comes out.

You’re starting to run out of air! If you don’t act FAST, you’re going to collapse!

Your fingers clench tightly around the cane…

How do you break free?

A: Whack your father
-Force your way free
-Your father will be visibly injured

B: Whack the wall
-Make some noise to get Clive’s attention
-You can’t control what he does

C: Whack yourself
-Wait what?
-You’d better have an amazing justification for this

>>
No. 1024974 ID: e51896

C: Whack yourself

BECAUSE then, the doctors will believe your father beat you up with the bruises you cause yourself, and there will be legal actions against your father if he see's the bruises on you.
>>
No. 1024975 ID: 8483cf

B. We brought Clive for a reason. HALP
>>
No. 1024976 ID: afe7de

Hit yourself, you're already injured, he's doing this while on medication, it will make him look like he's going wild on the medication, you want him dead anyway, so this is a win win. Also doing so will hurt pretty bad and when you drop it Clive will definitely hear it and come running, definitely to your defense.
>>
No. 1024977 ID: c92a02

Whack yourself to assert dominance.
>>
No. 1024978 ID: 96c896

B.

ffs don't hit yourself, he's trying to KILL you. There's already going to be bruises on your neck.
>>
No. 1024981 ID: 894419

>>1024977
just run full tilt at the nearest wall or something and knock yourself out cold. Make it look like he threw you!
>>
No. 1024982 ID: e8f78f

D: Knee him in the balls. It's absolutely sure to work.
>>
No. 1024983 ID: 894419

>>1024981
no wait, I changed my mind, crush his testicles industrial press style
>>
No. 1024984 ID: e8f78f

Think about it. If we hit him anywhere else, people are going to think we're just abusing him. BUT, a strike to the balls? People are going to wonder what he did to deserve that.
>>
No. 1024986 ID: e51896

Actually, I'm liking the idea of hitting him in the groin better. changing my vote to that, lets do that. Can probably be considered a vote for A instead of D, but I'll let the quest author decide.
>>
No. 1024987 ID: ebb04d

Hit him in the balls with your cane.
>>
No. 1024989 ID: 93ba79

A. You know if Clive comes in, he's gonna do a lot worse, a lot more visible damage. Aim for the inner elbow if possible.

If that fails, don't delay the collapse, hasten it! Or, well, pretend to. Go limp! Let him believe you fainted already.
>>
No. 1025005 ID: a2493c

>>1024972
clive. visible damage is the least of our worries here, just getting laid on the sidewalk nearly chumped us earlier. we are FRAGILE and he is not.
>>
No. 1025378 ID: 629f2e
File 164651408715.png - (854.48KB , 1000x1000 , 93.png )
1025378

He’s so much stronger than you, you can’t force your way out. Either you’ll run out of air, or he’ll snap your neck if you don’t do something.

All you have is your cane, so what can you do with it? Hurry up! You’re running out of air.

Hit! You can hit something, it’s basically a big stick. Hit Yourself! Smack yourself in the face, then you’ll be injured and he’ll go to jail for hitting you. Just have to pull back your cane aNDWHATAREYOUDOING!? That doesn’t do anything to make him let go of you! And if you being injured was enough to get him arrested, it would have happened a long time ago. Different plan, think of something else.

Uh... Um, I can’t- my head just feels so-

Oh! Duh! You need to hit Him! Make him drop you.

Hit his arm- no- wait- balls! Hit him in the Family Jewels! Do it Now!
>>
No. 1025379 ID: 629f2e
File 164651417253.png - (1.46MB , 1000x1000 , 94.png )
1025379

WHACK!

Father: “OOOOHOOhnnngg!”

He drops you. You fall backwards on your butt, scuttling a few feet away in fear of being grabbed again.

You gasp for air. It hurts. You need it, but it pains you as it pours in. Each wheeze brings the phantom pain of his fingers Clenched around your throat.

The room feels like it’s spinning around you. If you hadn’t escaped when you had, you don’t think you would still be conscious. And with how angry he was, while sober even...

...You could have Died.

Father: “F@$%!*$ brat! Get over here! I’ll End you!”
Albert: *sputtering and coughing*
Father: “Hey! Somebody get in here! Doctor!

...You reach for your cane. You dropped it when you fell. Your fingers wrap tightly around it, clinging to it like a beacon. Slowly, using the wall for added support, you pull yourself to your feet. Every part of your body complains, but you don’t have time to spare.

It was really nice when your desires lined up with what you Needed to do...

Father: “Somebody f!%@#%^ listen to me! Get in here already-”

WHACK!

The end of your cane comes down hard against his forehead, slamming his jaw shut. He sputters, spitting out a few lines of blood. Must have bit his tongue. Before he can shout again, you strike him a second time, bashing the side of his head.

A third swing leaves him silent for a much longer time. He slumps back, unconsciousness overtaking him. It was done.

Albert: “*ha*… *huff*...”
Albert: “Be quiet.

You hit him one last time. It takes tremendous effort to not launch a fifth, reminding yourself that his death would only inconvenience you further.

It’s only as you stop that you realize your heart is pounding violently, the adrenaline feeling overwhelming. In your violent glee, there was so much you had missed.

Albert: “*huff*... *hrnk!*”

Both hands cover your mouth, as you hold back nausea.

Everything hurts.

Albert’s lightheadedness has worsened. He’s now suffering from [Vertigo]
Albert’s throat hurts, but the damage doesn’t feel too bad. His [Bruised Throat] will need some rest though
Albert’s [Headache] has worsened.

Current Symptoms:
-Headache Lvl 4: You have a full-fledged migraine. Your head feels like it’s about to explode [3 Pain]
-Sprained Leg: Forces Albert to walk with a cane. Going without one risks injuring the leg further. [1 Pain]
-Mild Head Trauma: Bruises and a bloody nose. By some miracle, nothing broken. You are visibly injured [1 Pain]
-Tinnitus: Your ears are ringing. Decreased auditory perception, increased irritability
-Vertigo: It feels like everything is spinning, it’s hard to stay balanced. If you don’t have a wall or person to lean against, you won’t be able to walk without falling
-Bruised Throat: Your throat needs a rest. Excessive talking will increase the length that this condition lasts, and cause you great pain. Just wait it out, and it’ll go away after a bit. You are even more visibly injured.

Current Pain: 5/10


...

Where is Clive?

You’d considered calling for him for a minute there, among other far more idiotic options nobody could prove entered your mind. In retrospect however, the noise should have been enough to draw his attention. He was supposed to be listening in this whole time. You didn’t like the idea of him listening, but you’d accepted it. So if he was there...

Then why... didn’t he come?

...You stare at the doorway, hoping for some answer. None is presented.

...

...Priorities. Clive mattered, but handling your father was of far greater importance.

When you were asking him about the school and graduation, he woke up. He clearly heard what you were asking, and when he did he was ready to kill you over it. If he still remembers, even after you’re gone...

You might Graduate.

The temptation to kill him right here and now was increasingly alluring the more you considered that possibility. Dead men tell no tales. That statement isn’t exactly true however, as corpses hold significant amounts of evidence that often explain what may have led to their unliving states. Tracing it back to you would be far too easy. Attacking him alone put you at risk, as the injuries were hard to miss.

So... You just needed to make sure he Forgets.

...Your hands dig into your pocket, pulling out the two Pills you swiped before. Your headache screams for you to put them in your own mouth, but there was an alternative you unfortunately can’t ignore. They’d put his mind into a haze before, perhaps refreshing his dosage would help this encounter fade from his mind. The injuries would remain, but to him they may get lost in everything else done to him.

...But you won’t be getting more of these today. Not unless Clive can spot you a whole four dollars to pay off Rebecca. Four dollars which you will realistically never have any way to pay back.

Grimacing, you consider your options.

A: Take the pills yourself
-Your pain will go down to 0
-You will be in a better mood for the rest of the thread
-It will be almost impossible for this thread to end early, due to your Pain hitting 10
-Antibiotic will have unknown effects on you when mixed with the Morphine
-There’s a good chance your father remembers this fight

B: Force your father to consume them
-You truly doubt your father remembers this fight if you choose this
-You will still be in pain

C: Take one of the pills, give the other to your father
-Decide who gets the big pill and the small pill
-If your father takes Morphine: It’s unlikely he remembers
-If your father takes an Antibiotic: You aren’t sure one way or the other if he remembers
-You don’t have to consume the pill you choose to keep
-If you keep one, you might be able to trade with Rebecca
-Rebecca sells pain medication

D: Do something else
-What will you do
-You can suggest actions to perform in addition to whatever you do with the pills
-Albert will not kill his father (at the moment)

>>
No. 1025382 ID: 96c896

B. Survival takes precedence over comfort.
>>
No. 1025384 ID: 8321f5

A
Realize even if you dont graduate, after that stunt, youre just going to get killed by your family at some point in your life before high school even if he doesnt remember. Youre damned if you do, damned if you dont. So Might as well take them while showing you're father that you stood up to him and not taking his shit anymore. If anything to you, you'll be more of a sacrifice for this investigation, finding clues for your friends so they may continue living a happy life after this is solved without you after you are either killed or graduated.

Hopefully Clive heard what father said before he left.
>>
No. 1025385 ID: 8483cf

B. Pain's an old friend.
>>
No. 1025386 ID: 93ba79

B, and rest for the remainder of the day. You're in no state to continue, and you'd be a hypocrite if you don't take care of yourself.
>>
No. 1025391 ID: ce39da

B, then go find Clive.
>>
No. 1025409 ID: afe7de

B, Then go find Clive. When you find him maybe we should consider just *staying in the hospital* you're totally fucked up my dude and maybe they can even offer *medicine* yeah it costs money but like you're completely visibly fucked.
>>
No. 1025410 ID: e51896

oh yeah, if B is chosen, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM HIS TEETH! I can totally see him pretending to be unconscious, and waiting for you to put your hands near his mouth to force feed him the pills, only for him to attempt to bite your fingers off.
>>
No. 1025415 ID: 75af11

>>1025379
A. fuck it, we earned it.
>>
No. 1025894 ID: 629f2e
File 164697804927.png - (629.98KB , 1000x1000 , 95.png )
1025894

You hate being intelligent sometimes. Not often, you get so few gifts from life that you hesitate to speak ill of the few you receive. But this was an occasion in which ignorance would mean bliss. If you could just set aside your knowledge of what consequences lay at the end of the path, then you could down these pills without a second thought and embrace the euphoria of Numbness.

...But you can’t do that. Because you know what it may lead to, the sacrifices that short-term relief would require. Letting your father remember...

Your hand shoots to your neck, rubbing it anxiously at the thought. You wince, fingers brushing against your bruises, yet you continue anyway.

It’s not like it’s the first time he’s hurt you. He’s easy to anger when drunk (translation: basically all the time), and you have a bad habit of calling out how Pathetic he is. It’s hard not to, with him lazing around the house all day, eating all your food, and still having the nerve to demand excellence from you when basic Competence would put you far above anything he’s ever achieved!

But that... that wasn’t your father.

You’ve never seen him so Desperate or Enraged. Usually when you speak ill of him he just lashes out in frustration. He’s angry, but it’s mostly because deep down he knows you’re right about him. He’s never tried to... kill you.

Albert: “...-Ah!”

You wince, as your fingers go over the deepest bruise. You pull your hand back, touching your neck was just making it worse.

...Your hand goes back seconds later. It’s stupid, you know it is, but... When you put it down, you feel Vulnerable, even though there’s nobody here who can attack you like he just did. It’s completely irrational...

...So why are you still doing it?

Albert has gained 18 Fear overall from this visit
Albert may have some lingering Trauma...

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 38/100]


Despite all of your misgivings, you force feed your father the pills. You know this is the right choice, even if it feels miserable.

Before you leave, you stare down at your father one last time. Sleeping, just like when you’d come in. Certainly more injured than before, there was no denying that. You hope the doctors attribute it to him having a fit, rather than your own actions. Perhaps if you keep your head down when you leave, don’t let them see your new bruises...

You turn back to the door, almost expecting Someone to rush in. Nobody. Either sound doesn’t travel well down those halls, or the doctors care about your father as much as you do. That didn’t excuse one person’s absence though...

Your lips curl into a deep frown. For all the privacy you’d sacrificed to let him listen in, your investigation partner had Abandoned you. If you had dropped your cane, you may not have broken free. He would have let you die!

As you stomp out, you’re prepared to hunt him down and rake him over the coals.
>>
No. 1025896 ID: 629f2e
File 164697859741.png - (1.49MB , 1000x1000 , 96.png )
1025896

There doesn’t end up being a hunt though. You don’t have to search for him at all, as the moment you step out... he’s simply there.

Right there, sitting right beside the doorway, huddled into a ball with his face buried deep in his knees. It’s such a bizarre and unexpected sight, that you instantly deflate upon seeing it. Logically, you should be furious that he was apparently here the entire time and yet did nothing to aid you, but you’re too confused to know what to do with this reality. What is he doing?

You think you hear him mumble something, but when you crouch down to listen more closely, you’re met with the sound of rapid shallow breaths. He’s hyperventilating?

Is this... Is he having a Panic Attack?

Albert: “Clive?”
Clive: “*huff* *huff* *huff*”
Clive: “I can’t- *huff* -I can’t do it.”
Clive: “*huff* Stop it. *huff* Please stop. *huff*”
Clive: “I can’t do it. *huff* I can’t move. *huff* Can’t *huff* breathe...”
Albert: “H-Hey, calm down.”
Clive: “*huff* Die... *huff* He’ll *huff* Die...”
Clive: “I-I can’t *huff*...”
Albert: “I-It’s fine, Clive. I got out. Don’t... do this?”
Clive: “*huff* *huff* *huff*”

He’s going to pass out if he keeps this up, but you don’t understand why he’s acting like this. Should you get a doctor?

No! That’s a terrible idea. In his current state, he might let something slip that he otherwise wouldn’t. You don’t know how much he heard, but if he was out here the whole time then it was likely the entirety of your conversation with father. Repeating any of that may end up invalidating your sacrifice of the pills.

Albert: “Clive, can you tell me what is wrong?”
Clive: “*huff* *huff* *huff*”

He’s not responding. That’s fine, it’s fine, you’re a Brilliant child who can figure out what is wrong with him yourself. It’s... It’s fine. You can do this.

...

A-Anyways, you need to focus on helping him first. If you get him past the initial panic, then maybe he’ll calm down enough for you to talk to him?

What do you do to calm down Clive?

A: Um...
B: You could... er...
C: ???


...Okay, so you have no idea what you’re doing.

You’ve never been in this situation, okay! Whenever any of your friends freaks out about something, they never come to you for emotional support. They’d go to Roger, or Louie, Lillian, Rodney, or even Franklin before coming to you. Your friends come to you when they want solutions, not somebody to pat them on the back and tell them the world isn’t going to end. You don’t... You don’t know how to deal with this.

Clive: “*huff* *huff* *huff*”
Albert: “...”

...What Can you do?

How do you help calm Clive down?
-(Write in your answer)
-(Failing to calm Clive down will result in substantial Fear gain for both of you)

>>
No. 1025897 ID: 8483cf

Albert, you have the emotional intelligence of a toaster, so I’m not going to tell you to be empathetic to try and make Clive feel better. Instead, use that big brain of yours to deduce what he’s probably stressed about, and provide him with a logical reason why either (a) that stress is ill-founded, or (b) stressing is counterproductive.

(a): If Clive is concerned about his brother graduating and dying thereof, then he can rest easy on that worry. As you discussed with Roger yesterday, it’s more likely that graduation is a Prison than a place where kids might die. The adults are big on reformation and fitting in, after all. They want as many kids to grow up into obedient adults as possible who don’t go anywhere.

(b): Stressing is counterproductive. It’s basic game theory. The greater the challenge, the less helpful stressing is about it. If the ONLY way to achieve your goals and save your brother is by having complete confidence you’ll be able to do so, then you have to have as much confidence and faith as possible.
>>
No. 1025899 ID: a2493c

>>1025896
counting. you're good at counting, so you're going to help him count his breaths. one, two, three. keep a good pace, force the lungs to cooperate. in, hold, and put. four, five, six.

keep the pace steady, each step of breathing a full second. keep counting.
>>
No. 1025903 ID: e51896

well, as far as panic attacks goes, the most important thing to do is to be patient as these can last for minutes and you gotta let them ride this out. It's important to NOT be telling them to calm down impatiently or telling them stop being unreasonably terrified.
and try not to be judgemental or assume why they're panicking, like you always are.

Thankfully, Clive is already sitting, so he is somewhat grounded if tense. Next would have to help him control his breathing first and foremost. Just take loud deep breaths loud enough for him to hear so that hopefully he'll mimic you. Then once he's controlling his breathing a little more, encourage him to rest his legs and get him to focus on other things, the ol' 54321 technique as they call it. Ask them to name 5 things he can see, 4 things he can feel, 3 things he can hear, 2 things he can smell, and one thing he can taste.

tell him you're here and he's safe with you, and bring up certain topics to distract him from his panic, like what kinds of toys does he like to play with? what about outdoor activities? board games?
>>
No. 1025907 ID: afe7de

If he can move, bring him to sit down inside of your dads room, if he can't move, get him a cup of water from your dads room and sit next to him, you don't know much about how to be empathetic, but you can't just force someone out of a panic attack.

Be there to help ground him when he comes back into focus and be willing to talk even if you fuck up

>>1025899
I also second this, you could do with this too even, or just a moment of reflection and breathing. Take a moment to rest, he's freaking out, you're injured, maybe if you can, cover up the injury as it could even be traumatizing to him. His expression did widen in minor surprise when he saw your shoulder injury.

Above all else, don't force him to do anything and be patient.
>>
No. 1025910 ID: 93ba79

Find a cupboard or an empty, freshly made bed, take a clean blanket, and drape it over his back. Blankets always help.
>>
No. 1025911 ID: 094652

You could... ask him to use your father as a punching bag.

But seriously, tell him how weird the town is. Your father just tried to murder you, just because you rocked the boat. As far as you're concerned, you're willing to do almost anything to start a jailbreak. Even kill people.
He's not alone.

You think the whole town was 'moved' somewhere after the power plant went Chernobyl? For all you know, you might be in a simulation or an underground box.
>>
No. 1026167 ID: 629f2e
File 164723503287.png - (1.54MB , 1000x1000 , 97.png )
1026167

He... He needs to slow down his Breathing first and foremost. Focus on that. How do you get him to breathe?

Albert: “H-Hey. Can you try to calm down a little?”
Clive: “*huff* *huff* *huff*”
Albert: “Your breaths are too shallow, just slow down!
Albert: “Just... You should- what I mean is- It needs to be slower than that.”
Albert: “Deep breaths. Like... Oh! I’ll demonstrate, so just try to match my rhythm.”

You take a deep breath, hold it in, and then let it out. It doesn’t look or feel natural (it’s hard to match your normal breathing since your autonomic system takes care of it), but if he copies you then he’ll be getting the air he needs. You perform a few more and count the seconds as you do, hoping he’s listening.

...He peeks up slightly from his knees, and you hear a slight shift in his breathing. Progress! You keep it up.

Albert: “*Inhale* One... Two... Three... Four...”
Albert: “*Exhale* One... Two... Three... Four... Five... Six...”
Clive: “*huff*... *huff*... *huff*...”

He’s slowing down. That’s good. With the critical issue dealt with, you can attend to his other needs. For example, there’s that little detail about you both sitting in the middle of a hallway, in clear Sight of any doctors or nurses who may pass by. While he’s calmer than before, you would still rather take care of this matter privately, just to be safe. Clive would probably prefer it as well, given his general attitude towards all forms of social interaction.

Albert: “Can you walk? Just a few feet at least.”
Clive: “*huff*...... *huff*-”
Albert: “Come on.”

You reach down to grab his sleeve...

...And faceplant into the wall beside him. Ow.

You should have known better than to try. Panic had made you forget about your conditions for a brief moment, Vertigo specifically. You’re still having a difficult enough time moving yourself. Dragging Clive with you would be impossible.

As you pull yourself back up, using the wall for support, Clive rises as well. His breathing is still weird, but he actually is breathing. The look in his eyes is... Exhausted. You could relate to that.

Albert: “Just follow me in here.”

He nods. You drag yourself inside, as he trails in behind you. He shuts the door, slumping to the floor right in front of it.

Alright, you had some privacy. What next...? What makes you feel better when you’re in a poor mental state?

Curling up under a Blanket is often nice, are there any spares in this room you could offer? Hmm... Not many cabinets, and fewer that you’re tall enough to reach. Where else-

Ah! Of course.

You trudge over towards your father’s bed and rip his blanket off. He’s still very out of things, so he won’t notice. Clive doesn’t question you as you drape the sheet over him

Being well-experienced with all kinds of ailments, you feel confident in presuming his hyperventilating has left him Parched. Unfortunately, the only water bottle in the room is empty. There is a sink where you could refill it, but that can only produce Tap Water. You’d rather not kill Clive, though the temptation to refill the bottle for your father was rather high.

It seems you’ve done all you can. You sit beside Clive, watching the boy’s shivers slow down with time. Soon enough, he’s breathing normally again, staring down at the floor with a slightly better expression. Though, perhaps Facial Expressions aren’t the best judge. You don’t think you’ve ever seen Clive smile, the closest he comes is bored neutrality.

Clive: “...”
Albert: “...Are you feeling better?”
Clive: “...Yeah.”
Albert: “Good.”
Albert: “Can you tell me what happened?”

He winces, tilting slightly to get a better look at you. His eyes lock straight onto your neck. It makes you feel awkward, so you end up rubbing them to try and hide the discoloration.

Clive: “...”
Clive: “I realized that I had to step in, or else you’d get hurt.”
Clive: “...And I couldn’t do it.”
Clive: “Sorry... I can’t handle confrontation.”
Albert: “...That seems a little hard to believe, coming from Killer Cli-
Clive: “Don’t call me that.”
Clive: “That was different... I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “Do you still need a minute?”
Clive: “...I just want to go home.”
Albert: “Yes... Well actually, going to my home sounds rather miserable. But I share your general sentiments.”
Albert: “...Why don’t we take a break?”
Clive: “...Agreed.”

You wouldn’t say it, but your motive was health related. If you keep going at your current pace, you worry that you’ll wind up back here for a far longer time.
>>
No. 1026168 ID: 629f2e
File 164723508776.png - (145.24KB , 1000x1000 , 98.png )
1026168

It was tempting to remain here, resting on the floor, but that risked a walk-in from a doctor or nurse. Beyond that, it simply isn’t very comfortable sitting on the floor, and there was absolutely no chance that you would be willing to share a bed with your father.

Both of your homes were a bit of a trek from here, but they were options. What was closer...

Well, there was the Field. Plenty of kids choose to visit and lay out on the grass, so you wouldn’t be out of place. It’s also where Rebecca is supposed to be, so you wouldn’t be going out of the way at all. The only downside is that it’s an area frequented by many. Clive wouldn’t care for that, and beyond that you risk being Disturbed by whoever is present.

...Hmm... If memory serves, the Fosters don’t live far from here. You sent Enid home for the day, but you doubt that she would mind hosting you and Clive for a short time. She could probably even lend you a Bed to sleep in, that would certainly do you well. The only issue you can see would be with her foster parents. If they turn you away at the door, you’ve wasted time and energy stopping by. Considering the fact that Clive is with you, that’s a real possibility you can’t discount. You may have to be Persuasive to get in.

You bring up the areas you were considering to Clive, and he ends up tossing in his own suggestion.

Clive: “There’s a Creek not far from here.”
Albert: “Oh, that’s true. Only middle schoolers tend to hang around there, so it would be quieter.”
Clive: “Or not. They can be annoying too.”
Albert: “It’s a bit out of the way, but they would probably be Quieter than the kids at the Field at least.”
Albert: “Although, I’m not sure if anyone there would take kindly to two elementary schoolers invading upon their territory.”

