Red Daniel; Got a call from Sal. He said you were looking for me.
Daniel Ferris; Not you specifically, but I needed to speak with one of us. And while you weren't at the top of the list, you're still not my worst option, and your the easiest to find.
Red Daniel; So what's up? Haven't seen you in quite a while.
Daniel Ferris; I've been looking into some recent incidents. Some of which are a bit worrying. Tell me, have you heard anything about a local cult?
Red Daniel; Just rumors. Figured it was best to stay out of it. Why?
Daniel Ferris; Come with me. I need to show you a few things.
Red Daniel; Sure. Let's get to it.
Daniel stands up and grips Red Daniel's shoulder, teleporting them both elsewhere. The two of them now stand outside a small, single story house.
Red Daniel; What's this place?
Daniel Ferris; Residence of the Miller Family. Married couple. No kids yet. Husband went out drinking.
Red Daniel; What's so interesting about a married dude getting drunk?
Daniel Ferris; He went drinking three weeks ago.
Red Daniel; Oh...
Daniel Ferris; Wife spent the next few days trying, and failing, to get a old of him. Called his work, his friends, anyone she could think of. Ended up reporting him missing.
Red Daniel; Okay. So how does the cult fit in here?
Daniel Ferris; In her report, the wife mentioned him interacting with some shady characters a few days beforehand. But that's all he information I could get out of this particular incident.
Red Daniel; That's not much to go with...
Daniel Ferris; I've got more. Come on.
Daniel Ferris takes Red Daniel's shoulder again, and they teleport somewhere else.
Meanwhile, back at Acelegin's apartment, Acelegin is in the middle of a phone call with Sal.
Acelegin; Did Daniel say anything else?
Sal; No. Just that he needed to meet with himself.
Acelegin; I see. Well, I'll talk to Red once he gets back.
Sal; Are you sure letting the two of hem meet up is a good idea?
Acelegin; Don't worry. They both signed the accords. They won't start anything with each other. If they do, I'll know, and I'll do something about it.
Sal; You sure you've got it under control?
Acelegin; Relax. Just get back to work, okay?
Sal; Alright... I'll talk to you later.
Acelegin; See ya.
Acelegin hangs up his phone.
Acelegin; Alright, where were we?
Acelegin; No, I already fed you. Stop begging.
Ghost Sans; We were about to watch that new horror movie, weren't we?
Acelegin; Oh, right. "Rise of the Franken-Werewolves 4; Return of the Cyborg-Pharaoh."
Ghost Sans; Yeah. I'm hoping it'll be better than its disappointing predecessor, "Rise of the Franken-Werewolves 3; Dinosaurs from the future."
Acelegin; Yeah, but I doubt it could compare to the original classic, or the record breaking second entry, "Curse of the Cyborg-Pharaoh."
Ghost Sans; Well, let's get started, shall we?
Acelegin; I'll make some popcorn.
Meanwhile, in a different part of town, Daniel Ferris and Red Daniel appear outside of an old house.
Red Daniel; So what's this place?
Daniel Ferris; Abandoned. That's what it is. Look.
Daniel Ferris points to one of the windows, which is shattered.
Red Daniel; A break in, huh?
Daniel Ferris; Looks like it. Lot's of important stuff missing. Including the owners.
Red Daniel; So a kidnapping on top of all that...
Daniel Ferris; Maybe. Neighbor were questioned, of course. A couple of them reported that the owners of this house had been visited a few times by some strangers. Suspicious looking fellas that they didn't recognize from the area.
Red Daniel; Interesting, but still not much of a lead.
Daniel Ferris; After the homeowners disappeared, the strangers haven't been seen since, but one neighbor claimed to have seen them lurking around the block the night before it happened.
Red Daniel; Yep, that sounds like prime suspect material to me. But no one can really confirm who these people are, or if they're connected to the cult?
Daniel Ferris; Oh, I've got more.
Daniel Ferris grabs Red Daniel's arm and teleports them to the edge of a river.
Red Daniel; I know this place. We're close to the dam, aren't we?
Daniel Ferris; Yeah. About a week ago, the cult was sighted here by a passing sheriff. They scattered before they could be caught, but they left behind a few things. including Mr. Miller's driver's license and a couple of the missing items from the house we just stopped by.
Red Daniel; Alright, now we have a connected. I think... Are we sure this was the cult, and not just some randos?
Daniel Ferris; Well, the sheriff reported they all had black robes on. Sound pretty culty to me.
Red Daniel; Okay, that brings up another question. How the fuck do you know so much about these police reports?
