Part 35: MEgohm
content warning: vague discussion of (intended) sexual assault
Before the update, a bit of housekeeping; now that the ruse is officially up, I'm no longer going to use the fake AncoraThinking picture of Ancora's helmet Instead, I have a different dialogue portrait (that I made myself, this isn't in the game at any point) that I'll be using for now.
This is a little bit of a mess.
I'm in Invidia's helmet. Isn't he supposed to be dead?
And I've failed too, I see. I can tell this body is the real deal.
He was looking towards Ancora's headless corpse. I could tell he was very sad about that fact. As for me, I was having issues with my own sadness over it; namely, I didn't feel anything.
I wonder that too. Right now, I'm not in a position where I can go spy on them. For once, I feel powerless, and it is not fun. Granted, none of this has been fun.
ME, locate subjects T-2 and G-2.
As soon as Invidia spoke those words, ME appeared on the screen of his vision. A map was presented with the dots of the subjects highlighted onto it. They were on their way to the newer rooms.
I guess they solved the puzzle. I'll see ME later.
ME disappeared from his vision and he cast one glance towards Avaritia's body as well. There was a slight sense of sorrow, but also determination coming from him. Then he moved away, back down the stairs.
I'm not quite sure what is happening here, and why Invidia can summon ME like that. I suppose... he's the traitor, then? I guess this is the most perfect way to confirm it. There's some kind of irony in the fact I'm in his helmet of all things.
On the way to the duo, Invidia did not encounter anything strange. Upon meeting with the others, he happened to arrive in the middle of a rather heated exchange.
We require no fewer than three gatherings of individuals in order to unearth our leftover keys to freedom!
We can solve the last rooms on our own, since we have the time now...
The time? The time?! It is yet limited, you insensitive and duplicitous buffoon! At the sixth, we shall duly perish. In your ignorance, you've signed our death warrants!
What is going on here?
The two of them interrupted their exchange to quizzically look at Invidia. It was as if they didn't recognize him, or perhaps they didn't trust in the fact he really was there. After all, he should have died already.
Yes, I know, I'm back and things don't look too great. I still have my ME-card, and I got another one from the room I explored. It was the exit.
No, it's locked. We need those keys.
He pulled out his I key to show it to the others.
And we also need to do a few other things, but I saw the bodies on the way here. I guess you already took care of that?
Yeah, but now I'm feeling like we should have just waited a little...
Of course we should have just waited a little! We're two, now three to explore these leftover rooms! I am still in control of my temper, but it is running at a modicum of its usual threshold!
All the more a reason not to eternalize here. What's the time looking like?
It's five past the hour.
No problem. Huh?
So what if it's five past the hour?
Then we should hurry. We have three rooms to solve, remember? That means we need to spend less than 20 minutes on all of them.
That is correct. I propose we take the immediate door on the right first.
The three of them forgot their previous anguish in favor of remaining alive together. Despite that, Tristitia seemed to still have a problem with Invidia, but he dared not bring it up yet. They moved swiftly through the set of doors and then through the hallway.
I remember this room. Huh...? Yeah, I remember this room. It was one of the weird rooms that weren't like I remembered them. But I've never been here.
Good, we'll need all the help we can get.
Invidia spoke after the two others had already left to explore the room. The more he spoke, the more I had the feeling he was talking to me sometimes, but that's impossible. At 39 seconds, the door locked.
ME, bypass this introduction.
ME did not appear to give them their question. Tristitia and Gula panicked a little, figuring out something was wrong with ME's absence.
I don't think we'll need that. We already have help. This will be solved in five minutes flat.
What ever could you mean?
ME, solve this room.
I'm not sure what this all amounts to, but anyway... to solve this room, I remember we have to activate the reactor. First we search the boxes, find the cog, and put it in the main reactor. There will be a key too, which we can use to access the second room. Inside, there will be a tube. Carry it back and connect it between the reactor and the cylinder with acid.
Climb the cable and enter 1170 in the keypad. Attach the cable to the fixed panel, and the answer will come on the screen of the reactor.
Invidia relayed those thoughts to the others, who ramped up their efforts. Gula took the key and left the room, while Tristitia put the cog inside after removing the grating. Gula connected the tube as instructed and the piece of electronics was siphoned out. With that done, she and Tristitia focused on fixing the panel. Meanwhile, Invidia climbed the cable before any of the others could do so, and reached the panel up there to enter the code onto the keypad.
