Chapter 7:

A Deal

The Gallery


Someone's sleeping on the bed.

I thought it might be Master, so I started to close the door and was about to run away.

But the person in the bed got up before I could close the door.

It was Hanako...

She looked right at me, but didn't say anything.

Her eyes were filled with emptiness.

Her expression was blank, it was almost like she couldn't remember me at all

Wh... Why is she here?

"Hanako!! Let's go!" I said to her, but she didn't say anything back to me.

She's still staring right at me with her blank expression.

"Hanako?" I called her, "Are you okay? please say something..."

She didn't respond to me. The room filled with silence at that point, because I didn't know what to say to her.

Did she forget about me already?

All of the sudden, I heard a voice coming from behind me.

"Oh? You've found this place already?" The voice said, "I should have kept a closer look on you."

I remembered that voice all too well. I turned to the voice, and sure enough, it was the Master.

But the Master wasn't wearing the suit this time, she was wearing a regular t-shirt with a pair of sweatpants.

I tried to run immediately, but was stopped by her.

She held on to my hand and pulled me back into the Bedroom.

"What's the hurry?" She said, "Don't you want to fight me?"

H... How did she know? Could she read my mind too?

I couldn't tell what she gonna do to me, but she didn't seem as threatening as the first time we met.

"Is having me here part of your plan too?" I asked.

"Well, something just can't be predicted." She said, "With you coming here so early, or you turning my friend small, these were unexpected."

Her friend?

"Are you talking about Mori?" I asked.

"Oh? You gave him a new name, I see." She replied, "Well, he does have his own name, but you can call him whatever you want, I guess."

I have so many questions, but I didn't know what to ask first, so I just stay silent.

"Confused? Let me help you." She said, then she took a book from a shelf in the Bedroom, and tore out a page from it.

That book was a sketchbook, and it looked very similar to the one I found in the Living Room.

Suddenly, Hanako's eyes started to fill with emotion again.

"Daisuke!" She called me.

"Hanako! You're okay!" I called her back, and run toward her.

"Well, I suppose I should properly introduce myself first." The Master said, "My name is Victoria, and that's my daughter, Violet, but you can keep calling her 'Hanako' if you like."




What is she on about?

"Don't act so confused." She said, "As I said way back when, It was my plan all along."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, "What do you mean 'daughter'?"

"It's not that complicated." She responded, "I am Hanako's mother, and I am her mother; it's that simple."

"Why did you lie to me? Hanako!" I turned to Hanako and asked her.

"Lie about what? I'd never lied to you, Daisuke." She replied.

"She didn't lie to you, Daisuke, she just didn't tell you the whole truth." Victoria said, as she put the sketchbook away.

I could see the book a little clearer now.

The book has a purple cover, with Violet written on it.

"W... What did you do to her?" I asked.

"Oh... Don't act so surprised, I was only controlling her a bit, that's all." She replied, "I can do it to you too if you want."

She pulled out another sketchbook, but with my name on it this time.

"Do you know about this? Mori." I asked Mori.

"Yes, but unfortunately, I made it so that he couldn't tell you about my plan." Victoria said.

"Your plan? What is it!?" I asked, "Just tell me already!"

"Not too long ago, this place has become infested with some kind of oil monsters." She said.

"I've tried trapping them in a painting, but they could still manage to multiply themselves, and made a mess everywhere."

Only Axel's... or should I say Mori's fire could stop them, but that would create the permanent mess that we couldn't get rid of." She said.

"Huh? So that wasn't your doings?" I asked.

"Why would I filled my own home with disgusting filth?" She replied.

"So... Why did you bring me into the Gallery then?" I asked, "I don't care about this place at all."

"She didn't bring you here, silly." Hanako said, "You came here by accident, didn't you?"

"But you did help me back then, remember?" I asked Hanako.

"That was also an accident." She responded, "I was trying to escaping the butler myself."

"Speaking of the butler," Victoria said, "You said that the butler could talk, right?"

"Y... Yeah, just that one butler, though." I replied, "What about it?"

"Do you remember what it said?" She asked.

"It asked me if I was your guest or not." I said, "When I said no, it asked me to leave and started chasing me."

"Interesting..." Victoria said. "How about this? I'll cut you a deal."

"I was going to kill you, but if you help me defeat the oil monster, I'll let you go home."

Would this be the only way I could get home? But why me?

"Why did you choose me?" I asked.

"I didn't choose you." She replied, "I will test every single person who stumbled across this place."

"Most of them failed." She continued, "But you persisted, and survived."

"Fine, I will help you." I said, "What do you need me to do?"

"I want you to search for the source of the oil." She said, "And destroy it."

"Huh? Can't you just do it yourself?" I asked.

"We lack the knowledge to do so." She replied, "Don't forget that you were the one who discovered how to turn the monster into a statue, and you were the one who found a way to clean the oil from the bathtub."

"You"ve never tried those things before." I asked.

"Shut up." She said, "Just get to work already."

"Where should I go first, then?" I asked.

"It should be on the bottom floors." She replied, "Go search. around there first."

"Fine." I said, "I'll get going then."