Those were your options. None were perfect, each had their own perks and drawbacks.

Where should you go?

A: Clive’s Home
-You’ll be able to rest up, but just coming here will be a rather long journey
-Both you and Clive will lose a fair amount of Fear. Albert will also lose two points of Pain, the Vertigo condition, and two other Symptoms...
-...However, Albert is guaranteed to gain at least one of Pain along the way here, due to his Sprained Leg. He may also gain a new Symptom if he is unlucky
-This option will take the most time to reach, and you will have one fewer investigation opportunity before nightfall as a result
-Since the fastest route will be cutting through the Field however, you will have a chance to speak with Rebecca along the way
-You have a feeling that you’ll learn a little more about Clive if you enter his house

B: The Field
-Has high variance in how much rest you’ll get, depending on who is present and what they’re doing
-You will both lose some amount of Fear at least, and Albert will lose either a point of Pain or the Vertigo condition at the bare minimum
-If it’s very peaceful, Albert may lose as much as two points of Pain, and two Symptoms aside from Vertigo
-When you’re finished resting, you’ll be in the perfect position to talk to Rebecca

C: The Foster’s Home
-Guaranteed to get good rest if you can get inside
-If allowed in, both you and Clive will lose a fair amount of Fear. Albert will also lose two points of Pain, the Vertigo condition, and two other Symptoms
-If barred entry, you will be in a worse state than when you arrived
-Whether you get in or not will come down to how Persuasive you can be
-You will get to talk to Enid if you are let in

D: The Creek
-Hard to predict, since you have never visited yourself
-Complete roll of the dice what visiting the Creek will lead to
-You have a feeling something VERY GOOD will happen if you visit. Then again... it could also wind up being something VERY BAD

E: Maybe there’s somewhere else you can visit?
-Suggest an alternative location
-If it’s a terrible idea, Albert may ignore it

F: Actually, forget taking a break
-Put off rest to continue exploring for now
-Clive will be fine with this, as long as you promise to take a rest EVENTUALLY
-Describe what you want to look into, and/or where you visit next
-This option only wins if it outweighs the collective votes of A through E

>>
No. 1026184 ID: 8483cf

B. Let's plan ahead and talk to Rebecca right after.

C isn't great, since Albert and Clive aren't very persuasive. This would come down to pure luck weighted against us, and I don't want to test it.

D is also a crapshoot. Let's avoid it since it isn't going to put us, on average, in a better place than we started at.
>>
No. 1026189 ID: e51896

I think seeing Enid will just make her more stressed than she needs to be. She needs a break, and B will just make Clive feel stressed around other people, especially after his panic attack.

I'm going for A, or D,

leaning towards A. yeah we'll lose time for investigation, but I think we've learned a bombshell of info already, we can afford to lose some time for investigation. Plus Clive did want to go home after all.

But consider this: E. we were going to visit Franklin's place for a sleepover, so we could ask his Dad about visiting early.
>>
No. 1026210 ID: 0838d6

A! I want to lean more about Clive, and maybe when you get to the field you'll see that it's empty and you can just rest there!

Plus there might be a chance you run into Franklin and Lillian while you're there!
>>
No. 1026233 ID: a2493c

>>1026168
C. I'm wondering what's at the creek.
>>
No. 1026777 ID: 629f2e
File 164781272972.png - (950.35KB , 1000x1000 , 99.png )
1026777

Frankly, you didn’t have too strong a preference towards any one option. Perhaps it’s because you’re still rattled from the attack, but you couldn’t identify an optimal choice among the lot presented, nor did any alternative of greater value strike you.

With mixed opinions, you let Clive make the final call. His decision is predictable.

Clive: “We can go to My House.
Albert: “As long as you don’t mind sharing. My home is nearby, but I won’t be getting much rest if I have to go there.”
Clive: “...You can use Rodney’s bed. He wouldn’t mind.”
Albert: “Ugh, it’s going to be a lengthy trek though. We’re on the Opposite end of town.”
Clive: “...We’ll take a break at the field then.”
Albert: “I would hope so. I doubt I could make the journey otherwise.”
Clive: “...”
Clive: “Can you even walk right now?”
Albert: “Well, let’s see…”

You brace yourself against the wall, and slowly drag yourself onto your feet. You let go of it for a second, and have to hastily shove your hand right back on to stop yourself from toppling over.

Albert: “Hngh… I may need a few minutes just to get past this Vertigo.
Clive: “...They probably have wheelchairs here. It is a hospital.”
Albert: “I don’t think we could get away with pilfering something that large.”
Albert: “And asking is out of the question, as we’d be forced to explain why I’ve become incapable of walking in the past half-hour.”
Clive: “...Right. How about this?”

He gets a firm grip on the arm you’re using for support, and slings it over his shoulder. It brings you uncomfortably close to him, and the side-hug he was giving to support you only made it worse.

Clive: “Better?”
Albert: “...Well, my Pride is taking critical damage at the moment. Does that count for anything?”
Clive: “No.”
Albert: “Then this is fine. Let’s save this until we’re out of the hospital and there’s hopefully nobody else around though. I’d rather not be seen getting hugged by another boy, lest people start having ideas about me.”
Clive: “...Seriously?”
Albert: “What?”
Clive: “...Forget it. Fine, we’ll only hug in secret, when nobody is watching. Just the two of us…”

You get ready to tap him with your cane in retaliation for that wisecrack, but he suddenly lets go and messes up your balance. You catch yourself with the wall just in time to prevent another spill, and shoot him a glare. You follow the walls as you both make your way out of the room.

You keep your head down as you pass the front desk. Mrs. Fitzsimmons doesn’t give any indication of having heard anything or seeing your bruises, sending you both off with a friendly farewell. It was kind of amazing that nobody had heard any of that. Then again, you couldn’t be Certain that that was the case. Perhaps they were merely pretending, and you’d be taken away by men in suits later this evening.

Mrs. Fitzsimmons is probably unaware, as the part of the hallways where you were previously is a bit too far from her desk for all but the loudest sounds to reach her. And with how the walls are arranged you weren’t in her line of sight. If anybody had caught parts of your conversation, the likeliest suspects would be the doctors or nurses. Their whereabouts and activities are complete mysteries to you at the moment, as you haven’t seen them today. It’s impossible to state definitively that they weren’t nearby as a result.

Hopefully you’re both safe.

[The Suspicion surrounding members of your party has changed. Updates will be shown at a later time.]

Clive’s hesitance at a critical moment has shaken him deeply, As a result he has gained 15 Fear

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 38/100]
[Clive: 36/100]


As previously agreed, Clive lets you lean on him as soon as you’re out of the building. The streets are thankfully clear for the moment, so you have an uneventful walk towards the treeline.

Albert: “...”
Clive: “...”

…Annnnnnd right back to not having anything to talk about. Alright then. Since Clive broke the silence last time, you suppose it’s your turn.

Albert: “It’s fortunate we’ll be stopping at the field. There’s somebody there I was hoping to speak with.”
Clive: “...Who is it?”
Albert: “Rebecca. I was hoping she-”
Clive: “‘Bec.
Albert: “What?”
Clive: “She prefers ‘Bec.”
Albert: “Oh. I don’t normally use nicknames.”
Clive: “...You’re going to get turned away immediately if you don’t, cash or not.”
Albert: “Hm. Very well then. I was hoping that ‘Bec might have some gossip relevant to our investigation.”
Clive: “I think that’s likely.”
Albert: “I must confess, I’m surprised you know about her business. Are you a frequent customer?”
Clive: “...We have an Understanding. She’s reliable, if you can Afford her services.”
Albert: “Right. Unfortunately, I don’t have a wallet on me. I hope you don’t mind covering her fee.”
Clive: “...Hm…”
Clive: “We’ll see.”

As the field comes into view, you pull away from Clive. You slowly follow him into the opening…

…And crash to the floor the very moment you run out of trees.

Clive: “...”
Albert: “Be quiet.”
Clive: “I didn’t say anything.”
Albert: “And it was the loudest silence I’ve ever heard.”
>>
No. 1026779 ID: 629f2e
File 164781277995.png - (1.14MB , 1000x1000 , 100.png )
1026779

He sits down beside you and begins shuffling through his stolen wallet, counting bills and coins.

Clive: “...$11.09
Albert: “That much!?”

He flinches, pushing your head into the dirt suddenly.

Clive: “Hush.

He releases, quickly stuffing the wallet back in his pocket and looking all around. There were plenty of other kids around, none of whom seemed to be watching you at the moment thankfully. You aren’t normally so loud, but the amount had genuinely caught you off guard. Eleven dollars was more money than you have ever personally held at once.

Clive unfolds a small sheet of notebook paper from his other pocket, not letting you see what it is.

Clive: “...Hmm…”
Albert: “What?”
Clive: “Calculating how much I’m spending. Comes out to Eight Dollars.
Albert: “Hold on a minute. I thought you told me you only steal to afford groceries, what do you need from Rebecca?”
Clive: “‘Bec.”
Albert: “Not the part of my question that required a response.”
Clive: “...Look, you wanted to come here. What do you want?”
Clive: “You can use whatever I don’t.”
Albert: “...To be clear, does that offer only apply to trades with ‘Bec?”

He levels you a flat look.

Clive: “Yes. Spend what you need, but I’m keeping the rest.”

Unfortunate. You were considering spending lightly so that you could use the rest to purchase food. Oh well, no point dwelling on that. Consider Rebecca’s wares and how much you have to spend…

Clive is planning to spend $8.00 on something for himself, leaving just $3.09 to spend on the investigation

What will you spend it on? (You can buy multiples of the same option) (Select less than $2.85 worth of goods/services)

A: Gossip ($0.10 - $0.50)
-What do you ask about?
-The price is variable depending on how juicy the gossip is, but won’t go above $0.50
-’Bec will tell you what she knows about whatever topic you present, but if you jump to a different topic then that will be a new charge. If you spend all of your cash, you may not be able to ask follow-up questions
-’Bec will still take a dime from you if you ask about something she doesn’t know jack about

B: Bottle of Painkillers ($4.00)
-You can’t afford this
-If selected, specify if you want to haggle with ‘Bec for l
ess than a full bottle, or convince Clive to give you more to spend
C: Misc. Favors (Variable Price)
-Specify a job you would like ‘Bec to perform for you
-The price is variable depending on the task being requested
-Clive lets you know that ‘Bec can generally perform most reasonable tasks, and charges based on how much time and effort a job will take
-There is a “pain in the butt” tax she may choose to add at her discretion

D: Babysitting ($1.00 Per Night)
-’Bec will stay the night at your house, ostensibly chaperoning you
-‘Bec is bigger than you and your friends, effectively making her a night guard
-Requires parental approval/negligence

E: Keys (Variable Price)
-Allows illegal entry into a building of your choice
-House keys tend to cost $0.50
-Keys to businesses tend to cost $2.00 and a Favor
-’Bec’s sheet didn’t specify anything about keys to either school building

F: Illicit Goods (Variable Prices)
-Adult Magazine ($2.00)
-Carton of Cigarettes ($0.75)
-Can of Beer ($0.30)
-Cheatsheet ($2.00)
-You have no use for these, but you may be able to trade them
-If you’re caught by an adult with any of these you will get in trouble

G: Other
-Full list: >>1021607
-If you have anything other than listing what you want to buy, put it here

>>
No. 1026781 ID: afe7de

Okay, I have an alternate suggestion. Get Clive to ask about the situation with your dad since she knows about it. Specifically if you're also in danger or if she knows who might've done it or was around that was suspicious.

And then find a log and sit the heck down. Take a breather. Maybe lose a pain point or status debuff so the walk to his place isn't entirely hell.
>>
No. 1026821 ID: 8483cf

I recommend saving a dollar for babysitting. If worst comes to worst, Albert may need to nominate himself to be baby-sat if the home situation gets too difficult. Parental negligence might be something that we can anticipate in advance.

Buy gossip about Franklin seriously that kid is weird!

Also buy some food holy shit. Potatoes are the best food ever, buy them all. Make some stew with meat that's about to go bad from the store at a discount.
>>
No. 1026827 ID: afe7de

>>1026821
If you dont take a breather, then get a FAVOR in addition to my previous suggestion. Have her take some money and bring you and Clive food, potatoes, cheap stuff, etc. You need a meal, he won't let you save it for food, so use a logical loophole to have her get the food for you, or have Clive commit to getting you both food on the way to his place. Either way you get food!
>>
No. 1026856 ID: a70a13

I think spending $.50 on gossip is a REALLY good idea, especially if you can grab some info on one of the kids that went missing, either the Early Graduates or Lemmy.

Besides that, spend some cash on a key to the recycling plant. You might not be able to use it yet, but that place DESERVES investigation for certain. See if there's any records of the Nuclear Plant your father talked about, or just see what the hell people are doing in there.
>>
No. 1027809 ID: 629f2e
File 164878567475.png - (2.59MB , 1250x1250 , 101.png )
1027809

Your scattered thoughts eventually weave together into a list of items you could afford. Unfortunately, while each fell within your $3.09 cap, you couldn’t say for sure that they all added up. The variably priced goods would be the deciding point on how much you would be getting. Still, it will still do you well to lock down prices on everything you had an interest in for future reference.

Alright, time to go make some purchases. You just have to... stand up and walk over... Ugggghhhhhhhhh.

Honestly, making it this far on a Sprained Leg and while suffering from severe Vertigo should have earned you a break, but there just kept being more and more to do. Yes, it’s more efficient to get this done now than it would be to go to Clive’s house, rest up, and then come back. It certainly isn’t enjoyable however.

Adding onto that: Your Voice still hurts, and you haven’t given it a significant break to recover yet. Even on your mostly silent walk over, you struck up conversation to ward off the awkwardness. You’re going to do permanent damage to your vocal cords if you don’t give them a rest.

Still, your only partner at the moment is Clive, The Antisocialite. Could you really leave the conversation to him? This was somebody he seemed to know. In fact, he clearly knows more about Rebecca than you do. Perhaps you could let him take the lead, going off a simple list prepared by you.

Albert: “Do you have a pencil and notepad?”
Clive: “Yes.”

He digs around his pockets, before handing you the requested implements. You take them, and hand them back shortly after filling a page out with your requests.

Albert: “My throat hurts. Talk for me?”
Clive: “...Yeah. I’ll handle it.”

As he reads through the list, he squints at something.

Clive: “Why are you trying to buy Food from her?”
Albert: “...Is there a problem with that?”
Clive: “...No. Guess not.”

He pulls out the piece of paper he was glancing at earlier, and starts writing something down on it. You don’t know what, and you’re too tired to ask. As the sun’s warm rays blanket you, you decide to flip onto your back and enjoy however long this break would be.

Slowly... You begin to drift……

‘Bec: “D@%#, you’re hanging out with this dweeb now? My opinion of you is dropping Clive.”
Clive: “...I still have money.”
‘Bec: “Yeah, that puts you at the top of the list still, but man. You’re really trying to let John outrank you.”

...No, it’s really your fault for actually thinking you’d get to rest.

It’s clear even before you’ve opened your eyes that Clive decided to drag Rebecca over, likely to spare him from having to relay all of her answers to you later. Normally, this would be appreciated. At the moment however, it left you groggy and irritated.

Oh well, there would be time for rejuvenation soon enough. Plus, as long as you kept your interjections limited, your voice would have a chance to recover at least.

‘Bec: “What the h3!$ happened to him? He get hit by a truck or something?”
Clive: “...Here.”

Ignoring the question completely, he pulls out his own list from before and hands it to her, a few bills hidden below it. She takes them, quickly stuffing the cash in her pocket as she reads over the page.

‘Bec: “Yeah yeah, same as usual- wait, hold up.”
‘Bec: “What’s up with these? Razzles, 100 Grand Bars, Cherry Sours… What’s with the Sweets? You never buy candy.”
Clive: “...It isn’t for me.”
‘Bec: “Ohhhh, so egghead’s got a sweet tooth. I hear ya.”

You absolutely did not request any candy. And what even is that list, what is he ordering? Thankfully, Clive seems to pick up on your curiosity when he glances back at you.

Clive: “...’Bec handles my grocery shopping. It’s less suspicious than if I do it.”
‘Bec: “Oh, so he knows about... y’know…”
Clive: “Yeah.”
‘Bec: “Huh. Whatever, if it’s not his, then that doesn’t answer my question. What’s with the candy?”
Clive: “...It’s... for Rodney. If he comes back.”
‘Bec: “...Dude…”

For the first time since you’ve met her earlier today, the aggression surrounding her drops, being replaced by a more sad expression.

‘Bec: “Your brother graduated, Clive. Kids don’t come back from that.”
‘Bec: “It won’t be forever, you’re almost thirteen, right? You’ll see him again soon. But y’know... don’t kid yourself.”
Clive: “...”
‘Bec: “...Yeah, whatever. Doesn’t f@$#ing matter what I say. You’re just gonna keep hoping for the impossible no matter what, won’t you?”

...Even now, does he still doubt that Rodney actually graduated? Or is he just not ready to accept the truth?

She frustratedly mutters something to herself, and then tells her to go on. Perhaps too quickly, as if trying to escape the topic of Rodney’s graduation, he jumps into one of the bigger questions.

Clive: “Do you have any gossip about Nicolas Neddy’s recent Assault?
‘Bec: “Maybe. You got Fifty Cents?

He hands over the requisite amount.

‘Bec: “Then yeah, I do. Keep your ears open, I’m only gonna tell you once.”

You scoot closer, not wanting to miss a word from your Tinnitus acting up. This is the moment of truth. What can she tell you about your father?

‘Bec: “I don’t know $!#@ about the attack itself, since I wasn’t there when it happened. But I do got a pretty good idea about who might’a done it.”
Albert: “Who!? Who is it?”
‘Bec: “Who are they. I’ve got more than one suspect. Not sure how many people were involved with the attack, like I said I don’t know $!#@ about it,, but I’d bet a pretty penny that one of those three were involved.”
‘Bec: “Min Leoi, Gazlene Horvitz, and Lana Foster.
‘Bec: “It could be someone totally different, maybe someone with a quiet grudge that finally snapped. If you’re asking me though, those three chicks are the most likely.”

That’s... interesting.

Ms. Leoi is Louie’s Mom, Mrs. Horvitz was Jhonen’s Mom, and Mrs. Foster is Enid’s Foster Mother. Was there some reason all of the suspects were women? And why highlight those three specifically?

Clive: “...Why?”
‘Bec: “Now that will cost ya fifty cents per suspect. You really wanna hear all my reasoning that badly?”

Clive looks back at you. You certainly did want a more thorough explanation, but unfortunately you couldn’t justify the cost. This was gonna take some more thorough digging.

Clive: “...If it’s fifty per suspect, does that mean the reasoning for each one is Different? Not one shared reason, but three different ones?”
‘Bec: “That sure is a question I ain’t answering without some more coins in my hand.”
Clive: “...Hmph.”
Clive: “Moving on then. Do you have anything on Franklin?
‘Bec: “Mortician or The Alien?
Clive: “What?”
‘Bec: “They’re both named Franklin. So which is it, Junior or Senior?

Before he even turns back to ask, you confirm that you’re asking about your classmate.

‘Bec: “Hmm... Thirty Cents.

Clive pays her. The fee is lower, so you aren’t expecting as much from this one. Still, you’re just hoping it’s something worth the cents you’re spending on it.

‘Bec: “Meh. A lot of kids talk about Franklin, so most of the gossip I hear is total bunk.”
‘Bec: “When it comes to that kid, you can really only trust what you see. He definitely has a tail, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have a third hand growing out of his back.”
‘Bec: “Then again, who knows? Maybe the kid’s even weirder than we thought.”
Albert: “...He doesn’t, to be clear.”
‘Bec: “Hey, dumba$@, I know he doesn’t. It’s hyperbole, okay?”
‘Bec: “You can’t trust word of mouth when it comes to that kid. So I can only tell you what I’ve seen.
‘Bec: “You ever wonder why he’s always wearing that stupid green Turtleneck? I caught a lucky peek, so I know the answer.”
‘Bec: “You didn’t hear it from me (unless kids with pockets full of change ask, in which case you totally did), but Franklin’s got a huge Scar on his neck.”

A scar? That was...

...Actually, you don’t know what to make of that. It could be important, or it could just be another odd random detail about Franklin that has no relevance to the overall mystery encompassing him. A scar really seems trivial compared to the more pressing questions about his appearance; such as why he seems to lack any form of body hair, why his nose looks the way it does, or The Tail.

What does a scar on his neck really tell you? It’s certainly interesting that he’s had one all this time and you never knew, but what do you do with this knowledge?

Clive: “...Huh. I didn’t notice it.”
‘Bec: “Yeah, that’s what I just said. He hides it under that turtleneck.”
Albert: “...Are you sure?”
‘Bec: “I just told you I saw it for myself, didn’t I? Of course I’m sure-”
Albert: “No. That he’s Hiding it.”
‘Bec: “Believe me, I asked him about it when I noticed, and the first thing he did was play dumb. Then he regurgitated the dumbest lie I’ve ever heard and acted like that answered everything.”
‘Bec: “So yeah, I’m pretty d@$! sure.”
Clive: “Hmm...”
Albert: “...”

It all sounds sensible, you don’t see any problem with her reasoning...

...But it’s Franklin. Whatever ‘lame excuse’ he made could honestly be something he wholeheartedly believes.

You would have to ask him about it yourself later. The answer you get will probably end up being nonsense, but it’s worth at least trying.
>>
No. 1027810 ID: 629f2e
File 164878572336.png - (2.66MB , 1250x1250 , 102.png )
1027810

Clive makes a general inquiry into the prices for gossip relating to the kids who graduated and Lemmy. ‘Bec has to take a minute to think about it before answering.

‘Bec: “Twenty Cents for Rodney, but since I like you I’ll just tell you I don’t have anything you probably don’t already know on him.”
‘Bec: “Thirty Cents for Phillip, Forty for Lemmy, and Fifty for Jhonen.”

He looks back at you, awaiting an answer. Phillip and Rodney’s obviously didn’t seem important, the latter especially since Clive would know whatever it was. It was really a choice between Lemmy and Jhonen. Given the higher price, The Freak’s gossip should be juicier, but would it be still relevant with him having graduated? Should Lemmy be your choice, given that he’s simply missing and may reappear?

...It’s a difficult choice, but you decide to go with the juicier gossip in the end. It had to be something if its price stayed at $0.50 even with the boy no longer being here.

Albert: “Jhonen.
‘Bec: “Nice choice.”
‘Bec “Could have used this one for Franklin too I guess, but like I said, there’s a lot of hearsay to parse out there.”
‘Bec: “Plus, this kid was like the king of Franklin BS. No shock there, he’s the one who started the whole Alien rumor.”
‘Bec: “Anyways, you know how Jhonen graduated on Sunday?”
Clive: “...Yeah.”
‘Bec: “Well, I saw him then. He was chasing Franklin around like always.”
‘Bec: “I’m not sure if something went down between them, but it sounded like Jhonen had something he wanted to talk about.”
‘Bec: “Like, normally he’s shouting crazy accusations or threatening him with a bunch of painful tests, but back then he was just asserting that he’d figured something out.”
‘Bec: “Like: I know the Truth! You need to see what I uncovered, it finally all makes sense! All the pieces fit, blah blah blah, stuff like that.”
Clive: “...What did he figure out?”
‘Bec: “I don’t really care, so I didn’t listen. All his ‘discoveries’ are total BS, everyone knows it.”

You couldn’t really disagree with her. Your mind drifts back to his attempts to convince you that within the woods surrounding the city was a Big-Footmoth-Woman some years back. He certainly had a career in acrobatics awaiting him in his future, given the bountiful leaps of logic he made to justify his ‘theory’.

