DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 53: Sun Room, Morning
[puzzling]
scarefaux wrote in damned
With breakfast finished and a new acquaintance made, the Scarecrow's mind turned to his other friends. The disappearance of Depth Charge's friend had brought back memories of how he'd felt when Kaiji went missing: helpless, useless, as though he should have and could have done something more to find him. If only he had his brain, then maybe he could have thought of something!

As much as he didn't like to admit it, it was unlikely his former roommate was still within the Institute's walls at this point, though the Scarecrow wouldn't know for sure unless Kaiji returned to visit him as Dorothy had, encouraging his supposed recovery. There was still the concern that Landel, despite his vile methods, was actually right and he was suffering from the delusion of having been a scarecrow in Oz. After all, that movie had been a pretty elaborate trick. Would he have planted it in town on purpose, knowing the Scarecrow would be taken there the night of the enchanted doors? And how could he guarantee that once he did find it, he'd take it and actually watch it? There was so much guesswork involved- it seemed the Wizard Landel either liked coincidences or he had more power on his side than any of the patients could have guessed.

The Scarecrow stopped by the bulletin board before heading for a seat, considering writing a note to his friends to check on them. He'd heard from Depth Charge, Remy, and Kibitoshin within a day's time, so he figured they were probably fine (as fine as Depth Charge could have been after last night, anyway). He'd seen Mele and Scar the day before. He put a finger to his head, thinking- he'd not heard from Abe or Sangamon in a day or so, but being professionals, they were probably very busy. Perhaps a note would be best for them.

[Kibby]

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[HELLO SCARECROW]

Kibitoshin left lunch feeling just a little better, if not a little embarrassed, too. Xemnas had seen right through his attempts to cover his back in no time flat- he must've looked like such an idiot- but at least he'd gotten something back in return. Part of him knew the man was right. Part of him knew there was no way he could have stopped Buu. It was just that every time he tried to remind himself he ended up standing in the middle of one big tidal wave of ifs and buts, a whole slew of possibilities that only seemed to make him feel worse than he'd felt to begin with.

But it had always been like that, ever since it had happened. He'd just been able to stay on his feet while the feeling passed, as it inevitably did- even if it still hurt, he hadn't thought about it properly in a long time. It seemed to Kibitoshin spectacularly unfair that it had been brought back up now of all times, just when he didn't need to worry about the past or his failings, or- or anything like that.

It was a relief to see a familiar- and, more importantly given the kind of people he'd met, friendly- face when he reached the Sun Room. He'd already heard back from the Scarecrow on the bulletin board, if not many other people (maybe he should have put names down like he always did- but thinking about how small the list was getting had been too much), but it was always good to check on people in person. Maybe there was something he could do for the man.

"Scarecrow!" He hurried over, smiling warmly- and totally genuinely. "There you are. Were you okay last night?"

Ah, and here was one of said friends now! Kibitoshin had convenient timing, approaching just as the Scarecrow changed his mind about that note. He could wait for another shift or so- perhaps he'd see those he'd missed at lunch.

"I was just fine," the Scarecrow said with a smile as he turned, taking a step away from the board. Better not block it, just in case others wanted the space. "My roommate was actin' strangely last night. We'd left to find a friend of his, and that didn't go at all well. And after that, things only got even harder to explain."

Speaking of Depth Charge, the Scarecrow saw him enter the room over Kibitoshin's shoulder, immediately taking a couch on the other side of the room. Maybe a brief nap would do him some good after the rough night; in the strawman's few experiences with them, naps did seem to make things better, giving the brain some time to sort itself out.

"But tell me, how do you do today?" he continued, feeling rude for not asking. "I'll admit I was relieved to hear from you on the board, what with the disappearances of patients daily and all."

Kibitoshin’s expression creased almost instantly at the Scarecrow’s mention of hard-to-explain things at night. Did he ever know about that. It was some comfort that it hadn’t just been targeted at him, that it had affected other people too, but thinking so just made him feel bad about being glad that other people had suffered too- not exactly, but still.

“I’m glad you were okay, at least,” he said, trying to drag the smile back out from under the proverbial bed. “I think the same thing might have happened to me as to your roommate. I started seeing and hearing things.”

But so had Haseo, even if they hadn’t belonged to him. It seemed strange to him that not everyone had seemed something- strange, and oddly unfair. But that touched on the wishing-bad-things-on-people thing, so he held his tongue.

“I’m okay now,” he said, and it was only partly a lie, “but I… well, I guess I was hoping to hear from more people. I think I should have been more specific. It was a relief to hear from you too, anyway!”

It was almost reflexive for the Scarecrow to assure people they needn't worry about him, but he had to remember his being human changed things- especially if he really could die, as Abe had said. That being the case, he couldn't help but smile whenever someone showed genuine concern for his well-being. While it did seem a bit much at times- during the night, in particular- it was good to know he had folks he could count on if he found himself in a pickle.

