>You straighten the picture across the room from your bed. That was bothering you last night, but you were in such a rush to get to bed you didnt feel like bothering to straighten it. But it looks great now. You look out the window at Vitae. It is a pleasent looking city. You don't seem to be able to see the wings coming out of the clock tower during the daytime.
>"You want to know where to find the Professor?" Deacon replies, yawning and stretching constantly. "I don't know, exactly. Rumor has it he lives in a house in the old town, on the hill to the east, but nobody lives over there anymore. If you really want to know, I'm sure the chief could help you out. He's probably at the police station today, it's near the base of the clock tower, you cant miss it." You thank him, and then remember to ask about getting some breakfast.
"Are you kidding? We've got a café right over there!" he motions to your left. You look over and see a set of small tables and chairs. You vaugely remember seeing this last night. You also don't see anyone else eating. "It's not the best food, but it's cheap!"
>You head from the front counter to the other side of the cafe in the corner of the lobby. As you approach, you notice a girl sitting at a table that was obscured from your view at the front desk. She puts down a book she was reading and quickly walks over to you.
"Hello, welcome to Café de Five. Are you here from breakfast? What would you like? Today we have a special! A stack of pancakes, eggs, and some coffee for two dollars! Would you like that? Oh it's so nice to have a customer!" she says to you, quite enthusiastically.
>"Uh, hi," you reply, "I guess I'll have the special." The waitress quickly leaves, and soon comes back with your food, it's delicious! "Oh," you say after taking a bite, "Have you heard anything of interest? I'm kind of new around here."
"Hmmm," the waitress says, tilting her head as she thinks, "I saw a lot of police running around on my way here today, but that's it. Not a whole lot happens around Vitae." You finish your food and pay, complimenting her on the meal. "Oh thank you, I make it myself. My name is Eyes by the way, I hope you'll come back tomorrow!" She cheerfully takes your plate away and disappears into what you presume is the kitchen.
>You make your way towards the police station, which the Old Man at the inn told you was near the clock tower. As you make your way there, you pass several more shops, each clearly labeld with a sign. One thing you begin to notice is that you don't see anyone else out on the streets. The clock tower chimes, it is now 10 o'clock.
>You eventually arrive at what you assume is the police station. A giant gold badge adorns the stoop above the doorway. You can't help but marvel at the building. It stands seven stories high and has several wings coming off the side. Stone angels adorn the edges of each floor. Out front is a lush field of grass. You can see trees in the distance. You also see a man sitting at a bench next to the driveway, he appears to be an officer.
>You approach the man on the bench, giving a friendly wave. "Um, hi, can I ask you some questions?" The man puts down the book he is reading, and you catch a glimpse of his badge. "Officer 942 Lieutenant Furu"
"Sure, that's my job!" Furu says, "I'm Officer Furu, what can I do for you?"
"I'm trying to find out where I can find Professor Imran, there's some things I need to discuss with him. I was told the police chief would know."
>"Yeah," Furu says rubbing his chin, "He probably does. Come to think of it, I'm not really sure where that guy is most of the time myself. He sort of comes and goes." You thank him and start to ask your next question, but you are cut off as you open your mouth. "The chief isn't here right now, though. Nobody is. I'm the only one here to watch the station. A body was found in the town square this morning, and the whole squad is out in full force trying to get some answers."
You're at a loss of words, you wern't expecting that answer
>You leave the station and follow the directions to the town square. Upon turning a corner you see a large crowd taking up the entire street. You push your way through to the front.
>In front of you, you see a large roped off area, with police officers watching the crowd. In the center of the roped off area, two people are examining a blood soaked cloth. You assume the body is underneath.
>You ask for further details on murder, specifically the means of death, if there are any suspects, and if there was anything suspicious about it.
"Curious, huh? You'd be a good detective," he says, beginning his answer "Well, I guess there's no harm in telling you what's public knowledge already. The victim was Mr. Poik, he was the bassist for a local band. They were pretty good, I saw them play once and they were pretty good. Anyway, they found the body in the middle of town this morning, it was discovered by a waitress on her way to work." That last bit catches your attention.
