Part 33: cASino
We're slowly making our way towards the home stretch here, which also means things are going to be relatively railroaded going forward for the rest of this LP. For this update, we're going back to the choice of who to go with, but this time we're going to be going with the other twin, Greta.
Also, this is the worst update in this LP because some of the dialogue is incredibly uncomfortable and I'm very sorry in advance. It's mostly contained to this update thankfully so we should be in the clear for the rest of the LP but. Yeah. It's bad.
BGM: Algorithm Simile
The decision was coming back to me again. I did want to go with the twins, but Jasmine might've found something in the laboratory. She was also more familiar. Then again, if I picked her, all this fight about splitting up the twins would be for naught.
She was staring at me too, pressuring me into picking her despite her earlier words. How two-faced! H was a little bit like Jasmine in this way; she was taking charge and she was not afraid of anything. This was an odd change for Jasmine, admittedly. Had those four years affected her that much? I could also head out with G. She was calmer, but smarter. She also had her shy moments, and I kinda wanted to try pulling her out of her shell.
No matter which one I wanted to go with, I had to pick now.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
As much as I tried to think about going with H, I figured she'd call me an old man and do her own thing the whole time, which might not've been as fun in reality as it was imagining it. Sure, it was funny, but... I didn't exactly want to babysit a brat. On the other hand, G already showed she was a bit smarter, so I wouldn't need to constantly make sure she didn't screw things up.
Okay, I'll go with one of the twins. Specifically, I want to go with G.
Are you sure you really want to do that?
She was glaring in my direction. I lifted up both hands in defense.
Yeah, I'm sure. I think your sister's nicer than you, and maybe she could let me know about some details that could help us figure out what links all of us together here.
What do you mean, nicer?!
Oh yeah? Well, is this bratty enough?
She was about to punch me, and I shielded myself with my arms. However, she stopped her movement right before hitting me to an almost scary level of precision.
I peeked through my arms and saw she was retreating. The other girls did nothing to stop it, content watching, and even finding the scene funny!
Because you're a loser, Simon.
Maybe you're right. What do you know about anything, anyway? I don't need to tell you what will happen if she gets hurt, right? I'll destroy you.
Okay, I get it!
Are we all set with our teams?
Yeah, don't worry H, I'll take care of your sister. We're all in this together.
I patted G on the shoulder, which made her flush a little while she smiled to H. No, wait... that was a victorious smile. Uh oh, had I gotten myself into more trouble than I imagined? What if the twins were both brats?
Let's head out. We already have to wait for the train...
Actually, I'll stay here with H. I need to be here to talk to the others about all of this when they'll be back too.
I nodded and, without further ado, the twin and I went down the stairs. Truth be told, I picked G because I thought she might've been the key to a mystery or two, and she was nicer overall.
And now I'm cutting another small snippet of narration because Simon sucks! All you need to know is he realizes the first station they'll be coming to is the pool, and then he gets really awkward and stuck in his head about it like a fucking weirdo!!! And it serves no narrative purpose whatsoever, besides making me want to go back to the reactor so I can throw him in a few more times. So I'm excising the worst of it both for my own personal comfort but also to not subject all of you to that shit.
Oh, the train's coming!
I jumped onto the earliest chance to get out of this moment and pointed at the tunnel. The train was, thankfully, coming for real. As it arrived here, I moved towards it with exaggerated steps, making very little effort to actually hide my embarrassment.
We should go inside and leave as soon as possible! Don't you think?
I forced myself to calm down as I entered.
The train didn't take too long to set off towards our new destination. As the train went, I didn't know what to think, so I closed my eyes with my arms crossed. Many times it stopped at a station, opened its doors, closed them, and drove away again. On the way between the Stars and the pool, something pulled me out of my sitting nap.
You know, you're not talking too much. Don't you want to know more about me?
I mean, it's just... we're going to the pool, right?
So what? It's not like I'll get into a swimsuit. Is that's what's making you feel so nervous?
I mean... yeah.
I don't really care. You're the only one talking this like it's some kind of capital crime. Wise up, we're not going to jail.
Well, you certainly aren't.
No, neither of us is. Look, the station's coming.
BGM: Abyssal Snarl
The door was already closed and locked. In a way, that made me feel better. I wouldn't have to accompany G in that place. On the other hand, this was also problematic.
M and Ray kept going? What the heck? I can't believe they didn't even choose to come back.
We probably just missed them too... if only we'd been here a little earlier. Then again, it could be A and E... if they stopped at a station that was already open, went up the stairs, and came back down the other side. However, I don't think that's right. It would have taken too long, no?
There's no way to figure it out right now, so I guess we're going to the recreation room!
As the train drove off again, G asked me.
Ah, uh, I think...
This choice doesn't matter, so we're choosing the first option.
