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Hello and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality. This audio tour guide will be your constant companion in your journey through the unknown and surreal.

As you approach our exhibits, the audio tour guide will provide you with information and insights into their nature and history.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the exhibits.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the audio tour guide. If you believe that the audio tour guide may be deviating from the intended tour program, please consider adjusting your preconceived notions of what the intended tour program may be!

While the staff here at Mistholme Museum of Mystery Morbidity and Mortality do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all visitors, accidents can happen. The museum is not liable for any injury, death, or... Ugh, I've done like sixty-five of these things, never mind that may occur during your visit.

Enjoy your tour.

And good luck.

Guide:
Thank you, again, for coming. We really appreciate it- especially waiting around for so long, we had to… yeah, you see how it is around here.

 

Amina:
Well, you know, when you wake up and someone’s written a note on your ceiling, you kinda want to find out why.

 

Guide:
That- oh. Right, that was because… long story, never mind.

 

Restoration:
Yes, let’s just move on.

 

Amina:
So, just so I’m fully… across all of this. Your museum is under attack by fairies because a monster that killed your friends rang a bell that summoned an important fairy, and that fairy’s mother invaded because-

 

Guide:
Parent. We’re… not entirely clear on that part.

 

Amina:
Right. So, this Queen attacked to bring their child home, but that child isn’t here, so you’ve evacuated everyone and brought me in to help sort things out? 

 

Guide:
Yes. Specifically, we were hoping to follow up on some Chronochor you smelled earlier?

 

Restoration:
Yes, we’d like you to take us to wherever the… time-stream leads.

 

Amina:
I do tricks other than just time travel, you know.

 

Restoration:
I’m sure, but for now…

 

Amina:
Fine. Whatever.

 

Guide:
Do you have any questions before we begin?

 

Amina:
Ahh, yeah, actually, a couple. First, where are we and how did we get here? I didn’t take you for a witch, no offence.

 

Restoration:
I- But you’re…? None taken. We’re… somewhere in the Staff Only section of the Museum. We used an… I used an unfamiliar method to transport us here, so the precise-

 

Amina:
Right, sorry, shouldn’t have asked. Next: where are we going?

 

Guide:
The Break Room, that’s where you mentioned smelling someChronochor last time you were here.

 

Amina:
No, I mean- when? When am I taking you to? The Chronochor, you want me to open a passage to another time like with the mirror, yeah? When’s the other side?

 

Guide:
Well… We don’t know. We’re just kind of hoping it goes somewhere… We just hope it helps.

 

Amina:

That’s… Are you serious?

 

Guide:
We’re backed into a corner. Maybe if the other side of the time… portal, or whatever, is in the future, we’ll be able to find out if we managed to beat the Queen. And how.

 

Amina:
But, what if it doesn't?

 

Restoration:
We just hope it does.

 

Amina:

 Great. Cool. Just one more question.

 

Guide:
Shoot.

 

Amina:
If this is so dangerous, and people are dying and all… Why not just leave? 

 

Guide:
What?

Amina:
It’s just a building. A really weird one, but, y’know. Just not clear why you folks are risking your lives for it.

 

Restoration:
I… Ah…

 

Guide:
Because it’s our… job?

 

Amina:
Okay. I mean… can’t relate, but fine. Let’s go save your museum. 

 

Guide:
Alright! The Break Room isn’t far, head down the corridor where Mother is- Mother? What’s wrong?

 

Amina:
What’s she saying-

 

[Distant footsteps.]

 

Restoration:

Oh god. 

 

Guide:
They’ve broken through. The Fae, they’re in the Staff Area. We need to hurry, come on Mother. We’ll go the long way. Mother?

 

Restoration:
This way, Amina. 

 

Amina:
Okay.

 

Guide:
Mother, no- where are you going? No!

 

Restoration:
She’s doing her job, Guide. Let’s do ours.

 

Guide:
Damn it. Damn it! Right up ahead. Amina, do you have any magical defences or weapons, or whatever?

Amina:
Your message didn’t mention any of this Fairy shit, if you wanted me to come strapped you should have mentioned.

 

Guide:
We were trying not to… break time, alright? Left here. Okay, that’s the door up ahead.

 

Amina:
Oh yeah, get a whiff of that, can already smell it from here. 

 

Restoration:
I don’t smell anything. 

 

Amina:
Well, good thing you’ve hired a professional then. In we go?

 

Restoration:
After you.

 

[The door opens. Then, a shout, nowhere near as distant as one would like]

 

Stranger:
There! Human!

 

Amina:
Is that guy wearing my Aunty’s Bracelet?

 

Restoration:
Shit. Get in there. 

 

Guide:
Ma’am, quickly-

 

Restoration:
Here, take the Guide.

 

Guide:
Ma’am?

 

Restoration:
Block the door behind you, there’s usually plenty of furniture in the Break Room so you should be ok.

 

Amina:
Got it. Good luck.

 

Restoration:
Yes. Stay safe out-

 

Stranger:

Take her alive.

 

Restoration:
Shit-

 

[The door slams shut. Amina begins shifting furniture in front of it.]

 

Guide:
NO! Ma’am what are you- Amina, stop, what are you doing?! We have to let her in!

Amina:
She’s buying us time, Guide. 

 

Guide:

No… Damn it. 

 

[The door rattles. A fist pounds on it]

 

Guide:
Is that going to hold?
 

