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Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Dark · #2210969
Steph Tsunade finds out that she was stuck in a rather literal mind palace... Ask to join!
[Introduction] Current theme: Gothic Masquerade.

Notes: May contain endo, biopunk, Lovecraftian elements, absorption and soft-vore, dream-logic and lapses in logic. You can add as many characters as you'd all like. As well as mind workers (and body workers). May need authors to play extra characters if needed. This dream is virtually endless and (almost) anything can happen during it.
The environment can shift at anytime. Don't ever end the dream.

The rules are: No teleportation or summoning magic allowed, only elemental spells. Steph cannot be harmed by any environment the dream throws at her, Misako, Olapen, Ira, Kotone and Akashic (and the rest of the NPCs listed) also can't physically interact with Steph (their host), the dream is endless and ongoing. Onomatopoeia is encouraged!
Each event in the ongoing story must have a logical precedent from the previous events inferred, please involve the tulpas in some way for each storyline. Either write something related with the story, or skip your turn.

Geographical Mindscape: Steph's subconsciousness has several different regions, one of the most prominent being the Rajak Isles, which also hosts the Mind Palace. Other regions of the organic mindscape are unexplored, but still available and ever-changing...
The tulpas (NPCs) in the mindscape are partially aware of their existence, but live in a biopunk city with complex geometric labyrinths.

Misako can (and has) eaten human flesh and blood, she isn't picky on whatever she eats.

Idea for campfire was greatly inspired by Agatha Christie's And Then There were None and the mystery board-game Cluedo...

Prince Rohane Harlin is in charge of the palace, as well as his supposed brother, Marquis Cheney Therus.

Being creative is a must with detailed paragraphs, no trying to escape the dream. If there is no-one posting in 4 days or less, I'd be forced to skip their turn. Ira works at the "Cranial Core", which is a separate realm from the Mind Palace.

Name: Stephanie
Gender: Female

Appearance: Black hair with ponytail and braces. Asian appearance and large nose
Personality: Outgoing, open-minded and very talkative, a bookworm
Religon: Christianity
Long list of Medical conditions: Mild cerebral palsy, severe short-sightedness (-15)/Stickler Syndrome, small lungs, mild hearing-loss, Asperger's Syndrome, allergies, lactose intolerance and a slow digestive system.

History: Born at 25 weeks premature, those doctors gave me no hopes for me to live, well I sure showed them wrong! I also love reading all sorts of books and anime and am a very good drawer and artist. I tend to talk a lot and never seem to stop talking. Recently I have braces and I like to see what new. I tend to read science fiction and fantasy books. I am also very curious about the world and also tend to be a big eater, because of my many health issues. I love life and would not have it any other way, although if I find something adorable, I tend to want to keep whatever I find as a pet.
I also love animals and am used to going to hospitals very often. I had a deceased older twin brother called Christopher.

Also need more NPCs for the following roles, apply if applicable:

1. Olapen (hermaphrodite)
2. Devlin (male)
3. Koya Myoin (female)
4. Goethe/Misako Uesugi (female, formerly Misako Irwa)
5. Taboreux Decal (male)
6. Diaglo Copenhagen (male)
7. Ennui (female)
8. Helikoth Jinitro: (male) Father of Olapen, a draconologist with purple hair and blue eyes.
9. Cheney Therus: (male) Mad scientist
10. Jacaranda Jinitro (female) Mother of Olapen
11. Kotone Nadia: (Type Classification: ????)
12. Ira (female moderator and/or administrator of the mind) Stern and tactum, wears a purple lab-coat. Ira cannot be killed, nor can Steph.
13. Dr. Zara Hyacinth, resident psychologist (and doctor) of the Mind Palace
14. Rayne Daie (male), a greedy male rogue who lives with his girlfriend (Keliare) in a nearby rainforest...
Rayne has light green hair, is rather thin and has blue skin, and Keliare has white hair with tanned skin and copper spectacles.
15. Id, Ego and Superego: Self-explanatory. The mind triplets.
16. Seraphine, a werewolf-themed vampire slayer (a werewolf who kills vampires)
17. A jungle tribe of Fuschipedes: Monstrous fuschia-coloured centipedes from the tropical Amazon rainforest, grows to enormous sizes (sometimes much larger than a human). Approach with caution. Salmon, the rainbow serpent.
18. Trinenna the Necromancer. Has silver trinkets and has sooty black hair with intelligent bright green eyes.
19. Lots and lots of giant microbes.
20. Anthropomorphic organs of Steph's

         Steph wakes up as she stretches and opens her eyes, finding herself in a misty environment with an organic infrastructure, and a flashing neon sign that said Welcome to Your Mind- Your body's now on autopilot-mode in an MC-Escher inspired labrynith... "Oh..." she responded with a weary sigh, "Is this a dream?"... A gothic castle would be seen in the far distance...
Dante surveys the stone chamber around him. Dreams in castles weren't that unfamiliar to him, but this one felt too...pertinent. The sense of complete lucidity he felt gave him the sense that something was wrong. Moving to a window, he peered out into the unnaturally thick fog. Only one other thing seemed to even exist in this realm, and it looked...fleshy. Perhaps it's for the best that it is far away, he thinks.
Meanwhile, Prince Harlin would be in the middle of a grand masquerade in the centre of the dining hall, that was simply elegance refined as the dark prince wore a Black-Widow spider motif on his mask, his red-hair shining in the gloominess of the hall. "Dance on, my patrons, dance through the night." He speaks in a sombre tone.
Hariti stood on a balcony and looked out at the rest of the castle. She was wearing a crimson dress that concealed her figure and made her look like an aristocrat. Her expression was one of deep curiosity rather than concern. She could tell she was not in a normal place, from a cursory glance at her surroundings, and she wanted to find out exactly where she was.
Steph runs in and out of the maze hapahazardly before making her way slowly to a security room in the middle of the maze that said "BRB" and feigns lack of enthusiasm, shortly before she sees an glass elevator next to the security-room and takes it up to the masquerade hall, where she bumped into several people with masks and strange forms...
"Oh, a masquerade is here!" Steph yells joylously as the Prince Harlin looked rather unamused.

"Please don't address the Prince of the Rajak Isles in that manner," said a meek maid who was dusting a nearby porcelain vase with a feather-duster...
The announcement of a masquerade draws Dante closer, as he navigates the corridors with more ease than seemed natural. His attire, too, is a respectable suit he'ss sure he doesn't own. This may not be a dream, but surely it isn't reality...

There's more than one voice where he's going, but no words he can discern. He slows his footfalls to the point where they're almost silent, allowing him to stop once he's within earshot of the masquerade hall. The nagging feeling that he's some kind of intruder is pervasive...
Dennis, looking like a lost child trying to find his mom, paced across this unfamiliar town trying to follow the poorly scribbled notes to a tee. Suffice to say he wasnt that much used to being outside of big cities. This small little countryside town in the middle of nowhere seemed so foreign to him, it felt like he was light years away from modern civilization. Like he had just stepped in a timewarp and ended up in the 19th century. No phone, no lights, no motorcar, not a single luxury.

Still, the note was all Dennis had to guide him to where he needed to go (he hoped). He asked for help reading certain locations mentioned in the note, but the answers he got from locals were way too posh and verbose for him to understand. Maybe if he watched more BBC, he'd have a better grasp.
"Yeah, thanks, you been much help," Dennis ended his chat with a milkmaid with an outrageously harsh irish dialect and kept moving.
"Forget this," he shrugs to himself and takes another drag of his cigarette, "let's just skip straight to the end... something about a castle? Ok, just gotta find a castle, right? Shouldnt be too hard to look for one of those, right? How many castles could there possible be in this place?"
Steph steps back apologetically as the marble pillars would be seen as Prince Harlin claps his hands, "Esteemed guests, it seems we have several vistors here..." Harlin remarks drolly while sipping on his red wine, "I assume you all are wondering why I brought you here," The Prince said, his spider-mask seen, "Well, it's easy, to forget our current tribulations and worries and dance the night away, since it is festival time for now!"

As if it was predestined, the gothic castle now appeared before Dennis and the milkmaid at the edge of a forbidden forest, inviting them and anyone else in... It looked really misty and black crows would squawk in nearby trees...
The man Dante gathered was their host seemed exceptionally amused. He couldn't help but be reminded of some cliche movie scenes, where a villain is so obvious that their good tidings come off as sarcasm. Still, although he'd never crossed paths with one, people with too much money and a lust for partying definitely existed. Just not magic ones.

He scanned the party from cover, looking for both a loose mask he could take for himself and the host's diverted attention, but surprisingly, a perfectly-fitting mask was already in a pocket of his suit jacket. An item he shouldn't have for a suit he doesn't own, he supposed. Not knowing if they came from his host or his own subconscious made him uncomfortable, though. Pressing the black mask to his face and smoothing its dark purple patterned edges, he slipped into the crowd of the masquerade ball in hopes of picking up more information. There was nowhere to go but forward now.

Hariti slithered down to the masquerade ballroom and looked around at all the guests and all the people in strange costumes. Then she noticed the host and listened to his speech. She nodded politely and smiled at him, despite the fact she didn't believe a single word he was saying. She slithered over toward the other guests and waved at them, hoping to catch their attention.
Upon seeing the castle appear practically out of nowhere, Dennis glanced again at his note, exhaled hard, and rushed to the direction of it. Fortunately, ever since the castle magically appeared, so did the obvious path leading toward it. And what a brightly lit path it was. Very loud and active too. Lamposts lit up, music was playing, people were gathering around in odd costumes chatting amongst themselves.

Dennis glanced around to admire the show as he followed the clearly lit path, trying his best to ignore the oddly dress people as well as the peddlers pestering him to buy their oddities. The music didnt sound too bad and who doesnt love fireworks? All that was missing is a big light-up electrical parade and he might actually enjoy being here. Nonetheless, he kept his eyes not only on the path, but also the note, still desperately following it's directions cuz it's all he had.
"And welcome cordially to our Chinese New Year party," Harlin continued over the whispering of the guests at the festivity party as he gave an audicious bow to everyone else here, "As such we are to party all week long until the festival is over in approximately 15 days time, but you are all welcome to stay at my well-furnished palace full of elegance and luxuries beyond compare, and my sponsor is of course the Marquis of this place. I spare no expense, and will life bless you fairly."

Steph looks around as suddenly fireworks would appear on the castle grounds and a large procession of Chinese dragon dances took place, "Woah, everything is so pretty here!" she had sparkly eyes at all the multicoloured lights as the masquerade would be at full swing. Within a few seconds people with multicoloured kimonoes and cheong-sams would also enter the palace grounds...
Hariti spotted Dante among the crowd, and recognized he was another guest, like herself. She slithered over to him, weaving through the crowd of strangely dressed people. One she was in earshot, she cleared her throat and tried to get Dante's attention, and then asked "Hello; do you have any idea where we are? This place seems highly abnormal."
Dante startled slightly, and turned to face the woman in the red dress, meeting her eyes without noticing the rest of her. "I-I'm afraid I don't," he replied softly, checking the guests around them for signs of suspicion, "I just woke up here, dressed for the occasion. Which is odd, because I was in bed when I went to sleep...I suspected this might be an abnormal dream, to be honest, but with someone else talking to me, I'm less confident in that theory. Do you know how you got here?"
Dennis felt incredibly out of place in this crowd of interesting people celebrating the festivities. With the singing, the dancing, the acrobats, the costumes, the fireworks, that huge multi-manned dragon float that zipped past him, almost stepping on his foot as they went, he seemed so unprepared. Did he miss something? Was this some sort of special occasion he was supposed to dress up for? He didnt have anything but a flimsy note and a free ride in a run down cab driven by an oddly pale fellow with an overly-stretched tongue!

Was there something in the directions he overlooked? He needed to look again... and maybe find an interpreter to help translate the scribbles.

"YIPE!!' Unfortunately he wasnt watching where he was going and his foot came down on something it shouldnt! A loud shriek snapped him out of his trance and by the time he did, there was an angry masked woman facing him... while her masked uh partner glanced your way.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" he quickly apologized as he lifted his foot, "I didnt mean to-" he stopped as soon as he saw what he stepped on. It wasnt a foot. It was a tail peeking out of her long dress! He stared silent and confused.

"Excuse me?" she spoke, offended by his rude silent staring, "Excuse me!" Too surprised by this oddity, Dennis said nothing... and dashed off like a bat out of hell!
Steph appeared excited by the celebrations currently happening on the palace grounds as the celebrations continued, bowing respectfully to the Prince of the Rajak Isles, who smiled in her direction, she then dashed into the countless rooms of the palace floors as on the ground level, there seemed to be countless guests in their bedrooms, before long, she got lost in an elucian maze reminiscent of MC. Escher but then she saw Hariti in a red dress in a nearby room,

"I believe this is my mind, at least." Steph stated shyly, "Or the world of my imagination, similar to lucid dreaming."
The situation was increasingly surreal as Dante noticed that at least one woman in the room had a serpentine tail instead of feet. A chill ran down his spine, but then again, were the mysterious masqueraders with normal-seeming bodies less of a threat? At least he could head to stairs if the nagi and lamia turned hostile.

In light of the sudden yelp that had just rang out, he opted to stay silent and observe the proceedings. There wasn't much else he could do that wouldn't make things more tense.
By the time Dennis finally stopped running and gathered his bearings, he began to notice OTHER oddities regarding the masks guests of this bizarre costume party. A guest with 6 arms. A guest with 8 legs. A guest with 2 heads. A guest that was probably dead standing up. A guest that looked that looked like a gorilla in a fancy tux! The tux was awfully fancy, yes, but GORILLA! The number of normal looking guests he was now noticing, he could count on one hand... after being convicted of stealing in Iran!

This was not what he signed up for. What is up with this place? Who in their right mind brought him HERE to begin with?! WHY is he here?! So many questions and more spawned in his head... he needed answers desperately. He could probably get them out of that Harlin fellow if he didnt have such tight security detail!
Well since he couldnt get those answers at the moment and that anxiety rush wasnt going away on his own, nothing left to do but light up another cigarette!

"Uh... excuse me... s-sir?" said a very shy and nervous voice coming from behind him, "...er... s-smokings' not allowed here... so..."

Irritated, Dennis took a long hard mouth-full of tobacco smoke and turned his head... to the outrageously tall, incredibly pale skinned asian woman in a white sundress and matching hat bending pretty far down to him with a nervous look on her spectacle-worn face.
Dennis stared silently and almost unemotionlessly at the odd giant girl in front of him... but not before turning his head and blowing his smoke completely away from her!
Steph speaks to Hariti from across the room as the festivities continue, but seemed to slow down once night hit,
"Hey, so since we're all inside my mind at the moment, everything's not so bad here, is it?" Steph remarks while lounging on a double-bed, noticing a passageway saying "Security Room" in the distance.

Harlin at the moment was reclining on his throne while sipping from a nearby wine-goblet, looking rather languid as he observed the banquet made in his honour.

"And how are you all enjoying the festival?" Harlin addresses his guests once more as it seemed the palace had countless rooms and dimensional fallacies as he seemed calm for now, his red-hair and beard being most prominent as his pointed ears would be sharply seen. "I trust the banquet is to your fancy and imagination so far." Harlin scoffs elegantly.
Dante watches the announcement with pursed lips. This party's host is clearly not human, and it is becoming clear that that was the norm here, but he definitely is pleased with his machinations. For a moment, Dante considers that this really is simply a party he crashed by accident, but no host acts with such smugness. That's more a behaviour for cartoon villains.

"I don't suppose you know the extremely proud gentleman over there?" he asks Hariti, forgetting momentarily that she's not human.
Hariti nodded to Steph, who was across the room, and said "Hello. If this is your mind then you must have a beautiful imagination!" She smiled at Steph, and then turned to look at Dante.

"I am not certain how I got here. You may be correct about it being a dream, but if so, I do not believe it is your dream." She gestures to Steph, across the room from them, "That woman spoke to me and said she suspects that this is all in her mind. We're simply guests here, somehow."

She looked around at the other guests, noticing Dennis among the crowd, and then turned her attention back to Harlin and listened to him speaking.
"Er, s-sorry," Dennis tried his best (and his best failed him) to not look intimidated or at the very least not on the verge of screaming his head off and running as this colossal ghoulish woman in spectacles kept leaning down at him, "I uh... didnt realize I couldnt smoke here. I'll stop."

Satisfied with his response, the incredibly tall ghoul girl stood back up and sighed in relief, ignoring that she took off some of the ceiling in the process.
"Thank you for your cooperation, sir," the giant nervous woman expresses her gratitude, "you'd be surprised how many guests happen to turn hostile simply for being confronted for this violation."
"That sounds pretty problematic," Dennis replies as he looks around for a quit exit.
""Lord Harlin puts the health of his prized guests in top priority," she goes on, "it would reflect really really badly for him if somebody became really sick through second-hand smoke."
'Well aint that curt of him?' Dennis thinks to himself, getting a bit impatient.

"Well, it's uh... always good to know a host considers the health of his guests," he gets ready to rap up the conversation, "Well, if you excuse me, I gotta get-"
"WAIT!" her nervous shout suddenly got as bone-chillingly cold as her icy cold touch when she grabbed his shoulder! Before he could even register to freeze up, she flipped him around to her with absolutely no effort! That's when both her gigantic hands grasped his shoulders!
'God, her hands are freaking huge!' he thinks to himself, 'god, her EVERYTHING is freaking huge!'
And AGAIN, she looks down at him with a nervous expression, "I'm... sorry. I... havent properly introduced myself."
The whole scenery would waver and glitch for a brief moment, before Harlin finishes his speech, Steph smiles weakly at Hariti. "Thank you, it may not mean much but it does," Steph speaks up as there would be a short break (for a few days) in the partying at the masquerade before things would resume back to its normal pace. Harlin would retire to his room after a brief time. For now, Steph would laze on a nearby bed and rest for awhile, not talking. The guests were free to mill about the whole palace if they wanted...
Dante crosses his arms in thought. "Well, I'm willing to believe that this is someone else's dream," he begins, "but that becomes rather surreal when I'm in it. Even that woman seems to not be aware of what's happening...I suppose I'll talk to her directly. Thank you."

The ominous wavering of the world only confirms the un-reality of the world, but staggers Dante nonetheless. In its time, Steph seems to vanish from sight, leaving him stranded. If he is still asleep, did that mean time was moving more quickly for him? How long could he stay here before his real-world waking drew him out? Or is he technically in a coma now? At any rate, he had to find a way back to his own mind, and that woman the lamia had pointed out must be the key.
Hariti noticed that reality had glitched, and waited for it to stabilize, before slithering over toward Dennis. She didn't know what was going on with Steph or Dante but she wanted to check on the other guests and make sure they were okay.
"W-wow... Yumiko, eh?" Dennis smiled nervously, still hoping for an easy getaway from the colossal ghoul that happened to be part of the staff, "that's uh... that's a very pretty name!"
"Th-thank you..." Yumiko blushed with flattery, "it's actually what the townspeople of my home village called me... I'm sorry, I dont remember my real name." That remark stunned Dennis, but he did his best (again, best failing him) not to look like he was about to panic!
"W-well, I hope you end up finding out your real name soon," he commented, "until then, Yumiko really rolls off the tongue!"

"And what's yours, sir?" Yumiko warmed up to him so much she had the gall to ask HIM his name! His instincts told him to give her one of his many fake aliases, but his brain was warning him that lying to a huge grizzly ghoul like her might not end well for him!
"It's Dennis!" he answered her without hesitation, "Dennis Helgson!"

Yumiko lifted her head a bit, still gazing down at him, "Dennis... a very manly name! ....Um, that is a boy's name, right?"
"Er... yes."
"Oh. S-sorry, I'm rather new here. I havent been part of our Lord's staff for very long." She didnt have to go into detail. He knew exactly what she meant by that.
"Well, I-I can see that a place like this can take some getting used to," he replies as he eyes the odd guests.
"It certainly can," Yumiko adds, "the exotic food here's ok, but the wine they serve here is incredibly bland. I wish someone in the kitchen knew how to brew up some decent fermented sake!" A ghoul with an interest for booze? He'd be interested if he wasnt worried she could crush him to death if she so much as tripped on something!