"I was just considering following your example and leaving a note for a few friends of mine," the Scarecrow said with a gesture toward the board behind him. "Given how the Wizard Landel works, it's understandable to be a little concerned when I haven't seen hide nor hair of someone for a day or so. I know I get that feelin'."

The Scarecrow opened his mouth to continue the thought, but was derailed by another. "Wait, the same thing happened to you last night?" he asked, a line of worry crossing his face. How was it that so many had been affected, but not him? Not that he wanted his shadow to start talking or anything- he had enough to think about as it was.

................. *headdesk*

Kibitoshin was already nodding eagerly by the time the second thought hit the Scarecrow. "Uh-huh! It's so difficult to keep track of everyone around here, so... huh?" He blinked for a second, a little lost now that he'd been taken so abruptly off track- but it wasn't long before he found his bearings again. Last night. Right.

... though he didn't really want to think about that anymore, now that the Scarecrow was bringing it up again. Forgetting it had ever happened seemed like the best option- he wasn't very good at arguing, especially not with himself. And while he hadn't especially minded mentioning it in passing, judging by the look of concern on the man's face he was expecting a little more than a 'yes' for an answer, which... wasn't very good. At all.

But it would have been far worse not to answer, not only for the sake of manners but for the sake of not looking like a coward when asked. Certainly the Scarecrow wasn't about to call him anything like that- he was far too nice, after all!- but somewhere in the back of his mind he could hear his Ancestor speaking up: backing out again, are we? Honestly, the youth of today!

"I... uh-huh," he said hesitantly, looking down to his slippers. "My shadow stepped off of the wall and started talking to me. It said some pretty terrible things." He shook his head slightly, hoping it came off defiant- like something Sechs or Haseo would do. "W-what a cheap trick, huh?"

In good news, I felt really special with all those e-mails in my inbox. <3

Though a pang of guilt ran through him as Kibitoshin eyed the floor, the Scarecrow couldn't help his curiosity. If the same event had happened to others, there had to be a reason why. So many questions needed answers! There had to be a connection as to why some non-humans were chosen for kidnapping and stripped of their original forms in the first place; if that was true, there was probably a reason connecting those who'd seen their shadows and those who hadn't, too.

He looked around Kibitoshin to Depth Charge, then back again. Well, their personalities certainly didn't seem to have much in common. He ran through the intercom messages he'd heard, trying to find some sort of a common thread.

"I don't mean to stick my nose where it doesn't belong," he said, crooking his head downward to find Kibitoshin's eyes, "but I didn't see anything at all last night, aside from my roommate talking to himself. It wasn't just some cheap trick- he was certainly seeing somethin', but my shadow was acting just fine. I'm not saying I'd like my shadow to spring from the wall and start threatening to stuff a mattress with me, but why do you suppose the Wizard Landel would go after someone like you, but not me?"

at least some good came of it, sob *hug*

Kibitoshin knew the Scarecrow didn't mean to upset him- in fact, forget 'didn't mean to' he didn't doubt for a second that the man was actively trying to be as nice about this as he could be. That didn't exactly help the fact that it did hurt to have to remember it, but it was definitely worth keeping in mind. He also didn't quite understand what was so threatening about possibly being stuffed in a mattress (maybe it was scarier if you were usually mostly made of tar, feathers, straw, etc?) but he was more than capable of filling in a more appropriately scary hazard by himself.

"It's okay," he said, telling another little lie and hoping karma wouldn't creep up on him, "I understand. My friend- his shadow didn't change either. I didn't really think about it at the time, but..." He looked up, suddenly more puzzled than anxious. "When you put it like that, it makes you think. I mean, it doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't he go after everyone? I mean... he's not a very nice man."

Which, even if it wasn't the most accurate and penetrating character assessment, was true enough. Bibidi and Babidi hadn't cared about who they hurt, as long as they'd hurt as many people as possible. Why didn't the Head Doctor do the same thing? Just as he had when speaking to Sechs, Kibitoshin let out a sigh of frustration. "I just don't understand anyone here! Jill, the Head Doctor, the radio man... it's all so confusing. No one does what they're supposed to do."

That was most certainly true: the Wizard Landel wasn't a very nice man, and given that much, wouldn't he want to cause as much trouble as possible? Maybe his plan was to turn the patients on one another: with some shadows affected and others not, there were bound to be people who didn't believe what they couldn't see, therefore not believing their fellow patients. If Landel's aim was to eventually make his patients think they were crazy and really weren't who they thought they were, having only certain ones see their shadows coming to life really wasn't all that bad of a plan, though it was terribly cruel no matter how one looked at it.

