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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Luka? Luka! Are you alright?" Jason asked, drawing closer.
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Luka looked at Jason solemnly. He seemed downtrodden for a moment, not looking at Jason directly in the eyes.

It took him an extremely long time to respond as he pondered. It wasn’t even clear if he was conscious.

“... sorry. For anything I said.”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"'Sorry'? You're alive! You have nothing to be sorry for," Jason responded warmly, fresh tears in his eyes. "I thought... I thought I'd lost you. Again."
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“Well I lost you again.” Luka muttered, but not loud enough for anyone to hear. “But seriously, I’m fine.” He reassured, looking at everyone else. “S-Stop crowding me.”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Jason, Luka, and Stella sit there for a few minutes, just relieved that somehow, someway, Luka was still there with them.

The paramedics are shocked at Luka's miraculous recovery, but thankfully they don't have any uncomfortable questions about it.

And with that, the players get another message from Zero:

Code:
Thank you all for playing in The Emissary Game! I hope that everyone found something in this game and doesn't regret the experience! It was a lot of fun getting to play against everyone, and if anyone wishes to play a game like this again, please reach out!

Anyway, it's all over. Here is your money.


Some assistants come into the room with checks from "Zero Games," each one with $450,000, with the exception of Vivienne's, which totals over 5 million dollars, since, as the winner, she gets a share of what everyone else would have gotten had they succeeded.

Code:
Whichever of us meet again, I look forward to it. I don't want any of you to feel alone anymore, okay? To everyone else, farewell!

Alone?

[Please take your time to say your last goodbyes/ask any questions you think you'll get answers to. I'll do my best tomorrow to follow up on any questions. Every player has a ride outside which will take them home, so feel free to leave once you have everything you need.]
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Astrid didn't even reach for her check. "Just donate my prize money to the Fox Harbor Wildlife Preserve," she huffed.
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"It's over, already? Well, that's a relief..." Hazel said as she let out a big sigh.

"Although, there's a few things that I don't understand... What is Max's deal if we knew nothing about him? If Max isn't his real name, then who is he, really? And what of the other me? And I doubt I'll get an explanation for my memory of my great-granddaughter's wedding." Hazel asked, obviously confused about the questions that she have. "To be more specifically, what I remember of my great-granddaughter's wedding was that she was alone at the altar... And yet, the wedding went as usual. It's still difficult to understand what happened."

Hazel then takes the check from the assistant. "I guess I'll give this to my great-granddaughter once she come over to visit..."
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Maximillion whirled around, eyes wide with surprise as he heard Luka talking.

There's the rapid sound of footsteps as a blur dashed past Astrid

"Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!"

Maximillion launched himself into Luka wrapping his arms around him and swinging the poor boy around with mirth and merriment. "Oh my dearest boy! I am immensely happy that you came back to us." He stopped spinning Luka around and merely chuckled until Luka (probably) pushed him off at which point he kept chuckling.

"Hahahaha well I suppose that's the strangest thing I've seen happen tonight. I'm sure you'll go down in history in some medical journal for your brief brush with death." Maximillion exclaimed wiping tears from his eyes with his sleeve. Maximillion was unable to contain his relief and laughter as he collapsed back onto the ground where his joy rang out through the night.

"What moments we have made full of merriment, misery and miracles." he laughed mostly to himself on the ground while some assistant presumably waited uncomfortably nearby for Maximillion to take his check.
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Hazel, don't worry! I'm sure your great granddaughter will tell you all about her wedding on the way home. I'm not sure you ever learned the full story.

As for Max, he's your neighbor! I'm sure you'll see him a lot and get to know him better! He's a great person even if he's a little bit intense.

Both the Hazel's are you! It has to do with that types of players thing I talked about earlier. Basically you're of both types, so yeah it seems like there's two of you, and while maybe each Hazel's has done different things, I can assure you they're both the same sweet person.

Astrid, we will donate it straight away. You're very admirable. Thank you.
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Vivienne seemed only mildly surprised by Luka’s return from the dead.

“Well...I don’t really know what just happened, but thank goodness Luka is okay, nevertheless!

“Still, I didn’t expect this game to end quite yet. Perhaps Zero has simply accomplished whatever he set out to do...or maybe he just got tired of waiting for us to figure out who he was. Ah, well. I’m just ready to start spending all this prize money. Maybe I can afford a new yacht!” She laughed to herself.