"Hm? Oh I remember you!" Yumiko suddenly turned her attention to the girl in red slithering toward her and Dennis, "youre the VIP that took a nap on the balcony. Um... please dont do that again. That's against the rules."
Steph awakens again, it seemed that she was much recovered and had a nice nap earlier. She looks around, "Awww, back in the same place, it looks like I'm still dreaming~" Oh well, time to explore around!
Hariti shrugged, and said "Alright then. I don't even know how I got here. It's a very unusual place!" She squinted at Dennis, and said "Hello there! Are you one of the other 'VIPs' here? Do you know anything about this strange masquerade?"
"Uh... cant say I do," Dennis looks back at Hariti uneasily just before glancing at his notes, "VIP? ...Hm... does this say anything about a VIP?" Hariti glanced over at the note in his hand.
"Wow... I... I can barely read a single sentence. Who wrote all this?"

Yumiko leaned over Dennis's shoulder (again, spooking the holy moses out of him!) and adjusted her glances trying to read the note.

"Oh dear, I think I recognize the signature," she examined it and sighed, "that would happen to be Nepskullee's handwriting. Er, TENTACLE-writing to be more accurate. I'm sorry, sir. I hope you understand it must be difficult to write without proper land-worthy appendages." The less he knew, the better.
"Ugh... well thanks to your eldrich abomination you call a friend, I nearly got lost trying to get here!" Dennis remarked before turning his attention back to Hariti, "how about you? You got a crummy note this ball too?"
"Actually no," she answered, "I didnt get any invitation or anything. I didnt even come here on my own. I actually just woke up here." Red flags triggered in Dennis's mind as she continued, "Heck, I dont even know how I got this dress. I just woke up in it!"

"Really?!" he groaned, "I had to buy MY suit! It said so on the note! ...I think."

"It looks very nice on you, sir," Yumiko commented, triggering Dennis to cringe yet again.
Steph decided to eat a cupcake from the banquet table as she noms down on it, before she participates and reads the letter that had eldritch writings on it, "Cool," she remarks, but then she decides to head for the security room, which was currently unoccupied at the moment...

The security room in question was large and vacant, except the screens showed live-feed of Steph's organs and had lots of levers and buttons that flashed on and off, "Cool~"
The half-serpent had apparently found some company on the balcony, so Dante opted to search for the dreamer. If nothing else, meeting the person whose dream he was in might help him decipher the logic of this world. He wasn't willing to intrude in any conversations or approach the suspicious character acting as the host here, so there wasn't much else to do. Moving through the crowd seemed quite easy, as apparently the majority of the crowd was just a backdrop that didn't take notice of him, but the only feature he could spot of significance was the banquet table, which was short at least one cupcake. Perhaps there were crumbs he could follow to whoever had enough autonomy to eat one...
Hariti chuckled slightly, and said "Seems like we have got a couple of options. We can try to solve this mystery and get out of here—or we can just relax and enjoy the strange festitivites! Either way works for me, what do all think? Shall we enjoy the ball, or shall we attempt to bail out?"
Despite Dennis having bad feelings involving the other guests as well as cringing over Yumiko's attentive stare, he wasnt in much mood to leaving after coming a long hard frustrating way.
"Well... it was a bit of a hassle trying to get here," he admits, "it'd be a waste of time just up and leaving after the frustrating effort getting here. He could feel Yumiko's colossal face beam with glee.

"I'm glad to hear that!" she beams, but quickly regains herself, "Er, and I'm sure Lord Harlin will be glad to hear that too."
As if she had sense Dennis's uneasiness around the colossal ghastly woman, Hariti turned her attention to her and gazed upward.

"Hey uh, Ms...."

"No 'Ms', ma'am," she stands all the way up and corrects Hariti, "just Yumiko."

Hariti hms, "Hm. Yumiko, are there any specific exciting events going on this in this place you could recommend us?"

"Quite a few, ma'am!" Yumiko answers just before reading them off, "there's a fireworks show outside in the front, a carnival event in the backyard, a miniature casino a few floors down, a broadway show a few floors up, a special pisswa-I mean wine tasting event about to start within the hour...."
Steph murrs as she turns her back against the security room as she closes it and heads for Hariti, "I say, we enjoy the ball while it lasts, as there are endless things to do while here," she concurs.
The blurred logic of the dream world hadn't complied with Dante's hopes of finding logical evidence, but fortunately, he found the true host of the party anyway, when she crossed his path on her way to Hariti. It seemed as though the snake-woman drew people to her by her very nature, whether it was supernatural, dream-based, or just charismatic.

Dante remained visible, but watched from a short distance, attempting to understand the situation before intruding anywhere. If he was truly in Steph's dream, having her attention directly on him could mean almost anything, good or bad.
Hariti smiled and nodded, and said "Indeed! I want to see how this spectacular event unfolds. It has been quite interesting so far." She waved at Steph, and then turned her attention back to the entertainment.
A brief introduction between them and a courteous hand shake later, it was a breath of fresh air for Dennis to meet yet another guest of this place that seemed human (or at least human ENOUGH). All the while, the tall ghoulish odd girl out merely stared in silence at the newcomer Steph. She didnt say anything, she just stared.

"Wow! You just suddenly woke up here too?!" Dennis says with surprise, "how come I was the only one that actually had to bum a ride here?"
"Beats me," said Steph but then she chuckles, "heh. Well, I think I might have a few guesses, but I'm not sure you'll like them."
"Er, I'll... I'll take your word for it," he replies as he has a good feeling it's best not to ask at the time being. Again, Yumiko stares down at Steph. Whatever emotion she was currently showing was not being seen on her face.

Steph, looking up, acknowledges her, "Oh, is this your date?"
Dennis's scrunches his face up as much as he possibly could as he shakes his head!
"This is Yumiko," Hariti answers, "she's an employee of this place."
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Yu....mi....?"

Steph loses the words the moment the pale-skinned giantess leaned down at her and starts to... sniff her?

"*Sniff*.... You.... smell different..... from the others....."
Steph blushes, but it still seems she has control of her faculties as it seems that she caught the attention of the giantess, as it seems as the "dreamer" that she was immune to whatever the dream threw at her. It does seem that she was still hungry as it seems the dream does not sate her appetite. "Nice to meet you, giantess..." she laughs awkwardly.
Hariti smiles at the giantess and says "Oh wow, you are quite large! That's unexpected, even for me!" She turns to Steph, "Did you dream of a giant woman? Or is this a surprise for you as well?"
I adjust my violet tie, as this tailor uniform makes it hard to move. Still, I am able to push my cart up to where my guests are.

When I meet them, I kneel down, offering both of them a glass of wine or water, as they see fit.

"Welcome, guests. Prince Harlin is pleased to have you all here. I am your servant, and one of the laymen and cleaners of this palace. You may refer to me as Oliver".

I grab the two glasses, offering them to Hariti and Steph, picking another one as the giantess looks at me with... an empty and menacing gaze.

"Would you like one as well, Yumiko? Come to think of it... how long has it been since you're drank something? What about me?"

I look away... have I been woeking here for days? Weeks? Why am I doubting my existence as a waiter here?
Steph drinks down the water gratefully, "Oh, Oliver, have you checked on the security room yet? It's currently vacant." Steph responds as the water did help to soothe tensions, plus it helped her digestion somewhat. "Also, I'm wondering what foods are available here?" It seems that Oliver was in charge of the security room while the tenant was away.
Dante overheard Steph's comment about the security room. Was it a metaphor for something? Did its vacancy mean her defenses were lowered? Perhaps she was missing some natural ward all dreamers naturally had...or perhaps it simply meant that any security cameras weren't an immediate concern. With Oliver now notified of it, though, its vacancy would be meaningless soon.

Ultimately, he decided to investigate the security room. It would be a good way to learn a lot, and potentially gain some influence, as well. He might even have the luck to find a big flashing "EXIT" sign somewhere if this dream was structured like a certain animated movie, unlikely as that was. With fleet feet, he made his way to the door and stepped inside...
The live-feed of Steph's stomach-contents would reveal a vast ocean of brown coffee busily being churned by the residues of a ham sandwich for lunch, the lettuce and cucumbers dissolving. A shot of the intestines would also reveal some sugary desserts (chocolate doughnuts from Valentine's Day) getting fed on by countless gut-microbes... It seemed the whole process was running on autopilot at the moment.
Dennis sipped a bit of the unknown drink that the servant who seemed to know Yumiko served him. It wasnt wine or water. He had no clue what it was. It tasted sweet and awfully bitter, yet it didnt seem like there was any alcohol in it. Probably for the best. Last thing he wanted to be while in the middle of an unfamiliar environment was drunk. Lord knows he didnt wanna suddenly wake up with an awful hangover and a naked colossal ghoul next to his bed!

All the while, he eyed this Oliver fellow carefully as soon as he came back from the security room. He seemed so... uneasy. Almost as uneasy as Dennis. While Hariti and Yumiko were currently occupied with something else, he scooted over to Oliver and whispered, "Penny for your thoughts?"

"Huh?!" Dennis's whisper made Oliver nearly spring up with surprise.

"Youre looking pretty pale," Dennis commented, "not as pale as that asian titan over there, but youre looking like you just woke up from a really bad dream."

Oliver looked away and whispered to himself, "....Bad dream...."
The digestive process on the monitor made Dante wince a bit. It definitely wasn't what he'd expected to see, even on dream monitors. Although he did recall a slightly similar dream he'd had once. After studying the pink churning chamber and its work on its contents for a moment, he scanned the rest of the monitors, finding their similar natures, and was about to examine the rest of the room when he heard Oliver's approach.

Fortunately, hiding behind the doorway was all it took to escape the man's notice. Dante had expected he would have to slip out and forget the room as it was locked or guarded, but whatever the security man did, it didn't seem to pose an inconvenience. Perhaps just ensuring the settings wouldn't be tampered with, or removing a key item. Or just some motion to simulate life; it was vague who was a living being here.
Oliver seemed to be too preoccupied with himself to break the ice with Dennis. It was probably for the best that Dennis didnt try to pry. He understood personal matters being personal.

"Uh, alright," Dennis gives up, "well, if you do wanna talk about it, dont be a stranger. ...In the meantime, where's the restroom in this place?" He didnt really need to go, he just wanted an excuse to step away from the odd crowd... including the odd giantess that was attempting to make herself drunk from the wine!

"Uh, it's um.... just down the hall. The sixth or seventh door to the left I believe," Oliver answers.

"Thank you kindly," Dennis thanks him before heading down that hall. He quickly forgot the directions to the restroom, but it didnt matter. He'd wander around aimlessly if it meant some fresh air from the oddities. After a bit of wandering, he still didnt find the restroom. He did however manage to find the security room... which apparently needed improving because there was another guy standing at the door loitering there!

Well, not so much loitering as he was whispering. Normally Dennis wouldnt pry, but because he seemed to look like one of the more humanish guests, he was gonna pry as much as possible!

"Whose stomach are they even filming in there?" he overheard Dante's whisper which blew Dennis's mind!

"The hell?!"

"HUH?!!" his sudden outburst made Dante jump up with surprise!
I picked up my cuos of water, but a huge noise caught my attention. It was coming from the security room.

I walked there, and opened the door slowly, taking a step back when I see Denis and Dante, inside. The screens showing the functioning of the different organs of... a human?

I fall to the floor, as I recover my breath. Standing up, I enter and close the door, making sure that the giantess is busy and no one else is coming to see us.

"I won't tell you to get out. I need you to listen. I can't remember if I'm Oliver, or how long I've been here. I just know that I shouldn't be here. This... stomach. I feel as if I knew that all of this was... fake".

I hold on to the control panel, making sure to not disturb the controls.

"I just know that I- we, we have to get out of here." A chill shakes my limbs, my lungs filling again, my heart tearing my chest.

"I think that to get out of this state, we must go to the deepest part of the palace: the deepest part of her (Steph's) mind". Her mind? Why did I just said that? It just came out... naturally.
Lloyd holds the invitation paper in his hands as he makes his way across the forest, trying to look for the castle where they invited him for unknown reason. Just an hour ago, he woken up in this dark forest and found this strange invitation in his pocket; no reason how it got in there. The paper said that a party was held in a large castle in the edge of this forest and they invited him to come. Normally, he would just throw it away as it could be a trap, but he was pretty curious on what it was. It's pretty careless to go inside some place that he doesn't even know so he'll just take a peak at what it looks like.

Then again, this is a dream, right?

After minutes of walking, Lloyd finally can see the castle in view and appears that the party has already started. He ran and lean against the stone wall of the castle gates. He takes a peek at a hole on the wall and see a whole bunch of partygoers gathered around the courtyard. Unfortunately, he can't see much view of it due to the size of the hole.

He was about to find a bigger hole to see what's going on at the other side when suddenly, he falls into a pit that was dug there by someone. He tumbled down into the darkness and finally landing on a pile of rubble. He got up from the rubble and look around.

He appears to be in some sort of dungeon; most likely the castle's basement, but why is there was a pit that leads here. His question was answered when he heard a voice in the darkness.

"Ooops, looks like I forgot to close up the pit."

The source of the voice reveal itself as it walked towards Lloyd. It appears to be a rather short girl with long orange hair and wears a blue cloak. However as she got closer, she has green skin and huge ears. Something tells him that this isn't a human, in fact, she actually a small imp of some sort.

"Um..who are you?" Asked Lloyd.

"Name's Jacky." Answered the imp girl. "You may think that I'm some uninvited fool who's trying to sneak inside. Not really, I did got invited here; I just wanna be creative when it comes to entering the party."

"I..see that." said Lloyd, a little unsettled at seeing a mythical creature for the first time.

"Besides, I'm planning to pull a prank on a certain invitational in this castle." She smirked "Her name's Yumiko and I been making her life a living hell ever since I came here in this town. You should've saw the look on her face when I gave a chocolate cake that was actually made of dirt a week ago; she couldn't stop throwing up for days." She laughs at this suppose prank on someone named Yumiko. Jacky looked up at him and asked of he could join her.

"Err...okay..." Said Lloyd as he followed the imp throughout the dungeon. He's not sure if he could trust her, but he can't really stay here all alone, can't he?
While Dennis, Oliver and Dante were all distracted, a certain pitch-black shadow with red eyes would glide into the control room and literally take control of the lever that adjusts the biofrequency of the organic dream. "Bio-sequence activated." A shadowy Kotone states as her tanned skin would glow with black-tar, and her ink-like texture would flucate randomly, and almost cardiacally. She seemed rather pretty, if it weren't for the psychotic grin on her fanged face.

"Bye, bye guests, I hang out in the heart, that's where you'll find me." A pair of blunt bronze sais would appear as she twirls them around.

Current Setting readjusted: Biological arena activated, reconfiguring to organ texture ensured. Mind-Palace melding with cardiological organic texture...

Suddenly, everything was plunged into an organic, humid and motely darkness... The palace was still there, but the environment had definitely changed. The new setting seemed to be Steph's subconscious, melded with her biological organs within the dream simulation.
Someone from the conversation he'd witnessed- Dennis, was his name? -had entered the security room, begun shouting (to himself, given that Dante hadn't left the door frame), and brought the attention of Oliver. Dante, of course, was displeased with the obviously-delusional character, and quickly distanced himself from him, turning his attention instead to Oliver's pleas.

"It's certainly not improbable that these monitors are of some setpieces," he mused, making an effort to sound comforting, "I'm also pretty confident that those of us who aren't a dream are trapped in one. Steph's, I think her name was..." he cleared his throat, "The point is, I believe you. And I have no better ideas than trying to find the nexus of this place, so I just have one question...where do we start?"

Before Oliver could reply, however, Kotone's voice came from the console Dante had turned his back to. He whirled around in surprise, unable to compose a question for the intruder before the environment shifted itself around them. The angle felt a bit childish, but Dante had seen enough video game interpretations of hell-like realms to liken the current area to them, which made the whole thing unnerving enough that he backed out of the security room in hopes of finding that the world outside of it was still of glass and stone.
"Hey!! Where ya going?! Wait up!"

Dennis had the impulse to follow that Dante fellow since he may have seemed to know more about what's going on than he did, but something about him just rubbed him the wrong way. He was not liking Dante's demeanor nor his attitude. HE'S got a problem?! HE'S not the one who had to take time out of his day paying for a fancy tux, blindly following a crummy scribble on a napkin, and having a creepy giant ghoul with spectacles enter his personal space! Nonetheless, he figures the new guy looks like he knows what he's doing, so might as well go on this wild goose chase with him to find Kotone.

Still, people like that drive Dennis to smoke.

"Uh sir... you cant smoke here-"
"Hush up," Dennis cut Oliver off before taking a drag and catching up with Dante.
The palace's halls themselves had changed. Not only were there many different twists and turns from earlier (like they were transported into a whole NEW hallway!), the walls looked organically alive. The human-like veins sprouting out from the otherwise dry painted walls were pulsating. If the crew looked closely, they could actually see Steph's red blood flowing through them from one end of the hallway to another. In the distance, they could already hear Steph's slow heartbeats. Like each wall had it own beating heart!

Then they noticed the carpet was rather wet. Wet and sticky. No one knew what sort of gross and sticky liquid their carpet was now stained with, but their shoes were a huge mess and the oily substance was seeping into their socks. It looked like a potent mixture of Steph's own blood and bile.
"Aw, c'mon! Not my brand new Apt 9s!!!" Dennis whined as his dress shoes were drenched and ruined!
"We seem to be caught in an organic trap and youre whining about your stupid shoes?" Dante remarked unamused.
"These shoes were expensive!!" Dennis snapped.

Dante was about to open his mouth to give this fancy dressed jerk a piece of his mind, but then he realized something was off about his response.

"...Wait. What did you just say?"
"I said these aint cheap!" Dennis answered, "and it was either pay a ton or wait several months to ship these directly from China!"
"...Directly from..." Dante squinted his eyes, "...are you telling me you didnt just wake up here?"
"Er, yeah, I guess?" Dennis was feeling uneasy from the suspicious glance he was receiving from the others.

"Uh.... guys?" the third guy had to break up the moment,"I think we're sinking!" All three looked down and realized too late they were slowly sinking into the wet soggy filthy carpet like quicksand! Kotone could be heard evilly laughing in the distance...
"What, no! This can't be!"I try not to panic and remember what I've learned from my tine in this castle. Sometimes the settings change.

Once, I remember, that the castle had merged with Steph's own stomach for a long time, making the walls look round and slimy, as our feet were covered in acid and food. "Welcome to the belly of the babe," indeed... I looked at Dennis and Dante, before catching my breath and letting myself sink into the depths faster.

"Guys, this is the inside of Steph's heart! It has four chambers, and we have to find the main chamber to find Kotone!" I scream, shortly before my face disappears between the cardiac muscle.

But suddenly, I fall in the middle of a red and warm cesspool, surrounded by crimson cells that move around. I try to breathe slowly; it turns out that I can. We must be inside one of the heart's main chambers, shaking and beating to a slow rhythm. It also seemed that the host, Steph, was deep in the depths of the digestive system, but there was little that I could do to help her at this point in time...
After a long trek across the dungeon, the two finally got to the door that leads to the party. Lloyd takes a peak into the small window on the door in order to see what is going on. He immediately became surprised to see that all of the guests were nothing like he ever seen before.

They were not even human as many of them are anthros, monsters, creatures, or simply just bizarre humanoids. What kind of party is this? Some sort of weirdo get-together?

"Cool party, isn't it?" asked Jacky.

"Umm...yeah...it's great alright." He said in a rather tone of uncertainty.