"By the way, what are these things?" I asked as I pulled the bottles I found in the Office, labeled "highly acidic".

"I was trying to create something that can get rid of the oil, but it doesn't work." She replied, "The acid just wasn't strong enough, or something."

I left the Bedroom with Mori joining me. I also kept the acid bottles with me, just in case.

I'm still quite confused, but essentially, it seemed like I have to find the source of these oil monsters and kill it, so I would definitely need to find a way to dissolve the oil.

Before I left, Victoria offered a corner of the Bedroom for me to sleep in at night, but I didn't want to be with her all the time, so Hanako painted a small cottage next to the tree in the Garden for me, that way, I would have a better and safer to sleep.

Victoria then walked into her office and grabbed two empty canvases with a gold frame, then she quickly recreate the Garden painting, creating two more entrances to the Garden.

She left one of the paintings in the Bedroom, so that Hanako could go to the Garden as well, and it also doubled as a quick way for me to come back to the Bedroom.

I took the other painting with me, so that I could go back to the Garden from anywhere.

And so, I started descending the spiral staircase once again, but this time, with a new goal completely.

To be honest, with everything that she had done to me, it was kinda hard to trust her.

She said that she didn't want to deal with the oil monsters herself, because she wasn't smart enough or something like that.

That was kind of suspicious.

I still needed to keep an eye on her, in case she tried to do something weird.

I stopped at the dining room on the floor below, at first, I was under the impression that the maids and the butlers were the ones preparing all this food, but it seemed like that was not the case at all.

After sharing a meal with Mori, I went to use the toilet.

So far, I haven't seen any oil monsters yet.

I only saw the ones that Mori turned into statues earlier, on the way to the top floor.

Meaning that these monsters were created from the oil monster that Victoria captured into the painting in the living room.

And Mori burning that painting, made it so that there should be no oil monsters on the top floors anymore, so I really have to go all the way down to get started.

But why did the monsters took the forms of the maids and the butlers anyway?

Shouldn't there be more people in the Gallery?

Where is Hanako's dad?

Something doesn't add up here, Victoria is definitely still hiding some details from me.

I should be on the lookout for anything fishy, not only from the monsters, but from Victoria and Hanako too.

I couldn't really trust anyone anymore.

I made my way to the floor I originally came in, and started looking for clues of the oil monster.

The reason why I started at this floor is because this was the floor that I came across the talking oil monster. This is probably the most substantial lead I have on the monsters right now.

There were still lilac Flowers on the floor, I supposed they were created by Victoria, but why?

What could they even do?

After searching around that floor for quite a long while, I came across a path of dripping oil.

The path began as a small puddle of oil and extended down into the depth of the corridor.

I began to follow the path. It showed no sign of stopping, after a while, the path curved into the wall, leaving some oil stain on the wall and one of the blank paintings.

It seemed like the monster tried to hop into the painting, but couldn't? Because the path curved out from the wall and continued down the corridor.

So if I have guessed, it was trying to find a painting that it could get in?

If I continued following the path, maybe I could find where the monster wanted to go.

I followed the path for what felt like hours now, but the path still continued. It didn't seem like it will stop any time soon at all.

Despite that, I wasn't tired at all, it was like when I got here for the first time. Maybe this is Victoria's doings?

But either way, my stomach was pretty empty at that point, so I put the new Garden painting on the floor, and go through the painting to get to the Garden.

Then I go through another new Garden painting to get to the Bedroom, Hanako and Victoria were there, and we share a meal together in the dining room downstairs.

During the meal, I told them about the path of oil. I also asked them about the logistics of the Gallery and about Hanako's dad, but they refused to answer; they kept dancing around my questions.

"What is there to hide at this point?" I asked, "Don't you want the oil monsters gone?"

"There are lots of things that you don't know, kiddo." Victoria answered, "And some of them are family's secret."

"If I don't know everything about this place, how could I help you guys properly?" I asked.

"When you came here, you didn't know anything, did you?" She said, "And look where you are now!"

"Well, that's because I was going to die, if I didn't do anything." I responded.

"And are things any different?" Victoria asked.


I knew it...

I couldn't trust these people after all.

"Mom's only joking!" Hanako charmed into our conversation, "We are friends now, remember?"

"But you still lied to me." I said.

"Violet was actually trying to protect you." Victoria said, "Out of everyone who wandered in here, you were the first one who tried to befriend her, and Axel too."

"Oh wait! I should call them Hanako and Mori, right?" She continued and giggled to herself.

"Whatever, I guess." I replied.

I continued with my meal silently, because it didn't seem like they would tell me anything about this place at all.

My guess was that the oil monster is probably something that Victoria and Hanako didn't want to deal with, they took the form of maids and butlers, even though there are no actual maids or butlers in here, so clearly they were still hiding a lot of information from me.

After the meal, Mori and I left the dining room to the Garden to wind down and sleep for the night.

I painted the sky to be black and went to bed in the cottage that Victoria painted for us.

Hanako wanted to sleep with her mom in the Bedroom, so I slept with Mori.

And eventually, I fell asleep.