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> You apologize and blush from embarrassment, introducing yourself and Ashton meekly. "Oh, you're detectives?" the woman asks surprised, "That's sure an interesting line of work. I'm a painter, myself. My name is Selanis Prime. It's nice to meet you."
"Selanis Prime?" Ashton says to himself, "Where have I heard that before..."
"You've...probably seen my work around," Selanis says shyly laughing. Ms. Prime looks up at a clock hanging nearby. "Is it that time already?!" she yells panicked. "Excuse me, gentlemen, I have a prior engagement I need to get to." Ashton and yourself bid her a pleasant goodbye and she hurriedly jogs down the hallway.
"That name really, really sounds familiar..." Ashton continues to ponder to himself. "Oh!" he says, snapping out if it, "I'm going to head downstairs and try to get in touch with the station again. I'm really starting to get worried. You just continue the investigation, Kyou. We'll meet up in Ms. Five's room later. There's something there you REALLY need to see." Ashton also leaves, and you continue on toward Trame's room.
>Following the directions, you come to a completely dark hallway with one door at the end of it. You can barely see as the only light in the hallway is coming from underneath the door of room XX000. Oh, this is it! You found Trame's room! You knock on the door. The door slowly creeks open as you knock it. The door must have been ajar. You hope.
>Stepping into the room you see piles of papers and books everywhere. There appears to be many newspaper clippings on the wall, some connected with strings. There's also pictures on the wall, but you can't make them out from here. What stands out most, however, are many wires coming out of the wall and attaching to what seems to be a lamp.
>You approach the desk and get a closer look at the clippings and pictures on the wall. The first thing that catches your attention is a large web of pictures connected by colored string. Your eyes scan over the various pictures. A lot of these seem to be pictures of buildings and objects around Arcadia, you imagine. There's some with people in them and some without. You can't really figure out what connects each picture to the next. It's confusing.
Annoyed by the indecipherable web of pictures, your gaze now moves to the newspaper clippings. Every article seems to be about the disappearance around Arcadia. They are arranged by date, going back around two months. "Local Man Vanished"... "Five Now Missing"... "Disappearance Count to Fourteen". The problem seems to be getting worse, and people seem to be disappearing faster and faster.
>Is it... hey! It is a picture of you! Boy, you look pretty good in that picture. After your initial reaction to the picture wears off, you start to wonder why Trame has a picture of you on his wall. Finally able to take your eyes off yourself, you also notice Ashton's picture next to yours, and another picture over them both. Memories begin to come back on who this individual is.
> The man is Chief McClure, the chief of the Arcadia Police. He has been the chief for as long as you've been on the force. When Ashton and yourself were new recruits, Chief McClure was a mentor to both of you and helped you develop into the detectives you are today. He is widely renowned for his even-handed leadership and tactical planning.
While you are lost in thought, you hear shuffling behind you.
>"Why are you in my office, Detective Kyou?"
>"I'm watching you," the man replies simply.
>Trame ponders your question for a moment, before monotonely answering. "I can see how this might seem strange to you. To understand the denizens of this place, you must know the history of the Jianti Chateau. This places was constructed years ago by a man who sought to escape the world. Wealthy and... eccentric, he grew bored of life, and yearned for something more. The place he created, this chateau, became a haven for those shunned by outside society. For people who craved the strange and unique. To put it simply, detective, the reason we are dressed as we are is because we feel like it." It seems this place is a boarding house for... unique people.
>"A lot of things" Trame answers, "Now if you'll excuse me I have work to do." Trame walks past you, sits down quietly at the desk, and starts going through stacks of newspapers and pictures. He grabs a pair of scissors and begins cutting out articles.
Looks like he's going to be a little harder to crack than Mr. Fett.
>"You said this place attracts outcasts, but why was someone like Miss Five here?" you say as you begin to hatch a plan to get the information you want. Trame sighs and puts aside the newspaper articles he was reading.