"I got here late today, so I don't know all the details, but from what I gathered they don't know the cause of death. He's pretty beaten up, but there's no fatal wounds, no injuries. The chief was yelling about getting the investigation team down there as soon as possible to get some tests done. That's about the extent of my knowledge on this, I'm afraid. But look, if you want to talk to the chief about Prof. Imran, I'm sure he'll still be at the crime scene, let me show you how to get there." [Obtained Directions to Town Square]
>You ask the officer in front of you about what has happened.
"Sorry bud, but no info on this is being leaked to civilians. I'd lose my badge if I talked to you."
Urk, guess you shouldn't mention how you got here... You fiddle in your bag but cannot find any identification, however you are sure you are a detective. You ask the officer if you can talk to the chief.
"Like I said bud, you arn't getting in here or getting any info." Dejected, you start to walk away.
"Excuse me!" a voice shouts at you, "Are you Detective Kyou? We've been expecting you."
>You turn around towards the voice, facing the body again. "Told you so!" you say with a point to the officer who repeatedly turned you away. You then glance over the area and realize the person who called out to you was the man standing to the body. You climb through the rope around the area and walk over.
"Good afternoon, I am the chief of police, Light Reaper, it is a pleasure to meet you," he says with a slight fancy bow. This man, Light Reaper, is quite a bit different from the other officers you have met so far. From his top hat, monocle, and cape to his distinguished manor of speaking you can tell this guy means business. You would have been able to guess he was the chief even if he didn’t introduce himself.
"You are officer Kyou, is this correct?" You nod. "Very good. I was informed of your arrival last night along with the other, and was told you would be by the crime scene today. I was told you are a homicide detective, is this correct?" You, uh, nod again. "Very good. As embarrassing as this is to say, my own detectives have little experience with investigating homicides. This is the first incident we have had in over a decade." Suddenly you hear a coughing, it is coming from a woman crouched down near the body. You can't tell if it was on purpose or if she's sick. Probably both. "Oh, my, how rude of me, yes. This is our force's crime scene investigator, Miss Freezer."
"Yo," she says, giving you an unenthusiastic hand wave. You wave back slightly and say hello. She quickly goes back to looking over the body.
"But if I may get us back to business, we currently do not possess the means to properly investigate this case. As a police officer and citizen of Vitae, I feel I must do everything in my power to bring the perpetrator of this heinous act to justice. By sheer luck, it seems a homicide detective has been dropped into my lap. Would you please assist us on this investigation, Detective Kyou?"
>"I'll help you if you help me get in contact with Professor Imran, there are some questions I want to ask him," you reply sternly. "Aaah, I didn't you would be bartering your services," Chief Reaper says, almost taken aback, "Very well, I will help you get in touch with Mr. Imran." Obtained [Directions to Imran's Mansion]. "I'm not sure what kind of business you have with him, but I will say that Mr. Imran is one of the most noble and upstanding citizens of our fare city. However, I expect you to help us to your full ability."
Right, it's probably time to start your investigation. You see Miss Freezer crouching over the body still, looking it over very carefully. You inquire about the state of the body.
"Aside from some blood loss and small wounds," she starts, "I can't find anything unusual about this body at all." She folds her arms and gets an annoyed look on her face. You get the feeling she's not the type that likes mystery. "The only clue we have is that Mr. Poik's blood was found elsewhere in the city. The bar where he performs, the fountain, and at the base of the clock tower. There could possibly be more, but these are the three places our officers have discovered so far." She looks at you, clearly realizing you have no idea where she is talking about. "Ugh, you out of towners are going to drive me insane." [Obtained Directions to The Bar Blood], [Obtained Directions to The Fountain Blood], [Obtained Directions to Clock Tower Blood]
>You inquire about the location of the lacerations and bruising on the body.
"Here, I've got a little diagram to help you understand," Ms. Freezer says before coughing, "Now when I say small wounds, I mean small. Like the size of a pen tip. Normally this wouldn't be suspicious, but the thing is there's symmetrical wounds up and down his body. I've marked them on the diagram here. We've taken a blood sample but it'll take a little while to see if it's poisoning or not. So far there's nothing to indicate that. Also there's some bruising around his neck, forearms, and abdomen. Nothing that would kill you though. That's all I've got for an analysis so far." She coughs. "But once we get it back to the morgue and I can take a closer look I'll have more information for you." You thank her for your time.
