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900557 No. 900557 ID: 11b5c9

186 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 910417 ID: c0641d

"Your coworkers must be pretty dense if they need to have my 'deal' explained to them over and over again. How are they finding out about this anyway? Wanna just shoot the shit for a bit first?"
Candor is the one who works at the bank, right?
"So my latest job involves a guy who I think got his face and LIFE stolen. Is that possible, and on a 1 to 10 scale, how bad would that be?"
>>
No. 910463 ID: 719d94

Maybe if questions are a problem, you could just not ask anything. Make statements instead. For example, rather than asking "Could anybody steal somebody's life and face?" just say you found a guy with his face melted off and his life missing. If Candor wants to respond, that's fine, and if not, that's fine too.
>>
No. 910547 ID: f0fb6b

Whatever. She's got us pegged. Let's ask some annoying questions.
>>
No. 914325 ID: 3443bd
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914325

“...How are you doing today, Candor?”

You really hope that isn’t an annoying question. It’s annoying to you, but you don’t really like talking to people in general, which is inconvenient for a detective anyway, and maybe this’ll throw her off, if she thinks that you don’t care enough about other people, but also maybe it’s just annoying and you’re gonna become another femur on the couch--

“Huh?”

Candor sounds like she just got punched directly in the lung.

“You’re REALly going to… ask me thaaAAAT?”

Oh god. Maybe this was the wrong choice. Why did Amaranth choose to go get drinks now? She was going to return to see your mauled corpse--

“Did you knnnooooowww… in three years… yyyou’ve never ONCE asked me that. Not ooOOOONCE.”

Is the clattering, slurping sound that follows a good one or a bad one? You don’t know. You don’t know Candor well enough… huh. Well, that might be your problem. Three years of her being Amaranth’s roommate, and you’ve never really bothered to talk with her unless you needed to know something about the Gates.

Alright. Your hands are out. You’re ready to catch the… pass. For the touchdown. The social touchdown. You don’t want to… fumble it. You’re not sure why you picked football for this metaphor.

“Yeah, uh-- sorry about that. Kinda dickish of me, right.”

“................rrRRIGHT.”

You suppose Candor sounding confused is better than Candor sounding murderous.

A memory itches at you that says you really don’t want to hear a murderous Candor any more than is necessary.

“So, uh. How are you doing? Today. How are you today?”
>>
No. 914326 ID: 3443bd
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914326

There’s a shuffling sound. You can see the glowing eyes dart around, and then a silhouette becomes clear, and then Candor finally emerges from the darkness of her room. A quick examination reveals no blood on any of her mouths, so that’s a plus. She also looks like she just woke up, so that’s a minus.

“I’mmm… I’ve been better… I had a sssSSTRANGE day at work. And… I accidentally gnawed off ppppaaaart of my hair… but, errrr… I’ve gggGGOTTEN better about chewing up the couch… since we last tttalked…”

You glance aside to the couch. It’s a little hard to tell beyond the stains, but as far as you can see there are only a few unpatched holes remaining.

...You give Candor a thumbs-up.

“And, err… um… I ggguess I’ve been… gggetting into, um, poetry… jjjJUST in my spare time, um…”

She seems to be faltering, but the fact that only one of her mouths is actually slavering is a good sign. You decide to forge ahead.

“That’s great, uh-- so, I’m sorry I have to bother you again. It must be really annoying. Er… to be pestered by me, that is.

“It’s rrreally annoying.”

“...Thanks, Candor.”

“Yyyou’re welcome.”

She certainly takes after her namesake.

You take a seat on the couch, dodging as many bloodstains as you can. You pat the spot next to you. Candor looks cautious.

“Listen, so… do you really get in trouble at work for this?”

She seems very hesitant to sit next to you, and at your question, two of her mouths grimace. “Yyyyes. You know… ssssomeone sees everything that hHHAPPENS in this town. What else… do demons hhhaAAVE to do except gossip? Especially when there’s a jjjuicy hhhUMAN walking around, going to the GATES when humans aren’t aallowWWED…”

You’re not sure how you feel about being described as ‘juicy’.

“That must be, uh. Pretty annoying. Hey, I’ve got an idea. To make things fair, you know. If I ask you a question, you can gripe about one of your coworkers. It’s not like I’m gonna tell anyone, I’ve got like… two friends.”

“Tttthat’s true. Yyyyou’re not very gGGOOOD at making friends.”

“Thanks again, Candor.”

“You’re wwwWELCOME.
...I think that idea sounds. FfffFFUN. I ggguess. Whatever.”

You definitely caught that touchdown pass.
>>
No. 914327 ID: 3443bd
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914327

“You can go first, since you seem to have, er… a lot going on?”

“Ugh!” She immediately scurries around the couch, flopping down into the spot that you’d patted and tossing what looks like a tooth out of the way. “Ssssstupid Mandragora won’t sssSSTOP eating my leftovers that I bbbbBRING in for lunch EVEN though I tell it hhHHOW excited I am to eat them. I say, ‘Mandy, I caught this ccccow FRESH and I am just ssSSO excited to enjoy some RIBS’ and it says ‘of course, Candor, that sounds great’ and then I gggGGET to the fridge and all that’s left is a couple bone splinters.”

“Damn,” you say, leaning away from the gnashing of the mouth on the hand Candor is gesturing very violently with. “That sucks.”

“It’s like, I kknnnNOW it must be hard to have mmMORE than one head and all but it’s not like yyYOU need to eat MY lunch, I have WAY more mouths than IT does and it isn’t ffFFFAIR!”

You nod thoughtfully. Sometimes Chunks eats your lunch. You can relate.

“I’ve been ccconsidering biting its hand off as a threat bbBUT I’m not sure if it regenerates and that might be an HR violation.”

