Part 5: ASylum
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
There were rows upon rows of books. The bookshelves were completely filled to the brim. Here and there were a few little computers scattered around, but most importantly was the fact there were windows. Unfortunately, all the windows had metal plates bolted over them. We weren't getting those open any time soon.
There was one window which was uncovered, but when I looked through it, I saw a very bizarre sight. It was some kind of weird, small room. I assumed this was the scanner Smiley mentioned previously. So this was our exit, then... Not that I'd have been able to leave at that moment since going through there would've probably killed me if I tried.
Our search eventually also showed us there were a bunch of benches to relax or read books on and some tables and seats were off to the sides. And this place was rather big, at that.
That would certainly come in handy; this place was decently big.
I'll take care of this side and you look through the other side. Just let me know if you find anything cool or interesting.
Like an ice pop?
I said cool, not cold. I'm obviously talking about leaving this room ASAP. Codes, objects we can take and such.
BGM: Active Search
First, a look at the map of the room we're searching:
There's a lot of stuff to look at, so I'm going to start with what looks like terminals on the right.
He pushed a few buttons. Nothing happened, so he pushed some more. At some point, he stopped pushing buttons and started mashing his hand down against the machine.
Hey, woah! Stop with the rage against the machine!
This thing isn't working and now you're telling me I have to stop listening to music, too?
It's probably not even an ATM. Why would there be an ATM here anyway? This is a library.
Yes, but... ...okay, fine, it's a library, so stop making so much noise.
I abandoned the pursuit, choosing not to point out that he was causing a much bigger ruckus than I ever would've done.
Might as well check out the pillar and tables while we're at it.
Next to it was some kind of painting. I didn't recognize what it was, just some kind of landscape. A few of those were disseminated around these parts.
I really wanted to sit down, but if I did, I knew Marco would make fun of me. Even worse, it would make our search go by so much slower. I decided to abandon that idea but if I ever had a reason, I'd definitely take it.
Maybe the desk and tables at the back have something?
Hello, yes, I am here to return the first edition of Her Bright Immaterials.
There's no one behind the counter.
I'm behind the counter.
No, you're in front of it...
That doesn't... it's... hmm...
While he thought about what I said, I slipped away unnoticed.
There was an area back there with a desk, a bin, some bookshelves and a chair. It was a little cozy but there wasn't enough space for anyone to really study there. Looking up, I saw there was a hole in the middle of the second floor, surrounded by more railings. Falling over would prove difficult, though that hole was a little silly too.
It would be what I'd expected out of a mansion or something, but this corner was far too small to constitute that.
Probably just for aesthetics.
I couldn't get up there alone. There were no ladders tall enough in this room and unless we stacked enough books, which would take a year to do and be very dangerous to climb, we weren't getting up there.
Maybe it's not meant to be accessible because it's not a real library. What if it's just a replica? Or if the books up there are duds?
I dunno. Maybe it's supposed to make this into a believable living space? Like a big study room? Anyway, maybe we can get up there if one of us lifts the other.
If you think I'm gonna lift you up there, you've got some kind of delusion.
It's all good, I could do it instead! I'm okay with it.
Maybe if it ends up being necessary, then fine. Just don't drop me.
We've been poking around a lot, I wonder if Marco's found anything yet?
Driving around the city delivering food for people with futures, that's my job. What about it?
Why are you in that get-up today; didn't you have some exams?
I had a shift this morning before the exams, and you'd be surprised how much people order pizza in the early hours of the day. They're absolutely insane, I'll tell you.
Well then, if delivering food for people with futures is your job, you should pay yourself a pizza then. The finals went well and you got a future, right, Simon?
I tried to avoid outright declining to get pizza even if my grimace was probably telling.
He shrugged, not pursuing the topic any longer. It seemed like just as I'd dodged the topic of the pizza, he'd dodged the one about the future. We all had our fair share of worries.
And don't call me Simon here, call me S! We have nicknames for a reason!
Marco still has stuff he wants to talk about afterwards, so I went ahead and humored him again.
Polo! I'm here, what's up? And what happened to calling each other by our first letter?
I shrugged in defense, truly having no retort to that. He was right.
Do you remember something?
Yeah, he was my teacher maybe two years ago.
So he's a teacher of science things?
These aren't only science things! These are also important life lessons. Essentially, you're right though; he was teaching some science class.
And any clue about the others too while you're at it?
Marco looked pensive.
I shook my head, knowing full well Jasmine had never gone there.
We haven't found anything particularly useful still, but I want to finish looking at stuff on the ground floor first.
I saw Marco staring at a plant. That was pretty rude of him so I went over to tell him to stop doing that right this instant and learn some manners instead. However, when he came nearer, he lifted a hand as if to tell me to stop.
Hold on... plant... plant...
Another one of your dumb jokes?
They're not dumb! And no, I just remembered... I knew a girl named Plante before.
