G #1 – The Ramble Gang and the Curious Village

Rufus: “You needed to solve a puzzle to flush the toilet.”

 Originally Published: 7/11/08 . 47 pages

If I named three of my favorite Gaidens, this would be one of them. I love the Professor Layton series, but you got to admit it was easy to exploit the relationship between him and his apprentice. (Even one of the games jokes about it.) He just made an obvious penpal for Hojo. A lot of the stuff that happens in this ramble (finding furniture, the runaway ferris wheel, the whole mansion) happens in the first Layton game. Some of the puzzles were even lifted directly from the game.

(sephiroth and vincent are in the ramble room playing checkers)

Sephiroth: “Can you jump that many of my guys? Are you cheating?”

Vincent: “I’d be happy to consult the internet on the correct rules.”

Sephiroth: “No…by the time you use the computer half the day is gone.”

(The door opens and lucretia comes in)

Lucretia: “Oh good! You’re here!”

Sephiroth: “Hey, mom. Okay, game over due to third party interruption. I win by default.”

Vincent: “You win? How? I’m the one winning!”

Sephiroth: “Remember the coin we flipped?”

Vincent: “To see who would go first?”

Sephiroth: “Yeah that.”

Vincent: “I won that too.”

Sephiroth: “…So! Mom! What brings you here?”

Lucretia: “Well, I have some…news.”

Sephiroth: “I’m not liking that pause.”

Lucretia: “Your father is being let out of prison.”

Sephiroth: “What?! I thought he got sent away for like 100 years! And without parole!”

Lucretia: “It’s only overnight.”

Sephiroth: “Still! Is this a camp you’re running, or a prison?”

Lucretia: “Well, he did win the raffle…”

Sephiroth: “There was a raffle?!”

Lucretia: “Anyway, he gets to spend a night away at a hotel of his choice.” *pauses* “Of course his choices were significantly reduced by the crimes he’s committed…”

Sephiroth: “Ya think? Leave off anything with ‘family’ in the name.”

Lucretia: “Anyway, I’ve been assigned to be his chaperone, and I thought maybe you’d like to come along. The town is really quaint and cute.”

Sephiroth: “Mom…first of all, I’m not willing to go anywhere with my abusive, pedophile father, least of all to a place described as ‘quaint’ and ‘cute’.”

Lucretia: “But I rented a bus! You can even bring some of your friends!”

Sephiroth: *rolls eyes* “If I can actually find anyone willing to go on an overnight with Hojo, I’ll be there with bells on.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(fast forward to the day of the trip. lucretia is standing around with tseng, reeve, irvine, reno, rufus, algus, atsuma, zell, vincent and sephiroth. sephiroth is pouting.)

Sephiroth: “I can’t believe all these people agreed to go.”

Rufus: *shrugs* “Hey, a free trip is a free trip. I just wouldn’t bring my kids.”

Sephiroth: “Tseng! You of all people? You helped put him in jail!”

Tseng: “Exactly! Which is why I’m going to help your mother keep track of him.”

Reeve: “And this town is famous for its puzzles! I couldn’t pass it up!”

Sephiroth: “If even Hojo doesn’t stand between you and some brain teasers, remind me to stay out of your way when the next New York Times crossword puzzle comes out.”

Reeve: “I haven’t found one I couldn’t complete yet!”

Sephiroth: “And what about you two drunks? This place famous for booze or something?”

Irvine: “It has a bar. I looked it up on Trip Advisor!”

Sephiroth: “You mean you can find something on the internet that isn’t porn?”

Irvine: “Yes! …Especially if it happens to be advertising on a porn website.”

Reno: “Besides, I think I can put up with Hojo for a night! I’ve lived through worse! Remember that time he had us trapped in that electrified cage?”

Irvine: “Uh…I don’t think that was him, dude. That was that chick Aeris.”

Reno: “Oh…right. I forgot she existed.”

Sephiroth: *to zell* “And what’s your excuse?”

Zell: “Franswa’s away at a restaurant convention! I couldn’t go because of some stuff I had to do at Garden. But I’m done so now I can go on this! Cool, huh?”

Sephiroth: “And what’s with this guy?”

Atsuma: “I’m Atsuma!”

Zell: “He goes to school for fighting too! We got to talking after the whole fight and all and we realized we had a lot in common! So we’re friends now!”

Sephiroth: “…I guess being an idiot is something in common.”

Lucretia: “Is everyone ready to go? I have Hojo handcuffed to his seat on the bus already.”

Sephiroth: “No comment.”

(everyone files out to the bus except vincent and sephiroth.)

Sephiroth: “Ugh. This is gonna be the longest overnight of my life.”

Vincent: “Aren’t you forgetting something, angel?” *holds up a bell*

Sephiroth: “What?”

Vincent: “I believe when you first heard about this you made a certain statement…”

Sephiroth: “Oh, real funny, Vin! Everybody thinks they’re a comedian!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and the wheels on the bus go round and round! lucretia is sitting up front across from hojo. skip two seats back and there are tseng and reeve. tseng is watching hojo and reeve is doing a crossword puzzle. across from them are rufus and algus. two seats back from them is irvine and reno, with atsuma and zell across from them. and all the way in the back of the bus are sephiroth and vincent.)

Reno and Atsuma: *overlapping* “99 bottles of beer on the wall!/99 golems attacking the school!”

Sephiroth: “…Vincent? Am I dead?”

Vincent: “What makes you say that, angel?”

Sephiroth: “Because this really feels like hell.”

(at the front of the bus…)

Hojo: “I’m so flattered all these people decided to join me on my vacation!”

Lucretia: “Uh…you must know that you weren’t what drew people to the trip, Alexander. Everyone’s here because the trip was free.” *pause* “Well, except Tseng, I suppose.”

Hojo: *brightens* “Really?”

Lucretia: “He’s here to make sure you don’t try to escape.”

Hojo: *sadly* “Oh.”

Lucretia: “But I’m not too worried about that. Not when you’ll have to wear this.” *holds up black anklet with a big black box on the side*

Hojo: “That doesn’t look like much fun.”

Lucretia: “I’m not going to go into too much detail on how it works, but if you try to leave the town, the next place you’ll be going is Painville, population – you.”

Hojo: *pouts* “Everybody thinks they’re a comedian…with the laughing and the joking and so on and so forth.”

(meanwhile…)

Rufus: “Let’s play a game, Algus.”

Algus: “Okay, Rufus. What game would you like to play?”

Rufus: “Let’s play ‘I spy’. I’ll describe something that I see, and you try and guess what it is.”

Algus: “Sounds simple enough.”

Rufus: *looks around* “Okay… It’s green.”

Algus: “Money.”

Rufus: “No. It’s shiny.”

Algus: “Money.”

Rufus: “No. It’s small.”

Algus: “…Money.”

Rufus: “No, Algus!” *sigh* “Uh…it’s sharp.”

Algus: “…Mmm…money.”

Rufus: “No! How is money sharp?”

Algus: “When you handle enough of it you soon learn it can give you nasty paper cuts.”

Rufus: “………”

Algus: “…………”

Rufus: “…It’s got a can opener.”

Algus: “If you have enough money, you can pay someone to open a can!”

Rufus: “I don’t wanna play anymore.”

