14th Jan 2020, 7:34 PM
Take your leave to consider the offer

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Take your leave to consider the offer
"...How much would you give me for it?," you ask Mayor Parsons.

"Offhand? I've no idea," the mayor replies. "I'll need to find out what would cover... let's say six months of rent and bills in a different house? I wouldn't put you out on the street in the name of saving your life."

You give a small nod. "I'll have to think about it, but... I'll get back to you."

You turn, and you head for the exit. Kate follows.

On your way out of the building, you turn to the secretary.

"You guys have any like... maps? Or..."

Temperance pulls open a drawer in her desk, and hands you a brochure.

"It's really old, though~ Hope you enjoyed your meeting ♥ Remember to stay ♪hydrated!♪"



You and Kate are both silent until several seconds after you reach the bus stop.

"...So she's totally a fucking vampire, right?"

"Thank you," you blurt out. "I thought I was losing my mind."

"The light thing," Kate says, halfway through pulling out her phone.

"That was real?" You run a hand through your hair, taking a breath. "Fuck I thought I imagined that, what is her deal?"

"Dude." Kate holds her phone up, facing it out to you. "Check this out. I had my phone on record in case the mayor said some incriminating shit, right?"

She presses the play button on the screen.

All that plays is the sound of static.

Not even silence, not even some kind of phone-has-fucked-up error sound like you'd expect, but a dead ringer for the noise of an old TV going to the wrong channel.

"What the fuck," you mouth

and you remember when you searched for the mayor online.

There were no pictures.

"What the fuuuck," you say a little louder, but not much.



The bus pulls up, and you both board.





"How'd it go?," asks the bus as they begin to roll out.

"The mayor's a vampire," you reply as you take your usual seat. "My house has killing intent and I have astoundingly shit luck. I think that covers it. I miss anything?"

Kate takes out a fresh stick of level and begins to light it, slowly pacing the bus. She stops to add, "We learned my mom would not do well in a horror movie. ...And that the mayor keeps the property history there, in that building somewhere."

You look at Kate. It takes you a second to piece together what's so important about that--

"Wait," you say as you lean back in your seat, "you think we can still get it?"

"Maybe," Kate says with a shrug. "Place has windows. It's old, might have some of those big ass ventilation systems." She takes a deep drag of her level. "We could totally heist the joint."

"I don't think heist is a verb," you reply, "and the mayor would murder us."

"Naaah," responds Kate with a wave of her free hand, "if she wanted to kill us I'm pretty sure she'd have done it when you started point-blank roasting her. That was fucking rad, by the way. Worst that could happen is some breaking and entering charges."

You give a small sigh.

You are very tired.

"...Well, if it happens it's definitely not happening tonight."

"Obviously," Kate says with a smile. ...A smile that steadily widens as she mulls it over more. "We'd have to do it in the daytime, when the mayor's weakened."

"I don't..." You pause.

You started the sentence and are faced with so many options for how to finish it.

"...I don't think I wanna sleep in my house tonight," you finally conclude. "I need to see if the dreams are isolated to the house, or if they'll follow me somehow. Because I'm the home owner I guess and we're operating on spooky house rules."

"You could stay at my place," Kate offers. "It's not exactly five stars, and I only have one bed. ...And I'm kind of rounding up. But hey, it won't try to murder you."

"Thanks," you reply with a faint smile. "I'd feel weird doing this when we just met, but--"

"--But your house is a confirmed fucked up death house," Kate fills in. "Yeah, no, I totally get it. Also confirmed fucked up death house is the title of my next album. Hey, bus--can you swing by a convenience store or something? I dunno when they stop selling alcohol, I just know it's way past beer o'clock."

"Sure," the bus replies. "It's slow tonight. I can make a quick stop."


The bus swings by a 24/7 MondolMart, and Kate begins to step out.

You smirk a little. "You just planning to walk in smoking level?"

Kate stops.

She considers the joint in her mouth.

She squints, and leans to peer through the window...

