Chapter 5:

The Escape

The Gallery

Mori lied down next to the fire, so I decided to lie down next to him.

And I fell asleep there.

When I woke up the next day, I was greeted with waves of heat hitting my body.

I looked up to see what happened, and a part of the forest was engulfed in flame. Mori wasn't at the cabin anymore.

I quickly rushed toward the fire to see what was going on.

Mori was standing in the middle of the fire, completely unharmed. He walked out of the fire and opened his mouth.

Then he breathed fire from his mouth, the fire was white, and it was so hot that I had to back away from there.

Now I understand the purpose of that cage, with fire this hot, Mori could probably burn the entire Gallery down.

"Calm down! Mori!" I yelled. "Why are you doing this?"

I didn't know what to do. It seemed like he had that fire pended up for a long time, and couldn't let it out until now.

Now he was just wrecking the forest up in frustration.

He was so formidable, and I was too scared to do anything, so I just came back to the cabin and waited for Mori to get all his anger out.

At the cabin, I anxiously waited for Mori to calm down, while tidying up a bit, an idea popped into my head.

Can Mori's fire melt these gold ingots?

The fire was white after all, so there was clearly something special about it.

I waited, and waited, but Mori was still not back. I stepped outside to see how big the flame was, and it only grew bigger. Will this ever end?

At that moment, I realized something terrible. If Mori could breathe fire now, then he wouldn't be able to go through the silver framed painting anymore, since it was just a pool of oil.

It meant that Mori wouldn't be able to bring food back from the Gallery.

It seemed that the countdown clock had started. I have to get out of this painting before I starved to death.

I had an idea to search around the lake first, that way, if it got too hot, I could just jump into the lake.

Unfortunately, all of my markers got burned since they were pages from my notebook. I couldn't get to the lake anymore.

I decided to pack up my stuff and abandoned the cabin. I couldn't go for more than a week without food anyway.

I started wandering aimlessly for the third time in this painting, this time, instead of the dark and foggy atmosphere, it was hot and bright.

My path was very limited because of the fire, but I tried to walk along the edge of the flame, since Mori would most likely be around there.

I was very sweaty and was extremely exhausted very quickly, I was also very hungry, and started to feel a little lightheaded.

I collapsed on to the ground shortly after.

After I passed out for an unknown amount of time, I woke up next to the lake and was fully soaked. Mori was sitting next to me. It seemed like he had calmed down a lot now.

but I completely understand his frustration, how it felt when you get thrown into a weird and twisted world, where things didn't make sense. I understand it all too well.

I turned to the forest to see the damage, and there was almost no forest left at all, it was burned down that I could vaguely see the cabin from the lake.

"Can you still breathe fire like that?" I asked Mori, hoping to see if I could melt the gold ingots with his fire.

He nodded, so I took one of the gold ingots out from my bag and put them on the ground.

I then backed away really far and told Mori to try to melt the ingot.

Mori breathed his white fire on the ingot. The grasses on the ground incinerated immediately, but the ingot was still solid.

"Keep going! Mori!" I said. After around five minutes of constant burning, the ingot finally melted.

"It... It worked." I said.

The area was still too hot that I couldn't inspect the gold closely, but it was totally liquified. Now I just needed a way to paint it on my frame.

I called Mori over and used my scissors to cut out some of Mori's fur. I used one of my pencils as a handle.

After some gluing and tying things together, I created a makeshift brush. It looked rather janky, but it will work for now.

The good thing about this brush is that it should be able to handle the extremely hot melted gold, since it was made from Mori's fur.

Well... Here goes nothing.

I dumped the remaining gold ingots on the ground and told Mori to do his thing.

This time, there were some bigger chunks in there, so it took longer, but eventually, after almost ten minutes, the whole thing melted.

I approached the melted gold, it was unbearably hot, but I just endured it and dipped my brush into the gold, and began to coat the frame of the Living Room painting.

Painting something was a lot more difficult than I thought. I couldn't paint it smoothly at all. How could Hanako paint the whole sky in the Garden so fast?

But after a while, I managed to coat the entire frame with gold. I waited for the gold to dry then I tried touching the canvas, and this time, my fingers sank in!

I can finally leave this place, but there was one problem though.

Mori wouldn't be able to fit through the small painting and he couldn't go through the large painting anymore too.

I thought I freed him from his cage, but what I only managed to do was trapped him in a way bigger cage, it seemed.

Either way, I must get going now. I promised Mori that I will come back for him and that I will feed him every day.

I understand what Hanako said about Mori being her friend now.

I packed up my stuff and leave the Pine Forest behind.

I made it back to the Living Room. When I got back, no one was there, the fire was out, but the maids and butlers painting was lying in the fireplace, still dripping oil.

Our efforts were worthless after all.

It seemed like I will have to fight the Master, if I want everything to stop, and if I want to go home.

I thought of an idea to keep some painting supplies with me, just in case I needed them, so I started to collect each of the paints from the shelf.

I managed to collect around twenty colors or so. I also got some brushes parts, so I could make more brushes of various sizes this time.

On the Living Room floor, there were two paintings, the Garden and the unfinished painting of my home.

I picked both of them up and leave the Living Room shortly after.

I walked past the corridor, to the spiral staircase, and descended a floor, then I headed to the dining room. I didn't spot any maids or butlers, luckily.