It's going to be a casino, I think. Tons of slot machines, big gambling stuff. A place that kids aren't allowed in, in fact!
Huff, I'd be fine in a casino.
You say that right now but who knows, really? There's a reason kids arent allowed in casinos.
And stop calling me a kid. I'm a teen, and I'm mature enough.
I couldn't really argue against that. She was right; I needed to treat her better.
No problem! Why specifically a casino, though? I mean, it could be any sort of recreation stuff. Like a games' room with a bar, darts, chessboards and checkers.
I dunno. I guess I just have a hunch about it? Truth be told, all of those things have an equal chance to be there too. But I don't think there will be a bar.
And why not?
We already have another room with a bar. I think all of them will be different.
I guess that makes sense... No matter what, we'll get some games to play at least!
I refrained from saying that she still had traits similar to her sister's even if she hid them well.
The station's coming!
BGM: Ambient Strain
As we stepped onto the station proper, I snapped my fingers.
Oh yeah, I forgot to ask...
I took out the paper I found in the other room I explored. I decided to share it with her, thinking she might've had an idea of who didn't belong.
I think the creator forgot he already had us show G this slip during the lounge section earlier. Whoops!
I found this paper. Do you know what it might refer to?
G read what was written on it, but all that greeted me when I stared at her was a dumbfounded shrug.
Hmm... I don't think so? I mean, when you think about it... Don't we all fit those criteria? We don't belong together. No, wait... when you really think about it... it's even worse!
Uh... I guess J? I know J.
Don't you know M, too? You seemed familiar with him.
Right, I also know M. Wait, that doesn't...
That didn't work. For this to fit what G was saying, we had to be in pairs. The twins and the eccentrics worked together, but the rest didn't split into two by two.
I don't know... I think I need to think about what this means. What about the lower half? It's in capitals, and it has some grammatical errors in it.
That's weird. Maybe it's written this way on purpose? Like if those letters needed to be there somehow?
You think it's like... an anagram?
Not an enneagram, an anagram.
Banana gram, got it.
Listen, whatever its name is, we should solve it...
Yeah, but we don't have that luxury right now. Let's go up! Maybe this place will really be a movie theater and they'll have all sorts of weird stuff!
Weird like what?
BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
Quickly, I ran inside. Behind me, the door closed.
Hey, don't you dare watch those adult videos!
It's okay, there aren't any videos. Come up and take a look.
I climbed up the stairs. Up there, I found...
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Well, then. This is a casino.
Yeah. This is a casino.
We both sighed, a little deflated by the outcome. Wait, she sighed too?
Did you really hope there would be...
Hey, hey! You did it too! You sighed like you were disappointed!
We each pointed at each other accusingly, as if we were two burglars who had separately chosen to rob the same place at the same time.
Let's just... forget about it and get a move on. The door closed downstairs, right?
Oh, no... That sounds a lot more dangerous than I thought.
I doubt there's anyone else here, but you should be careful. Maybe there are traps, so let's not get shot.
Okay, you can stop implying there are guns here, too!
I patted the twin reassuringly before we split up to look around this place.
BGM: Auxiliary Search
As always, first thing in a new place is we check the map.
This time, though, before we start investigating, I'm gonna talk to Greta. Might as well rip that bandaid off now considering how the conversations in this update have been going so far
So... it's your first time in a casino, I assume.
Yeah, it is. My parents told me never to come to these places.
With good reason. You know these establishments are made to make money like most companies do, but this is like... really... not good. For example, you know the colors around here? They're usually set to be pleasant to the eye. They want you to forget the time when you enter a casino, so there are no windows.
Some people make money, most lose it. The house always comes out on top overall. Individually, you might win, but as a group, the house beats us.
So... if everyone stopped playing to stop the house from making money, then it would close?
Yeah, it wouldn't win anymore. The chances of it happening are below zero, though. In fact, the opposite will probably happen if people tried.
What do you mean?
People are greedy. If fewer people play, that just means they have the field open. The more egocentric ones would just take the opportunity. It's all a psychological game, because... When those guys win, everyone wants to win.
I was truly hoping it wouldn't come to that.
Alright! Now to start poking around. I'm gonna start with the bookshelf on the right.
Did you find a key or something?
A key to open a bookshelf? This feels familiar, somehow.
So you did?
No, I didn't find anything, but I bet you can get a key if you participate in the games around here. There's the billiards table, the roulette table, and the slot machine...
Yeah, maybe. Alright then, let's focus on those things for now.
Next, the vase.
These vases must be worth a fortune...
They don't look so expensive. I think they're made of clay?
Vases... vases... ceramic vases?
Are you listening to me? Hello?
I took one up.
Hey, be careful with Ser Ramic!
Is Ser Ramic poor, you think?
I shook the vase a little. There was no sound.
Maybe his sister got all the inheritance.