"If you must know," he begins, "I suppose I can tell you that much. My sources indicate that Miss Five was only a temporary resident here. She came here about a year ago to write a novel, and felt the atmosphere of the chataeu would help her with it. Information I've gathered suggests it was some kind of fantasy epic about a young woman and her companions. That's all I know about her reasons for living in this domicile."
You make your move.
>YA-HAH! You reach out and grab Trame's mask, pulling it off in one swift motion. Proud of yourself for not screwing this up, you shout "Listen, you're going to tell me what I need to know about this case, or you're not getting this back!" Trame gets up out of his chair and quietly turns around. Your sense of accomplishment quickly fades as you make eye contact with him again.
>"Very well," Trame begins, his shirt continuing past his neck and covering most of his face, "You have much more tenacity than I gave you credit for, Detective Kyou. You may well actually posses the skills needed to help with this case, despite what my better judgment tells me. Now, if you'll please?" You meekly hand his mask back to him, and he returns it to it's resting place on his head. "Now, what do you want to know?"
>"Indeed I do, Detective," Trame replies immediately. He turns and walks towards the lamp on his table. "You were smart to notice my video monitoring system. You're a much better detective than I initially gave you credit for." That's sure a fancy name for a lamp. "In fact, I will show you the exact moment of Miss Eyes' disappearance." He bends down and starts turning dials on the lamp. It begins to light up, and as it does pictures move on it. What kind of strange contraption is this?! Trame continues turning the knobs and dials, seemingly looking for something specific in the moving pictures. "Aha," he finally says, "Here it is.
>"Here you have Miss Eyes walking down Corridor 44, the hallway directly outside her room." You watch the pictures as the figure slowly walks down the hallway and rounds the corner. You ask Trame what's strange about this. "You'll see," he says, turning dials again.
>"Three seconds later, she has not come around the corner we just saw her turn."
>"And she is no longer on the other side of the corner. She simply vanished." H...how is that possible?!
>"Possibly..." he replies. Trame begins fiddling with dials on the lamp, occasionally hitting it and swearing. Eventually he stops suddenly, speechless. You can't see his mouth but you assume his jaw is dropped.
>Glancing at the lamp, you see an image of when Ashton and yourself entered the chataeu. "Who is that with you entering with you?!" he demands, turning to you.
"It's Asht-" you begin, before being grabbed by the collar.
"NOT DETECTIVE DRAGON, THE MAN BEHIND HIM!" he screams at you.
"Mr. Muffinman?" you respond, confused.
>Trame lets you go and pushes his face up to the lamp, slowly turning to you.
"Detective. Mr. Classtoise has never left the chataeu since its construction."
>Oh, that explains that!
>Upon you pointing this out, Trame quickly rushes out of the room. You run after, but he easily out paces you. You're surprised how fast a guy in a giant mask can run. Keeping him in your sights most of the way, losing him only briefly. After a couple wrongs turns, you find him in the foyer holding Mr. Soldier against the wall. "I...I don't understand what you're asking!" Mr. Soldier pleads, "Mr. Classtoise comes and goes regularly, what's strange about that!?" Trame drops Mr. Soldier to the ground and turns back towards you, quickly walking past.
"Follow me, detective," he mutters as he passes. You don't really know what's going on, but you're pretty sure he still has information you need. Looking back, you feel bad for Mr. Soldier, who still looks rattled and is rubbing his neck.
>Following Trame leads you to a rather ornate door. After unlocking the door with a gigantic ring of keys, Trame and you enter the room. The room is very nicely furnished, including a small gas fireplace. You quickly notice everything seems to be covered in dust. "Well Mr. Detective," Trame starts, "This is Muffinman's room. Where do you wish to start?"
>Oh, that explains that!
>Continuing around the room you examine the bookshelf. The books are mostly classic literature. At the base of the bookshelf you find some curved scratches in the wood flooring.
>Finally you take a look at the large table in the room. It has...something spread out on it. "What is this?" you ask Trame, pointing at the table. He walks over and examines it too.