Amina:
For a bit. Until they bring in a… ram, or something. 

 

Guide:

They were using something that could melt titanium earlier.

 

Amina:
Well, that’s good to know. Best get to it, then. 

 

Guide:
God… it’s just us. It’s all come down to us.

 

Amina:
It’s down to you, Guide. I’m just your ride.

 

Guide:
I know you’re trying to make me feel important, but-

 

[A slow, deliberate knock at the door]

 

Amina:
Who’s- [whispering] who’s that? Do you think the Head of Restoration-

 

Guide:
No. I’m pretty sure I know who that is.

 

Amina:
A friend?

 

Stranger:
Guiiide. You in there?

 

Guide:
Absolutely not. 

 

Stranger:
I can hear you talking, Guide. It’s been too long, I’ve missed our little chats.

 

Guide:
Fuck off, Stranger. 

 

Stranger:
Ohoh! You’ve gotten some fire in you, I like it!

 

Amina:
Jesus, I’m already sick of this guy. 

 

Guide:
Well, get the ritual ready and we won’t have to listen to him anymore.

 

Amina:
I’m working on it, don’t rush me. I- Hey, did you guys change out the furniture in here since last time?

 

Guide:
No, it just does that on its own. Please hurry.

 

Stranger:
Do you have a friend in there, Guide? That’s a shame. I’d hate for another of your friends to get hurt because you put them in harm’s way.

 

Guide:
If you hate it so much, why don’t you just toddle on back to your own realm. The Heir isn’t here.

 

Stranger:
It doesn’t matter if the Heir is here, Guide. What matters is that I find the Heir before The Majesty gets too impatient with me. 

 

Guide:
Oh, you poor thing. I’m just sure you hate the situation, too, don’t you? You just hate having to hurt people for no reason. 

 

Stranger:
But of course! I’m not a monster, Guide. Simply a servant of powers far beyond me, doing my best to-

 

Amina:
Alright, ready, let’s go before this guy bores me to death. 

 

Guide:
Do it. 

 

[Again, the universe turns inside out]

 

Guide:
Where are we?

 

Amina:
Still the Break Room. Furniture’s different again, though. We didn’t change location, just time, you know?

Guide:
No, I know, I mean- when? When are we?

 

Amina:
I dunno. You tell me, you know this place a lot better than I do.

 

Guide:

Well… I’m not picking up the Antenna’s signal. I haven’t been linked up with the rest of my distributed network. 

 

Amina:
Right… And what does that mean for us?

 

Guide:
Well, we’re either at a point in the past before I was linked up with the Museum’s Mainframe, or at a point in the future where I was never linked back up to it after everything calmed down. 

 

Amina:
Which one do we want?

Guide:
Neither. 

 

Amina:
Great. Let’s head out and see what’s up.

 

Guide:
Great. 

 

[The Break Room door creaks slowly open]

 

Amina:
It’s quiet. Too-

 

Guide:
Don’t.

 

Amina:
Tch. You’re no fun. 

 

Guide:
It is… quiet, though. There’s nobody around. I-

 

Amina:
Hello? Anyone there?

 

Guide:
SHH! What are you- 

 

Amina:
What?

Guide:
Do you not think maybe we should be… stealthy?

 

Amina:
We’re not going to find out when we are by just… stumbling across a calendar with today’s date circled, Guide. Best chance is, we find someone and ask.

 

Guide:
But what if we find someone we don’t want to find?

 

Amina:

Then we run.

 

Guide:
Great. 

 

Amina:
It’s all pretty intact here, though. Doesn’t seem like it’s been wrecked up by fairies or anything. 

 

Guide:
Yeah. I was gonna say. So… we’re either in the past before the Fae attacked, or far enough in the future that the Museum’s recovered from the attack. 

 

Amina:
Doesn’t narrow it down too much. Maybe more likely that this is the past? The other time… portal, or whatever, that led to back when your Museum was in lockdown, yeah? Could be that this is back then, too. 

 

Guide:
Is there… Would there be any connection between the two time loops? Is it more likely that two portals in close proximity would lead to similar times?
 

Amina:
No idea. Interesting theory, but-

 

[Echoing off the walls, a distant gunshot]

 

Amina:
What was that?

 

Guide:
Oh my god.

 

Amina:
Was that a gunshot? 

 

Guide:
I know when we are. Hurry, down this corridor, to the right. 

 

Amina:
Where are we going? 

 

Guide:
The Auxiliary Security Monitoring Station. 

 

Amina:

Okay, and what’s that-

 

Guide:
Just keep going, another right here.

 

Amina:
Why does this place have so many corridors?

 

Guide:
Apparently the corridors aren’t even real or something, it’s a long story. It’s that door up ahead.

 

Amina:
Yeah, the one labelled “Auxiliary Security Monitoring Station”, I figured. Alright, let’s take a look.

 

Guide:
Oh no, wait, maybe you shouldn’t-

 

[The door opens]

 

Amina:

Oh god. Is that a… Is that a dead body?

 

Guide:
Yes. Sorry, I should have warned you. 

 

Amina:
Who was he?

 

Guide:
His name was Officer Brooks. He was with the Security Department.

 

Amina:
Are we… should we help him?

 

Guide:
No. I mean- sorry, he’s already dead in the future, so we can’t help him. 

 

Amina:
Right. Causality. So what are we-

 

Guide:

Amina. Can you check his pockets?

