Chapter 8:


The Gallery

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 Hanako painted for us.

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

And eventually, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I went through the same routine, painted the sky to be blue again, and then painted the sun, the same old stuff.

All of us ate breakfast together, while doing so, Victoria talked about the things that Hanako did when she was really really young.

"Do you remember when you started drawing a few years ago?" She said, "You used to draw weird and massive animals all the time."

"Mom! That's embarrassing." Hanako replied, "Do you have to talk about it now?"

"Oh... don't be shy, honey!" Victoria said, "I especially love the weird bird that you drew, you know, the one with s-"

"Mom!! Stop!!" Hanako cut her off. She seemed really embarrassed.

"Well, what I want to say is, Daisuke, as you explore this place deeper and deeper, you might come across something weird and unexplainable." She said, "Just know that they are normal to us."

"What do you even mean by that?" I said, "Can you explain more?"

"Even though I am the owner of the Gallery, I cannot look over and control everyone, or everything here." She answered, "The more you go further away from me, the weirder things will become, keep that in mind."

After I finished my breakfast, I went through the Garden, back to where the oil path was, and I continued to follow it.

A short while after, The path started to become more and more inconsistent, it started to drift side by side, and at some points, it got bigger and smaller; this probably meant that the speed at which the monster was moving had changed.

I continued to follow the oil path and finally found the monster.

But some things really wrong...

The monster was a butler, but he looked really young, around my age even. That was so bizarre. Is this what happened if the monster loses too much oil?

Mori was ready to burn him right away, but there was something on the floor next to the monster.

Is that...

A trapdoor?

I told Mori to stop the fire for now. It seemed like the monster wanted to go into the trapdoor, but the door didn't have a lock on it.

Why didn't it just open the door?

I slowly approached the monster and the door, our eyes were locked on each other, but neither of us did anything yet.

I got close enough, and pry the trapdoor open.

The oil monster quickly jumped in. I opened the door all the way through to see what's under there.

It looked like some sort of a basement, the wall was made of stone, and there was a ladder that descended into the depth of darkness.

Should I go in?

I thought about it for a while but decided not to go it, mainly because I didn't know what's exactly was in there.

I guess I'll tell Victoria first.

"Wanna see what's in there?" I heard a voice somewhere asking me.

"Huh? Who was that?" I asked back, as I was turning around to find where the voice came from, but couldn't find where the sound was.

"Hey, Hey! Up here!" The voice said, so I turned my head up to the ceiling and found a giant hairy spider hanging from there.

The spider was almost as tall as me. I might get into some deep troubles, if I'm not being careful with it.

But all of a sudden, Mori flew up to greet the spider, he seemed really excited to meet it too. They must have known each other beforehand.

"Do you know him, Mori?" I asked.

"Yeah, he's one of my friends." Mori replied.


Since when could Mori talk?

"You can talk?" I asked Mori.

"Yes, I can talk," Mori responded. "But Victoria wanted me to feel like a pet when we met, so she removed my ability to talk."

"So, You want to go in there?" The spider asked. "I have something that will interest you."

The spider was holding a backpack, and it pulled a flashlight, some ropes, a harness, and a bunch of other hiking or climbing stuff out from the backpack.

The spider then made its way down to the floor.

"This can all be yours!" It said.

"Where did you get all of this from?" I asked.

"I got this from a guy who I randomly came across just a couple of days ago." It responded, "Pretty cool, right?"

"And where is that guy now?" I asked.

"Oh! You don't have to worry about little things like that!" It responded. "Do you want this or not?"

"Daisuke over here would never let things like past." Mori charmed in, "You should tell him."

"Well... He's at my house..." The spider said reluctantly, "Here! follow me."

We follow the spider deeper into the corridor, then we turned the corner and found a hallway with thick spiderwebs everywhere. There was no way that I could get into that thing, but from here, I spotted a person wrapped in spiderwebs.

But that wasn't actually a person, it was a skeleton, it was very clearly some kind of a hiker or a rock climber.

"Y... You ate him?" I said to the spider. My voice started shaking.

"What?!" The spider said, "It's not my fault!"

"How was it not your fault?" I asked back, "you kill him..."

"Every human who wandered into here is food." The spider responded, "If Axel wasn't with you, I would have eaten you already."

"Can't you just eat the food from the dining room that humans eat?" I asked.

"We were created from oil paints." The spider said, "If I eat that food, it would be cannibalism!"

"We?" I asked. "Are you talking about Mori as well?"

"Obviously, yes!" The spider replied.

"But we eat together at the dining room all the time!" I said, "And Mori could eat that food very easily."

"Daisuke, I never eat the food." Mori said, "Victoria told me to act like I was eating them as part of the illusion, that's all."