Good to know Marco moonlights as a JRPG party member
Really? That's kind of weird. It's not really a name, maybe more like someone's last name.
No no, it wasn't her first name, you dumbass. It was like... oh yeah!
He snapped his fingers and his face lit up as if he'd discovered the secret to immortality or something as equally important.
Anyway, at least her name wasnt Anasteurope or something even weirder, like Anastamerica.
Didn't even know you knew other people. We learn things every day.
He looked at me like a sad little puppy as I chose to disregard his dumb joke, and then, after I gave him a pat on the shoulder to reassure him in this trying time, we split up again.
Do you read that, M? I guess we have to be silent now, or else... We'd anger the librarian and then we'd be banned from the library.
Well, there doesn't seem to be anyone around. So I guess I'll be the librarian, then, and my first action will be smash our exit open! Though, all I currently have in order to do so are my bare hands.
If you really want to do that then go ahead. I don't want to hurt my fists just pounding on it. Remember Ray and how he tried to slam open that door?
Yeah... Our best bet to escape this place is someone saying my name three times in rapid succession.
Still trapped because you summoned me here, where I already was, you buffoon!
Between us both, I definitely wasn't the buffoon.
All that's left is the trash can, and then we'll go upstairs to poke around there.
If Smiley wanted us to live here for a long time, at least we're not short on suitable housing for Ray.
He patted the top of a bin.
Leave it to you to turn everything we find into a joke.
It looks like there's something inside the trash for us, which means that is probably progress, so we should look upstairs first.
I ascended the stairs. On the second floor, there were about as many books as there were on the first floor. And yes, first floor, because it was first on the ground. I didn't live in England.
Actually...I was wrong about that. This wasn't the first floor, was it? We were underground. I took a moment to contemplate that idea. If we hadn't been underground, I would've been on the second floor, but since we were, I probably was on something like...
Oh! We're above ground! Maybe there's a way to leave this room and escape to the streets.
No chances. The windows are bolted shut and... this is just a secret between you and I...
He spoke to me from below.
I actually managed to pull one of those plates off, and behind was just a flat solid wall. The windows here?
He shrugged in disbelief.
While we're up here, we might as well look at that weird clock that has letters on it.
Wow. Very helpful Simon. Thank you!
Since I was up there already, I chose to check for anything special I could find in the bookshelves. There were just so many books, though! But there also were some empty spaces between them.
In one of them, I found a gold key. The handle was shaped like an eye.
All you have to do to find this key... is to open your eye.
Done with the second floor, I walked back down the stairs.
Time to root around in the garbage. For clues!
I looked inside the bin. Who would hide anything inside a bin anyway? Wasn't that unsanitary? Smiley didn't know proper hygiene etiquette. After much consideration, I didn't either, since I assumed there would be something inside the bin. I tried moving it but it was strongly bolted to the floor, preventing me from doing so.
Hey, are all the bins stuck on the ground?
Yep, I checked the others already. Actually, that reminds me, one of them had something!
He produced a book out of nowhere. I repulsively grimaced at that.
Marco, that was in the trash.
Doesn't look terrible to me. I think it'll be useful.
The book is called the Cephalocodex. The title is... A Study On the Variables of the Head. Weird. It has a key with an eye for a handle on the cover.
The MTS stood for the Montreal Transport Society, which was the company that regulated everything related to the metro from the trains, to the tickets, to the staff. I thought Smiley might've been a member of that staff, now that Marco brought it up. If he wasn't, how did he manage to do all this?
I'll keep the book, do you mind?
Nope. Feel free to go study it if you want.
I had to look for somewhere suitable to read this.
Like those desks over there!
I opened the book after I sat down. While open, it became clear that this book had nothing in it except a large compartment void of pages cut out in the middle of it all.
This is where a puzzle was in the original version. I'll be posting what was in the book at the end of this update, if you want to try and solve it yourself.
A golden lock guarded that compartment which I soon made quick work of by using the key with the eye handle.
Nice. The cover was a dead giveaway.
Inside the compartment was... another key, but this time it was black and the tiny handle was shaped like a clock. It was actually really, really tiny too.
Inside the compartment were some instructions for the key: My spot is at the end, after every other. As the milliseconds add up to hours, line me.
This is everything needed to solve the puzzle, so I figured I'd mention that now, in case you wanted to try to do so yourself before you keep reading to where Marco and Simon solve it. However, since you can't really zoom in on anything, I went ahead and made a copy of the thing needed to solve the puzzle from the original room art.
I felt like I was really close to solving this room. I figured the key I'd found which looked like a clock would be used on the clock itself. Standing before it, I pushed it inside the middle bits regulating the hands. They could move!
My spot is at the end of the line... The end of the line... After all the others...
Looking at the clock and what letters were on it, I realized what was weird.
Try LAST, maybe? It's at the end after everyone else and it has four letters.