>You tell the chief and Miss Freezer that you're going to head over to where Mr. Poik worked and take a look around. "Splendid," the chief replies, "I was just heading over there myself. I've been quite involved in securing the crime scene that I haven't had a chance to investigate there myself. I shall join you." You both bid goodbye to Miss Freezer, she gives you a wave without looking. She seems far more interested in examining the crime scene. As you make your way down the street it starts to get dark. You and the chief walk silently side by side. This might be a good chance to ask some questions.
>You ask the chief about himself. "You want to know about me?" he starts. He looks down, deep in thought. "This place is my home." He stops walking. Lights begin to turn on around you as night starts to set in. Oddly enough, you dont seem to be hungry. Chief Reaper starts again.
"This town is my home. You will come to learn quite quickly, detective, that I am a man who above all else holds the interest of my home at heart. After I became chief of police, crime in Vitae became non-existent. Under my lead, this city became a utopia. A place where weapons are outlawed. A place where a man can walk down an ally at night without being scared." He turns to look at you. "I will not stand for crime of any sort in my home, detective. I will stand up and crush any threat to the citizens of Vitae. I will seek out the darkness and destroy it with my light. I will make sure whoever committed this murder will hang." He turns and stares straight ahead. "You wanted to know about me, detective? You want to get a feel about what kind of person I am? Is it curiosity, or something else? It doesn't matter, I suppose, because I am able to tell you everything you need to know about me in three words." He looks up towards the sky.
>"I am justice."
The chief lowers his head and begins walking again, you find yourself speechless. "Are you coming, detective?" You hurry to catch up. "We are not far from the bar."
>You walk along quietly for several minutes. "I got into law enforcement to help people, too," you say, to break the silence. The chief doesn't even turn around.
"Tell me about yourself," he pipes up after a few awkward seconds, "What happened to you that made you end up here?" "I...," you start, struggling, "I don't remember. I haven't been able to remember things clearly for a while now. Ever since I got near this place, it seems." The chief continues walking in silence. "I can feel my memories there... I just... can't reach them..."
>"I joined the force to save people, I know that. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to help protect people. To fight the badguys, to stand up for people who couldnt themselves. But then... something happened. Something horrible. I can't quite grasp yet what it was, but it was bad. Real bad. All I can feel when I try to remember what happened is pain... and anger. I failed to save people. I failed to save a lot of people. Even though I can't remember what happened clearly, those feelings go down to my very core. As does something else... the reason I'm here in the first place..."
>You remember to yourself a message scrawled in blood. "What I'm looking for is here. I know it. The resolution to what happened. I must find it." The chief looks at you over his shoulder.
>"You have my word, Detective. If there is darkness within these walls, I will be there to destroy it." You give him a nod, it's good to know you have an ally in this strange place. Your memories still elude you, but you feel that you are closer than ever to discovering what drove you to this town called Vitae, and discovering what it is you must accomplish here. "This is the crime scene," the chief says, stopping abruptly. You were so lost in thought you didnt notice that you arrived.
>What stands before you is a (surprisingly) large building. Connected to the building is what appears to be a large auditorium. This must be where Mr. Poik's band performed. You also see an entrance straight into the auditorium from where you're standing. "There are lights on," the chief says in a very grim tone. You also hear faint music playing.
"So?" you reply.
"This is a closed crime scene. There should not be anyone else here."
>"Maybe we should go in from both sides with weapons drawn to surprise whoever is inside," you suggest.
"Hn? What weapons are you talking about?" asks the chief. Oh right, you remember him mentioning several times that weapons are illegal in Vitae. You probably shouldn't let him know about that gun in your pack.
"Well, then we should stick together and enter from the back, it should be safer to enter from there and we can observe if anyone is inside." You motion towards the back door.
"I was thinking the same thing." the chief says with a smirk. You both enter quietly.