Finally, the group connected the cable and fixed panel together to make the writing on the side of the reactor change. Another small panel opened too, revealing some items inside. Invidia took the key and gave the ME-card to Gula.
Only a singular ME-card?!
Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, let ME out. Our true enemy is time.
Invidia grabbed the bowls from the compartment as the door unlocked. No more than five minutes after they came in, they were already out again. This room hadn't posed any problem or scare whatsoever.
Invidia, I think you're the mastermind.
Possibly. But if you kill me now, you're not going to leave alive.
...what are my chances of leaving this place alive, anyway?
That's up to you.
I never confirmed that. I like to keep you on your toes. But we have more rooms to solve, and very little time, so let's get going.
He left the room first. Heading over to the second door- the one right across the hallway- he turned the door knob, only to realize it was locked.
We have a problem.
It's locked? Can't you unlock it with your mastermind abilities?
I told you, I didn't confirm anything about that. No, I can't open this. I'm not Superman, you know, or even Lex.
He pushed the bowls aside on the ground, leaving them in the hallway. The others didn't seem to mind, since none of them even knew what the bowls would be used for.
Which course of action is proper?
I guess we should head to the third of this set of rooms, then.
It's been like that since the start. Everything here is some multiple of three...
The group set off again, together, towards the southern door. They passed around the corner and made their way to the final door. They opened it and entered only to find...
This must be some storage closet. Look at all the stuff around here!
There even is an acquarium. Should we surrender our right to live here, we shall spend our slumber with the ichthyofauna.
Even though it actually was empty of fishes, it was still full of liquid. The closer they wandered to it, the denser the air seemed to be.
Isn't your skin... itchy?
A little, I suppose...
That's not water. That's acid. The itching is because it's tugging at our skin in the ambient air.
BGM: ME Mori
I see you've made your way to this room. That means we're very close to the end. Good. I will not keep you for long. The acid will slowly eat at you. I suspect in perhaps 20 minutes at most, you'll stop being functional. That means you must leave as soon as possible through the second door.
'Who are the two characters in this test?' There is a very important test taking place here. The question is for you to figure out who the two characters involved in this test are. There is also a proper order to the answer, which you must find, too. Please hurry. Your time is limited, and if you die, you'll surrender your right to live.
The timer had already begun counting. The three of them were in this small room with two minutes on the clock already elapsed.
Quick, then. We have to get to the other room fast. Invidia, what do we do?
Uh... ME, solve this room.
Sorry, cap. I can't do that. I have no idea of what's in this room.
Invidia remained silent.
That's right. I've never seen it before, so you're on your own. Please enjoy this complimentary disintegration, courtesy of the house. ...Okay, fine. I'll stick with you, but I'm only going to speak my mind when I have an idea.
I guess it doesn't work for all the rooms. We're on our own. Search now!
The three spread around this mess as best they could, all of them searching through the piles of things furnishing the entire place.
It doesn't matter what we look at (or if we try to talk to them first), because...
With every passing moment, the fewer seconds remain in our existence.
I can't find anything here. It's a giant mess! Plush toys, books, computer parts, boxes... It never ends. How can a place be this messy?
Yes, this is a little bit of a problem...
Let us not waste any modicum of time! Try looking for a key or something like that!
No matter how much they searched, it was in vain. They didn't find anything resembling a key. Their range of vision was too small; they could spend another half hour searching through the mess and still find nothing.
There's got to be a faster way.
Maybe if we...
The correct answer is sort by size.
Removing objects of considerably great size first may, indeed, uncover the dwarfish ones.
Using Gula's side to store the large objects, the trio obscured the acquarium after a short while. One object fell into it, splashing some acid around, but nobody was thankfully hit.
Ugh, smells like burnt plastic now! I can't wait to get out of here.
My olfactory senses are not disturbed. Are you certain?
Doesn't matter. Do you see anything special?
I can see some things, yes. There are three keys. No, wait, they're just pieces of paper, can't use those as keys.
Why would there be paper keys?
That makes I, G, and P... That makes PIG. Any others?
The group searched for more. They found a few, including a torn one.
That one's unreadable. What do the others spell out?
The letters L, S, T, A, and I are transcribed on them. LAST, perhaps? No, the I would be missing... Then, TAILS?
Is that it, then, PIGTAILS? But what does that give us?
Please, retain your grip upon your equestrian companion and wait for a singular second. This corner contains a box I may open... A small panel housing numbers upon the side allows us to enter a code. What shall it be? We require a rapid escape, our time is diminishing greatly!