"Yeah, it looks like Marco's working tonight. He don't care. Be back in a sec."

She steps off the bus and disappears into the store.

"So," the bus begins, "what do you plan to do about the house?"

You give the best response you can come up with: "Fuck if I know." You stare out the window, still trying to process it all. "I need more information--I don't want to sell it without knowing what it is I'm selling, or I could be trading in a bad situation for something way, way worse. I'm afraid if I just straight up destroy the place, it'll unleash... uh... whatever the hell it is that makes it the murder house. The mayor may not be trying to kill us, but she's still playing her cards way too close to her chest for me to trust her. ...But also I have no idea what's going on or what I'm doing about it. I need...

I need to find out more."

Your attention is caught as you see Kate approach the counter, attempting to buy some beer and cigarettes. She has... a slightly longer conversation with the guy behind the counter than you really expected, and she appears to get a bit heated about it.

Well, as heated as she's going to get while smoking level.

She comes back to the bus with a beer in each hand and the level still clenched between her lips. "So uh, how're those anxiety meds doing?"

"Pretty good," you reply. "I feel... clear headed? Like, I'm calm, but I'm not out of it."

"Good," Kate says, "'cuz the ride's not over yet. Someone tried to burn down Maria's Grocery."

"What?!"

"Yeah," Kate continues. "Marco said it happened right after the concert--so guess what the cops think. He said whoever tried it failed to burn it down, but he hasn't been there himself so he doesn't know how bad the damage is."

"So if we stay at MY house," you begin, "we might die."

"We stay at my house, we might get a visit from Ninelives' finest," states Kate.

"Well..." You ponder it for a moment. "They can't arrest us, we were--"

"Accomplices?," asks Kate with a grin. "We're sure as hell not each others' convincing alibis."

"The bus knows where we went," you suggest, "right? We drove around for a while and then we went to the mayor's."

"My surveillance equipment has been turned off this entire time," replies the bus.

"And I dunno if they'll let a bus take the stand in court," adds Kate. "We could totally have done it before we went and shook down the mayor, and that's if the mayor doesn't deny seeing us. We're fucking ghosts between the end of the concert and the mayor visit that maybe didn't happen."

Fuck.

Fuuuck.

You rub at your forehead with the heel of your palm. "Okay. Okay okay okay. Okay... do the cops think you and I specifically did it?"

"They think it was someone from the concert," Kate says. "And I don't even buy that bullshit. I know most of those guys, and they're all cool people. Somebody might light up Mondol, but a fucking mom & pop grocery store? Come on man. But you're new and I'm Kate Halford and we were fucking gone when those cops showed up--we are sooo the most obvious suspects."

Ffffuck.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.




Kate holds one of her beers out to you.

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14th Jan 2020, 7:58 PM
Mochi
welp.

i guess we should maybe go find cici? maybe she's still looking at us back near the garage where the concert was and hopefully she won't mind two surprise house guests.
14th Jan 2020, 8:02 PM
This might be a good plan. Cici and Maria are our only local acquaintances who aren't buses, and Maria has other shit to deal with right now.
14th Jan 2020, 8:11 PM
+1
gift beer to Cici
14th Jan 2020, 8:16 PM
Portal In Time
It's possible. Some people were talking about checking out the Library's phone number and seeing if it's actually Cici's cell, we probably shouldn't check to see if Cici's still hanging around at the house surrounded by police though, especially if we're supposedly wanted or anything.
14th Jan 2020, 9:42 PM
Limrix
We have the phone book at our house, we could use that or the internet to try to get her number. +1 to gifting and not drinking beer.
14th Jan 2020, 10:11 PM
Hari_Seldon
Edit: Is Cici a suspect in the fire bombing because she was at the concert and the police talked with her there? Maybe sleeping with Cici is not a good idea. Maybe Cici is in jail and us calling her would not be a good idea.

