"Extra page #4"
"Extra page #3"
"Extra page #2"
"Extra page #1"
(These extra pages celebrate various follower milestones on the original Tumblr account)
You turn back and thank Death before opening the door and returning to the world of the living.
A DOOR appears behind you.
â¦ You donât even have your hat. How could he ask a hardboiled fellow like yourself to move on without your hat?
No, thereâs simply nothing to do but to send you back.
In disbelief, you ask him what he means.
He tells you that youâre a hero. It seems unnecessarily cruel for him to let you die for saving your friends. And besidesâ¦
Death says that youâre free to move on to the afterlife if youâd like, but he didnât plan on asking you to.
So thatâs it, then. Youâre dead.
Back to the caliginous void with you, back to complete nonexistence.
DEATH asks if youâd like to stay for tea.
A dark figure appears before you.
Hold on. Where are you? This isnât the ship.
Where are your friends? Whereâs Dame?
Well that was unpleasant. No way in hell youâre doing that again.
Whereâd your hat get to?
"PS: Wake up."
The sky, darkened by the Scoundrelsâ magic, starts to lighten again.
Your friends comfort you as you cry over your boyfriendâs body.
This isnât fair. He saved everyone. He didnât deserve to die.
You kiss him more, and when that still doesnât work you smack him and shake him, desperately trying to bring him back.
Ace stops you, saying thereâs no point in roughinâ him up. Heâs gone.
You kiss him, but he doesnât wake up. So you kiss him again, and again, and again, but he still wonât move.
"AD: Catch Sleuth!"
You catch him, and Boxcars catches Slick.
Sleuth doesnât look good, and he ainât breathing.
You stitch the rift closed, nice and tidy.
Itâs a good thing you invested in this handy SPACETIME REPAIR KIT.
"GPI: Do something about that rift."
Oh dear. Another one? Thatâs the second one this month.
Youâre already on your way!
Meanwhile, Boxcars throws the other two Scoundrels into the RIFT.
Sleuth runs out of energy and you both fall.
Using the last of his strength, Sleuth catches Scofflaw and throws him into the RIFT.
Sleuth only has a few drops of INK left! He begins to feel his power slipping away.
As for you, youâre barely clinging to consciousness. You used more magic just now than you have in your whole life. You are too spent to be able to refill the INKWELL.
Scofflawâs pulchritudinous state wears off, and he plummets out of the sky.
Scofflaw is completely engulfed by the field of energy that you and Sleuth are emitting.
The immense clash of energy, plus the output from your maxed-out VOLATILITY gague, tears a RIFT in the fabric of spacetime!
The power of your SHADOW MAGIC combines with Sleuthâs DIVINE PULCHRITUDE and pushes back Scofflawâs assault!
Looks like youâre gonna have to go on the offensive again.
You summon up as much power as the dark gods will lend you.
Sleuth isnât doing so great at holding back Scoffâs attack, either. If this keeps up, the both of you are gonna get fried.
"SS: Help Sleuth out."
Youâre trying your damnedest to keep this INKWELL full, but heâs burning through it faster than you can keep up!
"PI: Steer away from the danger!"
Goodness, those two are really going at it now! You hope Sleuth will be okay.
"PS: Do something!"
"PS: Oh shit!!!"
You yell at your friends in the ship to get back as far as they can.
"!PS: End it."
You can regenerate your health, this damage isnât permanent. But youâve wasted too much energy already, and with thisâ¦ you canât keep up your Sepulchritude much longer. You canât risk this happening again.
Youâre going to end this. Right now.
"!PS: You dead yet?"
Who knew that little asshole could pack such a punch?
Hell yeah, that did some damage.
"SS: Let that baby loose!"
You need to say some sort of coldblooded line right here. Something likeâ¦
Itâs been a real BLAST blowinâ your dumb ass up!
No, no wait.
Betâcher just EXPLODINâ with joy toâ no, where are you even going with that?
EXPLOSION IN YOUR FACE. BOOM. Fuck you.
"SS: Get the idea."
Oh, you get the idea all right. You charge up a nice, good fireball.
You clash swords with Scofflaw once again. With one of your arms occupied holding Slick, youâre unable to overpower Scofflaw, but you hadnât planned on that anyway.
You give Slick a nudge.
"PS: Catch Slick again!"
Before he even stops yelling at you, you start rushing towards Scofflaw.
Youâre not going to give that bastard time to attack again!
"PS: WHIRLING DEATH BLADE DEFENSE"
Unencumbered by Slickâs weight, you cut down Scofflawâs assault with no trouble!
You canât do that because this asshole just went and threw you way up in the fucking air!
Aw, arenât they just adorable.
You try the tentacles again. You donât wanna seem like a one-trick pony or anything, but Sleuth had a hard time blocking it last time so you feel like itâs worth another shot.
Heh, Slick must be afraid of heights or something. What a wuss.
"PS: Carry Slick in a compromising (but necessary) position to keep him from falling again."
God damn, this is ridiculous. You cannot believe how ridiculous this is. Why canât Slick just learn to fly, already?
Slick tells you that if you drop him again, heâll murder you. Slowly.
"PS: Catch Slick, already!"
You just barely catch him, while Scofflawâs preoccupied with dodging Slickâs blasts.
"SS: Attack anyway!"
Heheh, he looks so short from up here.
You unleash another barrage of fireballs.
You kind ofâ¦ miss the mark a bit.
You attack relentlessly!
Unfortunately, Scofflaw dodges your attacks. But he sure as hell isnât scoffing anymore!
You canât relax yet, though. Youâve still got the INKWELL, and youâre pretty sure Sleuth still needs it.
Besides, thereâs no way that idiotâs going to be able to take down Scofflaw without you.
You tell Boxcars to throw you again.
"SS: Land already!"
Boxcars catches you. You take back what you said about killing him. Youâre only going to maim him, and youâll do it later.
Sleuth suggests you look down. Before you can ask what the hell he means by that, youâre hit with a barrage of fireballs.
Oh yeah. If there was ever a time to gloat, itâs now.
You tell him all about how youâre going to slice him into ribbons, and then once youâre done youâre going to kill his little sleuth buddies. Then youâll take over the cityâboth the real one and the imaginary one, thank you for askingâand, oh yeah. Youâre going to seduce his girlfriend.
After all, sheâs going to be sad heâs gone, and lonely, and vulnerable. And you look just like him...
You would, except that youâre facing upwards and canât see that youâre about to land on the ship. Youâre still very sure that youâre going to die, and so you shoot as many fireballs at Scoff as is possible. If youâre going down, youâre taking him with you!
You steer the ship so that youâre directly below Slick.
"PS: Block that."
You damn well try, but while youâre cutting down a bunch of tentacles, a couple more knock Slick off of your back!
"!PS: Make them pay."
You send out a bunch of shadow tentacles. Letâs see them block THIS!
You are not okay with this.
That was the first blow to hit its mark in this fight, and it was on you. Fuck that. Fuck EVERYTHING about that. That is NOT OKAY.
Like hell youâre going to show it, though.
These fuckers are gonna pay.
... well, okay, not really. Bullseye would have been if Slick hit him in the face. But Slick DID hit him!
"PS: Defend yourself!"
You block the onslaught of purple flame with your trusty new blade, Nippâno wait, Nibbleâ wait. What the hell is this thingâs name, again?
NIBBEFWLCH? How the hell do you even pronounce that?
Whatever. You block the attack with your cool sword, NIBBEFWLCH. Meanwhile, Slick returns the favor, shooting some of his own magic back at Scofflaw.
Look at these assholes! They look like a bunch of idiots. You half expect them to start making out, the way theyâre clinging to each other like that.
Of course, Slickâs presence is throwing off your plans, and you ainât gonna stand for that.
Why wouldnât you trust him? If he tries anything you can just drop him to his death. Heâs not that stupid.
You pass him the INKWELL. He fumbles a bit, trying to take it without losing his grip on you, but once he has it in his hand he uses his magic to REFILL your INK SUPPLY.
Christ, this charisma stuff is strong. It gets in your head. Itâs really hard to focus like this.
Hell, itâs strong enough to make you not mind clinging to this asshole like a damn spider monkey.
He asks you what the hell youâre doing and fuck, his voice is like a thousand angels singing in perfect harmony. It takes you a while to remember what youâre there for.
You tell him youâre here to save his ass, and demand that he hand over his INKWELL.
You crash into Sleuth and cling to him for dear life.
"SS: Get thrown."
If you survive this, you are going to fucking kill Boxcars!!
Pickle frantically tells you to stop and think about this a moment, you donât have to do something so dangerous, he can pull the ship closer orâ
You tune him out. Youâre not gonna get anything accomplished by being a wimp!
"MIDNIGHT CREW: Show your stats. Maybe one of you has a high enough PULCHRITUDE to enter the field?"
Yeah, like anyone in your Crew would bother with a lame-ass stat like that.
Your magic cannot penetrate the field of EXTREME CHARISMA surrounding Sleuth and Scofflaw.
You need to get up close to them somehow!
Fine, if Scofflawâs gonna cheat, then two can play at that game! Ainât like heâs the only one with shadow magic over here.