“...I worked at Starbucks once and I’m pretty sure that would have gotten me fired.” You got fired because you accidentally spilled a hot caramel latte on a coworker’s hand. Big difference. “Maybe if your HR guy is lenient, though?”

“UGh!” Candor’s voice seems to be growing more multilayered as she goes. “Don’t get me ssSSTARTED on him--”

You make a motion like you’re about to put a hand over her mouth and then can’t figure out which one to aim for, so just end up gesturing vaguely in midair. At least it catches her attention, and though the mouth on her throat continues growling.

“I get to ask a question now, right?”

“Oh.” All of her lips curl, but she at least doesn’t seem to be close to lunging at you. You brace anyway, on an instinct you assume is inherent. “Alright, I ggguess…”
>>
No. 914328 ID: 3443bd
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914328

“So I found a guy on this job I’m on-- face and LIFE completely gone. And dead, of course. Since you work at the Gates, you know, I thought you might know--”

“AaaaaAAAUGGGH!”

There’s a growling shriek from Candor. Oh God. Why don’t they have any pillows on this couch that you can use to defend yourself?

“TttttTHAT-- THERE WAaaaas a person with no ffFFACE who kept BOTHERING me and sssSAYING that they HAD to let him iiiIIN, he was RICH and he had SO much LIFE but I sssSSWEAR he didn’t have ANY…”

That sounds like more of a coincidence than someone who doesn’t believe in coincidence is willing to let slide.

“Right, right! What was this guy’s name?”

“I dddDDON’T KNOW, some stupid human one… Nickle... Nickle something?”

That’s... close enough to Nicolas. You think. Eagerly, you lean in closer to Candor, dodging the mouth on a lashing tail. “Yeah, that’s the guy. You said he was missing his face? Did he say anything else?”

“I ddddDDDON’T KNOW, he kept YELLING at me, and like, he dddidn’t have eyes, but I bbbBBET he was crying, and I think it is SO gross when humans cccCCRY, and he just kept saying ‘PLEASE ma’am a DARK MONSTER ATTACKED me and I’m ssSSSO whiny and distressed’ and I think that is just SSSUCH a rude way to word it. I had to get security to come ggGGET him.”

Well, that’s at least one thing you didn’t know before. You’re not sure what, exactly, this ‘dark monster’ would be, but you’re also not really sure how much else a soulless dead would be able to tell you.

Candor seems riled up. Her tail is gnawing on the couch cushions. “IS ttthhAAAAT it or do I get to complain mmMMORE?”
>>
No. 914343 ID: 270774

fair is fair — let her complain some more before you ask any more questions. once she’s gotten a little more of it out of her system, ask if she knows what security did with him, or who you can talk to to find out where he is now.
>>
No. 914344 ID: 23dc9d

I don't remember if there is anything else to ask her but I think offering to let her vent a bit with no strings attached would be nice! At least until Amaranth comes back with drinks.
>>
No. 914350 ID: e4db83

tell her you have at least one more question, but let her complain before asking if she wants!! ask if she knows where security would have taken him, & if not, ask who in security took him, so we can go talk to them! after that let her complain a bit more so she can get it out of her system, she seems pent up :'(
(also i love her)
>>
No. 914354 ID: 930d12

>>914343
Yeah, of course, keep the deal rolling.
>>
No. 914453 ID: 7e9c89

yes let her complain more!!! we have some years to make up for. also please ask her about her poetry she is so pretty and i wanna see her smile w all of her mouths if that is an option
>>
No. 914462 ID: 23dc9d

>>914453
Ohh yeah seconding this too actually!! That sounds like a great idea to help improve things between you two.
>>
No. 914467 ID: 930d12

>>914453
Oh wait, yes, I also wanted to talk about the poetry
>>
No. 914495 ID: 91ee5f

>>914328
Let her complain more!
>>
No. 915491 ID: 3443bd
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915491

“No, no. Go ahead and complain more. I’ve got a couple more questions.” You feel… surprisingly good about this endeavor. As far as you can remember-- which admittedly isn’t much-- you’ve never talked this extensively with Candor, nor has there ever been so little property damage or injury while talking to Candor.

“UGH!” She seems annoyed about the fact that you’re going to ask more, but… less violently than before. Performatively annoyed, maybe. After all, she certainly likes to complain. “SsssSSSo my STUPID HR guy. I go down there, ttTTTO tell him about how Mandy kkkeeps eating my llLLLUNCH, and he’s just like, man, Candor, I’m sssSSOOOO upset, you know, and I’m like, uhhHHH, okaaAAAY? Because we’ve talked like ooOONCE OR something, and then he’s like, I’m sssSSOOO MAD because my ROOMMATE just tTOTALLY skipped out on rent and disappeared and I’m lllLLIKE--”

Here she pauses, clearing her throat, and the mouth on her chest picks up the slack in a much raspier voice.

“OKAY, I don’t know why yyYYYOU’re telling ME this and it’s like, ttTTOTALLY easy to cover rent just go KILL A COW or something and leaVVE ITS BLOOD on the DOORSTEP it’s not like it’s a llLLLOT OF WORK, and then just kill him wheEEN he comes back, or something, and he’s like, no no, I LIKE my roommate, and I’m like, yeah I llllLLIKE my roommate too but if she skipped rrRRENT and then came back like nnNNOTHING happened I’d kill her too! She’d uuuUNDERSTAND! I’ve kkKKILLED a couple of her ffRRIENDS before and-- uh.”

The mouth on her chest clamps shut, and she starts talking with the normal one again. ...Maybe it’s good Amaranth is taking so long to get drinks?

“YEAH, so ANYWAY, like, he totally ddDDIDN’T even help. And my lunch got eaten!!!!”