(meanwhile…)

Reeve: “A five letter word for sound…”

Tseng: *opens his mouth to speak*

Reeve: “Ooh! Audio!” *writes it in* “Hmm… a three letter word for motorcycle…”

Tseng: *opens his mouth to speak*

Reeve: “Hog! Of course!” *writes it in* “Seven letter word for porcupine…”

Tseng: “If you already know the answer, why are you saying the question out loud?”

Reeve: *frowns* “I don’t know…” *writes in his answer*

Reno and Atsuma: *overlapping* “82 bottles of beer on the wall!/82 golems attacking the school!”

Sephiroth: *groans* “I’ve been on some pretty bad bus rides, but I think this one wins.”

Vincent: “Why don’t you try to sleep, angel? I’m sure we’ll be there soon enough.”

Sephiroth: *closes his eyes and mutters* “81 minutes till I go insane…”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(80 minutes later…)

Lucretia: “We’re here!”

Sephiroth: “Just in time.” *looks out window* “Why are we sitting outside the town?”

Lucretia: “It seems the bridge is down.”

Sephiroth: “What is this, a medieval castle?!”

Algus: “When I build my next manor, I am definitely having a deep moat constructed around it. 9 out of 10 peasants can’t swim.”

Rufus: “Where’d you get that fact?”

Algus: “It’s common knowledge!”

Lucretia: “I’ll see if I can do something about the bridge.”

(she gets off the bus. everyone else follows her off.)

Zell: “Hey, look! There’s a guy just hanging out over there! I bet he’s the bridge lowerer guy!”

Sephiroth: “Yeah, I’m sure that’s the technical name for it.”

Lucretia: *calls out* “Um, excuse me? Sir? We’re trying to check into the inn. Can you lower the bridge for us?”

Guy: “You want me to lower the bridge? I guess I can do that, but first answer me this: A square medieval castle on a square island was under siege. All around the island, there was a 10 meter wide water moat. But the conquerors could make foot-bridges only 9.5 meters long. Nevertheless a wise man was able to figure out how to get over the water. What do you think was his advice?”

Everyone: “…………”

Reno: “What is this, a test?”

Reeve: “It’s one of the famous puzzles!”

Reno: *to irvine* “Was this sh*t on Trip Advisor?”

Irvine: “I don’t know! I was only looking to see if they had booze!”

Sephiroth: “This is stupid.”

Algus: “I dare say, who does this peasant think he is questioning us? Lower the bridge this instant, you worthless grunt!”

Reeve: “That’s easy! You put one bridge to go across one corner on a diagonal, and then put another bridge from the middle of that bridge onto the island!”

Guy: “Thanks! That one was really giving me a hard time. Stand back and I’ll lower the bridge for you.”

Everyone: *looks at reeve*

Reeve: “This is going to be *so* fun.”

Sephiroth: “…I think I actually wanna get back on the bus.”

(and so the guy lowers the bridge. sephiroth moves to get back on the bus, but vincent drags him over into the village. it’s a very quiet village, with not too many people on the street. there’s a building right in front of them with a sign out front that says ‘inn’.)

Lucretia: “Well, it was kind of pointless to MapQuest directions.” *crumples up paper* “Might as well check in.”

(so they go into the inn. there is a middle aged heavy set woman at the desk)

Woman: “Hello! Checking in?”

Lucretia: “Yes! I reserved six rooms.”

Woman: “Okay, here are your keys!”

Sephiroth: “We don’t have to solve a stupid puzzle first?”

Woman: “Well…considering the circumstances, I don’t think that would be very fair.”

(everyone goes up to their rooms. two seconds later they all walk out into the hallway looking perplexed)

Sephiroth: “Uh, does anyone else’s room not have furniture?”

Zell: “Our room is totally empty!”

Tseng: “There’s not even a bed!”

Reno: “I don’t even think there’s a toilet! Was this on Trip Advisor?”

Irvine: “It certainly will be when I get back!”

Hojo: “I know sleeping on a wood floor is good for your back, but this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I selected this place.”

Algus: “This is simply unacceptable! We must complain to management at once!”

Sephiroth: “Leave it to Hojo to pick the weirdo place with no furniture in the rooms!”

Lucretia: “Perhaps this was just a misunderstanding.”

(so they all trek back downstairs to the front desk and stare at the woman in disbelief.)

Lucretia: “I’m sorry, but there must be some kind of mix-up. Our rooms have no furniture.”

Woman: “No, the furniture was stolen last week. You’re welcome to use any furniture you might find around town, though.”

Sephiroth: “Is this for real? Let’s get out of here!”

Woman: “Oh, and the bridge is broken, so you’re stuck here at least for the night.”

Sephiroth: “Screw that! I’ll swim across!”

Woman: “The water is infested with alligators.”

Sephiroth: “Oh come on!”

Vincent: “Relax, angel. I’m sure we can make the best of this.”

Zell: “It’ll be like camping!”

Atsuma: “Once I slept on the floor with this friend of mine. He liked to cuddle. It wasn’t so bad, except for when he kept poking me with this stick. Who sleeps with a stick?”

Reeve: “It’s only for one night.”

Rufus: “I can’t sleep on the floor! My pajamas are made of a rare silk they found on a meteor that hit the planet 20 years ago! Do you know how much they cost??”

Algus: “I agree! There is absolutely no way a man of my status can sleep on the floor! We will find other arrangements! Come, Rufus!”

(they stalk out)

Sephiroth: “I agree with them for once! We should at least get to stay here for free!”

Woman: “Sorry!” *taps ‘no refunds’ sign next to her* “No refunds.”

Reno: “Whatever. I’ll just get so drunk I won’t care where I end up.”

Irvine: “I hear that.”

Reeve: “Which way to the puzzles?”

Lucretia: “I guess we should all just make the best of it!”

Sephiroth: *hand to his head* “Please tell me this can’t possibly get worse.”

Vincent: “It can always be worse, angel. You could always be stuck baby-sitting your father.”

Sephiroth: “…Vincent, why’d you have to go there? Why?”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(so rufus and algus have found their way to a mansion that lies across a small river.)

Algus: “Ah, here we are. I knew we would find something suitable. We will simply explain our situation to these wealthy people, and I’m sure they will take pity on us and allow us to stay with them. Any decent rich person would do so for another rich person.”

Rufus: “We just have to get across this river.”

Algus: “Surely there is a servant who can ferry us across?” *looks around and spots a guy lounging* “You there! Lollygagging serf! Can you get us to the other side of this river?”

Guy: “I guess so. But I need help solving this puzzle.”

(algus sighs deeply, reaches into his pocket, and takes out some money)

Algus: “Spare us the pointless tomfoolery and all this will be yours.”

(The guy looks at the money and then looks back at algus)

Guy: “So, if I have a wolf, a goat, and a head of lettuce, how many trips will I have to take to get to the other side with all of them, taking into account the fact that I only can fit one other object in the boat with me and if the wolf is alone with the goat he’ll eat him, and the goat will eat the lettuce if left alone with it?

(algus looks at rufus, who just shakes his head in confusion. algus looks down at the money in his hand in disbelief)

Algus: “…It was though I was holding a handful of rotten sticks!”

Rufus: “Can’t we just use the boat ourselves?”

Algus: “Do you know how to row?”

Rufus: “……No. Do you?”

Algus: “Certainly not! This is why slaves were invented.” *frowns and turns to the guy* “So what were the ridiculous items you had to ferry across again?”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, irvine and reno have found the bar)

Irvine: “Cool! Just like Trip Advisor said!”