"Well what are you waiting for?" Just get inside." said Jacky "Don't worry about me, I have a mission to complete." Lloyd knew that she was referring to her prank towards someone named Yumiko. He wanted to ask her some more questions, but he notices that Jacky is looking rather impatient so it's best to leave her for now.

He opens the door and soon found himself in the middle of the party. By the looks of it, it was Oriental themed as he could see many guest clad in kimonos and many other clothes that were common in Asia. Suddenly, a naga woman slithers pass him and glared at him. He look down and saw a bandage wrapped around her snake tail; it looks like someone must of stepped on her tail and she thinks that Lloyd may do the same.

"Um..hi?" greeted Lloyd, trying to be nice. The naga slightly hisses at him before slithering away from him, ignoring him.

He walks around the room while looking at many of the oddball guests. He wonders when he could wake up soon.

His eyes soon spots on a rather huge woman talking to another guest; he couldn't see who is she talking to due her body blocking her. He also sees Jacky tiptoeing towards the woman in a sneaky way with a mischievous smile.
Steph awakens in an gastric chamber with pink wrinkled walls, it didn't look familiar to her though, but she squints her purple glasses as she squints at the amount of green bile surrounding her. Unfortunately for Misako, Misako can see and hear her host (Steph), but cannot interact with her. Misako however can interact with Hariti, Dennis and Oliver just fine though!

"Uhhh, where is this place, even?! Is there anyone there?!" Steph asks languidly as she yawns, sniffing the vile air as she looks rather shocked at her own surroundings. Being the dreamer, she fortunately cannot be harmed by any environment that the dream currently puts her in. "Oh, I'm still hungry... I guess the proverb really is true then that 'you can get to a lady via her stomach', heh, I made another pun." Steph says, smiling at her own joke.

Meanwhile, Kotone would be traversing the blood vessels, travelling from vessel to vessel, before emerging at one of the heart's chamber. "I see I have visitors to my home," Kotone seethes. Dennis and the others were inside the 4th chamber and Kotone was situated in the 1st chamber of Steph's heart.
And so, Dennis, Dante, and the waiter venture through the dark grimy chasm that was Steph's beating heart. If the wet sticky reddish walls that used to be hallway wasnt enough to prove so, nor were the vast amounts of long colorful protruding veins emitting blood from one area to the next lined against the organy lining, the irritating rhythm clicking in the distance was a dead giveaway!

It wasnt a beating like a drum. It was actually a loud clicking sound like someone was hammering an old sticky sanwa arcade button to a certain rhythm! The clicking not only amplified a hundred fold, it echoed all across the halls! It might as well have just screamed 'HEY! I'M A HEART IN CASE YA DIDNT KNOW!!!!'

It was also awfully dark. Dante's unbreakable flashlight he mustve bought from an As Seen on TV infomercial was all the crew had to light their way.

"Are we almost there yet?" Dennis asked.
"How would I know?" Dante asked.
"Well, I thought you knew the way," Dennis said, "I mean you seem like you know what youre doing."
Dante sighed, "Nah. I'm just playing it by ear."
"Well... youre a real good faker," Dennis relies. Dante just groans, probably unsure whether it was meant to be a compliment or an insult. Sadly, nothing else happened that was remotely eventful until...

"What?"
"Hm?"
"What did you say?" Dante asked Dennis.
"I didnt say anything," Dennis answered.
"I thought I heard you whisper something."
"Nope not me. You, Oliver?"
"Me either."

Then later.

"What?!" Dante asked annoyed.
"I didnt say anything!" Dennis replied.
"Yes you did I just heard you!"
"I didnt say ANYTHING."
"He's right, sir," Oliver agreed, "we were both quiet."
"Really?" Dante got skeptic, "cuz I heard I'm pretty sure I heard whispering."
Dennis shrugged, "Eh, maybe youre just hearing things. The place is pretty gritty and noisy and-" Dennis's voice suddenly stopped.

"...Noisy and what?" Dante got a bit worried hearing his comrade go silent, "noisy and what? Hey! I'm talking to you!"
"Uh sir?" he heard Oliver's worried and fearful change in his voice, "I think he's gone!"
Kotone would be laughing loudly in the 1st chamber as she surveys her new captive, the heart was her home and it definitely showed, what with all the decorations and furniture placed around and scattered all over the first chamber.
"So quaint for you to visit my home," the dark shadow mistress commented, cupping a stray hand around the waiter's chin as she shackles him to the red and throbbing walls with brightly shining golden chains...

"It'll take forever for that dolt, Koko, to visit my home, and toying with everyone is just so much fun! I love living here!" Kotone exclaims with a burst of rare happiness as her dark tan skin would glow with an aura of sheer adoration...

(Cue the song "Kiss from A Rose"... xD)
Dante worried about Dennis' unprompted reactions. He seemed to be projecting a conversation onto others before they could even act. Although, in a dream world, perhaps everyone's perceptions were scrambled? But then why did everyone else seem to respond to what Dante actually did? (But actually please stop moving other people.)

He did his best to not address the disturbed character and turned his focus to the situation, which quickly turned into witnessing Oliver's imprisonment in the pulsating flesh around them. He still didn't know who "Kotone" was or how anything worked here, but at least the gentleman was able to give some clues to the way out before being engulfed. Dante resolved not to dwell on it; death might not even be fatal here.

It seemed that other people had been relegated to other places. He bit his lip upon considering those in the stomach. The idea of being in a place like that had some appeal, but if things were too realistic all he would have for its contents is pity. More pertinently, the walls were permeable. Or just crushed anything that touched them. He did his best to remember the heart's shape before considering that a dream heart could have any configuration. Fortunately, the sounds of Kotone's gloating gave Dante a clue of which wall she was behind, making it just a matter of finding the most permeable point to enter. Given the speaker's joy, he did his best to just listen for the time being; she didn't seem like someone he wanted spotting him halfway immersed in heart muscle.
((OOC: Birthday post!))

Steph glances around her belly as it seems to be digesting some chocolate cereal, plus it seemed strange but her own belly seemed to be a bit older today, it also seemed to hunger for some birthday cake as it rumbled endlessly...

"Ah yes, I just remembered that today is my birthday, what are the odds of me turning a year older today?" Steph smiles cheerfully before softly petting the walls of the cavernous gut. "I can't wait for birthday cake." She seemed extra cheerful for now as she awaits for birthday cake...

Meanwhile, an invisible Misako would be pacing to and fro in the digestive chamber while smoking a long cigarette. Misako sensed the sentience of her host's stomach as well as she paces.
Taking a deep breath, Dante found what seemed like the thinnest part of the heart's wall and pressed his clasped hands into it. If the walls were malleable, he might be able to separate one enough to step through to where Kotone -and hopefully some answers- could be found. Of course, there were risks, but loitering in a heart wasn't likely to lead to anything good. All he could do was stay aware of his surroundings, like the indistinct chattering he believed was coming from Steph's stomach...
"-and I wouldnt be surprised if there were some creepy micro creatures crawl....ing....a...." It was at that point Dennis realized he was talking to himself! Neither Dante or Oliver were anywhere to be seen!

"OLIVER?!! DANTE?!! ...YOU THERE?!" Dennis looked around the hallway for them but not only were they nowhere to be seen, neither was the organy tissuey hallway! He found himself in a regular looking hallway! Not just any regular looking hallway, the hallway of the castle! How did he end up... back in front of the security room?!

He stared blankly with his draw dropped and his cigarette inadvertently dropped on the ground. He was absolutely clueless.
"B...BUT I WAS JUST... I MEAN... I WAS... AND THEY WERE...."
He wasnt seriously just imagining those things! Dante and Oliver were 'imagining' the same thing! And where the hell did THEY go?! Harlin's little funhouse seems to have a twisted sense of humor! Wherever they are, he hoped they are alright. But most importantly, he hoped HE was gonna be alright.

"Excuse me, sir," said a woman's voice in a big sturdy suit of carefully designed almost futuristic armor with a helmet completely blocking anything resembling a face, "this is restricted territory. Please return to the party immediately."
Dennis glared coldly at the armored alleged 'security guard' and stomped away. All the while ignoring her calling out, "Sir, you dropped your cigarette. And smoking is prohibited."

"I gotta get outta this hellhole," Dennis muttered to himself as he stomped back toward the party, hoping to pass by the oddity guests... ESPECIALLY the certain giant one who was currently hanging around another poor human-looking sucker and some twerp in a succubus outfit grinning connivingly upwards at said giant.
Lloyd watches as Jacky follows the giantess as she starts to walk away from the person. The little imp ran pass her and made her way towards a chair. Jacky then places something on the chair which look like some sort of board full of needles. She chuckles to herself as the tall woman stops there and prepares to sit down.

Looking at this, he tries to get her attention by waving and jumping in order for her to stop. He didn't want to say a word because Jacky will probably hear him and probably get angry at him for ruining her prank. He managed to get her attention as she looks at him but is already too late; she sits down at the needles.

"AAAAHHHHH!!!"

The woman quickly got up and tries to get the needles off her ass. Right next to her, Jacky laughs and roll around the floor from seeing how successful her prank was. Meanwhile, the woman struggled to remove the needles until she finally did, but it ripped a piece of cloth from her dress exposing her panties. Embarrassed, she covers the big hole and turn her attention towards the laughing imp.

"Surprise! Hiya Yumiko, where you happy to see me?" She said with a grin.

"Jacky! I told you not to cause any trouble around here." The woman (later reveal to be the one called "Yumiko) yells angrily. "Your lucky that the prince invited you for some reason, but that won't mean you're free to pull your pranks on me."

"C'mon Yumiko." said Jacky. "At least it didn't rip your underwear so that way, nobody gets to see your giant bubble butt."

Yumiko immediately took offend to this and tries to grab Jacky. She dodges it and ran at the opposite direction with the giantess chasing after her. Lloyd just watched as they both just ran in circles.
Slipping through the wall of Steph's heart with more ease than he'd have dared hope for, Dante found himself in the chamber housing Kotone. Fortunately for him, she seemed fixated on her own devices, leaving him with the opportunity to survey the area. Although he mostly expected more pounding muscle, the chamber was still something other than a natural heart, even if its owner didn't realize it. What worried Dante was who got to decide what its additional properties were...

Sneaking wasn't too hard in the chamber. The muscle squished underfoot far too gently to be noticed over its natural pumping, which Dante was relieved to find at an unobtrusive volume. Finding a spot to take cover from being seen, though, was his current mission. He didn't want to fight the strange woman, especially without some kind of weapon.
Kotone swings her bronze sais around as she glances around the chamber, her crimson eyes gazing territorially around the heart as steam and black smoke would obscure her vision, particularly where she stepped, where magma and thick oil-like tar would ooze... She seemed to sense someone or something walking around the chamber and she gives the thick cardiac-muscle a hard kick with her legs and watches it wobble like rubbery gelatin.

"I sense... others nearby. Well, they won't get that far!" Kotone seethes as a draconic roar would be heard when she spoke. It was as if Kotone was emitting vile hatred from her very pores.
My eyes open, as the warm walls start to melt around my limbs, sinking me deeper into the heart. The beastly scream from Kotone (of all people) caught my attention, and my heart raced in response to Steph's thunderously slow heartbeats.

I just watched Kotone scramble and leap off the fleshy (if bloody) furniture of the room, trying to search for something substantial to stab me with... Last thing I remember was somebody else bringing me here. And keeping me inside the heart?

Of course! I have heard about Kotone before, but never knew why Kotone even wanted to take control over Steph's body. We were told to never go into the heart, but I only knew the insides of the palace I was attending, this was new territory.

A sea of tarry black covers my mouth, and my limbs are moving freely for a moment. Whatever primal and draconic rage Kotone had got, it made my organic prision, and the rest of Steph's heart, more liquid in response... Without Kotone even looking at me, I try to sink down into the warm, soft flesh of Steph's heart. I'm not able to breath, but that's enough as I notice the pushing of somebody else: they must have come to rescue me. I could hear Steph's overworked stomach gurgling languidly, if only there was a way to communicate with every organ here... I was particularly interested to know what Steph would think about our current situation.

And now, with all my might, I swim towards this new direction into the meaty cardiac-lined ocean, and I quickly spotted the head of the one sneaking in: Dante.
I signaled with my finger that we could use this new bloody ocean to sink away into Steph's abdominal cavity, that is, if Kotone doesn't follow us first.

As I started being absorbed into Steph's flesh, Kotone seemed to be hissing sporadically, "So, how does it feel to see the condition of your host? Everything's broken here..."
Eventually, Lloyd ignored the two as they chase each other around. He went towards the gates which leads outside to the castle's courtyard. He was hoping he could go there and get some fresh air after witnessing the strange sights from the castle, but he also saw more weird guests in the yard; at least the clean air helps him clear his head for now.

He was not sure how he ended up in a place like this and why did this castle invited him inside. Well whatever the reason is, he may as well just keep it cool and not let anyone notice his suspicious feelings.

"I see that you are pretty new here, huh?"

Lloyd turns around and sees another person (or rather creature) standing right next to him.

He appears to be a tall lizard-like creature (like a mixture between Gex and Inteleon) with light green skin and wears a black tuxedo, pants, but wears no shoes. He is holding a cup of orange wine and is looking down at him.

"Uh yes.." said Lloyd "Who are you?"

"My apologies for my rudeness. My name's Danny and I'm one of the many guest around here." said the lizard guy "It appears that you aren't from here."

"I know, I just woke up from here and I don't even know how." said Lloyd.

"Well I heard many of these guests have shared your own problem as well so you're not alone." said Danny as he slipped his drink "I think you should ask the prince himself, maybe you can find some answers from him."

"Are you sure? Where is he right now?" asked Lloyd.

"He's probably in his royal chambers right now." answered Danny "If that were true, I'm afraid you can't see him now since only the staff members of the castle can enter his room. You can go and see him...if you want risk getting captured by the guards and get kicked out or thrown into the dungeon."

"Is there another way to contact him?" asked Lloyd.

Danny stood there and thought about this for a moment.
Dante bit his lip anxiously. Kotone clearly wasn't bound by the same laws as everyone else, which made the prospect of neutralizing her, even with a sneak attack, difficult. Still, the effluvian smoke she wreathed herself in was certainly opaque to him, and she made it clear that she hadn't located him yet, so he at least had the opportunity to study her.

Keeping to her blind side, he tried to assess her capabilities. Although she impossibly dripped a molten substance, her physical strength was inferior to the pulsating muscle around them. If he could find a spot where it let matter through, it would trap her as easily as anyone else. With the gentle touch of his fingers, he scanned the blood-slicked wall in hopes of finding such a point...
It was unreal. Unbelievable. There was no way out of the castle. Sure, one could go outside (if one could call it that), but one couldnt actually LEAVE the castle. Dennis just learned this the hard way.

"You gotta be freaking kidding me," he whispered to himself as he stood out at the front gates of the castle, looking at the outside.

It wasnt outside. There was no outside.

It was painted. The scenery of everything outside of Prince Harlin's beloved kingdom was nothing more than painted walls! Dennis beat and pounded on the walls disguised as fake scenery, but to no avail. He was boxed in. He punched, he kicked, he even tried to light the fake outside wall on fire with his lighter... all his efforts had the exact same result. NONE.

"This has gotta be a nightmare," Dennis mutters to himself, holding back the urge to scream, "so why the hell aint I waking up?! C'mon, wake up Dennis, wake up! WAKE UP!!!"

"Going somewhere?" asked the stranger behind him whom if he turned around noticed, literally appeared out of nowhere.
"Yeah, anywhere the hell but here," Dennis answered, not even turning back to acknowledge him.

"I'm afraid it's not quite that simple, good sir," the red-haired man in the black widow spider motiff assures him, "no one is permitted to leave until the festivities come to a close."

"Well, I gotta take a raincheck on these 'festivities'," Dennis remarked, still pounding on the fake scenery, "cuz I'd like to leave now."

"That's out of the question, unfortunately," Prince Harlin tells him, "if youre disgruntled, we do offer many activities to soften your mood."
"I dont wanna 'soften my mood', carrot-top," Dennis finally turned his attention to the prince, still not realizing who he's turned attention to, "I wanna GTFO ASAP!"

Dennis's rude outburst and overall attitude towards the very host of the ball himself didnt seem to bother the prince. In fact, something else about Dennis caught his attention.

"You..." Harlin squinted his eyes, "I dont recognize your face on the invitation list. And I'm pretty sure I've memorized every single one."
"You can tell that to Nepasomethingorwhatever," he remarks, "if I aint supposed to be here, then I'll gladly leave if I could. GLADLY."
Harlin merely stares at him in silence for a few more seconds, pondering this potential anomaly. At least until something else catches his attention.

"It looks like that'll be the least of your worries now," Harlin comments, looking past Dennis.
"The hell does that mean?" Harlin didnt need to answer.

"Eyaaaaaa-Ooph!!" Someone immediately collides into Dennis as soon as he turned to face her! It was Jacky, who was in an awful rush to get away from someone.

"JAAAAACCKKKYY!!!!!!"Someone named Yumiko. Yumiko, still being outrageously infuriated over Jacky's little prank, dashed toward her at break-neck speed as she let out a demonic howl! Without even thinking, she literally pounced at that succubus! Too bad for her, Jacky was quick to leap out of the way. Too bad for Dennis, he wasnt.

Both Dennis and Yumiko locked eyes for nearly a millisecond just before SLAAAAAAAAAMMMM!!!!
Of course Dante couldn't see me, as I was under the fleshy walls. I could move around though, and I saw Dante touching the walls, so in a swift move, I grabbed his hand and pulled his head inside, with both of us swimming inside the squishy ocean.

I could see him trying to find an opening, but perhaps the entire walls could be traversed through. Does this mean that we can go through the heart, and in that case, other organs, as we pleased?

My attention dripped towards finding a way to create a weapon using the black substance that Kotone used to capture me. I grabbed some of it, trying ti mold it into an axe. Or at least, the blade of a halberd.
Hariti looked around at the strange fleshy organic environment, and hummed quietly to herself for a moment, before heading off to see if she could find her way into Steph's heart. She slipped into Steph's blood stream and let the current carry her along, hoping she would end up at her destination once the fluid circulated around completely.

Once she touched the blood, she could sense something strange in Steph's body—Kotone's presence. She wondered where Kotone was hiding at and what she might be up to here inside of Steph.
While Lloyd and Danny are discussing on how to seek the prince, they suddenly heard a crash coming from the frontyard.

"What was that?" asked Lloyd.

"It looks like it came from the castle's entrance, let's go check it out." said Danny and they both make their way to the gateway of the castle.

After they arrived, they saw Yumiko lying on the ground; on top of some unfortunate person. On top of her was Jacky who is happily bouncing on the giantess' butt like a mattress.

"Awww you're still too slow to catch me there, Yumiko." she taunted "Maybe you should lay off those noodles next time."

Jacky stops and looks at Lloyd "Hi there human, did you saw my hilarious prank; it was priceless."

"You know her?" asked Danny.

"Kind of, we meet at..."

"Shhhh, don't tell him about my secret." said Jacky.

"Uh...somewhere." said Lloyd.

Lloyd then sees a red-haired man in a red-black outfit. "Excuse me, do you know how to find the prince around here?"

"You mean me? Prince Harlin. You don't need too." he said while bowing "What do you want to see me for?"

Lloyd takes out the invitation from his pocket and handed to the prince. "I just want to know why did you invited me here and how did I ended up in here? I think you might know the answers."

Harlin looks at the paper and then at Lloyd. "Honesty, I don't....remember giving you this." said the prince. "I don't understand how did it got in your pocket, maybe my deliverymen made a mistake or something which may explains this poor fellow here." He pointed at the person under Yumiko.

"So you don't know what happened?" asked Danny.

"Of course not, I was busy directing the party at that time."