No, his sister wasn't on the will of their deceased father. He hated her, in fact.
I had to check for myself if her claim was true.
We'll save that for later. Next is that entrance in the middle.
I saw the twin coming back through that opening.
No, only bathrooms. I don't even know if the toilets work here. You think Smiley installed all the plumbing necessary for it to be functional?
Only one way to find out. You know how they call toilets thrones?
Insert stock toilet flush sfx here
This right now was a royal flush. The jackpot is ours.
Certainly enough, the toilet worked. The twin was not very amused at my joke.
I looked around. She was right... kind of.
The slot machines are mostly in groups of two, there are two roulette tables, two bookshelf halves, two pedestals with pots, two couches in corners, two paintings on each side of the room, two bathrooms...
But it doesn't have two counters and two ceiling ornaments.
Yeah, those two are different from each other, but we might just be able to count them as two oddities.
While she stopped talking, I couldn't help but thinking she was relating it to her own situation. Most likely, she was thinking about her sister. They formed a pair. Just like almost everything in this room, they formed a pair of twins, in fact.
Next, the painting.
All it did was remind me of the outdoors. Since I was trapped in here, it was taunting me.
The light fixture.
That's pretty cool. I like the jagged edges. They remind me of a flower.
I don't see it. It's too square-like.
Haven't you heard of pixel art?
Picks el art? Is that Spanish or something?
No, pixel art. It's computer-made... Pixels are what appears on screen and they're square. You can pile them up and eventually form shapes.
I'd rather have a real flower.
She reached up to the one she had on her shoulder strap and toyed with it a little.
No... it's just a little plastic thing. I wish it was real, but it would stop looking good after a little while on my clothing like that. I like natural things.
That must've been why she had spent half her time looking at the portraits around this place.
The counter to the left.
That would be where they'd give us our chips if there would've been anybody working in this place today. Alas, it seemed the staff all took their day off on the same day.
Imagine leaving your entire establishment to run itself for an entire day. People would break stuff and leave when left without supervision.
What are you talking about?
Oh, nothing. I just had a stupid thought about the working hours of the employees in this establishment totally not set up to drain your entire bank account within a single day.
Maybe she was right.
Okay, all that's left are the actual casino games, and then we can check out that other vase! Guess we can start with the slot machines on the far left.
I looked around the place back there, but I could only spy a lot of slot machines, set up in perpendicular rows. Everything was built so you kept running into more.
So the rumors are true... your steps are interrupted every once in a while, so your eyes are forced to look at another slot machine. It's set up to tempt you into playing... Alas, I don't have any credits. I'll come back when I'm a little, hmm, richer.
According to one of the machines, they took two credits. Exactly two. Not one and a half, not two and a quarter, exactly two.
Next, the billiards tables.
Maybe I have to do it with the cue as one would play a normal game?
I tried that too. I put all the balls in their correct positions and aimed with the cue. Right on cue, G came up behind me and pushed onto my elbow, causing me to miss my shot and send the white ball into a pit.
I tried that earlier. These tables seem to be here just for fun.
Could have still let me play, you know?
Do you really want to, though? Didn't you just do it because you thought it might help? You know that doing it more won't make you win more.
You're right- I guess I wouldn't want to fall in the gambler's fallacy.
For example, if I played the slot machines and after ten losses in a row, I'd think my chances of winning are higher to equalize the field back to a balance of zero. As if each minus would need a plus, too. In reality, the chances of winning are still the same every time. It's not any luckier to get heads on a coin than it is to get tails even if you get tails five times in a row.
Yeah, you'd know about bad luck in getting head.
She completely disregarded my explanation and vacated the immediate area to not suffer reprisals. I guess this point went to G, though, considering the fact I became annoyed at her insult.
Kids these days... No decency.
I took my mind off it before I started talking even more like a grandpa. My mind instead went back to my explanation about gambler's fallacy.
I took a glance at the table I'd set up. If I knocked the white ball into them, one had a pretty fair chance of making it inside.
But is it worth all of the ones that didn't make it in? Is the payoff important enough?
Okay... All that's left is the roulette table.
Normally, one would spin the wheel and let the ball fall onto the results, but without credits, there wasn't even a ball inside. I needed to grab those, first. According to what was written on the machine, it needed two credits.
Okay, time to check out the vase.
I can hear a ding-ding noise.
Ser Amy?! Did you take your brother's inheritance money?
I flipped the vase upside down and the coins fell out. Two of them rolled onto the ground. Certainly, these would be credits we could use here.
If only they'd be here for real, they could get us out of here.
At least we're not on a sinking ship or something.
Or trapped in a school...
Yeah, that's even worse! Imagine having to do mathematics for the rest of your life!
It seemed that was a fear we both shared. I pocketed the credits.
Finding these opens up a few more things we can look at again, so lets start with the couch since that's new.