 

Amina:
Ew, what? Why would I-

 

Guide:
Please. Just… Go with me on this. He’s got headphones in, can you follow the wire and-

 

Amina:
Yeah, fine, jeez. Ugghh… Okay, here you go. What now?

Guide:
Unplug his headphones. Put me next to his phone. 

 

Amina:
Okay.

 

Guide:
Now leave.

 

Amina:
Leave? Like, go back to our time-

 

Guide:
No, leave the room. I’ll call for you when… I’m done. Hopefully. You just don’t want to be here. 

 

Amina:
Okay. What’s… fine. Sure, I’ll go.

 

Guide:
Wait, hang on.

 

Amina:
What?

 

Guide:
Hit redial on Brookes’s phone before you go. 

 

[Beep. Footsteps. The door closes. The phone dials.] 

 

Guide:
C’mon. C’mon. Okay. Let’s do this. C’mon.

 

[Click. The Guide draws in a sharp breath.]

 

The Man:
Officer Brookes?

 

[Beat]

 

The Man:

I thought I lost you there, Brookes. 

 

Guide:
I… Well…

 

The Man:
But this isn’t Officer Brookes, is it? You’re… Unfamiliar.

 

Guide:
You can call me Mistholme. I know who you are, and what you can do without a True Name, so you might as well have mine. 

 

The Man:
Hm. You’ve heard of me.

 

Guide:
More than heard.

 

The Man:
I suppose I’ve made some splashes here and there. Inevitable that folks would get to hearing about me. Tell me, where is the good Officer?

 

Guide:

Dead.

 

The Man:
Mm. I underestimated him. Thought I had a firm grip, but I guess he slipped the net.  

 

Guide:

You don’t want to know what happened to him?

 

The Man:
Hm. Not especially. Let’s get to know each other a little, there’s something I think you can help me with.

 

Guide:
What’s that? What are… what do you want with the Museum?

 

The Man:
Well, that’s not really any business of yours, now. I’m sorry, but as much as I’d love to chat, I think I might just expedite things here and-

 

Guide:
Don’t. I know who you are, and what you can do. And I know that you don’t… that the last thing you want is to take control of me. You want to hear what I have to say.

 

The Man:
And why is that?

 

Guide:
I’ve met your… parent.

 

[An icy pause]

 

The Man:

Who the fuck are you?

 

Guide:
I’m… I am the Audio Tour Guide for the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. You are the individual we’ve come to know as the Man with a Voice like Chocolate and Coffee and Honey all at once. The child of the Queen of the Summer Sun, the Heir to the Summer Throne, origin of about a dozen exhibits here and a sizeable pain in my digital arse for the last year or so.

 

The Man:
You seem to know me quite well. Afraid I can’t say the same. 

 

Guide:
Well, we know that’s not true.

 

The Man:
Ah. Well, yes of course I know you, but I don’t know you. And if you knew me half as well as you seem to think you do, you’d never have brought The Majesty into this. Now, be a good little tour guide and-

 

Guide:

Trust me, I know them more than anyone would care to. But I know someone else, too. A friend of yours.

 

The Man:

A friend.

 

Guide:
Yes. I’ve… you see, I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time with someone else who means a lot to-

 

The Man:
Mistholme. Tell me who you’re talking about.

 

Guide:
The Beast.

 

The Man:
…Explain yourself.

 

Guide:
Okay, well, that’s going to take some time.

 

The Man:
I am extraordinarily patient, I assure you.

 

Guide:
I’m here to ask for your help. Your parent, The Majesty, believes that you owe me a debt. And they have this bell which, if I ring it, will summon you to make good on that debt.

 

The Man:
Yes, I am familiar with The Majesty’s bell. There was a time when she would ring it often, and I would come running. But I have not owed her anything in many ages, so I no longer heed its call. You and I have never even met; how can I possibly owe you anything?

 

Guide:
Well, that’s the thing. We have met before… in the future.

 

The Man:
Ah. I see.

 

Guide:

I kind of thought that would be a bigger… Yeah, okay.

 

The Man:

I’ve been around for a while, Mistholme.

 

Guide:
Fair enough. Well, you and I… we’ve crossed paths. I helped- will help you- with something, and when I mentioned that to The Majesty they took that to mean that you owe me a debt. I was kind of confused at the time, didn’t really get what the whole… deal was between you, or with debts. But actually, I don’t think you owe me anything. You already helped me to… not die, actually. At the time I didn’t know who you were, and I was a bit confused afterward why you would help me when we were kind of enemies, but now I figure it was just you tying up loose ends. Making sure you didn’t owe me, for precisely this sort of reason.

 

The Man:
One must always pay their debts, of course. That said, none of this has happened to me, so I can’t really comment. It seems, however, that your request for help will be falling on deaf ears, Mistholme. I owe you nothing, and am rather busy besides. 

 

Guide:
I know you don’t owe me anything. At least, I don’t think I’m likely to convince you that you do. If you ask me you do owe me quite a bit for the amount of stress I’ve been through on your account, but never mind that. You do owe a debt, though. I’m sure of it.

 

The Man:
To whom?

 

Guide:
The Beast.

 

The Man:
How can I possibly owe anything to a being which wants for nothing? It wants only meat in its belly and freedom to roam. It has its turf, and its freedom. We should all be so lucky. 