Lloyd was disappointed and was about to ask him how he got into the world he is right now when suddenly, the squashed man struggled to get up.
Prince Harlin pockets the paper, and sighs melodramatically, the duties of being the Prince of the Rajak Isles sometimes outweigh the benefits as he glances at Lloyd, "I have no choice but to quarantine the rest of the guests into the palace until further notice, due to rumours of a biological virus contaminating the current area, I henceforth apologise for these actions, but it is for the best." the Prince notes seriously, "Any guests, human or otherwise, that are seen exiting the grounds while the masquerade is on hold will be kept in the palace dungeons- or fed to the Akashic machine- until further notive. Understood?" His grave voice would be heard.

Misako would look towards her hands, were it just her eyes, or was her indistinct form flickering?
In some area in the palace lied a young girl with short brown hair and blue eyes wearing peasant clothes just as she was walking around, looking for someone. “Mommy, where are you? I am scared.” Said the young girl, getting a bit scared just as she continues to look about, unaware of what is going on currently in the palace with the quarantine and the guards lying about. She was currently trying to find her mom in the midst of the chaos that has occurred with the guests earlier.

Soon, one of the guards who was roaming around was spotted and he shouted. “Hey, you... you aren’t supposed to be out. Who are you?!” The guard said menacingly just as he heads to the child, who was now frightened.

“Don’t hurt me, my name is Lola.” The child said with a tear in her eye. “I was just looking for my mommy. Me and her got separated when the palace got locked up,”
Dante startled as he was grabbed, but surprisingly found Oliver unharmed. The bloody pocket he'd been drawn into wasn't exactly hospitable, but it seemed that the walls were easier to see through from one side, making it a place where Kotone wouldn't find them.
Oliver seemed to have a plan for the strange substance still on him, or at least a desire to get it off. Pulling a sleeve over his hand to avoid touching the matter directly, Dante helped him wrench enough of it off that he could take care of himself, then returned to spying on their opponent through the strange wall.
"Do you have a plan?" he asked quietly.
After a brief visit with the nurse in spandex leather (head to toe, because she really didnt have much if any skin underneath) followed by a forced quarantine enforced by fully armored knights and a brief introduction with Lloyd and his new lizard companion, Dennis found himself stuck in the concert hall crammed in a table with his new companions as well as his colossal attacker who was constantly bowing and going "I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY".
Though he was aching like hell, somehow he didnt break any bones or fracture any ribs TOO badly. Normally he'd be pissed off beyond remedy after his entrapment AND ambush, but he kept a straight face and replied, "It's alirght. It's ok. No worries. Had worse." as if it didnt bother him much. One, because it wouldnt accomplish anything getting even more mad; if he was gonna get out of this place, he needed to keep calm and focus. Two, he could clearly see how sorry Yumiko was; if anything, he felt sorry for her having a total bitch of a co-worker like Jacky picking on her all the time. Three, because to be quite honest, it was kindof his dream going out being crushed under a ginormous pair of boobs!

And on the plus side, at least Dennis and crew were gonna be served a free meal and while theyre waiting, they get to see some indie band perform on stage. And it just so happened, the band was doing a cover of 'Adventure of a Lifetime' by Coldplay. Dennis's favorite song. If he wasnt in pain and shellshocked from an earlier incident (and infinitely smaller), he'd probably invite the sorry ghoul to dance.

"So you got a shady invitation too?" Dennis raised an eyebrow at Lloyd, intrigued by this startling turn of events.

"Yeah," Lloyd answers, "full details, directions, map of the place, everything! It looked so darn authentic, the royal guard thinks it's a convincing forgery!"
"Heh, not like mine!" Dennis remarked as he pulled out his own invitation, "it's a miracle I was able to read half the stuff on here!" Even Lloyd and Danny squinted their eyes, trying to read it.

"I told Nepskullee he shouldve waited until his opposable appendages grew out before volunteering to make invitations," Yumiko sighed, still keeping her head low with shame, "still, it's quite odd you were given invitations despite the Prince himself not including your names on the list."
"Does this mean we're gonna have to be kicked out?" Lloyd asked the huge ghoul.
Yumiko shook her head, "No. Youre still welcomed to enjoy yourselves here. However, you might not want to stray too far. If things turn out badly, you might be the first suspects." Dennis groaned, wishing he could get another cigarette.

*Tink tink tink!* "Uh... Yumi? Can I please come out now? I learned my lesson!" begged the voice of Jacky who was currently crammed in Yumiko's oversized yet very cramped sake bottle! Nobody knew how Yumiko managed to fit Jacky into the bottle... nor were they in the mood to ask questions!

"Uh uh!" Yumiko told the imp in the bottle, "your stupid prank ruined a brand new dress AND nearly caused me to hurt an innocent guest!"
"I said I was sorry!" whined the imp, "I wont do anymore pranks on you again! I promise!"
"I've heard that lie one too many times!" the ghoul replied just before lifting the sake bottle and pouring herself a drink, ignoring Jacky's high-pitched scream! "Would anyone else like a drink?"

"Nah, I'm good!" Lloyd quickly shot it down.
"Doc said no alcohol," Dennis answered.
"I'll take some!" Danny offered up his glass. Yumiko gleefully poured some sake into it.
"WHOAWHOAWHOAWHOAAAAA!!!" squealed the voice inside as she harshly pounded out the last drops!

As they waited for a waitress, Dennis stared over at the band performing in deep thought. Still thinking about what occurred earlier back at the surveillance room. He glanced over at the doors leading out of the concert hall... each one blocked by a knight. At the moment he was trapped. If he wasnt going anywhere for a while, hopefully he could at least enjoy the time he has. For now, his world focused on just him, Lloyd, that lizard fellow, the giantess in glasses, and the bitch in the bottle.
With success I molded a firm and sharp obsidian weapon made of Kotone's own black blood, holding it swiftly under my clothes. With my hands, I signaled Dante to follow me, at least until Kotone looked in mischief towards one side.

After wandering around the room in her provocative yet menacing steps, Kotone laid down to relax, drinking some crimson juice from a glass of wine.

This was the chance, as I used the walls to move just above her, and when she glanced to the digesting stomach below us, I jumped out of the wall, taking the halberd with my left arm, piercing it through Kotone's hand, before creating a whirlwind with it, destroying Kotone's entire right arm. She still glared at us menacingly despite dripping tarry blood. With nary a second to spare, she regenerated her right arm again.

"Ok.... I think that's it Dante. Anyway, destroy the rest of her form with this" I give Dante the empty halberd to finish the job while I looked around for an exit. Kotone seemed to be thinking of chasing us through the rest of Steph's adbominal cavity dimension, and I could see it in her crimson eyes that she was itching for a fight with her sais...
Current theme: Inner workings (biopunk styled)

Meanwhile, there would be a literal biopunk-styled factory safely within Steph's innards hidden beneath all of the flesh, muscles and bones, just beneath the surface, complete with metallic gears, conveyor belts and silver and bronze clockwork. But that would pale in comparison to the bundle of pulsing white nerves and white-hot synapses that covered the entire place. Of course, since it was all automatic and on time, the system would be hardly ever taking a break.

Several workers would have punch-hole cards, but the materials would easily be melted down into digestible components. Sometimes a worker would just slip and fall onto a stray conveyor belt, but it was a small cause for the biomechanical system as a whole. A machine would flash various percentages on a television box overhead.
With a ton of luck, Dante and I escape i to what looks like an infinite tunnel of crimson bricks, shaking with every breath Steph takes?

At this point I don't care. Kotone's done, the best we can do is escape and find a way oit of this colossal body.

Suddenly, the bloodflow drops us in the middle of a populated facility, surrounded by pulsating flesh and travelling red, clear and brown creatures.

"Oh come on, this is now tje City of Steph?!" I hold my horses for a moment; looking around, as I see a slimy staircase, and I rush there with Dante, to get a better look of this citadel.

Dante examined the obsidian-edged weapon (made out of Kotone's volcanic blood) that he'd just been handed. Sure, it may have been a fair distribution of the workload, but he hadn't expected to be tasked with fighting already. But, if this really was all Steph's endless dream paradise, then his body's limitations shouldn't hold him back. He'd be a mental being, limited only by his focus and processing speed. He could fight... If he learned quickly enough how to work a halberd.

Dante was giving the new weapon a few testing swings when Oliver suddenly waved him back to an escape. Down the passage, the organic environment became... less organic. Not completely, as it still shifted and churned with renewed biological processes, but those digestive processes became the responsibility of scattered, seemingly mindless (?) workers in an increasingly machine-like organic chamber. The sight of internal biopunk-themed city was unexpected, but not unwelcome as right in the centre of it, it seemed a (rather familar) molten-lava dragon with obsidian fangs.would be supervising the workers... Kotone, in her true form, it seemed...

"If this is a dream, Steph would populate this organic city the way she instinctively feels it should be populated," he reasoned to his new companions, offering the damaged halberd back to him, "even if the 'people' this Silent Hill type world has working in it are mindless or absent, there will probably be documents of some kind revealing Steph's internal thoughts. We might find a clue about how to get out of here, or at least how things work around this city. Although, I'd stay away from memory vaults and the conveyor-belts... anything too secretive might just be something our host doesn't want anyone else learning."
Just when Dennis calmed his nerves, just when he thought he finally got a brief break from the intolerable madness that's been washing over him, reality rains on his most needed parade.

Literally. It rains black blood. Tarlike blood began to drip from the ceiling of the concert hall. As the band was performing some cover song from an old 80s band Dennis never heard of, they noticed drips of blood raining down on their stage. Everybody in the hall looked up and noticed the ceiling was drenched in that thick lukewarm liquid and going drip drip drip…

That wasnt even the worst part. As the blood dripped down, debris begin to fall. The weight of the ceiling itself was beginning to give out.

Bits of debris falling begat cracks. Cracks begat tears. Tears begat broken support boards. Broken support boards begat-

*CRAAAASSSSHHHH!!!*

Everybody screamed and dashed out of the way as a ginormous body (even larger than Yumiko, even!) fell from the destroyed ceiling and landed with a loud THUD! Unknown at the time being if anybody was hurt, let alone crushed to death under the enormous woman.

Scratch that. Enormous DEAD woman. The distant look in her eyes that matched the eternal look of utter shock burned a permanent image in Dennis's mind he wouldnt be shaking out for a long time! Everybody screamed… including Yumiko, who shrieked the loudest, clenching Dennis for dear life like a smaller human shield!

“What? What's going on?” asked the imp in the frightened ghoul girl's body, “why's everybody screaming? Your fat ass tear through your dress again?”

Everybody at the table, (including Dennis, somehow ignoring Yumiko's grip) stared blankly and dumbfoundedly at the titanic corpse in front of them. The titanic corpse of someone eldritch. One of her arm's was missing and spurting out tons of black blood.

But that wasnt what killed her. The cause of death: That long clean cut all the way across her arm! The cut was so deep and clean, The unidentified lady's arm rolled right off before dissolving! Soon there would be nothing left of Kotone's humanoid form and the stage was clear once again. And the furniture and band were exactly as they were before. Prince Harlin pursed his lips sternly, he may have been the ruler of the Rajak Isles, but that was clearly unusual. "The palace quarantine is still in session, carry on... By the way, would anyone like to venture into the bowels of the palace to see exactly what is happening? I hear the factory nearby is causing all the chaos here in the Rajak Isles."
Hariti slithered through the biopunk factory, examining all the fleshy machinery and looking at how it operated, watching as it pressed and pulled large muscles and used them to break down the materials Steph had eaten into useful components. The naga slithered over to one of the workers, and said "Is it safe to be working here? Couldn't you end up getting processed by this biomechanical equipment? After all you're made of the same stuff that Steph's food is made from."
The worker turned to the naga, slightly intimidated by her, but responding nonetheless.
"W-well, you see, it's not like we have anywhere else to go, you know. And someone's gotta do it. The pay is good, at least. Free rent, for one."
Off to the side, one of his fellow workers slipped and fell into the jaws of one of the many machines, but this worker just ignored it and kept on doing his job.

Further down the line of biomechanical machinery, the mechanism responsible for sorting nutrients from waste groaned to life, closely monitored by a few more workers in lab coats. The machine in question was a long tube that chemically treated the input and pumped out the valuable materials, flushing the rest out the back valve. The lab workers, who were monitoring nutrient levels, didn't even flinch as they saw the freshly-processed worker be pushed on through into the sorting tube. One of them casually noted on his clipboard, "Worker #19483 deceased by occupational hazard."

It seemed like this was just a regular day at this place.
Steph seems to be in a bit of a daze while wandering around, "I can't believe I'm here, this gonna be a dream, but I sense I've been here before at some point in time..." She would see a beef burger just there and blush profusely, "Anyway, I'm gonna explore around for now, until I find my way back to the Rajak Isles."
A worker wearing a much cleaner suit makes his rounds around the biomechanical factory. He watches each worker do their job closely, and each worker seems to get nervous when being watched. Seems like he's the head honcho around here, or something along those lines.

At one point in the disassembly line, the boss man catches one worker sleeping on the job. He yells out, "21403! Keep your head up, maggot. You don't wanna end up like 21319, do you?!" The worker, '21403' apparently, rockets up to standing position and cries out, "Sir! No, sir!"

Are they just afraid of losing their jobs? No, they don't exactly have the most desirable jobs in the world, anyway. Perhaps the punishment for failure is something much worse than just being fired.
After that unexpected surprise, the entire palace returns back to its former self and the musicians went back to their music as if nothing happened. Lloyd wonders what was that even about so he asked anyone in the group who knows what's going on. After he ask this, Dennis is the first to speak up:

"Well I actually have been in another place before." He said.

"What kind of place are you talking about?" Danny asked.

"I was with two other guys at that time and we were all-"

Dennis' story was quickly interrupted by the announcer from the palace's intercom.

"ATTENTION ALL GUEST! THE VIRUS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED SO THE QUARANTINE HAS NOW BEEN LIFTED FROM THE REST OF THE PALACE. HOWEVER, THERE'S BEEN A RECENT REPORT THAT FOUR MORE VIRUSES HAVE BEEN DETECTED SO FOR YOU SAFETY, NOBODY LEAVES THIS ENTIRE PALACE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU'RE FREE TO ENJOY YOURSELES WHILE YOU CAN. THAT IS ALL WE HAVE."

"Four more virus?!" Lloyd said in his head.

"That doesn't sound so good..." said Dennis.

"Well at least we could go and walk the palace now." said Danny. "If anyone needs me, I'll be going to get myself some refreshments."

"You sure like to drink alot." said Yumiko.

"I'm only just getting some punch, I'm definitely not a heavy drinker here."

"Say Yumiko, what is this virus the prince is talking about?" asked Lloyd.

Yumiko just scratch her head and ponders for a bit. "I don't know it myself, but I do know that these viruses are known to be incredibly dangerous. They are like sentient beings with high intelligence and have the ability to shapeshift into any sort of form they desire."

"That sounds kind of scary." said Danny.

"In meantime, we're doing the best we can to keep you all safe so please be patient."

Lloyd turns to Danny. "Hey Danny, is it okay if I could come with you too?"

"Sure man."

"Can I come with you guys, too?" asked Jacky from inside Yumiko's bottle.

"No way, you're still staying put to think about what you done." scolded Yumiko.

"Awwww..." Jacky crossed her arms and pouted.

"Don't worry, we'll be back shortly." said Danny.

"Make it quick too because we're planning to go to this so-called "bowels" the prince is mentioning; wether that is." said Dennis.

As both Lloyd and Danny make their way to the dance room for a drink, Lloyd couldn't help but have several unanswered questions going through his head. What was that dead giantess that came out of nowhere? Where are these viruses right now? What is this factory the prince is mentioning? And who are those men from that other place Dennis was traveling in?
Following Dante's indications, we carefully moved around the beating roads and steamy buildings of the city, on the distance and enornous mountain of organic matter degrading.

Of course, I had a feeling we were still inside Steph's stomach. Suddenly, a huge buzz shook me, amd the announcement of four more viruses somewhere inside the body made me tremble.

I grab the obsidian blade and cut it in two pieces, before stabbing my right arm with it. The piece is in place, visible, and there's surprisingly no blood coming out. Does that mean we cannot die physically? If we slip, we'll have a destiny worse than dead?

I proceed to grab Dante's left arm and thrush the blade, so that he is recognizable. Of course, he slaps me before I explain to him.

"I didn't knew they multiplied. Listen, this blade will tell you if I'm me, they can't create obsidian. They shapeshift, so if you don't see the blade in my arm, either run or kill me. Let's go".

With these words we proceed to the centre of the city, pushing away the uninterested crowd.
Dante startled as his companion stabbed himself. Of course, the announcement prior had caught his attention, but he assumed the "viruses" the body identified were him, Oliver, and likely Kotone and one other victim of the world's transformation.

"You couldn't just tie it to yourself!?" he asked incredulously, eyeing the bloodless wound, "...looks like your body's a construct. Did you know that when you started shaping weapons and stabbed yourself, or are you some kind of wizard?"

He looked around, examining the surrounding..."NPCs". "Sure they can't shapeshift, but I'd have tried asking you about our trip before looking for embedded objects," he commented, "It sounds like you know an antagonist I don't, though, and I'm not sure I'm big on that ambush risk. What's going on here?"
Dennis waited for what seemed like forever for Lloyd and Danny to return. Those two were taking an awful long time to return. He'd chalk it up as those two overindulging at the bar, but he had doubts. The lizardman clearly seemed like he had a bottomless gut for booze, but Lloyd...
Anyways, something didnt seem right to him. And judging by the score, every single time something doesnt seem right to him, then it clearly ISNT right!

"What's keeping those two?" Dennis glanced at his watch, only to learn the battery's dead on it, "figured they'd be back by now."

"Maybe they've gotten themselves distracted by another attraction," the tall ghoulish maiden keeping Dennis occupied remarked, "there IS plenty to do here after all... *ahem* within quarantine limits, of course."
"Right," Dennis agreed with doubt in his tone. Nevertheless, he decided to put those two on the backburner of his mind at the moment and move on to another pressing matter.

"Hey Yumiko?"

"What is it?" She immediately leaned over at him with divided attention as soon as he called her by name!
"These uh... bowels that Harley guy was talking about... you know anything about them?"

"First of all, his name is not Harley," she corrects him, "it's Prince HarLIN. Please address our liege properly when youre in public."
"Tsk, what a prude," Jacky muttered from within Yumiko's bottle.

“Alright, sorry,” Dennis was in no mood to argue, “do you know anything about Prince Harlin's stupid little bowel issue?”

“If youre referring to the bowels of the castle,” the pale giantess frowned with shame, “I'm sorry. I dont know anything about them.”
“You dont?”
She shook her head, “Foreign laborers have very limited privileges. That particular restricted part of the manor is reserved for the most elite members and high profile guests.” Well that's a drag.

“I know about them! I know about them!” beamed the voice in the sake bottle.

“How would YOU of all things know about them?!” Yumiko glared down at the bottle, “youre ANYTHING but elite!”
“Tsk. Shows what YOU know, Big Yumi!” Jackie replied.
“What do you know about them?” Dennis asked.

“They are special restricted magic confines of the castle that are never take the same form twice,” Jacky explains.
“How is that possible?”
“You see, the map layout is altered to match the shape, pathway, and foundation of the Chosen One's inner workings.” Chosen One? “And the way the physical rooms are constructed depends on the mood reflected by the Chosen One's soul.” Dennis squints his eyes at the explanation.

“How in Izanami's name do you even know all of this?!” Yumiko questioned.
“Higher ups tend to blab after one too many drinks are in 'em,” Jacky answers, “by the way, that reminds me, Yumi sweetie. I dont know if youre aware or not, but whenever Ali asks you to pick up his lucky ring he drops on the floor, ya do know him and his goons are just checking out your bulging butt bending over in front of them-riEEEEEEE!!”

As Yumiko furiously shakes her sake bottle, Dennis couldnt help but ponder strongly on what Jacky said.