I don't need more change, even if I could bet this couch contained more. As much as I'd like to search everything... sometimes it's best to bet on something safe.
Not everything has to be a gamble. Besides, you can search the couch really fast.
She threw the cushions away, looked underneath them, and placed them back there afterwards.
See? There was nothing. Instead of thinking about it philosophically, you should just try your hand at doing a bit of menial work. It'll save you time and a headache.
I didn't need to be told life lessons by a teenager!
Okay, I guess the slot machines next?
Alright, it's time to play!
Are you sure that's good? Won't you just lose the credits if you play badly?
Play badly? You can't play badly at this. It's all a game of chance. I don't think we'd get locked out of the solution to the room, though.
Be that as it may, it might also be a better idea to not pick the completely random game out of the lot and lose our credits like that.
She had a point. I figured I should've gone and given both a glance before I picked which I'd play.
Case in point, let's look at the roulette table first.
Okay. Maybe I can put the coins in here and let chance decide if we make it out. Wait... isn't that too dangerous?
You worry too much. Clearly, the credits are made to go somewhere. Where else than these tables?
I mean, I still have this coin I found in the bedroom earlier. I could try it.
It was too big. It couldn't fit.
Before I do anything hasty, I want to make sure there's nowhere else I can use them for. If we lose these coins, we're toast.
We can't be toast if we're not bread.
I shook my head and glanced over at the slot machines. Those could take the credits too, no doubt. Which one was the correct option?
This is a choice for some reason, but it literally doesn't matter, you get the key whichever one you go for. So we're gonna go for the slot machine!
This is probably still our best bet, I guess. Okay, go for it.
I didn't want to let G do it, but the little scamp had swiped my credits on my way to the machines.
You owe me for this thievery, though. Got it?
Whatever you say, gramps.
I wasn't nearly old enough to be a grandpa. I balled my hands into fists as she opened hers to slide the coins into the machine. With a single pull of the lever, everything lined up quickly.
Well, that's lucky.
No, you stupid butt. It's made this way! Why would they make us lose and waste our time?
A key fell into the chute down below. G took it with a big grin.
We need it to finish escaping this room...
I'll keep it after, though.
Oh, do whatever. You little scamps can't be controlled anyway.
I'm not a scamp.
I'm not a grandpa!
There was never a war to begin with.
She agreed to those terms, even if they weren't really terms for a truce.
And now we can unlock the bookcase!
Come here, G! We need that key.
G came by when I called for her. At least she wasn't disobedient enough to disregard a potential lead to escaping this hellhole. She inserted the key and turned it, unlocking the doors. I opened them and looked at the books inside more closely.
That's quite a lot of books. Think we have to read them to leave.
Sounds like a bore. Normally, I wouldn't be so much against it, but look at how thick some of them are! We can't solve this in any way.
Wait... the books are normally supposed to be sorted in alphabetical order, right? Maybe if I...
I replaced the books along the rows. Nothing. I thought I had been onto something, but the twin lit up at my suggestion and its failure.
Are you saying it's sexist because none of them have she?
No! I'm saying it's like a periodic table! We just need to put them in order like the periodic table.
What? There's no periodic table here. How would Smiley expect us to solve this?
I remember it like the back of my hand, so I can solve this no problem. But you're right, it's odd that we wouldn't get this kind of hint...
I took out a few of the books to make some space, and a plastic sheet fell down to the ground. G grabbed it before I could and she proceeded to laugh at it.
Yeah, your face looks like a good shake...
I muttered the words but I wasn't sure if she heard them. If she did, she said nothing while I rearranged the books according to the periodic table. Nothing happened when I placed the last book, though.
What now? Hmm... The side of the books don't only have letters, but numbers too. Wait, why did you think we should put them in order of the periodic table instead of numerical order first?
There just aren't enough numbers. Altogether, only nine books are labeled with a number, and now, from the order we put them in, it's nine, six, two, eight, three...
Seven, one, five, four. This might be the code to the keypads, then, 962837154. That's a pretty long number, think you can remember it?
I can try, but you should try too.
There was a third lock which I took care of, leading to the scanner gate. Of course, that was a dead end right now.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
I was deflated by our lack of findings. The fact we hadn't uncovered anything new was fairly frustrating. In the other room I explored, I had found some paper, and I still had the hammer, gone unused so far. In this one, nada. There had just been nothing.
Maybe we should go back and meet with the others now. They might have found something.
Maybe... but shouldn't we keep going, too? If they keep this up, we'll run out of stations.
She interrupted my thoughts by offering an alternative. Normally, I wouldn't have considered it, but with the others still doing as they pleased...
Not to mention, going back empty-handed isn't really productive.
I'll think about it.
And with that, we end the worst update in this entire LP. It's all uphill from here, folks.