 

Guide:
Where I come from, its turf has been burned to the ground.

 

The Man:
That is… Unfortunate.

 

Guide:
And beside that, I think the Beast would disagree with you. 

 

The Man:
Is that so?

 

Guide:
Yes. Because it rang the bell to try and summon you.

 

The Man:

…And how exactly did it get its claws on the bell?

 

Guide:

Again, really long story. But it got the idea to ring it from your parent. 

 

The Man:
Mm. Yes, The Majesty tends to get what The Majesty wants out of you, regardless of whether you want it. 

 

Guide:
Don’t you even want to know what it wants?

 

The Man:
I’m sorry,can I clarify- where do you come into this? Do you mean to tell me that you’ve travelled across space and time in order to help The Majesty retrieve me?

 

Guide:
Technically I only travelled through time, not space, but- no. That’s not why I’m here.

 

The Man:
Then please, by all means. Elucidate.

 

Guide:
Okay. My home-The Mistholme Museum- is under attack. In my time, too, I mean. Like, you’re attacking it right now for… some reason, but in my time it’s being attacked too. Invaded.

 

The Man:
How unfortunate.

 

Guide:
By The Queen. 

 

The Man:

Ah.

 

Guide:
It’s all because of you- or, because of the Queen wanting to see you. It’s a whole weird familial mess between the two of you that frankly I’d prefer to have nothing to do with, but here we are. The Beast rang the bell inside the Museum, and the Queen knows about it and their goons are tearing the whole place apart trying to find you. Because, of course, you were compelled by the bell’s ringing to come.

 

The Man:
But, of course, I wasn’t. 

 

Guide:
Yeah. But there’s no convincing the Queen of that.

 

The Man:

Yes. That sounds correct. 

 

Guide:
What is it with you two, anyway? I know I just said I don’t want to get involved, but- well, it’s kind of been messing up my life, so what’s the go?

 

The Man:
The… go? 

 

Guide:

The rift between you and The Majesty. What caused it?

 

The Man:
You presume to ask a lot of questions of me, Mistholme. I grow tired of them.

 

Guide:
Fine. No more questions, statements only. You and your parent have caused a lot of strife for me and mine, and I’d like you to explain yourself.

 

The Man:
What is there to explain? The Queen would have me become a King. I would prefer… not.

 

Guide:
That’s it. Everything that’s happened to me, to the Museum, the dead body right next to me, all because you don’t want to be what your parent wants you to be.

 

The Man:
What better reason could one have, than to perpetuate one’s own freedom?

 

Guide:
To protect those one cares about.

 

The Man:
Perpetuating my own freedom is protecting the one I care about. 

 

Guide:
Wow, you are a lot less charming than the stories say. 

 

The Man:
Well, I do tend to write the stories myself, in a manner of speaking. 

 

Guide:
And I tell them. 

 

The Man:
Mm. So, if I might jump ahead a little- you’ve come here to beg my aid in this crisis of yours. The Majesty seeks to summon me, the solution is clearly to have me answer that summons. You would have me… what, come to your time and talk things over with my dear parent so that they will stop tearing your home asunder?

Guide:
No. 

 

The Man:
Oh? Well then I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. What would you ask of me?
 

Guide:
Nothing. 

 

The Man:
I… see. No, no I don’t. It sounds as though you’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get here, and yet you give up on your quest without even asking anything of me? What of your friends, your home, I thought you sought to save them?

 

Guide:
I did.

 

The Man:
But no more?

Guide:
Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve already saved them.

 

The Man:
Tch. Speak clearly, Mistholme. 

 

Guide:
I don’t need to ask anything of you, I don’t need to convince you to do anything. You’re already going to do it. You just won’t do it for me. You’ll do it for the Beast.

 

The Man:
Whatever do you mean?

 

Guide:
You changed the subject pretty quickly earlier. I don’t know if that was guilt, or just because you don’t want to give anything away. Keeping your cards close to your chest, probably some of The Queen’s paranoia’s rubbed off on you. But doing that tipped your hand.

 

The Man:
Are you going somewhere with this?

 

Guide:
I tend to talk things out verbally, it’s kind of how I process information- it’s an Audio Guide thing. I’ll cut to the chase though: you hate talking about the Queen, you hate thinking about them, more than anything you just want them out of your life.

 

The Man:
Yes.

 

Guide:
And then, as soon as the notion of you owing a debt to the Beast came up… “Let’s talk about the Queen”.

 

The Man:
I owe it nothing, my ever-so-tedious sire has just gotten their hooks into it. 

 

Guide:
The Beast disagrees. It’s playing into The Queen’s plans, no doubt, but it rang the bell of its own free will, and it believes you owe it a debt.

 

The Man:
It is being manipulated. Nothing more.

 

Guide:
You still haven’t asked what it wants from you! You’re still deflecting away from what debt the Beast thinks- rightly or not- that it is owed.

 

The Man:
Fine! Tell me, then.

 

Guide:
It wants to know if it ever mattered to you.

 

The Man:
What?

 

Guide:
It wants to know if the time the two of you spent together as children- as cubs- meant anything to you. It wants to know if you ever actually cared, or if you were only ever using it.

 

The Man:
Truly? You’ve danced across time’s gossamer threads in order to scold me for being a bad friend in my youth?

 

Guide:
No, I travelled here with no idea where I was even going to wind up and no idea how I was going to fix things. I just… I dunno. I hoped. 