"It appears to be a large elevation map of Arcadia and the area immediately around it." He points to the boxes drawn in the middle. "I'm not sure what these X's are supposed to represent, but boxes are typically used to denote buildings. These don't match up with Arcadia's layout, though." You take another hard look around the room. "So, Detective, did you find anything we need to take a closer look at?"
>You and Trame ponder the map some more. You ask if it could be an old map. "Hmm..." Trame says, thinking, "No, none of the oldest buildings in Arcadia match up. See, at the base of this elevation here?" He points to a spot on the map, "There's no building there. It's like it's a totally different city." You examine it some more and point out that there doesn't seem to be any coordinates. Trame agrees that absolutely nothing seems to be labeled.
>Going by the scratches on the floor, you pull the left side of the bookcase. To your surprise it easily swings open revealing a secret room. You figured you'd have to pull on a book or a lamp or something. "Good eye," Trame says, congratulating you. Before you even enter a few details are apparent to you. The wall opposite you appears to be covered in small lock boxes. The air coming out of the room is also ice cold, like a freezer. You take a deep breath and enter.
>You didn't see anything... you didn't see anything... Oh hey, the other side of the fireplace! "Um... Detective..." Trame says, standing at the end of the room. You pay no attention to him and examine the fireplace. You quickly locate the "On/Off" valve and turn the gas off. Surprisingly, this side of the fireplace seems to open. You grab the handle and open it as far as you can. You reach your hand into the opening and pull out some of the scraps of paper inside. Looking them over you find phrases that also appeared on the piece of paper you found moments ago. You figure dozens or more must have been burned in this fireplace.
>Oh and a stray lock box! From across the room you hear an annoyed "D...detective!" It's probably nothing. You take a good hard look at this lock box. It looks like it fits into the empty spot in the wall. None of the other lock boxes on the wall budge when you pull on them. You shake the box on the floor and don't hear anything. You add it to your items just in case, though. "DETECTIVE!" Trame shouts, grabbing you. Looks like you're going to have to face the person sitting silently in the chair at the end of the room staring at the bloody wall. "Trust me," Trame starts, "It's someone you need to meet."
> In the chair you find a rather grim scene. The corpse of an elderly man sits upright in the chair, with dried blood coming out of his eyes, nose, ears and mouth. You can't quite tell how long ago he must have died, but it could have been quite a while ago given how cold this room is. "This man is, well, was the real Muffinman, Detective," Trame says sadly.
>"We need to get Ashton here, now!" you say, panicked. You quickly run to the door and look left and right out into the hallway, not seeing Ashton or anyone else in sight. "Do you have any way to contact people in the chateau?" you ask Trame, still panicked.
"I do," Trame replies calmly, reaching into his cloak. He pulls out a small device with his face on it. "This is a portable speaker control. You hold this button and talk in here and you'll be broadcast over the speakers." You ask if Trame can adjust where it's broadcast, as Ashton mentioned he was going to be trying to get in touch with the police station. He fiddles with some controls on the back and hands it to you. "It should broadcast in the telephone room. If he's still in there, he'll hear you. Remember, though, we don't want to cause a panic. We can't let people know exactly what we've found yet." You take the device from Trame and nervously yell into it.
"D-DETECTIVE DRAGON, PLEASE REPORT TO THE MUFFIN MAN'S R-ROOM. STAT"
"You didn't need to talk so loud, Detective." Trame states. Several minutes later, Ashton knocks on the inside of the wall.
"My ears are still ringing, but I got the message. I still can't get through to the station. What's so important that-" he stops mid sentence, noticing what's sitting in the chair.
>"Have you touched the body at all?" Ashton asks, taking on a much more serious demeanor. Trame and yourself both explain to him exactly what's happened. "I see..." he says, crouching to examine the body. "I know the basics of crime scene investigation, so while I can't give you guys a full rundown on why he died, I can give you a pretty good estimate." You and Trame wait anxiously while Ashton looks over the body. "Huh..." he eventually remarks, confused.
"What is it, Detective Dragon, have you determined the cause of death?" Trame asks, eager.