You nod thoughtfully, scratching underneath your eyepatch. This all makes you really glad you work with dead people exclusively. She hasn’t even started talking about her actual customers yet.

“I probably shouldn’t advocate killing Mandy, but you know--”

“YyyYYEAH, I’m THINKing about it.” She slumps lower into the couch, chewing on one of her fingers. “WwwWWHATEVER. What did you want to ask NOW.”
>>
No. 915492 ID: 3443bd
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915492

You’ve never run into a case before where the person who’d died that you were trying to talk to wasn’t actually in the normal Afterlife. It’s strange-- you wonder how common it is.

“The guy with no face, yeah?” Candor nods cautiously. “Do you, like, know where he was taken? You said security dragged him away.”

“OH.” She frowns, one of her tongues sticking out in thought. “UhhhHHHH… like, I don’t really knnNNOW, because I had to keep wwWWORKING, but I think security takes people to the MMmmMMOTEL 666? The one outssside the Gates. It’s, llLLLIKE, intended for people who forgot their Life and stuff, I ttTTHINK. But even more wwwwWWEIRDOS hang out there than at Deimos’s place. They pppPPROBABLY didn’t know what to do with him so I bbbBET he’s stuck there.”

You’ve honestly never heard of it, but you can appreciate whatever jokester was going around the Afterlife naming stuff. It seems like it could be useful to check out, though you also have that date that you conveniently forgot about until now, and said you’d stop by Deimos’s, and also have your contact up top checking out the banks…

Jeez. Being a detective isn’t usually this hard. You miss the good old days of just interrogating some dead loser about how they weren’t actually murdered, just fell down the stairs, and leaving.

“Okay, one more question--” Candor immediately opens all of her mouths, probably to argue, but you plow ahead in the hopes that this question won’t be so annoying that she bites your hand off. “You said you were getting into poetry. You got, uh… you got any I can hear?”

“IT’S MMMYYY TURN TO COMPLAIN-- huh?” Candor looks floored. “Yyyyou want to hear my poetry?”
>>
No. 915493 ID: 3443bd
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915493

You don’t know how you feel about poetry. Do you like poetry? Probably not. Still, this seems like the nicest thing you could ask her. “Yeah, sure.”

“OooooOOOOOOHHH!! WWWHAT a SSURPRISE! Okay! I’ll pppPPICK SOMETHING GOOD-- wait, you’re not just mmmMMAKING fFFFUN of me, are you?” Her eyes narrow suspiciously.

“No, no. I really seriously want to hear it.” You’re being as genuine as you possibly can. If it’ll cheer her up…

“OH… OKAY! WwwwWWOW, I wasn’t expecting this, uhhhHHH…” She looks surprisingly nervous, but you suppose having some weirdo just ask you about your personal poetry is a little nerve-wracking. You wouldn’t know. You’re not really into… art stuff. You think.

Candor sits up a little straighter, fiddling with her hair-- and then subtly yanking her hair out of her mouth-- and then stands up and darts around the couch, back into the darkness of her room again. You sit quietly and wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. Also why Amaranth is taking so long to get drinks. Eventually the sound of clattering claws nears again, and Candor sits back down and shoves a tattered piece of paper into your hand. Even if it’s stained with… something, at least her handwriting is neat.

“Sometimes when I am
Feeling very sad
Or angry
I open my mouth and
Crunch on some bones
The crunching reminds me of
When you walk through dry leaves
And there are bones under the leaves
And the bones crunch.”

...Huh.

Well, it’s certainly evocative.

You realize Candor is staring at you expectantly and fumble to hold up a thumbs-up. “That was really great. Like, I totally felt… the bones crunching. And stuff. Really saw your, uh… spirit in it.”

There’s a pause... and then all of Candor’s mouths twist up into crooked smiles. “RRRREALLY?”

Nice! Nice! Nice! Nice! Nice! Nice!

“Yeah, totally. You’re pretty good.”

Candor looks like she doesn’t know what to do with herself, and her tail seems to be edging closer and closer to you in excitement that you hope is unconscious. “I HHHhhHHAVE SOME MMMmmMORE IF YOU WANT TO hhhHHEAR IT, uh--”

It’s at that moment that Amaranth finally finishes whatever the heck she was doing in the kitchen-- now that you think about it, she might have just been waiting to see how you handled the conversation, because she’s Like That-- and pokes her head back into the room.
>>
No. 915494 ID: 3443bd
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915494

“Oh, I’m so glad to see you two getting along~! I was worried for a second there, you know!”

You’re really glad she has so much faith in you.

“I brought you both drinks-- A, darling, you never drink enough water, I know, so make sure to finish all of this before you head out for your date, alright~? And Candor, I’m sure your mouth is dry after that couch cushion.”

...Yeah, there’s a pretty big hole in the couch now. Amaranth holds out a glass of water for you and a glass of… red liquid for Candor, and now you’re definitely sure she was just waiting to see if you fucked up casual conversation. You’re pretty sure Underworld water doesn’t take any more effort to procure than normal water. Maybe.

Amaranth smiles brightly, one hand holding a glass of colorful something that’s presumably her drink of choice. All three of the other hands press to her chest or cheeks in varying degrees of ‘awwww’.
“I’m just so happy you two are talking so nicely now~! After last time, you know, I was worried-- I was prepared to step in if something happened! But you’re both getting so much better at being friendly!”

...You frown for a second, a memory nudging at the back of your brain, but then decide it’s better to just feel a little warm and fuzzy about Amaranth complimenting you. She compliments you a lot, but it’s still nice. She’s very genuine.

Though now she’s squinting at you, taking a long sip of her drink. You take a long sip of your water in return. Candor shoves her tail in her glass.

“What? Is there something on my face?”

