16th May 2020, 12:49 AM
Light the candle

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Light the candle
"Okay, okay--" you force a smile. "We'll go light the candle."

Kate does step off the barrel and fly of her own volition, but it's...

Staggered.

Weak.

You can tell, in spite of all the joking, that she doesn't have much time left.

The walk down the hall back to the candle room feels eternal--not just because of Kate's reduced speed, but because you can't stop thinking.

Second guessing.

"Kate--" you blurt out as you finally reach it. "I-- if I kill myself, it should reset everything and we'll both wake up. We'll come back tomorrow night, we can try the candle then. Y... you don't have to die of poison."

Kate turns, giving you a weird look and finally, a shrug. "Dude. I'm just going to wake up anyway, right? What's the diff?" She swallows roughly, drifting downward slightly as she speaks. "Lemme do this. Y-Y..."she almost appears to nod off, eyes briefly shutting; she inhales sharply, snapping herself awake. "You don't... gotta bail early for me. Go fight your boss."

She smiles, and gives a small cough after several seconds of struggling not to cough. "Plus if Cici doesn't get tomorrow night she's gonna be pissed."

You grimace. "Kate, I don't know that it works like that. I mean, it makes sense that it would but--"

"Plaire," says Kate. "H... hold your hands out."

You do so, setting your sword down and holding your hands out, palms up, and--

Kate floats over to stand atop your hands.

She puts one of her tiny hands on your shoulder, staring you in the face.

The act, despite how small it was, seems to have winded her.

She takes a second to catch her breath, and then continues.

"Do you think I'll wake up, or do you think I'm gonna die?"

You stare back at Kate, straining for an answer and how to phrase it. Every second hurts a little more. This is happening right now and you can't just come out and say it--

"Nothing I've seen suggests the system should treat you any differently than it treats me," you shove the words out of your mouth, "except for your appearance, and the brief mention at the start about demonshells--both of which suggest that, if anything, you're actually less "here" than I am, and should be less likely to actually die-die. ...And my odds of not dying to a normal function of the dungeon are so far 100%. Logistically speaking, you SHOULD, JUST wake up. ...But that's a theory. A strong theory, a theory I believe, but--"

"Plaire," Kate says again.

She takes a deep breath. Tries to.

She presses her forehead to your forehead. You're pretty sure it's not to make the point more intimate, she's just using you to keep her standing upright.

"You know more about this shit in like... four days than I could've figured out in a year. Like, you get it." She smiles a tired smile. You can feel her breath on your face. It's really weird to feel coming out of a poorly stitched puppet mouth. "You are THE motherfuckin' expert on this spooky, other world castle house bullshit."

She briefly pauses to cough. A longer series of them this time, a little rougher sounding; she starts by coughing into her hand, but soon just turns her face away from yours entirely to just... let it all out. She wipes the blood from her mouth on her jacket sleeve.

"I don't..." You can see her wince as she breathes. Jesus Christ. "I don't trust anything in this shithole. I don't get all the dumb game logic. ...But you do. I don't trust anything in this shithole but you, and if you say I'm waking up... then I am waking the fuck up."

"I don't want to use you as a guinea pig, Kate. Not when you could actually die."

"You're not," she says. "You're not doing anything. I am going to prove you right. That's what I'm doing."

She turns, and steps off your hand. She falls for a moment before catching herself in the air, more gliding toward the candle than actually flying for it. She stumbles as she lands not far from it, and sort of... painfully toddles the rest of the way.

You stand in the doorway, watching with held breath.

Kate inhales loudly.

Coughs. Chokes. Sputters.

She makes that face you make when you're really, really trying not to throw up.

She inhales loudly--once more--and wipes the blood from her mouth.

Kate holds her hand out... and forms a flame.

Lights the candle.


. . .


A tense silence follows. The fire flickers out from Kate's hand.

The candle stays lit, a familiar green glow.

. . .

Nothing else happens. Just a lit candle.

"Cool," mutters Kate, who then laughs an agonizing laugh. "Fucking perfect."

She takes a wide turn, stumbling around to throw you a last glance and a very forced smirk.

"I'll seeya tomorrow, Plaire--"




and she collapses.







"Kate...?"

No response.

Not a joke.

You know she's right.

You know you're right.

She's fine. It's fine.

Everything's fine.



You step into the triangular sigil.

Nothing special occurs.

You walk over and pick up Kate--

or begin to. She's already starting to... crumble, like dust or sand, the pieces blowing away on their own and fading into the ether. You

you scoop up what you can, of what's left, and you start carrying her to the heart room.


You don't even reach the bed before the last hints of Kate spill through your fingers and disappear.

You stare at your empty hands.

Your cold, empty hands.

You feel the throbbing begin in your lower back.