"That's the thing..." Ashton begins, "Aside from some small scrapes and obvious blood loss, there's nothing unusual about this body at all." You get some serious deja vu from this. That's exactly what Miss Freezer said about Mr. Poik's body back in Vitae... what could this mean? "No bruises, not internal bleeding..." he continues, "It's like he just... died. But not from natural causes... I don't know what to make of it."
"What about a time of death?" you find yourself saying.
"Well, it's extremely cold in this room, and it looks like it preserved the body pretty well... I'd say maybe a week? Maybe more? Who is this guy anyway?" Trame explains the identity of the man. "But if this is Classtoise... who was that guy on the train? Why would an impostor help two detectives get to a crime scene?"
"Trame," you start, "Is there a way we can keep people from leaving the Chateau? At least for tonight?" Trame looks down and thinks for a second. He nods and says that he will work something out.
"I'll go talk to Chaos Soldier," he says, turning to leave. "I'll make up some kind of excuse, we can't let anyone get suspicious." As he a approaches the door, he stops. "I'm leaving this in your hands, Detectives. Don't mess it up." Trame leaves the room.
Ashton is still looking over the body. You approach him and ask what you should do now. "Well... there's not much we can do for Mr. Classtoise" he replies, with sadness in his voice. "We'll have to report back on this in person to the Chief. But we also need to continue our investigation of Eyes Five's disappearance." Ashton gives you directions to her room. "I'm going to go give the telephone one last shot. You see if you can find anything and then we're out of here." Ashton gives a goodbye and rushes out of the room and down the hall. You're alone again.
>Following the directions you got from Ashton, you find Miss Five's room. You immediately recognize the area from the video and go check out the corner obscured from the lamp. Nothing strikes you as odd about the wall. You give it a good hard push but it doesn't budge. You tap on it and it sounds pretty solid. This appears to be just a normal wall.
>You wave at the camera, then remember that you're in the spot that can't be seen by either camera. Your arm is slightly more tired and you are glad no-one else is around.
>After cleaning up, you pound on both adjoining walls. They are not as solid as the first wall, probably because there are rooms on the other side. You can't reach the ceiling because it is a good fifteen feet above you. Upon closer inspection of the floor, though, you find a small card like the one from Classtoise's room. Turning it over, you find another message.
"A world with such a corrupt past could never hope to produce a bright tomorrow.
I will create with my own hands our halcyon days."
>You pocket the note and find your way back to Trame's room. You find his door wide open, but nobody is inside. You decide to just go straight to Chaos Soldier.
>Working your way back to the foyer, you find Mr. Soldier in a panic running around. You ask him if he's seen Trame. "Seen him?!" Chaos Soldier replies, panicked, "First the guy pins me to the wall by my neck, then he comes marching in here talking about some kind of quarantine! Says nobody is going to be able to go in or out of the chateau tonight, chains up the door, then storms off towards his room! So yeah, I've seen him!" Before he can run off, you ask if he has a ladder you can use. He takes you over to a side closet and hands you one. Ladder in tow, you head back to examine the ceiling.
>The ceiling seems pretty solid. Come to think of it, the second floor wasn't really obscured in the videos. Still, can't be too careful. As you glance around for more clues, you notice someone standing on the second floor watching you. H...how long has he been there? A closer look reveals it to be the prophet from the train platform.
>"Detective..." a bloodied prophet starts. You're horrified by his current state, but before you can ask if he's alright he continues. "Our time together is nearly up. This will be our final meeting. You have seen much, but there is still more you must do." You aren't sure what to make of what he's saying. "You returned to this world to regain something you lost. I hope that in the end, you do not regret this decision." He walks towards the railing. "Goodbye, detective."
>Before you can react, the prophet tips the ladder over, and you find yourself falling towards a corner of the railing...
>Your head really hurts...
> Nnnng... You start to come to. You recall what just happened, getting pushed off the ladder and falling hard. The first thing you do is make sure you're okay. You try moving your appendages... good, you can move them, and feel the sheets against them. Sheets? Are you in a bed?