Whyâs Scofflaw using his shadow magic on his INKWELL like that?
Shit! Heâs using his shadow magic to REFILL his INK SUPPLY! If he keeps that up, he could keep his Sepulchritude going indefinitely!
"SS: Watch in awe."
Goddamn, look at these sparkly bastards go.
Pickle notes that they donât seem to be accomplishing much. Theyâre evenly matched.
You say thatâs okay though, right? Thereâs a time limit on that Sepulchri-whatever. Scofflaw initiated it first, so Sleuthâs just gotta distract him âtil he runs out of ink and burns up.
Pickle says heâs not so sure about thatâlook there.
The DOUBLE COMMUNION gives you a headache.
You flip the fuck into bed.
Unfortunately, Scofflaw gets the same idea! He also tries to COMMUNE with the WEASEL KING.
You attempt to COMMUNE with the WEASEL KING.
Fuck these assholes and their incredibly stupid-looking outfits. You can put an end to this bullshit in one shot.
â¦ Or so you thought. Your bullets burn up and disintegrate in the divine light of their combined PULCHRITUDE. God damn it.
"PS: Duel to the death!!"
Like you even need to be told to do that.
Scofflaw commends you on finding a new sword. Real lucky turn of events, that. Not that itâll do you any good. But hey, at least your last battle will be an exciting one, eh?
You are really going to enjoy stabbing that smug grin off of his face. You know, as soon as you actually manage to get a hit in.
Dame covers your eyes.
Both of these guys look like idiots.
"PS: Make some magic."
You put the NIB on the PEN.
"PS: Ask PI why that was in there."
He shrugs. He says he didnât know anything was in it, he just got it for you because he thought it was cute.
Itâs aâ¦ NIB?
Was that in there the whole time?!
The PAPERWEIGHT hits the ground and shatters, revealing its contents!
What actually happens is Scofflaw hits you with a blast of pure CHARISMA, knocking you off balance and causing the PAPERWEIGHT to fly out of your pocket.
Yeah, sure. The hellâre you supposed to do with a SWORD that doesnât have a BLADE?!
"SS: Give PS the dip pen!"
You tell him youâll explain where these came from later, but he needs to take this pen and ink. Itâs supposed to be sort of like the Tectrix, you guess, so he can use it to kick Scofflawâs ass.
Your teammates stop you.
Ace tells you to stop being an idiot, that technique could kill you!
Pickle reminds you that since Scofflaw has the Tectrix and you donât, heâd still be stronger than you even if you used Sepulchritude.
Ace adds that it would be fuckinâ stupid to take such a dumb risk if it ainât even gonna help!
No! This is not the manner in which you wanted shit to get real!
You do not approve of this shitâs REALNESS ATTRIBUTE!!
You open fire, hoping to stop him before he can put that Tectrix to work, but your bullets are engulfed and consumed by the resplendent light of divine PULCHRITUDE.
"PS: Oh shit!!"
This is bad. Really bad!
Wait, is thatâ¦ thatâs YOUR Tectrix and Ink! You didnât misplace them after allâthis bastard stole them from your office!!
You are the CHAMPION OF FUCKING PULCHRITUDE!
Itâs like they donât know who you are or something!
Youâre Peccant motherfucking Scofflaw! Scourge of the underworld! The Chosen Arbiter!!
Ohhh no. No no no. He canât beâ he is! Heâs serious!
This little pissant really thinks heâs won!
"PS: Close in on Scofflaw."
You tell Scoff the jig is up. He canât hide behind his lapdogs anymore, and heâs grossly outnumbered.
Heâs gonna surrender nice and easy, you say, else heâll find himself pumped full oâ lead.
"!PS: NOW get scared!"
What the actual fuck?
Your struggling causes you to fall face-first on the ground. You break your nose, which heals instantly. You also knock yourself unconscious, which apparently lasts a bit longer than a broken nose.
You have been successfully restrained.
Damn right you are! Droogâs spell wears off, and you proceed toâ¦
Grrâ¦ you proceed to snapâFUCK. Why the hell canât you break this stupid thing?!
Youâve tied up hostages with Stretch dozens of times and heâs never let you down! Whatâs Droog know, anyway?
You tie Delinquent up with Stretch Armstrong. He stretches for forever, so youâre even able to tie his legs!
"CD: Have an idea."
You take your Stretch Armstrong doll out of your deck and suggest tying Delinquent up with it.
Droog says youâve gotta be fucking kidding.
"HB: Throw Delinquent overboard."
Good idea. Unfortunately, Scofflaw immediately teleports him back onto the ship.
Delinquent has been restrained!
However, this isnât a permanent measure. You canât hold this for more than a few minutes. You tell your teammates to come up with a permanent solution before he can break free again.
Sure, youâll give it a shot.
You ainât exactly a big spellcaster like Innovator or Scofflaw, but you should be able to hold down this brute.
Angry Delinquent breaks the chains!
Youâre gonna need something stronger!
Rude? Who do you think you are, Innovator?
Oh, would you look at that. You still ainât worried. Ainât that something.
"AD: Tie him up! Do it, go!"
Yeah, take that you shadowy asshole!
You mean interrupt his gay little tea party and get lectured on manners by two PIs and NB? No. Fuck no.
His chains would probably just be made of licorice anyway. Useless.
Instead, you ask Slick if heâs got anything. Heâs always tying up hostages, after all.
He hands you some CHAINS.
"HB: Restrain that Delinquent!"
Thatâs easier said than done!
Ace Dick comes to help you in holding Delinquent down, but even working together you canât keep him under control. Hell, even if you could, what would that accomplish? Itâs not like you can keep holding him down for the rest of forever.
You need to tie him up, or chain him down, or something like that! You just gotta think of something strong enough to hold him.
Oh, thatâs a good idea!
You wait for Inspector to finish telling his delightful story, of course, because interrupting would be rude. Once heâs done, you inquire about Delinquentâs weaknesses and whatnot.
Innovator suggests that you try to restrain him, rather than kill him.
It only succeeds in making him angrier.
You burn the shit out of this guy.
"CD: OH GOG KILL IT WITH FIRE"
Youâre on it!!
See, Delly here doesnât really have the IMAGINATION needed for spellcasting the way you or Inny do. So his shadow magic works a bit differently.
In simple terms, he heals from any injury. Have fun with that.
Angry Delinquent rises to his feet.
... and why is it crawling back into the wound?
This canât be good.
"HB: Check again."
Whatâs there to check? You chopped his spine in half. The guyâs done.
â¦ wait, whyâd his blood turn black?
Sorry, chuckles. Check again.
You bury your hatchet right in this assholeâs back.
"HB: Help the lady out!"
If thereâs one thing you canât stand, itâs guys who push ladies around!
Not so much.
"!PS: Get worried."
Why would you be worried?
So Innyâs down for the count. Big deal! Youâve still got the worldâs strongest man on your side.
Whoâs worried? Sure as shit ainât you.
Inny, you piece of shit! Itâs just a scrape! Get off your ass, you lazy bastard!
He says no, itâs all right, he was trying to kill you after all.
He then says that heâd appreciate it if you didnât try to stab him again. He canât use his magic when heâs injured, so thereâd be no point.
Innovator has sustained a bit more damage than you have.
You both hit the ground hard.
You successfully sneak up on him!
Once you reach the end of the rigging, youâre right above Innovator. Heâs deeply focused on his magic, and as such does not notice you.
Whoops. You looked down.
Dame seems to be relying on her superior speed to avoid Delinquent, but you know she canât keep that up for longâespecially with all those tentacles trying to trip her up.
Meanwhile, it looks like Innovator is trying to suffocate everyone whoâs been captured in his tentacles. They wonât make it for very long either!
You can feel your NERVES GAUGE filling up, from both your fear of heights and your worrying about your friends. You canât let your nerves stop you! Everyoneâs counting on you!!
You shimmy your way across the rigging, clinging desperately to the sail to keep from falling.
This is really nerve-wracking!
"NB: Get moving!"
Innovator is floating in midair, and thereâs no way youâd be able to jump to get to him.
You do the only thing you can think of: you climb.
"HD: Oh shit!!"
Seeing Delinquent approaching, you turn to Broad and tell her that youâll handle this lug, and that she should go after Innovator.
She asks if youâll be okay on your own.
You tell her thereâs no time to worry about that, just get moving!!
You donât honestly expect Scofflaw to help, but you figure Delinquent can pitch in.
You tell him to take care of the girls while you deal with the rest of them.
... save for these two, who keep cutting down any tentacles that get too close.
This is a problem. You canât maintain a barrier while using this attack. Youâre vulnerable right now, you cannot allow them to strike.
You drop your shield. Before Sleuth and Slickâs teams can act, a multitude of tentacles rises from the ground and binds their arms and legs.
They are helpless to act against you.
"!PI: Strike back."
Innovator calls upon the powers of the dark gods.
He also looks angry.
The fire clears. Innovatorâs barrier is still standing, but he looks a lot worse for wear.
You fire at the fireball for a good long while.
"PS: Impromptu Caucus!"
You call on Ace Dick and Diamonds Droog to weigh in on the situation.