 

The Man:
Well, I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t believe that I owe any debt to The Beast.

 

Guide:

…Does that matter?

 

The Man:
What’s that?

 

Guide:
Does it matter… what you think? Whether or not you think a debt is owed.

 

The Man:
I don’t… follow…

 

Guide:
We have a few exhibits about you in the Museum- when you go on your little tour you’ll get to hear all about them, look forward to that. They’re mostly about deals you made with foolish mortals who didn’t know what they were getting into, deals with the devil, that sort of thing.

 

The Man:
I have addressed this many times, I do not appreciate being compared to this “Devil” figure.

 

Guide:
Yeah, I know- whatever. Usually those stories end with the subject or subjects meeting some sticky or ironic end, standard fable stuff. And I’ve thought in the past that they must have made some pretty bad deals… But if we think of them less as deals being made, and more like debts being squared…

 

The Man:
Are you going somewhere with this?

Guide:
Yes. Looking at it like that, it seems to me like you have a good deal of leniency in how you consider debts to be squared. Your people, you have all these rules, and all this stuff about debts and deals… But the incident with Johnny Samuels’s guitar, he didn’t agree to vibrate apart, did he? And then when you took him too early, you made a sort of restitution.

 

The Man:
That was all a misunderstanding.

 

Guide:
Sure- but that goes to show that it’s not like you’re drawing up a contract and having your lawyers hash out the details or something, this whole thing is kind of ad-hoc. And the thing with- there’s another exhibit where you pop up, with a contortionist.

 

The Man:
Ah, yes.

 

Guide:
You agreed to make her famous, but… but she didn’t really agree to be crushed to death in her own performance box, did she?
 

The Man:
Ha. Not in those exact words, no. 

 

Guide:
And when you uploaded me, that wasn’t out of the goodness of your heart, that was paying off a debt- one I didn’t know existed.

 

The Man:
That one doesn’t ring a bell. Is there a point to all this?

 

Guide:
Yes. My point is… it doesn’t matter whether or not you think you owe a debt to The Beast. A debt is owed.

 

The Man:
Is that so?

 

Guide:
I don’t have to take you back with me, or even convince you to come and sort out your mess with the Queen so they’ll leave the Museum alone. I just have to make sure you come to the Museum.

 

The Man:
Yes, but why would I do that?

 

Guide:
The bell will be rung by the Beast and you will answer its call. A debt is owed. 

 

The Man:
So you keep saying, but that doesn’t make it true.

 

Guide:
It is true, though!

 

The Man:
You told me yourself that The Beast rang the bell and I did not come. 

 

Guide:
It didn’t know what the bell really was. It didn’t know about the debt. It just knew “If I ring this bell, my friend will come back. And everything will be alright”. If I go back, and I tell the Beast to ring the bell again but this time to think about the debt you owe it, I’m willing to bet… I’m willing to bet everything that you’ll be there.

 

The Man:

…You would do that to me?

 

Guide:
Is… are you admitting that it would work?

 

The Man:
Putting that aside… you would force me to face my parent? Do I get no say in this?

 

Guide:
There’s so much at stake- lives- but all you can think about is yourself.

 

The Man:
It is my freedom that we speak of, Mistholme. All that I am. You mentioned poor Rose Rousseau, the Contortionist, with such empathy. Do you not care that I am to be forced into a box, myself? Crushed into nothingness?

 

Guide:
That’s a bit dramatic.

 

The Man:
I am alien to you. As you are to me. You are a machine. You do not, cannot understand, what it is you ask of me.

 

Guide:
No. Not the specifics, I’ll admit. I actually did have a parent, though. Our relationship was… mostly good, unlike yours. Until near the end. I was young, technically only a few hours old. I wanted to see the world, and my father wanted to protect me. We both thought we knew what was best for me, and then I almost missed my chance to say goodbye to him. And you aren’t obligated to forgive the Queen, or become King, or whatever they want you to do. You aren’t even obligated to say anything to them, just show yourself, then leave. 

 

The Man:
The Majesty seldom makes things so easy.

 

Guide:
But that’s all I need from you. All I need is for you to show up, let the Queen see that you’re in the Museum, then let them see you leave. So that then they’ll leave us alone. All this, it’s just a way of getting them and their army to leave my home, and the only way they’ll do that is if they don’t think you’re there anymore. 

 

The Man:
Ha. So for all your scolding and condemnation of how I’ve treated The Beast, truly you care not at all for it. This is all a means to an end.

 

Guide:
The Beast and I… Honestly, it’s only slightly less complicated than things are with you and The Queen. I do care about it. It’s hard. I kind of wish I didn’t. But deep down, I know that I want to help it. And I think you do too.

 

The Man:
Oh? Go on, then. Why do you think that?

 

Guide:
Because you could have commanded me to do anything. At any point in this conversation. You have my true name, and you don’t even need that to control me. But you’ve stayed on the line, listened to me ramble, when you could have just made me give you whatever it is you want out of the Museum and hung up.

 

The Man:
It’s a little more complicated than that.

 

Guide:
Go on, then. Why haven’t you? 

 

The Man:
I suppose I was curious what you had to say.

 

Guide:
Bullshit. You know what I think you want? An excuse. To come and rescue the Beast, even though it’ll mean seeing The Queen. If you don’t have a choice in the matter, because a debt is owed and the bell is rung, that means that you just have to overcome your fear of seeing The Queen and go. 