“No, no! I was just wondering…” Amaranth titters behind her hand, and then makes a sweeping gesture. “Is that what you’re wearing for your date?”

“Huh?” You look down at your clothes, which are identical to about 90% of the other clothes you own. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Oh, nothing~! It’s just a little…”

“BBbbBBAD.” Candor pulls her tail out of her glass and takes a long, dragging sip with her normal mouth. “GgggGGRUNGY.”

“...Well, perhaps not in those words, but yes! Something like that.”

You like your coat. It’s fine. It’s a little stained, but that happens.

...Amaranth is kind of more fashionable than you, though.

You cross your arms, trying not to look pouty and instead resolute. “It’s not like I have anything else to wear. I’d have to go all the way back up--”

“Oh, well, you can borrow something of mine or Candor’s~!”

You hear something being spat out behind you on the couch. “HhHHUH?”

“Just for a little bit, dear!” Amaranth smiles placatingly, and Candor mumbles something about poetry behind you. Looking satisfied, Amaranth turns back to you. “She’s probably closer to your size, but I-- ahaha, I have a few things that might fit you as well!”

That’s weird, because Amaranth is at least a foot and a half taller than you. Your confusion must show on your face, because she waves her hands around again vaguely.

“Just in case you were to decide to stay longer than you usually did, I’ve been, ah… soliciting pieces as payment on occasion~! Humans need plants too, you know! It’s just a convenient opportunity!”

...Huh.

“Either way, you don’t have to change! This’ll show her your genuine self, after all~! Just, if you’d like to, it’s no problem.” She smiles again, gaze darting to the side for a moment, and then down to her phone. “Oh, yes! Were you going to go meet her at the, er… cocktail lounge right away after this? You were just asking about the Motel 666, I know, so…?”

Oh, right. You’re not really sure what the best plan of action is now. Lots to do.
>>
No. 915495 ID: 3443bd
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915495

If you think A should dress up for her date, feel free to pick an outfit! You can draw on the doll if you like or just offer suggestions. Like Amaranth said, she has some things that are A’s size, but a lot of it will be slightly oversized because demons… are big.

Of course, if you think she should just keep her usual look or only modify it slightly, that’s just as valid!

>>
No. 915509 ID: 7e9c89

how about a jacket and dress? if you belt a dress it’ll work even if oversized, and jacket gives you floppy sleeeeves <: some leggings / tights too, unless amaranth or candor have any rly cute ideas or wanna play dress up the human
>>
No. 915553 ID: 930d12

Something with a vest and slacks, because I know a fashion.
>>
No. 915554 ID: 930d12

>>915553
And the plan is still the cocktail lounge and the date and Deimos because if we start mixing things up we'll never get everything done.
>>
No. 915569 ID: 235ba5
File 154614795752.png - (156.03KB , 700x600 , yeet.png )
915569

>>915495
i mean, there's no point in dressing up as someone you aren't.
you're a hard-boiled detective who takes a bite out of crime.

maybe put on a more fashionable and less grungy coat, mix up your eyepatch game- you might not be in vogue or whatever but the way you dress certainly suits you.

leaving your comfort zone might be a good idea though- look how well its gone for you so far!
>>
No. 915586 ID: 930d12

>>915553
Oh, sorry, but make sure to pose in whatever you choose. For Amaranth.
>>
No. 915632 ID: df855e
File 154620783243.png - (158.57KB , 700x600 , style.png )
915632

get nice and dressed up...get a bedazzle gun to spice up your eyepatch! and stay on brand w the coat but..play it up!
>>
No. 916642 ID: ee3259

>>915632
This is nice! And it's not far off from your current outfit, so hopefully it doesn't feel weird.

I present the idea of an eyepatch with a closed eye drawn on- a permanent flirty wink! Rawr
>>
No. 918002 ID: 270774
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918002

if they have anything that's already supposed to be kind of drape-y and flowy, you won't be able to tell that it's too big on you (and green would look cute with your hair). hang on to your own shorts since at least you know they fit. and the idea of embellishing the eyepatch somehow is cute!!
>>
No. 918739 ID: 11b5c9
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918739

You suppose it couldn’t hurt to get dressed up. Looking down at yourself, you’re not sure how many days in a row you’ve worn these pants, so maybe you’re due for a change. A date once described you as looking ‘rugged’, and you’re still not actually sure if that was a compliment or because of the lingering stains on your trenchcoat.

“I guess… I could change.”

As soon as the words leave your mouth, Amaranth is practically bouncing in excitement. She reaches forward with two arms to nudge you off the couch and towards her room, leaving Candor still loudly slurping water behind you. “Oh, wonderful, darling~! I think you’ll definitely impress her-- she’s very into fashion and so on and so forth, you know.”

Great. That’s one conversation topic you won’t be able to contribute on.

As if sensing your discomfort, Amaranth continues on in a soothing voice. “Not just fashion, of course~! She has other interests. Mysteries and crime and so on! What else… art, I believe? You’ll be able to find something to talk to her about, don’t worry.”

Even holding conversation about your actual interests is hard sometimes, so you’re not quite as optimistic as Amaranth is. Still, her positivity is a little helpful. You just nod and start peering into her closet.

“Alright, I’ll leave you to it! Just shout if you need my help with anything, darling~!” With a pat on the back, Amaranth turns to head back into the living room, leaving you to get dressed. Your favorite hobby.

It takes a few ill-fitting shirts and being unable to tell which holes your arms are meant to go through before you find something at least wearable. It takes another few minutes for you to decide if it’s date-worthy or something that you’d pull on to go to the store really fast.

Remember when you were just intending to go buy food? ...Damn, you’re actually pretty hungry.