Because you sure as hell donât believe that thereâs such a thing as âoverkillâ.
"CD: Bombs away!"
The barrier explodes into flames.
You cheer it on. This is the biggest fireball youâve made in a while!!
"CD: Ignite that shit!"
Aww man youâve been wanting to do this for forever!!
INK BOMBS strike Innovatorâs barrier, exploding and covering the barrier in sticky FLAMMABLE INK.
"SS: Show that stickbug who's boss!"
You pull out one of your many deadly shadow magic COMBAT OPERANDI.
That Pickle guy tells you to hit Innovator as hard as you can with your magic, and says something about tiring him out, blah blah blah youâre not really listening.
Itâs not like you need to be told to go kick ass, after all. That shitâs what youâre here for.
"PI: Forge a pact with Death and become his henchman of destruction, thereby becoming invincible and able to overtake !PI."
Youâre pretty sure that a pact with Death would just involve playing a lot of board games and then drinking tea.
Which, now that you think of it, sounds like a lot of fun. But you donât have time for that right now!!
"PI: Make your own barrier."
Innovator responds to your attack with a barrage of purple flame, and youâre forced to see whether imaginary shields hold up as well as shadow ones do.
You successfully deflect the attack, but it exhausts you. You donât have pacts with Fluthlu backing you up the way he does.
But maybe itâs possible to wear him out, regardless?
Innovator blocks all of your rockets!
You and he are evenly matched! You cannot produce enough firepower to penetrate his barrier!
You use your considerable IMAGINATION to conjure a MULTIPLE ROCKET LAUNCHER.
Innovator swoops in and shields Scofflaw from your assault.
Scofflaw scoffsâthat bastard!âand explains that you wonât be able to touch any of them as long as Inny here is standing. Heâs the teamâs expert shadow magician. Turns out having an absurd IMAGINATION characteristic lends itself pretty well to this shit.
Youâre not about to wait around for Scofflaw to start stabbing people again.
You draw your KEYS and tell Scofflaw to scoff at THIS!
You canât do that, because you are NOT AWARE that Slick is hiding a BOON from you!
"PS: [BATTLE MENU]"
You donât like that smug look on Scofflawâs face. You should do something about that.
The Twilight Scoundrels appear on the deck!
Scofflaw says you really didnât expect to escape, did you?
What did you think he was going to do? Let you go regroup, get stronger and come back? Oh no. It doesnât work that way. Youâre gonna tangle, and itâs gonna be now.
"PS: Come to a consensus."
You tell Slick to fuck off, youâre in charge here anyway since your friend is the one at the helm.
Before you can tell Pickle to set a course, though, the sky goes dark.
This canât be good.
You continue arguing with Slick, while Deuce and Boxcars try to convince you both to just blow the Cathedral up and be done with it.
Meanwhile, Pickle reunites the girls with their weapons. Apparently heâs been carrying them around the whole time.
"Be Problem Sleuth."
You are now Problem Sleuth, and you are discussing with Slick where you should go from here.
He says that now that weâve got our teams together, we should attack Scofflaw before he gets a chance to do anything else.
You tell him you understand where heâs coming from, but it would be better to go home and regroup, maybe gain a few levels and see what you can do about getting some extra lives. Scofflawâs dangerous, you canât take any chances.
Slick says fuck that, that asshole took his eye and he ainât lettinâ him get away with that.
"Days ago (but not many)..."
Three figures stalk the Imaginary City, displeased with the fruits of their weeks of searching.
Or lack thereof.
We canât get back, one explains. Whatever you did, we canât replicate it. Weâre stuck.
The other proclaims that heâs got a wife and kid, dammit, heâs gotta get home!
The first shakes his head and sighs. He wants to return as well, but he just canât find a way.
The third is unmoved, and wears the same grin heâs had the whole time. He says, you know, this place ainât bad. Itâs almost exactly like where we came from.
Almost, the first responds, but not exactly. Itâs not the same.
But it can be, the third insists. Itâll just take a little elbow grease, is all.
We can change this world. We can make it ours.
You ainât gonna let this stand.
You radio up Scofflaw and Innovator and tell them you got a problem.
"Be Angry Delinquent."
You are Angry Delinquent and youâre PRETTY DAMN ANGRY.
You just followed that little Scofflaw-wannabe up a bunch of flights of stairs, jumped over barrels like a goddamn idiot, and walked in here to see that not only has he gotten away, but he took the dames with him!
Once the makeouts have died down, everyone begins discussing what they should do next.
"NB: Smooch your boyfriend."
"Be Nervous Broad."
You sidestep the argument/makeout session going on between Sleuth and Dame and seek out your boyfriend, whoâs busy at the shipâs helm.
He smiles and offers you a Fancy Santa, in case the fall frayed your nerves.
If this man were any sweeter, you would have cavities.
You say what does she mean, she made you jump when she wasnât even sure itâd work?! You couldâve died!
She says yeah well you didnât, and then instructs you to quit bitching and kiss her.
Slick starts screaming at you about what the fuck, where the fuck did you come from, was dying once today not enough for you or something?! Just, just fuckinâ jumpin out of the fuckin air, what even the fuck.
You ask him what happened to his eye.
He says Scofflaw happened, what the fuck do you think?
Dame comes out of her daze and proclaims that she canât believe her stupid plan worked.
Thank GPI youâre a protagonist, otherwise that could have sucked.
Oh who are you kidding, that still sucked. But at least youâre alive.
OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK
"PS: Go on then, get to swinging!"
This is extremely nerve-wracking!
"PS: Ask Dame about her plan."
Dame ties a length of rope to the window frame and explains.
The ship is approaching, but the windows in this room face parallel to the shipâs course. You canât jump on it from that angle. But if you swing from this rope, youâll be able to get the right angle and jump on the ship as it approaches.
You say that sounds like a good idea, and then if it looks like you cant make the jump youâll just not jump, right?
She says yeah, sure.
"PS: Do as the lady says."
Youâre not sure you like the sound of this, but youâre not about to argue with Dame when sheâs got a plan.
"PS: Look out the window."
In the distance you can seeâ¦ a candy ship!
It must be Pickle! And the others are probably with him, since his politeness would prevent him from leaving them behind.
Dame suggests you jump onto the ship. You say maybe, once the shipâs a little closer, but youâre not sure about the angleâ¦
She tells you to shoot the window out.
Shit, you almost forgot about that. Canât you just reunite with your girlfriend in peace?
You tell her youâve gotta keep moving, Delinquentâs coming and heâs not happy. She tells you that the other side of the towerâs no good, youâre liable to run into Scofflaw. You tell her you prefer maybe-Scofflaw over definitely-Delinquent any day of the fucking week.
Broad interrupts your discussion to suggest that you take a look out the window.
"PS: Smooch the dame."
You smooch the fuck out of that dame.
And then you frantically ask her if sheâs okay, sheâs not hurt is she, Scofflaw didnât do anything horrible to her?
She assures you that she and Broad are okay. Your concern (and your awesome smooching skills) have neutralized her bad mood.
"PS: Look behind you."
Itâs Dame and Broad!
Dame looks kind of miffed. She says you took your sweet time gettinâ here, didnât you?
Broad seems disappointed that Pickle isnât with you.
You finally reach the top of the tower. You wish you could stop and take a break, but with Delinquent on your heels, itâs a bad idea.
Oh well. Itâs all downhill from here, at least.
You hear someone clear their throat behind you, in a very deliberate fashion.
Luckily, you come upon a landing that has some barrels and boxes and shit. You throw several of them down the stairs to slow Delinquent down, then you run like hell up the next flight of stairs.
"PS: Taunt Delinquent with insults."
Oh HELL no.
Your AD can lift trucks and take several gunshot wounds without slowing down. This one has that, plus shadow magic.
You only have one life left, you are NOT fucking around with this guy.
"PS: Look out window!"
There arenât any windows, so you look down the stairwell instead.
Oh shit! Angry Delinquentâs down there, and you poking your head down made him notice you!
"Be Problem Sleuth."
You are Problem Sleuth and you are RUNNING LIKE HELL.
This tower is tall as fuck, but youâre determined to make it back to your friends before they can get hurt. Fuck, you hope Scofflaw hasnât killed Slick or something. Youâre pretty sure Droog would kill you for letting it happen.
He conjures up a CANDY JUNK.
You donât know why he didnât go with something more badass, like a jet or a rocket or something, but whatever. It flies.
"SS: Give orders."
You tell that Pickle guy to use his gay imagination powers to imagine up a faster way up this fuckinâ tower. You ainât climbing this shit.
He agrees and salutes like a weirdo. God, this guyâs a dork.
"SS: Return to the Cathedral."
When you get there, your asshole Crewmates have finally arrived and are waiting for you.
Oh, and you guess Sleuthâs friends are there too.
Everyone notices your eye right off the bat and starts grilling you on it, like itâs motherfuckinâ twenty questions or some shit. You tell them to shut the fuck up about it, you ran into Scofflaw and thatâs all that needs to be said about that.
Pickle Inspector asks where Sleuth is. He assumed heâd be with you.
You shrug and say heâll catch up later, but for now we gotta get our asses moving.