“Damn… and I left my lucky ring at home.”
“Hmm?”
“Er nothing! Nothing! Um, anyways, what about these viruses?” he asks, “are we gonna need to worry about them while we're in the bowels?”
“I-I-I-I-I dont think so,” Jacky says, trying to stop her head from spinning, “from what I heard, the bowels have a special ability to detect presences of threatening viruses and if it believes that it poses a threat to the Chosen One, it will immediately reject it!”
“Like try to kill it.”
“No, like LITERALLY reject it. Like kick it out! Like *POOF* it's out of there! Transport it to a safer part of the mansion… or so I've heard.”

“Is that so?” Dennis puts on an overly intrigued voice… that did not match the look of dumbstrickness on his face…. as a flashback of vanishing from the area Dante and Oliver were in flashes into his mind.
Lloyd and Danny are currently at a table drinking some fruit punch. While slurping his drink, Lloyd is still wondering on those unanswered questions that's still lingering around inside his head. He tries to act completely normal in front of his friend, but he already can tell that something is bothering him right now.

"I see you are confused on this whole strange event, huh?" Danny said.

"Yeah.." replied Lloyd "Is there something you know on what's going on? Like this factory thing he mentioned."

"I'm afraid I only have limited information about this factory." answered Danny "The factory is where many of this world's inner workings comes from with lots of workers tasked with many different jobs in there and since I never been there before, that's pretty much all I could know. I heard it's pretty tough to work there, though."

Inner workings? This world has some sort of inner workings? Lloyd thought he just meant something else and goes along with it.

"Well the Prince will be senting us in the bowels, even though very few people goes there." said Danny. "Something tells me this giant corpse from out of nowhere could be a sign something bad so he wants all of us to be safe."

"Is it those viruses?" asked Lloyd.

"Probably since it protects lots of people from all sorts of threats, or at least that's what I know."

"Have you been thinking about two men Dennis was talking about?"

"Not really, there probably just guests that got lost here or something."

The two finally finished their drinks and were about to return back to the music hall where the others are when suddenly, someone is standing in their way.

This mysterious person is completely covered in a large brown cloak that even obscures her face.

"Umm...hello." greeted Lloyd; even looking at this woman made him nervous.

"Do you need something?" asked Danny who still remains his cool.

"Nothing..." she spoke "I'm here to give you both an important piece of infomation. They may said I'm dead but managed to escape before that happened. Me and the rest are still at work for the ultimate take-over and let me give you two a warning; if you get in our way, you will all soon regret it and that will not a pleasant experience." After that, she bursts into ashes.

Both Lloyd and Danny coughed from the ash and noticed that she was gone.

"What was that even about?" asked Lloyd. "She seems to be talking about something..."

"Who knows, but let's just head back to the others; they must been worrying sick of us." said Danny.

The two head back to the music hall while Lloyd is still shaken at his encounter with the mysterious woman.

In the meantime, a digital entity called Akashic seems to be watching in the background of the Palace, as her golden eyes flare like torches, she was unseen amongst the guests and only observing everything...
With both Dante and I safe from being manipulated by a mortal virus entity, we climbed to the top of one of the organic towers, watching above all of the fabrics.

The wet steam engulfed the air, the red rivers separated the land, and the shaking flesh beats as it warms both of us.

"Look. The tower can be seen from here. But... who should we be wary about? Like, tell me now or I will be obligued to abandon you here. I think I just found our way out".

I point towards the huge meaty tower, crashing into the steamy walls and merging with the liquids, squeezing it's fuel through the entrance.

"That, I believe, transports nutrients and other stuff to other areas around here. We might be able to move more. I thougjt it was a control room.

Anyway, I think that Kotone was in... some sort of prison. That's the importance of not disturbing this realm".
"Do you actually know what you're doing or just kind of say things with confidence sometimes?" Dante snapped. Oliver's level of awareness seemed very different every time he spoke, and now he was considering abandoning him? Then again, which one of them was Kotone after? Was there a specific target from that woman?

"We don't need to be wary of anyone if we can just escape Kotone's gaze," he remarked patiently, glossing over his outburst, "but if that's part of the digestive system, are you sure it's safe to get near it? That was the woman's heart before, but we ended up here...if the setting shifted to...wherever we are now, maybe the lungs are accessible. Then being exhaled...I don't think I really see an exit that won't require protective equipment, unless..."

He surveys the moist, quivering area around them. "Perspiration...? I don't know much about it, but if we can follow a path water takes, we might be able to escape through sweat or a tear...but then again, we might just be redistributed somewhere inside the facory instead. It's certainly moist enough. Normally I'd think it's pointless, but now things are run by some kind of cellular people. There may be specificity we can exploit...if we're the right size, at least.

He advanced towards the tower, keeping an eye out for other pathways. "If this place is considered a prison for the draconic Kotone, it needs an entrance, and if there's an entrance, there can be an exit but we need to venture deeper into the biological factory itself to do so," he murmured, wondering what would happen if the factory absorbed them...
Kotone shifts her gaze towards them, but it was with a gloating if disinterested gaze that seems rather haughty, especially since her lava-encrusted draconic scales didn't allow much movement since she was occupied by the factory workers around her, her slitted crimson eyes and needle-like teeth were fairly sharp as she paws at a nearby factory-worker, trying to get him to notice if anything was amiss.

Meanwhile, in the Mind Palace, Akashic was observing the palace inhabitants as she glowed with an inner light. "As a digital avatar of Ennui, I can not interfere, but observe," Akashic responds while drinking a cup of brown tea, "But I can diverge some knowledge to those passing by, Venture deep into the factory and you will find the source of turmoil." Akashic says, using her future vision to see what Steph was sensing. Meanwhile in the factory...
As we advanced even more towards the fabric, the surroundings became more erratic, with floating pieces of meat shaking around our sight.

The inhabitants hung from the huge crimson spikes, emerging from the twisted fleshy structure, the tremors causing the surroundings to burn in steam.

We stopped in front of a bottomless pit, which beat and curved it's layers, opening and giving us a wind of fear, making us fall into our feet.

"Good news, we got to the tower. Bad news..." I pointed towsrds the titanic trench between us and our mission. Inhumanly capable.

"We can't cross to it. Darn". I start walking around, figuring out a way to cross. We might be constructs, but we still are not fantasy morphers with gidly powers that try to steal cookies.
"Well, how stable are the laws of physics here?" Dante questioned, crossing his arms, "I mean, you can bend some kind of ebony effluvia into any shape you choose and this place USED to be a castle, so is it really impossible that we can just jump the trench? We wouldn't even be the only floating meat here."

He bounced lightly on the balls of his feet a few times. When it came to the dream world, jumping had always been one of the few things he could rely on. "Of course, we could also try to bridge it somehow. Get a zipline or coax the environment into making a bridge. Ideally, there already is one just on the other side...at the very least, a rope would be wise. It's possible that I can jump this and you can't...also, who's stealing cookies, and if they're here, can we just get out for like $1.25?"
A while longer passes. Food's already been served. Dennis suspiciously chewed on his pleasant tasting steak as Yumiko scarfed down her jumbo sushi plate and washed it down a refill of her sake as the imp in the bottle let out curses in latin everytime the huge ghoul tipped the bottle into her mouth. Lloyd and his lizard companion were still nowhere to be seen and their bbq ribs and fried rat kebab were getting cold.

"If Lizard Boy aint coming back soon, can I have his kebab?" asked Jackie.
Yumiko sneered, "Fine... AFTER I finish my drink first! I dont want that awful thing polluting my precious beverage of heaven." Nobody dare questioned why she didnt mind Jackie polluting it.

Nonetheless, Dennis was still too deep into thought about Jackie's words from earlier. The more he thought about them, the more he thought about other things. The more he thought about other things, the more he realized they didnt add up. About the crummy written invitation. About how he wasnt on the guest list. About the sudden boot from that other realm. About the dead woman from the ceiling! Everything he remembered makes about the same amount of sense. They made NO sense!

It was some big bizarre eerie nightmare And now he was going to literally venture into the bowels of this nightmare? This insanity was not good for his bladder. And neither was the odd drinks he was nonchantly consuming since he got here. Overthinking about lunacy needed to wait. Right now, nature was a calling!

"Er, I gotta make a quick rest stop," he tried as politely as possible to inform his new friends that he needed to piss like a racehorse, "where's the restroom?"
"The men's room should be just near that corner of the room," Yumiko pointed, "by that weird fellow in the brown cloak."

"Ok, I see him," Dennis spotted the brown cloaked figure, "thanks." And he quickly made his trek. Then he made a beeline toward that direction, not even so much as batting an eye at the odd woman with eerily glowing eyes gazing his direction. He failed to notice that she was deliberately staring at him with suspicion. As he past her, she quickly reached into her sleeve to check a note, before glancing over at Dennis's direction with wide eyes!

She immediately followed him from behind, but didnt get far as he slammed the bathroom door in her face.

Sadly, too many of the urinals were used up and he didnt feel comfortable taking a spot between a werewolf and a grizzly bear. The only available spot was the handicap stall.
Shrugging his shoulders, he popped open the stall door...

"EeyyaaaaAHHHUHH?!" Just in time to see Oliver and Dante making an ungodly leap from a great chasm in the distance all the toward his direction!
With only microseconds to react, Dennis quickly slammed the stall door shut!

*THUD!!* And heard a great thud from the other side! Realizing what he did, far too late, he quickly swung the stall door back open!

"DANTE! OLIVER!! YOU OK?!!" He called out. But instead of a chasm and his two old companions, there was just a stall with a lone toilet on the other side of that door...
Tired of waiting for this environment to give him a break, Dante backed up to get a running start. If he made it, he made it. If he died, he might just wake up and be able to forget this place entirely. Even if he fell, there could be an exit within the chasm of flesh.

Digging his heels into the squishy meat, he broke into a sprint towards the chasm and threw his arms to his sides as he kicked off from the ground. The springy flesh yielded as he took to the air. "So there are some things I can count on," he murmured, watching the yawning fissure pass beneath him, "That probably means my defense...well, I'm still not safe in close quarters."

Touching down on the other side, he began scanning the "island" he'd reached for some way he could offer Oliver a way over.
Lloyd and Danny make their way down the hallway and to the music hall where their friends await; Lloyd wondered how many time they wasted back in the bar, maybe an hour or so? Wether the time, they must've thought something happened to them while they were talking. He is also still shaken on his encounter with this strange lady in a cloak. An ultimate takeover? Something's bad must be going on.

"Hey Danny, what do you think of that woman you saw?" he asked his friend.

"It may have been another guest with a strange sense of humor." Danny said "Many odd things happens alot in world but worry, you're gonna get used to it later."

Lloyd really wants to forget about the woman, but he couldn't help that something big is coming and even more scarier than the dead giantess from earlier. He shakes his head and tries to enjoy the party as much as he can.

Suddenly, he saw something that caught his eyes and stopped walking. He goes towards the object that got his attention.

It was a painting, but this was not an ordinary picture. It looks like a vision of another area. In this picture, he could see what looks like a factory of some sort with several workers working on various type of machines. However, the most scariest thing he saw is a large dragon with glowing eyes and sharp fangs looking at the workers, almost like it's observing them as they work. The dragon looked familiar to him and he feels like he seen it few moments ago.

"Hey Lloyd, are you coming?" Danny called him from the far distance.

"Can you come over here? I think I saw something interesting." said Lloyd as Danny came back to him. "There's something weird about this picture."

Danny looks at the painting and said "Yeah, it is pretty weird. A lion with huge wings is not a common sight."

What? Lloyd looks at the picture again and saw that Danny is correct; in the picture is a large lion with Icarus wings flying through the sky. "But I don't understand, there's a moving picture of a dragon and a bunch of people working in a factory."

"Sounds like this castle is already changing itself." said Danny.

"Changing itself? This place changes on it's own?" asked Lloyd.

"Indeed. Like I said, many weird stuff happens in this world."

Lloyd decided to not ask anymore question and just goes along with it. The two then made their way to the double doors that leads to the music hall.

"Sorry, we took so long." said Lloyd as he and his friend approach the table where Yumiko and Jacky are, but Dennis is not there.
Meanwhile, there would be a slight tremor as the factory would be proceeding in making the biological processes more papatable. It seemed that the whole system would be slightly overworked as it is...
Indeed, the factory was quite overworked, and with the process of processing food pushed into overdrive, more worker casualties were occurring than ever before. Worker casualties wasn't usually much cause for concern, but at the rate that it was happening, it risked greater consequences for the factory and for the entire body as a whole.

Around this time, a young man would awaken outside the palace. A bit dazed, he stood up before gazing at the massive castle ahead of him, shifting and yet steady, man-made and yet natural.

He only took the time to admire its surreal beauty for all of a few seconds, though, as he stepped through the front gates. He didn't know who was in charge here, but he knew that he had to speak to them.

This man, was, in fact, the one who could be called the foreman of the biomechanical facility that stood in place of the stomach. At the same time, however, he was also all of its workers, and also the factory itself. He was all too used to the surreal, dreamlike nature of existing in multiple forms at once, so he wasn't taken aback by the palace's shifting and self-paradoxical nature. It was just another day on the job, be him at the factory or the castle.

Upon entering through the gates, he introduced himself to the guards, being honest about himself and his goal here.
"I am but a noble stomach," he explained, bowing down, "and I seek an audience with Prince Harlin. My people, and my self, are being worked to the bone, and I would like to have talks with His Majesty about increasing blood funding such that we may operate more efficiently and improve our safety standards."
Dennis took a bit of time opening and closing that stall as if trying to reopen that parallel dimension from earlier (AFTER relieving his bladder of course! He still had to piss like a racehorse after all!). But all for nought. Nothing but a toilet and a roll that was about to run out. He refused to believe he imagined it! He certainly DID see Dante and Oliver on the other side!

He pondered hard what he did that nearly caused him to pass over to that other side. He retraced his steps. He did exactly as earlier: barged right into the men's room, slammed the door behind him, shrugged his shoulder at the handicap stall, swung the stall door open, but still no difference.

"But I musta done SOMETHING different," Dennis muttered to himself, "but what did I do? Did I inadvertently cast a magic spell? Mutter some incantation under my breath? What?!" He couldnt calm down. This oddity only made him even more intrigued. He coulda done a million things slightly different than what he normally does that caused that bizarre rip into another dimension, but what?

"Damn," he mutters as he's totally stumped. He didnt have all the time in the world to ponder over those millions of slightly different things. Still, he couldnt give up thinking about it at this rate. He couldnt contemplating it as he walked out the men's room.

"Excuse me sir, could you please not step on the exposed wiring?" asked the factory worker working on fixing up exposed power lines on the ground, "the machines can be very sensitive and the last thing we need is a safety hazard."

"Right, sorry I'll-WAIT WHAT?!" he suddenly snapped at nobody in particular. There was no factory worker. There were no exposed cables protruding from the ground he was treading on. There was no wall of tv screens producing images of x-rayed bodies and batch files. There werent even any of those little rusty mechanical droids that were sweeping up the debris just seconds ago!

Despite this anomaly lasting only seconds, the image of some place far different was burned into Dennis's mind. That wasnt a hallucination! What the hell was that place?!

"What. Did. I. Do. Differently?!" he questions himself through his gritted teeth. He asked himself that question repeatedly as he stomped back down the hallway to get too the music hall.

...Wait a second. There was no hallway between the men's room and music hall!
The mind palace's guards let the anthropomorphised stomach through, seeing as it was a regular visitor to the palace.
"Prince Harlin will see you shortly," said one of the guards as Prince Rohane would be lounging on a nearby recliner within the palace walls as the marble checkerboard pattern of the palace floors would be seen.

"Let him in," Rohane Harlin remarks, "and what do I propose that we just increase the blood-flow," Harlin remarks as his inky black cloak would be seen amongst the golden decor of the palace's finery. "What do the other organs have to say about what's happening anyhow?"
Walking through the gates, the man who is also the stomach stands before Prince Harlin. He can't help but admire the palace's decor, no matter how many times he comes here. Getting down on one knee yet again, perhaps unnecessarily so, he responds to the prince's question.

"They, too, believe that blood funding is at a low, Your Majesty, and have sent me as their spokesperson. Of course, as the foreman of the small intestine is quick to point out, increased blood flow to it would mean a greater flow of nutrients throughout the body. However, although all parts of the tract are an essential part of production, myself and my people are the ones suffering the hardest through these particularly rough times. I hope that you understand where I am coming from."
Hariti, who has found her way to the gates, notices the anthropomorphized stomach, and tilts her head curiously as it enters.
"Are you Steph's stomach, as a person?" She asks as she slithers closer to get a look at the strange man.
Meanwhile, just outside the palace gates, a man awakens within a dark place. He's lost his memory, and he has no clue who he is, aside from his own name, and his mission.

He is Clyde, and he desperately needs to get out of here.

He takes in the smell of his surroundings, and cringes at the scent. Perhaps others were used to it, but the scent of stomach still had a certain effect on Clyde. He stood up, woozily, and looked around.

"God damn it... where in the hell am I now..." he muttered. He began a trepidatious walk to the front of the castle, peering around him to make sure he's unseen.
Hariti stumbles backward in shock as Misako crashes into her. As soon as she gets her bearings, she wipes her eyes and blinks; "Misako? Wha-?" She seems dumbfounded, and rushes forward to try and stop the fighting. "What's all this about? Let's not go butchering each-other if we can avoid it, surely there's room for civil discourse?"
"Damn it damn it DAMN IT!" Dennis shouted to himself as his emotional outbursts echoed throughout the corridors of this abandoned factory setting. Stephanie herself couldnt help but gasp in surprise from that sudden spasm she felt deep down within her. Not that it was on his mind at the moment. What WAS on his mind was where on God's green earth (or OFF God's green earth) has he been magicked to now?!

"Alright this was fun and all now send me back!" he shouted out to whoever as he stomped around the debris of broken rusted electronics, "c'mon, what are ya waiting for?! Send me back!" There was no response. So he got louder, "SEND ME BACK!" Still no response. So he got even louder.

"SEND! ME-!" An earth-shattering zap occured at that moment in time.

"BACK!!" he suddenly shouted in Misako's face, who suddenly glared back from the sudden angry suited man that appeared out of nowhere to roar at her! By the time Dennis realized he was suddenly in a completely different place, he found himself surrounded by the puzzled assassin, a questionable Hariti, a handful of confused palace guards, and that well dressed Prince, who looked like he was only one NOT surprised to see him! If anything, Prince Harlin was glaring at him with utter disappointment at his behavior in the palace. Dennis turned to Harlin and just when he was about to open his mouth to give him a piece of his mind, he found himself RIGHT back into the middle of the wrecked factory corridor!

"Aw damn it!" he sneered, still confused as to how he did what he did. Since panicking wasnt doing him any good, he tried to calm nerves and think clearly. It wasnt just screaming 'SEND ME BACK' that did it. Maybe he inadvertently channeled SOME part of him that had the ability to teleport from one area to the next. He needed to figure out what that part was, that's all.

As he pondered, he spotted a nervous, sweating guy peering at the gates with a very worried expression. The same gates that Dennis stepped through to enter the accursed mansion! HE WAS JUST OUTSIDE THE GATES?!!

"STOP!!" he shouted to Clyde, "DONT GO IN THERE!! THE DAMN PLACE IS CURSED!!"

"Huh?" Clyde heard the random stranger screaming his direction, he turned to stare at Dennis, kinda frozen up like a deer caught in headlights.