Though you might suggest he pursue writing instead, as there was certainly a great deal of creativity in his description of this mythical creature.

‘Bec: “Weirdest thing though, somebody actually stopped and listened. An Adult even! So I decided, what the f!@#, and tried to hear what the deal was.”
‘Bec: “Didn’t catch it all, and most of it just ended up being nonsense…”
‘Bec: “What stood out was that he claimed to know Franklin’s True Nature, and demanded his Immediate Arrest.
Clive: “...And somebody listened to that?”
‘Bec: “Yeah, somebody actually listened to that junk with a straight face! Weirdest f@$#ing thing, I don’t even think his parents tolerate that c@#$ enough to pay attention.”

That definitely is hard to believe, but what was Jhonen talking about?

What manner of crime was he accusing Franklin of? Something so unforgivable that the boy needed to go straight to prison.

‘Bec: “I got bored and left after that though. You couldn’t pay me enough to listen to more of his ramblings.”
‘Bec: “...Well, you could, but nobody did.”
Albert: “...Who listened to Jhonen?”

She wags her finger and holds out her palm.

‘Bec: “Fifty more cents.”

Blast it! You don’t have enough with the remaining purchases you were planning. You had a definitive answer right at your fingertips, but you were just two quarters short of actually receiving it.

You give Clive a slightly pleading expression, but he just shakes his head. He wasn’t holding out anything, what you had is what you get. You would have to send one of your other friends out to get the rest of the story later.

Presuming that your groceries were on his shopping list, that left a little over a dollar left to spend. You were hoping to save a dollar in the event that you needed her Babysitting services in the future. Clive said he would keep the change of course, but he seems like one of the more likely people to need protection, so that isn’t an issue.

You did ask for him to inquire about one last item, but given the standard prices he’d given you for keys, you shouldn’t be able to afford it right now. Still, good to lock down the fee for later.

Clive: “How much would a key to the Recycling Center cost?”
‘Bec: “Ha!”
‘Bec: “...Are you joking?”
Clive: “...No.”
‘Bec: “...Man, you really are lucky I like you.
‘Bec: “Just give me a Quarter, and I’ll make you feel like an idiot.”

That cheap!? And what does that comment mean?

Clive doesn’t get it either, so he hands over the coin. She pockets it, and then sticks her hand back out.

‘Bec: “Give me the wallet.”
Clive: “...Okay.”

She takes it, flips it open, and pulls a small card out.

‘Bec: “Congratulations! You already f@#$ing had one.”

Clive examines it, and then passes it over to you.

...It’s the Recycling Center ID Card of Stephen Bannister.

Albert: “How will that get us inside?”
‘Bec: “You guys ever actually been to the Recycling Center?”
‘Bec: “The door’s a passcode lock, genius. The code is printed on every single ID card.”
‘Bec: “Look, the idiot even underlined it in pen so that he couldn’t miss it. What a clown!”
Clive: “Huh.”
Albert: “...That’s not very secure at all.”
‘Bec: “If a card goes missing, they all have to be replaced at the expense of whoever lost theirs. I’d write this number down if you actually want to use it.”
‘Bec: “Don’t worry about the card. I’ll make sure it’s still there when I Return this.”

Return? You didn’t expect her to bother giving the wallet back, she doesn’t seem so kind. She sees the look on her face and picks up on your suspicion.

‘Bec: “Call it a side-venture. I let people know when I ‘find’ their stuff, and return it for a small fee.”
Albert: “...That seems very obvious.”
‘Bec: “Maybe, but all the adults know that I’m not the one stealing from them. I’m never around when they get robbed, and everyone has their guards up when I am thanks to my rep.”
‘Bec: “Take me out of the picture, and they still get robbed. Now they just don’t get their nice wallets and IDs back.”
‘Bec: “So even if they don’t like it at all, they have no choice but to deal with me!”

Clever... Seemingly foolish given recent discoveries about the town, but it was hard to argue with the results given that she made it up to middle-school without graduating early. Although if the thefts die down, you could see her quickly being carted off to high school.

‘Bec: “Anyways, is that it?”
Clive: “Yeah.”
‘Bec: “Then I’m gonna split. Try not to get into any trouble. It’d be bad for business if my best customer bit the dust.”
Clive: “...”

She walks away, leaving you both to ponder all of the information you’d been given.
>>
No. 1027811 ID: 629f2e
File 164878577505.png - (2.53MB , 1250x1250 , 103.png )
1027811

Your rest lasts for but a few minutes more, before you agree to start walking again. Although the trip didn’t fill you with much enthusiasm, the prospect of sleeping in a nice bed did. There wouldn’t be any more distractions once you lie down on that mattress, the walk would definitely be worth it.

With that in mind, the two of you trudge through the woods in total silence. It was less awkward this time, since you had something to chew on in your mind. Quite a few things in fact.

It’s honestly a shock when you finally arrive, the walk hadn’t seemed too bad this time around. In fact, you were actually starting to feel the slightest bit Better.

Albert has given his throat a decent break. His [Bruised Throat] will be merged with [Mild Head Trauma], and penalties on speaking have been dropped

Current Symptoms:
-Headache Lvl 4: You have a full-fledged migraine. Your head feels like it’s about to explode [3 Pain]
-Sprained Leg: Forces Albert to walk with a cane. Going without one risks injuring the leg further. [1 Pain]
-Mild Head Trauma: Bruises on your face and neck. By some miracle, nothing broken. You are visibly injured [1 Pain]
-Tinnitus: Your ears are ringing. Decreased auditory perception, increased irritability
-Vertigo: It feels like everything is spinning, it’s hard to stay balanced. If you don’t have a wall or person to lean against, you won’t be able to walk without falling

Current Pain: 5/10


Clive: “...We’re here.”
Albert: “Yes, the building stood in front of us did not escape my faculties. Would you care to let us in?”
Clive: “...”

He pulls out a key, and unlocks the door. You can’t deny finding yourself at a loss when he pushes it open though. You’d been expecting a normal entrance hallway with no surprises of any sort.

What actually stands in front of you is a bizarre spectacle. A Dining Room Chair stands about 6 feet away from the door, facing right towards it. Littering the ground between the entryway and the seat is a scattered mess of Candy. It wasn’t just messy, an untidy home wouldn’t bring you any pause. However, aside from this inexplicable opening, the rest of the home seemed more or less clean. It wasn’t perfect, but there was clear effort to keep things in their proper places, and not leave behind obvious messes. It’s the Contrast between these details that leaves you staring in bewilderment at the scene.

Albert: “What... Why? Clive, what am I looking at?”
Clive: “...Oh... Sorry, I forgot to clean that up.”
Albert: “Yeah, I see that! Why is it here though?”
Clive: “...It’s nothing... I waited by the door on Sunday for Rodney, because he was out past curfew.”
Albert: “Okay, that’s... understandable I suppose. What about the candy?”
Clive: “...It’s Rodney’s. Don’t touch it.”

You mentally curse yourself for not silently grabbing a piece or two before asking.

That’s not what’s important though. He didn’t actually answer your question. You asked why the candy was here, not who did it belong to. On top of that, there’s that small detail you just picked up from Rebecca a short time ago. Clive never purchases sweets, so it’s strange that the first thing you’ve seen upon stepping inside is candy.

This may be something he doesn’t feel comfortable talking about. His brother is clearly still a sensitive subject, you should tread lightly here. You really can’t afford to be hit again today.

How should you proceed with this conversation?

A: Albert: “I think I know what happened.”
-Present your best explanation for the scene in front of you
-If you’re close enough to the truth, Clive will talk
-Get it wrong though, and you doubt you’ll get an answer
B: Albert: “Can you tell me what happened?”
-Ask Clive directly
-Unpredictable result, you aren’t sure how he’ll respond
-You can suggest a tone to take, and Albert will try. He is still Albert though
C: Albert: “...Can I have the peanut butter cup at least?”
-Drop it
-You know it’s what Clive wants
-40% chance you lose one fewer symptom as you rest, due to Albert overthinking instead of sleeping

>>
No. 1027930 ID: 851aa0

C. We dont have enough info, and even if we did, we need Albert to rest up. And eat.

Mention the 100 grand bar, you think Temmie was looking for some if we want to give it to her.

Initial thoughts, I cant help but feel the candy is there to lure something small into the building. Something small that cant reach or open doors or cabinets or drawers, but can open candy wrappers. The door was also left open in the first thread's intro pictures too. Maybe Rodney left them there to wait for something to come in and take some? Which is why the chair is there too, for Rodney or Clive to wait for whoever they are trying to lure? (Tho Clive could be sitting there to wait for Rodney)

Though in this case, I cant figure out who or what Rodney is using the candy to lure or take...

Maybe one of Jhonen's conspiracies poisoned Rodney's mind to have him leave candy there or something...
>>
No. 1028007 ID: a70a13

>>1027930
In my opinion, I'm pretty sure the chair and candy is Clive's way of dealing with Rodney's absence. You gotta remember that these are kids we're dealing with, Clive is probably going through an intense period of isolation and loss.

I personally suggest B. In the most gentle tone you can muster, if you even have to. Maybe it's better to just let sleeping dogs lie and just let Clive know you're emotionally there for him.

He needs a friend, not someone trying to take things from him and try to guess his grief.
>>
No. 1028039 ID: 2afc98

I'm voting C. I tried my best to piece together something, but right now, Albert is Albert with a splitting headache and I don't trust him to ask any questions delicately.

The candy definitely isn't Rodney's.
>>
No. 1028116 ID: ce39da

We could try a partial answer for A, even if we lack too much info for the full picture - we know Clive's motive for buying the candy, at least, given he doesn't seem completely delusional: "... Are you continuing a project of Rodney's? Beats the hell out of me what it is, though."
>>
No. 1028120 ID: afe7de

I'm on team B because I feel like if we dont even *attempt* to answer/find out the question we'll just get penalized with the *bad resting penalty* indicated on C. Oh, and I think maybe Albert tries to be gentle, but then gives a firmer inquiry into what happened since he seemed pretty shook earlier, saying that you dont want to dig at trauma since you're about to rest, but you'd at least rest a little easier with some info, you do want to help his brother and all the other graduated kids after all. (so its a slight guilt trip)

Regardless of what gets picked, here's my crackpot theories, do with them what you will:

-Rodney liked candy and had some kind of project that needed more candy so Clive is keeping it up even if he's not there.
-Rodney got recycled into candy and he hopes to bring his brother back by collecting candy
-Rodney got turned into an animal like that one lobster movie and now Clive is gathering candy in the hopes it attracts his brother home since his bro always said he wanted to be a dog

I honestly am grasping for straws here, I thought I had big brain but this just proves that my brain is a peanut.
>>
No. 1028130 ID: 96c896

>>1027811
A.
It's simple. Rodney is missing. The candy is there, in front of the door, in a neat pile, with every piece visible, so Rodney will see it from outside and come in to grab it. He's still buying more, because he thinks if there's enough candy there Rodney will come home.

Basically, it's positioned like bait, and he's able to sit and watch the candy along with the door.
>>
No. 1028573 ID: 629f2e
File 164939028719.png - (1.35MB , 1000x1000 , 104.png )
1028573

You’re Conflicted.

Countless theories flood your mind, each explaining the scene before you in a different way. Some are ridiculous, easily brushed aside; while others seem Plausible, but you lack the evidence to assert the truth of any of them.

You want to say something, you just... aren’t fully sure what.

In the end, you decide to press on the points you know, hoping that he’ll fill in whatever holes in your knowledge remain once you’re through.

Albert: “...Is this related to why you were Buying Candy from Rebecca earlier?”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “Well?”
Clive: “...I Guess?
Albert: “Okay... You said that you were buying it for your brother. Then is this pile here for him too?”
Clive: “Yes... No... I- Maybe? I don’t- I haven’t thought about it like that.”
Clive: “...He brought it here. I’m not going to touch it Again.
Albert: “Ah, if you’re saying ‘again’, then that means you already did touch it once. Why was that?”

There’s a subtle flinch, as his expression turns dour in response.

Clive: “Stop it. I know what you’re doing.”
Albert: “Was I too unsubtle?”
Clive: “Leave me alone...”

He turns his back to you. Although normally, you would feel a bit indignant about him refusing to share potentially relevant information, you instead felt sorry for the boy. It’s become painfully obvious over the hour or two you’ve spent with Clive just how badly he’s handling his brother’s absence. It was no surprise to you that he’s upset, you had already concluded that as early as your conversation with him before class. No, what you failed to appreciate was the scale of his misery. You wonder how much of that is the separation from his sibling, and how much is concern regarding Rodney’s true fate as you uncover more and more about graduation.

Something to consider later. What matters now is that in his current state, Clive may not be willing to tell you anything significant. For now then, all you can do is offer a general query to see what he’ll tell you.

Albert: “...You don’t have to tell me everything, but could you just give me some idea of why this candy is strewn about here at least?”
Clive: “...”
Clive: “It’s a reminder.”
Albert: “Of... Rodney?”
Clive: “Of how I drove him away. It’s to remind me that I was a Worthless brother to him.”
Clive: “...Is that enough for you?”
Albert: “...Y-Yeah.”

Drove him away... Rodney didn’t run away from home though, he was taken by the school. Why does he think that, and how does the candy relate?

Regardless, you aren’t touching this topic again any time soon. It seems very Touchy, and given your recent track record with delicacy... Well, the less said about the bruises on your face the better.

Albert: “Well, I suppose we should be heading to bed then?”
Clive: “Upstairs and to the right. Rodney’s bunk is on top. Can you make it up there on your own?”
Albert: “I can handle myself just fine.”
Clive: “Alright. I’ll follow you up soon.”

In truth, you were saying words you aren’t allowed to utter in your mind Clive for failing to mention he and his brother shared a bunk bed, but you wisely elect to hold your tongue for the moment.

As you leave for the staircase, you pause at the base. Beside a wall clock, a Photo of two boys hangs.

...You hadn’t seen Rodney since school on Friday. He wasn’t a kid you interacted with as consistently as Roger or Phillip, but he was impossible to avoid. He... wasn’t a bad kid. You never had any issues with him, nor did anyone you knew.

So why did this have to happen to him?

...And would it really be asking too much for Clive to Smile for the camera?
>>
No. 1028574 ID: 629f2e
File 164939032467.png - (573.84KB , 1000x1000 , 105.png )
1028574

When you make it upstairs, your legs are wobbling. If not for the handrail, you may have honestly fallen backwards and killed yourself in the dumbest way possible. Thank goodness for it.

You drag yourself down the hall. To the left is a shut door, presumably the Master Bedroom. Interesting as it might be to dig around and see what secrets hide within, you’re too exhausted to entertain the idea for long. You turn right, letting yourself into Clive and Rodney’s bedroom.

And there inside lies the furniture of which you were dreading. The bunk bed. And Rodney’s bunk was on top...

...If Clive asks, you gave the climb significant effort before flopping onto Clive’s mattress gracelessly.

You crawl into it, tucking yourself in. The feeling of a mattress and decent quality pillow beneath you sends you off to Heaven. You’d set the alarm clock over on the drawers for 1.5 Hours from now. Soon, all of the worries that filled your mind start to fade away, as a peaceful slumber overtakes you...

What type of dreams will Albert have?

(NOTE: His recovery will not be impeded by bad dreams)

1: A Nightmare
-Let your mind spiral with fear
-You will gain some Fear
-You will wake up before the alarm, and may encounter a hidden event as a result
-Your recovery will not be impeded by bad dreams

2: A Pleasant Fantasy
-A pleasant yet simple dream of happy experiences
-You will recover some Fear
-The dream will be peaceful, but utterly boring to reflect upon

3: A ??r?????? ?e????
-???e??e? ??a??
-You will ???? ? ??? ?? Fear

4: A Strange Gathering
-Wake up in a strange place, with familiar and strange characters alike
-No Fear change
-You may receive a clue

5: Utter Nonsense
-You dream of many disconnected things at once. Much of it will be stupid and nonsensical
-You will recover some Fear
-You may receive some personal advice

6: Other
-Describe what Albert dreams about

>>
No. 1028575 ID: afe7de

Spams the 4 button.
>>
No. 1028583 ID: a70a13

If we can have two types of dreams at once, I wanna see three and four at the same time my guy.

I want some weird gatherings and some GLITCHY SHIT, C'MON BABY.
>>
No. 1028589 ID: e51896

5: Utter Nonsense

I think one of the people the pic representing utter nonsense is Temmie

I want to talk to Temmie again
>>
No. 1028600 ID: 8483cf

4head
>>
No. 1028608 ID: 1c6255

4. Let's go crossover!
>>
No. 1028616 ID: e5709d

3
>>
No. 1028626 ID: ce39da

3
>>
No. 1028668 ID: e51896

Changing my vote to 3 so we can have a 3 and 4 combo.
>>
No. 1028825 ID: 629f2e
File 164965392690.png - (815.42KB , 1000x1000 , 106.png )
1028825

You open your eyes, and you’re no longer in Clive’s room. You almost immediately stumble and fall back, losing your balance as the ground beneath you trembles.

Albert: “Wh- An Earthquake!?
???: “Seriously? Haven’t you ever ridden in an Elevator before?”
Albert: “A what- No. I can’t say that I have.”

You look up from the ground, seeing two young girls standing above you. One looked particularly strange, having purple skin and pointy ears hiding behind a mask of Eyes. As the knowledge that this is a dream enters your mind, it strikes you that she resembles what you imagine elves to look like, based on your character figurine from Phillip’s tabletop game.

The other girl is Temmie in a Bunny mask, which fails to hide the obvious fact that it’s Temmie. Your brain needed a break all you’ve been through, you’ll forgive it this time for lacking creativity.

Temmie: “Are you okay?”
Albert: “Just fine. This is a dream anyways, I doubt it would matter even if I’d attained a bruise from that fall.”
Eye: “If you don’t help him up, he’s just going to fall over again.”

You want to object, but she’s right. Your injuries decided to follow you into your dreams tonight, and you could barely feel your legs below you. Temmie takes the advice and helps you onto your feet, holding you upright.

Albert: “Hmm... For a dream, this feels rather lucid compared to the usual fare.”
Temmie: “Has The Genius never experienced lucid dreams in the past?”
Albert: “Perhaps once or twice, but they’re rather uncommon for me.”
Eye: “I have dreams like this all the time.”

...You weren’t going to give much weight to words spoken by a figment of your mind. It’s your understanding that dreams such as this are uncommon.

*DING*

The elevator comes to a halt, and a set of doors in front of you slide open automatically. You all step into a pure white room, where the walls and floor blend together. As you turn on your heel, to examine all sides of the room, you’re taken aback to see the elevator behind you no longer present. Strange how the form of this dream seemed rather solid, and yet discrepancies like That still managed to slip in. What you’d give to understand the workings of your mind.

Eye: “It’s starting.”
Temmie: “This will be silly. The spirits from below aren’t taking this seriously.”
Eye: “That’s something we can agree on.”
Albert: “...What are you talking about?”

As if on queue, a projection appears in front of you all. On it appears a man with red skin, a pointed tail, and the apparel of a circus Clown. The expression on his face portrays a deep exhaustion, and a distaste for reality itself. It’s clear to you that this man is questioning every decision that led him to this point in his existence.

Demon Clown: “...”
(Offscreen Voice): “Randal, come on man-”
Randal: “Right. Right... Just give me a moment to weigh the pros and cons of suicide one more time.”
Randal: “...Alright, fine, let’s get this over with.”

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. His face breaks into a wide smile, and he puts heavy enthusiasm into his voice.

Randal: “HEEEEEEEYYYY KIDS!”
Albert: “Ugh.”
Eye: “Oh dear god, how is it worse than I could have ever imagined?”
Randal: “My name’s Randy the Clown, and we’re all gonna play a fun little game! Now, whooooo likes toys!”
Temmie: “...Excuse me, Mr. Randal, sir?”
Randal: “Yeeeeeees?”
Temmie: “I believe that my peers’ hatred of this character nearly matches your own.”
Albert: “Please end it now.”
Eye: “Cease.”
Temmie: “...So I don’t think anyone would mind if you dropped this act.”
Randal: “Holy $!@#! Thank you! F@#$ you Carson, they hated it!”
(Offscreen Voice): “That’s because you didn’t even try!”
Randal: “I put my soul into that performance, don’t you put that $@!# on me-”
Temmie: “Pardon again, Mr. Randal?”
Randal: “Yes?”
Temmie: “...We’re still children. My daddy says that language isn’t very appropriate.”
Randal: “Ah- Sorry, my mistake.”
Eye: “Speak for yourself, f!@#ing baby.”

...Is your mind being this vulgar because you talked to Rebecca earlier? You haven’t even spoken a swear, and yet you still feel tempted to wash your mouth out with soap when this is over.

Randal: “Sorry, we’re off to a bad start, just pretend none of that happened.”
Randal: “You have all been semi-randomly selected to participate in an experimental event. The Demon Auction Jr!
Randal: “All the fun of a normal demon auction, but with a younger audience in mind.”
Albert: “That explains your previous behavior I suppose. Most of my friends actually wouldn’t mind the clown persona if you hid your distaste for it better.”
Eye: “Your friends have terrible taste then.”
Albert: “I never claimed otherwise.”
Randal: “For those following these proceedings, please keep in mind that since this is an experiment, the rules are a bit looser than normal. This Auction bears no relation to the fight for the new demon king.”
Randal: “Most of you aren’t even Awakened.
Albert: “I’m literally dreaming.”
Randal: “Exactly!”

From there he explains more rules, explaining that you’ll all be spending points to bid on a variety of special trinkets and toys. Many of them were ludicrous or simply unbelievable, but you make an effort to strategically spend your points to maximize your haul.

...Unfortunately...

Randal: “Wow. It’s not often we get someone literally walk away with nothing.”
Albert: “...”
Temmie: “...This outcome was predictable. When two out of three can see the future, the third has little opportunity to fight back.”
Eye: “You would have had to spend all of your points on a single item to guarantee you wouldn’t be outbid.”

...You didn’t even care that deeply, seeing as you wouldn’t have any of your winnings when you awoke, and yet you’re still annoyed at this outcome.

Randal: “Sorry kid, looks like you got unlucky with the match-up.”
Randal: “...Hey Carson, put in a suggestion for a rule moving forward: Whenever we have pre-cogs in the Auction, maybe we should let everyone else see their bids.”
(Offscreen Voice): “I’ll mention it to management.”
Randal: “You can bring it up while you’re telling them that this clown $@#! is a no-go.”
(Offscreen Voice): “Oh my god, Randal we aren’t abandoning the idea without giving it a real attempt. You know this didn’t count.”
>>
No. 1028826 ID: 629f2e
File 164965396373.png - (1.20MB , 1000x1000 , 107.png )
1028826

As the adults bicker, Temmie moves closer to you to talk.

Temmie: “It does seem a little unfair that Albert gained nothing from this game. Perhaps Temmie could share something with you?”
Albert: “It’s not as though we’ll really be getting anything from this. I’ll wake up soon enough and forget all about it.”
Temmie: “This is what is likely. But if Albert is to Remember, then perhaps there should be something worth remembering. A Fortune perhaps?”
Albert: “...I suppose it may be interesting to see what my subconscious believes lies in my future. Very well, I accept-”
Eye: “What point is there in getting a fortune from her?”

You both turn to the other girl, who apparently takes issue with Temmie’s offer.