You stow the pen and ink in your deck of cards, pocket her number, doff your cap and hit the road.
Damn youâre slick. You cannot believe how slick you are. Theyâre gonna have to call you Spades Unbelievably Slick from now on.
"SS: See what it is."
Itâs a piece of paper.
With her phone number on it. Score!
You strike a badass, nonchalant hat-donning pose. Fuckinâ nailed it.
Sheâs got the bottle in her hand, but she seems to have something else, too. She says itâs for you.
She scurries off to find a spare bottle of INK OF SQUID PRO QUO.
This is such bullshit. Here you did all the damn work and Sleuthâs getting all the loot. Where the hell was he when you got your eye stabbed out, huh? Just lying on the ground, too busy being dead to help you. Fuckinâ asshole.
The hell with this. You ainât givinâ this to Sleuth. Youâre hawking it next chance you get.
Youâre not sure what this is, besides the fact that itâs gold and you can probably sell it for a pretty penny.
She tells you itâs a dip pen.
You say oh, like that stupid feather Sleuth has.
She says yes, this pen is one of several WRITING IMPLEMENTS used by the Arbiters of ancient times. The TECTRIX is another of those IMPLEMENTS.
This one lost its NIB long ago, so itâs kind of useless, but she figures that the Arbiter should have it nonetheless.
"SS: WHAT'S IN THE BOX JACK???"
Your name ainât Jack, and youâll gut anyone who says otherwise.
You open the box.
"SS: Problem Sleuth?"
She says, heâs the CHOSEN ARBITER, isnât he?
You say you guess so, what of it?
She says she came across this ancient artifact a long time ago, someone paid her for a painting with it. Itâs got the seal of the Arbiter on it. She thinks he should have it.
You ask what itâs supposed to be, some sort of box?
She says the artifact is whatâs inside the box.
She thinks youâre kidding and laughs her ass off.
Dammit, youâre not trying to be funny, youâre trying to be suave. How do you suck so hard at this?!
She tells you itâs nothing like that, itâs actually about your friend.
She laughs and says youâre not very poetic, are you?
You frown, but then she says thatâs okay, she isnât either. Thatâs why sheâs a painter, not a poet.
You say haha yeah, and youâre about to just tell her sheâs got a nice rack when she asks you if youâd be willing to do her one more favor.
She gives you a kiss on the forehead as thanks, and also for being such a good patient.
You contemplate grabbing her ass. Thatâs the right thing to do here, right? No, no wait no, this is a classy dame, classy dames donât like getting groped like that. Shit, what the hell do classy dames like?
She mistakes your indecision for shyness, and giggles. Apparently she thinks youâre cute now. Cute like a damn kitten or some shit. Fucking hell.
"SS: Receive first aid."
Ms. Paint cleans out the wound and stitches it up for you. It hurts like hell, but it ainât like youâve never been stitched up before.
Granted youâve never gotten stitches on your fucking eye before, but youâve never been stitched up by anyone this cute either. It evens out. Usually itâs Droog doing the stitching, and instead of getting calm shooshes you get a bunch of high-and-mighty âI told you soâsâ.
You could stand to get shooshed by this dame more often. Damn, she really is good at first aid, too. Sheâs a keeper.
You leg it back to Paintâs place and hand her the painting. Despite your attempts to hide your injury behind your hair, she notices your eye right off.
She flips out, asking you if youâre okay and what happened and whereâs your friend, is he okay? Heâs not hurt too, is he?
You tell her to calm down. Sleuthâsâ¦ heâs just lagging behind a bit, yeah. Heâs fine.
She says sheâll get her first-aid kit. You canât just leave the wound alone like that.
"Be Spades Slick."
You are Spades Slick, and youâre in AN INCREDIBLY SHITTY MOOD.
Not just because of the fact that youâre now down an eyeball, although that is a pretty good part of it. No, youâre also pissed because you just walked outside and your Crew STILL ISNâT HERE YET.
Theyâre are probably off doing stupid side quests or getting worshipped by villagers or some dumb shit like that.
Whatever. Fuck âem. You got a side quest of your own. But if they ainât here by the time you get back, every damn one of âem is gettinâ stabbed.
"NB: Look out the window."
Youâre in the Cathedral of Syndetic Ascension!
"NB: Get to rooftop."
Youâd like to, but these stairs are endless! Gosh. Where even are you?
You reach the end of the stairs, but instead of a roof you find yourself in a large, open room. There are no lights on in here, and the only light comes from large, ornate windows on either end of the room.
Dame wonders if you should trust Innovatorâs advice, but you assure her that the logic is sound. If Scofflaw is returning from somewhere, heâll enter at ground level and work his way upward. You would run into him in the stairwell eventually.
It would be best to get to the top of the building and find some other way down, or perhaps just wait long enough that the stairs might be clear.
He advises you to take the stairs up, rather than down, if you want to avoid bumping into Scofflaw.
You thank him for his help and kiss him on the cheek.
He tells you that your gratitude is misplaced. Heâll probably end up killing you whenever Scofflaw gets bored and decides heâs done with you.
You thank him all the same, and leave.
He appreciates your kind offer, but he canât.
He is a Twilight Scoundrel, and he always will be. He couldnât bear to leave his friends.
You tell him you understand.
He says that would be ill-advised. Scofflaw will be returning soon. Inspector could get hurt.
Youâre free to leave and look for him, though, he says. He appreciates you indulging his need for companionship, but he wonât detain you any longer.
"NB: Indulge in fantasy of PI heroically coming to your rescue. Or just joining this lovely tea party, whatever tickles your fancy."
Oh my, tea with two PIs! That would be lovely. Yes, wouldnât it be so nice if Inspector walked in right now, had tea, and the two of you went home afterward?
â¦ you gaze at the door longingly, but he doesnât arrive.
Innovator asks if youâd like to leave.
Dame tells you that if you wanna keep that arm, youâll rethink what youâre doing, missy.
"Be Nervous Broad."
You are now having a VERY PLEASANT TEA PARTY.
You had your misgivings about this Innovator fellow, what with him helping to kidnap you and his having dark horrorterror powers and all, but heâs actually very polite. His tea is to die for, too. Heâs no Inspector, of course, but if youâre going to be held captive it may at least be with such a gentleman.
Dame doesnât seem to appreciate the polite conversation though. She seems very eager to leave.
You donât have any time to lose! Slickâs facing off against Scofflaw and your friends are liable to walk in on the scuffle at any minute!
You have to help them!
"PS: Assess condition."
Well youâre alive, thatâs one thing.
However, that was the only imaginary life you had. Now when you go after Scofflaw, you canât afford to fuck up.
Your VIM has dropped due to your hangover. You chug some COFFEE to recover it.
Jesus fucking christ.
You wake up in your fort, less one imaginary life and plus one hangover.
You bid him a fond farewell.
That was a good talk. You feel like he really got what you were saying.
You say he can keep the painting, too. Youâre already sick of it.
You explain it to him.
You say to him, you say his face is lookinâ a little boring there. You know what would look better?
Heâd look better with an eyepatch.
He asks what the hell you mean by that.
You donât really think it needs saying. Itâs obvious.
Okay, okay. You gloat a little. For the sake of theatrics. Some thingsâve just got to be done, after all.
You get up nice and close to him. He keeps struggling against his bonds, screaming very insulting things about your mother.
If heâs gonna keep that up, maybe you oughtta give him something to scream about.
"!PS: Address Slick."
Heâs got all this shadow magic and he canât even break free of some shadow tendrils. Youâre actually a little disappointed.
You help him along.
"!PS: Send him on his way."
Yeah, this is goinâ nowhere fast.
"!PS: Exchange words."
You tell him that, you know, youâve come from really far away and youâre feelinâ a little homesick is all. All youâre tryinâ to do lately is make this city a little more like home.
And, see, back home? You were kind of in charge of the place.
Sleuth says he doesnât give a shit where you came from, all he knows is that you kidnapped his girl and stole that painting, and heâs gonna put you away for it.
How rude. He must get a lot of lectures from his PI.
You ask his friend to sit tight for a moment, you twoâve got things to discuss.
You tell Sleuth to relax. Donât gotta be so tense. Jusâ gonna exchange words then youâll send him on his way.
"!PS: Exposit on your predicament."
You were just heading home after picking up a nice decoration for your new office when these fine fellows stepped in to say hello.
No predicament here, friend. Just a casual conversation.
"Be Problem Sleuth."
You are now THE OTHER GUY.
Deuce excitedly grabs your and Aceâs hands and drags you back in the direction of the Cathedral. The clowns look on in disappointment as their hero leaves to go blow shit up.
He seems to have forgotten all about being the clownsâ hero. He starts prattling on, asking which type of explosives you think would be okay.
Thankfully for the clown, Deuce comes bounding out of one of the houses before you can start shaking. He is led by yet another clown. He waves at the crowd, seeming to enjoy the attention theyâre giving him. It takes him a while before he notices you, then he waves to you too.
You tell him youâre glad heâs having fun, but you gotta get going.
He says aww, canât we stay a little longer? These clowns are really nice.
"HB: Ask Clowns about Deuce."
