The ghost has been taking its sweet time climbing the floors. Its only concern is that whoever is down here leaves. Climbing the last few floors was just to make sure they were gone, but since it could hear screaming from upstairs that must not be the case.
The ghost makes it to the last hallway. Directly in front of it is the entrance to the subway station, and a very unhappy James Fadbury. The door to the station has been closed behind him.
[NPC] Jim:That nightmare we saw... Your nightmare... How many times did something like that happen? How many times were you manipulated? Exploited? Lied to? Treated like you weren't even a person? How many?
[NPC] Jim:Do you have a minute? There's something I'd like you to see.
Jim pulls out a wand from his coat. The Ghost jumps back as if reacting to something only it can see.
[NPC] Jim:There, you've just seen the slightly unabridged version of my history. All the people that I've ever traveled with, all the friends I've made, and all the people I've let down.
All those people have been hurt or irreversibly changed because I was around them. I bring them with me to explore the wonders of the world, and in doing so I expose them to the dangers of it. I know I can't always protect them, yet again and again I seek them out. I bet you're wondering, "Why doesn't he stop?"
[NPC] Jim:It's because I'm selfish. Because I'm lonely. Three hundred years and hardly anything to spend them on. I've changed job classes and picked up new fields of study just to occupy my time, but it always feels empty because I have no one to share it with. Sometimes I wonder if it's better to be alone if it means sparing them. Even my own granddaughter wasn't safe. I had to let her go or who knows what would have happened.
[NPC] Jim:Because I want to ask you something.
[NPC] Jim:Is it better to be alone? Is the slightest chance at having friends not worth the risk of trusting someone?
[NPC] Jim:And what are the exceptions?
[NPC] Jim:Is there a power dynamic in healthy relationships then?
[NPC] Jim:And you don't feel that way?
Come on Helvetica, you know that's not true.
Listen. My friend Risky is a time traveler. He can take you to the most desolate part of history: The distant past where life has yet to crawl out from the dirt or the remote future where the world is a barren wasteland where everything has died off. Just give him the word and he can take you wherever you want to go. No one will ever bother you again.
But that's not what you really want, is it?
[NPC] Jim:You want the life that you've been wrongly cheated out of. Robbed from you. The life you deserve. The life everyone deserves.
You want to be able to trust people again. Am I right?
[NPC] Jim:Well I've got nothing to hide. Do you trust me?
Do I trust Jim?
[NPC] Helvetica rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 13
The door to the basement flies open. Black smoke permeates from the hallway downstairs.
[NPC] Amy:Everybody get ready!!!
A humanoid figure steps out from the door.
[NPC] Jim:Wait wait wait! It's okay! Everything's fine! There will be no epic battle tonight! I talked with the ghost and we reached a peaceful agreement.
Oh... but what about our plan?
[NPC] Jim:Don't need it! Nobody has to fight so we don't have to capture the ghost!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:But... you mean... that's it?
[NPC] Jim:That's it!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:Just like that?... No epic boss battle?
[NPC] Jim:No epic boss battle! Cheers for pacifism!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:I... guess I'm okay with that... What about the ghost though? Is it okay with us now?
[NPC] Jim:Ah, right. Didn't think about that. She trusts me, but I'm not sure about the rest of you.
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:......I-Is that the ghost?
[NPC] Jim:This is Helvetica. We met a couple of years ago in my time period.
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:You sure she's the ghost? She seems kinda... well, you know... kinda juvenile.
[NPC] Jim:Awww, people fluctuate back and forth between serious and juvenile! That's just your brain trying to make sense of the world and redecorating accordingly. Humans just don't live long enough to really experience it more than once or twice.
This right now is my fifth cycle... No, fourth... No, wait, fifth again.
[NPC] Jim:Don't worry! Don't worry! This is Risky. He's the time traveler I was talking about earlier. Remember?
[NPC] Jim:Very scary, Helvetica. We were all absolutely terrified.
[NPC] Jim:Oh right, what did you all do with Lewis?
Did I ever get away from Jim's dog in the last few minutes?
[NPC] Lewis rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 14
Lewis got Goldie off of him by throwing his cricket bat across the station and tempting Goldie to go fetch it. He's pointing his gun directly at Jim, but he's only using it as a threat. Lewis only has one bullet left and doesn't want to waste it.
Samantha tries to escape to the Mirror World using a puddle around Diana where the ice melted, but there's not enough water to make the portal big enough. She tries to squeeze through, but only her arm fits.
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:What do we do about them? I'm okay with them staying down here as long as they don't cause any trouble and get along with the other guests.
[NPC] Jim:Easier said than done. Even when they were alive they weren't exactly kid-friendly.
[NPC] Amy:I think the question is if they're willing to share the underground or not.
[NPC] Jim:HEY! YOU ALL OKAY WITH SHARING THIS PLACE WITH A BUNCH OF STRANGERS?... PRESENT COMPANY EXCLUDED?
[NPC] Jim:OKAY JUST ASKING.