"-Damn!!!" he cursed to himself now back in the stupid corridors, "PAL! CAN YOU HEAR ME!!" he called out to that poor fellow who was about to make the worst mistake of his life, "DONT GO THROUGH THOSE GATES!!" he pounded on the walls as he shouts, "YOU GO IN THERE, YOU AINT COMING BACK! YA HEAR ME?! GET OUTTA HERE WHILE YOU STILL-"

"EEEEKKK!!!" Yumiko shrieked loudly, as Dennis suddenly found himself pounding on her exquisitely colossal jiggly boobs! Dennis quickly cringed like a frightened cat! Unfortuntaely (or FORTUNATELY), the brief perverted trip back in the music hall only lasted about 2 seconds before he found himself RIGHT back in the corridors!
"Arrggghh..." he groaned, "This is a nightmare for me."
Prince Harlin seemed to be deep in thought, his inky black cloak enveloping him like a puddle of muddy water.
"So, the police officer wants to arrest me once more..." Harlin glared at Misako, "Keep in mind that I've often escaped and of what nefarious crime have you accused me of this time? Since this is my vinicity, sanctuary and a near exact replica of my palace in the Rajak Isles you have no jurisdiction here, Miss Irwa."

Steph was thinking of how things seemed to be passing slowly and it seemed that more and more of her dormant memories were leeching into the Mind Palace itself and strengthening its (factory's and palace's) foundations. More darkened and twisted corridors and characters seemed to be stepping out and into the palace itself...
Steph in the meantime was preoccupied with thoughts of devouring food, and with a poof a bowl of fried chicken and wooden table appears before her as she starts to dig into the warm meal. The delightful salty flavour of the chicken fills her tastebuds with happiness as she doesn't mind devouring the fried chicken...
"Mmmhmm, so good~" she exclaims instinctively at the food.
"What took you guys so long, I mean I was about eat your fo-I mean, protect it from hungry monsters." said Jacky while trying to look innocent.

"Sorry about that, we just got sidetrack along the way." said Danny.

"Where did Dennis go?" asked Lloyd.

"He left for the bathroom." answered Yumiko. "He appears to be taking his time much longer than you two."

"What could've happened to him?" asked Danny.

"I guess he's not a fan of wasabi-covered shrimps..."

"HEY! That of remind me of that time I put extra spicy jalapeno in your soup while you weren't looking and then you-AHHHHHH!" Jacky gets shaken by an irritated Yumiko. "Fine, I'm gonna stop talking."

"Say Yumiko, have you ever seen a picture around here in this palace that moves like a GIF image?" asked Lloyd.

"Kinda of it, I did remembered seeing something like that." said Yumiko "I first saw it in-"

"Hello my lovely Yumiko!"

Suddenly, Lloyd sees two large ghost men coming into their table and approaching Yumiko. One appears to be large and muscular, while the other is tall and thin. Both of them have blue hair and yellow eyes; the muscular one wears a red zoot suit while the other wears a blue zoot suit. The red one appears to be the one that interrupted her.

"Oh, hello Mal...and Hal." said a less enthusiastic Yumiko, indicating she already knew these two.

"That's a lovely dress you wearing, miss Yumiko." said Mal (the red one). "Want to dance with me?"

"Not now Mal."

"Um Bro, I don't think she's want to dance with you right now." said Hal. "In fact, she isn't even interested in you at all."

"Uh, who are you guys?" asked Lloyd.

"Oh how rude of us, me and my twin brother are one of the many staffs of this palace. The reason we came here is....well my brother is bit lovestruck with Yumiko here." said Hal.

"Yup, I just know she's into a handsome ghost like myself." said Mal while striking a pose.

"For the last time, I'm NOT interested in you." Yumiko yelled.

"C'mon babe, you can't resist these." Mal flexes his muscles a few times.

Yumiko got up from her seat and just as she's about to shove Mal, she shrieks when she feels something hitting her in the chest. Everyone looked and there was Dennis who just appeared out of nowhere; he was touching Yumiko's chest with his fist. Before anyone could saw anything, he disappears in a bink of an eye.

"Was that...Dennis?!" asked Danny.

Yumiko just stood there without a word and immediately faints. She falls onto the floor with Jacky still inside her bottle.

"Alright, can someone wake Ms. Bubblebutt up, please?" asked Jacky. For she knows that she can't get out without Yumiko.

While both Danny and Hal lifted her from the ground, Lloyd could have sworn he felt something different is happening around him.
Meanwhile, there would be a guestbook open on a nearby bookshelf, listing all of the 10 guests at the mind palace, with various signatures signed underneath, including the cursive signature of Olapen, the tactum signature of Misako and many others.

In other section, in the deepest section of the mind palace, a Chinese woman with spectacles in a white lab-coat would be manning the controls as she looked upon various controls and buttons. Many readouts were displayed on a nearby monitor and biopunk keyboard, including emotions, digestion levels, current satisfaction and nervous-system with organ displays. Her name was Ira, and she was the moderator of the mind, being encased here since the mind was first formed. Ira was, in many ways, the first being created. Many buttons and red levers were shown, along with flashing electronic sirens.

"Hmmm," Ira responds while looking at a yellow manual, "So I guess that's sushi for lunch settled for now, now to check on how everyone else is settling in at the mind palace..." She watches the stomach gurgle with pure hunger, before sighing loudly and pulling down at another lever, "Oh, it seems that guestbook had already being signed earlier by everyone else."
Things didnt get easier for Dennis. They got harder. MUCH harder. The involuntary teleportations didnt stop. For the next couple of minutes he was constantly teleporting from one place and back to the next and back.

*Woosh!* He in was in the men's room.
*Woosh!* He was back.

*Woosh!* He was standing on a table in the kitchen.
*Woosh!* He was back.

*Woosh!* He was standing right behind Steph savoring a piece of chicken. Dennis barely had enough time to snatch a piece from the bowl before *WOOSH!* He was back.

But just before he could sink his teeth into a piece *Woosh!*

*POW!*
"OOPH!!" Dennis took a foot to the stomach, delivered by Misako who attempting to deliver to kick to one of the guards trying to restrain her! By the time she realized the sudden mistake she made *WOOSH!* He was back... unfortunately, he left the piece of chicken behind. Not that he had much of an appetite anymore!

The nauseating teleportation ride went on over 10 minutes, locations ranged from the edge of the highest balcony gazing at the cliff down below to under Yumiko's dress getting a facefull of her panty-clad bubblebutt Jackie keeps talking about!
By the time he finally got a little break, he was incredibly dizzy. His head was spinning, he was wobbling, barely able to keep his balance, and on the verge of throwing up whatever was left lingering in his nearly empty stomach.

"GooOoodd.. heellp me....." he groaned with agony as he dropped to the ground, trying to balance himself while the world inside Steph's subconscious spun around him. Now he didnt care what was causing him to teleport. He just wanted to STOP teleporting!
After a bit of exhausted panting and gasping, he thought about getting his face wet. There was a pool of water (or what SEEMED like water) dripped from one of the leaking pipes on the ceiling and not caring how filthy it probably was, he scooped a hand full and wet his face with it. As he basked in the cool wetness, he glanced at his reflection in the pool.

His eyes widened! Or at least they WOULDVE if they had pupils! Or eyelids! The eyes in the reflection were nothing more than just blank white orbs!
His jaw dropped at the sight of his lidless eyes and right on cue, a loud gurgling noise spooked him! The gurgle was followed by several little not so loud sirens and flashy lights. He teleported yet AGAIN! This time, it looked to be a big massive control room. It was manned by only one single lab girl in the middle of it all observing every little thing and making notes.

Curious, Dennis slowly got up on his feet and slowly wobbled toward her (he was still dizzy, ya know!"

"Hmm?" as if sensing something off, Ira closed her little manual and looked upwards, "an uninvited guest? Odd. I thought we already updated the immune system's security measures."

Ira turned around and faced Dennis, but before he could say anything... she reached for the pistol hidden in her boot and pointed it toward him! He froze still as she smiled at him and said "Hello. Youre not supposed to be here."
With Yumiko currently resting in the parlor room after fainting from sheer embarrassment, both Lloyd and Danny decided to look around the palace in search of Dennis and even get a chance at traveling to the bowels that the prince mentioned earlier; too bad she and Jacky will be missing out on this.

"What just happened back there?" asked Lloyd. "Dennis pops out and disappeared for no reason."

"I don't even know what's happening myself." said Danny. "It looks like it's not his doing, but something else."

The two travel across a hallway which as they get further, it slowly gets more darker. Lloyd looks at both of the walls, trying to see that strange moving picture he saw earlier. Yumiko did mentioned she saw one before around this palace, but she wasn't given a chance to say it, now she is out cold at the moment. Maybe that same moving picture is still here somewhere.

"By the way, I heard this palace has a wicked sense of humor." said Danny.

"What do you mean?" asked Lloyd.

"You see, this place is known to change itself without warning. Sometimes a never-before-seen part of the palace can appear unexpectedly, layouts can sometimes turn into a whole new shape, different rooms that may look nothing like the palace itself, and most strangest of all; doors and even pathways that lead you to another spot or often a different location outside the palace. I swear this is not an ordinary palace we're dealing here."

Lloyd gets confused. This place looks like it's alive or something, maybe it's the reason why Dennis is popping out everywhere.

"So overall, we gotta be very careful around here." said Danny.

"I heard you.." said Lloyd. He still continues to look around for that moving picture, but found nothing but candles lined up which lit up on their own as they walk past them. Something tells him that there's going to be alot danger ahead than he ever imagined.
As Dante moved on the other side of the enormous crimson chasm, Oliver looked around for a way to go to the other side, knowing that he wouldn't be able to jump like Dante. Still, he was remembering little by little, but for his plan to work, he would need to abandon Dante.

"Hey Dante! Do you hear me?! Listen carefully! I'll find a way to climb back to the palace! Everything in here is controlled by the palace! I can't jump, so I gotta find a way up! You go in, that should take you to the palace, I'll find another way!"

After giving Dante my advice, I run towards the meaty crimson walls surrounding all of us. "I hope this works!" With the obsidian knive I carve a hole into the flesh, big eough for me to go inside, and get carried away by the blood flow.

Of course, before entering I shout back "Dante, you go to the tower! If you come here, the white blood cells will attack you, but not me! I'll see you in the palace!"

With a swift sink, Oliver dives in the red ocean, the turbulent flow crashing him onto every wall, until he reaches a huge beating highway, millions of small roads connecting to it.

The trip feels rather short, as a bunch of white blood cells pass near me, not noticing my presence.

Before getting carried down below to... places we're not going to mention today, I grab to the wall and tear it, appearing back again through one of the palace's walls. Specifically... the girl's restrooms?!

"Oh, great. Hope he makes it here. Okay, remember Oliver, where's the center in here?"

A light bulb guides me, as I began to run through the pulsating corridors, towards the center of the palace itself.

"Huh. This always happens whenever the stomach comes up here. Hope he doesn't have issues with the redt of the organs though."
Dennis had his hands up as the odd happy lab technician held him at gunpoint. He dared not take any chances with this woman. Judging by the way she properly held her gun, she most likely knew how to use it. And blasting a perfectly carved hold through his cue-balled head might not be a challenge to her within the Cerebral Cortex. Even worse, now the convenient time for Dennis's teleporting magic to stop working! The perfect time for Dennis TO teleport!!

"Whoa whoa whoa lady, hold your fire! Don't shoot!" Dennis pleaded, "I'm unarmed!"

"This is highly restricted territory inside the Cerebral Cortex of Steph," Ira states calmly, still pointed the gun where the bullet would meet his cue-balled head, "only a handful of certain VIPs are authorized to be here. You're clearly not one of them, you didn't even enter through the Memory Vault yet..."

"Look, the thing about that is I didnt come here by choice!" he explains, feeling an imaginary laser pointed brightening his cue-balled head! "I just got zapped here! Without any control of my own!"

"Whether by choice or not, you still violated Section 23.867 of the Tsunade Lineage Cranial Guidance & Conservation Code of Conduct," she states, "which clearly states that any and all unauthorized unvaccinated and unsanitized foreign presence are prohibited from entrance into the vulnerable Cranial Core and violators must be treated as threats to the Cranial conservation." Long story short, he was a threat and should be treated like one.

"Wait, you got it all wrong! I'm no threat!" Dennis tells Ira, "I'm just a guest at that Harlin guy's stupid little party!"
"Guests of that Harlin guy's stupid little party belong in Steph's belly, NOT the brain itself," Ira quips like it was a statement of fact, "you'll be given proper credentials for admission into the brain after the digestion process is complete." She turns away from Dennis for a moment and adjusts her purple medical coat.
"D...digestion process?" the conservation suddenly turned VERY uncomfortable.
"Well, the parts of you that are most vital to brain nourishment would be," Ira explains, "the majority of you would most likely be used for added protein and fat."

Dennis tsked... but then froze up again when Ira's trigger finger twitched.

"Please refrain from spitting," Ira warned coldly, "any foreign saliva could cause damage to the very sensitive equipment in the Core."
"Sorry-" There would be a click of the gun as Ira seems to be readjusting the weapon.
"Please monitor your 'S' words too," Ira warned again with a weary sigh, "Besides, I'm the oldest one here, and the exact same age as Steph herself."

Dennis bit his lip but complied, "Alright! Fine! It ain't not like I wanna be here to begin with. I want to leave! Heck, I've been trying to leave that awful party but the party itself wont let me leave!"

"I'm afraid there isn't a way out of this room," Ira tells him calmly, "there isnt even a way IN this room. The only possible way for you to be here would be for you to deliberately hack enough firewalls in Steph's immune system to allow you access to Steph's mind. I've been here for decades, you know." She files her short nails.
"I didnt hack any firewalls! I swear!"
"Sorry, I'm not authorized to believe you," Ira states, her gun still pointed, "the Code of Conduct instructs me to treat you as a threat, so I have to shoot you. Sorry."

"Well aint that a bi-"

Suddenly, sirens went off! A couple of the monitors flashed red 'DANGER' messages. The voice on the intercomm went 'DANGER! DANGER! CRITICAL DAMAGE IN VITAL STRUCTURE DETECTED! REPAIRS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!'

"Oh dear," Ira frowns at the monitor, "it looks like somebody must have torn through one of Steph's vital organ. Just my luck..."
The duo make their way across the dark corridor as Lloyd looks around, staying on guard for any unexpected surprises this palace supposedly is capable of doing as well as looking for a moving picture Yumiko saw before. They didn't want to bother opening doors just yet since they still don't know what will hit them.

Because Lloyd was so focused on this, he didn't got a chance to notice what's ahead of him because he suddenly lost his balance after walking towards a slope in the way. Thankfully, Danny grabs him just in time before he falls down.

"Woah, thanks Danny!" said Lloyd. "I almost fell back there to god who knows where."

"You're welcome." said Danny "It's seems this palace's already aware of us so let's not get too careless back there."

"I agree, but how are we going to move-" Suddenly, Lloyd sees the hall behind Danny slowly rises into a slope. "Behind...you.."

Too late, the two now found themselves sliding down the now diagonal hall as they fall at high speeds. Occasionally, they sometimes go left, right, and even upside-down in hoops; it almost felt like a roller coaster.

This took about five minutes (or maybe more) until they land on the floor at last.

"Oh...my...god.." said a dizzy Lloyd. "This palace is pretty mean when it comes to humor."

"Yeah..." said Danny. "It's not afraid of pulling out it's punches."

The two finally got their senses and found themselves in a completely different area. This place appears to be a large rectangular room that's light blue in color and holds many doors around it's walls.
Sirens and alarms go off as Ira does her absolute best to remain calm as she takes quick glances at the screen to observes what critical damage and to what vital structure. All the while keeping her pistol aim at the center of Dennis's head for maximum brain matter splatter when the bullet collides into it!

She takes a while examining the damage in certain areas of Steph's body, but the longer she spends examining the damage, MORE damage is detected in OTHER areas of the body, giving MORE sirens and alarms!

"Quiet!" Ira tries her best to hold back her frustration, "I'm trying to think! ...Arrghh! How did THAT possibly happen! No, she's not supposed to be there! How did he even end up there! No, stop fighting, youre gonna break the-ughh... I told them a thousand times not to put so many people crammed into that particular... SHUT UP! I KNOW ALREADY! GEEZ!!"

The longer she observed, the more frustrated she got. The more frustrated she got, the louder and more annoying the alarms became. The louder and more annoying the alarms became, the more frustrated she got! Suffice to say, Ira got her work cut out for her. On the plus side, she drew attention away from Dennis, which meant the gun was no longer pointed at him.

Unfortunately during that moment of distraction, fight or flight kicked in. Since he couldnt run, the only natural instinct would be to disarm his attacker. Seizing this opportunity, Dennis tackled Ira and wrestled for her pistol!
"HEY! GET OFF ME! YOU'RE FULL OF GERMS!"
"GIMME THAT GUN! GIMME IT!" Dennis yelled
"HANDS OFF, VIRUS!! YOU'RE CONTAMINATING IT!" Ira roars powerfully, almost like a tiger.
"GIMME!! NO ONE POINTS A GUN AT ME!! "
"I SAID STOP!! I AM THE MODERATOR OF THE MIND!! STEPH'S WHOLE NERVOUS SYSTEM IS NOW IN DANGER!"
"THE SOONER YOU HAND THAT GUN OVER, THE SOONER I STOP!"

The little wrestle went on for about a minute until conveniently Dennis's teleport ability suddenly kicked in!

In a quick flash, Both Dennis and Ira teleported out of the cranium room and into the Prince's secretive parlor-room! Seconds after they materialized, Ira's gun went off! A loud bang echoed throughout the entire manifested castle, but thankfully no one (that they knew of) was hurt. Surprisingly, the gunshot not only didnt wake Yumiko up, the bullet shattered her bottle, freeing Jackie from her alcoholic prison!

"Ooohhh... thank.... GOD...." the imp dizzily sighed, her head spinning from the impact.

Ira, on the other hand, panicked at the state of the entire place.

"No! No! NO!!!" she shrieked, "NO NONONONONO!!! PUT ME BACK IN STEPH'S MIND!!! PUT ME BACK!!! NOBODY'S MONITORING THE SANITIZED CEREBRAL ROOM! PUT ME BACK WHERE I BELONG!!! I DON'T BELONG IN THE MIND PALACE!!" Then she started rummaging through her pockets. "Oh crap oh crap! Where's the disinfectant?! I knew I put it somewhere but where?! WHERE?!!"

And just before Dennis could say, do, or even feel anything, shit had already hit the fan. Footsteps and lots of them were heard heading their way... Harlin's palace guards were heading in their direction, in search for their missing Prince Harlin... A mixture of female soldiers surrounded them, all in anime-related attire. Some beautiful catgirls snarled in their direction, and some of Harlin's knights were wearing golden medieval armour, along with science-fiction styled weaponry (like lasers and teleportation guns)...

"You are all under arrest, unless you explain yourselves to us," grunted a blonde guard called Kelly... "Ira, what are you doing here?! Never the less, (while you're still here Ira) you're all still under Harlin's jurisdiction, until we bring Ira back to her headquarters. Until then, you're all under arrest for the sudden disappearance of our beloved Prince..." Everyone there didn't seem to be aware that Prince Harlin was still struggling with Misako underground at that particular moment...
After rushing to the bottom of a corridor, the lights shouted red and blod spilled through the rest of the walls. I reached the end; yes, the end, where I thought I would see a door, there's nothing!

"No, not now! Aaagh, what I'm supposed to do?!" The lights shouted, alarms making the ground tremble, forcing me to run back, trying to search and answer.

"Fine. No door, gotta find Harlin now. Where's the hall?!" I finally reached the empty hall, a lot of armed lanced guards watching every corner of it.

I try to sneak between them, and reach the exit of the palace, all the while listening to a bunch of guards bickering about a ransom, somebody taking Harlin away, a guard rushing through, as they scream to head towards the entrance at the intestines.

"Oh yeah? But that's not gonna work. Wait, why is this palace connected to the intestines? Isn't it in the brain? Does it have teleport stuff? AAAAGH! Fine!"