You grab the nearest clown and start demanding answers.
He tells you that there had been a prophecy that, since the clownsâ previous hero had died, they would receive a new hero. The prophecy said that the hero would fall from the sky, and that very thing has just happened!
"HB: Examine statue."
Youâre pretty sure this used to be a statue of MOBSTER KINGPIN, the former hero of the clowns. Looks like they lopped off the head and replaced it withâ¦ Deuce? Looks like they did so in a hurry too, the head isnât very well-sculpted.
"HB: Enter village."
As you get to the top of the hill, you can see the village square, where some clowns are congregating aroundâ¦ what IS that?
That is a right you reserve only for LOVELY LADIES, and that ainât no lady!
You cross the forest and approach a CLOWN VILLAGE.
Ace tells you to be careful. There could be clowns lying in wait anywhere, ready to jump out and slap you on the ass.
Ainât nothing gonna stop you from saving Deuce.
GPI only knows heâs too empty-headed to save his own damn self.
"HB: Uh oh."
Thereâs a hole in the wall and your path is clear, but youâve got to go get Deuce.
Ace says wait, hold on a sec there. Donât you know whatâs over there?
Thatâs CLOWN COUNTRY.
Nothinâ but a bunch of face-paint-lovinâ, slap-happy freaks that way. Heâs dead to us now.
"HB: Get blown up."
The explosion throws Deuce clear across the forest.
As youâre ineffectually shoving Ace into the other hole, you look over andâ¦
Wait, is the fuse lit on that thing?
Shit, Deuce is supposed to warn you when he does that!!
Why the hell not.
Oh, well lookit that. Deuce stuck a bomb in the one hole. Maybe heâs more clever than you give him credit for.
â¦ or, you know. His solution to everything is bombs.
"Be Hearts Boxcars."
You are Hearts Boxcars and YOU HATE PUZZLES.
Seriously, who the hell builds a huge wall right in your way, and then makes it only passable by solving some stupid fucking puzzle? Like you even have any things to put in these weird-ass holes!
This is stupid!
The path to the cathedral is clear!
You and Droog continue onward. You really hope your friends will be waiting for you when you arrive.
"PI: Go fight that giclops!"
Droog insists on fighting it himself, and you are no one to argue.
With his new levels, he quickly makes mincemeat of the boss.
It drops 10,000 SPONDULICKS, which Droog takes. It also drops a FANCY SANTA, which you quietly pocket.
"PI + DD: LEVEL UP!"
You both gain two levels!
PICKLE INSPECTOR gains a boost to his already-impressive IMAGINATION stat!
DIAMONDS DROOG gains +12 to his ARTIFICE stat and +4 to his VOLATILITY stat!
"PI: Find the weasels."
You find them and carry out every task.
You tell him that if he had just done those side quests with you, heâd have gained a level or two and that giclops wouldnât have been a big deal.
He says fine. Heâll do the damn side quests.
Ohhh no. Nope. Not doing it.
This is his bed, heâs got to lay in it.
Droog re-emerges from the Brawlsoleum and asks what the hell youâre laughing about.
You scan the area for any imminent threats.
There is a GICLOPS guarding the path!
You start giggling. You warned him about area bosses! Thatâs what he gets for not listening. He gets beat up by a giclops. Hehe.
Droog walks into the Brawlsoleum, looking very much as though he was hit by a bus or something.
He shoves you out and closes the door. Since he looks pretty ragged, you assume heâs changing suits.
"PI: Mess up his sock drawer."
Youâre about to, when the whole Brawlsoleum shakes!
Whatâs going on out there?
And then you refill them with water, so he doesnât suspect a thing until itâs too late.
Thatâll show him!
Oh wow, there really is.
â¦ gosh, Droog, how many shampoo bottles do you even need?
Bluhh, you are Droog and you are a HUGE JERK.
Your interests include BEING REALLY RUDE to VERY POLITE DETECTIVES, wearing STUPID EXPENSIVE SUITS, and wearing HATS THAT LOOK LIKE BUTTS.
Oh god you hope Droog doesnât walk in while youâre doing this.
"PI: Write a witty retort to his rudeness on the back of this note and hide it in one of his suits."
Itâs the perfect crime.
"PI: Bleed on the suits."
It would be a fitting punishment.
But, no. Itâd be the first thing heâd check. Heâll kill you! And youâre starting to second guess that get-killed-and-go-home plan. You donât trust Sleuth not to forget to rescue Broad after he finds Dame.
No, you have to do something more subtle. Something he wonât notice until youâre long gone.
Rude rude rude!!!
If there were a rudeness Olympics, Droog would have every gold medal!
Just broken skin, your skull is fine. You bleed easily, is all.
Although maybe it wouldâve been better if heâd just killed you. This may be your only imaginary life, but you still have a real life left. Then you could just wake up in your fort and forget any of this ever happened.
"PI: Wake up."
You wake up soon after inâ¦ where is this?
Ohâ¦ oh, dear. Youâre in his Brawlsoleum! He knocked you out so he could stuff you in his DECK OF CARDS!
How rude can one person even BE?
"PI: Explain to Droog exactly how rude he is being, and humanize to him the weasels as individuals with hopes and dreams and aspirations."
You start to tell him the life story of this little guy here, Pete the weasel, who dreamed of becoming a basketball player for the Imaginary City Iguanas, but heâ
Droog cracks you over the head with his ULTRAVIOLENCE CUESTICK.
You black out.
"PI: Employ DD as your Assistant Of Slightly Less Height so that you can complete your side-quests faster."
He says he doesnât owe these filthy weasels anything and if theyâre not paying, he isnât going to bother.
You tell him that even if they canât grant him any boons, heâll still gain experience points for the quests, which will be really helpful in case thereâs an area boss nearby!
He tells you to stop being such an idiot.
"Be Pickle Inspector."
You are Pickle Inspector and you have a SLIGHT PROBLEM.
You and Droog ran across a group of friendly WEASELS. Which would be well and good, but theyâve recognized you as their SAVIOR OF HEIGHT and now all of them have tasks theyâd like you to help them with.
You donât mind a sidequest or two, but youâre not sure if you have time for all of them. At the same time, it would be rude to accept some but refuse othersâ¦ oh gosh, what shall you do?
Propped up on the altar is Ms. Paintâs PAINTING! In front of it, however, is Peccant Scofflaw.
He smiles and says itâs awful nice to see you two. Youâve got some catching up to do.
All at once, the candles and lanterns alight with purple flame.
"SS: Head inside."
Itâs pitch black in here.
Sleuth wonders why none of the candles are lit.
A voice from farther inside offers to get the lights for you.
You arrive at the CATHEDRAL OF SYNDETIC ASCENSION.
It doesnât look like your Crew are here yet. You hope they show up soon. You guess youâll leave a note or something on the door if they donât show up before you leave to give Paint her painting back.
Without wasting time, you and Sleuth enter the Cathedral.
He starts bitching and asks why you did that. You say because he was getting in the way of you putting the charms on that dame.
He says, THAT was your idea of being charming? You were a total creep.
You say well fuck you.
He asks what was your Pulchritude stat, again?
You say Pulchritudeâs for sissies, fuck that shit.
He asks if you want any pointers.
You say no, now letâs go before that dumbass thief gets away.
You gotta get chuckles outta here before he ruins your chances with this classy dame. You shove him out the door, telling Paint that youâll find her painting, donât even worry.
She thanks you and wishes you luck as you leave.
Once youâre outside, Sleuthâs chuckles devolve into uproarious laughter.
More like, abscond into your bedroom, right?
No, Hearts would say sunset, and heâs the one who knows about all this romance shit. Itâs a real good thing he ainât here now, else heâd just be screaming at you to KISS THAT DAME RIGHT NOW.
Sleuth notices you spacing out and starts snickering like an idiot.
You tell the elf police that they better give you some answers, or else.
They seem unimpressed by your show of bravado, and explain that a man in black broke into the house and stole one of Ms. Paintâs prized paintings. He apparently escaped in the direction of the Cathedral of Syndetic Ascension.
Thatâs convenient, you say, seeing as how you were heading there anyway.
Sleuth shoots you a knowing glance and asks whatâs got you feeling so helpful all of a sudden.
"SS: Lie by omission."
You donât tell her youâre not a detective.
Sheâs glad to have two hardboiled-looking fellows willing to help with the case.
You hate pretending to be a lawman, but you figure you can keep up the charade for a little while. Just until she gets to like you. Thatâs how wooing dames works, ainât it?
Hitting on a crying dame when sheâs at her most vulnerable? Hell yeah, you are all over that. Nobodyâs slicker than you. Thatâs why they call you Slick, after all.
She seems baffled by your sudden appearance in her home. Sleuth starts talking with the police, and she seems to become more comfortable with your presence. She asks if the two of you are detectives.
Loot would be nice. At this point, though, youâd much rather just stab someone and then frame Sleuth for it.
â¦ Oh. Damn, the ELF POLICE are already here, taking statements from some dame. Looks like someone robbed the joint before you could.
Telling from the paintings, this must be the home of the Imaginary Realmâs most famous painter, MS. PAINT. Youâve seen her work around before. Youâve stolen one or two of them. Youâre not much of an art person, but you know theyâre worth a lot of money.