Reno: *strolls up to the bar* “Bartender! Two of your finest and cheapest beers, please!”

Bartender: “I’d be happy to help you, but I’m stuck on this puzzle! If you solve it for me, the beers are yours!”

Irvine: “What kinda puzzle? I hope it’s the type that involves deciding which chick you’re gonna bang. I always pick the skankier one myself.”

Bartender: “…Uh, no. You see I have this eight quart pitcher full of beer, an empty five quart pitcher, and an empty three quart pitcher. I need to divide all the beer so that both the eight and five quart pitchers are holding exactly four quarts.”

Irvine and Reno: *blink blink*

Irvine: “…Why?”

Reno: “Why don’t you just buy a four quart pitcher then?”

Bartender: “Oh dear. If I never solve this puzzle, I’ll never be able to serve booze again!”

(irvine and reno look at each other)

Reno: “Are there any other bars in this town?”

Irvine: “Not according to Trip Advisor!”

Reno: “Well what are we gonna do? We both have learned that trips without booze are the lamest trips ever.”

Irvine: “I don’t know! I can barely do math in school! I definitely can’t do it on vacation!”

(then the door to the bar opens, and reeve comes in all smiles. he comes over)

Reeve: “I thought I’d find you two here! Tseng is off following Hojo, so I thought I’d see what the local pub had to offer!”

Reno: “Reeve! You like this nerd stuff! Solve this guy’s puzzle!”

Reeve: *eyes light up* “A puzzle? Sure! What is it?”

Bartender: *repeats the stupid puzzle*

Reeve: “Easy! I can solve that for you in 7 steps!”

(and he does. irvine and reno look on in shock.)

Bartender: “You did it! Thanks so much! Now I can serve beer again!”

(he pours three glasses full and hands them out. reno reaches for his wallet)

Reno: “How much do we owe you?”

Bartender: “No charge! Anyone that can help me with my puzzles can drink for free!”

(reno and irvine look at one another wide eyed. then they look back at the bartender)

Irvine: “Yo, you got any more puzzles?”

Reno: *puts an arm around reeve* “’Cause this son of a bitch can puzzle party all night!”

Reeve: “I thought you said puzzles were lame.”

Reno: “Reeve, my good friend! Nothing that leads to booze is ever, ever lame!”

Bartender: “Well, I do have this 10 quart pitcher of milk…”

(meanwhile, to hojo, he’s wearing his ankle bracelet and has snuck around to a back alley. he glances around to make sure he’s alone before taking out a cell phone and dialing quickly)

Hojo: “Hello? It’s me. I’m finally here. Where do you wish to rendezvous? ……Very well. I will see you there.”

(he hangs up, looks around again as he tucks the cell phone away, and moves out into the street. when he’s gone, tseng steps out of the shadows with a frown)

Tseng: “And just who is he trying to meet up with?”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, atsuma is walking along with crazy pizza man)

Atsuma: “I don’t see a pizza parlor in this town, Crazy Pizza Man! You should open one, and I could work there! I could be the pizza tester! And I would eat the pizza! But besides that, I kinda like this town! The people are really friendly! And no one has seemed to look at you with that look like they’re wondering what you taste like! Anyway, I wonder what time it is! Let’s ask somebody!” *goes over to a man* “Excuse me, sir? Do you know what time it is?”

Man: “I guess, but I need you to help me first! I’m stuck on this puzzle! I just can’t figure it out! Will you help me?”

Atsuma: *rubbing the back of his neck* “Uh, I’m not really good at using my brain, but I guess I could give it a shot.”

(the man shows him a board that has four shapes on it: a square, a circle, a zigzag and a triangle. lying next to the shapes is a circle.)

Man: “I need to figure out which of these holes this shape fits into!”

Atsuma: “Uh…okay…this shouldn’t be too hard!”

(so atsuma stares at the puzzle. and stares. and stares. and stares. finally he picks up the circle shape, and tries to shove it…into the square space.)

Atsuma: *trying to make it work* “Dammit! C’mon! Fit in there!” *frowns* “Hmm…” *brightens* “Okay, I get it!” *tries to shove it in the square again* “Why…won’t…you…go…in!?”

Crazy Pizza Man: *stares at him*

Atsuma: *still trying to shove the circle into the square hole* “ARGH!!!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, over to zell. he’s walking along, when he spots something shiny by a flower pot)

Zell: “Ooh! Treasure!”

(he picks it up, and turns it over in his hand)

Zell: “What’s this? Looks like some kinda money.”

(he sees a bakery nearby, looks down at the money, shrugs and walks inside. he goes up to the counter and puts the coin down)

Zell: “Hi! What can I buy with this?”

Old lady: *looks at coin* “Nothing!”

Zell: “Nothing?” *frowns* “This isn’t money?”

Old lady: “It’s a hint coin! You can use those to get hints to solve puzzles!”

Zell: *blink blink* “Okay…so it doesn’t buy food?”

Old lady: “No. But if you help me solve this puzzle, I’ll give you a piece of cake.”

Zell: “Cake? Awesome! Bring on the puzzle!”

Old lady: “And if you get stuck, you can use the hint coin to buy a hint.”

Zell: *blink blink* “Yeah, but…if you already know the hints, why don’t you use them to solve the puzzle?”

Old lady: “You want this cake or not?”

Zell: “Bring on the puzzle!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, sephiroth and vincent are wandering around town. sephiroth looks bored and is just plodding along, vincent is looking around happily.)

Sephiroth: “This is bor~ring!”

Vincent: “Since we’re stuck here, angel, we might as well try and enjoy it.”

Sephiroth: “Enjoy what? The boring buildings? The creepy townspeople? The idea of having to sleep on a floor tonight?”

Vincent: “Perhaps we can find some furniture like the lady at the inn suggested.”

Sephiroth: “Yes! Because this is a magical village! Where furniture grows on trees, and chocolate rains from the sky!”

Vincent: “Perhaps if we search everywhere we’ll be able to find something.”

Sephiroth: “Why don’t we just go to the graveyard and dig up a coffin? We can dump the body in the moat, and then you’ll be all set!”

Vincent: *frowns* “I don’t find that amusing.”

Sephiroth: “Sorry. But I’m just—“ *blink blink* “Is that a couch?”

(they have turned a corner, and sure enough, there’s a couch just sitting there.)

Vincent: “It appears to be one.”

(sephiroth looks around as he goes over to the couch)

Sephiroth: “And I don’t have to solve a stupid puzzle or guess anyone’s weight or play the lotto to get it?”

(he continues looking around but still sees no one. He breaks into a huge smile.)

Sephiroth: “I’m taking this. I’m taking this couch. Come on, Vincent, help me carry it.”

Vincent: *frowns* “I don’t know, angel. What if it belongs to someone?”

Sephiroth: “You’re the one who was talking about finding random furniture! And now you’re chickening out?”

Vincent: *sigh* “Very well.”

(so he picks up the other end of the couch and the two of them carry it off. As soon as they’re gone, a guy runs over, zippering up his pants hastily)

Guy: “Wait! You can’t just take that! There’s a puzzle that goes with it! A puzzle that involves couches!” *frowns* “Great. Now I’ll never solve it!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to rufus and algus, they have finally gotten across the river, and they look pretty tired.)

Algus: “Bless you for figuring that out, Rufus.”