Already quite a few minutes had passed. Invidia coughed a little, as though the acid was getting to him a little quicker than the others.
Ugh... Entering the letters as numbers... That's 169720191219!
T-too long... ahh...
Yeah, there is... what do we do with it, you think?
Just seems... odd to me!
What should they do with PIGTAILS?
The correct choice here is to subtract.
If we subtract PIG from PIGTAILS, we get only TAILS. I wonder if that would work...
Keep just... TAILS... that's 20191219... If you remove PIG...
...it fits, it's the answer!
After entering the code in the box's lock, it came open. The side slid to reveal... nothing. Inside the box was nothing.
Hey, it's not like you to swear... Can't blame you, though; who the hell made this puzzle? It's hardly even a puzzle! What if you didn't put the anagram correctly?
You are correct. Perhaps I should hold back... ugh.
Anything inside at all?
Scream for help?
When Tristitia screamed for help as the box had demanded, the nearby door unlocked on its own. The group did not wait much longer. All three of them lunged at the door, so well that it remained shut, unable to open under the limited space.
Guys, stop! We have to make some space!
Invidia and Gula threw a bunch of things away and then the door was able to come open. With a strong pull, the three opened the way in and lunged inside, falling down onto the ground in a heap of bodies. The door closed behind them.
He felt the nearby wall and pushed onto the light switch to illuminate the second room of this duo.
It was a splendid manor. Or, at least, it looked like a splendid manor's bedroom, but some elements in it were a little off. The door in the bottom corner clearly led outside, and the ornate feeling of the room clashed heavily with it.
Let's search this place, too, and then escape before we run out of time.
Now we can actually explore unhindered, as well as talk about the bedroom with the others. Let's start with Gula, first.
Do you happen to have anything on your mind?
Hey, Ula. Tell me, does this room make you feel uncomfortable?
Quite. But it is probably not for the same reason as our obese companion.
I wouldn't say obese but, well, you like your big words. Anyway, what's the deal then?
Obese isn't really a big word or anything. Maybe you're just terrible at words.
Nothing happened, before your imaginative mind leaps to sordid conclusions. Yet, it makes me feel both dread and excitement. I would not be able to explain the exact reason. Perhaps it reminds me of our diminutive fallen companion, who had a ferocious private strategy.
I see... Is it the same reason you're dressed in a rather, shall we say, inappropriate way?
Of course not! What do you mistake me to be, some uncouth harlot? I merely enjoy a bout of tinkering with mechanical devices, nothing more or less, and such activities require focused manual labor.
That's just what she was wearing when she was abducted, just like that laser tag outfit, or Superbia's cheerleader uniform. And about Luxuria... better not let her know that he probably planned to do unspeakable things to her.
Is there any other topic you care to discuss, in any case?
I'll talk to you later.
I shall be present here, then.
And next, Tristitia.
Did you see that bed? It's outrageous.
What about it?
Something like that is completely unsightly. You don't need a bed this expensive-looking in order to have a good night of sleep. Anyone who has this bed must have thrown so much money out the window.
I would agree, but... well, it's their money; they can do what they want with it.
Should they really be allowed to do what they want with it? Next you'll tell me, if they want to buy a guyn, then sure, that's fine too.
Says the guy with the gun.
Our time's shorter and shorter, but... anything else?
Let's go back to the search.
Yeah, we should do that.
Okay, I'm gonna start on the right side and make my way left. Obviously we don't wanna mess with the door we just came through, so I'll start with the painting on the right wall.
Tristitia was messing with this portrait when Invidia came up to him.
Don't break it! This kind of portrait is worth a fortune!
A small piece of paper fell from it, which he snatched on the fly. Opening it, he read its contents.
It's written... 21 24, which would be a year. 2124?
No, it can't be a year, that's way in the future.
Maybe the numbers are a set of two letters. Some puzzles had to do with that, after all.
It's actually just two letters. Hope they come in handy.
And this is a solo portrait, unlike the rest. Does this help? I'm not sure... but maybe the fact the paper also had a square on it might.
So those two letters are U and R. U and R... They're common internet slang writing to say you are, but otherwise I have no idea. Guess I'll just leave most of this room's solving to the others. I'm honestly tired.
You can't be tired.
Yes I can, and I am tired right now. Here's proof: I just realized it's not 'U and 'R. I didn't even know I could make mistakes.
We learn things every day.
Next, the set of paintings on the right side of the bed.