Huh. No one ever told you she was such a looker.
"Be Spades Slick."
You are Spades Slick and you are SO DONE WITH THIS.
Walking is bullshit. This is what cars and vans and shit were invented for. Look at you, Spades Slick, mobster extraordinaire, walking around the goddamn countryside. Fuck this shit.
And fuck your traveling partner. Sleuth has done nothing but talk, talk, talk the entire time. Doesnât the guy know how to shut up? Jesus fuck, the minute you find the rest of the Crew, youâre going to stab this asshole in the throat.
Sleuth points out a house nearby. He asks if Miss Prissy Slick Prissy-Pants needs to stop to rest.
Scratch that. If he doesnât cut this out, youâll just stab him now and go the rest of this trip alone.
Innovator asks if you would like any tea.
You rush in, damn the consequences!
Youâll save her!!
And the last one is, obviously, Innovatorâs room.
â¦? As you get nearer, you hear voices inside the room. One of them sounds likeâ¦
"HD: Inspect doors."
The first is, as the sign says, Scofflawâs room.
No way are you going in there. Not without weapons, in any case. The guy is pretty quick with the purple flames.
The door next to it doesnât have a sign. It just has an indentation roughly the size of a fist.
Youâre going to assume thatâs Delinquentâs room.
You follow the spooky shadow magic smell to three doors.
"HD: Since you can't yell without attracting attention, do an angry interpretive dance in the direction of the stairs."
You guess it doesnât hurt to try, but you donât see how this helps.
"HD: Locate roommate so you can talk about kicking your respective boyfriend lookalikes in the balls."
Youâre working on it!
You open both of these doors, only to find that they are empty rooms.
There are sure a lot of empty rooms in this place. And you canât find any windows, either. Where the hell are you, anyway?
Well of course you find him attractive. He looks almost exactly like your boyfriend, youâd be lying if you said you didnât think he was hot.
You mean, heâs got that perfect hair, boyish good looks, and as far as you can tell heâs got the same PULCHRITUDE rating, so heâs charming as hell.
Butâand this part is importantâhe is also a HUGE DOUCHEBAG.
And you are going to kick him in the balls next chance you get.
"Be Hysterical Dame."
You are Hysterical Dame and you are SICK OF THIS PLACE.
There are so many doors! And every time you check one you risk walking in on one of your kidnappers, but you have to check them because behind one of them is your best friend, Nervous Broad.
And stairs! Do not even get you started on the stairs. Why are there so many stairs here? This is ridiculous.
Boxcars points to the big TOWER THINGY in the distance. You can see it from anywhere, he says. You can climb it and set something off there, and the othersâll come running. Donât nothing gotta burn.
That doesnât sound as fun, but you figure youâll go along with it anyway.
Youâre not sure if you have anything big enough to be seen from far away. Especially with all these trees in the way! Stupid forest.
Now, maybe if you set the forest on fireâ¦
Boxcars and Ace notice you playing with your matches and stop arguing. Boxcars asks you whatâs up. You tell him your plan. He tells you that maybe that isnât such a good idea.
You donât have much choice in the matter, do you?
This is boring. They wonât stop arguing. Youâre not even sure what theyâre yelling about anymore.
You know thereâs something important youâre supposed to remember, isnât there? What was itâ¦
Oh! Slick and Droog! You have to find them!
"CD: Pick up and put on hat."
You snatch Aceâs hat away before he can grab it, and put it on top of your hat.
You feel really fancy this way! Twice the hats is twice as fancy. Youâre pretty sure thatâs science.
Ace takes his hat back and yells at you a lot. Then Boxcars comes over and yells at Ace for yelling at you.
"CD: Jump on Ace Dick too."
You have all the best ideas!!
Ace wakes up and starts cursing at you, but you canât take him seriously because his bald spot is so shiny in the sun.
"CD: Poke at the bald spot."
Boxcars tells you that itâs lucky to rub a bald guyâs head.
Now you have all the luck!
This is the best idea youâve ever had!
Boxcars wakes up and yells at you.
"Be Clubs Deuce."
You are now Clubs Deuce.
Gosh, last night was kind of confusing! There were the sleuths, and then more sleuths, except the other sleuths were kind of douchebags?
And now you canât find Slick or Droog anywhere.
No way in hell.
You notice the Cathedral of Syndetic Ascension in the distance. With any luck, the rest of your Crew will have the sense to head there.
And if not, you guess youâll just have to return to the City on your own.
You grab a bottle of bourbon from your Brawlsoleum and hand it to him. He chugs some down, and soon heâs awake enough to not be completely useless.
Pickle Inspector wakes, tells you to stop, calls you rude, then gives you a short lecture on manners.
Once heâs done with that, he notices his surroundings and asks where you are.
You say it looks like the WEASEL KINGDOM. Pickle says oh, good.
You tell him that it is not good, because youâve been separated from your respective teams and youâre stuck in the fucking weasel wilderness when you need to be in your city, stopping his evil twin from taking over the damn place.
He says oh.
He is clearly too hung over to be capable of brain function.
You doâ¦ something along those lines.
You call that adorable? A grown man who is unable to dress himself correctly?
Where you come from, thatâs just sad.
"DD: Trade jackets with Pickle."
You are not letting him touch any of your clothes, and you certainly arenât touching any of his. In fact, if you had any say in the matter, you wouldnât be within five miles of this slob.
He stinks of whiskey and despair.
"DD: Attempt to wake PI."
Cool your jets there, buddy. Whatâs the hurry?
Instead, you deploy your BRAWLSOLEUM. You step inside for a quick shower and change into a clean suit.
Canât go bust some heads if you donât look presentable, after all.
You cannot see the âskull thingâ, as it is an abstraction meant to represent Pickle Inspectorâs poor physical condition.
You can, however, see Pickle Inspector, being as pathetic as he always is.
"Be Diamonds Droog."
You are now Diamonds Droog.
You make a mental note: there is one thing more unpleasant than shadow magic teleports, and that is FORCED shadow magic teleports.
You slept in your suit. In the grass. Ugh, grass stains. Those shadow-sleuths are going to pay for that.
"Be Pickle Inspector."
You cannot be Pickle Inspector because Pickle Inspector is too hung over!
How about not?
Instead, you stare at a landmark very close to the sun.
You decide to head towards the CATHEDRAL OF SYNDETIC ASCENSION.
Slick says hell no, he ainât climbing that.
You say that with any luck, youâll run into Pickle on the way and you wonât have to.
You have a hard time initiating constructive conversation, because heâs too busy yelling at you for kicking him.
Eventually he asks where you two are, and you shrug and say it looks like ELF COUNTRY. He rolls his eyes. Great.
You ask him about what happened last night. Those guys used shadow magic, so maybe theyâre using magic to impersonate you? Slick says thatâs not possible, that itâs probably just the usual weird shit that follows you around. Maybe you went and spawned some evil twins the same way you imagined up those dames of yours.
You say no, because then Aceâs twin wouldnât look so shadowy. The guyâs got a shit imagination.
Slick says he doesnât know what to tell you, then. He suggests a course of action: stop yakking and start figuring out how to get back to the City.
You fail to resist the urge.
You would, but itâs only you and Slick here.
When Innovator teleported you or whatever, he must have split up your group as well. Probably to slow you down.
Well, youâre mostly cursing at the sun for being so damn bright.
Surprisingly, the noise does not wake Slick. He must be used to sleeping through louder cursing than yours.
"PS: Trade hats with Slick."
You put on Slickâs hat and pretend that youâre an ill-tempered mob boss with bad fashion sense.
â¦ Except you donât have to pretend that, since you already are. Except itâs not really you, but itâs kind of you, andâ¦ your head hurts too much for this shit.
This hat reeks of sweat and licorice. You guess that not only does Slick never shower, but he also never cleans his hat.
You consider stealing the licorice scotty dogs he keeps in here, but you canât bring yourself to do it. A real man never steals another manâs candy. It just isnât right.
"Be Problem Sleuth."
You are now Problem Sleuth.
Holy mother of GPI, do you have a headache. You tell the sun to fuck right off.
Hold on. Where the hell are you?
"HD: Pick lock."
It takes a while, seeing as how lightbulb filaments arenât the best lockpicks in the world, but you finally unlock the door.
You open the door just a bit, looking to make sure your captors are nowhere nearby.
Looks like the coast is clear!
You remove the lightbulb from its fitting. You smash the bulb, remove the filament and straighten it out as best as you can.
Tada! Instant lockpick.
The room is now pitch black, but itâs small and itâs not hard to find your way back to the door.
Earlier you had used a hairpin, but when you got caught they took it away from you and searched you to make sure you didnât have any more.
Thatâs fine. Youâve got something else in mind.
Ow ow ow stupid.
That accomplished nothing, and now your foot hurts.
Maybe you should just focus on finding a way to pick the lock.
Here goes nothing! HIIII-YAH!
"HD: Examine doors and windows."
There are no windows.
There is a door, and it is locked.
The boxes are both full of packing peanuts.