I took some food with me and headed back into the Pine Forest to feed Mori. While he was eating, I decided to visit the Garden.

Everything looked the same as before we left this place. The perpetual dawn, the field of oil monster statues, which gave me an idea.

Can I restore the Garden and move Mori here?

At first, I planned to sleep in the Pine Forest, but if I could sleep in the Garden, it would be a lot better, since the Pine Forest was very eerie and dark.

But if I wanted to restore the Garden, I would need a better way of cleaning the oil, using soap bars was too inefficient.

So I guess the first thing to do is to find the other side of the oil pool painting, there might be a way to drain the oil out.

And that's what I did, each day, I would explore the Mansion deeper and deeper. Every once a while, around a couple of days or so, I would come across a dining room, and I would just take tons of food back to the Pine Forest and eat those until I came across another dining room.

I discovered that the top floor repeats itself in a more predictable manner, compared to the lower floors, and there is only one Living Room, I just discovered the same Living Room like I was walking in a circle, while on the lower floors, the dining rooms I found were a new one every time.

I also picked up a new hobby: painting. I taught myself how to paint and now I could paint simple landscapes.

All of this became my new routine, and I repeated them so much that I completely lost track of time now.

Until one day, the dining room that I found had something different.

Instead of having a toilet somewhere close to it, this one had a door with a sign labeled "Bathroom."

I opened the door, and inside was a big and endless bathroom with showers and bathtubs everywhere.

But one bathtub, in particular, caught my eyes, it was very big, around four or five times my size, and rather than water, this one was filled with black oil.

I knew exactly where the black oil would lead to. I just have to find a way to remove them.

I searched around the bathroom a bit more and found a bucket on the floor. This might work.

I used the bucket to scoop up the oil into an empty bathtub, but it didn't seem to be working, the amount of oil in the bathtub didn't go down at all.

Well, before I tried some other methods out, I should test if this bathtub was actually connected to the giant painting in the Pine Forest first, otherwise, I might be wasting my time and energy for nothing.

I decided to push the bucket down into the bathtub. At first, the bucket tried to float, but as I pushed it deeper, it started to lost its tension, and eventually, it just sank down and disappeared from my hands.

I quickly rushed into the Pine Forest painting, and sure enough, the bucket was there, floating on the pool of oil. I was excited, as there might be a way to get Mori out of the painting now.

But how?

I had one more idea, but it was a very risky one. What if we tried to burn the painting? We knew its destination anyway, so if we tried burning it just a little bit, it should be fine, right? We might be able to burn the oil away. Who knows?

And so we did. I told Mori to burn the painting, but the outcome wasn't like what I was expecting to happen.

I kinda expected the oil to burst into flame immediately, but not only that it didn't create a big fire, the oil solidified under hot temperatures.

It reminded me of the oil monster statue field from the Garden, so I headed there to investigate a method to get rid of the oil.

I found out that the bizarre looking black flowers that grew from the plant that wrapped around the monsters, made the oil react weirdly? I tried it on the oil paints that I carry around in my bag, and it seemed to make the oil bubbled, or something?

So I picked a handful of those flowers and headed back to the Pine Forest. I dumped some of them into the oil pool painting.

The pool started bubbling violently. I expected the oil to just erupt out like a volcano, but it just stopped after a while.

Despite that, these flowers did, in fact, do something to the oil. I just needed to collect tons more of them, if I want to create a bigger reaction.

And so I went back to pick more flowers. Being around so many oil monsters made me wonder if I could break the statue. I tried smashing it with a rock in the Garden, but the statue only scratched a little.

After collecting a bag full of flowers, I headed to the bathroom and dumped all the flowers into the bathtub. I didn't want to do it in the Pine Forest, just in case something went horrible.

The oil started bubbling once again, this time even more violently, then it started to spill out of the bathtub, it looked hot, so I backed away from it.

Eventually, the oil level in the bathtub went down. I slowly approached the bathtub. It was very deep, and when I looked inside, I could see the fog from the Pine Forest.

I've done it.

Mori jumped over from the Pine Forest into the Mansion for the first time in a while. We hugged each other.

Now I just have to find a way to get him into the Garden somehow.

But my next plan was to restore the Garden. I thought I was good enough to paint the sky now, so I tried it.

I mixed the color "phthalo blue" with "titanium white," and started to paint the sky.

I used the combination of various shades of orange, red, and yellow to paint the sun.

And I used titanium white for some dashes of clouds.

At that moment, the sun continues to rise again, it stopped in the middle of the sky, exactly where I painted it, and the clouds started forming too.

But that wasn't enough, I still wanted to get rid of the monster statues, so out of curiosity, I tried to mimic the grass's colors on the canvas, using sap green and titanium white, then I tried painting the grass over the old one.

When I'm done, the grasses started to grow out of the statues, but the grasses didn't get rid of the statues, it just made them less unsettling.

I almost ran out of oil paints at this point, so I decided to go to the living room to refill my paints, but much like how the bathroom and the toilet were different, the living room was different as well.

While I was rummaging through the boxes to find more oil paints, I came across the paintbrush that the Master used when we first encountered her, and next to it was an interesting looking canvas, this one had no frame at all, and the painting depicted...


On his body, I could still see the black stain on where the cage was supposed to be, and this brush too... Was the Master used all of these to turn Mori into how he is now?

I might be on to something...