“A-And Iris...” Vivienne smiled hopefully, “Perhaps we should get together sometime...if we can.”
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"All right... How do I save the symphonic warblers?" Seeing the messages on the screen, Astrid decided to test her luck. "I know I didn't win the game, but they shouldn't go extinct just because Vivienne is too selfish to share."
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“I’ll... I’ll try to do whatever I can.” Luka responded to Astrid, standing up. “I kinda owe you still—there were a lot of times during the game where shit got a bit existential and there wasn’t any reason to cooperate. But now I don’t really have another use for the money, and it’s because of what those birds can do that I’m here. So if I need to work for you, do my research at college, donate my money, whatever. We can do it.”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Th-that's right, Iris!" Jason exclaimed, reassured that Luka seemed to be okay for now. "How is she... What is she? Are she and Hazel in an alternate timeline where she never died? Is that why there are two Hazels as well?" he babbled, casting around for an explanation.
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Iris walks away from the 'camera' for a few minutes. She comes back later and sighs, though she puts up a smile. "I don't think there's a way out of here and... nothing is really happening. I don't really know anything else either, so... Good luck to everyone! I'm kind of worried, but I'm sure someone's coming. Someone has to be coming, right?"
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Bad Player wrote:
"All right... How do I save the symphonic warblers?" Seeing the messages on the screen, Astrid decided to test her luck. "I know I didn't win the game, but they shouldn't go extinct just because Vivienne is too selfish to share."


"Now now, there's no need for such rudeness," Vivienne replied, "Five million dollars is quite a bit of money. I'm sure I'll have plenty left over to make some donations...Assuming Zero doesn't already have that covered, of course." She added somewhat hopefully.

Datamatt wrote:
Iris walks away from the 'camera' for a few minutes. She comes back later and sighs, though she puts up a smile. "I don't think there's a way out of here and... nothing is really happening. I don't really know anything else either, so... Good luck to everyone! I'm kind of worried, but I'm sure someone's coming. Someone has to be coming, right?"


"I'm sure someone will be able to track you down, wherever you are," Vivienne said, "I'll make sure of it."
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"I have a number of questions myself," Stella addressed wherever the game master's voice was coming from now that she'd shaken off her surprise a little. "But first and foremost, why did Luka..."

She hesitated and threw him a quick, worried glance. "...You know what just happened to him. Why, and how do we prevent it from happening again?"
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Planetbox wrote:
"Now now, there's no need for such rudeness," Vivienne replied, "Five million dollars is quite a bit of money. I'm sure I'll have plenty left over to make some donations...Assuming Zero doesn't already have that covered, of course." She added somewhat hopefully.

“While any donations would certainly be... appreciated,” Astrid said diplomatically through gritted teeth, somehow restraining herself from responding to that comment about being rude, “The knowledge of how to save the symphonic warblers was always more valuable.”
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Code:
I'm really sorry, but Luka's health is an area of mystery for us. We only just talked to him and got him on board with this game yesterday. At this point, you all know what I do, though maybe Luka can build on his prior research with what he learned today. We can also produce some papers on the matter to help him.

As for Hazel and Iris, you two are fine. The door is now unlocked and you can go outside. You'll find you're in a house on Castle Lane. Somebody you know is outside waiting to pick you up.

Astrid, you've already learned so much! I'm sure you'll be able to do good work for the warbler, and maybe you'll have some certain people on board this time.
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"Okay, then what about these impossible memories I've only just recently remembered?" Stella clenched her fists anxiously. "I remember hearing about Luka's suicide now, and he and Jason visiting me that night they disappeared, but I know neither of those things really happened!"
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Luka's suicide is a real event that really happened, though not in this time and not to this Luka, thankfully.

It all has to do with the quiz bowl team never forming due to a certain invested player not being there for it. Luka really needed a support system in high school. Without the quiz bowl team, I think it was all too much for him. Though maybe that's presumptuous to say.

Any other memories you may have accessed are from the morphogenetic field as well. I can't speak to exactly where they were from necessarily. Unfortunately, there's only a small number of timelines that I understand that well.
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"...Let me run with a theory here," Jason said, looking a bit uncomfortable with what he was just about to propose. "Say there was a time where the combine harvester incident went differently. A timeline where I died so that Wesley could live. Being dead, I never joined the quiz bowl team (which is where I met Stella and Luka in the first place, incidentally). This would... lead to what Zero just described. Additionally in this timeline I'd have never met Iris, so her life might have taken a very different direction.