Eye: “She Can’t see the future.”
Albert: “Obviously. It’s impossible.”
Temmie: “...My fortunes are very appreciated by those who have purchased them. Does the girl with true future sight not find this sufficient?”
Eye: “I’m sure what you do is good enough for most kids in a boring predictable small town, but it’s not precognition. You’re just taking in more information than anyone else and making educated Guesses.
Eye: “If you really want to know what your future holds, you should ask Me.
Temmie: “Temmie wonders what the point of knowing a future one cannot change is. Why know the Inevitable when you could receive the tools to Choose your fate?”
Eye: “The future has many possibilities, but some are far more likely than others based on how people are to act. Giving them information that will Change those actions lets me Lead them to the future of my choice.”
Temmie: “Of course you can. And Temmie would not wish to imply that you would misuse that knowledge to Mislead others for your own amusement. That would be a very unfortunate accusation.”
Eye: “It certainly would be a spurious allegation. It would be like if I claimed that you were using your classmates as guinea pigs to test your abilities on.”

You’re wondering if you should feel left out as the only person not arguing. No complaints here though, this is significantly more fun than the auction itself was. Fingers crossed one of them throws a punch.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the progression. After a few more verbal jabs from both of them, they turn to face you.

Temmie: “Who would you prefer to hear a fortune from.”
Eye: “I’m only offering if you turn her down. You can only choose one.”

This has taken a rather complicated turn. Still, you’re rather sure that you gleaned enough from their argument to make an informed decision between their two brands of fortune telling. Although you know on a deeper level why this choice is irrelevant and meaningless, you can put that aside and play pretend for long enough to make an honest assessment.

From which girl do you wish to hear your future?

1: Temmie Fortune
-Temmie will share her interpretation of your future
-Temmie’s prediction will tell you what CAN be, but not what WILL.
-She will speak cryptically, her prediction requiring interpretation. But instead of answers, she will offer advice

2: Eye’s Precognition
-Eye will tell you of things that WILL happen in your future
-Eye’s prediction is inescapable. Whatever she says will happen is guaranteed to take place
-Her prediction will be straightforward and easy to understand. Some portion of the fortune will be intended to mess with you, but she will not lie

>>
No. 1028828 ID: e51896

A, Temmie.

It is best to handle what we CAN control over what we can't control in our future to give us a possible better outcome and better future, despite her predictions not being as accurate as eyes... plus Temmie is someone we know, and after what Albert went through, I think he needs advice more than anything to better himself as a person.

plus, knowing a bad outcome that we cannot stop would only serve to gain FEAR. knowing what we CAN control in our future might make the inevitable not as bad.

Lastly, it's because Temmie is cool, and she felt bad for us to give us a free fortune. Listen to her as thanks.
>>
No. 1028834 ID: 8483cf

I was about to suggest 2 in order to be certain of what we needed to do, but frankly, Polt's convinced me. Hope is important to conquering fear, and since Temmie's offering advice unlike SOME people, we're in a good position to take it.

We need to be in a position to act to change fate, not react to something unchangeable. One is more powerful than the other.
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No. 1028840 ID: e5709d

Eye's Precognition.
We need consistency. If you don't like the results, then tweak the context. If you tweak too much context out of a Fortune, you run the risk of making the situation near-impossible to occur, negating the point of the prophecy. But with precognition, you know what is going to happen and nothing you do, no matter how nonsensical or insane, is going to change it.
Take a risk. Prepare to short-sell.
>>
No. 1028845 ID: 1c6255

Hard pass on the inevitable. Go with Temmie. No rails!
>>
No. 1028977 ID: e51896

Hey Temmie, hey! Can you still hear us? It's me, one of the spirits helping Albert.

Do you still want Roger to get you a 100 grand candy bar? We found out Clive just bought one.

If you could, may you please convince Albert to convince Clive to give him the 100 Grand bar so that Albert can give it to Roger and convince him to give it to you so that Roger can convince you to help him?
>>
No. 1028992 ID: afe7de

I'm on #2 because knowing a situation and being able to prepare or manipulate the context or contents of it can be way more valuable than a chance, which, while advice is good, I think Albert would rather take a known than a potential so he can use his big brain to try to take advantage of the moment.
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No. 1029342 ID: 629f2e
File 165000566485.png - (1.29MB , 1000x1000 , 108.png )
1029342

Albert: “I’ll go with Temmie. Hers was the more persuasive argument.”

Somehow, despite the mask, you can just tell that Temmie is grinning at your choice. The larger girl clicks her tongue in disapproval. You certainly considered her offer, but it just wasn’t as compelling.

Albert: “Why do you sound disappointed? If you can really see the future, you should have Known from the start how I would answer.”
Eye: “Things get fuzzy when I go off-script. I was hoping that would change the outcome, but I guess you’re just committed to being boring.”
Temmie: “Temmie is thankful to have been chosen though. Please listen well. You’re going to have to remember all of this when you wake up.”
Albert: “Wait, what?”
Temmie: “Don’t worry. Just pay attention...”

“To the Genius who has failed to understand the hearts of others, I offer to you a gift. To you, I offer a chance for reflection. May you evolve, for the sake of others.”

“You shall encounter the king of fools where all journeys meet their end. When he reveals himself, an opportunity will suddenly be laid at your feet. Consider whether or not you should take it. Your decision shall carry a deep consequence.”

“This meeting is certain, but some opportunities are mere probabilities. If you are to meet with a scornful one locked out of their cell, it may be your final chance to prevent a tragedy. When clouds weep, the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls. Though your tongue often lashes out, hold thy barbs lest they pierce too deep to be removed.”

“This is the Past, the Present, and the Future as I have seen it.”


...

Despite yourself, you feel a tinge of Fear at her words. Why though? Why were you putting any stock in this inane fortune, given by a figment of your mind? Even if this somehow really was Temmie, it shouldn’t matter.

Because... It’s Impossible. There’s no way she could know what lies in your future!

Eye: “Psh. Of all the things you could have told him, that’s what you chose?”
Temmie: “Temmie believes that The Genius can handle most things. He’s very capable! But when it comes to people, he is a bit helpless.”
Albert: “H-Hey!”
Temmie: “Does the seer not think that this will lead to a happier future than if Temmie had told him something else?”
Eye: “...You won’t get any clues from me. After all, he chose you, remember?”
Eye: “But I don’t mind giving him a taste of what true Precognition looks like, just to let him know what he missed out on.”

She chuckles scornfully, as she walks forward and places a hand on your shoulder.

Eye: “How does it feel to know that I can see Everything that lies ahead for you. I already know how your story ends.”
Albert: “...I... It’s just a dream. That’s impossible.”
Eye: “Oh really? Because I think you’ll believe it when my prediction comes true, and you’ll see exactly what you missed out on.”

Behind the mask, you see a gleam in her eyes, as she suddenly speaks.

“Within 48 hours, you will scream with terror as your friend is Beheaded before your eyes.”

...

...

...What?

B...Beheaded?

Your friend will be... beheaded...

Eye: “Of course, if I’m lying then you can feel free to correct me.”
Temmie: “...”
Albert: “Beheaded...”

Somewhere deep, the word struck a chord with you. The world which had previously felt almost real fades into a numb feeling of unreality.

And when you feel yourself again...

...

...
>>
No. 1029343 ID: 629f2e
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1029343

W̴̬̞̙͈͝͠D̶̨̼̩̘͈̠̦̯̜̥̱̱̑͐̎̅͌͐͝S̴̡̛̗̼̠͖̥̆̈́̌̅ ̵̧͓̱̝͚͕̱̦̞̦̦̦͈̳̼͋̆̽͛̅E̴̠̎͊̄̉͛͗͊̓̓̒̊̽̾̍͠A̸̡͎̠͙̩͈͔̹̍͠͠D̷̹̉̉ ̸̢̢͇̫̟̲̥̜̹͑̊͒̒̈́̈́̍͑̿̽̀̇̂̏͝Ḛ̷̡̧͔̜̯̺̬̰̮̙̼̣̯͈̂̏͛̎̃̒͗Ẹ̶͔̰̗̞͂̐́̅̽̍̓̑̎̿̕̕͝Ę̷͈̺͇̳̭̹͓͙͘L̷͓̼͉͙̬̱̹̐̈́͊͆̄̀̇̕T̴̨̛̼̬̦̬͒͐͆̀̈̆̂̌́̋̕͠ ̷̞̣̒̔͂̈́͑͌̅̑͌͝͝A̸̯͎̼͔̗̣̭̬̠̓̍̃L̸̨̢̙̲̫̪̫̞̺͓͙̲͗̂̀́̒͑̀̇͊̅͗͛̊ͅM̴̡̠̦͖̘͚͓͕͍̣͓̺̐̀̑͆̈́̾͐͐̾̔̀̓͘͠Ȩ̴͙̭͎̥̰̗̤̥͓͌͌̇͐͗̇̄̏̊͆̕͝ͅ ̴̡̡̧̰͈̞̗̻̤̦̤̥̻͉͒̄̒́͋̎̓̾̈̀̋͒̚͠O̵͕̫̫̗̍́N̵̨̳̜͙̻͍̲̟̊̑͝O̵̼̱͎̗͓͉͓͛̊̅̓͊͆͘͠P̶̘͕̠̙̤̺̀̎̉̓̓̍̌À̷̬̳̼̪̲̪̪̘͔͓͙͓̀̈́̀͐̊̏̕͜ ̴̞̰̟̫̮͍̲̼̐̈͛̄̎͂̔͠͠͝Ş̷͎͖͍͒̉͐̈́̉T̵̙̈͊͒͑̊̈͂̀̐̇ͅṔ̵̢̲̬̱̪̫̯͈̣̹̆̎Ë̸̛̫̃̾͐̄̈̽̀̌̋̎̍Ē̵̳̝̯̹̉͂̔̌̂͌͑́̈̎̄̕͘͜͝ ̵̬̯̦̻̟͙̻̲̅̍́̐̊́̐͊͑͛̂̿͝͝Ơ̵̛̛̮̜̫̝̯̜̺̫͇̙̰̬̳̑̃̀̽̒͂͒̊̈́̔͜͝͠Ȁ̷̰̄̒̏̅͒̓̚͘S̵̪͚̭̙̜̯̘͉̲͌̔͊Ȍ̸̡̡̧̨͎͚̻̮͈̓͂͆̚͜͜Ṱ̷̢̛̬̦̹͇̠͕̖̖͎͇̯͉͌̽́͑̓̏̄̈́͒͋̕̚̕͠ͅ ̵̢̛̫͖̖͖̯̰̏͋̈́̇Ȩ̸̢̢̖̭͚͙͚͕̱̦̲̘̎̌͌͆̊̅͛̍̃̾̉͗͘̕͝ ̶̨̼͙͔̰̅̎͂̒́͊͗͋̊̄͂L̷̡̧̧̠̲̣̣̙̜͕̤̬͆̆̃̔͆̑͆̏̅̚P̸̨͙̲͉̻͖̮͇̒͛̓͂̐͌̒̃̓͘̕ͅP̵̥͐’̶̨̹̥̲͖͓̩̝̹̤̞̮̙͕̓̀̂̎̊̃͑͋͜͝͝N̸̛͙̻̻̗͈̈́́̏͒̐̆͌̈́́͆͋̚͠ ̶̡̭̞̫̼̄̃̂̌̅̂̉̔ͅ ̷̳̙̝̮̱͕͈̦̄͊̈͜ͅM̷̛̯̘̮͛͐́́I̴͖̭͔̲͓͓̗̰̯̝̐͌̌̎͗̿̇͑͘͘͘Ă̵͉͖̳̙͔̱̼̣̹͇͍̝̩̜̓̇̊̈́̏̄́͘͝͝Ḑ̸̲̱͔̭̲̲̤̱̬͑̔̒̎͐͐̓͆͝͝ ̵̳̲͚̹̫̫̰͈̰͈̜͍͊̈́͆̀̋͜S̸̮̳̝̘̫͍̹̞̯̺͎̩̊͊̅̓̏͋́̽̑̇̓̚̚ͅĻ̶̭͈͓͖̺̺̰̰̹̫͉̫̻̍̆̾̄͐̽̒̈̎̚ͅ-̶̨̦̜̩̲̻̲͕͈̗̞̞̙͈̑̉͋̄̔͑͠ͅ
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No. 1029344 ID: 629f2e
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1029344

You wake up gasping for breath. Sweat drips down your face, and your heart feels like it’s racing at a dangerous pace.

Clive: “H-Hey.”

You hear his voice, but are too distracted to register him. Your hands find their way around your neck, confirming that it’s still there. A wince of pain courses through you. Ah, right, the bruises. Your breathing starts to calm anyway, just feeling it’s still there.

Clive: “...Are you...?”
Albert: “Fine, I’m fine. Just... a bad dream is all.”
Albert: “...Just... a dream.”

Creepy fortunes and sudden nightmares plagued Albert’s sleep, causing him to gain 10 Fear
[Albert is visibly distressed]
Going off of appearances, Clive didn’t sleep well either. He has gained 4 Fear
[Clive looks exhausted]

Party Fear Levels:
[Albert: 48/100]
[Clive: 40/100]

Although your party’s Fear isn’t looking good, the rest has allowed Albert to recover from some of his ailments

Albert’s [Tinnitus] has cleared up entirely!
Albert’s [Vertigo] has cleared up entirely!
Albert’s [Headache Lvl 4] has decreased to [Headache Lvl 2]

Current Symptoms:
-Headache Lvl 2: An irritation, but one you can handle. You’ve felt worse. [1 Pain]
-Sprained Leg: Forces Albert to walk with a cane. Going without one risks injuring the leg further. [1 Pain]
-Mild Head Trauma: Bruises on your face and neck. By some miracle, nothing broken. You are visibly injured [1 Pain]
Current Pain: 3/10


You don’t want to talk about your dream, and Clive doesn’t ask. Sometimes you appreciate his quiet nature.

Albert: “Before anything else, has Rebecca dropped off-”
Clive: “‘Bec.
Albert: “She isn’t here to care!”
Clive: “...That doesn’t mean you should call her whatever you want.”
Albert: “...Has ‘Bec brought over the food we both ordered yet?”
Clive: “No. ...She usually gets to it later in the day when fewer people are out. She’ll drop it off in a bush outside, and I collect it when nobody's around.”
Albert: “That’s fine for you, but what about me?”
Clive: “...You can pick it up here tomorrow. Or I could bring it to your house.”

The thought of your mother devouring the last of your cereal this morning comes to mind.

Albert: “...Nevermind. It’s safer here I suppose. Away from the Vultures.
Clive: “...Right.”
Clive: “There’s still time before curfew. I’m going to keep looking around. ...You can come if you want.”
Albert: “I’m feeling better than I was before, so there’s no reason I would need to tap out early.”
Albert: “Come, let’s discuss our options.”
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No. 1029345 ID: 629f2e
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1029345

As you rise from the bed, the difference between your current state and before the rest fully hits you. It’s refreshing, dare you even suggest that you feel Good.

...You don’t of course. Your head still ached, though less than before, and the occasional brush of fabric against the bruises on your neck came with an inconsistent flash of pain. The morphine you almost found yourself enjoying feels like a distant memory now.

Albert: “My Apartment wouldn’t be far away. If we wanted to go there to look around, now would be a very convenient time. Although, at this hour Mom might be home now...”
Albert: “Where else could we go...?”

The question really comes down to what we want to investigate most at the moment. We have a few different topics we could follow up on.

If you head home, that would give you a chance to really look over the Crime Scene. If you’re actively investigating, you might find something you wouldn’t have noticed while just living there. After all, you try to minimize your time at home as much as possible. If there was evidence, you weren’t guaranteed to find it.

Your father had brought up the Nuclear Plant during your visit, which is something you have never heard of. While it would be foolish to start questioning adults about it, you wonder if you could find something about it at the library. They do keep old newspapers there that you could look through.

There’s also the matter of Franklin and Lillian still. You will have to Meet Up with them sooner or later to swap information. It would be tough to avoid, given you plan to stay the night with Franklin. You aren’t expecting much from them, but it might at least give you the chance to ask Franklin about some of the gossip Rebecca shared with you.

...You aren’t looking forward to that. After what happened with Lillian this morning, it’s guaranteed to be awkward.

Speaking of people, there was Rebecca’s other bit of gossip. You now have a list of likely Suspects, even if you don’t know what makes each of them suspicious. You could start doing some digging into them. Mrs. Horvitz would be difficult, since she doesn’t have a child you could use to get invited into her home anymore (given that Jhonen has graduated). Mrs. Foster is doable, but interrupting Enid’s rest and recovery would likely be ill-advised. She absolutely does not need to start feeling paranoid about her new mother right now.

That just leaves Ms. Leoi. You aren’t the closest to Louie or Saihu, but his position as Class President might give you a number of possible excuses to talk to him and learn more about his mother.

You lay out your options to Clive, and decide together.

What should you investigate (You will likely only be able to visit two to three more locations before curfew)

1: The Nuclear Plant
-Head over to the Library
-Try to learn more about the Cattenom Nuclear Plant from newspaper articles and books
-It will be a bit of a walk. You’ll make it without needing a break, but you will only have time to look into one other thing afterwards
-Clive supports this choice, +1 Vote

2: The Crime Scene
-Head home
-Look around your apartment for evidence left behind
-You have a feeling something VERY BAD will happen if you come here, but also something IMPORTANT

3: One of Our Suspects, Ms. Leoi
-Head to the Leoi house
-You’re going to need to think of an excuse to be let in
-...And there’s a chance that Louir and/or Saihu won’t be home, which will increase the difficulty of that check
-You will certainly meet Ms. Leoi at least

4: Find Franklin and Lillian
-Check out a few likely spots your companions may be at
-Exchange information and learn just how badly they botched the school investigation
-There is a chance that you won’t be able to find them depending on where they are and what they’re doing
-Albert isn’t afraid to face his friends. There’s just no reason to when he expects nothing but failure, -2 Votes

5: Change Our Focus
-Look into something outside of what has been going on with your father
-Write in what you want to investigate, and Albert will calculate the best place to visit to learn more about the chosen topic




6: Investigate Your Dream
-You don’t believe in fortune telling, but hypothetically, if you decided to take the predictions from your dream seriously…
-The King of Fools is definitely Lemmy, and you would guess that the Scornful One would be JoJo
-What do you think Temmie meant by her predictions?
-If enough people want to closely investigate these fortunes, you will visit a location relating to the majority opinion on how to interpret them

>>
No. 1029346 ID: e51896

Gonna be hard to win, because of the -2 votes, but

4: Find Franklin and Lillian. Start believing in your friends more for once. I think we learned enough very important info to share with our friends right now, and need to get this info to them before something happens.

Plus, probably best not to see mom right now since we stole some of the ham, going to the library too much might start raising eyebrows since we went there yesterday
>>
No. 1029347 ID: 96c896

If you can find JoJo and prevent the tragedy, then perhaps Eye's prediction will fail. After all, she said even her predictions are only the most likely events to happen.
>>
No. 1029348 ID: e51896

My interpretations:

“You shall encounter the king of fools where all journeys meet their end. When he reveals himself, an opportunity will suddenly be laid at your feet. Consider whether or not you should take it. Your decision shall carry a deep consequence.”

Pretty straight forward, we don't have enough info what this opportunity is though, could be anything, but whatever it is, our choice will have huge ramifications

“This meeting is certain, but some opportunities are mere probabilities. If you are to meet with a scornful one locked out of their cell, it may be your final chance to prevent a tragedy. When clouds weep, the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls. Though your tongue often lashes out, hold thy barbs lest they pierce too deep to be removed.”

I get the feeling if we come across Jojo, something is going to happen that is going to really anger the spirits (or more specifically, us as suggesters) This is going to happen at night time, as Temmie said "the chill of night" and "clouds weep" could mean a rain (unless she meant something sad is going to happen which might make the suggestors angry, maybe at Jojo) so really, if this happens, it's going to be on a rainy night.

I believe Jojo is going to do something that might seem unforgivable, or do something that might make Albert and us angered or overwhelmed, but no matter what, we'll need to keep a level head and not lash out at Jojo, or whoever, there might be more at play than what we might witness.
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No. 1029349 ID: 96c896

Oh I forgot to mention: "where all journeys meet their end" could be a graveyard.
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No. 1029353 ID: afe7de

Go find your friends, yeah it has a -2 votes, but… if you can successfully find them maybe you can help them if they are in a SITUATION, and if not then maybe you can end up in the library to look up the plant since you met there yesterday, maybe they’re even there, waiting for you!!!!
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No. 1029355 ID: b83475

You need to meet your friends. The sooner you know the bad news, the sooner you can try to fix it before it worsens.
>>
No. 1029395 ID: 8483cf

I vote 4: Find our friends. Not because it's what Albert would do, but because everyone hates doing what they know is the right (but difficult) thing.
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No. 1030994 ID: 629f2e
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1030994

...You really should get this over with sooner rather than later. Seeing Lillian again will be awkward, but that won’t change just because you put it off another hour or so. Besides, it’ll be good to check and make sure they haven’t botched things too badly and implicated the rest of you.

Plus, it’ll give you a chance to ask Franklin about the Scar he’s apparently hiding.

Clive agrees with your decision, but questions where you could find them. Admittedly, you aren’t entirely sure yourself. The Elementary School seems like a good starting place at least. If they aren’t there, then the odds of finding them will drop significantly. None of this is even considering the possibility that they were caught and were taken somewhere already. Very worst case scenario: They’re inside the high school building.

The walk to school is short and, as you’ve come to expect with Clive, hushed. You go back and forth on appreciating his taciturn nature and finding it obnoxious. At the moment, it was giving you time to reflect upon your dream.

You don’t know why you’re still thinking about it, but you are. Despite all evidence pointing to the fortunes being some bizarre formation of ideas produced by your subconscious, you were trying to unpack them as though there was substance there to unravel. It was Fake, naturally. Beheading is impossible, the very idea is ludicrous. Even in the event of you being caught investigating the town’s dirty underbelly, those involved with graduation would surely prefer a more discrete punishment. Why use brutality when you can ship your problems away to a seemingly inescapable building?

That fortune was Impossible. You would spare it no further consideration

Temmie’s however... Well, you had to admire your mind’s craftsmanship. The fortunes she told were both creative and understandable to some degree. It felt like there was a form of reason to them, even if you couldn’t fully unravel their meanings.

King of Fools was a no-brainer, that can refer to nobody other than Lemmy. Where all journeys meet their end though... Could that mean the Graveyard? After all, that’s where everyone ends up at the end of their life, corpses buried in the earth. That would make sense if you consider that she seemed Certain of this one coming true. You’re already planning to stay the night with Franklin, and he lives at the morgue.

But if Lemmy was at the morgue, you have doubts about Franklin’s ability to hide that fact from the rest of you. And if he isn’t yet aware, then how did Lemmy go undetected? That’s assuming he’s been there since this morning, but if he ran away last night then he would have had hours to establish his hiding place. It seems unlikely that he was still moving about while the sun was up.

Most importantly, what about the Opportunity? The fortune claimed that an opportunity would be laid at your feet, and the implication was that you would have to make a choice. All that comes to your mind is the decision of whether to reveal Lemmy’s presence to others, which seems rather simple. Adults have no need to know where their next victim is hiding, and your companions can be kept in the loop.

That still leaves the other fortune however, the one regarding a “Scornful one”. It feels like that’s referring to Jojo, but you can’t even be sure about that. For all you know it could be Rebecca, or Clive, or perhaps even Lillian right now. Even if you lock down who it’s about, the advice isn’t very helpful either. The most you can make of it is to watch what you say around them. Whatever Tragedy you can prevent, you don’t know what it could be.

There was one part you understood about it however. When clouds weep, the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls. Clouds weeping has to refer to Rain, and it goes on to specify night. Thus, you can interpret the line to mean that “A tragedy may take place on a Drizzly Evening”. The part about overwhelming lost souls is a bit too vague for you to interpret however, but it could be literal. Rain and cold will overwhelm lost souls.