"What do you eat then?" I asked, "Because I never saw you eat anything else."

"I sneaked out while you sleep to eat dog food." Mori replied.

So that's how it is?

Mori was lying to me this whole time.

But the important part was that the food I eat every day was created with oil paint.

Was Victoria making them?

That's unlikely, because she didn't seem to care about the lower floors of the Gallery, and yet there's fresh food down there all the time.

Clearly, someone is keeping this mansion running, but who could it be?

And where can I find them?

"So, do you want this backpack or not?" The spider interrupted my thinking.

"yeah..." I replied, "You're gonna make me do something, aren't you?"

"Wow! You're pretty smart, huh?" The spider responded.

"I'm not gonna find food for you, though." I cut it off before it could say anything funny, "I don't want to kill people."

"Oh! Don't worry!" The spider said, "I just ate the dude, so I'm pretty full right now."

"What I want you to do is just some cleaning." The spider said.

Then it pointed at the thick spiderwebs covered hallway.

"Can you clean this out for me?" The spider continued.

"But isn't this your home?" I asked. "Why would you want me to clean it?"

"Yeah, but I've been living here for so long, the place is so dirty too." The spider replied, "I want a fresh, new home to live in!"

"Can't you just... move?" I asked, "It seemed a lot easier to move somewhere else than to clean this whole web out."

"Huh? I haven't thought about it before, actually." The spider said, "That seems like a great idea!"

"Are you serious right now?" I replied in disbelief. Has it seriously never thought about moving before?

"Well then, can you find me somewhere else to live?" The spider asked.

"Noo! Just do it yourself." I replied.

"You don't want the backpack anymore?" The spider said, "It's either you find me a new home, or you clean the spiderwebs out, you decide."

"Daisuke, do you want me to burn the web away?" Mori asked.

"Wait! I want to try something out first." I answered.

I pulled out one of the acid bottles from my bag; this would be a great opportunity to test just how strong this acid actually is.

I took the cap from the bottle off, and proceeded to drop a few droplets of acid into the spiderwebs.

The webs started to dissolve immediately, and it didn't stop there; it continued to dissolve the webs even further.

With just a few droplets, I managed to clear out almost a cubic meter of spiderwebs. Maybe this acid is really strong after all.

And so, I continued to clean the webs out. I splashed the webs with some more acid, and the webs melted away very quickly, and after quite a long while, I finally clear out all the webs. I ended up using that whole bottle of acid.

There were no spiderwebs left, but that hallway was still extremely filthy; that whole area was filled with dust, and not to mention that there were skeletons of humans and animals everywhere, lying on the ground, but I suppose that couldn't be helped.

"I've done it now!" I said, "Give the backpack to me as promised."

"I know, I know." The spider said, "Here ya' go!"

It tossed the backpack at me.

"Next time we meet, if Axel isn't with you, I'll eat you up!" It said, as it started to wander deep into the hallway.

It disappeared into the darkness. I could only hope to never see it again, I do kinda want to repaint it into something easier on the eyes, though.

Mori and I quickly left the hallway afterward; we went back to the trapdoor that the oil monster jumped in earlier.

I started to unpack the backpack to see what useful equipment I could use to descend the basement ladders.

In that backpack were a few flashlights, they came in different forms, along with some rock climbing equipment that I didn't know how to use properly, like harnesses, some rope, or some kind of rock pick, this could be used as a weapon, actually.

I pried the trapdoor open, and just as I suspected, the ladders were very slippery, because of all the oil.

I put the harness on myself; luckily there was a kid sized in there, and then strapped a flashlight on my forehead.

I took a rope and attached one end to my harness, and the other end to the first step of that ladders.

Hopefully, this rope would be long enough for me to at least see whatever is under there.

"Do you really want to check it out?" Mori asked me.

"Of course! Mori, there might be something important in there." I replied.

"But you know that I can't go with you, right?" He said, "Because of all the oil, it's too dangerous for me."

"Oh! You're right." I responded, "Wait... Didn't you said that you were created by oil paint?"

"How could you breathe fire, then?" I continued asking.

"I was made from oil paint, but my lungs are like a small flamethrower, they were made from some sort of metal, and when I breathe fire, it only heats up my body a little bit, not enough for my body to burst into flame."

"So yeah, I cannot go in there with you, or else I might light myself, you, and whatever is down there on fire." Mori said.

"I... I understand." I replied, "I'll get going then."

"Good luck! Daisuke!" Mori said.

I stepped on the ladders, and started lowering myself down under the trapdoor, the place reeked of oil, it made me feel nauseous a little.

I held my breath, and continued climbing down the ladders, after a while, I looked and saw that I was about to reach the end of the ladders.