"Going back to the beginning, Wesley is alive in this alternate timeline. As a result the Hazel of this timeline hasn't experienced his death, and is different as a result. This... might be what we're seeing on the other side of that monitor, somehow. Iris, still alive. Hazel, never having felt the need to curse my very existence. And... Wesley, who grew up and lived the life he was always meant to. Wesley, the 10th player, who was able to accept those apologies people had made to me when I had been using his name. 7 players here, 3 players there, just like Zero talked about when the game ended. Separate worlds, boundaries blurred by the Morphogenetic field."
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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There's a pause before Zero writes back.

Code:
That's a very interesting interpretation.

Regardless, there's only nine players, and there always have been just nine.
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"Nine players... Well then, I have to ask, since you said we could ask questions. How did the 'Wesley' apologies become accepted?" Jason asked.
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Well there were a lot of fun things that happened during the games. Lots of people used clever tricks to get ahead.a

In my view, that's a question for the players around you.
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"Oh my..." Hazel mumbled when it was revealed that Max was her neighbor. She turns to Max. "Well, it's a bit awkward, but it's nice to know that you're my neighbor."

"... Wait, my great-granddaughter's waiting for me outside? I guess she's aware of... the issue with my memory of her wedding. Dear me, that actually reminds me. I'll have to ask her about her name." Hazel said as she turns towards the rest of the group.

"Oh, that actually reminds me. There's a few questions that have been bugging us since some time ago." Hazel said, rubbing her chin with one hand. "Who was the keykeeper? We were given three hints to their identity before the keykeeper gave up the key... And more importantly, who is Zero?"
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I'm sure the identity of Zero will come to you eventually...

As for the keykeeper, well, they're the one who sleeps in that master bedroom. You took the key to their room. If that doesn't make it clear, well, I think you'll realize it right after you leave.

Anyway, before everyone leaves, do you have anything to say Jason to anyone here aside from just to me?
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Hazel thinks for a moment... before she turns to Jason.

"Once again, I'm really sorry for cursing you without knowing the full story of what happened that day all those years ago..." Hazel said, giving him a sad look. Then she turns to face the rest of the group.

"It was nice to meet and play the game with you, everybody. Thanks for everything. Now, I need to go meet with my great-granddaughter. I'm sure she's expecting me," Hazel said before she made her way out of the house.

The second Hazel watched quietly via the screen.
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Maximillion hopped to his feet and finally snatched the check from the waiting attendant who sighed with relief and walked off.

“Anything to say to jolly old Jason eh?” He stroked his moustache briefly. “Well I still hope you will turn yourself in or at least explain what you did to the people you harmed. I can’t imagine the confusion, Wesley Naughts parents would have had to endure had they witnessed you, much less the sorrow your own parents would have felt,” he shook his head “I’m also still not entirely sure what this Luka is but I trust you will take care of them too.”

Maximillion shrugged and shivered having left his jacket and scarf inside in the commotion. “Egads this day has turned frightfully frigid, I shall forage in search of a fine drink I think.” He looked back to Jason “Above all I hope you gained something from this, you might have suffered most of all today so I hope there’s something more than money for you here.” He added sincerely.
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Wesley's parents are dead. Have you been paying no attention throughout this entire game?" Jason snapped at Max. "As for my own parents, you need not tell me that, I am well aware. The sheer audacity you display, believing you're the final authority on my behaviour... You don't appear to have changed one bit throughout this entire game. Even at the end, you seem to treat this all as just a game played for fun, paying little mind to the true meaning behind it."

After the outburst, Jason had to calm himself down, knowing there wasn't much time left and he still had things to say. "Iris, I... I'd like to see you again, even just once. If you really are still alive somehow, I'll come find you, unless you'd rather that didn't happen. There's still so much we have to talk about, especially once you've regained your memories. We did not really get much time during this game.

"Luka, Stella, I'm no longer going to live a false life under a fake name. I'm going to be Jason Church, hopefully for the rest of my days. I hope, this time, we stay in touch. You were my dear friends back then, and I still treasure that time we spent together. I'm done losing people.

"Vivienne, I wish you success in finding Iris. I will, of course, do anything I can to help. Ember, please reflect on what happened today. Maybe this is more than I can ask, but please, this is my final request as 'Wesley Naught'." He turned then towards Hazel, but by now she was already out of earshot. Still, there wasn't much left to be said between them.

"Lastly, Astrid... Thanks for supporting me throughout this game. I couldn't have asked for a better comrade," he said with a smile, facing her now. "It's a shame our plans to get multiple people to victory didn't come to fruition, but we tried, we really did. That sort of motivation is exactly what I need right now, the motivation to try, even if I might fail."
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"Hmph." Astrid scoffed at Zero's reply. "If I'm not getting any more information on the symphonic warblers, then I don't have much reason to stay here."