Marco sprung up next to me, having overheard what I'd been solving.
I twisted the winding key to work the hands over and once they were aligned to make the word LAST, the clock opened. Behind, in the wall was a safe that seemed a bit cold to the touch.
It's refrigerated. Let's see what's inside.
That's most likely our password to get out! But why is there food here?
I don't care, I'm hungry.
He swiped one and I took the other. I didn't trust the sandwiches because this seemed really strange but... since Marco was biting into his own and didn't fall dead, I figured there may not have been any problem with them. I just couldn't understand... why?
A few minutes passed while we ate our sandwiches. Marco was looking at his half-eaten sandwich. Something struck him and he pointed at it.
Swallow then talk. It's not polite to talk with your mouth full and I don't understand anything you're telling me.
He took a few seconds to do that, finishing up the bite he was chewing. I shook my head in complete derision. What he wanted to say was apparently so important he'd risked not being understood.
BGM: Ascertaining Speech
I remember that, but it doesn't make any sense.
Well, think of it that way. When you get hungry, your stomach goes grooowl and you go oh my god, I'm hungry! That's because your stomach sends a signal to your brain to tell it yo, I gotta eat bro, how long do I gotta starve?!
Your stomach would still growl but you wouldn't feel it. You wouldn't feel the hunger anymore. That means the stomach is what gets hungry and the head is what knows the stomach is hungry. Does that make sense? Like, it's a signal, that's what I'm trying to explain.
But isn't it enough that you get that signal, anyway?
Yeah, that makes you feel hungry, but you aren't hungry.
He poked my stomach. I pulled away a little to avoid his finger but he'd already poked me.
And your shirt, well, it's connected do your skin, which is connected to your nerves, which are connected to your brain. Even touch is a signal- a sense. But did I really touch you? Now that's the question.
In the interest of transparency, there was a really tasteless 'bad touch' joke that was here that I've elected to cut because fuuuuuuck thaaaaaat I went and checked and it was not in the original version, either.
BGM: Ambient Strain
Even though we were done exploring this place, evidenced by the fact we had the password to escape, I felt as though we had yet to see one of the locations. Back out into the hallway, a locked door barred my progress. It quickly came open with the password that we found. Inside was a stranger room.
And that hallway also had a strange blue glow on the walls, ceiling and floor.
Some sort of checkpoint...? Looks dangerous. I definitely don't want to cross this until we know what to do with it.
Since we were on a bit of a schedule with the other groups also most likely finishing their exploration, I decided against looking at things more closely here for the time being.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
What? Did you find the exit? No, wait, that's believable. Hmm... did you find... the queen of England?
I found the exit.
Great! Let's go then.
No, I don't think that's a good idea. Wee, it had these... scanners or something. I think it's going to check if we have that ninth person with us. If we don't...
Marco didn't seem like the adventurous type today so he wordlessly agreed to leave that alone for now.
Oh, I went downstairs and entered the password. Both sides are now open.
Alright. Let's head back.
Sure. We could also head further in by using the train on the same side we came here on but... that would cut us off from the rest, probably not wise to do. Then again, what even is wisdom?
I waited for him to continue on that thought but he simply shrugged.
Yeah, I bet you know a lot about that.
While I gave him some sass, I moved downstairs followed by him. He grumbled some sort of retort, but I knew that he had nothing to strike back with.
He probably wouldn't want whatever he's trying to make us do take forever. The train arrived just as I'd guessed, and we boarded it momentarily. As we stepped in, I caught myself wondering exactly what the purpose behind this was.
Why did Smiley even make us do this? Why lock the doors? What exactly did we do here? We certainly hadn't accomplished a great thing. All we did was make a tablet boot up. Then we were fed the answer.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Finally, we arrived at the station the old man and the strange girl had disembarked at.
Oh, that's surprising. They're waiting for the same train.
Huh? Oh, look at that.
A and E entered the train, with the old man carefully leading the girl by the hand. He gave us a smile when he entered, patiently waiting until the girl was inside too before speaking to us.
No, not really. Sandwiches are kinda special, but nothing else out of the ordinary.
Hmm... We did find the exit. Well, I found it. E was, unfortunate to say, not too useful for this sort of thing.
Right, we also found one. Did yours have scanners?
Scanners? Ah, the blueish light! Yes, it did have that too. I thought it more prudent not to take chances with it for now. Besides, we can always return to these stations.
I remained quiet, content with following the movement of the train as it went towards the midpoint station. I was wondering about what we'd find up there, once we'd get the doors unlocked. We had found a library, but what did the others find?
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Alright, let's go. Old man A and girl E already left the place.
When Marco called me over, I realized that was the case. If we didn't head out promptly, the train would leave without us. Quickly, we stepped outside.
I hope they'll all decide to come back here...
Here is the original library puzzle, found inside a book. I'll post the answer at the end of a future update.