...Hmmm... When you put it that way, you feel like it almost makes sense. There’s still something missing though, a connection you’re failing to make.

Clive: “...Something on your mind?”
Albert: “Huh? Oh, nothing important. I was simply... considering something.”
Clive: “...Considering what?”

“I was just wondering whether or not the fortune I heard in my weird dream was real or not.”

No, you don’t think you will say that. How better to phrase it then...?

Albert: “How familiar are you with Temmie, The Fortune Teller?”
Clive: “...About as much as anyone else.”
Albert: “It may seem silly to ask, but since I know some of the slower kids in class believe in her talents, what do you think about her purported Gifts?
Clive: “...She can’t see the future.”
Albert: “Of course not, obviously, but-”
Clive: “But she Does have some kind of powers.”

You freeze. That... wasn’t what he was supposed to say. The fact that his claim wasn’t too far off of the conversation you’d witnessed between Temmie and the other girl in your dreams sent a wave of paranoia through your system.

Albert: “...Why do you think that?”
Clive: “...Because Rodney told me. I believe him”

A small wave of relief hits you. He’s just blindly trusting his brother, of course. That makes far more sense.

Albert: “Right...”
Clive: “...You don’t agree?”
Albert: “I’m skeptical of anybody claiming to have supernatural abilities. I’m sure that whatever reason Rodney had to believe in her seemed very compelling to him.”
Clive: “...You’re the one who brought her up. Why?”
Albert: “W-Well... Curiosity?”

It was a lame answer, and you get the feeling he wasn’t buying it. You keep your face as neutral as possible, trying to hide any doubts you may have.

Clive: “...Rodney was sure of it. My brother was never wrong about others.”
Clive: “He Understood people in a way I never could. Just by watching someone talk he could tell you what they felt about others, themselves, and seemingly anything else.”
Clive: “...So if he says Temmie has powers, then she does.”
Clive: “Never got a clear answer on what they are though...”
Albert: “Honestly, I never got that sort of impression from Rodney. I just assumed others appreciated him because he was pleasant to be around.”
Clive: “He was. He just also knew how to speak to people the way they like to be spoken to.”

That was something you’d never picked up on regarding The Socialite. You really had chalked his popularity up to simple amicability, never considering a degree of Guile under the innocent smile he always wore. Clive would know best what his brother was capable of.

Rodney believed that Temmie had supernatural abilities. He didn’t simply agree with her claims, he supported her supernatural abilities while ultimately Disagreeing with her public image.

Eye: “She can’t see the future.”
Eye: “...It’s not precognition. You’re just taking in more information than anyone else and making educated guesses.”


...You wouldn’t be able to dismiss this so easily after all.

Clive: “Look.”

As you come up on the school, who should you see but one of the two you were seeking out? The most recognizable boy in town is sitting outside the building, staring up aimlessly at the clouds.

Albert: “Franklin, my expectations were low, but please at least tell me this isn’t all you’ve been doing since we split up.”
Franklin: “Oh! Albert and Clive, I was looking for you.”
Albert: “...We can’t fly. We’ve been over this before.”
Franklin: “I know. I was just thinking about where to search.”
Albert: “Right. And how long have you wasted thinking instead of actively seeking us out?”
Franklin: “...I dunno. I don’t have a watch.”
Franklin: “I just figured that you were smarter than me, so if I stayed still you would find me before I found you.”

His strategy was successful. You’d located him at the very first location you thought to check, so it was hard to disagree.

Albert: “I suppose that wasn’t the incorrect choice.”
Clive: “...Why isn’t Lillian with you?”

It’s only for a moment, but Franklin’s mouth twitches down into a frown. You sigh, having seen this coming from back before you’d even split up.

Albert: “She was Caught, wasn’t she?”
Franklin: “Huh?”
Albert: “Wonderful. I knew this would happen, I told her this would happen, and yet she still let it happen. Why do I even bother giving her advice when she doesn’t listen?”
Franklin: “...Um, Lillian went Home.
Albert: “...Excuse me?”
Franklin: “We finished looking around, but she didn’t want to see you again, so she asked me to share what we found with you guys and then went home.”
Franklin: “There were a couple adults inside the school, but I don’t think anybody saw us.”
Albert: “...”
Clive: “...heh”

You glare back at Clive, whose face is impassive as always.

Albert: “What?”
Clive: “...You were so confident that they would fail. It was funny watching you make a mule of yourself.”
Albert: “They got Lucky. Sending them here was a terrible idea, and if you knew either of them as well as I did then you would have put exactly the same quantity of faith in them.”
Clive: “...Sure.”

...Somehow, Clive’s neutral expression felt exactly like a smirk for a moment, despite never faltering.

Albert: “Look, I’m glad that Franklin and Lillian are alright. Of course I didn’t want them to get into trouble, even if that outcome had the highest probability.”
Albert: “We are all very fortunate that they made it out okay. Let’s not take this as evidence for future reckless decisions.”
Franklin: “...Whoa.”
Albert: “What?”
Franklin: “You sounded just like Jhonen for a second!”

It felt like Franklin had punched you in the mouth. That comment dealt physical damage.

The fact that Franklin was the source made it harder to infer how to take it. If it was anybody else, you would have zero doubt in your mind that such a sentence would only be spoken as an insult.

...Hopefully it wasn’t a genuine observation, as that would be more insulting than anything else.

Franklin: “Your face is red... And black. And blue- hey wait- what happened to you?”
Albert: “Lillian did.”
Franklin: “Huh- oh, right...”
Franklin: “What about your neck? I don’t remember it being like that before.”

There is a 0% chance of you telling him the truth. Hmm, what is an excuse that Franklin would accept?

Albert: “Do you know what carpet burn is?”

He nods.

Albert: “I pulled off a scarf too quickly, and left burns on my neck.”
Franklin: “...”

For the second time today, Franklin’s expression had turned doubtful as he examined you.

Franklin: “Are you sure?”
Albert: “Why would I lie?”
Franklin: “Well... If Clive hurt you while you were alone, he could have Threatened to do it again if you told anyone.”

His gaze shifts to the other boy, concern evident in his expression. Clive’s only reaction is to narrow his eyes and furrow his brow.

Clive: “...Wasn’t me.”
Albert: “He’s telling the truth.”
Franklin: “Really? You aren’t just saying that because he’s in punching range, right?”

The concern was appreciated, but unnecessary. You take a few steps away from Clive.

Albert: “Yes Franklin, I’m being honest. Clive didn’t lay a finger on me.”
Franklin: “...That’s good, I’m happy he behaved and didn’t get violent.
Franklin: “...So... who did hurt you then?”
Albert: “It was a scarf, I just told you that.”
Franklin: “Really? But, those bruises don’t look...”

He looks closely at you again, squinting.

Franklin: “...”
Albert: “...Franklin?”
Franklin: “...Huh? Oh, nevermind. I guess I just misunderstood.”

You sigh, gently pushing him back to regain your personal space. This topic was pointless, but it did provide a natural segue into one you did plan to bring up.

Albert: “While we’re discussing neck wounds, Clive and I heard a very interesting story about you earlier.”
Franklin: “Really? What was it? I always like hearing stories about myself that I don’t remember.”
Albert: “Is it true that you have a Scar on your neck?”
Franklin: “...”
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No. 1030995 ID: 629f2e
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1030995

His mouth thins to a flat line, and his eyes maneuver to avoid your gaze. An uncomfortable silence fills the space between you for a few long seconds.

Clive: “...”
Albert: “...
Franklin: “...”
Franklin: “Nope! That’s definitely wrong.”

So that was a lie.

Albert: “Is that so?”
Franklin: “I think so. I see my neck every morning in the bathroom mirror, so I know I don’t have one.”
Clive: “...What if it’s on the back of your neck?”
Franklin: “...Well, I guess that would be hard to see, but I don’t have one there, so there’s nothing to not see. Not see- wait- did I say that right...?”
Franklin: “There isn’t a scar. That’s what I’m trying to say.”
Albert: “Pardon the skepticism, but could you tug the collar of your shirt down so we could see for ourselves?”
Franklin: “I could! And if I did you would see that I don’t have a scar.”

He says that with a smile, as neither hand moves to his shirt collar.

Albert: “Very well then. Please, show us.”
Franklin: “...No thank you. I would rather not.”

You and Clive share a look. He shrugs impassively, while you’re feeling a bit too stubborn to simply drop the topic.

Albert: “This is ridiculous, it’ll only take a second-”

You reach forward to grab his shirt yourself, only for him to take a big step back gripping his collar tightly. His expression shifts to one rarely seen on the easy-going boy’s face, Fear.

Franklin: “Don’t!

Instinctively, you move to protect your head. It’s taken enough of a beating today, and this was looking like the exact kind of situation that ends in you taking a punch. Fortunately, Franklin doesn’t lash out, content to simply quiver in his boots.

Franklin: “...Can we please stop talking about my neck? It’s Private.
Albert: “...Fine.”

Apparently, Franklin was capable of keeping Secrets. That’s... concerning, but not immediately relevant.
>>
No. 1030996 ID: 629f2e
File 165147751343.png - (699.97KB , 1000x1000 , 114.png )
1030996

Deciding it best not to push the point (for now), you ask about what he and Lillian discovered. Franklin pulls out a notebook and starts reviewing their findings.

Franklin: “So, I ended up going through a Lot of papers, but there were about Three things that stood out as being super important to me and Lillian.”
Franklin: “Well, everything important we found came from the principal’s office. We didn’t really find much anywhere else, except for a tasty donut in the teacher’s lounge.”
Franklin: “The first were these Forms that I found a whole folder of. They had a lot of sections, like height, weight, age, sex, and uh... Well there were a lot more after that, they were really packed.”
Franklin: “Lillian told me not to spend forever writing all of them down, because it was really the Names that were important.”
Franklin: “From front to back it was... Phillip Dyad, Jhonen Vasquez, Jacob, Cassidy Castillo, Jonah Wells, Calvin Stenbeck-”
Albert: “All of the children who graduated early.”

Well, not all. You had already heard the contradiction, and judging by the glare Clive was shooting Franklin, so had he.

Clive: “There wasn’t a form for Rodney, was there?”
Franklin: “Um... No. I looked through all of them, because I thought it might have gotten shuffled in somehow, but I never saw one with the name Rodney on it. Not even in the Others.
Albert: “Others?”
Franklin: “There were other folders with the same kind of thing. Except I didn’t recognize any of the names in them. Lillian didn’t either.”

Hmm, older forms from previous generations you would guess. They likely weren’t relevant to your current investigation.

Franklin: “After that, there was this Memo to the Staff. I think the Principal wrote it.”
Franklin: “It said...”

“Frederick Anderson’s death has publicly been ruled an accident. His daughter, Enid, is now staying with the Fosters. Enid Foster will be enrolled in Jennfier’s class as she was always meant to be.

We do not believe that Frederick has told her anything at this time, he was not careless. Out of precaution though, please keep a close eye on her and report any indication that this may not be the case.

The loss of Frederick Anderson is a tragedy. Please try to remember him for the generosity and kindness he showed us all throughout the years, rather than the betrayal he dealt to us near the end of his days.”


Franklin: “...I never really thought about it before, but is Enid’s last name Foster now?”
Albert: “Franklin, that is in no way the area you should be focusing on!”
Clive: “Betrayal... What could he have done?”
Albert: “It could have something to do with Enid never attending school. She was outside of the system, which means she never would have graduated if things stayed that way.”
Albert: “They would have been aware of that for some time though. Every kid knew about Enid, it wouldn’t make sense for the adults not to.”

It wasn’t a bad guess. It was just unfortunate that it had to be a Guess at the moment. You didn’t know anything about what happened to Enid’s father. It was something you were all aware happened, but it never seemed relevant to your missing companions.

Franklin: “...Oh! Lillian pointed out something fishy too when I showed this to her.”
Franklin: “She thought it was weird that they said his death was publicly ruled an accident, because that makes it sound like it was privately something else. Like... On purpose?”
Albert: “It could have been Intentional.

Could Frederick Anderson have really been... Murdered? It’s a dark thought to consider...

It would mean that two different people in town were attacked last Sunday. Your father, assaulted in his apartment; and Mr. Anderson, put to death in a burning building. That couldn’t be a coincidence, there has to be some kind of Connection there.

Hm... Perhaps you might learn more about what happened to your father by looking into what happened to Enid’s, and vice-versa. You’ll bring it up to her tomorrow.

Clive: “...Franklin, what was the last thing?”
Franklin: “Huh? Oh, right, it was just a Note to the principal.”
Franklin: “Daniel’s been in a moody phase for some time now. I think he may have realized something. Ask that daughter of yours what he knows, and I’ll prepare the forms if required.

Ask that daughter...?

Albert: “Wait.”
Albert: “This note was given to Principal Butler?
Franklin: “...Yes? I think so at least, it was on her desk.”
Clive: “...”
Albert: “...”
Franklin: “Um... Who is the Principal’s daughter by the way?”
Clive: “...Temmie.

To the best of your knowledge, Temmie and Daniel have never spoken. Them being close friends wouldn’t make sense, as Daniel Chamberlane is a middle schooler, while Temmie is one of the younger kids in your grade. They were never even in the same class, not even for as little as a week. It’s clear that requesting Temmie’s insight into Daniel isn’t because she’s close to the boy.

Unfortunately, eliminating that leaves one obvious answer, and it isn’t a good one.

Albert: “Temmie might be a Snitch.
Franklin: “A what?”
Albert: “A tattletale.”
Franklin: “...Ohhhhhh, that’s not good.”

No, it wasn’t. Especially not if she actually had powers as Clive and his brother believed. If she could actually suss out the children aware of Cattenom’s conspiracies...

Clive: “...You don’t think that she might be telling the adults-”
Albert: “Don’t jump to the worst conclusion just yet. It’s questionable what information she’s choosing to share.”
Albert: “Consider this: The adults believe that Temmie will rat out any child who is catching onto their suspicious deeds, but in reality she’s giving False Assurances.
Albert: “It clearly isn’t proactive, or else all of us would have graduated already.

Not to mention, Clive and Rodney would have graduated a long time ago, given his situation at home.

Albert: “All she would have to do is deny that any child they ask about is aware of anything. Perhaps she could reveal one or two who are likely to get caught on their own, just to keep the illusion up that she’s actually working with them.”
Clive: “...Hm... It’s a possibility.”
Albert: “It’s the most likely one I would argue. But it isn’t guaranteed. We’ll have to watch what we say around her, just to be safe for now.”
Clive: “...Like that would make a difference.

That did still leave one question, the main inquiry of the note.

Clive: “...What about Daniel? Do either of you think he knows?”
Franklin: “...Who is Daniel again?”
Albert: “I’m not certain. He could just be gloomy, but maybe... Well, he is the child of a teacher. That would put him in a good spot to stumble upon something.”

Daniel Chamberlane was considered by most to be The Musician, due to his affinity for just about any instrument he could get his hands on. More relevantly however, he was the son of Jennifer Chamberlane, your classroom’s teacher.

Roger or Lillian have probably talked to him more than you, so they would be better sources on Daniel’s mood. Unfortunately, your paths rarely crossed, save for settings involving many other children.

Franklin: “...So yeah, that’s basically it. What did you guys find?”

You give him the quickest runthrough of facts as you can, leaving out the specifics of your altercation with your father. Clive doesn’t fill in the gaps, likely because you skip over any details relating to his home situation as well. At the end of the explanation, Franklin seems to be considering something.

Franklin: “...Cattenom Nuclear Plant... That sounds familiar I think, maybe?”
Albert: “Where did you hear that? I’ve never heard anything about a nuclear plant in this town.”
Clive: “Same.”
Franklin: “...”
Franklin: “I’m sorry. It just... isn’t there.”

He pushes his hands against his head, trying to pull something out, but eventually gives up.

Franklin: “I definitely heard Something about it at some point. It must have spilled out I guess.”
Clive: “...You can’t help what you don’t remember. It’s fine.”
Albert: “We’ll be standing here forever if we wait for you to remember something. If that’s everything, then we should carry on with our search.”
Clive: “...What next?”

Good question. And one that both your companions quickly submit different answers to. Looks like you were going to be the deciding vote.

Whose idea should you support?

(Your decision here will significantly alter the ending of this thread)

1: Franklin’s
-Franklin won’t tell you what his idea is, but he insists that it’s a good one
-If this is chosen, Clive will perform an investigation of his own elsewhere while you go off with Franklin
-Franklin wants this a lot, +2 Votes
-Clive doesn’t mind solitude, but doesn’t see any reason to support this, Neutral vote
-Following Franklin blindly has never proven to be a good idea in the past, so you’re hesitant, -1 Vote

2: Clive’s
-Clive wants to check out the library and your apartment, focusing on the investigation you started
-If this is chosen, you have a feeling that something POTENTIALLY VERY GOOD may happen
-Franklin won’t be happy, -1 Vote
-Clive thinks this is the best thing to do, +1 Vote
-You agree with the library point, but feel a bit uneasy about visiting your apartment, Neutral vote

3: Yours
-You’re still thinking about your fortunes, and may just elect to pursue them to clear your head.
-Depending on the Spirit’s majority opinion for where Lemmy can be located and how to interpret the “Scornful One” fortune, this may turn up either nothing, or something POTENTIALLY VERY GOOD
-Franklin is too confused by this development to object, Neutral vote
-The only way you’ll be able to win Clive over onto this idea will be to admit that Temmie gave you this advice in your dreams, which you are far too proud to confess, -1 Vote
-Albert wants to put this matter to bed, +1 Vote

>>
No. 1031005 ID: 1c6255

Frankly I'd go with Franklin's idea because his ideas tend to be fleeting, better follow this one while he still has it.
>>
No. 1031012 ID: 0276a0

C. I want to say the 2nd fortune relates to Lilian, even if it's the wrong answer, because i just want Albert to make ammends with Lilian. It"s no good if we make enemies with a friend at a time like this.

Friendship is most important.
>>
No. 1031015 ID: 798908

>>1030996
an unfortunate split between Franklin and the prophecy here. I'm leaning towards the prophecy, but I feel we've been pretty mean to franklin and it might be smart to throw him a bone. He's not a bad kid.
>>
No. 1031041 ID: 276183

Wow, you're not making this easy.

I vote A: Franklin. I thought about writing a nice, long reason why, but... ultimately, I just trust his intuition.
>>
No. 1031074 ID: afe7de

A because you were wrong about them before, maybe you're wrong now, and maybe, just maybe, you SHOULD work on your empathy like your dream said.
>>
No. 1031560 ID: 629f2e
File 165199195925.png - (743.22KB , 1000x1000 , 115.png )
1031560

…Your instincts tell you that picking Franklin is a bad choice. “It’s Franklin,” you want to say, brushing the idea off on concept alone. However, a voice of Doubt makes itself known in your mind.

How many times has your Insight let you down today? The bruises covering your face and neck were very helpful reminders of where your assumptions about others led you. Now, that isn’t to say you hadn’t made any good calls today. Your handling of Enid at lunchtime was very much to your satisfaction, and somehow you even managed to calm Clive down from his panic attack, despite the pressure it put you under.

Sadly, that doesn’t remove the failures from your data. You have to acknowledge that when it comes to other people, there’s something about the way you’re forming your calculations that is throwing them wildly off. If your Judgment of others can’t be relied on, then it’s not fair to rule out Franklin as a result of said judgment.

As soon as you decide against ruling him out, the decision becomes obvious. Clive is the more likely option to produce results, but Franklin clearly has another motive of some sort. You may not know what his plan is, or why he’s so attached to it, but it’s clear enough to you that he would feel hurt if you turned him down. Even if you aren’t as close to him as your other companions, Franklin is still your Friend. You don’t want to upset him.

Albert: “...I think Franklin has accomplished enough today to deserve some faith. Wouldn’t you agree, Clive?”
Clive: “...Yeah.”
Franklin: “Really? You’ll come with me then?”
Albert: “As long as it isn’t too far. Even with this cane, walking is still rather Painful, you know.”
Franklin: “Oh! That’s bad. I could try to carry you if you want.”

You consider that option for a brief moment, before quickly shaking your head. You didn’t want to make a habit of being physically supported when your legs worked fine enough.

Albert: “The offer is appreciated, but I’ll pass.”
Franklin: “…I don’t think it’s very far from here, so you should be fine, right?”
Albert: “I’ll survive. What about you Clive?”
Clive: “...Do you need me for whatever you’re trying to do?”
Franklin: “Hm... Well, I guess it might be Better if you aren’t there.”

Better without Clive? Must be a Social encounter then. But who will Franklin want to meet with…?

Clive: “Then if you two are fine, I’m going to leave.”
Clive: “I’ll see if I can find out anything about the Nuclear Plant at the library.”
Albert: “They’ll be closing soon. You won’t have too much time to search if you don’t hurry.”
Albert: “Unless you find something urgent, we can meet to discuss whatever you uncover at lunch tomorrow.”
Clive: “Alright…”
Clive: “...If you find out anything at all about Rodney, consider it urgent and tell me as soon as possible. Please.”
Albert: “Yes yes, I’ll have Franklin sprint to your house if we learn anything.”

Clive nods at you both, and heads off into the woods, taking the most direct route to the library instead of the sidewalk.

Albert: “So then, where will we be going?”
Franklin: “It’s this way…”

He starts walking towards the nearby townhouses, being considerate of his pace so that you can keep up with him easily.

As you trudge along, you begin trying to piece together his intentions. Who would he want to talk to? Why does he want to talk to them? Has he picked up on something that you haven’t? If something in your own investigation report had triggered this, then a few ideas did come to mind. Jhonen’s mom was one of the suspects in your father’s attack, so perhaps he wished to interrogate his friend’s mother?

Franklin: “Hmm…”

It’s obvious that the boy is mulling something over as you walk. He’s totally focused, a rare sight for one whose mind often wanders. You can’t help but probe.

Albert: “What’s on your mind?”
Franklin: “...Huh? Oh, um... Hmmm…”
Albert: “Franklin?”
Franklin: “I was just thinking... There was definitely a girl named Judy in town, wasn’t there?”

Didn’t you do this already? You could have sworn you’d been over this already back during lunch, and had definitively reached the conclusion that no such person existed.

Albert: “Franklin, we went over this already, it’s not possible.”
Franklin: “You said that. Lillian didn’t know her either, but I’m Sure she was here. It just feels right.”
Albert: “Once again Franklin, not ever you were here when she allegedly was, given the time table you provided.”
Albert: “Unless of course she used to stay in the morgue with you.”
Franklin: “Hm... No, I don’t think so. I think the morgue has always just been me, mom, dad, and all the corpses buried out back.”
Franklin: “...Oh, and whatever bodies dad is working on in his lab, but they usually end up out back sooner or later.”

So to review, this Judy girl was someone he was aware of three years ago, before he had ever left his home. But she was also somebody who had never visited his home...

Albert: “You understand the irrefutable contradiction in your statements, right?”
Franklin: “...Um... You mean that it’s impossible for me to have known her without me being wrong about something?”
Albert: “Precisely.”
Franklin: “I wonder what I’m wrong about then…”
Franklin: “Maybe I got the dates wrong?”
Albert: “That wouldn’t resolve the contradiction of nobody else knowing her though.”
Franklin: “Right... Then that means I’m wrong about her not being in the lab? Maybe she was there all along, and I just forgot?”
Albert: “Franklin, there’s a limit to what you can conceivably forget.”
Franklin: “...That’s not a problem. Jhonen tells me that I’m Inconceivable all the time.”
Albert: “I suppose that much is difficult to deny.”