Rufus: “Well, after that many guesses I was due. …Too many more and I was about to take my chances in the river.”

Algus: “In your Gucci loafers??”

Rufus: “Yes. I was going that crazy.”

Algus: “I’m still surprised he wouldn’t take my money. Money, Rufus! Money!”

Rufus: “I know. Even Reeve would have taken the money.”

Algus: “He looked at me as though I was offering him a handful of dirt! As though I would touch dirt! But let’s not get off course. We’re both tired – what we need is a nice rest in this mansion.”

(so they trudge up the long walkway to the mansion and knock on the door.)

Voice: “Can I help you?”

Algus: “Ah, yes. We are a pair of wealthy traveling companions and we find ourselves stuck in your town for the night. Your inn seems to be out of furniture so we were hoping you might lend us a bed for the night. We wouldn’t mind paying for your trouble.”

Voice: “Oh, I see! I’m just the servant here. I’ll have to check with my mistress.”

Algus: “Of course, my good man! But if you could please let us in – it’s quite hot out here.”

Voice: “Sure!”

(they hear keys rattling around. Algus turns to rufus and lowers his voice.)

Algus: *quietly* “Like he has to bother telling us he’s the servant? Who answers the door at their own home?”

(the door is still not opening. Rufus frowns.)

Rufus: “Something wrong?”

Voice: “The door seems to be stuck!”

Algus: *huge sigh* “Clearly someone should be fired.”

Rufus: “Isn’t there another door we can come in through?”

Voice: “No! This is the only one!”

Algus: “Surely you jest! In this huge manor there is only one door?”

Voice: “You could try climbing in through a window!”

Algus: “How dare you suggest I climb through a window like an escaping chambermaid! Open this door at once!”

Voice: “The lock seems to be some kind of puzzle…”

(rufus and algus look at each other, silently exchanging ‘oh god this is not happening again’.)

Voice: “Maybe you could help me with it?”

Rufus: *mutters* “I wish so much that I could kick the door down…”

Algus: “The only thing keeping me from going back the way we came is the thought of having to solve another puzzle to get *back* across the river!”

Voice: “…You still there?”

Rufus: “Unfortunately.”

Voice: “Okay, so I’ve got these three locks…”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back at the bar, reeve has solved yet another puzzle.)

Bartender: “That’s right! You’re amazing!”

Reno: “All right, Reeve!”

Irvine: “Whoo hoo! More booze!”

(the bartender fills up their glasses again. Reno pats reeve on the back.)

Reno: “C’mon, man! Have a drink with us!”

Reeve: “Oh, no, I don’t think so.”

Irvine: “Aw, come on! You have to! To celebrate!”

Reno: “Yeah! Not everyday you get so much free booze!”

Reeve: *reluctantly* “Well…okay. I guess a drink or two won’t hurt.”

Reno: “There you go! Pour this man a drink!”

Irvine: “And keep those puzzles coming!”

(they happily clink their glasses together.)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back to hojo, tseng is still following him. He walks over to a gentleman wearing a stovepipe hat. Tseng looks confused)

Tseng: “That’s not the runaway teen internet hook-up I was expecting…”

Hojo: “Professor!”

Mystery Man: “Professor!”

(they shake hands)

Hojo: “I have to admit I quite enjoyed your last article, Professor Layton.”

Layton: “I thought it was about time ‘Child Closet Pervert’ had an article about keeping your child sidekick unaware of your intentions.”

Hojo: “Ah, yes, brilliance. I hope to have a child sidekick to use your advice on someday…if I ever do manage to get out of prison.”

(they kind of laugh. Tseng looks disgusted.)

Hojo: “Where is your sidekick?”

Layton: “Oh, Luke? I locked him in my hotel room. He thinks it’s a puzzle.”

(they laugh again. Tseng looks even more disgusted.)

Hojo: “So this town is as out of the way and secluded as you said it was.”

Layton: “The best part is, all the inhabitants are robots programmed to basically do nothing but give out puzzles to solve! So they won’t call the police!”

Hojo: “You’ve found Utopia!”

Layton: “I’ve made quite the name for myself solving puzzles in this town.” *frowns* “But it seems there’s someone who’s stealing my thunder so to speak.”

Hojo: “Oh?”

Layton: “Apparently there’s a man over at the pub who’s been solving puzzles all afternoon. He’s drawn quite the crowd from what I’ve heard.”

Tseng: *mutters to himself* “So that’s where Reeve went.”

Layton: “But I digress. Would you like a tour of the town?”

Hojo: “Certainly.”

(they start to walk off. Tseng brightens)

Tseng: “This is perfect! I’ll follow them around, and I’m bound to catch this Layton guy breaking the law! When I do, I’ll call Lucretia, and I’ll be responsible for locking up another one of these creeps! Plus I can save the kid he has locked up! It’s a big task, but I’m up to it!” *looks around the the two are gone* “Oh, crap.” *hurries after them*

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to atsuma, he’s now trying to shove the circle into the triangle spot…)

Atsuma: “Why doesn’t this work?!”

Crazy Pizza Man: *sadly shakes his head*

Atsuma: “to guy* “Can’t you help me with this?”

Guy: “I don’t get it either.”

Atsuma: “There’s gotta be a way to solve this! I just have to keep trying!”

(he stands there thinking about it for some time. Finally he picks up the circle again…and tries to shove it back in the square slot.)

Atsuma: “Dammit!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to zell…he is finishing his cake.)

Zell: “Thanks for the cake, but I guess I better be going.”

Old lady: “Thanks for helping me with the puzzle.”

Zell: “My pleasure!”

(he leaves the bakery. As he’s looking around, he spots a ferris wheel in the distance. His face lights up.)

Zell: “Cool! A fair!”

(and off he goes to investigate.)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the inn, sephiroth and vincent have amassed quite a collection of furniture. They are now trying to arrange it in the room. Sephiroth is pushing the bed against the wall while vincent watches.)

Vincent: “I still can’t believe we actually found all this furniture. I was just trying to be optimistic. I didn’t think it would actually happen.”

Sephiroth: “I can’t believe we didn’t have to solve any puzzles to get it.”

Vincent: “Well, I still think that one man was going to ask for help…”

Sephiroth: “Look, anybody who chases anyone that far for a footstool needs all kinds of help to begin with.” *he joins vincent in the doorway* “So what do you think?”

Vincent: *frowns* “I don’t know…something just doesn’t feel right.”

Sephiroth: “Are you kidding me? We’re going to be here one night. You can live with it. I am not moving the furniture again.”

Vincent: “It just doesn’t seem cozy.”

Sephiroth: “Well I’m sorry I’m not an interior designer like what’s his face thinks he is. The Belmont. One of them. Not the oldest one, but one of the old ones.”

Vincent: “Juste.”

Sephiroth: “Just what?”

Vincent: “That’s his name. Juste Belmont.”

Sephiroth: “Oh right. That one. Who the hell names their kid with an adjective?”

Vincent: “………Maybe he could be of help.”

Sephiroth: “What?”

Vincent: “Maybe you could give him a call and he could give us some suggestions.”

Sephiroth: “Are you kidding me?”

Vincent: “This room looks horrible.”

Sephiroth: *huge sigh* “Fine! If it means so much to you!”

(so he pulls out his phone and dials.)

