“Oh, no, no, honey.” Victoria replied, “I just wondered if anything happened, since you guys took such a long time eating.”
“Well, I’ll go back to my office, then.” Victoria continued, “you guys can talk however you want!”
She then closed the door back up. If she didn’t want me to talk about him that bad, I won’t mention him to Hanako.
It’s probably for the better anyway, at least for now.
“Uh… Well! Anyway…” I tried to think of something else to talk about to Shift the conversation away from Dexter, “Uh… Oh! You mentioned in your letter that you were grounded, right? So how was it?”
“That? Well, it wasn’t too bad, I guess,” Hanako answered, “But what’s weird was that mom was very upset when she found out.”
“She probably just wanted to keep you safe.” I told her, knowing full well just why she was so upset.
“Hey, Daisuke.” Said Hanako, “What is actually in the basement?”
“Huh? Why’d you asked? Haven your mom told you about it?” I asked Hanako, trying to avoid the question. If Hanako knows about Dexter, Victoria would kill me for sure.
“Well, she told me that it kinda looked like this mansion, just worse,” Said Hanako, “But she never told me what exactly was down there. She said that I’m too young to understand.”
“But you’ve been there! So please tell me what’s in the basement!” She said, demanded the answer from me.
“Well… It was very dark down there, and there were a lot of oil monsters too.” I said, trying to mention as little details about her family as possible.
“Wow~,” She said, “And how did you manage to fight the monsters.”
“Well, I… I have my ways,” I responded, “Besides, the oil monsters couldn’t really see me anyway, since it was so dark.”
“Hmm, I see…” She said.
As soon as I finished talking, I reached for a sip of tea and realized that I almost ran out from my cup.
I pour the rest of the tea in the cup into my mouth, and took this as an opportunity to finally leave the dining room and go back to the bedroom.
“Well, I ran out of my tea, so wanna leave now?” I asked both Hanako and Mori.
“Hah? You wanna leave already?!” Hanako exclaimed, “But we barely talked at all!”
“I know, I know…” I replied, “But once I actually figured out how to go home, we’ll have all the time in the world to talk, Hanako! And Mori as well!”
“Oh! So that’s a promise, right?” Hanako said, “If you know how to get home, you’re not gonna leave right away, right?”
“Of course not!” I replied, “We’re friends, remember?”
I had to lie to her. I don’t know if would have a chance to talk together this casually ever again, but I really can’t risk this.
I had to stop our conversation for now.
“Let’s go back upstairs, shall we?” I said, then all three of us got up and left the dining room, and walked back to the bedroom.
As we were arriving at the bedroom, Victoria walked out of her office, She seemed rather serious and nervous.
“Hey, Daisuke,” She called me, “Can I talk to you for a bit?”
“Yeah, sure,” I replied, “Just me?”
“Yes, just you,” She said, “Here, come inside.”
She gestured me to go inside the office.
“You two wait in the bedroom, alright?” She told Hanako and Mori, “We won’t take long.”
“Okay…” Hanako responded, then both of them entered the bedroom.
Victoria closed the office door, then she picked up the Gallery painting and began to paint something on to it.
“There, I locked the bedroom door.” She told me, “They’re not gonna be able to get out for now.”
“What do you want to say?” I asked her, “Is it that important that you have to lock the door?”
“Yes, it is.” She said, then she walked from the door to her table in the middle of the room and pulled out something peculiar.
It was the painting of the mall in my world. The painting has a gold frame as well. Meaning that…
That… that must be…
My way back home…
“What is this? Victoria?” I asked, “Why are you showing me this right now?”
“You might not know this,” She said, “But you have already completed the deal we made a long time ago. Do you still remember it?”
“The deal?” I said, “You told me to find the source of the oil monsters, right?”
“Precisely,” She replied, “And now that you’ve done it, I’ll let you go home as promised.”
“I’ve… I’ve done it?” I asked, having no idea what’s she talking about right now. I don’t remember anything about this. What exactly did she mean?
“Yes.” She said, “You’ve never realized that you already found the source?”