>You hear muddled sounds but your ears are still ringing, you can't make anything out. Your eyelids are feeling heavier and heavier, but you know you can't fall asleep. You try saying the first thing that pops in your head. "M-mom? Is that you? I had a horrible dream that I went back in time... It was terrible..."
>You start to fade out again... No! You must stay awake!
>"Well... you're safe and sound now," a woman's voice says in a soothing tone. "Back in good old 1904." 1904?! ...wait, what year is it supposed to be? "I'm surprised you're up so soon, you had a nasty spill." Your vision is still pretty fuzzy...
>Your vision begins to clear as you manage to sit up. Selanis Prime looks up from the book she's reading. "You're recovering fast!" Selanis notes with a chipper tone. You ask what happened and how long you were out. "From the looks of the bloodstain in the hall, you took a pretty nasty spill off a ladder. You should really be more careful, Mr. Detective," she says laughing, "I was here in my sister's room getting some items in order when I heard a loud crash. What were you doing up on ladder outside of Eyes' room anyway?" You look away embarrassed. Your head hurts and while rubbing it you notice some dressings on your forehead. Selanis must have tended to your wounds. "You've only been out for about a half hour, so it couldn't have been that bad. You should be able to be up and about in a few minutes."
>"Miss Five is your sister?" you ask, honestly shocked. Really, you'd think as the detective of this case you'd have known that. "Did you notice anything strange about Eyes around the time of the disappearance? Any details that could help?" Selanis doesn't answer, and keeps looking at the book she was reading, though you can tell now she's lost in thought. You decide to take a look around Eyes' room, though as soon as you try and stand out of bed you topple over. It might be a few more minutes before you're in walking condition. Selanis sighs and puts her book down. "I'm sorry detective, I can't help you," she says with a heavy sadness in her voice, "Today is actually the first day I've ever come to visit my sister here..."
>Selanis looks a little uncomfortable with the question. You manage to stand yourself up on a dresser, your legs are getting better. You wonder if it was such a good idea to ask such a personal question, but before you can say anything Selanis answers. "My sister and I had somewhat of a... falling out when she wanted to leave home. You see... we only had each other for so long... When she said she wanted to move in here to write more I... I guess I felt kind of... betrayed. I was hurt for a while." These family affairs are pretty depressing... but you don't think Selanis knows any details on the disappearance. You decide to ask why she came here today. "I wanted to get one of Eyes' books... as a memento." She begins to tear up. Urk... you start to panic, you've always been really uncomfortable around sad women.
"Wh... why don't you tell me about the book!" you finally manage to blurt out. She wipes the tears out of her eyes.
>"This was Eyes' first book, and it was always my favorite. It starts with the main character lost, alone, without her memory... but as the story goes on, she grows and becomes more powerful. She's able to protect what's dear to her... I've always admired that..." You glance at the book's name. "Storytime of Epicness"... you're pretty sure you've seen that somewhere before. Selanis continues "We wrote this book together, at home. It's always been very close to my heart. And since my sister is... missing, I thought maybe this would help..." You probably shouldn't be letting stuff leave a crime scene, but the book seems harmless enough. You decide to let it slide. "And what were you doing here, Detective?" Oh, that's right...
>"Oh... they probably mean... that..." That? Selanis looks away and motions for you to follow her. You follow her into what you assume is the living room, and see nothing remarkable about it. Selanis motions for you to turn around and look up. Above you on the ceiling you find another horrific mural. "I heard these are at every disappearance... and that this is the only one that's a word and not an image..." Well... you know that's not exactly true, but you can't tell her about Muffinman. As your eyes read over the word, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. "Vitae..." Selanis starts, "What does it mean?" You couldn't possibly tell her, as you aren't even sure yourself. Vitae... what is this all about?
"Detective..." Selanis asks very directly, "Be honest... will you save my sister?"
>You find yourself in the street, staring up at a man in a cloak standing on the rooftop. Your right arm hurts and you feel an anger like you've never felt towards this man. Without any conscious thought, you unholster your gun with your left hand and raise it towards the man, shouting...