[NPC] Samantha:H-How come they're not attacking us?!
[NPC] Jim:Oh for the love of-
IF I WANTED TO KICK YOU OUT I WOULD HAVE DONE SO ALREADY! NOW QUIT BEING SUCH A LOON AND PUT THE GUN DOWN, YOU'RE EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:They did it.
Risky points to Lewis and Sam.
Ai takes one look at them. Her expression goes from shock to absolute fury.
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:Wow geez, harsh much? What did they do?
Risky reads the newspaper. It's dated April 16, 2006.
"Event Manager Bugsy Lepus Murdered"
"Lovable event manager Bugsy Lepus was found mortally wounded last night. He was taken to Saint Ajna's Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police investigation points to the possibility of a murder with evidence linking to a group of four calling themselves "The Zombie Gang." The Zombie Gang is suspected to be linked with the Organized Crime Division, the Little City mafia, whom police believe placed a hit on Mr. Lepus."
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:Wh-What the hell?!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:W-Wait, but they haven't done any of this yet!
[NPC] Yellow Spirit:We don't know if this is the whole truth though!
[NPC] Lewis:YOU'LL TAKE THIS HIDEOUT FROM ME WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!
I'd like to negotiate with Lewis using his preferred method of communication, if you know what I mean.
[NPC] Ai rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 6
Ai fires her Rollback Magnum directly past Lewis's head.
[NPC] Jim:WHOA! HEY! HEY! Let's not try and kill each other, okay?! For Pete sake we just avoided a fight! We don't need to end this night with more bloodshed!
[NPC] Lewis:You- You- You-
Lewis looks at the lone gun in his hand. He's outnumbered with one bullet remaining and no way back into Sam's Mirror World.
But in that very moment, Lewis has an idea. A balls to the wall crazy idea, but the best possible idea he could have come up with.
I'm using my very last bullet on myself.
[NPC] Lewis rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 10
Lewis fires his own gun at himself. The bullet catches on the inside of his bullet-proof jacket and falls out from behind his coat.
He falls down, clutching his sides in pain. Blood pools out from the wound he made across the subway floor.
[NPC] Ai:WHOA WHAT THE HELL!?
[NPC] Samantha:WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!
Sam notices Lewis's reflection in the puddle of blood under him, and uses it to make a portal to her mirror world. Lewis sinks through the portal while grabbing onto Diana and dragging her in with him. Finally, Sam hops in and closes the portal behind her.
Lewis, Sam and Diana are back in the Mirror World. Everyone's clothes are ruined. Lewis is barely able to stand from his injuries. He's lost a lot of blood, but a Zombie won't die from blood loss. He might become a bit mindless and start craving brains, but he won't die.
[NPC] Samantha:We still have my Mirror World.
[NPC] Samantha:Ah that's right! Alex is still in here!
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Don't throw me out just yet. You two look like you could use some help.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Are you talking about our new recruit?
[NPC] Ryan:Do you two need like medical attention or something?
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Sam, could you get some supplies from the infirmary? There should be plenty of metal tables for you to reach through. Grab some surgical sutures and anything else you may need. Ryan and I can carry Diana and Lewis there.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:How exactly did I betray you?
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Sorry, I forgot to mention that. Did you find the ghost?
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Um... I'm sorry?
Lewis tries to shoot Alex, but he's all out of bullets. The *click* from the gun goes off several times as Lewis pulls the trigger in frustration before throwing it on the ground in anger.
[NPC] Ryan:No, we need this place.
Lewis is grabbing Ryan by her collar. What's Ryan going to do?
I'd like to teach Lewis what it means to really fear death and break out some of my repressed Reaper powers.
[NPC] Ryan rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 19
Lewis grabs Ryan by her collar to try and intimidate her... but as soon as he does a powerful chill goes down his spine. Lewis immediately lets go of Ryan and slowly backs away. Ryan's expression barely changes from her tired, apathetic look, but Lewis fears he might have just antagonized the wrong person.
Ryan removes both of the piercings from her ear. The earrings fuse together, turning into a small nail file that Ryan uses to give herself a manicure.
[NPC] Lewis:Okay fine. You win. Just... don't kill us.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Thank you, Ryan. That means a lot to me.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Lewis, I'm sorry to bring this up for the umpteenth time, but... the ghost... did you see it?
[NPC] Lewis:Geez you still on about that? The ghost wasn't real bro it was just some purple elf lady with monster hands!
[NPC] Blue Spirit:You don't say...
Is she still out there?
[NPC] Lewis:Yeah she was talking with Fadbury last I saw... They seemed all buddy buddy for some reason. Probably another one of his bazillion of cryptid friends.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:That... is a pity...
Can you walk? Ryan and I can carry Diana to the infirmary if you injuries aren't serious.
Oh shit that's right. I've lost a lot of blood. Am I doing alright?
[NPC] Lewis rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 3
Lewis collapses from blood loss.
[NPC] Samantha:LEWIS NO! NOT YOU TOO!
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Ah, lovely.