It would be silly but fun if we could find Cici and have a 3 person sleepover at Plaire's death house.
14th Jan 2020, 10:17 PM
+1 kinda the best idea here right now
14th Jan 2020, 10:41 PM
Snervalton
+1 to using the phone book or internet to find Cici's number, check and see if she's ok, then asking if Plaire and Kate can stay at her place tonight.
15th Jan 2020, 3:11 PM
Heroshima
+1. we should try having a sleepover once we've confirmed the dreams don't follow people who sleep in the murderhouse.
14th Jan 2020, 8:01 PM
Macheman7
Take the beer.
...
That... You probably shouldn't mix it with anxiety meds actually. Ask the bus if you can drink it.
And also maybe don't drink it if you don't actually drink.
But do accept the gift.
14th Jan 2020, 8:03 PM
+1 to not actually drinking the beer. Anxiety meds can cause a beer to hit your body all at once by essentially delaying your body processing the alcohol while it's busy with the meds, and Plaire is *smoll.* So even a single beer hitting instantly would be a PROBLEM.

Still, it might be comforting to hold XD
14th Jan 2020, 8:23 PM
Yeah, lets not mix alcohol and back alley anxiety meds that we are just trying for the first time.
14th Jan 2020, 8:30 PM
pkrankow
+1 Ask the bus

Booze and meds tend to make bad things happen
14th Jan 2020, 10:39 PM
Snervalton
+1 to asking the bus about possible side effects before imbibing alcohol.
15th Jan 2020, 3:04 PM
14th Jan 2020, 8:04 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
well, that's annoying.
Ask the Bus if we can bunk on the seats for a night but .... hmmmm.... yeah it seems to be a case of heading home, risking the police at Kate's pad - though that'd at least confirm the question of if the nightmares require sleeping in the house or not regardless of how things go-... guess we can try to find Cici and hit her up for a place to crash?

..... Well there's also the option of just straight up bumming it for the night but this feels like one of those nights that's just cold enough that you don't want to be outside in without a good coat and a sleeping bag.
14th Jan 2020, 8:05 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
On a separate note: Think The Back Room's still open? Feels like they'd still be open today.
14th Jan 2020, 8:15 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 ask if the back room is open then visit buy Captemon stuff (ball and/or cards)

Then we'll probably be so tired nothing else but find a place to sleep.

Edit: actually if Kate and Plaire sleep at Plaire's house we both need to play a little bit of a game despite being really tired. How about Captemon for Plaire and Crush Souls for Kate?

Edit: Maybe the best idea is to sleep at Cici's? Let's ask Kate and Cici for their opinions.
14th Jan 2020, 8:31 PM
14th Jan 2020, 8:16 PM
well looks like we get to see if we bring people in with us. also if we can play a game before sleeping make it something with combat abilities like street fighter.
14th Jan 2020, 8:24 PM
Hari_Seldon
Edit: I vote for Plaire to play Captemon and Kate to play Crush Souls

Edit: Give Kate the choice of sleeping at Plaire's house or Cici's. Maybe get Cici's opinion too?
14th Jan 2020, 8:38 PM
+1 - finding out if we can take people with us is at least as valuable as finding out if we can get away from the dream.
14th Jan 2020, 9:11 PM
I vote we give Kate the vanguard position and Plaire can play rearguard
14th Jan 2020, 9:43 PM
Hari_Seldon
Oh yeah Kate might do better with weapons.
14th Jan 2020, 8:20 PM
Portal In Time
Take the beer, but don't drink too much. We're lightweight, and being tipsy might carry over in the Alcazar.