Either way, Amaranth owns these clothes, so they’re automatically 300 times more date-worthy than anything you would usually wear. You hope you don’t look too Christmas-y. After a moment of thought, you pull off your eyepatch and scrutinize it. People wore jewelry on dates, right? You didn’t really own much, but maybe…

This is a little more DIY than you were intending to get, but here you are, hunched over Amaranth’s neat vanity, a bottle of clear nail polish in hand and a pile of small fake jewels furtively pulled off a bedazzled dress on the table next to you. You summon all of your dexterity to press each one into the nail polish you’ve painted onto your poor eyepatch.

...It actually looks pretty good when you’re done. You’re a regular artist. Feeling quite proud of your fashion prowess, you straighten your new accessory over your human eye and then step out into the living room again-- should you pose? You feel like you should pose.

Your attempt at a pose is weak. It’s at least accompanied by the sound of two sets of hands clapping together, and when you look over both belong to Amaranth, who’s beaming at you. Her face looks slightly more blue than usual, but maybe it’s just the lighting.

“A, darling! You look…”

“Much beTTER.” Candor isn’t clapping, and doesn’t change from looking rather exasperated with the whole proceeding, but at least she could manage such a kind compliment.

“Well, I wouldn’t say it like that! But you look lovely, dear. I love what you did with your eyepatch! I’m not sure where you got the gemstones from, though--” You feel some sweat on your neck. “Oh, never mind! And the shirt fits you so well! Eury will definitely be impressed~!” At your blank look, she laughs and waves a hand. “Your date! Well, her full name is Euryale, I think, but she said to call her that.”

“Oh.” You wonder if you shouldn’t have asked what your date’s name actually was earlier than this, instead of internally narrating her as ‘Your Date’. “...Thanks.”
>>
No. 918740 ID: 11b5c9
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918740

Speaking of, you should probably get on your way. You figure that as useful as Candor’s information might be, it’s better to just stick with your original plan so you don’t confuse yourself.

“I really, uh. Appreciate your help with the,” a vague gesture to your entire self, “but I should probably get going to meet, uh. Eury.”

“Oh, of course!” One of Amaranth’s arms plucks the empty glass from Candor’s hands absentmindedly (probably to prevent her from chewing on it) as she pulls out her phone with another. “I told her to meet you at Deimos’s, so you should be all set~! Just call me if anything goes wrong, alright?”

“Sure.”

“And call me afterwards, too! I want to know how it goes~!”

“Sure.”

“...AaaAAAND cccome over aAGAIN if you want to hear mmmMORE poetry.” Amaranth looks as surprised by this interjection from Candor as you are, her gaze darting back and forth between the two of you. Candor seems to be resolutely staring at a discarded bone across the room.

“...Sure.”

“...bbBBYE.”

“Bye, Candor.” You give a small, awkward wave that looks more like you weren’t sure what to do with your hand for a split-second. She probably doesn’t even notice, too fixated on not looking at you.

Amaranth, ever a hero, cuts through the stiff mood with a laugh, stepping forward to usher you towards the door. “Good luck, darling~! I know you’ll be just fine. Be yourself and she’ll be head over heels in no time!” You’re not sure if that’s the result you’d personally expect from Being Yourself. “And good luck on your case, too~! If you need anything else from either of us, just let me know, alright?”

“Yeah, sure. Thanks for your help so far. And, uh. Thanks for… earlier.” You gesture vaguely and hope she can extrapolate the uncomfortable conversation you’re referring to.

Her smile softens slightly, and she reaches forward to pat you on the cheek. “Of course. I have hundreds of years to continue insisting that you’re not the nuisance you make yourself out to be, you know.” The hand on your cheek stills, holding there for a moment longer. “...I’m glad you and Candor are getting along now. I was worried… well, I was a bit worried. You did well with her. I know she can be… er, abrasive?”

You actually bark out a laugh at that. A finger twirls through your hair idly. “Yeah, so can I. There wasn’t anything to worry about, really.”

A hesitant look crosses Amaranth’s face, though you’re not sure why. She doesn’t respond for another moment. “How has your memory been, A?”

“...Fine, I guess.” As bad as ever, but she probably knows that’s what you mean. “I haven’t been writing things down as much as I should. Probably. It’s fine, though. I’m used to it.”

“...Of course. Well, let me know if anything changes with that, too.” Amaranth’s hand finally drops from your cheek, and she moves to open the front door. “How silly of me~! I’ve been keeping you standing here. It was as wonderful to see you as ever, darling. Have fun! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do~!”

You’re pretty sure all of your dating skills are things Amaranth wouldn’t do. “When have I ever messed a date up?”

She laughs, closer to an inelegant snort than her usual giggling. “Of course. I’d never doubt you~!”

A smile crosses your face without you even having to force it as you step out into the hall, one hand raised in farewell. Then you’re off to brave the many, many stairs once more.
>>
No. 918741 ID: 11b5c9
File 154830852629.png - (249.75KB , 700x600 , lad57.png )
918741

Deimos’s bar/cocktail lounge/beer garden is a few blocks away, though blocks are rather amorphous when a lot of the streets in the Afterlife start slowly bending or turning upside-down as you walk on them. You’ve got time to kill, though, and you can’t spend all of it feeling pleased about how hard you crushed that social interaction back there.

You pull out your phone and fire off a quick text.

To: ghost emoji
How’s checking the banks going

The reply back is almost instant.

From: ghost emoji
OH! HE3LLO A
IT’S GO00ING ALRIGHT. I HIT A SMALL SNaG WHICH WAS THAT the B@ANK TELLERS DO N00T PARTICULARLY WANT TO TALK TO M3 BECAUSE I HAVE NO LIFE
AND BECAUSE I AM MEee JUST IN GENERAL
SO I HAD TO CaaaaLL A CONTACT

Oh no.