Sephiroth: “Hello? Can I speak to Juste? ……Oh, good. Well this is Sephiroth. I’m staying at this crappy inn in this creepy town called St. Mystere and I have an interior decorating problem. ……Wait, what? No! You—“ *frowns and looks at his phone*

Vincent: “Is something wrong?”

Sephiroth: “He said…I’ll be right there.”

Vincent: “But…we’re all the way out here.”

Sephiroth: “I know.”

Vincent: “It seems a little ridiculous…”

Sephiroth: “I know.”

Vincent: “……So…can we expect Belmont’s to show up?”

Sephiroth: “…I don’t know.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back to algus and rufus, they have finally made it inside. And they look very annoyed. They are greeted by a short man who is the butler of the house.)

Butler: “Thanks for helping me with that puzzle.”

Algus: “If you were my slave I would kill you.”

Rufus: “Where is your employer?”

Butler: “I’ll get her for you. Please wait right here.”

(he goes upstairs.)

Algus: “Hopefully that will be all for the puzzles.”

Rufus: “This is turning out to be the worst trip ever. And I once stayed at a hotel where there was a dead cow in the pool.”

Algus: “WHAT?”

Rufus: “You heard me.”

(the butler comes back downstairs.)

Butler: “Good news! I have spoken to the mistress of the house, and she has agreed to let you stay the night—“

Algus: “Just as I predicted!”

Butler: “—If you solve this puzzle for her!”

Algus and Rufus: *dead stare*

Rufus: “Haha, funny joke.”

Butler: “The first letter of the alphabet is A, and the letter B comes after the letter A. However, the letter you need to worry about is the last one. What’s the last letter of the alphabet?”

Rufus: “…Oh god, it’s not a joke.”

Algus: “I’m sorry, but can I use your bathroom?”

Butler: “Certainly. It’s right over there. When you have your answer, you may come upstairs and report to my mistress.”

(he goes back upstairs. Algus goes into the bathroom. Several minutes go by, and algus exits. There is no sound of the toilet flushing.)

Rufus: “Didn’t you have to go?”

Algus: “Oh, I did.”

Rufus: “…I didn’t hear the toilet flush.”

Algus: “That’s because it was a puzzle to make the toilet flush. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to deal with that. Damned right to hell.”

Rufus: “Remind me not to use that bathroom.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back at the bar…reno, Irvine and reeve are all chugging back beers. They all slam their empty glasses down on the bar at the same time.)

Irvine: “Best. Vacation. Ever.”

Reeve: “I think I’ve had enough for one night.”

Reno: “No way! You can’t let all that free booze go to waste now! That’s a cardinal sin!”

Reeve: “Well…”

Bartender: “Wow! You’ve solved fifteen puzzles already!”

Reno: “Wow. We’ve drunk fifteen beers.”

Irvine: “Wow. And I’m barely buzzed.”

Bartender: “You’re on track to beat the record!”

Reeve: “Record?”

Bartender: “Professor Layton once solved twenty puzzles in one night. That’s the record.”

Reeve: “Professor Layton? I’ve heard of him! He’s famous!”

Reno: “And you can beat him!”

Irvine: “Then you’ll be famous!”

Reno: “And we’ll be drunk!”

(they clink their glasses together. Reeve sits up straighter in his seat.)

Reeve: “Bring it.”

Reno and Irvine: “All right!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(believe it or not atsuma is still trying to solve the puzzle. He is standing there deep in thought. He’s hemming and hawing over it for a long, long time. He goes to make a move but stops to think some more. And thinks. Finally his face lights up and he picks up the circle. He then triumphantly tries to place it – into the zigzag space. No good. Of course.)

Atsuma: “ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(and out of sheer frustration he reaches back and slugs the guy in the face. Cogs fly out of his head and he falls back to the ground, motionless. Atsuma’s eyes go wide.)

Atsuma: “…Guy? …Dude? …You okay?”

(no movement. Atsuma turns to crazy pizza man looking panicked. Crazy pizza man has picked up the circle piece.)

Atsuma: “Omg, Crazy Pizza man! I killed him! I killed somebody! What’s gonna happen to me? I’m a murderer!”

Crazy Pizza Man: *puts the circle piece in the circle hole*

Atsuma: “…You’re a genius, Crazy Pizza Man!”

Crazy Pizza Man: *shrugs*

Atsuma: “No time to celebrate with pizza now! We’ve gotta get out of here!”

(they run off. As soon as they’re gone, a man comes over and shoves the now motionless robot into a sack.)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, tseng has been following hojo and Layton all over town. He looks bored.)

Layton: “This is the clock tower.”

Hojo: “Quite impressive.”

Tseng: *rolls eyes*

Layton: “It plays music every hour.”

Hojo: “Fascinating.”

Tseng: *yawns*

Layton: “Would you like to see the sewers?”

Hojo: “Of course!”

Tseng: *mouths* What?!

Layton: “Follow me!”

(he goes off and hojo follows. Tseng drops his head back and sighs deeply, but then he follows them.)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to zell. He’s come to a gate that seems to lead to the ferris wheel. He inspects it with a frown.)

Zell: “Looks like some kinda puzzle…” *frowns* “Maybe I could just climb the gate…” *goes to do so but gets an electric shock* “Ow! No! It’s like it heard me! But gates can’t hear! They’re made of metal! Or sometimes wood!” *frowns and rubs his sore hands* “Guess I’m gonna have to solve it…”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(over to vincent and sephiroth…they are playing checkers.)

Sephiroth: “This feels familiar.”

Vincent: “Because we just played?”

Sephiroth: “Because you’re still cheating.”

(there’s a knock at the door.)

Sephiroth: “Come in!”

(who enters, but juste and hugh!)

Juste: “I believe someone called for an interior—ugh. This room’s a mess.”

Sephiroth: “How did you get here?”

Juste: “The boy drove.”

Sephiroth: “But the bridge is out. How did you cross the alligator infested moat?”

Juste: “Alligators don’t stand in our way! We’re Belmont’s!”

Hugh: “…And…a Baldwin.”

Juste: “I can see why you called me. This room needs major work. Good thing you’re getting two interior designers for the price of one!”

Sephiroth: “Price? What price? I never agreed to pay anything! I never even told you to come here! I just wanted some advice over the phone so Vincent would shut up!”

Juste: *frowns* “Can I at least take pictures for my portfolio?”

Sephiroth: “Knock yourself out.”

Hugh: “We have to start by moving the bed.”

Juste: “Definitely. Why don’t you move it to the middle of the room? Then we’ll focus on the bookcase.”

Hugh: “Don’t forget the throw rug.”

Sephiroth: *rolls eyes* “Ugh, this is torture.”

Vincent: “What about the chest of drawers?”

Juste: “All in good time.”

Sephiroth: *moving the bed* “Some vacation I’ve got going here.”

Vincent: “Relax, angel. Arranging this furniture correctly is just like putting together a—“ *stops himself short*

Sephiroth: “Like putting together a what, Vincent? A *puzzle*?”

Vincent: “….A….uh…” *clears throat and mumbles something*

Sephiroth: “Yeah. Nice try.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(Back to algus and rufus, they trudge upstairs to find a very pretty woman, a very fat man, and a very skinny man with glasses sitting in a lavishly decorated room. They both look exhausted and disheveled.)

Rufus: “T. The answer is T. Now point me in the direction of a bed.”

Woman: “Oh, splendid! Thank you for solving that puzzle for me.”