I think it's best to bunk at our own house with Kate.
14th Jan 2020, 8:34 PM
Portal In Time
Oh, and let's play a quick session of Mustachio Volley Ball before sleeping, and let Kate play a game after informing her that the games you play affect the dream.
15th Jan 2020, 8:36 AM
I agree about the beer, however I don't think we should sleep in our house without properly preparing ourselves first. Besides, we are probably tired from all that happened today and who knows if it'll affect our state in the Dream World.
14th Jan 2020, 8:22 PM
Hari_Seldon
Read the brochure during the ride.
14th Jan 2020, 9:47 PM
14th Jan 2020, 11:15 PM
15th Jan 2020, 12:48 PM
"How to get ahead in navigating"... wait, wrong game.
14th Jan 2020, 8:27 PM
Try asking the bus or Kate if either knows Cici's - or maybe the library's if desperate - number. She stuck around to talk to the cops, so she might have heard them talk about the fire or any other info.
Also, when we have the time take a look at the brochure we got.
14th Jan 2020, 8:29 PM
pkrankow
$6k to $12k is 6 months rent and utilities for a 3 bedroom apartment... but no decent place offers a short half year lease like that. Chicken scratch. Cheap houses go for replacement value which is easily 10x that price. Replacement value is the price to build a similar structure on an already owned lot.

The offer is a pretty firm "No" for now.
14th Jan 2020, 9:41 PM
Limrix
Mondol would probably give us way more and hasn't been planning this for centuries, probably.
15th Jan 2020, 5:25 PM
I wouldn't try to figure out any hard numbers. This comic takes place 20 minutes into the future (using TvTropes terms) and is an alternate-reality dystopia.
It's probably why the author gives vague descriptions of costs and finances rather than hard numbers.
14th Jan 2020, 8:43 PM
Leafia_Barrett
Definitely don't mix alcohol and anxiety meds.
14th Jan 2020, 8:55 PM
I vote for testing the house for multiplayer compatibility.
14th Jan 2020, 10:16 PM
-1 bad idea we don't know enough of it to tell if that is a good idea also we don't know how Kate will react
14th Jan 2020, 11:17 PM
Snervalton
It would also be a bad thing if Kate became marked for death no matter where she slept...
14th Jan 2020, 9:41 PM
lil Joshu
Rent for a few months?

No. Nowhere near enough, especially a house that's apparantly a unique case. Heck, could easily make it a tourist trap "Sleep in the haunted house, have evil dreams!" Make it into a bed and breakfast. For the money racked in, could easily rent without ever considering the mayor's offer.

So yea, nothing short of ourtight buying a very nice house is even worth considering.

As for night plans... you take what you bring with you into the dream... Take Kate into dream with you.
15th Jan 2020, 12:29 AM
Lunar Waffles
+1 to discussion with Kate before action is taken (good luck giving her her own opinion XD) then +1 to taking action!
15th Jan 2020, 1:00 PM
Oh, I see. Mondol didn't care that there was a band in one of their garages. What they cared about was keeping the police at the performance so they weren't around to stop Mondol burning down the grocery.
15th Jan 2020, 1:44 PM
Well isn't this a delightful wrinkle! Kate's home seems less viable for the night now, but it is still important to test the limits of the house by sleeping away from it tonight.

(1) Seek alternatives for a place to sleep. Cici should be our first pick. If she is unavailable, perhaps we can consider the bus, if the seats are comfortable enough?

(2) Accept the beer but do not drink it. Perhaps we could trade it for something else in future.

(3) Avoid Mondol facilities and businesses until this issue with the fire is cleared up and police are no longer seeking suspects. As Kate says, we are the most viable scapegoats.
15th Jan 2020, 2:58 PM
15th Jan 2020, 5:40 PM
Don't have an opinion on Plaire's/Kate's/Cici's but some things to consider whatever the choice:

- If staying at Plaire's, as should already be obvious from what Kate knows, you don't IMMEDIATELY die in real life if you die in the dream. It's not ideal but at the very least if everything we've learned so far is explained to Kate, she MIGHT be able to survive a "night" without getting killed in-dream.

- Cici doesn't have to let us crash at her place. The new library appears to have nothing of value. It's not ideal comfort-wise but at least it'd be safe if she lets us stay there.

- We basically have emergency money, not spending money. Any decision to go someplace else (like The Back Room) will have to accept window shoppers.
16th Jan 2020, 2:58 PM
How cold is it out? if we don't sleep inside we should be fine ("Where did she sleep - inside"). Heck, could even get a tent or shed as a sleeping place for respite.