Ryan, can you help Sam carry Diana? I can carry Lewis by myself if I drag him along with the rope he tied me in.
[NPC] Ryan:Deal, but we're taking them both to the second floor guest rooms. Sam, you're gonna have to stay out of the basement for a while.
[NPC] Samantha:Wha? How come?
[NPC] Ryan:It involves adult matters. You're too young to understand.
[NPC] Ryan:Whatever. It's none of your business, young lady.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:One last thing. Sam, I need you to find an electronics store and buy a few things for us. Can you do that? I've written down an address and some items I'd like you to buy.
Alex hands Samantha a note and an unmarked envelope. The envelope has close to 10,000 zenny inside in paper bills. The note reads:
304 E 5th St (should be an electronics store there)
-ask about a cell phone jammer (sometimes called a scrambler or randomizer) buy three or more depending on how much money is left
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Do you think you can get all that? The PDA is to replace the one Lewis lost, so take extra care of it. We can look for the one Diana lost later.
[NPC] Samantha:I-I don't know. I've never bought anything by myself before. I've never been in the city all by myself before either.
[NPC] Ryan:Oh right, Alex I forgot. This Mirror World is just like the Gemini Watch Black Naru had, and Sam is probably a time traveler.
Sam, I'm going to have to come with you on your shopping trip. In fact, it's the middle of the night. The shop's closed right now. We'll do it tomorrow.
[NPC] Blue Spirit:Ah that's true. Forgot about that. My mind was on... other things...
[NPC] Ryan:But Seriously. Alex and I need the basement to ourselves for the rest of the night. Once we fix Lewis and Diana up it's off to bed with you. You must be tired after everything that's happened.
[NPC] Samantha:Nuh uh! I'm not... *yawn* tired!
[NPC] Ryan:Hush. Even ghosts need their sleep or they'll get grumpy. Now come on. You get the feet, I'll get the...
Whoops! This arm's broken... Hmmm...
On second thought Sam, you go get the sutures. I'll take care of Diana.
Ryan carries Diana upstairs with Samantha following her, leaving Alex to take care of Lewis. Alex just stands there, alone with his thoughts, for minutes on end.
Before leaving for the infirmary with Lewis, Alex takes a quick look at the database Diana downloaded for him on his PDA.
The database is fairly dense, but Alex is only interested in one sub-category: the circle of overlords active within the Battle Verge over 20 years ago, The Circle of the Dark Ones.
Threat Level: Medium
Info: Member of the Circle of the Dark Ones. An evil warlord obsessed with subjugating the Battle Verge. Needlessly cruel and impossible to control, he was ultimately killed by the Circle for going against their beliefs.
Race: High Elf (Zombie)
Threat Level: None
Info: Member of the Circle of the Dark Ones. Once the Private Advisor of the Royal Elven Family. Along with their contempt for the Elven Royals, Elven Revolutionaries demonized her for her vices and executed her under the penalty of political domination, treason, and accusations of witchcraft. She was resurrected as a Zombie by the Circle and joined their ranks, but was not violent nor evil as the Elven kingdom claimed her to be. She resigned from the Circle after a confrontation with The Amaterasu.
Threat Level: Medium
Info: Member of the Circle of the Dark Ones. A Noble Demon who actually has a kid somewhere in the world. Does the Circle's dirty work because he believes life is tough and suffering builds character. Affably evil, but not faux affably evil. Acts like a dad that wants to be your friend, but not afraid to be stern if needed.
His kid was orphaned and became one of the founding members of The Unknown.
Born: c. 2500 B.C.E.
Race: Human (Zymalian)
Threat Level: Medium
Info: Member of the Circle of the Dark Ones. Eye witness accounts claim they were of very small stature. Abilities are unknown, as they were rarely involved in the Circle's activities.
Threat Level: High
Info: Mad Scientist of the Circle of the Dark Ones. A Marionette created by the Puppet Master. He was able to create sentient mannequins to serve as his personal army. His experiments were used against him and he was transformed into a sentient piece of equipment. He made a brief return in 2004, but was ultimately killed by the combined efforts of the Amaterasu and The Unknown.
Threat Level: Very High
Info: Evil Overlord and Second in command of the Circle of the Dark Ones. Sealed inside a sword by the Amaterasu in 1988. Regained his physical form in January 2004. Defeated by Naru Matsuri and Zarath Albaran.
Threat Level: Very High
Info: Evil Overlord and Leader of the Circle of the Dark Ones. Known powers include Mastery of Illusions and Fear Manipulation. Last seen in the Battle Verge attempting to build a portal to the Gemini World. She was successful, and is presumed to still be trapped in that dimension.
Enemies Defeated: 1
Loot Gained: None
Zenny won: 1000 zenny
Jim gained 1000 exp!
Amy gained 3000 exp!
Marvin gained 8000 exp!
Goldie gained 2000 exp!
Risky gained 2000 exp!
Lewis gained 2000 exp!
Diana gained 2000 exp!
Samantha gained 500 exp!