Daniel Ferris; I'd rather not get into it...
Red Daniel; Oh, come on, Danny Boy.
Daniel Ferris; Please don't call me that...
Red Daniel; I can always seduce the answers out of you.
Daniel Ferris; Don't you fucking dare.
Red Daniel gives a cocky smile and takes a step toward Daniel Ferris, who takes a fighting stance and wraps a hand around a hilt of his wakizashi.
Daniel Ferris; Get back.
Red Daniel; Oh? Is this a threat?
Daniel Ferris draws he blade out a couple of inches, narrowing his eyes. Red Daniel chuckles, and his eyes start glowing red.
Red Daniel; Well, if my sex appeal doesn't work, I guess I can just beat the answers out instead.
Red Daniel clenches his fists and takes a fighting stance.
Meanwhile, at Acelegin's apartment, Acelegin and Ghost Sans are watching the beginning of the movie.
Acelegin; Man, this is off to a slow start...
Ghost Sans; Eh, I'm sure it'll pick up soon enough.
Acelegin; I sure hope it doe-
Acelegin pauses, and looks in the direction of the river.
Ghost Sans; What's wrong?
Acelegin; I can sense hostility between two of the Daniels.
Ghost Sans; Uh-oh. Are you gonna get involved with it?
Acelegin; I don't know yet. I'll give it a second, see if it escalates. If so, I'll get between them...
Back at the dam, Red Daniel and Daniel Ferris continue staring each other down, prepared to attack.
Red Daniel; Come on, Danny Boy. You really wanna violate the accords?
Daniel Ferris; I don't know. Can't say I trust myself.
Red Daniel; Which of us are you referring to?
Daniel Ferris; I think "Both" is an accurate answer.
Red Daniel chuckles, and lowers his guard slightly.
Red Daniel; We should probably chill out before Ace has a reason to come here and kick our asses.
Daniel Ferris slides his sword back into its sheath, but keeps his hand on the hilt.
Daniel Ferris; Fair enough. But keep in mind. I won our last fight.
Red Daniel; Yeah.
Red Daniel places a hand over his sternum, wincing slightly.
Red Daniel; How could I forget...
Red Daniel's eyes stop glowing.
Red Daniel; Seriously, though. How do you know all of this police stuff?
Daniel Ferris; I uh... had to use some of my powers in ways I'm... Not exactly proud of...
Red Daniel; Fair enough. So, anything else you wanna show me?
Daniel Ferris; Just one. Let's go.
Meanwhile, back at Acelegin's apartment, Acelegin relaxes a bit, and exhales slowly.
Ghost Sans; So everything's cool now?
Acelegin; Yeah. I think they were just toying with each other.
Ghost Sans; That's good. It'd be a shame if you actually had to kill Red. I kinda like the guy, weirdly enough.
Acelegin; I wouldn't actually kill him, but I would give him more than just a broken arm if he broke the accords.
Ghost Sans; Ah, I see.
Acelegin; You know? I think I'd enjoy this movie a bit more if I had a drink in my hand. Mind pausing it for a bit while I grab a beer?
Ghost Sans; Sure.
Ghost Sans pauses the movie while Acelegin walks over to his mini fridge. As Acelegin is about to open the door, his eyes fall on Red Daniel's copy of "The War of Vices And Virtues". Acelegin hesitates for a few seconds, staring at it.
Ghost Sans; Are you actually gonna read it this time or not?
Acelegin; Huh? What?
Ghost Sans; Seriously, if I had a quarter for every time you've considered reading that thing before deciding to put if off a little longer, I could almost afford a bottle of ketchup.
Acelegin; Geez, alright, I'll have a look.
Acelegin nervously opens the book to the page Red Daniel had bookmarked.
Acelegin; "Chastity felt the music flow through her. She threw off her coat and began dancing along with the crowd. So far, this was turning out to be one of the best parties she had ever been to."
Ghost Sans; Seems nice.
Acelegin skips ahead a couple of paragraphs, hoping to find what had upset Red Daniel so much.
Acelegin; "She followed the young man into the spare bedroom. He was undoubtedly handsome, and had such charisma flowing from him that she couldn't help but enjoy his company."
Ghost Sans; Cool. She met a nice guy.
Acelegin; "Once the door had been closed, the boy grabbed her by the throat and pinned her to the wall."
Ghost Sans; Wait, what?
Acelegin; "Her elation turned to panic as she met his lustful eyes. Eyes that quickly became consumed by a crimson glow. His hair shifted color as well, turning from dark brown to a fierce, fiery red. Even his clothing seemed to fade into that sinister, loathsome color."