Thereâs nothing else. Just packing peanuts.
Okay, the handstand was a dumb idea. You topple over and have an elaborate fantasy about Sleuth rescuing you and being really dashing and charming.
You can tell youâre dreaming, because Sleuth is pretty much never that competent.
"HD: Do a handstand."
Maybe if you get all your blood rushing to your head, youâll think up a plan to get out of here.
Itâs a good thing nobodyâs around to see this embarrassing display.
"HD: Where's your galpal, NB?"
You wish you knew.
She got kidnapped at the same time you did, but you havenât seen her since then. They must be keeping her in a different room.
You hope sheâs okay.
Not a bad idea. Rope is sort of unwieldy as a weapon, but it might do in a pinch.
Or you might need it for other things. Rope is just handy overall!
You spare a moment to glare at the chair. You were stuck tied up in that chair all night, and it was not comfortable.
"HD: Explain how you escaped."
You havenât finished escaping yet!
Your first escape attempt was a failure. At least you had the good sense to go to a phone first to alert Sleuth to your plight, but you were caught and re-captured again by that horrible AD clone before you could even tell him who kidnapped you.
After that they locked you in a different room and actually tied you up this time. Youâve just escaped the ropes, but it took you all night to do so.
Now youâve got to find a way out of this room!
How about you retrieve your FIST from some smart-aleckâs FACE?
"Be Hysterical Dame."
You are now HYSTERICAL DAME.
"Weeks ago (but not many)..."
Three figures stumble out of the new crater.
One coughs and sputters. What the hell just happened, he asks.
Another looks around at his surroundings. He asks, where are we?
The third grunts and asks, how do we get back?
For a moment, it feels like youâre being ripped apart. Then thereâs the distinct sensation of movement, but it doesnât last long.
You lose consciousness.
Scofflaw tells Innovator to get you and your cohorts out of his hair. Innovator rolls his eyes, then casts some sort of spell.
Scofflaw says itâs been real nice talking with you boys, but heâs got important crime-type stuff to get to so heâs gonna have to cut this encounter short.
But hey, since you entertained him so much, heâll let you live. Heâs a magnanimous sort, after all. Having you around might make running this city a little less dull.
You tell Scofflaw to release Dame and Broad this second!
He says nah, they kind of remind him of some ladies he knew back home. Heâs sure theyâll join the TWILIGHT SCOUNDRELS with the right motivation.
Slick tells Scofflaw that he ainât gonna take this city from the Crew.
Scofflaw begs to differ.
Confused? Thatâs all right, he says. Happens tâ the best of us.
Allow me to introduce myself, he continues. Nameâs PECCANT SCOFFLAW. These hereâre my buddies, PERNICIOUS INNOVATOR and ANGRY DELINQUENT. Pleased tâ meetcha.
Oh, and by the way. This city? Itâs mine now.
"PS: Demand answers."
Slick asks you what the hell is going on, but you donât know what to tell him.
Youâve seen some weird puzzle shit before, but thisâ¦
What the hell is this?!
You see the face of your enemy.
It is your own.
Thereâs a puff of purple smoke. Through the smoke you can see three figures.
You were about to suggest that, anyway, when you hear something.
It sounds likeâ¦ a condescending slow clap?
You hear a voice. It sounds nearby, but you canât make out where itâs coming from. It sounds eerily familiar to you.
The voice says he was kind of hoping you all would kill each other, but this whole teamwork thing is kind of cute. He underestimated you. Top notch performance, guys. Top notch.
You hate each other, but you hate this new guy even more. You decide to put aside your differences for exactly as long as it takes to make him pay.
Thatâs not at all what you had in mind.
You and Slick both express frustration and rage at this mysterious asshole for having played you like fools.
Something needs to be done!
Droog shows Pickle a note that the Crew received after you left their club. It challenges the Crewâs stranglehold on the city and dares them to come to the docks at this time.
They compare the notes and determine that theyâre both written on the same kind of paper in the same handwriting.
They conclude that this is an obvious set-up.
He just tells you that itâs none of your business and then tells you to scram. You resume arguing with him.
Seeing that this could go on for a while, Pickle takes it upon himself to show the Crew the note, and politely asks if they know anything about it.
"PS: To break the ice, ask Slick about his interests, then inform him of yours (candy corn and long walks on the beach, naturally. You are so smooth)."
If by that you mean âget into a screaming match with himâ, then sure.
You once again demand to know what heâs done with Dame.
He asks why youâre still harping on that, he already said he didnât do it.
You ask then why is he here?
He says heâs got other business to attend to, you know, heâs kind of a busy guy with lots of places to be!
After that the argument kind of devolves into a lot of obscene name-calling.
Itâsâ¦ the Midnight Crew?!
You canât believe this! You throw your hat down in disgust. It was them the entire time?!
Spades Slick sneers as he notices you. He asks what the hell youâre doing here.
A group of shadows appears from the darknessâ¦
"PS: Prepare to Strife!"
You draw your CANDY CORN REVOLVER and point it at the darkness, waiting for your villain to show himself.
Ace clenches his fists, ready to tear said villain limb from limb.
Pickle was drinking while you were waiting, so he is completely tanked and ready to imagine up anything you might need.
Bring it on!
"PS: Head to the dock! ASAP!"
Well, midnight is still a while away, so you sort of leisurely saunter over to the docks.
You wait there for hours, quietly talking amongst yourselves about what kind of guy you think this villain is, what heâs done with the girls, what youâll do to him once he shows up.
Itâs a little while after midnight, and youâre starting to get impatient. Youâre beginning to wonder if youâve been stood up when you hear footsteps approaching in the darkness.
This is BULLSHIT.
Some asshole just copied your handwriting, and for what? Who even DOES that? Is he going around signing your name on shit, too? Why? What is this guyâs PROBLEM?
You are going to sleuth the FUCK out of this.
Pickle says he recognizes the handwriting. Itâs yours.
You say thatâs crazy! Youâve been in your office all day, and youâd never kidnap anyone!
He says he knows. But that is most definitely your handwriting.
"PS: Ask AD to smell to the note."
He says it smells like ink, just like everything else in this apartment, because EVERYTHING IS COVERED IN INK.
Yeah, the smell isnât really whatâs bothering you, anyway.
"PS: Examine note on wall."
Itâs a note from the kidnapper!
It spends several lines gloating about having kidnapped the girls, and then tells you to show up at the docks at midnight.
Now you know where youâve got to go next, but you still donât know whoâs behind this crime.
Something else is bothering you about this note, tooâ¦ you canât put your finger on it.
"PS: Examine teddy bear."
Itâs Broadâs KNIFE. Next to it is Dameâs CHAINSAW.
Wherever they are now, theyâre not armed.
You found a nickel!
Pickle gets angry and tells you to put it back. Donât you know itâs rude to go through a womanâs couch cushions?
"PS: Investigate room."
Random items are littered about the room, and thereâs ink everywhere. Someone was wielding shadow magic, and it mustâve been one hell of a fight. Your girls do not surrender.
Ace says aha, so it was the Crew after all.
Pickle says no, it must have been someone else with shadow magic.
You wonder who else could possibly have shadow magic? That shitâs all dark forces and pacts with Fluthlu.
Pickle says yes, but we already know it wasnât the Crew.
Ace says no, we donât know that.
You say shut up to the both of them. Youâre sure thereâs gotta be a clue or two around here.
"Be Problem Sleuth."
You are now Problem Sleuth.
You and the team have decided to snoop around Dame and Broadâs apartment, seeing as how they were probably lifted from there and all. You open the door.
This place is a mess.
This is no time for music! The only acceptable course of action is to go hunt this guy down and show him your stabs!
Boxcars walks back from talking with the bouncer. Heâs got a piece of paper in his hand. He says youâre gonna want to take a look at this.
This is BULLSHIT.
Some jackass is out there, flinging shadow magic around like he owns the place. Doesnât he know who really owns this city? Itâs YOU. YOU own this city.
Although if he keeps dropping cards around his crime scenes, that ainât gonna be true for long. Youâll end up getting locked up for crimes you didnât even do. After all, why would the cops believe you that it wasnât you, it was some OTHER card-toting shadow-magic user. That ainât gonna fly and you know it.
You ainât gonna take this lying down.
You tell Droog to smell it.
Droog says no, get that thing out of his face, heâs not going to smell anything thatâs been in that swineâs coat.
You say stop being a wuss and smell it, already.
He says fine.
You say and?
He says it smells like ink.
Like SHADOW MAGIC.
The whole damn thingâs out of place. This ainât one of your cards, and Sleuthâs an idiot for thinking it is. Looks like someone just got some random deck of cards out of the bargain bin and started handing âem out.
Youâll fire that bouncer for thinking this was one of yours.
Hold on, youâve noticed something.
"SS: Tear up card."
Or hey, how about you do something that isnât completely stupid?
You stare at the card, grumbling. Droog asks if youâre gonna keep seething or if youâre gonna finish setting up.
You say something ainât right.
He says damn right there isnât, because you sure as hell didnât pull a heist last night. Or all week, for that matter.
Someoneâs trying to frame us, he says.
You say yeah, but that ainât it. Thereâs something else here.