One of them could move. The lower one slowly slid along the wall, rotating around its central axis until a piece of folded paper fell from it.
This says something like... a bunch of numbers? 21 12, which means by putting them together it's 2112. Or 33? Feels like I'm missing something.
They're not numbers; it feels more like they're positions. Positions in what? Not sure, but it goes up to 21 or more.
Oh yeah, that makes a lot more sense. Hmm, there's also a triangle next to them.
The piece of paper was added to the rest of their meager findings.
Next up, the nightstand.
This table has a little light on it. I could toy with it, but...
The drawer is more interesting.
Not touching that anymore. Have, uh, have fun with it. I guess.
He disappeared in a hurry, clearly flustered. Invidia shrugged, picking up the object and examining it for a longer moment.
There goes the age rating on this Let's Play.
Invidia didn't keep hold of it for too long, instead focusing on the rest of the stuff in the drawer. A few papers were scattered around- nothing really interesting.
But there's something else in there. Let's see...
He removed a gold key from the drawer before closing it. Just like Tristitia, Invidia didn't stick around, either. The two boys had been in a bit of a hurry to get this over with before Gula came to check on them, avoiding an awkward conversation.
I don't understand what they found. What kind of food would you eat with that fork, anyway? I guess someone just tried to be funny by leaving that here? Regardless, before Invidia put it back in, I could see some words were engraved on the curve. They said: The other drawer is the alphabet, spaces count too.
Great! Anyway, the chandelier has nothing notable, so next is the bed.
This is not a normal bed.
Isn't it obvious? We're in a special hotel. I thought the stuff around the room would have made that evident.
No, I mean, there are no special hotels here. Not in this city or in the next. Sure, we have hotels, but those are just that, hotels. They're not special hotels.
Look, I get what you're saying. Either way, this is a room for... sex.
Which doesn't belong in a school environment.
Exactly. Anyway, there's a silver key under a pillow. There's generally never only one key, so this room probably has others. We should find them and get out.
He pocketed it, manner of speaking. In truth, he put it with the rest of the group's stuff.
From what I know, and if each room corresponds to someone in the group, then this room has got to be Luxuria's. Not to mention, the room attached to this one... It was really messy. He said that in the director's office, didn't he? His room gets really messy, and he's at home there. .? The director's office?
Next up, the other nightstand.
This is the left table. I would assume, given the presence of two surfaces associated to the sides of this sleeping aide, this is an enclosed space for two patrons.
It wouldn't kill you to say bed instead of sleeping aide.
While talking, she had opened it. Looking inside, Invidia confirmed it before taking it out.
I think we're done here, unless we need to take a drawer with us. After all, there's something written inside of this drawer.
On the bottom of the drawer was an engraving: no basket no box no marble and nothing else.
Weird. What do you think it means?
I haven't the faintest. What do YOU think it means?
No basket, no box, no marble. In other words, it is not a picnic. In other words, it is to starve. Starve while demanding the marble, and die.
Is that a quote? Did you find that on the internet?
Nobody, sorry. Let's just keep the drawer in mind to check back on it when we need to.
Just having fun, sorry. The witch in gold has nothing to do with any of this. Don't take anything I thought about just now seriously.
The odd chair on the left has nothing of note. Same for the curtain, which has nothing behind it. If we examine the painting in the nook, though...
This portrait is loose.
After a bit of fiddling, Invidia managed to detach a corner from the wall.
Pray accept my assistance.
Together, the wolf and the cow both managed to take the portrait down, revealing an indented area behind it, occupied by a safe.
This means we only need to piece together some kind of code.
Interestingly enough, there are no numbers on the safe. However, there are letters. All twenty-six of them, to be precise. I'm not sure what to make of this yet.
This combination does not work like one you may expect. One can lightly press upon the dial to implant their selection rather than stopping and reversing.
And that means the combination might just be longer than 3 letters.
Additionally, there is a small engraving that says T21 + S21 + H321 and I am at a loss as to what this could possibly mean.
Perhaps we have to find something that is related to the safe or where it was found? I think we'll have to figure that out.
The light in the nook has nothing of note either (can't even turn it on), so all that's left is the left side paintings.
The upper one doesn't move, but the lower one...
By using the three keys they found, the duo undid the locks on the frame of the bottom portrait. It looked as though it could move, unlike the one on top, so Tristitia gave it a good shove. He grasped the corner and began rotating it onto the wall. After a few seconds of doing this back and forth to see if anything would come of it, Tristitia made a piece of paper fall to the ground from behind the portrait.