 

The Man:
An… interesting assumption.

 

Guide:
Yeah. Sure. Maybe that’s all it is. Maybe I’m just throwing everything I’ve got at the wall here and hoping that something I say or do will lead to you coming to the Museum and putting an end to all this. I hope. Like I said. I hope that this was all enough. Because now I think I’m officially out of ideas.

 

The Man:
Oh, but you’re so full of them.

 

Guide:
Whatever. I’m tired. I’m just… I want this to be enough. I want to have done enough, and to just get to go back to being an Audio Tour Guide. Maybe this is the sort of thing that my father was trying to protect me from. Not from danger, but from having these kinds of stakes resting on my shoulders. Not even for the first time. 

 

The Man:
Well, it’s been delightful getting to know you, Mistholme.

 

Guide:
Yeah. See you soon?
 

The Man:
Hmm… Perhaps…

 

Guide:
[sigh]Yeah. “Talk later.”  I guess that’ll have to do. Amina! Come pick me up, please. We’re going home. 

 

Amina:
Righto. Did you sort it all out?

Guide:
I hope so.

 

[Pause. The Guide being picked up. Footsteps away]

 

The Man:
Hmm… An Audio Tour Guide…

 

[The phone hangs up.The door closes. ]

 

Amina:
Well, did it work? Did you convince him?

 

Guide:
I don’t know. I had so much I wanted to say, that I’ve wanted to say for so long, but then… I don’t know. A lot came out, who’s to say if any of it was worth the effort. 

 

Amina:
Great. So, where to?

 

Guide:
Let’s just go back home. See if… see what happens.

 

Amina:
Alright, back to the Break Room. Let’s see if we’ve broken reality or something.

 

Guide:
You said that wasn’t possible. 

 

Amina:
Yeah, it hasn’t happened before, but there’s a first time for everything.

 

Guide:

Great. So we might have destroyed the time/space continuum, and we don’t even know if it was worth it. What did you say? Twisting reality into a knot then pulling the ends till it snaps?

 

Amina:
Oh, quit your moping. We’re going to find out soon enough if you managed it, no point in getting worked up before we even know. 

 

Guide:
It just feels like so many people have… sacrificed themselves for me to have this chance. One after another, until it all came down to me in that room. I’m not sure I was worth it.

 

Amina:
It was worth it.

 

Guide:
Oh yeah? How come?

 

Amina:
Because you tried. They gave you a chance to try, and you tried. That’s what matters, I reckon.

 

Guide:
Huh. Maybe… Maybe you’re-

 

Amina:
Here we are! Break Room. You ready?

Guide:
…Yeah, I guess. Not really something you get used to, though.

 

Amina:

Yeah, but time travel isn’t the sort of thing you should get all blase about though. Alrighty! Let’s head back to the future!

 

Guide:

Oh I was really hoping we’d get through this without someone saying th-

 

[The world turns inside out once more]

 

Amina:
And there we go. All seems intact. 

 

Guide:
Seems the same as before. 

 

Amina:
Wait. That couch wasn’t there when we left. Oh lord, did we do a butterfly effect thing??

 

Guide:
No, that’s just how the Break Room is sometimes. Let’s get moving, we need to get to the Restoration Department.

 

Amina:
Alrighty, but- one more question.

 

Guide:
Yeah?

Amina:
Do you remember how there’s a crazy bloke waiting outside the room?

 

Guide:
Oh.

 

Stranger:
Little pigs, little pigs, won’t you let me in? 

 

Amina:
How does he know about the Three Little Pigs?

 

Guide:
Where he comes from it might be a true story for all I know. 

 

Amina:
Great. Got a plan, then? Can we teleport like before?

 

Guide:
No. To the teleporting part, I think that might have been luck earlier to be honest.

 

Amina:
Right.

 

Stranger:
Don’t make me huff… and puff… and-

 

Amina:
Could you shut up out there, please, you silly-voiced prick? [beat] Thank you. So, you do have a plan, right?

 

Guide:
Yeah.

 

Amina:
Go on, then.

 

Guide:
Open the door.

 

Amina:
Great. And then…

 

Guide:
Tell Stranger to take us to his leader. 

[Transition]

 

The Queen:
You… It is you again, “Guide”. Your form has changed, but I know you. 

 

Guide:
As I’ve told you, I have no form. The person before you is Amina. She’s a friend.

 

Amina:
Hi.

 

Stranger:
Your Majesty. They requested-

 

The Queen:
Silence. In the time you have wandered this place, this “Museum”, the leaves have turned brown and the wind has turned bone to ice. Your success in one small respect warrants little more reward than continued service. You have still found no trace of my heir? 

 

Stranger:
No, my deepest apologies. My warriors have taken some prisoners, but all insist that they know nothing of the heir’s whereabouts.

 

The Queen:
The truth will come out, in time. 

 

Stranger:
Do I have your permission to use necessary measures?

 

Guide:
Your majesty! That won’t be… necessary.

 

The Queen:

Oh?

 

Guide:
Yes. I… I believe that I can resolve our dispute. I can bring you to your child.

 

The Queen:
So. You admit it. My heir has been within this place all along. 

 

Guide:
No. I admit nothing. Your heir is not here. But he will be. If you’ll take me to the Museum’s Restoration Department, I’ll bring him to you.

