At the mall, the group goes through the song and dance to get Plotius to help, and realize that the obvious solution was right in front of them- the wall itself. Few people know, but the wall is not only an expression of free speech, but it is also a point where the veil between worlds is quite thin after a long time as the focus of much Will in action.
The images drawn every once in a while by local artists? Sometimes, they’re just innocent expressions of unrealized Will. Other times, they’re portals, making use of the massive battery of energy to pierce worlds. It does have it’s dangers, however, and the way that Plotius emphasized this made the group think that this was something they wanted to table for now.
Heading to Kai’s studio, they hoped they’d find something that would at least let them know what they were getting into. Using Alucard’s infrequent help of Kai with classes, they were able to pretty easily get past the manager he’d left- the man had seen them around enough to take them at their word. Pressed a bit more by Kassandra, he admitted that he’d been more than a little concerned as he’d not heard from Kai in a couple of weeks.
They learned little from what he was willing to show them, however, an obstacle that Hugo solved with his growing powers, convincing the manager that he should leave since he’d had such a long, trying day.
Once they were able to get upstairs in the studio, they worked with his computer a bit, but didn’t find anything that was of note, even after finding his password taped under the keyboard. Bad practice- but it almost convinced them that there was nothing to find. Alucard’s new investigational powers and change in focus from just hitting everything came in useful as he was able to locate a second computer- one that they were not able to crack. And indeed, when they tried, the computer erased itself. They knew that it had also sent out a signal, so figured they had little time before there was some sort of response to their snooping. But their investigations had also turned up a hidden safe, and Hugo didn’t think they should leave without trying to get past that, for anything of value would surely be sanitized if someone knew they’d been there but didn’t find them.
There were no magical alarms or other paranormal security precautions- and so it was a simple, more tangible trap that caught them- the simple needle trap. But the poison was of a different payload, and Hugo started to almost immediately feel his mind splintering. His recent work in that arena both helped and hindered him; he was able to self-diagnose what it must have been- one of a class of toxins that Henry had told him about that target the psyche, and he’d actually used to help expand his abilities. But in this uncontrolled environment, and in the dosage taken, he was having a hard time purging it. In the end, he was saved by Alucard’s quick thinking and abilities- Kai wouldn’t leave such a trap around without having some way to neutralize it, and thankfully, Alucard was able to find it.
That done, they found a flash drive in the safe- hardware encrypted. Still not knowing if someone was on the way, they decided to decipher this particular puzzle somewhere else…