To: ghost emoji
What contact

From: ghost emoji
DON’T WORRY HE’S VERY NICE AND HELlllpFUL :D

You don’t doubt that he’s helpful, but if the contact is another detective, this could be a pain in your ass. Most of the other private detectives in your area are pretty… annoying. Especially the more upstart-y ones who would be more eager to help on a case that you’re already working. The more established folks are more like you-- that is, they avoid interacting with other people if they can help it.

To: ghost emoji
Did you tell him about the case

From: ghost emoji
ONLY WHAT HE COULL7D EXTRAPOLATE FROM WHAT HE NEED3eeed TO FIND AT THE BANK
DON’T WOO000RRY A IF THERE IS ANOTHER MURDER I’LL ST111LL TELL YOU FIRST

To: ghost emoji
Thanks

From: ghost emoji
THUMBS-UP

To: ghost emoji
Just use the emoji

Despite the quick replies, this conversation coupled with brooding about who else might now be involved in your case has brought you to the outside of Deimos’s bar. You sigh, make sure you haven’t managed to get a stain on your shirt in the short walk, and swing open the door.
>>
No. 918742 ID: 11b5c9
File 154830854997.png - (199.28KB , 700x600 , lad58.png )
918742

Instead of the scream that had sounded as a doorbell in Amaranth’s shop, this one makes the sound of a hundred screeching harpies. It’s pitched to be barely audible over the music playing inside and ambient conversation, but it still makes you flinch.

Alright. You’re ready. Strange minor-key (and maybe backwards) versions of a couple of songs you’ve heard on the radio are playing in the background, and you’re ready for your date. You stand up straight, and…

Realize that along with your negligence in learning your date’s name, you know absolutely nothing about how she looks. Fuck.

Your short burst of confidence immediately leaves you as you dig out your phone, fumbling to text Amaranth.

To: flower emoji
Hey what does Eury look like

You wait for a response. Someone opens the door behind you and grumbles when they find you standing directly in the entryway, and you wince and shuffle to the side. Checking your phone again is fruitless. Amaranth probably didn’t expect a cry for help quite this quickly. She must be busy. Shit. Why the hell would she have so much faith in you.

Well, on the upside, you’re pretty much the only human in this place, so you shouldn’t be difficult to locate when she shows up. Or maybe she’s already here. You just need to wait and act casual until she notices you and comes over to initiate conversation. An excellent start to your date, in which you establish yourself as too much of a mess to take any sort of initiative.

It’s fine. It’s just a matter of killing time.

Which you’re not great at.

Squinting through the low light of the room, you can see Deimos is tending the bar. He seems to be preoccupied arguing with a patron, as usual. The bar itself is about half-occupied, and various other couples and groups of demons are seated at small tables around the room, talking amongst themselves. Some are nursing drinks and plates of raw meat. There’s an area towards the back of the room with no tables and a small stage. For the moment, it seems unoccupied, though a lonely mic stands on it. As far as you can tell, music is coming from a nearby jukebox. Apparently demons are into vintage-- though knowing Deimos, it’s probably just something he found trashed and thought would make a good Aesthetic, whatever that means. The table-less area is otherwise occupied by a small mass of demons, all dancing or gyrating or sort of awkwardly shuffling side-to-side along with the music.

You’re just kind of hovering by the door like a sentient coatrack. You think it might be an even worse first impression if your date finds you here.
>>
No. 918743 ID: c1eaac

go talk to deimos! that way eury can come find you instead of the other way around, and you won't be standing around doing nothing.
>>
No. 918744 ID: f59046

u should check the jukebox in advance and see if there’s any songs to use for either atmosphere or emergency distraction!!
>>
No. 918746 ID: 9fcd43

Yeah, talk to Deimos - didn't we have some things to ask him about the case?
>>
No. 918830 ID: 158da5

>>918743
Yup do this
>>
No. 923486 ID: 11b5c9
File 155123677402.png - (202.09KB , 700x600 , lad59.png )
923486

After 24 years of approximately knowing yourself, your faith in your own ability to maintain over five minutes of steady conversation is: zero. Thank god there’s a jukebox for easy date-activity distraction… not that you really know how to dance, either, but you can cross that bridge when you get there. For the moment, you try to furtively make your way through the throng of extra limbs and spikes to cross the dancefloor without your date spotting you and asking why you look like you’re reenacting an undercover scene from Mission Impossible. Your endeavor is moderately successful. At one point, a pretty demon with a gaping maw in her chest starts suggestively wiggling in your direction and you have to perform a fast series of hand motions that you hope get across ‘sorry, you’re hot but I’m busy, really sorry, maybe another time.’

Finally you push through the crowd and resist the urge to take a huge gasping breath. The jukebox is in sight… mostly. A rather amorous couple seems to have taken up residence on it and are… amour-ing. You peek around them as best as you can to see the screen. It’d probably be impolite to ask them to move, after all.

You’re not sure what junkyard Deimos hauled this thing out of, but it’s certainly vintage. The songs are recognizable to you by name, at least, though you’re not sure if that’ll hold true when they actually start playing. The current music seemed to be Johnny Cash-adjacent, if Mr. Cash was being tortured at the time and also couldn’t play guitar very well.

Just when you’ve decided that it’ll at least be a good conversation topic to get the entire bar yelling ‘TEQUILA’ every minute or so, one half of the couple on the jukebox leans over to fix you with a simpering smile. “Oops! Guess you didn’t know that I’m in charge of the music for tonight and also, like, ever, so payment has to go through me, okaaaay?”

Figuring out payment with demons is always an entire production, and this guy’s surly date is glaring at you even as he himself continues to smile and wiggle an open-palmed hand in your direction. You don’t think you have enough time to determine exactly how many used bottlecaps or teeth this particular customer wants in exchange for playing some early 2000s hits.