"I'm still trying to figure out where all these other people fit into this," the Scarecrow admitted. He only had a vague idea of who the 'radio man' was, having not carried his own radio in some time. He had even less of an idea of who Jill was- it was strange to think he knew the most about the Wizard Landel, given he knew very little at all about his kidnapper. Ultimately, he wasn't sure he trusted any of them yet. Even though his last dealing with someone whose identity he'd barely known turned out just fine, the circumstances were quite different this time around: he was human, and the Wizard Landel was far more wicked than the Wizard of Oz.

"But since we really don't know any of these people on the other end of the intercom, whether they're trying to help us or not, we'll have to depend on ourselves and each other for now. If we put our heads together, we can do just about anything, I'll bet." He finished that thought with a nod and a smile. He might not have had much of a brain, but even he could tell when someone needed a little reassurance.

It was nice to know that he wasn't the only one struggling with the politics of this place- if there were politics at all, that was. Kibitoshin had already tried leaving all of that to the clever people, but when some of those they heard on the radio and intercom were so obviously in pain like Jill had been... well. It was really, really difficult to ignore them. Knowing that some of them might actually be bad and some of them secretly good, or good pretending to be bad, or bad pretending to be good, and never mind how many other combinations, only made things more complicated for him in that respect- he didn't know who he could and couldn't feel bad for or want to help.

Not that wanting to help seemed to do much. The Scarecrow was right- they'd never even seen most of the people they kept hearing, let alone met them. Maybe the best thing to do was try to be realistic about what he could do. Focus on the people he did know, who he could see were in trouble. That was all they could do for now, wasn't it?

He gave the Scarecrow a wobbly smile- wobbly, but grateful. It was nice to have someone so positive to talk to. Xemnas was nice and sensible, but he wasn't exactly the comforting sort. "Right. We know we can trust each other, even if we can't trust them. I'm trying to get back into healing people and helping the rescue teams- maybe you could do something like that, too!" There was a short pause. "Though Jill really did sound like she was suffering," he added with a sigh, now more wistful than sad, "even if Nurse Lydia sounded okay this morning, and they're actually meant to be the same person. That's what Sechs said he found out."

"Really?" the Scarecrow asked, incredulous. Now here was something he hadn't heard before- the Jill they'd all heard about was Nurse Lydia? But the former sounded as though she was possibly working against the Head Doctor, while the latter was a part of the regular staff during daylight hours.

"Now that I think about it, that does make sense," he mused. "After all, Landel certainly shows his true colors at night, when the Institute changes. Maybe the same thing happens to Jill, and like the rest of the nursing staff, she simply doesn't remember it during the day?" That did make the most sense. Oh, if only he'd had a brain, he'd have put it together sooner!

"If that's the case, then somebody has to help them, too. If they're being controlled, then they're no better off than we are." He shook his head. "I'm just not sure how we can, seeing how we have no idea where to find them at night- Landel or Jill."

Now that got the Scarecrow's attention, just like it had gotten his. Kibitoshin knew it wasn't exactly good for a Kaioshin to gossip, but even so he couldn't help but feel a little pleased that he had something to pass on- it wasn't often he knew something that other people didn't. Why not bask in the moment a little? "Uh-huh! The other night he found it on a piece of paper that the man on the radio sent him to. It said that Jill's real name was Lydia, like the nurse!"

But the Scarecrow himself also raised a very good point. He widened his eyes a touch, struck by inspiration. "Hey, that's not a bad idea! I mean, even the building changes at night. It's not that much of a stretch to think that Jill changes too." And if it was true, it meant he didn't have to feel bad about worrying about the fact that nice Jill was also a scary Nurse person. Which was also good.

The second question got a head-tilt out of Kibitoshin while he tried to come up with a few brilliant suggestions of his own. "Well... people keep talking about the third floor, right? That's supposed to be where the Head Doctor lives. And if he's holding Jill hostage, she should be there too." He gave the Scarecrow an embarrassed smile. "Any ideas on how to get to the third floor? You're the one coming up with all the good stuff right now."

The Scarecrow nodded in agreement. "I think you're right that she's probably tucked away on the third floor somewhere, but I've yet to find a way up there. I went looking with a friend several nights ago, but we ended up trapped in the Chapel. There's no way up from there."

Using his finger to trace in the air, the Scarecrow mentally went over his map of the halls. "I've not been to the ends of the side halls yet- only to rooms near the front. If there's a stairwell that goes up, it's got to be in one of those back areas." How unfortunate that they were all past the Horrible Hallway! He frowned briefly- wandering that way alone was never a good idea. He'd need help.

With a quick turn, he grabbed a scrap of paper from the board behind him, pulling his pen from his pocket and writing a quick note. "I'll ask my friend if he wants to take another look tonight. We can't give up now, especially knowing that someone might be in an even tighter spot than we are. If we find a way up there, don't you worry. You'll be one of the first to know!"

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