Jason then made his little speech. "It was my pleasure," Astrid replied with a smile. "It is a shame things didn't work out, especially when we were so close, but having someone you could trust definitely made the games much more manageable. Keep in touch. I want to see what 'Jason Church' manages to accomplish.

"Stella, I know we didn't get to chat much during the game, and our conversations were a bit... contentious, but I'd love to get to know you and Cousteau better. Hopefully things will be a lot more pleasant without the Emissary Game to worry about," Astrid said.

Finally she turned to Luka. "I appreciate that sentiment, Luka. And your help and cooperation during the game. You seemed a bit brazen at the beginning, but you still ended up being someone who could be relied upon. I'm also... very glad that things have worked out for you. Truly worked out, it seems. Even though you didn't win the Emissary Game, I think you might be taking home the biggest prize. ...Speaking of taking things home, where exactly are you going to go tonight...?"
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"Yeah, fuck Max!" Luka emphatically agreed with Jason. It seemed he regained some vigor in him at least.

"There's... too much for me to say. And I can't really put it into words, but I think you heard a lot of them already, Stella. And I don't need to ask Zero who sewn me together, and gave me this second chance. There are some things I just know, and I think have this answer without the field."

He grabbed both Stella and Jason, probably a little rougher than he intended, hugging them. "I think you two are like my song. I found my way back here somehow, so I'll make the most of it." Luka backed away again, eyes glassy. But in the sentimental way as well as the literal one. "Good luck with Iris, Jason. There is a path to her, I already know it's possible. So go ahead and try. And you two better keep up with me, you'll be hearing my name in the news at some point!" Luka then frowned, thinking that last point over.
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Finally she turned to Luka. "I appreciate that sentiment, Luka. And your help and cooperation during the game. You seemed a bit brazen at the beginning, but you still ended up being someone who could be relied upon. I'm also... very glad that things have worked out for you. Truly worked out, it seems. Even though you didn't win the Emissary Game, I think you might be taking home the biggest prize. ...Speaking of taking things home, where exactly are you going to go tonight...?"

"I'm... not sure. Maybe I shouldn't donate all my money. If I kept like $5,000 to myself I could probably stay at a hotel for a few days, get some beer. Maybe I should be looking into getting some false documentation--I doubt I could get very far with the name of a dead man."
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Maximillion's face fell multiple storeys as Jason and Luka let him have it.

"O-oh...well...so be it. I suppose things lie like that then." He muttered sheepishly.

"I...uh...." Maximillion paused as he turned to Astrid. "You are welcome to my donation to help with Warblers as well. I have greatly and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and your cunning. I hope this is not the last time I get to test my wits against you.*

Shuffling over to Stella, Maximillion bowed "It has been a delight to meet you Stella Bontempo. You are a woman of grace and elegance and I...would have liked to have been more truthful with you earlier but alas the time for that has passed." Regret was plain on Maximillion's face but he smiled through it "I'm sure you'll take wonderful care of those gentlemen."


Whirling on Ember, Maximillion's face filled with warmth "You have been a stalwart ally and a shrewd strategist throughout this all. I have much admiration for you." He chuckled to himself "All the same...I hope the events you uncovered here tonight don't grace that forum anytime soon due to how...sensitive the matters are."

Maximillion moved over to Vivienne with open arms "Ah the champion herself. No doubt the events of tonight have been hard on you as well. Yet you have proved yourself alert and wise throughout." He crossed his arms "As much as I would have liked to see everyone win I cannot fault your actions. There is every chance in the same situation I would have been tempted to do the same. I would be thrilled if you would do me the courtesy of another challenge in the future."

Maximillion turned to the Monitor. "Ah Iris, it is greatly upsetting that I never got to meet you in the flesh. You seem to be a lovely lady from the time I spent with you as Anna and your kindness truly shined through in this game. I know not what your plans are if any with Jason and the others but I wish you well in them." He paused for a moment debating something in his head before shrugging and throwing his arms around the monitor in a big hug.

As he released the monitor Maximillion coughed slightly "Now, ahem...that's all I have to say really. I will catch up with Hazel soon and thank her personally." He mumbled quietly before leaning against the wall.
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JesusMonroe wrote:
”I'm... not sure. Maybe I shouldn't donate all my money. If I kept like $5,000 to myself I could probably stay at a hotel for a few days, get some beer. Maybe I should be looking into getting some false documentation--I doubt I could get very far with the name of a dead man."