I stood in silence for a bit, trying to recall the past events, thinking of what could be the source and I could only think of one thing.
“D- Don’t tell me that…” I said, “It was the child?”
“Correct.” Victoria confirmed my suspicion, “After all this time, you’re still pretty sharp, I see.”
“I should have known better…” I told her, recalling the time when it controled a swarm of oil monsters to chase Dexter away.
Or that time when it shrunk itself down to hide in my lantern, manipulate oil around it, or summon oil monsters from its body.
And not to mention when it partially turned Dexter’s arm into oil. That thing was clearly special, I just didn’t anticipate it to be this special.
“But it’s contained, at least for now.” Victoria said, then she gestured to a painting on the office wall. It was the blank painting that she used to trap the source.
But the last time I saw it, the canvas was pretty light; now it is noticeably a lot darker than before, so clearly, the source is trying to break out.
“And what are you gonna do next,” I asked Victoria, “The source wouldn’t stay in there forever, ya’ know?”
“I’m not quite sure just yet,” She answered, “But I’ll manage.”
She said that she can manage it, but can she actually do it? The fact that she had to create a new mansion tells me that it’s probably not the best idea to leave right now.
Besides, my way back home is just right in front of me, I probably don’t have to rush all that much.
“What do you mean?” I asked her, “What if you couldn’t manage it?”
“I’ll… uh…” Victoria struggled to answer my question.
“You can’t just create another mansion on top of this, you do know that, right?” I asked her.
“I know that I can’t just keep doing this forever,” Said Victoria, “But I don’t know what else to do either.”
“How about this?” I proposed something to her, “You give me that painting, and I’ll help you get rid of the source as much as I can.”
“Why do I have to give you the painting?” She asked, “I can keep it safe for you here.”
“It will be better if I keep it to myself, trust me.” I told her. The painting wasn’t actually that big, I could easily fit it into my backpack with a lot of room to spare.
But the real reason why I wanted to keep the painting of my world to myself is because if anything happened, like, say, the source tried to attack me, I could just go back home and forget about everything.
Does this mean that…
That if I’m not being careful, the oil monsters can leak into my world as well?
What would even happen at that point?
Either way, it seemed like I really had no choice but to stop the source, huh?
“Hey, Victoria,” I asked her, “How long do you think the oil monster will stay in the painting?”
“Probably just a couple of days at most,” She said, “Why’d you asked?”
“Well, I think I’ll stay here a few more days then.” I replied.
“Thank you, Daisuke,” She said, “Here, follow me.”
She walked outside into the corridor and I followed her, then she took the painting of the Gallery and began to paint something on to it.
Suddenly, the wall to the right of the bedroom door broke down, creating a big hole into nothingness, then all of the sudden, a door began to form in its place.
I heard the sounds of big things crashing into each other coming from behind that door and after a while, it stopped.
“Go on in,” She told me, “And thank you for everything again, Daisuke.”
“O- Okay,” I told her, then I opened the door ajar.
“Wait, I forgot one thing.” She said as she painted something into the painting again.
Then the wall right next to the new door began to form a small rectangle. It started to shift color, then the rectangle extruded from the wall, forming a sign.
The sign read “Daisuke’s Bedroom”.
“Thank you so much! Victoria.” I told her.
Then I swung the door fully open in excitement. My bedroom was pretty much the exact replica of Victoria’s bedroom and Dexter’s bedroom in the basement as well.
I finally got to sleep in this bed! I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I quickly rushed to the bed right away and lied on it.
“Well, enjoy yourself!” Victoria told me, “If you need anything, I’ll be in the next room with Hanako and Mori as well.”
“And I think you might like some decoration too,” She continued talking, “I guess you can have these, in case you feel nostalgic.”
She proceeded to paint something into the painting again, then all of a sudden, three paintings with gold frames appeared on the wall. Those paintings depicted the Garden, the Pine Forest, and the painting of my world.
She then left my bedroom. I was still lying in my bed and it was so comfortable that I fell asleep almost immediately after Victoria left.