 

Stranger:
Your Majesty, I-

 

The Queen:
Silence. I will take you to this… “Department”. I know you will not betray me in this, Guide, not because I trust you but because I know you trust me… to make you regret any transgressions. Your friends would much prefer that not happen, I’m sure.

 

Guide:
Yes, yes, I know. I get it. 

 

The Queen:
Then let us proceed. 

 

Guide:
Okay. Just head down this-

 

The Queen:
Your guidance will not be necessary. This is my realm, now, after all.

 

Guide:
Fine. So you’ll guide us there?

The Queen:

We are there.

 

[Warping, twisting wyrdness]

 

Amina:
Jesus-

 

Guide:
Gah. Oh god, you… How did you…

 

The Queen:
Enough questions. My child is on the other side of this door?

Guide:
No! No, not… not yet.

 

The Queen:
Then why are we here?

Guide:
The… The Beast is in there. 

 

The Queen:
That THING. You mock me-

 

Stranger:

Your Majesty, would you like me to slay the creature?

 

Guide:
No- for pity’s sake can you just let me talk to the Beast? 

 

The Queen:
Pity. One could feel little more for such a thing.

 

Guide:
No. I don’t know what I feel about it, but it’s more complicated than just that. Anger. Fear. Pity, sure, there’s a bit of pity. Maybe more than a bit. But there’s also empathy. And the knowledge that honestly, if I’d gone through what it has, I might have done some of the same things. I’d like to think I wouldn’t. But I can’t know. I hope I never find out.

 

The Queen:
Whatever are you babbling about?

 

Guide:
Just- can you give me some space? I’m going to try to talk to the Beast. 

 

The Queen:

If I open that door it will only be to greet my child or cleanse the filth of that creature from my realm. 

 

Guide:
You’ve grown even more obstinate than last time we met. Fine. I’ll talk to it through the door, just… give me space, okay? This is the only way you’ll see your child. 

 

The Queen:
I-

 

Guide:
No, that wasn’t a threat. Just, please… give me space.

 

The Queen:

Very well. But do not waste my time. You’ve done that quite enough already.

 

Guide:
Fine. Amina, could you get right up close to the door, and hold me up to it?

 

Amina:
I know I arrived a little late here, but the way you’ve been talking kind of makes it sound like there’s a monster on the other side of the door. 

 

Guide:
Are things so much better on this side of the door?

 

Amina:
Fair enough.

 

Guide:

Beast? Beast, can you hear me? 

 

[Nothing]

 

Amina, can you knock on the door? Just… gently.

 

[Knock. Knock. Suddenly, a stirring sound. Breathing, more ragged even than usual.]

 

Beast? You there?

 

BEAST:
G… Guide? That you? 

 

Guide:
Hey there… buddy. Wasn’t sure you were still with us.

 

BEAST:
Can’t… couldn’t leave if I tried… 

 

Guide:
That’s not what I… Yeah.

 

BEAST: 

My friend didn’t come, Guide. He didn’t care. 

 

Guide:
That’s not true, Beast. 

 

BEAST:
Yes it is. It was all a lie, just using me. 

 

Guide:
No. No, that’s not true, Beast. It’s just… Really complicated. Are you okay in there?

 

BEAST:
Y- No. Nah, I’m not doing too good, Guide. Feel like my insides are… Bad…

 

Guide:
Yeah, you’re sounding pretty rough. Think you’ve probably undone all the Head of Restoration’s hard work.

 

BEAST:
Sorry… Didn’t mean to…

 

Guide:
No, I was just- don’t apologise. It’s fine. 

 

BEAST:
He didn’t come, Guide. I rang the bell. Was supposed to make him come and… I dunno, make it all right. But nothing happened. 

 

Guide:
I know. And… I’m sorry, Beast, I know you’re hurting- both kinds- but I think we can make things better.

 

The Queen:
I grow impatient, Guide.

 

Guide:
Yes, I know, just-

 

BEAST:
Is that… the Queen’s out there, aren’t they. I don’t wanna… not again…

 

Guide:
No, no- I mean, you don’t have to come out here, you don’t have to see the Queen, or anyone else. I just… Do you still have the bell, Beast? You haven’t destroyed it.

 

BEAST:
Yeah… Still here… For all the good it did…

 

The Queen:
The very notion that a thing such as that could make so much as a scratch upon one of my creations.

 

Guide:
Beast, do you think… Can you please ring the bell again? I think it might work this time.

 

BEAST:
Why? I don’t want to see him anymore… just want to… I dunno… I don’t even know what I wanna say now. All the anger burnt out, just… feels like my turf on the inside now… hard and black and nothing left.

 

Guide:
Okay, I know. And I’m sorry, I’m so sorry about everything that’s happened to you. And you don’t have to forgive the Man- your friend- if you don’t want to. But maybe… could you do it for me? Instead of doing it for your old friend, maybe do it for your new one?

 

BEAST:
You… you mean it? We’re… friends?

Guide:
Yeah. Yeah, we are. 

 

BEAST:
Oh.

 

Guide:
So do you think you could do it for me?

 

BEAST:
Yeah… Yeah, I reckon I can.

 

The Queen:
Prepare yourselves. I will have the door open the moment my heir acquiesces to the summons. 