>You enter an almost entirely pitch black room. The light from the bar in front seeps in, giving you a small idea of the room. From what you can tell, it seems to be a very large auditorium, this is probably where Mr. Poik's band played. Looking ahead to the doorway separating the bar and auditorium, you see something moving. It looks like someone is here with you.
>You approach the figure from behind. "What are you doing in here?" you shout. The figure looks startled and turns around.
"Oh, it's you..." the chief mutters before sighing.
>"I owe you the same question," the man quickly replies, "Who are you and what are you doing in my bar with the chief?"
The chief steps up between you and the man. "This is Detective Kyou," he says motioning towards you, "He arrived in town last night. And detective, this is Mr. Obble, the proprietor of this establishment."
"Geeze, so formal," Mr. Obble says crossing his arms, "So you're one of those out of towners that showed up last night, huh? Interesting. Though it doesn't really answer the question of why you're in my bar. What do you need?"
>"You really didn't know?" Obble asks, surprised, "I figured you two were buddies or something. Okay, I'll give you the whole scoop since you seem pretty out of the loop on things."
"Keep in mind, Detective, this is mostly rumor and speculation," says the chief, sighing and folding his arms.
"Well," Obble continues, "Word has it that last night, on two opposite ends of town two men emerged at the same time from the snow wall."
"Not one person saw either of them enter the safe zone," Lightreaper interrupts.
"Hey man, shut up, I'm telling it!" Obble replies, slightly distraught. "So anyway, two men, two opposite sides of town. One of them is a big city police officer, you of course, the other is a complete enigma. Nobody knows anything about this guy, and only a couple have even caught a glimpse of him. Real cool cat, apparently. You know the type; tall, dark, handsome, mysterious. I wish someone like that would come by the bar instead of common mysteries like you."
>Urk. His words feel like a sword in your back.
"As I told you, Detective," the chief pipes up, seemingly exasperated by the story, "This is merely conjecture, the result of too many overactive imaginations. There haven't been any confirmed sightings of this person."
"Aha! That's where you're wrong!" Obble quips, excited, "I was talking to Sporky this morning while picking up some donuts, apparently he saw this cat last night. He said it was a couple hours after some homeless guy raided his day old bread trash bin and asked for directions to the inn."
"He got a real good look at the guy. Long hair, glasses. Wearing some kind of cloak. Sporky said he also had a white collar around his neck. Called him... what was it, oh yeah, the 'Man of the Cloak and Collar'. A little long, but I think it could catch on. I wonder if I could get an autograph..."
The chief finally lifts his head.
>"Now that we're through with the fairy tales, maybe you'd like to move on to the reason we came here, Detective? Or would you rather continue sulking?"
>"Mr. Obble," you start, "We've come here to investigate the traces of Mr. Poik's blood found here."
"Oh, I see, I should have figured you'd be here for that," Obble replies, instantly losing his cheer. "Poik was a good man, I was devastated to hear what had happened. What you're looking for is back in the auditorium, behind the stage. Based on what you've said, it's not exactly what you're expecting. I'll show you to it..."
He motions towards the door you entered the bar from. The chief and you follow. "What did he mean by 'not exactly what we're expecting'?" you ask the chief as you head back in the auditorium.
"I honestly have no idea, Detective. The reports on the blood came in shortly before we met, I have not been told any details yet." You both enter the auditorium, unsure of what waits. It is still dark, as it was when you entered. Obble silently approaches a panel on the wall, and the room instantly lights up. What you see before you horrifies you. Neither you nor the chief can summon any words...
>What stands in front of you is a several story high mural painted in what appears to be blood. It is a tall figure with wings, clutching a rose. You can also make out several eyes drawn around the figure. Obble is the first to break the silence. "Tell me honestly, Lightreaper, this is Poik's blood isn’t it?"
"Yes, the results arrived shortly before I came here. Our tests show that scrapings of this are indeed a match to Mr. Poik's blood." You can hear uneasiness in his voice.
"How could that be? This is way too much blood! Even if they completely drained his body it..." Obble cant seem to finish. Indeed, there is a high air of mystery on how something like this could possibly come to be. You do not have long to ponder, however...