It's a piece of paper.
I saw that. What's it say?
It says Made of AIR... and it has a small hexagon next to it, too.
So it's like a riddle.
Maybe. It's probably linked to whatever that safe has for a combination.
What is made of air? Empty space?
Close enough, but I don't think it's that figurative. And besides, air isn't empty space. I think it means it more in a literal sense.
Yes. Which would mean... IRA?
It's too soon to say right now.
And with that, we have all the clues we need to open the safe! Specifically, all three slips of paper will give us the password to the safe.
We have three pieces of paper with letters and symbols. One of them says that something is made of AIR. Then there's one with a triangle on it and one with a square on it.
According to the safe, we have some guidelines. They give us the order for them to go in, I think.
Have you eavesdropped, you duplicitous buffoon?
Can't help it, this room is rather small. Anyway, what's the combination like, then?
Triangle, square, hexagon... three letters, two numbers, and two numbers...
The answer should be pretty obvious, but now's the time to solve it if you wanna do it the intended way. Invidia will explain how you get it after we put it in, so I'm going to let him handle that. The password is:
Yeah, I got it. The numbers correspond to letters in the alphabet, and by reversing them according to the order given to us... And if you put them together in the order triangle square hexagon...
Reverse the letters and add them up- yeah, that's L-U-X-U-R-I-A. The code for the safe is Luxuria, huh.
That was quite quick from both of you.
I'm good at associating random stuff together like that. This is rather easy... as if it was made for just one person to solve.
I guess... we have our code, then. And also I assume this means that this room has a clear link with Luxuria. A bedroom is linked to Luxuria? To begin with, this doesn't seem like a normal house bedroom... More like a hotel room.
Let's open the safe.
According to everything we found here, the combination should be... wait, what was it again?
It's L-U-X-U-R-I-A, so enter it already.
Right. Just give me a second...
Invidia turned the dial, pressing upon the top of it when it selected the appropriate letters. After doing so, everyone held their breaths as the wolf-themed boy pulled on the door. It came open.
Might this safe contain a card of some variety, perhaps?
Yes, there's one of those in there. Just one, though. Here, you can have it, Trist.
Generous, aren't we? This safe cannot possibly only contain these two items of significance, I presume.
You're right, there's also a piece of paper. Judging by all the other rooms, this should point us directly to the solution.
He read it aloud.
Um... it says: 6 5 25 25 Y 22 1 11 8 TEST. Interestingly, I don't think we have to touch the letters, but we certainly have to do something with the numbers. Maybe we can substitute each number for a letter in the alphabet?
Except it doesn't make any sense like this. Feyyy-Vakh Test is pure nonsense. And why is there a letter in the spaced lineup that's already uncovered? Wouldn't that letter Y also be 25 like the others? Something's amiss.
Do you believe we have unearthed the necessary components to solve this room's mystery?
I don't know. I'll think about it for a few more, okay?
I'll be waiting here, I guess. Gather back at the safe when everyone's ready to go. No turning back once we do so.
We do, in fact, have everything we need to find the escape solution, so no point in dragging our feet now.
Everyone's ready? I'll open the door.
Let's not waste any time. Who are part of that test thing?
Gula remained off to the side this whole time, letting them figure it out. She didn't look unconcerned, only busy thinking.
Our answer lies in the instructions. We can't use the normal alphabet, so... Let ME out! The answer is...
Okay. This one is much less obvious unless you happen to know a particular piece of (very specific/niche) trivia, so to find the answer, there's a few things to keep in mind. For starters, it should be obvious by now the answer is not, in fact, any of the nine participants. It's still obviously some kind of letter substitution cypher, but not the standard A=1, B=2, etc one. If we remember what the fork said on it, it tells us the other drawer is the alphabet, spaces count too, and inside the drawer on the other side of the bed was no basket no box no marble, which, if we include the spaces, is exactly 26 characters. Thus, we use that phrase as our alphabet and do the number substitution from there, which gives us our answer:
Sally-Anne! It's the Sally-Anne Test!
The door unlocked. This was one of the strangest answers they had to give so far. That it took this entire room to figure it out was bothering Tristitia.
Well, if it was the right answer, it was the right answer. I think I've read about that before...
Perhaps you did. But still, we should make our way out and keep our heads attached to our bodies, yes?
And unexploded, as well.
She was the first to vacate the room. Shortly thereafter, the others followed her.