You ainât never met a dame who calls herself âSnowmanâ, and if you did you bet sheâd be a total dog.
You mean, really. What kinda name is that?
Go fuck yourself.
"Be Spades Slick."
You are now Spades Slick.
No need for imaginary drama, bucko. Shaking them awake will suffice.
Once everyoneâs conscious and have their hats firmly back on their heads, you talk strategy.
Pickle suggests that since the Crew fessed up to kidnapping the girls last time, it wouldnât make sense for them to lie this time. He doesnât think the Crew is behind this one.
Ace thinks thatâs a load of crock.
Youâre with Pickle on this one. It doesnât add up. You need more info.
Your attempt was a crushing failure.
He throws the three of you out the door and tells the bouncer not to let you back in. He says if he sees you in these parts again, heâll beat you into a bloody pulp. Then he returns to the club, leaving you and your teammates out on the street.
"Inquire about HEARTS BOXCARS, who seems to be missing. And is probably guarding Dame and Broad."
Actually, heâs right behind you.
And heâs already knocked out your teammates.
Slick examines the card closely before asking you where you got this. You tell him you found it at the scene of that shitty heist they pulled last night.
He seems to think about that for a moment before telling you to leave.
"For the love of GPI whatever you do, do not show them the card. Make up something witty about how you got in."
Oh. Well. Maybe you shouldâve thought of that before you pulled the card out.
Slick snatches the card out of your hand.
You call Slick a damn liar, demand to know where Dame is, and share with him quite a few creative insults.
Droog wonders how you managed to get past the bouncer.
"Inquire about HD and NB."
DIAMONDS DROOG wants to know why, after last weekâs debacle, you think they would even dream of going near those dames again.
SPADES SLICK says kidnapping them was a fuckinâ nightmare, and that if he never sees them again itâll be too soon.
CLUBS DEUCE fearfully recounts the fact that Dame carries a chainsaw in her lipstick.
Slick then adds that those bitches are fuckinâ crazy.
No thanks. Sounds more like the sort of thing Slick would do. Donât get you wrong, youâre pretty fond of pianos yourself, but youâve never seen a guy get as worked up over his piano as Slick does.
Slick says you better stop giggling and start talking, unless you want him to cut you a new windpipe.
The Crew are in the middle of sound checks for their performance. SPADES SLICK looks up from his piano and sneers. He says you better have a damn good reason for showing up here, flatfoot.
You think about doing that for about two seconds, until Ace catches sight of the Crew and rushes the stage. You follow suit, shouting obscenities. Pickle stands behind you, politely suggesting you behave in a more civilized manner.
There. Is this a stinkinâ invite?
The bouncer steps aside and even opens the door for you. Youâre in!
The bouncer politely informs you that they do not accept invites printed on peanut brittle.
The bouncer looks at the paperweight for a moment before asking why a grown man would carry around a stupid thing like that.
Youâre curious about that, yourself.
You leg it to Club Midnight as fast as you can. When you get there, a bouncer stops you. He says tonightâs invite-only, pal.
The three of you materialize in your imaginary offices and head outside. Time flows a bit differently here than it does in the Real World, and while itâs night over there, here the sun is still setting.
The Crew usually plays jazz down at Club Midnight during the early evening, part of their cover. As far as the law knows, theyâre just a bunch of innocent musicians. You know better.
If you hurry, you can catch them while theyâre setting up.
You plunge head-first into the world of make-believe.
Yeah, like you really want to be that asshole! The nerve of him, taking a girly bubble bath with his cohorts while your girlfriend is tied up somewhere. Youâll get them for this!
â¦ actually, now that you think about it, this hate fantasy doesnât even make sense. Everyone knows that Spades Slick doesnât bathe.
You chug down some whiskey, which grants you a small boost to your IMAGINATION characteristic.
You grab the JACK OF SPADES from your desk. While youâre at it, maybe youâll find out why the Crew was stupid enough to leave a calling card behind at their last heist.
This has got the Crew written all over it! Those bastards have picked on you one too many times. Youâll get them for this!
You tell Pickle and Ace to liquor up and hit their forts, youâre mounting a rescue mission. They nod and return to their respective offices.
You answer the phone in a hardboiled fashion.
On the other end is a very frantic Dame, who informs you that she and Broad have been kidnapped. Before she can tell you more, she screams. Thereâs a lot of indistinct yelling and the sound of a struggle. The line goes dead.
"Ask what's wrong."
You do so. Pickle explains that his girlfriend, NERVOUS BROAD, wonât answer her phone. He always calls her at this time and she always answers. You tell him to calm down, sheâs probably just out getting makeovers with Dame or whatever it is that ladies do.
He says thatâs what you said last week, and then it turned out that the MIDNIGHT CREW had kidnapped them!
Yeah, you say, but whatâs the chances of that happening twice?
Your phone rings.
"Ask him about the paperweight."
You ask PI what the deal with this thing is.
He says thereâs no deal, itâs just a paperweight, and why are you even asking about that? Thereâs trouble afoot!
You repeat your performance for Pickle to see. He watches on in rapt fascination.
ACE DICK wanders by and stops to watch, too.
Pickle says that heâs very glad that you like the gift he gave you, but maybe this isnât the time.
Ace says you look like a damn idiot.
"See who it is."
The person knocking on your door is none other than your teammate and fellow sleuth, PICKLE INSPECTOR.
You tell him that he could have just walked in, but he insists that that would have been rude.
He looks particularly disconcerted today. Maybe you should ask whatâs wrong.
"Call up your gorgeous girlfriend."
Can do! Itâs almost quitting time, maybe the two of you can grab a bite to eat.
The phone rings a few times, then goes to her answering machine. She must not be home. Or maybe sheâs angry at you again for who-knows-what reason. You know how dames are.
Thereâs a knock at your door.
You take the KEYS and equip them in your WEAPON slot. Never know when things might get a little rough and tumble!
You take the PAPERWEIGHT too, because why not.
You also have a FLASK OF WHISKEY in your POCKET.
"Check in top desk drawer."
Thereâs nothing in there.
You used to keep the TECTRIX in there, for the couple of days in between when you got the desk and when you lost the TECTRIX, but obviously itâs not there anymore.
Thatâs weird, the INK OF SQUID PRO QUO is gone too. How do you even lose both of those things?
Thatâs strange. The PAPERWEIGHT is rattling. Did you shake something loose?
Your first instinct is to smash it open, but Pickle will probably be insulted. Then heâll give you an hours-long lecture on manners, then probably spend the rest of the week crying. Maybe you should ask him about it later.
You can think of no more productive use of your time than this!
You guess itâs some sort of rabbit?
You wish you could say you got this embarrassing thing from Dame, but actually you got it from PICKLE INSPECTOR. You really donât understand that guy sometimes.
"Take a closer look at the pen."
Itâs just a PEN. You are legitimately shocked that it doesnât glitch into a molotov cocktail or a waffle iron or whatever. Or maybe you just havenât figured out the trick to it?
Whatever. Itâs just a damn pen.
Clearly the card you want to examine is this JACK OF SPADES card. You found it last night while investigating a case. If this doesnât have something to do with the MIDNIGHT CREW, youâll eat your hat.
"Examine Hunk Rump card."
What HUNK RUMP card? Youâve never seen one of those in your life.
"Look at desk."
Just last week you went out and bought a real desk, instead of the collection of particleboard and cinder blocks you were using before. You now keep the old desk in the corner, permanently set up in fort formation.
On your awesome, totally hardboiled desk, you have a phone. It is in one piece and functioning, because what sort of idiot takes their phone apart and loses the pieces everywhere? Not you. Youâd NEVER do that.
You also have a PEN, which you got the other day to replace your TECTRIX OF THE ARBITER. You used to use the TECTRIX to do all your paperwork, because itâs kind of badass, but youâve misplaced it. Whoops. Next to the PEN is your KEY RING.
Thereâs some sort of stupid-looking PAPERWEIGHT on your ink blotter.
There are also a couple of CARDS on your desk.
Lately youâve taken up the habit of pinning various photos and newspaper clippings to your wall. Youâve got a few articles about cases youâve solved, info on cases youâre still working on, stuff like that.
Youâve also got a photo here of SPADES SLICK, the leader of the nefarious MIDNIGHT CREW. Heâs such an asshole. You like to use the photo for target practice with your TRUSTY KNIVES.
You also have a photo of your lovely girlfriend, HYSTERICAL DAME. You absolutely do not use her photo for target practice too. Not even when youâve just had a fight and youâre really pissed at her. No sir. What kind of boyfriend would that make you?
"Quickly retrieve arms from safe."
Are you fucking kidding me?
You are the top Problem Sleuth in the city, and leader of the renowned TEAM SLEUTH. Solicitations for your services come mostly from the IMAGINARY REALM, but they are numerous to be sure. Compensation, insubstantial. It is a chilly autumn evening. Youâre kind of spacing out a bit.
What will you do?
Without a sound, a rift appears in the sky. As quickly as it comes, itâs gone. A low crash rings out as something falls to earth.
A chill sets in over the Imaginary City. Its imaginary residents go about their poorly-drawn lives.