>A loud explosion booms somewhere outside, shaking the entire bar. The chief falls to his knees while Obble and you struggle to maintain balance.
"What in the hell was that?!" Obble shouts. Suddenly, a second explosion. The power immediately goes out.
>That night, war on Vitae began.
>"Hey, Professor, it looks like something is going on downtown. That shaking we felt a few minutes ago was most likely a shockwave from two explosions downtown. I suppose it's also why the electricity went out"
"Your assumption is a logical one, miss." replies a man reading under candlelight. The man doesn't even look up from his book before adding, "Please prepare some tea, we will be entertaining a guest soon."
>"Is it that cute mysterious guy again?" the woman excitedly asks.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but no. Please, miss, the tea. The night has only begun and we have quite a bit of work that needs to get done." The man turns the page of his book.
>You find your footing and stand up. Glancing around the auditorium you can barely see anything. As your eyes adjust to the sudden darkness surrounding you, you manage to make out the shapes of Obble and the chief. "What.... what was that?" you manage to wheeze. Before the chief can answer, a voice echoes through the silence.
"Helloooooooooooooooooo? Knock knock, anyone hoooooooooooooome?" A strong voice rattles the otherwise silent building.
"That's coming from outside!" you shout without thinking. Not saying another word, the three of you run outside.
"Well, well, well. So we finally get to have a face to face chat, Detective Kyou." You quickly shoot your gaze up to the rooftops.
>"Sup?" A woman wearing some kind of helmet with three glowing red eyes stands across from you, a smug grin going across her face.
"Who are you? What do you know about those explosions!" shouts the chief, visibly outraged.
"Pfft, I so wasn't talking to you. You're too stuffy," the woman responds calmly. She unfolds her arms and points down towards you. "You, out-of-town guy. You're the one I want to talk to."
"Well then, who are you?!" you shout back.
"My that seems to be the popular question today!" she says before laughing, "Well, I think you're deserving of the answer! The person who stands before you is none other than the Insect Princess!"
"What are you doing out here on the rooftops in the middle of the night, did you have anything to do with those explosions?" A thought tugs at the back of your mind at how familiar this woman is, but it's impossible for it to be that person.... isn't it?
The woman looks over her shoulder at the plumes of smoke rising from the city. "Ah, so it got your attention, eh? Is it wrong to admire one's own handiwork so much? My talent is a thing of beauty..."
>"You're insane!" Obble can't help but shout, "People could be hurt, or even worse! And you talk about how beautiful it is?!"
Lightreaper clenches his fists and screams at the rooftop. "I'll make sure you rot in Grand Lock for this, you witch!!"
"Hey, hey. Mr. Pretty-boy, Mr. Tophat. I'm trying to have a conversation here," the Insect Princess replies in a calm, annoyed voice. "If you keep interrupting me like this," she begins, as her voice suddenly drops into a far graver tone, "Other people might have to die."
Obble becomes frustrated and hits the ground. "Detective," the chief says to you as he calms himself down, "You're the only one she's willing to talk to. Try to find out what she wants. Don't agitate her. We need to capture this... this lunatic."
"Right," you say with a nod. "So, Ms. Insect Princess. What did you wan't to talk about? Why are you so intent on talking to me specificly?"
"Because you're different, Mr. Out-of-towner," she says with a sneer, "You're not part of this story." Lightreaper, who had a moment ago calmed down, instantly appeared angry. "A grand stage of a town! A town of fakes only showing you the faces they want you to see!" Lightreaper is at a loss for words, as are you.
"Wh-what are you talking about?" is all you can muster.
"...Just kidding!" She howls with laughter. "But seriously, I just wanted to give you fair warning, Mr. Foreigner. You picked a reeaaaal bad time to stumble into this town." She turns her back to the three of you, and grows quite serious. "Because you see, within the next twenty-four hours. This town..." She can't help but crack a gigantic smile. "Will be a smoldering pile of ashes!"
>...The guiding light of the town burned, then faded...
>...Panic and despair fell over the town as dark clouds formed...
>For tomorrow, the city would fall.
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