Algus: “Please show us where we may rest for the evening.”

Woman: “Of course. The room is right through there.” *points*

(they look at the door she is pointing at. The very fat man is blocking it.)

Rufus: “Move.”

Algus: “My friend here seems to have lost his manners, and I’m afraid even I’m on the verge of not being polite. We are very tired, sir, so if you would please be so kind as to vacate the doorway…”

Man: “I have bad luck with the ladies. If I could solve this puzzle, I can impress them with my brains! Can you help me?”

Rufus: “*Move*.”

Algus: “Perhaps if you went on a diet or got off your fat ass once in awhile, that might help too.”

Man: “Six brothers have gathered around a table to eat dinner. Each of the brothers is prone to fighting with the siblings directly above and below him in age and can’t be seated next to either of them. Also, Brothers 3 and 5 got into an argument the other day and refuse to sit next to each other. The eldest brother, brother 1, has already sat down at the big table and is waiting on the others to start eating. Can you find a seating arrangement that will keep everyone from fighting each other?”

(rufus looks at algus with very wide open eyes and just shakes his head slowly. Algus turns back to the man.)

Algus: “I will give you one million dollars right now if you move.”

Man: “Six brothers have gathered around a table to eat dinner. Each of the brothers is prone to fighting with the siblings directly above and below him in age and can’t be seated next to either of them. Also, Brothers 3 and 5 got into an argument the other day and refuse to sit next to each other. The eldest brother, brother 1, has already sat down at the big table and is waiting on the others to start eating. Can you find a seating arrangement that will keep everyone from fighting each other?”

(algus and rufus look at each other with wide, shocked eyes.)

Algus: “Why isn’t money working? It has no power here. Where are we?!”

Rufus: “Even if we kill him, I don’t think we could move the body.”

Algus: “Rufus!”

Rufus: “I really want to go to sleep!”

(algus turns back to the woman.)

Algus: “Is there perhaps another room we could use?”

(she points to another room. The skinny man is blocking the doorway.)

Rufus: “Oh f*ck this! I’d rather sleep on the floor and buy new space meteor silk pajamas! We’re going back!”

Algus: “I quite agree!”

(rufus starts to storm out. Algus follows.)

Algus: “What if there’s another puzzle to get back across the river?”

Rufus: “Then we’re stealing the boat and praying for our lives.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to the bar, reeve has just tied layton’s record. He is chugging his latest beer with Irvine and reno. As he puts the glass down it’s clear he’s more than a little drunk. Reno and Irvine are pretty drunk themselves.)

Reno: “One more to go!”

Irvine: “Free booze! Free booze! Free booze!”

Bartender: “Are you ready?”

Reeve: *swaying in his seat* “As I’ll ever be.”

Bartender: “You have one 16-quart pitcher full of water, one empty nine-quart pitcher, and one empty seven-quart pitcher. Using nothing but these three pitchers, can you divide the water evenly so that the 16-quart and nine-quart pitchers are each holding exactly eight quarts of water?”

Reeve: “……………”

Reno: “Come on, Reeve! You’ve solved like a million of these puzzles today!”

Reeve: *head in his hands* “I know! I know! Let me think!”

Irvine: *turns to reno shocked* “He’s never had to think before!”

Reno: “Shush! Give the man some quiet!”

(there’s silence. Reno and Irvine are staring at reeve. Reeve has his head buried deep his hands for a long time. Finally he lifts his head up, shaking it.)

Reeve: “I…I don’t know…”

Reno: “What do you mean you don’t know? Do that thing you do where you figure these things out.”

Reeve: *hits himself on the side of the head* “I don’t know! I can’t think anymore!”

Irvine: *looking at his beer* “This is your fault!”

Reno: “Come on, Reeve! You gotta beat the record! Think! Think with all your might!”

Reeve: *passes out*

Irvine: “…I think he’s done thinking, dude.”

Reno: “Help me get him back to the inn.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to atsuma, they are back at the inn, sitting on the steps outside. Atsuma has his head in his hands.)

Atsuma: “What have I done, Crazy Pizza Man? I killed someone with my own hands! That’s bad! That’s real bad! I’m like some kinda movie villain! That’s how bad I am!”

Crazy Pizza Man: *holds out a slice of pizza*

Atsuma: “This is one problem pizza just can’t solve, Crazy Pizza Man.”

Crazy Pizza Man: *goes to take the pizza away*

Atsuma: “I didn’t say stop handing me pizza!”

(crazy pizza man gives him the pizza and he starts to eat it.)

Atsuma: *mouth full of pizza* “If you see any police officers, just act cool, like we didn’t kill anybody, even though I did. Because I can’t go to prison. They don’t have pizza there.”

Crazy Pizza Man: *shocked face*

Atsuma: “I know! But they don’t! Also, there are bars on the doors to keep you in. Like at the zoo. And I like the zoo, but I don’t wanna be in the zoo. Even if I did try to climb into that monkey exhibit that one time. It’s only ‘cause they had swings in there! And those monkeys looked like they were having a good time!”

Crazy Pizza Man: “…………”

Atsuma: “…What was I talking about again?”

Both: “……………………………….”

Atsuma: “…Oh. Right. I killed somebody. That sucks.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to hojo and Layton, tseng is climbing out of the sewer, brushing himself off in disgust.)

Tseng: *mutters* “Why does every game seem to involve a sewer?”

Hojo: “It’s getting rather late. I should start to head back to the inn soon.”

Layton: “As should I. I have quite the evening planned.”

Hojo: “Do share!”

Layton: “Room 4 is going to be quite busy tonight indeed.”

(tseng looks disgusted, but then he thinks for a moment and has a light bulb moment. He quickly abandons hojo and runs off in the direction of the inn. He runs inside and up to room 4. he tries the handle, but the door is locked. He gets down on his knees, removes a lock picking kit from his pocket and goes to work on the lock. Within moments he has the door unlocked.)

Tseng: “I’m gonna be a hero.”

(he opens the door to see a young boy sitting at a table setting up a game of risk. He turns around when he hears the door open.)

Luke: “Professor! I’ve—“ *blink blink* “You’re not the Professor.”

Tseng: “I’m here to rescue you.”

Luke: “Rescue me? From what? Am I in some sort of danger?”

Tseng: “Yes! From that Professor!”

Luke: “Professor Layton? But he’s my mentor!”

Tseng: “That’s a nice sounding word for it, but you don’t have to live like this anymore.”

Luke: “What are you talking about? Who are you?”

Tseng: “Luke, you don’t have to stay here and be ‘busy’ tonight with Professor Layton.”

Luke: “But I want to be! We’ve been planning to play Risk all week!”

Tseng: “What?”

Luke: “The Professor was ever so excited play tonight. It’s his favorite game!”

Tseng: “….Those are your only plans?”

Luke: “I’m afraid when the Professor gets involved in a game of Risk he can’t concentrate on anything else.”

Tseng: “But he can’t be a very nice guy! He locked you in here!”

Luke: “No he didn’t! It was a puzzle! I just wasn’t smart enough to figure it out.”

Tseng: “No, it wasn’t a puzzle. Just a lock.”

Luke: “Well, I got five puzzles wrong in a row. I deserved it.”

Tseng: “You’re not going to come with me no matter what I say, are you.”

Luke: “No! Why would I leave with some random stranger? I don’t know what you could be planning to do with me!”