He doesn’t bring it up again, but you can tell that he’s thinking about it for the rest of the journey. As you’ve come to expect from Franklin, the conversation ends with no real answers, only more enigmas to join the ranks of all the other Franklin Mysteries ™.
>>
No. 1031561 ID: 629f2e
File 165199197385.png - (1.23MB , 1000x1000 , 116.png )
1031561

As you pass by house after house, a sense of dread starts to creep into your mind. It spawns from a single thought, a guess as to our destination. That seed of dread quickly blossoms into an unfortunate revelation, as Franklin stops in front of That house.

Franklin: “So... we’re here.”

He has the decency to fidget nervously under the weight of your glare.

Albert: “So this is why you wanted to keep it a secret. I see. How very Devious of you.”
Franklin: “...I thought that if I asked you to come here, you would say no.”

You couldn’t say he was wrong. The Dyad Household was the last place he wanted to be right now, unless Phillip was about to step out the front door, alive and well, announcing that game night was back on. No, that wasn’t going to be happening of course. It goes without saying why Franklin would bring you here.

Albert: “I don’t want to talk to Lillian right now.”
Franklin: “I know. But... You Should. You know that, right?”
Franklin: “You’re really smart, so I’m sure you do.”

He’s playing to your Pride. Given his friendship with Jhonen, it’s obvious where he picked up such a strategy. You won’t be swayed by it.

Albert: “Franklin, I see what you’re trying to do. I know that I’ll have to speak with Lillian eventually, but she’s already made it clear that she doesn’t want to see me today.”
Albert: “I barely wanted to meet with her while searching for you both, but I was willing to put up with it then for external reasons. Those aren’t a factor anymore.”

It was a good thing this was happening after Franklin had given you his investigation results. Removing that from the table will make it difficult for him to coerce you.

Albert: “She’ll let me know when she’s ready to talk.”
Franklin: “...Why do you think she doesn’t want to see you?”
Albert: “Isn’t it obvious?”
Franklin: “Is it?”

You sigh. Yes, it was.

Albert: “She’s still Irritated about my previous statements regarding her. Granted, I will concede that my statements were inappropriate to-”
Franklin: “No, I don’t think that’s right. I think Lillian is mad at Herself.

You raise an eyebrow.

Albert: “While I would appreciate some acknowledgement that her reaction was disproportionate, I’m doubtful that’s true.”
Franklin: “But it is?”
Franklin: “Because... Umm... You feel bad for what you said to Lillian, right?”
Albert: “...I hold some regrets about my handling of the previous situation, yes.”
Franklin: “Right... So, you’re upset because you hurt Lillian. But for Lillian, it’s the same.”
Franklin: “Because... Lillian hurt Albert too. And now she feels really bad about it.”

You rub your bruised cheek, barely even wincing at the sting now.

Surprisingly, Franklin actually did have a point. You hadn’t really considered how Lillian might feel about your previous encounter with her. You had looked at it purely from your perspective, but failed to consider hers. Could he be right then?

Albert: “...That doesn’t change the fact that she doesn’t want to see me.”
Franklin: “...Well, I guess not…”
Albert: “Whatever her motive, she’s made herself clear. We should go somewhere else and leave her be.”
Franklin: “No!

In an uncharacteristic showing of passion, Franklin grabs you as you’re turning around to walk away, halting your flight.

Franklin: “You can’t just leave because you’re scared.”
Franklin: “You hurt her, so that means You have to make it right and Apologize.

You knock his hand away, taking a step back. Annoyance bubbles up as a defense mechanism, and the words you respond with carry accusation and scorn.

Albert: “Interesting you’ve chosen to give me this speech instead of her. You seem to agree that both of us made mistakes, so why does the responsibility fall on me to remedy things?”
Franklin: “Because... Albert is fine, and Lillian isn’t.”
Albert: “Define fine, because I have a few bruises that would like to debate with your usage of the term.”
Franklin: “But, Lillian is hurting more... Not her body, um, I mean inside.”
Franklin: “And she should apologize to you too, she even told me that she wanted to, but…”
Franklin: “...You’re... really hard to approach. Because whenever you get mad, you get like... That.
Albert: “...”
>>
No. 1031564 ID: 629f2e
File 165199234242.png - (819.10KB , 1000x1000 , 117.png )
1031564

The frustration you had been feeling fizzles out, leaving you feeling cold and empty inside suddenly. He hadn’t meant to, but Franklin’s words had revealed a truth so ugly that it made you physically ill. You grimace, unable to meet his eyes.

Albert: “Oh...”
Franklin: “...Sorry.”
Albert: “...”

...

You really were His son, weren’t you? Lashing out at others when you get frustrated, so Vitriolic that the people you’re closest to are scared to confront you...

You wonder if it was genetics or environment that made you this way. Did you learn this by being subjected to his tantrums when you were younger, or was this always going to be a part of you because He was your father? It didn’t really matter how it happened, because the end result was the same.

...You hate that he put this in you. You wish that his influence was a part of your body that you could just Rip out. You would do it in a heartbeat, even if it killed you.

But you can’t. He turned you into something vile. And you just have to live with that...

Albert: “...I’ll talk to Lillian.”
Franklin: “...Thank you.”
Albert: “Don’t. I shouldn’t have needed to be told to do this, but I did. Don’t thank me for being inadequate.”
Albert: “...Let’s just get this over with.”

You are your father’s son. His ugly tendencies are a part of you.

...Recognizing that just means you’ll have to work harder not to let them surface. You don’t want to be like him. And the first step to differentiating yourself will be doing something he’s never done in his life: Fix your own mistakes.

Franklin: “Hmm…”
Albert: “What is it?”
Franklin: “...Should I be coming with you? I could watch TV in their living room while you two talk, if you don’t want me there.”

It was a fair question, and you realize that this decision will set the tone for the difficult conversation you’re about to have. Will you bring Franklin in to help mediate, or go in alone?

Do you want Franklin to come in with you?

1: Yes
-Franklin will be there to support you both, mediating the meeting
-You think having Franklin present will ensure that you and Lillian make up. You’ll at least be “Fine”
-Neither of you may get deeper into things with Franklin in the room

2: No
-It will just be you and Lillian talking to each other, no mediator
-You don’t know how the conversation will go. You have the chance to mess up if you go in without a safety net
-If it’s just the two of you, your conversation may dig deeper than it might otherwise. Your bond might grow deeper than ever before if you’re willing to open up yourself
-You’re scared

>>
No. 1031571 ID: e5709d

No.

She's rich. You're not.
She doesn't have a 'father'. You do.

However she feels about you at the end of this, she needs to learn that not all people get the same choices in life.
She needs to know that she has been given a chance to change things
a chance that you'll never have or crave.
>>
No. 1031590 ID: 8483cf

No, don't bring Franklin.

Being afraid is good. It means we're getting outside our comfort zone. True growth only happens by pushing your limits and fighting through your internal resistance in the name of a worthy goal.

It's up to Albert whether the goal of actually forming a deeper bond with Lillian is worth it.

(But it totally js)
>>
No. 1031623 ID: afe7de

See I'm on team Yes because we've gotten our ass handed to us by a ton of decisions so far, but you know what, why not, let's go for No and just see how fucked Albert's gonna get this thread lmao.

On the flipside though if he does a good job with this maybe he'll stop being so gosh darned stubborn and just be a little stubborn and let a little bit of his pride go.

Just a smidge.
>>
No. 1031966 ID: 629f2e
File 165232860868.png - (1.05MB , 1000x1000 , 118.png )
1031966

On the one hand, Franklin would probably help moderate the room, ensuring that you didn’t get hit again even if you botch this reconciliation. It’s very tempting to say yes because of that.

However, you think it’s ultimately best to leave him out. A large portion of the choice is born from recognizing your Pride, as you expect this conversation to require you getting Vulnerable to some degree. That is going to be difficult enough with just Lillian in the room, but add in Franklin and it becomes practically impossible. Ultimately, you’re less likely to require a mediator if there are fewer people present.

Albert: “No... I can handle this myself.”
Franklin: “...Okay. I Believe you.”

That should mean nothing to you, since Franklin has already proven that he can lie, however you’ve yet to see Franklin lie convincingly. Despite everything, you feel a small boost of confidence.

As you go to rap on the door, you hesitate, pausing to consider the exact words you’ll say if you run into Lillian immediately. Once you have an answer in mind, you knock.

Mrs. Dyad calls out that the door is unlocked, so you let yourselves in and announce your presence. She steps out of the kitchen as you’re taking your shoes off at the doorway.

Mrs. Dyad: “Hello boys! Remember to leave your shoes nice and neatly by the door. Perfect orderly pairs please.”

You assist Franklin in following her rule properly, as it can be arduous to get right. Lillian’s mom is a Stickler for things being organized correctly, and each member of your game night group has been nagged about their shoes at least five times. They had to be spaced out correctly, equally close to the wall, and perfectly parallel. You have never seen her bring out a ruler to measure, but you would not be surprised if she did so when nobody was looking.

It was annoying, but your standards for parental guardians are understandably low. Being a neat freak is hardly worth complaining about. Honestly, you wish your parents would care a little more about Cleanliness, as the apartment was a mess due to their bad habits.

Mrs. Dyad: “Lillian’s just upstairs in her room. She didn’t mention any guests though. How long will you be staying?”
Albert: “Not for long. Lillian requested that I help her with something we went over in class today.”
Mrs. Dyad: “That’s very kind of you to help her! Just don’t strain yourself trying, I know she can be a bit slow to pick things up.”
Albert: “I’m well aware. Is it alright if Franklin watches TV while he waits?”
Mrs. Dyad: “Go right ahead, but don’t take too long. My soaps start in 20 minutes.”
Franklin: “...Does that mean you’ll be using the bathroom?”

You let her sort out Franklin’s confusion, as you head upstairs to Lillian’s room. Well, it was actually both Phillip and Lillian’s, but accommodations have changed recently. A repetitive Sound is coming from it, like an object smacking into something. It plays with a seemingly consistent frequency.

The door is shut tight, giving you time to reconsider. Your Fear tries to shake your confidence, reminding you of all the ways that this can go wrong. It wasn’t hard, as you had been thinking of them the whole way here.

What if you make things worse somehow?

What’s to stop you from saying the wrong thing again?

She’ll be upset with you, so what if she stokes your temper with harsh comments of her own?

By your own calculations, it feels almost certain that this conversation is meant to end badly.

...You knock, silencing the fearful voices in your head. The repetitive noise goes silent, leaving the space between you silent.

Lillian: “...Mom?”
Albert: “Not exactly... It’s just me.”
Lillian: “...”

It’s fine if she turns you down here, right? After all, you would have made an attempt, which is all anyone could ask of you. If she refuses to be bothered, then there really is nothing you can do.

Lillian: “...You can come in.”

...You want to be upset, but this is for the best and you know it. Steel yourself, Albert. This is going to be Rough.

Slowly, you push open the door...

The room is the same as usual, if a bit cleaner than before. Likely because Phillip took some of his things when he left. Though you recognize a fair bit that’s clearly his, so not everything he owned went with him.

Lillian is there, sitting at the foot of her bed and tossing a ball against the wall. That explained the noise from before, as she catches and chucks the ball over and over in an almost lazy rhythm. Her eyes meet yours for just a moment, before focusing purely on her solo game of catch.

Lillian: “...Did Franklin find you yet?”
Albert: “Yes. He filled Clive and I in on your investigation.”
Lillian: “Good...”
Albert: “...I was hoping we could talk. About earlier...”
Lillian: “...”
Lillian: “Sorry.

You blink. It wasn’t completely unexpected, Franklin told you she felt contrite, but you didn’t expect her to say it first. And without much prompting too.

Lillian: “I shouldn’t have hit you for running your mouth. Sorry that I did.”
Albert: “It’s fine. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have said most of the things I did, so I’m to blame as well.”
Lillian: “...”
Lillian: “...Just said what you Thought, right?”

...How are you supposed to answer that? The truth would just make her mad, but a lie would be even worse if she caught you in one.

How should you answer that?

1: Albert: “...Yes. I did.”
-Be completely honest, and offer no justification
2: Albert: “Yes. I didn’t think it was such a big deal at the time.”
-Tell the truth, and start to explain your mindset at the time
3: Albert: “No. I only wanted to provoke you, because you had upset me.”
-Lie, and start to explain how she upset you with her comments
4: Albert: “...”
-Say literally nothing. You can’t say the wrong thing if you don’t say anything!
5: Albert: “Well...”
-Suggest something entirely different Albert can say, or a variant to one of the presented options

>>
No. 1031967 ID: afe7de

I'm mid 1 and 5 for a being fully honest but adding an extra few words.

... yes I did, and I was wrong.

He's blunt and not the most social and while he could do 2 and blather about it he said he'd need to get vulnerable and copping to his mistake would be him showing he recognizes his pride and maybe make the conversation be on a better starting position.
>>
No. 1031968 ID: 96c896

5: 2, but make it clear that your mindset at the time was wrong.
>>
No. 1031970 ID: 8483cf

1. Any explanation or justification would doubtlessly be peppered with commentary of WHY Albert said what he said, and I don't trust Albert to do that in a polite manner.
>>
No. 1031973 ID: e51896

take to heart with what TEMMIE said earlier: "If you are to meet with a scornful one locked out of their cell, it may be your final chance to prevent a tragedy. When clouds weep, the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls. Though your tongue often lashes out, hold thy barbs lest they pierce too deep to be removed." it might not be about Lilian, but if it is, think of it as a riddle: clouds weeping could actually mean that crying will be involved, and by night overwhelming souls, it probably means we're going to be in the dark with how to proceed with this conversation.

4. if only to listen to the advice "Though your tongue often lashes out, hold thy barbs lest they pierce too deep to be removed" Sometimes, our silence says it all, she'll understand that we did say what we thought, but also from our silence see that we feel guilty about it.

if we're not doing that, then >>1031967 this Ed's idea.
I feel if we do 2, she'll just think we're just trying to come up with an excuse to save face. She'll probably get mad at us for telling the truth on how we felt starting out, but we need to make it clear down the line we were actually WRONG. The key word is we THOUGHT after all, it's not what we think NOW
>>
No. 1031978 ID: 798908

>>1031966
"yes, and I was wrong."

if pressed for elaboration:
"intelligence is broad. I'm book smart, but I'm not emotionally smart. you not having booksmarts doesn't make you stupid. Franklin was smart for pushing me to come here, and I should have been smart enough to trust my friends.'

if not pushed, just let the apology settle as is. it needs no elabotation so long as she knows you understand.
>>
No. 1031984 ID: 1c6255

5. "Thinking it was wrong in the first place."
>>
No. 1032133 ID: a70a13
1032133

>>1031967
>>1031978

I think both of these are perfect. We want to make sure that we are honest, that we did think those things, but it wasn't OKAY to think those things.
>>
No. 1032164 ID: e5709d

1. "Yep.
You want to know the secret to being intelligent? No, really, I have it boiled down to a science:
* Subsist on a 300-calorie-a-day diet. Mine's lower.
* Never be encouraged by your friends or family, no matter what you accomplish. You have to learn for yourself.
* Always control your anger, no matter how much you hate your abusive father.
... There. My life sucks, and I'm filled with as much bitter hatred as you're filled with feral rage. But we have to keep it controlled if we want to grow up.
Don't let the adults tell you I'm better than you; that's how they divide us, make us attack each other."
>>
No. 1032174 ID: 629f2e
File 165251784387.png - (444.53KB , 1000x1000 , 119.png )
1032174

You pause, considering. The last time you spoke your honest thoughts to Lillian, it didn’t exactly have a happy resolution. Something inside of you says to just lie for the sake of survival, but your Reason steps in to remind you how poorly this conversation will go if she were to catch you spouting falsehoods. With that in mind, you settle for pillowing the harsh truth with a softer one.

Albert: “...Yes. I was just saying what I thought at the time...”
Albert: “But I was Wrong. I thought that you wouldn’t be able to handle a simple investigation without a chaperone, and I was mistaken.”
Lillian: “You really thought I couldn’t do something that simple?”
Albert: “Well... No. I suppose not.”
Albert: “I didn’t trust that you could manage Franklin and still manage to perform a thorough investigation.”

She rolls her eyes, before leveling you an annoyed glare.

Lillian: “Really? You didn’t think I could do Both of those things? So then if I had gone without Franklin you would have been fine?”

...You sigh. Full truth it is then, no cushioning the blow.

Albert: “No. I would have been equally doubtful.”
Lillian: “Thought so.”
Lillian: “The problem’s still me then, ain’t it? I was the one you didn’t think could handle herself.”
Albert: “...It was more evenly split between you and Franklin.”
Lillian: “Yeah... We were the Burdens, right? Too stupid to leave alone, more trouble than we’re worth.”
Albert: “Look, I-I recognize that I was wrong to think-”
Lillian: “Yeah, you were.”
Lillian: “Glad you stopped thinking that, doesn’t change the fact that you did.
Lillian: “You looked at me, and you saw a useless ditz that would only get in your way.”
Albert: “...”

She winds her arm up, and hurls her ball against the wall. She effortlessly leans just slightly to the side to dodge, as it bounces back with great speed. You spot a dent in the wall where it hit.

As the ball loses momentum and rolls away, she lays back and stares up at the ceiling, stealing occasional glances at you.

Lillian: “That’s what everyone thinks about me, isn’t it?”
Albert: “...”
Lillian: “Why?”
Lillian: “Why did you think I was so stupid?”

...That was a good question. Obviously for a time you would have accepted the simple answer of ‘it’s Lillian, need I say more’ but now that you actually have to consider saying more... It’s difficult to pinpoint.

Why exactly had you thought so poorly of Lillian?

1: Albert: “Your grades.”
-It’s the simplest answer, she has some of the worst grades in school
-She may not be satisfied with this. She's well aware of this already, and she isn’t the only student in class with poor grades

2: Albert: “Your demeanor.”
-Claim that her general attitude was the source of your confusion
-Asserting that someone’s natural character makes them appear foolish seems like the quickest way to introduce your face to their knuckles

3: Albert: “Our tutoring sessions.”
-Your one-on-one efforts to teach Lillian ABSOLUTELY played a major role in your opinion, but it doesn’t do much to explain why others may have felt similarly
-You have a feeling this answer might be the most upsetting

>>
No. 1032175 ID: 1c6255

None of the above: YOU are the one whose intelligence has, for better or worse, become their defining trait; so you unconsciously judge others harshly on that because it helps you feel superior.
Others don't think of Lilian as a ditz, YOU do because YOU're the one who uses that to push yourself up.

Tell her that.

Failing that, C.
>>
No. 1032176 ID: e5709d

B: "I have a tendency to look at people who don't recognize harm and/or abuse, when it stares them in the face, as stupid.
You know, when you punched me despite my many physical conditions."
>>
No. 1032177 ID: 782e0e

I don’t think any of those are the right thing to say, in all honesty. The truth is that you’ve used yourself as a basis in which to compare others to. Intelligence is an incredibly diverse thing to discuss and you’re smart enough to know that people can be smart in different ways.

The reason you didn’t think Lillian was smart was because in comparison to YOURSELF, she didn’t stack up.

Explain this to her, apologize for it, and admit that you based your world view on your limited experience. If you want to help, add something about Lillian that you simply couldn’t do. The way that she can almost instinctively aim a ball’s throw and dodge it? That must’ve taken practice and she’s probably more in tune with her abilities, reflexes, and limits in a way that you probably aren’t and may never be! Knowing yourself and your body is a very special type of intelligence, and I think sharing this with her might help to show you’re putting an effort into fixing your busted behavior.
>>
No. 1032179 ID: 96c896

Why not all of the above?
>>
No. 1032183 ID: e51896

Something to consider as to why Lilian thinks everyone believes she is dumb, I think it relates to what Lilian's mother herself said to Albert

>Mrs. Dyad: “That’s very kind of you to help her! Just don’t strain yourself trying, I know she can be a bit slow to pick things up.”

I might be looking too deep into it, but something about her mother phrasing that doesnt sit right with me, specifically her saying she's slow to pick up on things and dont strain yourself from trying.

I dont know, but is anyone else getting the impression that this felt like a polite way of saying, 'she's not smart enough to learn and understand, and too much of a loss cause to put effort into helping her as she wont understand what your tutoring?' It is probably a bit too extreme as to how I put it, but her mother calling her own daughter slow and telling Albert to not try his best to help her improve, especially saying this BEHIND LILIAN'S BACK just didnt feel right, and could be a reasoning why Lilian thinks everyone believes she is stupid. Thinking in Lilian's position, if I overheard my own parent say that about me to someone else, I probably would be upset.

Consider also her mother is a stickler, im wondering if behind closed doors, Lilian isnt meeting her mothers expectations and may have been getting on Lilian's case about her intelligence, and might explain why she feels everyone thinks she's not smart...

In any case

Im thinking B or C. Leaning towards C. I think while C might not explain why others may have felt similarly and might be most upsetting, it would be more of a way of getting her to understand that her behavior and lack of focus from Albert trying to tutor her could also apply to other factors in her life towards others which could make people mistake her for being stupid.

I think really, it might not be an issue of intelligence, but Maybe an issue of staying focused? Maybe she needs to understand that she has a lot of potential to raise her grades and do a lot of great things, she just needs to disipline herself to focus, much like how she was focused in sneaking in the school and taking care of Franklin, and succeeded because of it. If she can apply that focus to other aspects that she'd normally find boring like lessons, she can achieve so much!
>>
No. 1032195 ID: ce39da

C (modified): "... I honestly can't speak for everyone else. My experiences over the past day or so have given me painful evidence of my currently having the Emotional Intelligence of a toaster. I can tell you why I thought you less intelligent, though, and maybe that can offer insight into the broader problem. Only if you want me to, though."

"During our tutoring sessions, you needed several repetitions before you could get a single problem down. You struggle to power through those repetitions due to a seeming lack of focus. You get bored easily and don't seem to enjoy learning and critical thinking."

"Of course, while this explains why I Thought what I did, I admit that the reason I Said it was... mostly out of anger. I am not Talented - I wasn't at first, anyway. I've... realized, however, that it's unfair to compare your Effort to my own - I was uniquely motivated, after all. I had fallen into the trap of thinking Academic excellence was all that mattered when evaluating others... because, in my own life, it was all that mattered. It defined my every action."

"It... It was the difference between whether my parents let me Eat each night. For as long as I could remember."
>>
No. 1032196 ID: 8483cf

>>1032183
>>1032195
Agree- C is the correct choice here.
>>
No. 1032205 ID: 0838d6

>>1032195
>>1032183

I definitely DONT think you should throw her mom under the bus. That'll cause more long term problems then you think, but I agree that C and then mentioning that your livelihood is directly tied to performance, you showing your weakness, will likely get her to show hers and thus you can come to terms with eachother. It WILL be rough, and unless it was unanimous like it is now, I doubt he'd even be willing to broach the topic.

However if she brings up her mom's expectations (or lack thereof) on your own, you can offer your insights.
>>
No. 1032214 ID: e51896

>>1032205
Oh yeah, agreed, definitely don't bring up her mother. She might bring it up herself if she's comfortable with it, but lets not be the one to do that for emotional reasons, we don't want her to feel uncomfortable.

But it is something to keep in mind as a possibility as to why she might think everyone thinks she isn't smart and that Albert making her feel that way with his comments isn't just the only reason that is making her believe people think she isn't smart (though Albert was most likely that major final straw for her after those comments he made to her earlier in the day. Really, she needed him to be a friend to believe in her when most others wouldn't).
>>
No. 1032791 ID: 629f2e
File 165294050104.png - (923.30KB , 1000x1000 , 120.png )
1032791

Albert: “...Do you remember our tutoring sessions.”
Albert: “You asked me to help you prepare for your math final. I assumed at the time that you didn’t quite get some of the things we had recently covered.”
Albert: “When we finally met up however... You were just so far Behind. I was explaining things we’d covered months ago, and you took so long to make any progress...”
Albert: “And after a full Week’s worth of meetings, you treated getting a ‘D’ like acing the whole thing.”
Albert: “It felt like I had thrown my freetime into a black hole, and nothing had come out of it.”
Albert: “If I had to pinpoint a starting point for this, that would be it.”
Lillian: “...”