You raise your voice to be heard over Johnny Cash’s pained groans. “I’ll be back later.”

“What? Did you call me a traitor?” The jukebox guard’s voice is so faux-distressed even you can tell it’s fake.

The grumpy boyfriend apparently can’t, though, as he leans over even further into your business. “Did you call him a traitor?”

“Huh? No-- never mind.” Talking to demons is the worst ever. What would they even be traitors to? You wave a hand dismissively and turn to endure the crowd again. At least you know what songs are available now, should you need them.
>>
No. 923487 ID: 11b5c9
File 155123679947.png - (262.70KB , 700x600 , lad60.png )
923487

Your attempt at date-prep a moderate bust, you retreat to the bar. At least it’ll be easier for Euryale to find you over here. Deimos is still preoccupied arguing with a patron, but you’re sure he sees you-- ha, just a little joke-- and take a seat with your back facing the dancefloor to wait. There’s a little dish filled with beef tips set out, which is nice.

There’s the sound of something slamming into the bar over where Deimos is. At a glance, it seems he’s managed to spear it with a wooden skewer intimidatingly enough that the large-horned demon he’s arguing with stops trying to get free shots or free teeth or whatever it is that demons argue about. As Deimos finally whirls around to head in your direction, you’re met with a full-body eye roll, so it must have been a particularly annoying one.

“Hey, it’s my creation day and my friend is buying me shots-- you know my friend, right? He’s got the big hair and the multiple tongues, you know--” He’s already off like a shot in his usual rapid-fire voice, banging a glass down in front of you. You’re surprised it doesn’t break. “I know, like, eighty different demons with big hair and multiple tongues! Big hair and multiple tongues are practically default traits! If you consider a forked tongue to be multiple tongues, that’s even more vague! I get around, you know! But nooooo-- I must not be very observant, ‘cause he’s here all the time and he says he’s introduced himself to me and he’s apparently so memorable, so-- I have thirty-three eyes! And his friend must not be that memorable, because I’ll tell you, I know everyone worth knowing around here!”

He starts pouring something lime-green into your glass. You just let him go for it. Deimos’s taste in drinks is pretty good, which is hard to guess based off his taste in decor. As he pauses to take a breath, you finally take your chance to chime in-- “So how are you doing, Deimos.”

“And YOU!” Whoops. Maybe that wasn’t the best conversation starter. “How long has it been? What, are we not worth visiting unless some dumbass upstairs tripped and fell trying to climb up his fire escape drunk or something? I bet you’re here on a case now, huh? Huh? Didn’t even come and visit me just because we’re friends!” He jabs the neck of the bottle in your direction, and you wince.

“Yeah, uh… I mean, sort of. I’ve got a date--”

“Ugh, is she still doing that?” The bottle is, thankfully, returned to whatever bottomless void bottles are kept in. “I told her it’s no fucking use, but no one listens to me, even though my advice is great like, at least eighty-five percent of the time-- but anyway, like I said, you’re not even here to see me so I don’t know why I even bother--”
>>
No. 923488 ID: 11b5c9
File 155123683248.png - (232.21KB , 700x600 , lad61.png )
923488

Thankfully, the scolding that would have invariably gone on for another five minutes is interrupted by Deimos narrowing all of his eyes, and then yelling sharply.

“HEY! I’ve told you before, if you take the whole dish I’m gonna take your hand off with a drink stirrer!”

Though he continues to face you, one hand tapping the bar impatiently, the other raises over his shoulder so that the eye centered on the back can glare at someone across from you, behind him. When you peer up on your stool a little bit, you can see it’s the taller demon from the jukebox holding the little dish of raw meat snacks. Despite the virtual daggers Deimos is hitting him with, he’s grinning and wiggling his fingers in a coy little wave.

“Aww, oh nooooo!” From your position, the jukebox demon doesn’t seem particularly upset at all. “How did you see me? I totally thought I was sooooo sneaky!”

Half of Deimos’s eyes roll while the other half just close, like he’s trying to keep it together. “I’ll assume you’re trying to make a joke. You should get someone other than Sol to screen those before you try them out.” This whole situation is a little awkward, what with Deimos still mostly facing towards you as he yells. You try to subtly move to the next barstool so you’re not in the line of fire.

“Aw, don’t be so hard on him! He gave up his sense of humor for big muscles!” Given what you know about demons, this could be completely literal or another joke. Before the chatty jukebox demon can keep going, though-- and he certainly seems like he wants to-- he finally seems to notice you’re there and perks up. “Oh, hey! I totally wasn’t paying attention before, but are you a human?”

He must be asking for formality’s sake, since you look about as human as one can get in here. Not that you can imagine someone who just admitted that he hadn’t paid any attention to you on your first meeting being ‘formal’. You shout across the bar back at him. “Uh… yeah. Why?”

His face splits into a smirk before he holds up a finger-- not like you were going to go anywhere-- and then turns to talk to someone next to him. You can’t see very well with the lighting, but he seems to be gesturing over at you.

After a moment, he turns back to you, still smirking. “Little rude to not even tell your date you showed up, isn’t it? Off to a bad start, ahahaha! Anyway, byeeeee!” And off he goes back into the mess of people dancing.

Well, at least the entire afterlife knew about how terrible your love life was going.
>>
No. 923489 ID: 11b5c9
File 155123685278.png - (242.43KB , 700x600 , lad62.png )
923489

You pick up your drink and take a big, pensive swig just in time for someone to cough politely next to you. Great! Crushing it with the timing today. After doing that weird thing where you kind of crane your neck forward while finishing your sip to indicate that you were caught off-guard, you turn to face the source of the voice and find…

You’re not sure what league Amaranth thinks you’re dating in, but it’s apparently a high one. A tall demon with what seems to be a mass of snakes for hair smiles shyly down at you, wearing clothes that are absolutely much fancier than anything you own. Before you can bumble you way into a greeting, she’s already holding out her hand, proving that you’re outmatched in social competence as well.