Acelegin clasps a hand over his mouth, and reads on silently, wide-eyed and horrified. A few moments later, he throws the book down and begins panting.
Ghost Sans; Are you okay?
Ghost Sans; What?
Acelegin; Her name isn't Chastity! It's Carol Zuiver!
Ghost; Who... Who is that?
Acelegin; An important part of Red's Backstory. A long time ago, he... violated her. He was forced to, by the Redness. He felt so guilty that he almost killed himself. But instead he sold his soul so he could abandon that guilt.
Acelegin looks down at the book.
Acelegin; This is her story. That's why he couldn't finish it. He's afraid to know what happens next.
Acelegin is suddenly filled with intense rage.
Acelegin; Just who the fuck is this Severin Albert asshole and how does he know all this!
Meanwhile, Red Daniel and Daniel Ferris arrive at an alleyway, surrounded by police tape. The chalk outline of a small figure lays in the middle of it all.
Red Daniel; A crime scene?
Daniel Ferris; Her name was Clair Redmond. Age 14.
Red Daniel; 14? Seriously?
Daniel Ferris; She put up a fight. Bloody knuckles. Bruised knees and elbows. Fresh knife wounds...
Red Daniel; Fresh?
Daniel Ferris; Police arrived as the culprits were fleeing. Figures in dark robes.
Red Daniel; The cult...
Daniel Ferris; Police suspect it might have been an attempted kidnapping gone wrong.
Red Daniel; Shit, dude. So young, too.
Daniel Ferris; That's what pisses me off about this one. It just happened last night. And so far, I have no idea about who this cult actually is, or why they're doing any of this.
Red Daniel; Well, I might have some potential explanations.
Daniel Ferris; I know. You were sort of in a cult before. You know their mentality better than I ever could.
Red Daniel; You sought out the right guy.
Daniel Ferris; So what's with the kidnappings? What's their endgame? Even if you don't know their plan, any theory you have could be helpful.
Red Daniel; Well, the thought of human sacrifice is a pretty obvious motive, but I have a more likely solution.
Daniel Ferris; And that would be?
Red Daniel; Recruitment.
Daniel Ferris; And how exactly do you convince the people you've literally kidnapped into joining you?
Red Daniel; Oh, there's a number of tricks cult leaders can pull. You can break down someone's self esteem so much that they think signing on will make them a better person. You can exploit Stockholm Syndrome in people who are potentially susceptible to it. You can get in their head at a young age and slowly convince them that your way is right...
Red Daniel narrows his eyes a bit.
Red Daniel; You can force them to do something so horrible that they end up thinking that abandoning all feelings of guilt is their only alternative to suicide...
Daniel Ferris raises an eyebrow.
Daniel Ferris; Speaking from experience, buddy?
Red Daniel; Maybe. Fuck you. Who wants to knows.
Daniel Ferris; Sorry. Didn't mean to touch any soft sp-
Daniel Ferris pauses suddenly.
Daniel Ferris; Do you feel like we're being watched?
Red Daniel; You're just noticing?
Daniel Ferris; Wait, what?
Red Daniel; Dude, that drone up there's been following us all over town.
Red Daniel points to a drone hovering in the sky. Daniel Ferris angrily draws a gun and shoots it down.
Daniel Ferris; Son of a bitch. Who the fuck was controlling that? The cult?
Red Daniel; Beats me.
Daniel Ferris; I'd better be careful. Thank you, by the way. You've given my a lot of insight to work with. If you figure out anything else about this cult, let me know. Somehow...
Red Daniel; Should be easy enough. We have the same email. Just keep an eye out for messages to yourself written in red.
Daniel; Alright. See ya.
Red Daniel; Peace, Danny Boy.
Meanwhile, in a dark room filled with televisions showing various surveillance images, a man in a brown, hooded coat with green markings stares silently at once screen, showing only static.
Hooded Man #1; Hmm... interesting...
A second hooded man enters the room, with white markings on his coat.
Hooded Man #2; Was one of our drones taken out, sir?
Hooded Man #1; Yes. It's seems Red was aware of it the entire time. Raised the question of if he's always known of our surveillance.
Hooded Man #2; That could be troublesome...
Hooded Man #1; Time will tell. In the meantime, though, he has had a conversation with the original Daniel that has peaked my curiosity...
Hooded Man #2; How so?
Hooded Man #1; There seems to be a cult operating in the area. We should look into that. We may be able to use them for something...