Despite your fears, you walk closer into the room as you talk. Your legs were getting tired from standing, and her cushiony bed was just too alluring to pass up. She sits back up as you take a seat beside her.

Lillian: “...I was Proud of that ‘D’. I hadn’t expected to do so well, I was just hoping it would be a high ‘F’. Getting more than half the questions right was pretty cool.”
Lillian: “And I thought you’d be happy to see that I didn’t fail, since you helped make that happen.”
Albert: “...”

...Perhaps your perspective had been biased. You couldn’t deny that grades meant a significant bit more in your household than most others.

Lillian: “...Y’know... Mom really got on Phillip’s case about him getting ‘C’s in most subjects last time our report cards came in. You remember him whining about it?”
Albert: “Yes, he complained often, arguing that it was a passing grade and was therefore acceptable.”
Albert: “...I suspect that is why he graduated early. He fits the Jonah example perfectly.”

She huffs, but doesn’t insist on Phillip being an exception to the graduation pattern as she had before. She doesn’t even deny your theory this time.

...She suspected it from the start, didn’t she?

Lillian: “Yeah? Well I didn’t even come Close to ‘C’s in most subjects. ‘F’s, ‘D’s, and yeah, obviously an ‘A’ in gym, but that’s not really school. I had bad grades almost everywhere.”
Lillian: “...But she never brought it up. Not one time.”
Albert: “That seems... very inconsistent. Why wouldn’t-”
Lillian: “I don’t know! Mom would always tell Phillip that he could do better if he tried, and that he wasn’t putting his all in if he was getting ‘C’s.”
Lillian: “But she just... never talked to me about grades or classes. Never told me I could do better, or that I just needed to study more.”
Lillian: “It’s like... she treated me being Dumb as this unshakeable fact. And I just... Do I just give off that vibe or something?”
Lillian: “It’s not like Phillip was blindingly smart or something. So why can he do better, but I’m stuck with what I’ve got?”
Albert: “I-I’m not... I don’t know.”
Lillian: “I’m not Incapable of learning. I got a ‘D’ on the math test! I improved! I studied, and it made a difference.”
Lillian: “I’m not dumb! So...”
Lillian: “...Why does everybody think that I am?”
Albert: “...”
>>
No. 1032792 ID: 629f2e
File 165294052353.png - (728.28KB , 1000x1000 , 121.png )
1032792

>>
No. 1032793 ID: 629f2e
File 165294053323.png - (795.12KB , 1000x1000 , 122.png )
1032793

>>
No. 1032796 ID: 629f2e
File 165294089321.png - (592.32KB , 1000x1000 , 123.png )
1032796

>>
No. 1032799 ID: 629f2e
File 165294108858.png - (442.14KB , 1000x1000 , 124.png )
1032799

Albert: “...I’m sorry, Lillian.”

You can’t remember the last time you genuinely apologized to someone, but the words come naturally to you. The pride you had been holding onto fades into the background, as a drop of Humility enters your mind for the first time in a while.

Albert: “My troubled relationship with intelligence has inescapably altered my perception of it. Even so, I should have been giving you more credit.”
Albert: “...You aren’t an idiot.”

The words take a moment to set in. She finally meets your gaze, disbelief clearly written on her face. A few seconds pass before she finally seems to accept it.

Lillian: “...Thanks.”
Lillian: “I don’t need you to tell me that, but... it’s nice to hear it.”

She wraps an arm around you, and pulls you close. It’s a mighty hug, as you’d expect from her. There’s a hint of care to it however, as she’s careful not to powderize your bones within her grip.

Lillian: “Wow. This... is the worst hug ever.”
Lillian: “You’re too skinny dude! I can feel your bones stabbing into me!”

She lets go of you and ruffles your hair (your hair is thankfully immune to becoming a mess, as it always is). The mood change is a bit forced, but you go along with it. You’re already physically vulnerable due to your health, so emotional vulnerability is an extra serving that you truly hate. Besides, you’d said what you needed to.

There’s a lull, as it becomes clear that the previous topic had run its course. You consider leaving, but know that you have more time before you need to. Now would be a good time to talk to her about other matters.

What will you change the topic to? (Pick two)

1: Tell her about the investigation, and see if she knows anything
-You suspect that Lillian won’t have many insights into what you and Franklin discovered that you haven’t already heard
-There is a chance that she may have unique insight into your findings

2: Talk a bit more candidly about yourself
-She told you about herself, so it’s only fair
-Deepen the bond between you both
-Lillian will pity you

3: Tell her about the fortunes, and see what she thinks
-Practice that humility you just learned and admit that you’re considering something you heard in a dream
-Lillian thinks very differently to you, and has a very different base of information to go off of. She will offer a different perspective

4: Talk about Franklin
-Lillian is a lot closer to Franklin than you are. She may be able to tell you more about the boy you’ll be spending the night with
-You have a hard time believing you would learn nothing about him by asking her

5: Just chat for a bit
-Have a light conversation about nothing specific
-Gives you a chance to cool down from your previous chat
-Will result in minor Fear recovery

6: Talk about something or someone else
-What will it be?

>>
No. 1032802 ID: e51896

no matter what, one of the choices should be 2. She deserves to know about what you've been through, and help give her insight as to why you've been thinking and acting the way you have.

As for the second topic, either 5 or 3 with a lean towards 5. Talk about 5 to calm your nerves before talking about 2 though.

as for what to talk about if 5 is chosen, talk about her character Nipha during game nights and how focused she gets during those sessions which has lead you all to success before (plus it's a way to get to see what their game sessions is like.

After we're done, here is an idea: ask Franklin and Lilian if Lilian could join for tonights sleepover at Franklin's place, will help Lilian feel better. Best to ask her mom's permission first too.
>>
No. 1032804 ID: 96c896

>>1032799
2, 3. When you have a prophecy it's very important to get more than one interpretation of it.
>>
No. 1032812 ID: 798908

>>1032804
this gets my vote, 2 and 3.
>>
No. 1032857 ID: ce39da

2: "I know I've already apologized, both for my words earlier and for my lack of credit toward your intelligence. But I still feel like I owe you an explanation for my behavior, at the very least. Events over the last day have painfully highlighted how my own relationship with Intelligence has Poisoned the way I view and interact with people..."

Then either 1 or 3; Lillian needs to be clued in on something you discovered. Even if you don't go with 1, at least warn her that you discovered something Huge on your end and that you should all meet somewhere private to discuss it later. We don't want to get the whole "when were you planning on telling me this" spiel when someone drops that bombshell on her.
>>
No. 1032923 ID: 8483cf

2. I'm not a big fan of 3, since I don't know how she'll feel about fortunes, but I'm not voting AGAINST it, if that makes any sense.
>>
No. 1032992 ID: 0838d6

2/3

You're already going deep, and maybe she'll take 3 as a joke, give her opinion and it'll crack the ice leading to a cooldown before you leave.

Though I really want 2/5 but there's not enough votes for it.
>>
No. 1033197 ID: 629f2e
File 165319631217.png - (753.07KB , 1000x1000 , 125.png )
1033197

Albert: “...”
Lillian: “...Ugh. I can tell by your face that you're about to drop some heavy stuff on me, aren’t you?”
Albert: “...I was considering it, yes. However... it isn’t something I like to talk about.”
Lillian: “You can keep it to yourself then. I won’t force you to spill anything that makes you feel gross or whatever.”

How does assuring you that you don’t need to say anything somehow add more pressure on you to talk?

Albert: “No, no. This is something I feel that I need to say, so I will. I’m not sure where to begin though. I don’t think I’ve ever outright told this to anyone...”
Lillian: “Why don’t you start at the Worst parts of it? Then it’ll get less awkward the more you go on.”
Albert: “That sounds like a terrible idea.”
Lillian: “Probably, but it’ll get you started, right?”
Albert: “...”
Albert: “...My father beats me.”

Lillian’s mouth clamps shut in an instant. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. The look of immediate regret on her face certainly encouraged you to go on. Envisioning this as Teasing Lillian makes it easier than seeing it as being Vulnerable with her.

Debatably healthy mindset? Certainly, but it’s fine so long as it gets you talking.

Albert: “Yes, it was quite awful. Would you like to see the scars?”

You were already dragging your sleeve down, revealing the nasty memory of a wound on your shoulder.

Lillian: “Whoa! What-”
Albert: “Beer bottle. It broke when he smashed it into me, and the glass ripped into my skin.”
Lillian: “This is serious? Your dad really...”
Albert: “Yes.”
Lillian: “...Alright yeah, gonna need a second to process this.”
Albert: “Take your time.”

She runs her hands down her face, before standing up and pacing back and forth a couple of times. You watch curiously, as her expression shifts between disgust and confusion. Finally, she stops.

Lillian: “You didn’t put him in the hospital, did you?”
Lillian: “I mean- I’ve got your back if you did, the jerk had it coming, I’m just asking-”
Albert: “I Wish I had done it, but unfortunately, no. I have a few suspects I need to look into, but I don’t know the culprit behind his attack at this time.”
Lillian: “Okay. That’s good. I think.”
Albert: “It means we don’t have to worry about concealing my deeds while also hiding our investigation. It’s a positive overall.”
Lillian: “Good. Sorry that happened at all though. It sucks.”
Albert: “...Yes. It does.”

She sits back down, eyeing you with concerned interest.

Lillian: “Is that it?”
Albert: “That isn’t even half of the story.”
Lillian: “Fine, but if it somehow gets worse than that, I’m gonna shove you off this bed for not telling me sooner.”

You walk her through the full story, or as much as you felt comfortable saying at least. Each point goes by as quickly as you can force it to end, as this was a conversation you had wanted to be finished since it had started.

As you get into your family’s minimal income and your malnutrition, you have to brace yourself. You don’t want to be Pitied, it makes you feel like a victim. There are so many things that can define you, but you never want the things your parents put you through to be what people think of when they look at you. You’re more than that.

You’re the top student in class. You’re the wizard in your tabletop game’s party. You’re-

Lillian: “You’re an idiot.”

...an Idiot apparently.

Lillian: “Dude. Between me, Roger, and Franklin alone, we have So Much food! And you’re starving!?
Lillian: “I mean, yeah, if you reached a hand onto my plate you’d lose it, but I’d bring extra for you if you asked! Or Phillip would have if he were still here, he’d probably consider your allergies better than I would.”
Lillian: “Seriously, get over yourself dude and just Ask when you get hungry, and we’ll toss some snacks your way.”
Albert: “...Okay?”

That... had not been how you pictured this going. She had skipped straight past the unwanted sympathy into getting annoyed with you. Frankly though, you weren’t complaining! You would let her smack you in frustration if it meant there was going to be zero pity involved in this conversation.

Lillian: “You should probably tell Roger and Franklin this stuff too y’know.”
Albert: “Perhaps, but then I would be having this conversation again. Once is already more than enough I feel.”
Lillian: “Fair.”
Lillian: “Just the stuff about food then.”
Albert: “...Later.”
Lillian: “...Actually, just Roger. I think Franklin already knows.”
Albert: “What!? H-How!?”
Lillian: “Dunno. Just thinking about some of the things we talked about earlier. Kind of Obvious what he was saying in retrospect, but I was too peeved to catch it.”

...Perhaps Lillian isn’t the only person you’ve been failing to give enough credit. You never realized Franklin could be so Observant. Mainly, because all other evidence pointed to that not being true. His focus is atrocious, but perhaps when he’s able to pay attention he catches more than you would expect.

Well, you’ll have plenty of time later tonight to figure that out.

Your mind drifts back to your earlier dream. The ending was vaguely terrifying, but everything before had felt so Real...

Lillian: “Got anything less horrible we could talk about? Think I’m tapped out on deep conversations for today.”
Albert: “...How would you feel about trying to decode fortunes from Temmie?”
Lillian: “Bored, which is a step up from feeling sad or annoyed.”

You repeat both of them to her, word for word so as not to leave out anything. She rubs her head in thought.

Lillian: “Lemmy is the King of Fools, right? Who else could it even be?”
Albert: “I concur.”
Lillian: “And you’ll meet him where all journeys meet their end? Wouldn’t that be like... All people die, so the Morgue?
Albert: “I was thinking of the graveyard specifically, but yes. That general area seems like the most likely place to find him.”
Lillian: “If you and I just reached the same answer, then Temmie made that one too easy.”

You both chuckle. That riddle had certainly been an easy one to crack, but that still left the far more complex fortune to unravel.

Lillian: “Honestly, I don’t know what scornful even means. What do you think about that one?”

This meeting is certain, but some opportunities are mere probabilities. If you are to meet with a scornful one locked out of their cell, it may be your final chance to prevent a tragedy. When clouds weep, the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls. Though your tongue often lashes out, hold thy barbs lest they pierce too deep to be removed.

Albert: “Scornful means... Well, you can think of it as someone filled with Hatred.
Lillian: “Oh. That’s not me, right? I’m chill now.”
Albert: “Yes, you have been rather chill ever since I arrived, so I doubt it is.”
Lillian: “So who else can it be? JoJo? She hates everyone.”
Albert: “...Perhaps. But I’m not sure what to make of the rest.”
Albert: “A tragedy may take place on a drizzly evening is the best I have come up with.”
Lillian: “Pretty hard to do anything about if you can’t guess what the ‘tragedy’ even is.”
Albert: “Exactly.”
Lillian: “How about that other part then? A scornful one locked out of their cell. What’s that mean?”
Albert: “Hmm, what could constitute a cell in this fortune...? It doesn’t have to be literal.”

You both pause to collect your thoughts. Cell... Cell...

Lillian: “School feels like a prison.”
Albert: “Yes, but why would she be locked out?”
Lillian: “...Because it’s locked after hours?”
Albert: “Which doesn’t matter if she has no reason to go at those times.”
Lillian: “Okay... Where else does she usually go that she could be locked out of?”
Albert: “Well... There’s her Home. I would describe my apartment as a cell, and I imagine it’s... the same for her......”


Your door comes up first. She hangs back and waits, not walking past you to her own yet. You know why, but don’t feel like poking the bear further by bringing it up.


And just like that, it clicks in your mind.

Albert: “It Is about Jolene! She’s the prisoner who gets locked out!”
Lillian: “Neat! How?”
Albert: “Because Jolene gets locked out of her apartment constantly.
Albert: “Do you know how many times I’ve seen her hanging around outside the apartment block because her parents locked her out? I don’t know if it’s negligence or a form of punishment, but it’s very common.”
Albert: “This fortune Definitely refers to Jolene.”

Those were two mysteries down. You had a better picture of the situation you were dealing with.

A tragedy may take place on a drizzly evening, but may be prevented by talking to Jolene while she’s locked out.

The next time you encounter her in such a state, you’ll make a point to speak with her. It wouldn’t be wise to ignore this. Of course, that brings up the question of whether you should seek her out or wait for the opportunity to happen...

It’s getting late. There’s more you could talk about, but Curfew will be coming up soon. You need to leave. Lillian seems fine now, and you’ve said all that you felt was necessary. You don’t doubt that things will be okay between you if you leave her here.

That said, you could invite her to come over (assuming Franklin approves). It would be nice to spend time together, especially since you didn’t have the chance yesterday. You’d also have more time to discuss your investigations before school tomorrow.

Alternatively however... You know that you need to speak with Jolene at some point to prevent a Tragedy. You could leave to do that now, before it gets much later.

The issue is, you can’t go out Alone. You’ve already been injured to the point of being unable to walk by yourself earlier today, and that risk is still present due to your leg (which will be heightened if you put yourself in the immediate proximity of The Bully). You would either need to take Franklin, who will need to go home to inform his parents of the unplanned sleepover, or Lillian. Given that Lillian’s been in a bad mood since earlier, and wasn’t doing anything when you came up here, you have a suspicion...

Albert: “This may seem random, but do you still have Chores to do tonight?”
Lillian: “...Oh yeah! Thanks for the reminder, mom would nag my ear off if I forgot.”

Figures.

You aren’t going out on your own. If you invite Lillian, then she’ll need to take care of her chores before she can head out with you, at which point it’ll be too close to curfew to go anywhere besides the Morgue. If you don’t, you can take her with you, and she can worry about those tasks when she returns. Which will it be?

What will you do?

1: Invite Lillian to the Sleepover
-You will go straight to the Morgue, arriving just before curfew
-You’ll have a fun evening with your friends
-The three of you will lose more Fear tonight due to comfort
-If Lemmy is at the Morgue, you will be present when he’s found

2: Look for Jolene
-You won’t invite Lillian
-You will make one attempt to find the Jolene, before going to the Morgue with Franklin
-There is an unknown chance that you are unable to find her, that the tragedy you wish to prevent has already happened, or that the conditions for the meeting won’t be right at this time
-If Lemmy is at the Morgue, you may not be present when he’s found

>>
No. 1033198 ID: 8483cf

As much as Albert and Lillian both DESPERATELY need a fun evening, I have to vote for 2: Look for Jolene.

Albert is too logical, and Franklin too emotional, to not try and prevent a Tragedy with all their effort. They'd both regret it later.
>>
No. 1033200 ID: e51896

uhhh, I really really want 1 so bad as I want Lilian to join the sleep over, but I think it's best to go 2. Might change my mind since this is a hard choice, but my reasoning for my choice is this:

Lilian has chores to focus on, so it's best to just let her work without getting distracted.

>If Lemmy is at the Morgue, you may not be present when he’s found

and yet Temmie said our meeting with him is certain. I don't think we will need to worry about that. Whether he will be present or not when he's found won't matter as we will still encounter him and be given a choice. We might just lose some context on what is happening, and might make our choices harder, but we got a tragedy to fix.
>>
No. 1033202 ID: 96c896

>the chill of night will overwhelm lost souls
Ah, I see. I think JoJo's going to get locked out and die of exposure. That is easy to prevent, so long as someone can find her and warn her that she needs to find shelter. Maybe even offer it to her? Hmm, disrespecting her at that point would probably result in her refusing help, too, so that's what the warning about holding your tongue is about.

That said I can't decide between A or B.
...is it possible for Albert to help Lilian with her chores to save time and combine the benefits of both choices?
>>
No. 1033212 ID: 1c6255

Look for Jolene (with Franklin), before heading to the morgue.
>>
No. 1033233 ID: afe7de

I'm sorry y'all but I think we should do 1 solely because Albert WILL get fucked over if he has to walk there and to the morgue tonight. Please dont kill albert or have him get more injured, I have a bad vibe about 2 :c
>>
No. 1033237 ID: ce39da

… Check the weather. If it’s going to rain tonight, 2. If not, 1.
>>
No. 1033808 ID: 629f2e
File 165371655411.png - (1.61MB , 1000x1000 , 126.png )
1033808

Finding Jolene takes top priority. If you have the option to prevent a tragedy, choosing to do anything else would be nonsensical.

Albert: “Could I ask a favor, Lillian?”
Lillian: “Depends what it is.”
Albert: “I would like to find Jolene, since she seems to be the subject of this fortune. Would you mind escorting me? I may need help returning if our discussion goes...”
Albert: “...Well, anything like our conversation earlier today.”
Lillian: “Oh yeah, no problem. As long as we don’t go too far. It’s pretty late.”
Albert: “We’ll just be stopping by the Apartment Complex. If she isn’t there, I’ll try to speak with her at school tomorrow.”

...Assuming she’s there. Given the recent track record, and the fortune drawing you to her, that wasn’t something you can take for granted at the moment.

The two of you head downstairs, and have a very brief meetup with Franklin. It’s obvious how pleased he is to see you both interacting amicably again, even if he doesn’t outright say it. You both send him home to let his parents know what to expect, and head out yourself.

Lillian: “Oh yeah, Franklin mentioned your Sleepover tonight. What brought that on?”
Albert: “Nothing noteworthy. My mother recommended I not be home tonight.”
Lillian: “Any reason you chose to stay at the creepy place with dead people?”
Albert: “Franklin seemed unlikely to question my sudden desire to spend time with him.”
Albert: “An assumption which was entirely mistaken. He found my request peculiar.”
Lillian: “Well it’s not like he hosts sleepovers often. He comes over a lot more than kids go to him. Y’know, his place being the morgue and all.”
Lillian: “A lot of kids are actually really big babies about sleeping with the dead.”
Albert: “Perhaps they’re intimidated. After all, the dead are Professionals when it comes to slumber. They’ve mastered the craft to the point of never waking up.”

That earns you a laugh. The rest of your conversation is pleasantly mundane, as you casually discuss whatever comes to either of your heads. It feels relaxing to put aside the mysteries and difficult conversations you’ve dealt with all day, and instead just spend quality time with a companion.

It’s a shame that it has to end so soon, but duty before pleasure as they say. The apartments come into view. As they do...

A Raindrop lands right on your nose. An early signal of tonight’s weather.

Albert: “...I’m going to look around upstairs. Check the back of the building to see if she’s loitering on that side.”
Lillian: “Okay.”

With a shared nod, you split up to search.

...Unfortunately...

Your investigation comes up empty. When you and Lillian meet back up, neither of you can claim to have seen her.

You had even knocked on her apartment door, just in case she had already made it inside. Neither her nor her parents answered. It's too late to look anywhere else, and you have exhausted this location. Your search has hit a Dead End.

Albert: “...Where do you think she could be?”
Lillian: “No clue. I don’t hang around JoJo, she’s a pain in the butt.”
Albert: “Truthfully, I don’t spend much time with her either. Whenever I extend my hand to her, she lashes out.”
Lillian: “...Why are we looking for her again? It seems like whatever tragedy would happen would just affect her, right?”
Albert: “The fortune didn’t specify, but that does seem the most likely.”
Lillian: “Then it’s most likely not a big deal. I mean, I don’t Want anything bad to happen to her, but if it does... It’s JoJo.
Lillian: “I could live with knowing I let her down.”

She did raise a good point. Jolene made it hard to feel sympathetic for her, given her reputation as The Bully. She was the type of girl who would taunt others, break their things, and get violent when pushed. Honestly, you had already invested more effort into helping her than she likely deserved. You could easily call it a day right here and feel secure knowing that you had done as much as anyone could expect of you. Frankly, you could have done that much back at Lillian’s home, and saved yourself the trip back here.

So why were you going out of your way to try and help her?

Albert: “...Solidarity I suppose.”
Lillian: “Huh?”
Albert: “Sorry. What I mean is that Jolene is by no means a nice girl. However, she is who she is because of the way she was raised.”
Albert: “Similarly... I don’t think it would be right to describe myself as a particularly nice boy, nor would you I imagine, and much of that comes from how I was raised.”
Albert: “In that sense, I suppose I feel a Connection with her.”
Lillian: “Hey, you’re not... Ehhhh...”
Lillian: “Well, you aren’t that bad.”
Albert: “How touching.”

She opens her mouth to say something, but stops.

Lillian: “...Hey, did you hear that?”
Albert: “Hear wh-”
Lillian: “Look. Someone’s coming.”
>>
No. 1033809 ID: 629f2e
File 165371660498.png - (1.45MB , 1000x1000 , 127.png )
1033809

You turn to look, observing a figure approaching from a distance. They’re coming from the townhouses, and are clearly walking towards the apartments you’ve yet to leave. It’s obviously not Jolene, as they’re too tall. As they get near enough to make out their appearance, you recognize them.

Albert: “Reb- no- ‘Bec!

She pauses, before visibly groaning and walking up to you both.

Rebecca: “Look, I dropped your junk off with Clive already, so if you want-”
Albert: “No, that isn’t it. I just wanted to ask if you had seen Jolene recently?”