“You must be A, right?” You nod, reaching forward to… oh, God. Should you shake her hand? Should you, like… kiss it? Would that be weird? You just shake it. Too much of a risk. “Amaranth told me to look for a human, but she didn’t tell me how cute you were, ehehe! I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you!”

Of course she’s smooth, too. You gather yourself and lean your elbow on the bar casually, shooting a quick glance Deimos’s way. He’s not standing right next to you anymore, but it’s obvious he’s watching with at least three eyes. ...He looks surprised, but you don’t have enough time to mull that one over. You turn back with as warm a smile as your stiff face can manage. “Yeah, that’s me. She didn’t, uh. Tell me anything about how… you look, either. So, you know. Nice surprise.” You have no idea if these are good lines you’re dropping, and her perpetual smile isn’t giving you much of a clue. “It’s Euryale, right?”

“Ehehe… right.” Euryale continues smiling and takes a seat on the barstool next to you, folding her hands neatly on her lap. “But ‘Eury’ is just fine. The full thing makes me sound so stuffy, don’t you think? Eheh.”

...Are you supposed to agree with that? It seems rude. “Eury, then. Looks like we both have nicknames, huh?”
>>
No. 923490 ID: 11b5c9
File 155123686894.png - (254.33KB , 700x600 , lad63.png )
923490

Eury’s eyes light up and she leans in a bit. “Oh, yes! I’ve heard about that thing humans do… to stop people from stealing your Life, right? What fun! I think it would be so exciting to have a little codename like that, eheh. Is it wholly practical, though? After all, it’s basically impossible to steal Life, isn’t it? Do you all just do it for formality’s sake, then?”

This isn’t really a tangent you were expecting to go on (and an ironic one, too, given the case you were supposed to be working right now). Eury looks excited, though, and this is at least something you can talk about. “Yeah, pretty much. People find it comforting, I guess. It’s a little more logical than wearing a mask, though… at least if you don’t carry ID with you. Wearing a mask is just like-- uh. Well, you know, who’s gonna go around stealing faces?” Who indeed.

“Oh! How interesting! I wonder if face-stealing was common at some point? Perhaps that’s where the masks came from! Can you imagine? It must be quite a lot of work to get a face off!” She holds her hands up in playful claws.

“...Right. I’d imagine-- well. You never know.” You take a sip of your drink before you start just unintentionally dishing about your weird case. Amaranth did mention that she might have ‘connections’, but it seemed a little… what was the word? Gauche. To just start talking about murders right here. You rifle through your rolodex of conversation starters, which has exactly two cards in it. “Uh-- so what is it you do?”

Eury’s eyes widen for a moment. You’d like to say you’re at least halfway decent at identifying emotions, and she seems surprised-- had she really thought you were going to be that bad at conversation or something? Either way, her smile remains constant as she waves a hand in the air with a flourish. “Oh! I’m a fashion designer. Just because we’re dead down here doesn’t mean we have to look the part, eheheh, don’t you think?”

“That’s pretty cool. ...Your outfit’s nice. Did you, uh, make it?” You’re really glad there’s so much to relate on here, you think, wearing clothes stolen from a much more fashionable friend.

Eury beams, nodding. “I did! Can you tell? I only like wearing original designs, eheh. Why trust someone else to do what you can do yourself?”

“Yeah. Good to be… self-assured like that.” It’s a perfectly fine sentiment, you figure. “...It looks pretty fancy. The dress.” The agreeable nodding continues.

...You’re not sure what to do next. The silence drags on for just a second too long, in your opinion, though at least your date doesn’t seem to care quite yet. Fumbling, you glance over at Deimos, who’s been weirdly hovering this whole time-- however, someone takes that moment to holler across the bar at him, and he immediately bristles and whirls around. It sounds like the guy who was arguing with him before you showed up is back. Silently, you curse this oblivious bar patron for indirectly leaving you abandoned.

At least their shouting is some nice ambient background noise... that makes it even more obvious that you don’t know what to say.
>>
No. 923492 ID: 270774

it can’t hurt to talk about Life a little more. she’s interested in it! and you just asked about her job, so now you can talk about yours, too. it’s something you at least know HOW to talk about
>>
No. 923495 ID: 23dc9d

You gotta indulge the stuff she seems really excited about! Life is a good thing to talk about more with her. Also ask to see more of her fashion designs whenever you two get the chance.
>>
No. 923496 ID: 158da5

You could admit that you've always had trouble keeping up with fashion and that you'd like to hear more about what she knows and is interested in when it comes to that.

Life might be a good choice to catch yourself if you run out of topics, though all that irony feels suspicious.
>>
No. 923497 ID: 60f677

maybe ask her for advice on fashion? tips to make your wardrobe cuter (with little effort)? tell her that her stole (shawl? w/e it's called) is cute, and it makes her markings stand out in a.. uh.. striking way! :D
>>
No. 923505 ID: 235ba5

ask her if shes interested in other parts of human culture too.
you're a human, so you should be knowledgeable about that, right?

...right?
>>
No. 923510 ID: 483287

oh my gosh she is so pretty. talk more about life and maybe your job! and ask what her favorite fashion trends are!
>>
No. 923785 ID: 6cf958

definitely talk about Life some more. She's interested in that and she wanted to date a human--maybe ask if she's dated humans before?
>>
No. 928128 ID: 235ba5

>>928127
i literally cannot believe somebody is trying to advertise here
>>
No. 928141 ID: 9876c4

>>928127
Whisper this in her ear, verbatim.
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