“I would hold onto your money,” Astrid said. “At least until you’ve managed to get yourself settled. You can always donate it later. And if you don’t know where exactly you’re going yet... It’s not much, but I do have a pull out couch.”
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KamiPanda wrote:
After the outburst, Jason had to calm himself down, knowing there wasn't much time left and he still had things to say. "Iris, I... I'd like to see you again, even just once. If you really are still alive somehow, I'll come find you, unless you'd rather that didn't happen. There's still so much we have to talk about, especially once you've regained your memories. We did not really get much time during this game.


Iris smiles. "I feel the same! I'm sure we'll have time to iron things out. So, don't worry about it, okay?"
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"You can stay with me again if you want, Luka," Stella offered with a little smile. "For however long you'd like. It'll be like old times..."

She nodded her thanks to Astrid, then Max. "Thank you both. I'm sorry we didn't meet under less... tense circumstances. Good luck with your research, Astrid. I'll be sending you a portion of my winnings to help with it. Maximilion, if your offer from before is still on the table, I'd like to take you up on it sometime.

"As for you..." Stella continued, turning to Jason. She stared at him silently for a few moments, then finally shook her head and hardened her eyes. "Go to hell," she spat. "I've been trying all this time to find it in my heart to forgive you, but to be honest, you've done nothing to deserve it. Do you have any idea how badly I was hurt by what you just dropped in my lap? When Luka died, you just took off to start a brand new life, pretending the old one didn't even exist, and left me to pick up the pieces along with a note that basically said 'Sorry about the mess.'

"You've spent this whole game bemoaning everyone else you've hurt, but you've all but completely ignored me; hell, you haven't said a word to me since everyone found out who you really are! Ever since I realized you were here, I've been waiting and hoping that at some point you'd deign to explain yourself to me, or at the very least, apologize. To my face, not anonymously in a round when you could potentially profit from it.

"You've had twenty years to at least attempt to make up for what you did, Jason. You still haven't, and now you want to just act like nothing happened and be friends again? You're a selfish asshole, and you don't deserve my friendship."

Her rant finally over, she turned away with an angry sigh. "...Sorry for ruining the mood, everyone," she grumbled. "You especially, Luka. I just can't keep pretending everything's completely fine when it's not."
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Mutt of Mystery

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Vivienne cleared her throat awkwardly. "Mm-hm, yes. Well...That all seems to be taken care of."

"I truly appreciate your offer, Mr. Lauder, but I'm afraid I doubt I will see any of you ever again," Vivienne said, "Well, except for Mr. Church and hopefully my sister. Perhaps we can work something out. But until then, I'm afraid I must take my leave quite shortly."

Vivienne curtseyed and smiled pleasantly. "Still, it was a pleasure playing this game with you all, and I enjoyed my time very much. I wish you all good fortune in your endeavors. That is all."
Vesti and Lauren's Interdimensional Investigations
This CYOA follows Vesti Gates and Lauren Tehra, two detectives who search for the truth, whether in their own dimension or otherwise.

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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Ember had been standing there for a while, watching everything unfold like it was happening in an entirely different world. Maximillion's words seemed to shake her out of it, though.

"... Throughout this entire game, I've had personal things I wanted to keep secret dragged out in front of complete strangers, I've been called a stalker, I've seen more than one person come back to life, I've found out I have psychic powers apparently, I've had to listen to very personal details of other people's lives, and at the end I narrowly missed out on little over a million dollars of payout."

"... But I'm walking out of it with four hundred thousand dollars and a new perspective on my favorite actor, so I'd say it went about fifty fifty good and bad. You were a great ally too, Max. You're a fun person. Maybe we could keep in touch after this whole mess. At this point, I just want to go home and go back to watching movies all day instead of doing this..."
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"...I had hoped we could talk about that afterwards," Jason replied to Stella sadly. "Once we were no longer in this game, once we no longer had to deal with all the other stress. You seemed occupied with enough things that I didn't want to burden you with even more. I understand if you can't ever forgive me, though. I was having a mental breakdown at the time back then, I only really came to my senses once I was far, far away from Fox Harbour, but that still doesn't excuse what I did."
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"If you wanted to talk later, you should have just said so," Stella growled bitterly, clutching her arm. "How else am I supposed to take your constantly brushing me off?"
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“Heh.” Luka nervously laughed. “Just like old times, right?”

It wasn’t like old times.
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