The lot of guards fix their sight on me, and desperate, I try to open my way throught the palace's walls using the obsidian knife, making my way inside the bloodstream again, while I meditate how to get to the intestines.
"Ugh...what...what happened?" said a woman whose looks were very identical to that of Stephanie's except for the fact that she looked older and more endowed as she awoke in the intestines. "Where are those two? Whatever..." she said remembering who she was. "I don't need them. After all...I am the one who is the number one in this entire world. Me...Ego." she said as she headed down the path with a malicious smiled on her face.
Oliver suddenly hit one of Steph's fleshy walls, ad he tried to make his way around it.

With his obsidian knife, he made a carving through it, the blood crashing him to the other side, as the woman, Misako and Harlin all got washed in blood.

Oliver stood up quickly, glanzing at Harlin's captivity, Misako's determined gaze burning his body, and the strange Steph-woman with an eerily smirk. He immediately got a thought in his head, as he quickly rushed to the woman's back, pointing his knife at her.

"Stop woman! You're not getting away this time! You don't have powers in this... this... "Oliver looked around the walls, covered in red pulsating grass.

"Interstine! Also, you, lady, why do you have Harlin?! He's the one that can take us all out of here! You need to return him to his place!" Oliver giving his king a hopeful smile.
"Disguise? Please? I am her...well...her Ego at least. But I am far more superior to Steph. I just need to take over. But first...I think a change of scenery is in order." she said grabbing ahold of the intestinal wall as the entire area started to shift and change. "I'm part of her, so I have just as much control as the real Steph does." she said as they looked around as the entire intestinal ground was gurgling while breaking apart.

"And a belated welcome to Steph's large intestines by the way, I congratulate you all on getting this far without getting digested and/or absorbed."
The landscape began to break, huge veins jumping like snakes from tje bottom of the crimson trench filled with riers below Oliver.

The random woman suddenly dissapeared, as Misako kept carrying Prince Harlin to the outside, despite the surface breaking,mountains of food suddenly raining down all over us.

Oliver pierced the remaining walls, trying to swing to the other side, Misako's silhouette began to turn shadier and blurrier.

"Wait Misako don't! He must go back!" Suddenly, an unprepared jump makes Oliver fall into the dark abyss, hugging the obsidian knife that saved his life before.

But not willing to give up, he trusts it into the flesh, holding himself over an entire ocean of.... stomach acid?!
The once long intestinal pathway had now become a large pool of acid as the Ego herself rose out of it, completely unharmed. "Welcome one and all to my little show. You all look so nice and tasty. However, a girl like me knows when to keep her portions down. But fear not...we'll all have to join together at some point or another. After all, gotta make the time we have last before this girl keels over." she said laughing.
Steph would sense a rumbling noise as she was alerted to slight hunger, but it was a while since she was in the Mind Palace, and she walks around slowly while drinking some hot chocolate in a mug...

Meanwhile, Prince Harlin, who was most certainly disgusted by their surroundings, pushed aside Misako as he scowled,
"Where are we? I most certainly don't recognise this place at all," the dark Prince remarks in slight confusion, "Are we not outside the palace at this very moment?"
Of course, the enormous breach that Ego caused makes it harder for Oliver to recover Prince Harlin and guide him back to the Mind palace. It was as if the steaming greenish ocean still wanted to go to him; to swallow him whole.

At that moment his head lit upm he trusted the obsidian knife into Steph's flesh, opening a small, delicate hole through which a crimson river poured, aiming the knife.

"Hey Ego, this is yours to keep!" Oliver threw the dark obsidian knife towards the Ego lady, who caught it confused, as he entered into the hole, carried by the sea of blood into another part ot this sentient place of Steph's mind. He wanted to find out what was in this place and wanted to explore Steph's own innards further.

As he was carried, he could simply hope that Ego would finish the job herself. After all, trying to run from anything just makes the thing chase you even further.
"Oh boo. Trying and make things a lot harder for me and Steph?! No matter. We can go and make things a lot more fun. Hmm. I know. Let's make things a little more...cool." Ego laughed dryly as white particles started to fall from the air as if they were snowflakes falling from the sky. "Everyone bundle up in here. Its gonna get a lot colder here, I love a good snowstorm," she said as her long dress changed into a snowsuit, it seemed Ego loved seeing snow, and so did Steph...
Steph would be in another part of the Mind Palace at the moment as she walks down the hallowed halls of the golden architecture, the wooden pillars lining the inner-courtyard going sky-high as she seems to be in awe of the place, and she also seemed to be rather unaware of what else was happening outside the Mind Palace as it seemed that everything was in order for now...
The currents suddenly squashed Oliver, throwing him out of the sea and into a green field, the golden pillars holding the heavens above.

In front of him, a pale lady was looking around, but stood for a while as he jumped out of the dirt in front of her.

Oliver shook his head, looking around the environment for any clue, as he gazed upon the lady. His initial reaction was shock, jumping back. After all, she looked like the Ego he previously saw.

He stood there, checking her, and replied.

"Sorry for the scare. I'm Oliver, a waiter in the Mind Palace. I assume you're... our host I guess? If you wish for me to explain it's fine. After all, a bunch of stuff is happening and it's confusing".
Steph tries to calm her racing mind, and apparent hunger as she answers Oliver calmly, "Yes, I am the host of everything you see here, and I suppose you can explain everything to me right now, I have time for now."

Steph ignores her own instincts as she feels very calm standing around in the garden of the fabricated Mind Palace, which was the residency of Prince Harlin and many others for now. "And what is the problem currently, Oliver?" Steph pauses as her green eyes glitter with awe at everything that was happening.

"So answer me this, are we in my mind at the moment?" Steph keeps an even tone, "I'll let you figure it out."
The trees surrounding Oliver and Steph began to shake, as he tried to stand between the rumbling and explosions happening down...
"Wait, this makes no sense! Ego should have recovered Harlin by now, but that means that..."Oliver looked at a calm Steph, still in awe at her... I don't know, entirely intact yet childish mindscape? Oliver thought about the life he had within the Mind Palace, it was all he ever knew...

"Steph I don't care if you're the host or not, you have to do something about this chaos! There's a whole lot of tulpas trapped inside of your mind, and-"

If the plan was right, Ego should recover Prince Harlin in time, and the Mind Palace should go back to normal regularity... But what if it didn't? Chilling flares rose from the depths, as the very trees began to wither and freeze.

"No! Ego should have gone back to the Mind Palace! But she must rescue Harlin for the palace to go back to normal!" Oliver responded.
"The palace shall return to normal?! Hardly." an emotionless voice scoffed as Ego stood behind Oliver and Steph, holding Misako in her spare hand as she went and hypnotised the tulpa. "Poor deluded thing... Misako really thought about you making a bowel movement? I'm the Ego! I can't leave even by force." she said before smiling as she looked down at Steph. "Hello...original me. You and I have a lot to talk about...like...giving me full control?" Ego chuckled sinisterly, "I really did think about swallowing Misako, but I think temporarily hypnotising Koko did the trick..."
As Ego, Oliver, Misako and Prince Harlin were currently in the large intestines, and Steph was located in the Mind Palace, elsewhere in the palace daily life continued as usual... Servants were still making the beds, and Mind Administrator Ira was currently in a daze as she ponders over her newest conodrum of being stuck in the Mind Palace...
Oliver throws himself ontop of Sup, as Misako and Harlin are rushing towards the cold outsides. The woman walks relentlessly, Oliver trying to grab her leg with his full strenght, as the obsidian knife clinged from her waist.

"And stop touching me!" The woman throws Oliver with a swipe, his body crashing into the soft tissue as she continues her chase. But Oliver looks at his arm, holding the knife.

"This body will be mine, and I'l make sure you all suffer from pulling it away from my gr-!"

In a swift jump, Oliver clashes with Ego's head, the knife piercing through her skull, as a black sea spills all over, the body falling to the ground.

"Go, Misako, finish this bulls*@%!"

But it's no use... Oliver holds the knife, as more and more black goo separates itself, the walls around him mixing with the clay, as a multitude of heads emerge, smiling.

"No! You should've died!"

"Oh dear, only those that are alive can die. Or rather..."

A black tentacle holds Oliver, the obsidian knife piercing through his chest, as he grabs a fierce breath before collapsing, his eyes enveloped in darkness.

But no, suddenly his limbs waver, as a string of darkness pulls him around, rushing towards Misako and Harlin, Ego laughing in pleasure.

"...Death is the key for inmortality".
"I am the Ego...I am the essence of this entire body." she declared as the black inkiness began to spread across the body. "Now...we can change this place something a bit more fitting for the soon to be new me." she laughed as the entire landscape began to twist and change as things started to look a bit more...horrific.
With less than a second, the interior returned to normal as Steph seemed to resist Ego's playfulness. She watched as she sensed that Ego seemed to be rather distracted with everything around her. "Hmm," she considered, "Looks like the tables had turned once more..." Meanwhile Ira seemed to have gotten her senses back to normal and began plotting once more.

(happy early Halloween, all! Only 10 days to go!)
The surroundings went back to normal, as Oliver held himself in the middle of a pink, humid hole. Or did he?

He tried to stand up, his fog blinding his thoughts, as Ego rushed towards the exit to no success, enraged at the result.

"... They escaped. I gotta go!" Oliver tried to run away, but Ego held him in place using her dark strings, as she smiled.

"There's too much we haven't done yet little guy. It seems that I cannot control this body... yet. But you will help me, and who knows... I might give you incentives. Where would you like to go?"

Ego drew her finger around Oliver's neck, as the two of them moved towards other organs.
"Ah...it was a lengthy trip but I'm finally here." Ego said arriving at the epicenter of it all: the brain. "Why bother with these small fries when I can just hotwire it here?" she said sticking an arm right into it. "Now we will...wait...what?" she said as she felt pain coursing through her body as tentacles shot out from her back as her screams echoed through the body.
It seems the brain was still resisting Ego as it seems to have its own defence mechanism. As for the Mind Palace, it was still intact, even as Ego screamed.
It seemed like an eternity had passed in the dark cramped interrogation as Dennis had two interrogators breathing down his neck demanding answers he didnt have.
Well actually, one was breathing down his neck. The other seemed too laid back, tuning his guitar while strumming sick melodies that sounded vaguely familiar to Dennis but were probably before his time!

"This denial is getting you nowhere," warned the heavily armored heavily helmeted valkyrie looked down at him, "just tell us how you managed to breach the brain's firewall and evaded the alarms."
"For the last, I dont know!" Dennis adamantly repeated himself more times than he could count.

"Sure ya do," said the grizzly bearded man laid back in his chair playing only music in the room that's killing the dead silence, "it's not something anybody could just pull off on a lucky whim. It requires skilled expertise, loads of specific memorization, and possibly help."
"How many others are here?!" the valkyrie questions, "and which one of Lord Harlin's enemies hired you all to do this?!"

"What?! I'm not a hired goon!" Dennis defends himself, "I was invited here to this stupid place and I'd like more than anything to get out!"

"We have carefully reviewed every single invitation we have sent," the valkyrie said, "and 'Dennis Helgson was NEVER among them!"
"The invitation was a forgery," said the guitarist, "pretty dang authentic, but lacked the holographic impression in the insignia. Someone inside the kingdom got you in here. You got any idea who?"

Dennis groaned with irritation, "No! I dont know any of these weirdos here!"

"Liar!" the valkyrie shouted back, "stop stalling and start coming clean! There is currently a warzone going on outside this room! We should be out evening the odds, but instead, we're wasting all this valuable time trying to get a simple answer out of you!"
"Eh, I wasnt much for fighting anyway," commented the guitarist.

Dennis sneers, take a deep breath, and lets loose, "Look! I dont know what ya'll want from me! Since I set foot in this here shit-hole, I've had nothing but bad luck! I've been hassled, coming in organ juices, crushed by a giant japanese girl, magically zapped from here to godknowswhere, then nearly shot by some germaphobic secretary!"

"Which reminds me, how is Ira's current state?" the valkyrie questioned her partner.
"Much much better, but still a little squeamish," he answers, "now she's demanding a jug of Purell ever half hour!"
The valkryrie stared down at Dennis, no doubt glaring at him under her helmet. "She is a very committed employee and an asset to ensuring the body's proper foundation. You have some nerve to nearly traumatize her!"

"Bitch shouldnta pulled a gun on me," Dennis replied with shrugged arms.

"Quite an amazing feat you managed to surprise her of all people," the old guitarist commented, "she literally has eyes in the back of her head and you somehow got into her inner circle through her blind spot. How did you even pull it off?"
"I dont know, I... I just... teleported there. Like I'm in one spot and then POOF! Here I am!"
"So youre a master of teleportation, then?" the Valkyrie questioned.
"Well not really," Dennis explains, "I couldnt even control how I teleported or even WHEN I teleported! Hell, I'm surprised I havent teleported this entire time you guys were holding me up!" He thought about it for a moment. "Uh... can I get a mirror?"
"What for?" the Valkyrie questioned.
"I just need to look at my face. Can I have a mirror please?"

The guitarist reached into his pocket and plucked out a little piece of reflexive glass. "Best I can give you."

Dennis carefully observed the reflection in the piece of glass. And Bingo!

"There! Right there!"

"What?"

"My eyes! They aint lidless!" he commented, "when I was teleporting, my eyes suddenly looked all blank, like there was nothing in 'em. No pupils or anything!"
"Fascinating," the old scraggly beard muttered as his attention waned on tuning his guitar.
"And how do you trigger it?" the Valkyrie questions.
"I just told you I dont know!"
"And I just told you to stop lying!"
"I'm not lying! If I knew how to teleport, wouldnt I have ditched this place by now?!"

"Looks like you just did," the scraggly beard cuts in pointing at his eyes."

"What are you talking ab-...oh god, it's happening again, aint it?!

*WHOOSH!*
MEANWHILE, somewhere outside the palace walls…

Hendrix Stockmar, a master "element-bending" thief, plots on breaking into the Mind Palace's vault and stealing all of its internal treasures. He's short on cash, and he hasn't been able to pay his rent in days, so the best he can come up with is robbing the valuables from the depths of the Mind Palace's neuro-vaults. He hasn't been paying attention to anything happening in the Palace, but he doesn't care; all he wants are the shiny valuables from within Steph's mind...

Hendrix observes the palace walls, looking for the best way to sneak in. If he went over the walls, he might even be eaten by whatever guards are there by the walls... If he went under the organic walls, he might end up in an underground vein-tunnel system. The tunnel system sounded safer, so he uses his earthbending skills to lift up some red molecules (or whatever this soil-like material is in this world) from the ground big enough to fit in the new hole, go under it, put the piece of earth-like material down to where it originally was, and continue this process to dig his way under the living walls, past its snoring guards, until he made it beneath the palace... All he has to do now is figure out whereabouts in the palace he'll end up if he digs upward... A holographic map of Steph's main organs flashes in the corner of Hendrix's device as it shows his current location.
It been an hour or two in a half (or whatever), both Lloyd and Danny were wandering around this giant room that was full of doors everywhere. They decided that they should wait around here in case the entire palace changes it's shape again, leading them to another trap.

"Well Lloyd, it's been an hour. There's nothing happening right now." said Danny.

"That's what this whole palace wants you to think, maybe it's trying to wait for the right moment to strike." said Lloyd, obviously a little too paranoid to do anything at all.

"You know Lloyd, I think this is the very place the Prince was talking about."

"What to you mean?"

Danny explains "Well you remember that Prince Harlin wanted us to come to the place known as the "bowels", corect?"

Lloyd thought- and then realized that it was the place where many people can be safe from many dangers... He then started to think, could this area be the one?

"I also heard that it is the only place that doesn't change like the rest of the palace does." said Danny. Kinda of think of it, nothing is even happening right now.

That was soon changed when suddenly, they hear a loud noise echoing everywhere. It sounded like a massive internal earthquake, but they whole place didn't even shake in the slightest!

"BINGO! We're finally here." said Danny.

"Yeah... but we still haven't found..." Lloyd stops when he hears a sound coming from this very room. "Do you hear that?"

"Yes, it sounded like someone is groaning over there." Danny points behind Lloyd and he turns around to see someone laying on the floor. This someone is the very person they have been looking for and his name was Dennis...
"My body..." Ego growled as her skin had turned black as tentacles grew out all over her body. "She...did this. She must pay." she growled as eggs were shot out of her tentacles. "Steph...I will find you!" she said crawling off to try and find the girl.
Steph would be napping in the Mind Palace, when a minor earthquake hit the vinicity, before fading away, she shrugs as she didn't know of the master thief would be within the Mind Palace itself, meanwhile in the same place a psychologist called Zara Hyacinth would be hard at work, writing at a nearby desk while looking at the mind palace's guestbook...

"Right, that's over 20 guests at this place, other than our host," Zara slams the notebook closed, "Plus mind moderator Ira is still recovering one floor over, so things should be stable for now, despite the stomach-ache our host got earlier..."
As the Ego had gone off to try and find the poor girl, one of the eggs left behind started to shake and crack before emerging was what looked like a full grown version of Steph who had a beautiful frame but short hair and glasses. "Where am I? What is this place?" she pondered as she wandered off.
She wandered around for a bit out of curiosity as she ventured across the body for a bit before somehow arriving in the main control centers of the brain. "This is all looks so...fascinating. A control center all to myself." she said showing herself in.
Steph would be sleepily eating breakfast at the Mind Palace, when Zara would be pacing back and forths in her room. The psychologist was trying to reanalyse what she had read earlier in the guestbook.
"Ugggghhhh...." by the time the upteenth teleportation was over, Dennis felt like something inside his head just exploded and there was a nice gruesome chunky mess inside his skull! The headache he was enduring couldnt be dulled if he chugged a whole battle of aspirin! As if the pounding in his head wasnt agonizing enough, the pounding from the oncoming footsteps didnt make it any easier either! It took a bit too much force, but Dennis willed himself back up on his feet before his pursuers could drag him up for him.

Thankfully after the world stopped spinning, he recognized that the guys approaching him werent any of Harlin's cronies. Just Lloyd and Denny.

"Oh man, you o-"

"How are my eyes?!" Dennis immediately questioned, "how they looking?!"

"W-what do you mean?" Lloyd got a bit of sudden by Dennis's sudden kneejerk reaction.

"My eyes!! How do they look?!" he kept questioning.
"Uhh... theyre dilating a little? Maybe you should lie down?"
"But you can see them?! They still got eyelids and everything?!"
"Er...y-yeah."

Dennis groaned hard with a slight bit of relief, "I'm gonna tell you something. It's gonna sound weird, but if you were me right now, it'd be making the most sense.... I fucking HATE Nightcrawler. I'd rather put up with half a dozen Jubilees over that one freaking blue-skinned meta-warping imp anyday!"

Lloyd and Danny understandably couldnt follow any of their newest companion just ranted. They just squinted their eyes, looked over to eachother (Danny shrugging his shoulders), then looked right back. They could only brush it off as an inside joke only someone like Kentucky-fried Cueball over there could get.

"Well anyways, how'd you get here?" Lloyd asked him, "you just magically appeared out of nowhere."
"I wish I knew," Dennis sighed, "I'd sum up what just happened to me right about now, but my head's aching fierce just thinking about it." It was true too. Everytime he tried to remember Ira or that valkyrie and the old guitarist that questioned him, his migraine only intensified. Instead, he had to change the subject, "Anyways, where are we?" He asks, not even able to properly focus his vision on the scenery without infensifying the migraine.

"I wish WE knew," Danny answered, "could be somewhere in the bowels. We hope it's the safe zone since it's yet to change forms yet."

"Aint nowhere safe here," Dennis muttered, "even if it is, I'm probably just gonna get zapped somewhere else and then ge-UGGHHH!!" One sudden extremely painful jolt in his head caused him to lose balance and nearly fall to the ground.

"Whoa whoa whoa! Hang in there!" fortunately Lloyd and Dennis quickly grabbed him and helped him back on his feet, "you feeling alright?"