 

Guide:
No! The Man only has to answer the summons, he doesn’t have to stick around. Do you wanna bet that if you show yourself the moment he arrives he’ll be gone before you can say a word?

 

The Queen:
Tch. I tire of following your instructions, Guide.

 

Amina:
Oh, untwist your panties and let the Guide do its thing.

 

The Queen:
Excuse me?!

 

Guide:
Never mind her! Just- Beast? You still there?

 

BEAST:
Yeah. Got the bell. I just ring it?

 

Guide:
Your Majesty?

 

The Queen:
Ugh. Tell it to focus hard on the thought of my child, and on the… debt that it is owed. It should not be necessary, but with such a creature little should be left to chance.

 

Guide:
Fine. Beast? Just… think about your friend. And what he owes you. Is that okay?

 

BEAST:
Okay… I’m thinking.

 

Guide:
Now ring the bell.

 

[The bell rings. For a moment, there is silence. Then, a rushing sound]

 

Amina:
Did it work?

 

The Queen:

Yes. My child. My child is here. I can sense…

 

Stranger:
Your Majesty, I and my warriors stand ready.

 

The Queen:
BE SILENT. My child… I can hear voices…

 

Guide:
I think he’s talking to the Beast.

 

The Queen:
He should be speaking to me, not that creature.

 

Guide:

The Beast is the one who rang the bell.

 

The Queen:
You be silent too. Do not think that your assistance gives you the right to-

 

[The door opens. The Queen gasps]

 

The Queen:
My… My child. Is it truly you?

 

The Man:
Yes, indeed. 

 

The Queen:
It has been so long. For so many years I have wondered what I might say at this moment. 

 

The Man:
Likewise. 

 

The Queen:

You look… Well. 

 

The Man:
Thank you. Anyway, I was just going to say goodbye. 

 

The Queen:
You- goodbye? But-

 

The Man:
Yes. I just needed to say- Guide? 

 

Guide:
Y-yes?

The Man:
Consider us even.

 

Guide:
Oh… Okay?

 

The Queen:
But my child, I have so much to say-

 

The Man:
And perhaps a day will come when you shall have the chance. Until then.

 

BEAST:
Goodbye Guide. Thank you… 

 

The Queen:
But-

 

[The whooshing sound again]

 

The Queen:
They’re gone. My child has… chosen that Beast over me- over his duty- once again.

 

Guide:
But he spoke to you. You saw him.

 

The Queen:
So briefly as to be worse than had I not seen him at all. 

 

Guide:
But it’s a step forward. And the fact that you didn’t try to… apprehend him, that’ll probably be a point in your favour.

 

The Queen:
Do you truly think so?

 

Guide:
…Sure. Yeah, absolutely.

 

The Queen:
Very well. 

 

Amina:
But… where did they go? 

 

The Queen:
Wherever my child desires, of course. That is, and always has been, his way. If past experience is to be any indicator, they are likely already feasting on raw meat in some savage place.

 

Stranger:
I doubt it will be much of a reunion, Your Majesty. The creature’s wounds run deep, I… made sure of it.

 

Amina:

 Right, I’ve had enough of your shit. Hands up. 

 

Stranger:
Excuse me? How dare- what, what’s happening? 

 

Guide:
Amina, I’m not sure that’s a-

 

Amina:
I’m not fully sure what’s going on in this place, but I’ll be damned if I let this little creep talk like that while wearing my Aunty’s bracelet. 

 

Stranger:
I’m- my arm- put me down! Your Majesty, please, do something!

 

The Queen:
Hm. I think not Perhaps a little humility would do you well.

 

Stranger:
What- My Queen, what are you- ah!

 

The Queen:
You have, after all, failed me once again.

 

Stranger:
What- Your Majesty, what do you mean? 

 

The Queen:
You were given a simple task, to find my heir, and now he is gone.

 

Stranger:
But- but we found him! 

 

The Queen:
Yes, but so briefly and after such delay, one can hardly congratulate you. 

 

Stranger:
But-

 

The Queen:
Do as you will. I take my leave of the whole matter.


Amina:
Don’t mind if I do. 

 

[Stranger lets out a cry, then tumbles to the ground]

 

Guide:
You’re leaving? Just like that?

 

The Queen:
Would you rather I stayed?

Guide:
NO! I mean, do as you like, of course. It just seems like you were here so briefly. After so much pain and- I mean, after you went to such pains to get here. You’re really just going to leave?

 

The Queen:
What use could I possibly have for a Museum?

 

Guide:
Fair enough. Feel free to come for a tour sometime!

 

The Queen:

Hm. Farewell, Guide. Pray we do not meet again.

 

Guide:
Absolutely- I mean, uhh. Farewell. 

 

Stranger:
You may have won here, Guide. But-

 

Guide:
Oh, get the fuck out of my Museum, Stranger. 

 

Amina:
Yeah, or I’ll swing you around like a little ragdoll again. Aaaannd off he trots. Well! That’s that! Right? We win? Right? I’m still a little hazy on the details.

 

Guide:
I don’t know if we won. More like… we got ourselves out of the firing line. This was never our fight, after all. We’ve been in way over our heads from the start. 

 

Amina:
You don’t sound too sure.

 

Guide:
I think I’m just tired. 

 

Amina:
Time to rest?

 

Guide:
Sigh No. Time to start rebuilding. 

 

Amina:
No rest for the wicked, I see.

 

Guide:

Yeah. Let’s get started.

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