"I WON'T LET HIM GET AWAY WITH THIS! I'LL STOP HIM! AND THEN I'LL COME FOR YOU!" Tears have apparently been rolling down your face. "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, BLIND PRINCE!!"
>"Why are you holding your arm like that?" Selanis asks you, apparently as confused as you are. Wait... what was going on? You forgot. It feels like it's been forever.
>Oh that's right.
>You can tell this woman needs to hear something reassuring. You smile gently and nod. "Yeah, I'll help your sister. I promise" Selanis at least seems momentarily calmed and reaches into her pocket, pulling out a small locket.
>"If... when you find Eyes," she starts, "Can you give her this? She wasn't wearing it the day she went missing. It's our only memento of our parents..." You take the locket in your hand. This is probably against regulation, but you agree. "Thank you," Selanis says. You think to yourself that this locket looks strangely familiar, as you add MORE USEFUL NECKLACE to the inventory. "Oh, and Detective," she says, lowering her voice. "I have one last question..."
>"How do you really know if you're alive?" What? What kind of question is that? It shakes you to your very core. Wait... no... that isn't the question. Is the room shaking?!
>A loud siren blares out from the speaker in Eyes' room as a red light on top lights up and begins circling. "THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE" the speaker screeches, "WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING SEISMIC ACTIVITY. EVERYONE PLEASE REMAIN CALM." The room begins to shake more violently and out of the corner of your eye you see a large bookcase begin to fall toward you...
>You manage to shuffle your way out from underneath a pile of books. It looks like the large bookcase just missed landing on you. Thanks to the backpack full of clothes you didn't even sustain any injury. You finish crawling out from under the books and take a cursory glance around Eyes' room. All of the pictures and bookcases seem to have fallen, and you don't see Selanis anywhere. You dig through the other piles of books but she isn't under there. She doesn't appear to be anywhere in the room.
> You decide that your best bet for the moment is trying to find Selanis. Before heading out you make absolutely sure she isn't still in the room. Confident, you take a step out into the hallway, the cold frigid air making your breath suddenly visible.
> It feels like it's been forever since you started walking through this blizzard towards those lights in the sky. But you're sure that's your destination. That's where he lies... the man you need to stop.
> Hours pass...or possibly minutes, you can't tell any more. On the horizon a figure appears to be walking towards you. It has to be him... no, it can only be him. You check your handgun... six bullets, plus what's in your bag. This should be more than enough to finish the job, to make him pay for-
> Hhwhat? What was that? Anyway, you don't see Selanis in the hallway, or anywhere within eyesight. You actually don't see anyone... this is the first time since you entered the chateau that there hasn't been at least one person wandering around.
In any case, the only objective you have at the moment is looking for Selanis. What's the next step?
>"Detective!" you hear, quietly shouted over several far-off explosions, "It is vital you pay close attention. With the clock tower out of commission we are in a dangerous position. If we do not get it running again within a few hours this entire city is done for. That's why I need you to do something very important.
>"I will attempt to subdue our pursuer, while you will slip away and-"
>"-sent you? Why should I care. That's his problem-"
>"-left with few options, huh? You're the only one with the answers, so let's go find them-"
>You sputter and cough as a small amount of blood falls to the floor. That... probably isn't good. You can't really worry about small health problems right now, you've got stuff to do. You appear to be in the entrance room of the chateau. You decide to see if anyone here has seen Selanis. Of course, there's only one person you know who would reliably be in the area...
> Mr. Soldier takes his time. A lot of time. He's still pondering your question. "Have I seen Selanis..." he repeats to himself. It seems he really wants to be sure he gets this right. "Y....nnn...no. Nope," he finally says. "I haven't seen Ms. Prime since she entered the Chateau this morning, a little while after you entered." You ask if he's sure she hasn't left. He is. That's a relief, you know she's still here.
>"I've been here the whole time," Mr. Soldier continues, "The only time I even looked away was when I unlocked the door for Mr. Muffinman and Mr. Trame!"
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