"Y-yeah..." Dennis sighed as the pain subsided, "I'm alright, I'm alright! ...I could probably use a block of ice for my aching head, though." Though he didnt get blocks of ice and the moment, he certainly did get the next best thing.
He suddenly felt a pair of rather large ice cold fingers gently massage his temples. Instead of being shocked with surprise, he felt himself reduced to putty as he relished in the nice soothing embrace and rubdown against his most aching spots! He sighed, he moaned, he melted away along with his cares as for just that one brief moment, he took his mind off the unbearable havoc that occurred to him since he entered the stupid palace.

"Aaaahhhhh..." he sighed heavily, "aw man, youre the best, Yumiko.... !!! YUMIKO?!!" His eyes (still with eyelids, by the way) widened the moment he saw that lovely but very intimidating giant ghoulish girl smiling slightly bashfully, no doubt flattered that dear ol' Dennis referred to her as 'the best'!
"Hmm...these controls seem easy. Hmm wonder what happens if I push this button." she said pressing a button as storms surrounded the Mind Palace as they began to lay siege to it. "Uh oh." she said.
Current Setting: The Amazonia Rainforest...

Rayne Daie (and his girlfriend Keliare) would be having a picnic in the tropical rainforest, when Keliare senses something happening and gets out her bronze telescope. The Fuschipedes would be busy nomming on some leaves as a rainbow jaguar snarls in the distance, clearly irritated by the sudden winds that would be blowing from the eastern lands...
"Avast," Keliare remarks in a sotto voice, "There be tropical storms in the outlands just over the horizon," Keliare points the telescope as Rayne Daie rolled his eyes.

"So, do we help whoever trapped in the typhoons, or not?" Rayne sighs, "I'll get my explorer outfit and search for any irregularities over in the outlands, but I hope that whoever is stranded in the Rainforest with us also gets to feed the Fuschipedes some berries, they seem to be rather active and on the migrational patterns..."
Name: Blake Heart
Gender: Male
Appearance: Black hair, glasses, black shirt, grey pants, black sneakers
Personality: Somewhat shy and timid

Blake groggily awoke and rubbed his sore cranium as he struggled to remember how he arrived in this mysterious place. He could see all sorts of flora and fauna around him, as well as what looked to be a massive waterfall in the distance! Blake initially panicked, trying to pinch himself and wake from whatever nightmare he'd been flung into, but his efforts were thwarted by a sudden gust from the east.

Sighing, Blake ultimately decided to make the best of this situation, walking off to look for some berries to snack on.
Rayne Daie crept up behind Blake Heart secretively and said "Boo, I see you~" while flashing a huge grin, "Merry Christmas to you, and welcome to the current location, the Amazonia rainforest, although I hear there's a bunch of pink Fuschipedes and the local wildlife also wants to eat literally anything around here..." His grin quickly fades, "Although here's a map of the area if you're interested." A loud grumble would shake the area as the warped palm trees shudder.

"The organic jungle of Steph seems hungry," Keliare observes, "Although if you survive, it'll be good for Christmas and a miracle if you do so!"
"Yumiko? How'd you get in here?" Lloyd asked the semi-giant ghoul as Dennis was too aghast and aching to give a proper response.

"We were kinda forced here," muttered the voice behind her... the voice of a certain irritable imp that just a while ago was cramped in a sake bottle, "a couple o' jerk asses decided to pick a fight and instead of letting US join in and teach them a thing or two, the head guys upstairs told us had us relocated here... and Yumiko's too much of a colossal wimp to speak up!"

"I.. I'm not fond of confrontation," Yumiko whimpered, most likely embarrassed.

"Woman, what the hell do YOU have to worry about?" Jacky snapped, "you could crush 'em with your colossal badonkadonk without even giving yourself a wedgie!"
"Look, I'm not a fighter, ok? Can we just drop it already?"
"We shoulda been DROPPING jerk asses trying to stir shit in our beloved palace!"

"Alright alright, forget it! Forget it!" Lloyd tried to break up a potential cat-fight (not that it would be one. It'd be just Jacky chastising Yumiko for not standing up to herself... up until Yumiko gets sick of it!), "anyways, what's with the outfits?"

"Better question! Did these halls have christmas lights, stockings, and fireplaces a couple seconds ago?" Danny noticed the corridors suddenly had a sudden change in theme. A christmas theme, to be precise! The lights, trees, decorations, presents littering the floor, they could even hear christmas music playing on the nonexistent speakers!

"UGGGGHHH... not now!" Jacky, who was suddenly dressed up like a christmas elf, groaned hard with disgust, "dont tell me the stupid 'Christmas Mode' kicked in now!!"
"Looks like it did," Lloyd observed the holiday-theme surrounding, "guess the higher up has the place set up to fit the theme of certain holidays."
"DUH!" Christmas Elf Jacky glared, "and it's not like we're allowed to even CHOOSE the clothes we get to wear when the themes activate!"

"I dont have a problem with mine," Yumiko, who was currently sporting a lovely red Mrs. Claus skirt with matching snow-cap.
"Oh, good for YOOOOOOUU!!" the angry elf-imp whined.

"Looking good, Yumiko Claus! Dennis," Danny gave her the thumbs up, "Dennis, dont you think it looks good on her, too?!"
"Huh?! OH!" Cueball finally snaps out of it, "oh yeah! Youre looking REALLY good in that thing! I mean if I was a colossal undead Santa Claus, I'd probably be trying ya in my sleigh to the North Pole right now!"
Sure enough, the huge ghoulish Mrs. Claus blushed with flattery, "Thank you, Dennis. ...Of course, you might not need to be Santa Claus to get me in your sleigh..." Dennis immediately turned away to hide his blemish and look of total WANT!
'She's a giant undead chick! She's a giant undead chick!' he whispers to himself trying to cool him down.
"Oh god, get a fucking shed you two!" Jacky growled.

"Well, with 'Christmas Mode' activated, will this make the corridors any easier to navigate?" Lloyd asked.

"No, just more annoying," Jacky warns.

"Can we take some of these presents with us?" Danny asks. Jacky shrugged her shoulders. Lizard boy was awful quick to rip open one of the boxes, "oh hell yeah! A thermal snow jacket!! I was thinking of hitting the Alps next year! ....Ohhh... that's warm!"
"Well, if youre getting a present, I might as well get one myself," Lloyd went for the ones under the christmas tree.
"I call dibs on the stockings!" the elf imp quickly made a beeline for the stockings, rummaging through each of them.

But just as Dennis was gonna go for one himself, a huge finger tapped his shoulder. He quickly turned around and looked upward to see Yumiko Claus blushing even harder than before.
"Um.... uh... umm...."
Before he could ask what was up, her eyes shifted upwards to the ceiling.

To the little green with red poisonous berries hanging from the ceiling, to be precise.

"Erm... I believe that's... mistletoe... right?" Yumiko Claus was very observant.

Dennis froze, except for his blinks. Conveniently, his 'teleportation' ability was still not kicking in! Staring up at Yumiko trying his best not to show any fear (or slight primal desire!), it seemed to him that it was unavoidable. As intimidated as he was of her, if he was gonna get SOME sort of enjoyment out of being in this hellhole, he may as well make the most of it!

With a deep breath and a sudden boost of untapped courage, he turned his head and shouted, "LLOYD! IS THERE ANY BOTTLE OF BOURBON IN ONE OF THOSE PRESENTS?!" Steph would also reappear in the room, while eating a giant sponge-cake cheerfully, "Merry Christmas to all, from Christopher and me!"
Misako Uesugi and Olapen would also join the festivities by opening their presents as well, as the cheerful succubus pouts cutely at her gift of Christmas socks, which hir dragon Neodrei promptly chewed to pieces. Misako Uesugi began gnawing on a nearby fish, not speaking for now.

"Oh well~ I can get another pair next year~" Olapen responds at hir golden dragon which snorted. Suddenly there would be an electronic hum heard before Zara Hyacinth strode into the room, half-distracted.

"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you both," Zara responds gravely, "Looks like this part of the palace needs to be renovated soon for next year, no tulpas allowed beyond this point..."
Name: Kaedin's Clone (Goes by Kaedin... Obviously)
Age: Unknown
Species: Human Cyberpunk
Affiliation: Imperial (Of what Empire? Perhaps we shall find out... or not...)
Gender: Male
Clothes: Leather jacket, tight leather pants, tall leather boots.
Hair color/Style: Mid-length, dirty blonde hair
Eye color/Style: Red irises seated in pure black eye-whites.
Skin color: Sunkissed tan

Bio: A young man with a rounded understanding of many things, this clone of Kaedin is, for all intents and purposes, Kaedin. The only difference being that the original version of Kaedin is somewhere... who knows? What is known is that a certain, "old man,' doesn't seem to be controlling him from time to time and isn't getting him into crazy situations... even though it seems that that old man went and and left him smack-dab in the middle of one big crazy situation; a frickin' MIND-REALM, MAN!!!

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"I'm gonna have to remember some crazy shit if I wanna stick it out in a place like this!" Said Kaedin, looking around, wondering what the fuck was going on... one sec he's talking with a pretty girl, the next second he's here, in the middle of all this white fog and then he hears something going on in the distance?

As he walks along he takes out his trusty pistol... Damn thing never runs outta ammo... keeping it at the ready.

"Never know when you gotta use some heat..." Imperial training kicking in as he readied himself for quite literally anything, not completely sure what the hell he'd run into. Either way, while he may have been interested in asking questions, he wasn't too sure whatever was here would...
As the Christmas party continues, Lloyd found his present and opens it up. Inside of it was a backpack that appears to be already previously used by someone, so he figured that who ever owns this was generous enough for him. With this pack, he could use it for stacking up some important clues around here, like what Steph's tulpas were doing here in the first place!

"LLOYD! IS THERE ANY BOTTLE OF BOURBON IN ONE OF THOSE PRESENTS?!" He heard Dennis call out and sees him now with Yumiko. He gets confused on what he meant until he sees a mistletoe on top of them. "Uhh...I think it's somewhere here." He called out.

He didn't got a chance to look around because a long ghostly arm with slender long fingers, holding a present, crept between both Dennis and Yumiko.

"Merry Christmas, my lovely Yumiko!" Lloyd heard a familiar voice coming from where the arm is coming from. Over there, he sees the two yokai brothers from the party downstairs, Mal and Hal. He wasn't really expecting to see these guys of all places so he wondered how did they got here.

"Bro how many times do I have to tell you, Yumiko doesn't even like you." said Hal. "Now can we head back to the party already before something happens to the guests. Misako and Olapen aren't even allowed down here in the first place"

"Come on Hal, I just got this tiny present to give for Yumiko." said Mal.

"You mean the one you FREAKING picked up on the floor moments ago?" Hal facepalms himself "That's probably from someone else."

"Shhh, don't let anyone hear you around here."

It didn't took long for Dennis to see the two ghosts on the other side. "Uhh...who are those guys?" He ask Yumiko.

"Those are Mal and Hal, two staff brothers that work in the Mind Palace. One of them just couldn't leave me alone." She sighed as Mal zipped right next to her.

"My my Yumiko, you make a fine Mrs. Claus." said Mal "Do you need someone to be your Santa Claus?"

"Hey you, your interrupting my moment here." shouts Dennis. Mal finally looks at him and asks "Who are you?" Dennis just gave a "me and my big damn mouth" kind of look.

Lloyd watches the two guys arguing, he hears jacky groan loudly from inside the stocking. "Oh c'mon Santa, I was a good girl this year." She comes out of the stocking with a bunch of coal all around her. "A few months ago, I made Yumiko a nice bowl of boiling-hot ramen and she when drank it, she was all jumpy back there which means she really likes it. Does that count as nice?" Yumiko hears Jacky blabbering about this incident and immediately reached and grabs the imp to put her back inside the bottle. "See Santa, she's thanking me for...ahhhhhh!" Yumiko shakes the bottle to shut Jacky up.

Suddenly, Lloyd spots something... It looks like some sort of dark mist which floated out and seeped behind a Christmas tree. He looked closely to spot the mist forming a figure. Even though he couldn't see what they look like, he could hear them talking.

"Damnit, someone was not a good host for this mission. Might as well find another gullible puppet in the Mind Palace!" With that, the figure disappeared before his eyes, almost like they disappeared into thin air. Zara would be pacing around the room as she awaits Olapen and Misako's answer.

Just then, Kaedin arrived and was looking scared at everything here.
Blake opened his newly-received map as he made sense of Rayne Daie’s words. Amazonia rainforest? Strange creatures that eat anything in sight? The young man didn’t know how he ended up here, in this mysterious place.

Just then, he saw a pinkish-colored creature nearby...a Fuschipede, possibly? Blake carefully tiptoed away from the animal, not wanting a close encounter with it.
The giant Fuschipede was gnawing merrily on some nearby orange berries as it fixated its eyes upon Blake and screeches loudly, its mandibles clicking and clacking as it spots food! It doesn't move though, although it soon spots a hole in the ground, which had miniature fangs embedded and squirms around the hole slowly, its many legs galloping...

Thankfully Blade was far away from the giant pink centipede, as the insect was merely curious.
Meanwhile the mind palace was abuzz with new activity happening because of the new year, there would be rearrangements of furniture, new activities and even the staff were kept busy as the labyrinthine structures were changed from the old structures. In short, there was a lot of chaos in the mind palace itself...
Meanwhile in a dark dusty laboratory, there was the sound of clattering instruments as Marquis Cheney Therus worked on his latest robotic invention, his spectacles were copper coloured as his red and green irises were focused on a magnifying glass, which amplified his vision as he worked on his nanobotic specienum- but alas the lonely Marquis was not alone in his lab today, it seemed he had a rare visitor. His eye widened.

"Huh? And who might you be," Cheney greeted the new visitor to his dilapitated (run-down) robotic laboratory.

"Ennui, the creator of monstrous creatures." answered the female visitor who had just arrived at Cheney's laboratory, "I heard that since you've escaped from Soluna's futuristic jail, you've kept a low profile as late,"

"That's correct," Cheney answered as he lost focus on his newest creation, "And since we are both mad-scientists and alike in diginity, I suggest that we team up and show the others what marvellous creations we can accomplish..."

Suddenly there was a loud clatter heard, as Cheney frowned and saw a strange sight indeed. A mortal just outside their laboratory, but his callous grin quickly spread.

"Looks like we found a new lab-rat at last, visitor..." Cheney announced, fixating his eye upon the acquired lab-rat... "Come, into the laboratory with you..."
Although Dennis regretted rubbing that Mal guy the wrong way, he knew it was too late to walk it back at this point. Considering the really really really really good luck he's been having lately, he's sure things'll just end up much worse for him regardless of what he does. Sort of a damned if you do and damned if you dont situation. So if he's rubbing this huge freak the wrong way no matter what, might as well keep rubbing!

"Allow me to introduce myself," he smiled up at the big brute trying to get sweet with Yumiko, "I'm Santa Claus!"
Mal looked down at him with a raised eyebrow. "Cute, twerp. Now how 'bout you go shine your little five-head elsewhere? Me and her need a little private time."
"No we certainly do not," Yumiko answered, emphasizing how uninterested she was in him.
"Hey, I'd love to leave you two be," Dennis replies to Hal, "but uh, Mrs. Claus here is gonna be shining my five-head for me." He quickly realizes how stupid that just sounded.
"I AM?" and for some reason, Yumiko sounded interested.
"NO! NOT REALLY!!!" Dennis turned his head and whispered with emphasis.

"Like hell THAT'S happening!" Mal got a bit cross with the tiny bald-headed phony casanova, "listen, unless you want me to jam that mistletoe where the sun doesnt shine, I suggest you give Yumiko and I our space and go bother someone else. Capiche?"

"Nah, I'm perfectly fine with bothering her," Dennis gave a smartass remark he regretted fiercely. He clearly seen the hint of absolute rage in his eyes and wondered why the hell his teleport ability wouldnt bother activating yet!! It never works when he desperately needs it, huh?!
Fortunately for him, despite Mal wanted to teach the little smartass getting in the way of his fellow ghoulish crush, he didnt wanna cause a scene in front of her. As much as he didnt want to, he did what he could to keep his cool.

"I'm sorry, Yumiko," he apologized to her, "give me just a moment. This little numbskull's clearly outstayed his welcome and I'm gonna escort him out of here."
"HEY HEY HEY NOW WAIT A SEC-" Dennis started backing away as Mal stalked toward him, knowing darn well this wasnt gonna end well for him if the brute 'escorts' him!

*BOOOMM!!!*

Suddenly, a loud thud interrupted the tense moment. A thud coming from someone bursting right through the wall, practically disrupting and short-circuiting the whole 'Christmas' theme holographic setting! The whole room suddenly vanished into a plain, barren corridor as a boy rushed through screaming off the top of his lungs! Mal, Dennis, and Yumiko locked eyes on scared little Blake as he came rushing out of nowhere still screaming, possibly traumatized from the sight of the giant man-eating pink centipede permanently engraved in his head!

Mal and Yumiko quickly zipped out of his way in the nick of time, but guess who didnt?

'Always me,' Dennis barely had time to think just as Blake collided into him!

The collision was so big, the two not only went through wall, but even tore through a dimension plain deep within these mind corridors, literally piercing through the reality itself of the whole mind dimension! Like Dennis, it seemed that Blake didnt know his own strength! Of course they didnt realize it yet.
It wasnt until the 'trip' ended and they both hit a much much harder, nearly unbreakable wall with a nice thud! The two were both left dizzy, blissfully unaware of just how extreme the collision truly was!

"Uggghhh..." Dennis lifted himself up first, "...damn... what the hell was that for?" He rubbed his aching head and looked down at the boy now unconscious. "Uh... hey? You alright? Hey c'mon. Wake up." Dennis tried shaking him awake but no luck. Thankfully he wasnt dead. Just knocked out real good.
While he waited for Blake to come to, he scanned around at where he wound up. He found himself outside, but in front of what looked to be an abandoned lab with the words 'KEEP OUT' spray painted in red all over. Dennis was quite sure he wasnt out of the cursed palace just yet, as he saw Steph Tsunade walking nearby...

He sighed, "Alright. NOW what did I get myself into?" as he failed to notice the extremely tall, rather skinny and malnourished, copper coke-bottle glass wearing, eerily intrigued, rather gothic and impossibly ancient man (dressed in a dark-brown and tattered labcoat) just about to jab a syringe full of unknown bubbly biopunkish liquid right into his neck...
"Lab-rats found..." Cheney whispers eerily
As Oliver's eyes began to move around, his body was covered in total darkness. More important, his entire body was tied up!

As he easily broke the strings tying him up, he felt the box around him, breaking it as he watched a man being flung arou d by an enormous pink creature.

"Oh god, the palace again? Wait, how did I end up...? Where is she?!" Oliver looked around for answers in concern, but he only saw white and pale walls and tiles all over the place, sparks of turquoise light dimming as the man kept fighting the creature.

Whatever happened, he could only see an enormous holographic christmas tree behind him.

"Uh... yeah. Everything resets for christmas." Without more information for his aid, he started to run towards Blake and Dennis, in hopes of finding a way to break out of this maze.

Besides, after all the fights and madness in the stomach and intestines, he also needed a clothes change, his suit and pants tearing up in pieces as he kept running towards them.
There would be a short black-out and when the lights reappeared, Dennis would be in a metallic cage, kept watch by two very different tulpas, Ennui and Cheney Therus. As Cheney Therus flexed his robotic right arm, there would be a metallic schrrrring as he glanced very close at Dennis while Ennui would be looking at a biological-based laptop, researching various components for yet another genetical experiment.

"Interesting. Very intriguing." Marquis Cheney Therus observed, "And to think that my brother, Prince Harlin, kept this specineum in the mind palace for this long without me knowing of any of this unfolding affairs..."

© Copyright 2020 Birichino, safire_diaz, Hariti Khatri, Aerodeth, Gentleman, G.Harold, UltimateGiantess, yepmcnope, JBadger, sup, Prof. Mystery, SuperKirby2, Kaedin Sil, (known as GROUP).
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