(tseng opens his mouth to speak but then closes it again.)

Tseng: “…Wow. Okay. That was a knife in the heart. Best of luck, kid.”

(he closes the door and walks down the hall, where he runs into lucretia.)

Lucretia: “There you are! Have you been keeping tabs on Hojo? Has he been up to no good?”

Tseng: “No. I don’t know.”

Lucretia: “Are you all right, Tseng? You seem distracted.”

Tseng: “I think I need to lie down for awhile.”

Lucretia: “I hope the floor will do.”

Tseng: *frowns* “This day just keeps getting better, doesn’t it.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to zell, is it quite dark as he finally makes it inside the gate. He heads over in the direction of the ferris wheel, frowning.)

Zell: “Don’t fairs usually have lights?”

(he walks over to the ferris wheel which is totally dark, not moving, and there are no people around. He frowns.)

Zell: “Where is everybody? This feels way too much like ‘Escape from the Haunted Carnival’.” *glances around looking scared*

(suddenly there is a very loud creaking noise. Zell spins around to see the ferris wheel breaking off its pedestal and starting to roll right towards him.)

Zell: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

(and he starts running for his life, the ferris wheel barreling after him.)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the inn, sephiroth and vincent stand back as juste and hugh finish up the room. It looks fantastic now.)

Vincent: “What a difference.”

Sephiroth: “Even I have to admit the room looks so nice I almost don’t wanna leave.”

(hugh finishes snapping some pictures.)

Juste: “Excellent. Those will look great in my portfolio. Well, we best be going.”

Sephiroth: “You drove all the way here – it’s pretty late. Why don’t you just stay over?”

Juste: “Out of the question, I’m afraid. We have a busy night ahead of us.”

Hugh: *excitedly* “We’re making garlic necklaces!”

Sephiroth: *dryly* “Sounds like a good time.”

Juste: “If you ever need a room redecorated again – who you gonna call? Juste Belmont!” *chuckles*

Sephiroth: *to hugh* “He watch Ghostbusters recently?”

Hugh: “Yeah.”

Sephiroth: “I thought so.”

Hugh: “He wants to redo his business cards now.”

Juste: “I think it sounds hip! Makes me sound young and vigorous!”

Sephiroth: *opens his mouth to speak*

Vincent: “Angel. No.”

Hugh: “Well, let’s go, grandpa. We’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of us, not to mention an alligator infested moat to scale.”

Sephiroth: “I’d kind of like to see that actually.”

Juste: “Sorry! Old Belmont family secret. And we can’t go around spreading all our secrets around! Then everybody will think they’re capable of fighting vampires.”

Sephiroth: “What?”

Vincent: “Have a safe drive and a good night.”

Juste: “Enjoy the rest of your stay here. And remember to keep your windows tightly fastened. Otherwise you might wake up next to a vampire!”

(juste and hugh leave. Sephiroth turns to vincent with kind of a grin on his face.)

Vincent: “Angel, don’t even think of making that joke.”

Sephiroth: “Since you already get it, I don’t have to.”

(then tseng and lucretia walk in, looking confused.)

Tseng: “Am I going crazy, or did I just pass Juste Belmont and Hugh Baldwin in the hallway?”

Sephiroth: “No. Not crazy. Not yet. Give it time, though. You do work for Rufus.”

Vincent: “They came by to decorate our room for us.”

Lucretia: *looking around* “Where did you come across all this furniture?”

Sephiroth: “I found it. Just like the old lady said.”

Lucretia: “I don’t suppose you could let your old mother spend the night in here, rather than on the floor.”

Sephiroth: “Of course, mom!”

Lucretia: “I’ll be perfectly content just curling up on this love seat.” *sits down* “Ooh! It’s so comfy!”

Tseng: “I’m not looking forward to sleeping on the floor either…” *sits on the futon* “Mind if Reeve and I sleep here?”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “Go ahead.”

(speaking of reeve, reno and Irvine then drag his drunken ass into the room. He’s crying.)

Reno: “I thought I heard voices. What’s up?”

Tseng: “What’s up? Why is Reeve crying? Reeve, are you okay?” *goes over to him*

Reeve: “I…almost had the record! The record, Tseng! The record! Then I would have been the smartest guy, of all the smart guys who ever…came here.”

Tseng: *blink blink* “Are you drunk?”

Irvine: “He was solving puzzles for free booze. …And he drank some it.”

Tseng: “How much of it?”

Reno: “We couldn’t let free booze go to waste! It was free, Tseng! *Free*!”

Reeve: *sobbing* “I failed! I’m a failure! I’m the biggest failure who ever failed at failing!”

Tseng: “Relax, Reeve. It’s not a big deal. Come lay down over here and go to sleep.”

Reno: “Who’d you rob to get all this furniture, Sephiroth?”

Sephiroth: *firmly* “No one!”

Irvine: “You’re letting them crash in here?”

Sephiroth: *shrugs*

Irvine: “What about us?”

Sephiroth: “No.”

Irvine: “Why the hell not?”

Sephiroth: “You’ll probably get up in the middle of the night and pee and/or throw up in something, cowboy geek.”

Irvine: “Hey! I’m not as drunk as Reeve!”

Tseng: “Leave Reeve alone!”

Reno: “Come on, Sephiroth. We’ll just crash on the couch.”

Sephiroth: *huge sigh* “Fine. But you owe me.”

(zell then enters. He looks ragged, filthy, and his hair is sticking up in even more directions than usual.)

Reno: “What happened to you?”

Zell: *traumatized* “I got chased by a runaway ferris wheel. I wish I was making that up.”

Tseng: “What? Are you okay?”

Zell: “I guess so. I ran all the way to the gate back to the street, but it wouldn’t let me pass without solving another puzzle. And it was an electrified gate. But it was either climb the gate or get crushed by a carnival ride.”

Everyone: “…………..”

Irvine: “So I’m guessing you climbed the gate.”

Zell: “Yeah…” *sinks into a chair* “I’m just gonna stay here, okay?”

Sephiroth: “Yeah. Fine. What happened to the ferris wheel?”

Zell: “I don’t know, but I’m never getting on one again.”

Reno: “I don’t blame ya.”

(then rufus and algus enter, looking haggard and soaking wet from head to toe.)

Sephiroth: “I’m sensing another story here.”

Tseng: “What happened to you two?”

Algus: “Well, we went off in search of a better place to stay. We found a mansion, but we had to solve a puzzle to get across a river to get to it. Once across, we had to solve another puzzle to get inside.”

Rufus: “You needed to solve a puzzle to flush the toilet.”

Algus: “Yes, and I’m hoping they’re finding that little surprise right about now. Anyway, once inside, we had to solve another puzzle in order to find out where we were going to be sleeping. And then they wanted us to solve another puzzle to get into the room.”

Rufus: “And then who knows from there! Another puzzle to turn the sheets down? Or close your eyes? Or even wake up? God knows!!”

Algus: “Seeing money was ineffective in swaying them away from the puzzles, we left and returned to the river. They wanted us to solve another puzzle to get back across, so Rufus hit the dimwit over the head with an oar and we stole the boat.”

Rufus: “Which tipped over.”

Algus: “And that explains why I find my exceedingly expensive clothes soaked with disgusting swamp water. But here we are. Alive.”

Rufus: *looking around* “You have furniture…”

Sephiroth: “Yeah. I found it all.”