You return to the hallway and pick up your sword so you can scream and hurl it down the god damn hallway. You almost collapse in a bawling heap, but manage to restrain yourself.

She wanted you to keep going.


You should keep going.


You trudge down the hall, and once more pick up your sword.



Everything's fine.


Everything's just

fucking

fine.

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16th May 2020, 12:52 AM
Morgenstern
don't forget to sign up for a comicfury account so you can secure your name in the comments, have an avatar, and make me look cooler on comicfury
16th May 2020, 12:57 AM
We may not believe in ourselves, but SHE does-- so we should honor her choices by believing in the her who believes in us. (Apologies to Kamina for butchering the quote so badly :P) She made her decision, and it's totally okay and normal to freak out, but ALSO, we should recognize that she's an adult who made an adult decision, and we should respect that.

So let's go fight a boss! :D
18th May 2020, 1:48 PM
Ryebread1983
Agreed. Our time is much more limited and the most obvious path with the most gain is an attempted confrontation with the boss.

Although I'd also suggest taking a breath to clear the head. We aren't exactly suitable for berserking.
16th May 2020, 12:58 AM
Take a deep breath. Kate wants Plaire to try fighting a boss, and Plaire needs something to take her rage out on. So let's go through that boss door and see what's behind it.
16th May 2020, 12:58 AM
Anotherdamntimeclone
I guess we better listen to Kate and head down that hall, see what happens next.
16th May 2020, 1:01 AM
undeadDreamer
All those emotions? Use them and SPIKE your fucking sword at whatever boss you see in there.
16th May 2020, 1:02 AM
Macheman7
Goodnight, Kate.
Let's go down the hall and kill us a boss monster.
But first, Plaire, try to get ahold of yourself.
16th May 2020, 6:56 AM
16th May 2020, 1:27 AM
Leafia_Barrett
You know what would be nice right now? Some way to vent our frustration. Oh look, there's a boss arena right over there. Hello, misplaced aggression. Let's go fuck up a boss. ...Maybe take a second to collect ourselves first, though.
16th May 2020, 1:44 AM
Snervalton
+1 Yes, collect ourselves first and channel that aggression thoughtfully and strategically.
16th May 2020, 6:57 AM
16th May 2020, 6:57 AM
Heroshima
+1. focused rage is better than blind rage.
16th May 2020, 7:05 AM
meh might lose her nerve that way still +1
16th May 2020, 3:04 AM
...yeah,we ain't gonna be okay for a while after that. Not much left to do but go fight the boss. I figure either we die or we exhaust our selves and pass out/wake up.
16th May 2020, 3:41 AM
I DO want to point out that getting killed = shadow-Plaire. Just as a consideration.

The cracked door might offer a fight without a boss-level monster involved.

Also if calling it quits for this "session," we probably aren't going to be able to keep the sword. It could be used as an impromptu crowbar or just try smashing (and letting out some aggression) one of those barrel lids.
16th May 2020, 4:45 PM
we don't know that yet. it would depend on how the heart room works. if its a checkpoint. it may also save the gear. the knife would work more as a special key like thing. something thats stops a pain in the butt foe we can't fight yet but can later. like the first worm monster. its out of our leage with out any weapons that it blocks.
17th May 2020, 12:19 PM
also the shadow plaire could have been from crash souls.
hell the time out could have been from a "Timer" running out. remember the musatcio or whatever it was called was a mario style game aka it would have a timer
16th May 2020, 3:45 AM
DeVoid
Bosstime i guess, not much elles to do i guess...
16th May 2020, 5:09 AM
Let rage guide thy...
16th May 2020, 6:37 AM
About the heart room.. could it be that they didn't heal because Kate was poisoned? Game mechanics usually don't let you rest while poisoned..

We should try again next time, or right now that no one in our party is poisoned.
16th May 2020, 8:41 AM
It's very variable, old games had inns where sleep would fix everything and anything including poison status.
From the video comments, there's a chance this place behaves more like those old games.
16th May 2020, 3:46 PM
Snervalton
Speaking of proceeding thoughtfully: better check those big double-doors for traps before opening them!
16th May 2020, 4:40 PM
I think, hopefully, we'll end up starting off at the heart room, it seems like a "save room" of sorts. Also I think we should keep an eye out for more triangles and candles.
How about we see if we can peep through the cracks in the cracked door?
Also, in Dragon-Kate's memory, we should definitely check out the possible boss through the double doors. Though hopefully Kate is fine
17th May 2020, 9:05 PM
When we wake up, we're definitely going to hug Kate.
17th May 2020, 9:34 PM
Hrm. Suppose we need another candle room to see if it really was a teleporter network or not.
No particular suggestions on what to do this time.
Vent on some barrels, maybe?
Those are typically good for breaking.