Without missing a beat she extends her palm to you.

Rebecca: “You already know information isn’t free. But I’ll tell you for just a dime.”
Albert: “I’m not requesting gossip, I’m just asking a question. Have you seen her?”
Rebecca: “Coin in hand, then you get your answer.”

You’re broke of course. Before you can start arguing about it however, a dime lands between her fingers.

Lillian: “You’re lucky these are actually Phillip’s shorts. He always leaves change in them.”
Albert: “...Why are you wearing Phillip’s pants?”
Lillian: “Because laundry is a drag, and he isn’t here to complain.”
Rebecca: “Thanks for the fee. Sorry, but I haven’t seen her around.”

It was very fortunate that Lillian paid that herself, because you would battle Rebecca to the death if she had scammed you out of ten cents with a useless answer like that.

Albert: “Can you keep an eye out for her?”
Rebecca: “Not without a good reason. Why are you looking for that rascal anyways?”

A straight answer would make her dwindling interest flicker out, unless she’s the type to believe in Temmie’s gifts. Best to leave some mystery to it.

Albert: “We have a reason to believe she might be in Danger.

There’s a shift in her demeanor. Her posture stiffens, and her rueful grin fades into a tight frown.

Rebecca: “...What kind’a danger?”
Albert: “*tch tch* Sorry, but that information is currently on a need to know basis. Unless you’re willing to pay a fee.”

You hold your own palm out to her, only for her to shove it away.

Rebecca: “Cheeky piece of- ...whatever.”
Rebecca: “I know her usual haunts. I’ll get some answers out of her instead.”

The joke was on her of course, because she was effectively saying she’d perform a wellness check on Jolene, which is exactly what you want. You say nothing more as she goes into one of the apartment doors and closes it behind her, not wanting to change her mind on the subject.

Lillian: “...Is that it?”
Albert: “Yes... I think that will suffice.”

And so, you both walk away.

Lillian: “...Man, this Sucks.
Albert: “What specifically?”
Lillian: “You’re getting to spend the night with Franklin, and I’m gonna be stuck at home doing chores.”
Albert “...Sorry. If we hadn’t come here, you would have been able to join us.”
Lillian: “Oh? So you don’t mind me being there?”
Albert: “No, of course not.”

She grins.

Lillian: “Great! I’ll catch up with you there then!”
Albert: “I thought you were going to be busy with chores?”
Lillian: “Well yeah, but those won’t take long.”
Albert: “It will take you at least until curfew. I don’t see your mother letting you out after nine.”

A devious chuckle rises from her.

Lillian: “Sure, not alone. But I bet I could get her to walk me over herself if I ask enough times. No rules broken if I have parental supervision!”

In your experience, excessive whining would get you slapped, not rewarded. The fact that normal parents respond differently is not at all shocking.

Albert: “You could play up how Lonely you’ve been without Phillip around. That would open the floor for the argument that a sleepover would be therapeutic.”
Lillian: “Yeah, not much playing up needed there.”
Lillian: “Like, I never realized how Quiet it gets at night without someone else being there...”
Lillian: “...We gotta get to the bottom of this graduation stuff soon.”

You silently nod in agreement.
>>
No. 1033810 ID: 629f2e
File 165371665364.png - (670.36KB , 1000x1000 , 128.png )
1033810

You part ways at her house, as she heads in to finish her duties and butter her mother up. The rest of the walk to the morgue is uneventful, although the rain starts to pick up as you go on.

As you reach the gates leading into the property, you stare up the hill. The property carries an ambience fitting of a horror film. It would be no shock at all if the dead rose from their graves in a place like this.

The thought is just that however, and nothing more. It’s childish to expect something so unrealistic. It’s simply a fiction woven by terrified youth letting their imaginations go wild.

This is nothing more than a place where the dead lay, and where the family of their caretaker resides. If anything, it was the Living residents of this building that were a true curiosity.

The gate is unlocked, so you let yourself in. The sooner you’re out of this rain the better.

As you approach the front door, you start to hear something.

???: “...-here, aren’t you?”

...That voice sounded young, but... It wasn’t Franklin’s.

...Could it be-

*THUNK*

Something hits the floor inside. You barely have time to question what it is before you hear the voice again.

???: “H-Hey! Come on, that’s not funny. Get up!”

A cold sweat joins the raindrops dripping down your forehead, as you grab the front door’s knob and throw it open.
>>
No. 1033815 ID: 629f2e
File 165371697241.png - (1.14MB , 1000x1000 , 129.png )
1033815

The first thing you see as you stare into the room is Lemmy. It’s... not very surprising. The fact that he was here at least, it was admittedly mildly shocking that you didn’t have to seek him out at all. He’s frozen stiff in front of an ajar door, staring at you in a panic.

Lemmy: “A-Albert!?”

By his feet... lay Franklin.

Your heart leaps into your throat as you stare at the boy, eyes shut and body unmoving.

Albert: “What... is-”
Lemmy: “H-Hey, I know how this looks b-but I didn’t- just so we’re clear-”
Albert: “Franklin!”

You drop your cane in haste, dashing across the room to be at his side. Adrenaline fills your veins, as your own pain doesn’t even register in your mind. As you’re leaning over him, examining for any trace of life, you see it.

His chest rises and falls. He’s Breathing.

You let out a long breath of relief. He’s okay. Thank goodness.

After a few seconds to get your bearings, you gather yourself and move on to step two: Questions.

Albert: “Lemmy.”
Lemmy: “I didn’t touch him. I mean it, I never lie. In fact, I even sleep sitting up.”
Albert: “Lemmy.

He withers under your glare, finally shutting up.

Albert: “What actually happened?”
Lemmy: “That’s a great question, phenomenal question, number three on a list of the top ten questions ever asked.”
Lemmy: “I dunno.”
Albert: “...”
Lemmy: “C’mon, I’m serious! I really don’t know. I fell asleep in this closet, woke up a minute ago, stepped out to see if anyone was here, and ended up making first contact with The Alien.”
Lemmy: “So I start making excuses, but he wasn’t even listening. He was just quaking in his boots like a cowboy entering a duel with a water pistol.”
Lemmy: “And then just like that, his eyes roll back and he’s on the floor.”
Albert: “He Fainted?
Lemmy: “Yeah! Crazy right?”

So Franklin passed out upon seeing Lemmy? That seems odd. You hadn’t brought up the fortune to Franklin, so admittedly finding Lemmy here was likely very surprising, but enough to cause the boy to pass out?

There’s just something missing. Some Context you missed out on. Unfortunately, you won’t be getting any answers until Franklin wakes it seems.
>>
No. 1033816 ID: 629f2e
File 165371700748.png - (1.12MB , 1000x1000 , 130.png )
1033816

The moment that thought crosses your mind, another enters right afterwards. It’s a thought that seems to make the entire world come to a halt.

Franklin is Asleep.

When you and Clive spoke with him earlier, he lied to you. He kept his neck covered to hide something, and you had no choice but to accept those facts and move on. Whatever his reasons were, you had no avenue to dig deeper.

Right now... Well it was as simple as tugging down the collar of his turtleneck.

...

You want to know. You really do. But you also know that you would be breaching his trust if you look.

Franklin might never know, there would be no way for him to discover as long as you ensure Lemmy’s silence. However, you would. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out. Once you know, you know Forever.

...Is it worth it?

Whether you choose to peek or not, you might regret that choice for a very long time. You’ll either kick yourself over the missed opportunity, or become overwhelmed with guilt for finding out this way.

Either way... No matter what you choose...



Your decision shall carry a deep Consequence.

1: Look
2: Do Not

>>
No. 1033818 ID: afe7de

2, because you respect your friends autonomy, because you're learning to be humble, because if he found out you did that it'd be a huge breach of respect and ruin the progress you were making, and because Lemmy is there and you need to interrogate the fluff out of him for falling asleep in a closet in a house that isnt his and for being here, and for the fortune, for so many reasons he's more important to dissect-er interrogate.
>>
No. 1033819 ID: e51896

2. Respect his privacy. If he wants to show you, he'll do so at his own time. Because he's your friend.
>>
No. 1033820 ID: 7af43f

2, obviously. We've learned a lot about what's important to us today, and respecting friends' boundaries is a big one. Just because we think we know better doesn't make it so.
>>
No. 1033821 ID: 96c896

2. Also, look in the closet. Lemmy opened the door, which means Franklin saw what's in there. Perhaps what scared him is in there...
>>
No. 1033824 ID: 798908

>>1033816
2, we LITERALLY just learned this lesson an hour ago
>>
No. 1033834 ID: 1c6255

2. Let's be worthy of his trust and leave the creep behavior to people like Jhonen.
>>
No. 1033994 ID: 2de4fd

2. You can pressure him into telling you later. This is clearly important to him. If you find out in any way that doesn't involve getting Franklin to give a massive amount of trust to you, you won't be able to do anything good with that information anyway. Even if he is a clone or whatnot, confirmation won't do anything but satisfy yourself. Your own satisfaction will be short lived, and not protect the ones you love.
>>
No. 1034031 ID: 629f2e
File 165395018292.png - (1.73MB , 1000x1000 , 131.png )
1034031

...This isn’t right.

It doesn’t matter how much you want to know. Franklin isn’t ready to tell you. Maybe he will be someday, but right now, he Isn’t.

You hate talking about the issues that you deal with at home. You know it’s Irrational, and that you would be better off if you talked to your friends about them, and yet you still refrain. While you don’t know why Franklin hides his neck, who are you to ignore his boundaries while maintaining your own? As someone who appreciates privacy, denying your friend his own would be the height of hypocrisy.

...Although in fairness, Franklin did try to tell Lillian earlier about your home life, which you don’t like others knowing about. You will cautiously offer him a pass there however, as you never expressed to him displeasure in others knowing about it (mainly because you hadn’t realized he was even aware).

There’s no such ambiguity here. You know how Franklin feels, and you have to respect it.

Albert: “...We should move him to the couch.”
Lemmy: “Yeah, that sounds like a plan. Should I take his legs, or-”
Albert: “Yes, do that. I’ll take- GNG!”

As you bend over to try and lift your friend, all of the Pain you’d ignored rushes back to you in full force. You end up collapsing beside him, panting for air as your leg throbs with agony.

Lemmy: “H-Hey! Don’t you go sleeping on me too now. I know this is a slumber party but this is ridiculous!”
Albert: “Cane-! Give me my cane!”

You thrust your pointer finger at the doorway, causing Lemmy to rush over and pick up your dropped walking aid. He brings it over, shoves it in your hands, and helps you to your feet. The tool gives just enough support for you to hobble your way over to a reclining chair and fall into it.

Albert: “Thank you...”
Lemmy: “Jeez, I get that this is a morgue, but don’t just die on me like that.”
Albert: “Can you lift Franklin yourself? I’m going to need a few minutes.”
Lemmy: “Totally, it should be a cinch. After all, the dude’s an airhead, so he’ll probably just float if I get him started.”

You don’t respond to the pun, but take pleasure in watching him struggle to drag the unconscious boy over to the sofa. He’s panting from exertion by the time Franklin is lying comfortably on it.

Lemmy: “S-See... *huff* easy peasy.”
Albert: “Good. Now then, I believe it’s time to ask the obvious.”
Lemmy: “Alright, what are we asking it?”

He laughs at his own joke, while you simply wait for him to finish.

Albert: “...Lemmy. What are you Doing here?”
Lemmy: “Talkin’ to you.”
Albert: “...”
Lemmy: “...”

He chuckles nervously.

Lemmy: “Man, this whole situation’s a joke ain’t it? Dead audience at the morgue. The gags write themselves!”
Lemmy: “Though I could do that if these were landing too. Killer jokes slay the audience!”

...This conversation will be... Trying. Lemmy is deflecting rather intensely at the moment, so getting a straight answer out of him will take some time. You’re tempted to wave it off and simply have Lillian threaten the truth out of him when she eventually arrives.

You don’t however. You’re going to Persevere, and pursue this line of questioning until the Truth comes out. Lemmy may be annoying, but compared to everything else you’ve been through today? Interrogating him would be a cakewalk.

Albert: “Let’s try this again, shall we?”
>>
No. 1034033 ID: 629f2e
File 165395031627.png - (1.85MB , 1000x1000 , 132.png )
1034033

...

Hello again.

It feels nice checking in with you once more. I hope you don’t mind that I’m drinking while we talk.

Do you like tea? Most kids don’t, and I’m no different. This is actually chocolate milk. Still, it wouldn’t be a “tea party” if we didn’t call it tea, right? They’re both brown drinks, so I don’t think anyone will mind the difference.

I never stopped listening. While you guided Albert along, I heard every word of advice you gave. You did very well.

Mostly. You did almost have Albert beat himself with his own cane.

I’m glad you didn’t, as that would have been a very wrong choice. I get the temptation though. Kids want to do silly things all the time, and sometimes it’s hard to ignore the desire. Just look at me. I knew that I would be speaking to you now, but I really wanted to have my tea party. My wants won out, and now here I am drinking chocolate milk when I’m meant to be helping you.

Speaking of, it’s time to move on to that, isn’t it?

To the voices of things that were, that are, and that will be, I will use my talents to help you once more.

By granting the gift of Hearing, I will allow your influence to reach those you can’t yet guide. And as before, my gifts will come with a Toll. For each soul we strengthen, we must cripple another. The threads of fate are intertwined. To act on one end, you must inflict an opposite reaction on the other.

You will choose one to empower, and one to cut down.

...As have I.

Sorry. I know that I’m just supposed to stay a spectator, but I couldn’t help myself this time. It was a Desire I just couldn’t ignore. I hope you’ll forgive me. I am still young, and at times I cannot help but follow my impulses.

Along with your selections, I have chosen to give my gift to the boy lost within his own mind. When the fiction breaks, and all that remains is the Truth, he will need your help facing the new reality he finds himself in.

As for the fee, let me worry about the cost. It was my choice after all.

>>
No. 1034034 ID: 629f2e
File 165395037161.png - (1.00MB , 1000x1000 , 133.png )
1034034

That brings us to your selections then. Along with The Alien, you may follow one other. This time, I’ll let you choose between three.

Will it be the Cursed Child who never learned to smile? Alongside The Alien, you would be following the two children Least Understood by their companions. You would have a chance to see the world from their perspectives, and thus gain an understanding of them.

Or will you choose the young Miracle still mourning a painful loss? This would make for an interesting pair, as I’m not sure how Compatible my gifts will be with them. There is a striking difference about both of them that may result in very... Unique results.

And I don’t think we should forget the Lonely Twin underestimated by all. I suspect that she may be the dark horse choice of this group, but she and The Alien both share the trait of being Undervalued. Compared to The Anti-Socialite and The Miracle, I believe that you would have an Easier time guiding The Athlete.

Those are your options. Who will you choose to follow?

>>
No. 1034035 ID: 629f2e
File 165395045083.png - (864.04KB , 1000x1000 , 134.png )
1034035

As for the price... I’m sorry, but it will be rather Steep today. Something is happening that you cannot prevent. You can only decide who will receive the misfortune.

Of the children who recently graduated, you must pick one of two.

One, an Enthusiast whose interests were not what they were meant to be.

Another, a Seeker of Truth who learned too much while trying to help his friend.

I won’t tell you who to choose. I don’t know if I could pick one myself if I had to...

I will follow the will of the majority. Make your decisions now.


Who should be the POV character of Perpetuity Thread 3 (Alongside The Alien, Franklin)?
A: The Anti-Socialite, Clive
B: The Homeschooler, Enid
C: The Athlete, Lillian

Which of these characters do you choose to receive VERY BAD THINGS?
1: The Nerd, Phillip
2: The Freak, Jhonen

>>
No. 1034036 ID: 8483cf

I vote 1: The Anti-Socialite, Clive. Clive has total and complete freedom to be a wild card. Enid is smart and capable, but she has limits. Clive has no limits.

Let's wait to have Lillian be POV. We need her to be the one bravely taking action once we have clear path. But until Clive and Enid dig up more dirt, she's not likely to be able to put her drive to good use.

As for BAD THINGS...

I'd prefer neither. Lillian doesn't deserve it. Jhonen is, from what we've seen, a force of nature all by himself, and anything bad happening to him would be a terrible loss for Catternom.

Ultimately, I know that Jhonen might, just might, have a warm, fuzzy blanket to help him through it.

Sorry, Jhonen, but I choose you.
>>
No. 1034038 ID: 8b82ee

I vote for Nerd, Phillip to get a VERY BAD THING. I hope it lives up to its description, I mean we aren't talking here about MEDIUM BAD THING.
>>
No. 1034045 ID: afe7de

B1, please no hurt Jhonen

I want Enid now because she's fresh and recovered, we can then go with Clive or Lillian next thread depending on what happens. Clive will have a ton of utility given that he's basically off the radar. Lillian will be stronk and useful for anything wild we might need to do as well.

Basically we're using next thread to prep then the 2 after to go buck-wild!
>>
No. 1034048 ID: ce39da

A: Clive. He has all the answers regarding the Murder incident, and while he prefers to stay away from social interaction, he has far fewer limits on what he can do in those shadows.

As for the second... I wasn't sure. On one hand, Lillian cares a great deal about Phillip... at least outwardly. However, if we just discount Franklin's feelings about Jhonen, I think we're going to end up immediately regretting it.

And at the end of the day, Jhonen possesses knowledge of important secrets. I have no idea if it'll become relevant, considering the places we'd have to go and the information we'd need to learn just to reach him, but with the scales of personal bonds not being as out of balance as one might assume...

1: Phillip.

... We'll get to speak again, right Temmie?
>>
No. 1034049 ID: e51896

Clive makes people suspicious of anyone who is near him. It's probably a bad idea to have Franklin, "the alien" near him at this time.

so either B or C for me (Enid, or Lilian). Leaning towards Lilian, so that we might be able to get some closure on the cliffhanger... if her mom will allow her over.

For the very bad thing,

2. Jhonen. I'm sorry, but I think Lilian will be devastated the most if something terrible happened to her brother, her own close family member in comparison to Franklin's relationship with Jhonen. Plus, it's clear that he'll have enough KARMA points to remember this past life in CATALYST, so I feel he'll do something very important in this world regardless of how bad he might have it...
>>
No. 1034050 ID: b4ab25

I heard voting was happening, and I have no idea what is happening outside of >>1034034 and >>1034035, but I vote A (and abstain from the second vote)
>>
No. 1034079 ID: 84cd4c

I feel like I'm better off not giving input, seeing as I don't really think my "Guidance" would be any good, but from binging the last several posts, the conclusion I've come to is...

B: Enid - Judging from the fantastic turnaround we've been able to grant Albert, I would say that she's more in need of the opportunities we can grant. Clive can hold on without us (I hope) and I feel like Lillian is something of a trump card we need to save for later.

As for the second choice, I don't feel qualified to choose... but if I had to say, it would probably be Jhonen.
>>
No. 1034098 ID: c0bd54

>Compared to The Anti-Socialite and The Miracle, I believe that you would have an Easier time guiding The Athlete.
B (failing that, A).
We're not here to guide who is easiest, but who needs it the most.

2.
If the two are of equal status, we must consider whom they're linked to. Misfortune to Philip would affect both him and Lillian, so I'm throwing Jhonen under the bus.
>>
No. 1034146 ID: 344f1d

Let's go with Clive,
and >>1034098 has a very good point; Jhonen's gotta take the hit.
>>
No. 1034673 ID: a70a13

I'm gonna go ahead and say A. Clive for the POV character. I think it'll be important to see what happened with him and his family beforehand, it might be a really good idea. I worry about the psychological effect Enid will recieve from us poking around, and I trust we can get to Lillian later.

As for the very bad things? I genuinely don't know....

Is there a way we can leave it to a coin flip? I feel like that's fair. We're dealing with kids, guys.
>>
No. 1034695 ID: 629f2e
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1034695

...How interesting. You seemed to have very split opinions this time around. I remember you being more firm in your decision before. Ultimately, the majority of your voices have decided on Clive to follow, and Jhonen to receive the misfortune. This is your will.

...To be honest, while I’m normally unsure of what choice is best, I think perhaps this was the Right decision. Following Clive that is. He’s had it hard for a while now, and things seem to keep getting worse for him. More than anyone else, I think he could use a helping hand.

Please take good care of him. He is in a fragile state at the moment, separated from the one he lives to nurture. Appearances can be deceiving, and behind the irremovable mask of apathy and ire lies a tormented soul, plagued by Fear and Guilt so intense that they threaten to consume him.

May fortune shine upon him for once, and may your influence allow his wounded heart to finally start healing.

And then... there is Jhonen.

...

I understand why you made the choice that you did. You are not wrong.

To harm Phillip would be to harm others as well. His friends, his sister, the pain you inflict on him would echo across so many hearts. In contrast, Jhonen’s relationships are fewer, and far less close than Phillip’s. Save for one...

It isn’t fair. Nor would it be had you chosen Phillip. It is simply, and sadly, the Inevitable. The sole promise that comes with life.

Jhonen...

To the investigator who never received the respect he yearned for.

To a clever boy who found the truths that others tried to keep hidden.

To a lonely child who tried to help his one true friend understand himself.

...

I’m sorry. You never deserved this fate.

>>
No. 1034696 ID: 629f2e
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1034696

[VERY BAD THINGS have happened to Jhonen]

...

To the cursed child of Cattenom, I give to you ears that can Hear their voices. May their guidance lead you closer towards your goals.

And to The Alien, I shall Try to offer you the same. I know not what this will do to you, as you’re very different from the rest of us. But I shall try anyway.

May we change the past, the present, and our futures with these gifts.

>>
No. 1034698 ID: 629f2e
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1034698

...

...

...

It’s Cold. The wind blows really hard up here. Mittens shivers in my lap.

I don’t really like climbing trees. Heights are scary, and I always get stuck because climbing back down is just too hard. Apparently Mittens is the same, because she was meowing for help up here when I came out to play.

Poor sweet baby. I stroke her fur, earning a small purr of approval.

I thought that I could just climb up a little bit, and then she’d jump into my arms. But she wouldn’t budge, no matter how much I promised that I’d catch her.

So I climbed higher. And then higher... And then even higherer......

I guess that was a bad idea. By the time I reached her branch, I was holding onto the trunk of the tree for dear life. The ground is so far down, I’m sure that I’ll die if I hit it from this height. My head will crack open, my brain will spill out, and then Judy will steal my corpse and use my blood for her Rituals.

That last part isn’t so bad actually. If I die, I hope it’s for a good cause. Like summoning a demon! A nice demon that cooks kids eggs for breakfast and can get cats out of trees without getting stuck in them itself.

Himself? Herself? I dunno, depends on if it’s a mommy or daddy demon I guess.

...That’s right, mom and dad should be home soon. They Promised they’d be home tonight, so that we could finally have a Family Game Night! They’ll come home, see me up here, dad will get me down with that big ladder he likes to use, and then we’ll stay up all night playing board games! Or at least until my bedtime, I’ll probably be too tired to play then.

I just have to wait. They’ll be here, any minute now.

Just have to keep Waiting...

...

Perpetuity Thread 2: END
>>
No. 1034700 ID: e51896

Good night Temmie.
Hope your tea party won't keep you up past your bedtime.
Though I have a feeling it'll probably end much sooner than you think...
That said, I hope your fortune telling is helpful for your next client ;)
>>
No. 1034707 ID: e5709d

>[VERY BAD THINGS have happened to Jhonen]
... Did you have to snip the doll's head off?
I mean, are you predicting the future, or did you just select a method of death for your little play-pal that is degradating and traumatizing to anyone who sees the headless plushie? I mean, you're at the very least going to lose your scissor priv-

>Clive will now hear headvoices
YAAAAAAAAAY
What was I talking about again?


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