Rufus: “You have a bed…”

Sephiroth: “It’s mine. For me.”

Vincent: *clears throat* “Ahem.”

Sephiroth: “And him.” *points to vincent*

Algus: “It’s a fairly big bed… I will give you 5,000 dollars if you let Rufus and I sleep in the bed with you both.”

Sephiroth: “Rufus is willing to do that?”

Rufus: *already cuddled up in the bed*

Algus: “He really needs his rest.”

Tseng: “I think the puzzles cracked him.”

Reeve: “Stupid puzzles!”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “I’m not one to turn down easy money. Deal.”

Algus: “At last! Money still makes the world go round!”

(atsuma and crazy pizza man then sneak into the room cautiously.)

Atsuma: “Hey, everybody…any cops come by here looking for me?”

Sephiroth: “Why? What happened to you? You kill somebody or something?” *laughs*

Atsuma: “Who told you? Did you see?” *to crazy pizza man* “He saw! It’s over! Let’s take our pizza and go somewhere nobody will ever find us! Like a cave! Or a big hole!”

Tseng: “You actually killed somebody?”

Atsuma: “I didn’t mean to! But his puzzle was so hard – I got mad and punched him in the face! Then he stopped moving.”

Tseng: “You probably just broke him. You couldn’t have killed him.”

Atsuma: “I could have! I’m strong! And my arm is like this powerful…thing. I dunno what it’s called. Toya explained it to me, but I forgot.”

Tseng: “No… You couldn’t have killed him because everyone in this town is a robot. They’re all programmed to ask puzzles.”

Everyone: “…………….”

Rufus: “Are you kidding me?! We were getting harassed by a bunch of mindless robots all day!?”

Algus: “How do robots afford a mansion?”

Rufus: “Dammit, Algus! We should have killed that fat guy when we had the chance!”

Algus: “Perhaps they could be reprogrammed and used as slaves…”

Rufus: “Algus!”

Algus: “I’ll have to look into that.”

Atsuma: “Oh…so I didn’t kill anyone?”

Tseng: “Nope.”

Atsuma: “Nobody’s dead?”

Tseng: “Not that guy anyway.”

Atsuma: “I’m not a murderer?”

Tseng: “No.”

Atsuma: “So the police aren’t going to come after me?”

Tseng: “No.”

Atsuma: “And I won’t be on the most wanted list?”

Sephiroth: “No! Now shut up, idiot! It’s time to go to sleep!”

Atsuma: *looking around* “Where can I sleep?”

Sephiroth: *annoyed sigh* “There.” *points to a large ottoman*

Atsuma: “Awesome! All to myself!” *runs over to it*

(everyone is settling in to relax at last when hojo and Layton show up.)

Hojo: “….I hope I didn’t miss anything I would have liked to be part of.”

Everyone: “Ew!”

Sephiroth: “Get out of my room!”

Hojo: “Everyone else seems to have made themselves comfortable.”

Sephiroth: “Go enjoy the floor in your room!”

Layton: “You must have solved a lot of puzzles to get all that furniture.”

Sephiroth: “You would think so.”

Hojo: “Everyone, this is Professor Layton. He told me about this town.”

Rufus: “Then I hate him.”

Reeve: “*The* Professor Layton?” *bursts into tears* “I’m an embarrassment!”

Tseng: *mutters* “You are at this rate.”

Sephiroth: “Get out of here, Hojo! We’ve all had awful times in this rotten town and we just want tomorrow to come so we can leave!”

Vincent: “I didn’t have such a bad time.”

Irvine: “Me neither!”

Reno: *snores*

Sephiroth: “Everybody shut up! Hojo – out!”

(hojo leaves with Layton.)

Hojo: “That was my son. He’s bad tempered. I blame it on his psychotic tendencies.”

Layton: “Well, you’re welcome to spend the night in my room.”

Hojo: “Ooh. That’s very kind of you.”

Layton: “I hope you like Risk.”

Hojo: “I’ll try anything once.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next morning it seems the bridge is back in working order. They’re loading their stuff onto the bus – including all of sephiroth’s furniture.)

Sephiroth: “Well, that trip sucked.”

Vincent: “As I said, angel, it could have been worse. You could have been chased by a ferris wheel, convinced you’d killed someone, or fallen into a river of swamp water.”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “Still sucked.”

(hojo is already seated on the bus, handcuffed to the seat and pouting.)

Hojo: “That wasn’t the kind of risk I had in mind…”

Reeve: *hand to his head* “Fifteen steps. I could have done that puzzle in fifteen steps.”

Tseng: *patting him on the back* “It’s okay, Reeve. You still did good.”

Irvine: “Yeah! You got us tons of free beer!”

Reno: “You can have all the free beer you want at our bar now – any time you want!”

Reeve: *wincing in the light* “That’s okay. I’ll pass.”

(atsuma and zell are enjoying some of crazy pizza man’s pizza.)

Zell: “Mmm! This is good!”

Atsuma: “I told you! Pizza solves all my problems! Whenever I’m feeling confused or upset, I just eat some pizza and all my troubles just go away!”

Rufus: “Let’s get the hell out of this puzzle hell hole!”

Algus: “The sleep didn’t help much, I see.”

Rufus: “I’ll feel better when I’m far, far away from here and never have to come back.”

Vincent: “I believe that’s the last of the furniture, angel.”

Sephiroth: “Let’s go.”

(vincent is getting on the bus with sephiroth right behind, when a guy runs up to them out of breath.)

Guy: “My footstool!”

Sephiroth: “Not you again.”

Guy: “You can’t just take the footstool! There was a puzzle you had to solve to get it!”

Sephiroth: “No. The furniture was free. Free.”

Guy: “I really need help with this puzzle! If you have four footstools—“

Sephiroth: *pushing vincent* “Get on the bus.”

(he pushes vincent on, gets on himself, and the doors close behind him. The guy is still outside explaining the puzzle.)

Vincent: “Angel, did you steal all this furniture?”

Sephiroth: “I sure as hell wasn’t about to solve any puzzles to get it. So I just waited until they weren’t looking and…”

Vincent: “You stole it.”

Sephiroth: “Any normal person would have done the same.”

(the bus starts back over towards the bridge out of town.)

Reno: “Your footstool guy is chasing the bus.”

Sephiroth: “I’d take Cait Sith over these robots.”

Reeve: “I wouldn’t.”

Tseng: “…I don’t know if I’m glad to hear you say that…”

(suddenly the bus stops. Everyone looks out to see they’re at the bridge again.)

Sephiroth: “What’s the hold up? Let’s get out of here!”

(the doors to the bus open, and the bridge lowerer guy is standing there.)

Guy: “Can you help me with this puzzle? I won’t be able to move these big, heavy blocks away from the front of your bus until I’ve solved it!”

(suddenly there is the sound of a gunshot. The guy suddenly has a hole right in the middle of his head. He kind of wavers and falls back to the ground, cogs falling out of his head. Everyone turns around to see rufus standing there looking a bit crazed and holding the gun of a shocked looking Irvine.)

Rufus: “NO MORE PUZZLES!”

Everyone: “…………..”

Tseng: “….Let’s move the blocks.”

Algus: “Even I’ll help.”

(And they start to file off the bus again.)

Vincent: “See, angel? It always could be worse.”

Sephiroth: “Shut up, Vincent.”

THE END

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