paper place mats

10

I’m in Japan for spring break and went to the Diabolik Lovers cafe with my sister! ^^ It was Kanato’s birthday so I made sure to leave a message from America :>

Being out of the loop for so long, I actually had no idea it was going on but luckily saw an ad for it at an arcade on my trip to the animate store and really wanted to go! That was my first time going to an anime cafe, the food was really pretty and actually tasted pretty good haha! They had episodes one and two of more blood on loop and gave you a random card for each food item you ordered and a paper place mat that you can choose at the end.

I went on the last day so they only had the mukami bros placemat left and the anime version of the sakamaki bros so I chose the former cuz I didn’t like the anime art as much. Bought vandead carnival, lunatic parade, gonna buy dark fate today and finally start playing more blood again once I get back or on the plane +_+ I’ve only played the prologue so far from hella years ago when it was out so I’ll probably start a new game but as you can see I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! I gotta listen to all the drama CDs I’ve missed too >>;

Hopefully I can get back to translating random Dialovers stuff like I used to before school starts. Been pretty busy so I haven’t been on tumblr for a while but thanks for all the new follows and continuing to follow me after all this time! Or being too lazy to unfollow my lazy bum heh.

I’m currently translating a short story for code realize (slowly) so please look forward to it when it’s out~

One night we met for a drink at a pub in NYC, and started writing messages to each other on a paper place-mat that was there, instead of talking, because the music in the bar was really loud or something. An interesting effect of that was that we found ourselves writing things that we would never would dare to say to each other out loud. I remember thinking that he seemed to be sort of lost and sad although he outwardly was very funny and lively and confident, and wrote something about that, among another things.

I didn’t talk to him for a long time after that – I went to England to live for a while and we talked once or twice and then nothing for over a year.

Then one night I got a voice mail message from him that said, “I just realized what you were trying to tell me that night”. I tried to call him back but the number I had for him was old, and then I got his new number but I was out of town again and it was difficult to call, and then I heard that he was missing, and presumed dead.

—  Aimee Mann
Mirror’s Gaze Part 13

 Previously on Mirror’s Gaze

~~~~

Arthur was right, none of them were listening. Resigned, he followed behind them, Scooby by his side. They made their way to the stage, the direction everyone was fleeing from. There was still small bits of debris falling from the ceiling, where the Professor had disappeared with the Robot

“Professor Mansfield!” Dr. Gardner ran on the stage, getting there slightly before the gang. “No no no! This can’t be happening.” She stared at the hole in the ceiling in dismay.

“Jeepers, I hope Professor Mansfield is okay,” Daphne fretted as she looked through the hole torn through the roof - including steel beams.

“Hmm,” Velma seemed very interested in something she found on the floor. She reached down and quickly took a sample. It was just in time, too.

“Okay, all of you, clear out.” Mr. Jorkin stomped onto the stage. “This is a crime scene, now. Authorized Personnel only!”

“Authorized by who?” Dr Gardener snapped. “You’re campus security. You don’t have any authority in a criminal case.”

“And you don’t have any authority at all.” Jorkin smirked. “You’re just Mansfield’s pet, and with him gone, you’re nothing.”

As Dr. Gardener looked like she was ready to explode, Mystery Inc. beat a hasty retreat off the stage.

~

“We need to learn more about Professor Mansfield and who might want to hurt him.” Fred declared once they were out of the way of the argument. “Let’s split up.”

Only Scooby noticed how Arthur twitched.

“I found some residue, I think it was from the Robot’s jet pack,” Velma announced. “I want to run a chemical analysis on it to see what it’s made from.”

“Sounds good. Shaggy, you and-”

“Arthur.”

Fred stopped short.

“I’m Arthur, remember?” the mechanic reminded him.

“Oh, right…” Freddy looked uncomfortable as his train of thought completely derailed.

“I got a pretty good look at the Robot. I can check with some contacts of mine, see if the design is copyrighted. If you don’t mind, I’d like Scooby to go with me.”

“No, I was going to suggest Scooby go with you.” He always did. But this wasn’t Shaggy. This was a complete unknown.

“Okay, then.” Arthur looked confused by that, but let it go. He took off to do his research.

“Freddy?” Daphne asked, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“Oh! That leaves you and me. I think we should look into Mansfield’s past. See if we can find anything that might provide a clue.”

Daphne sighed. “It’s okay for you to miss Shaggy.” she reassured.

“I’m that obvious, huh?’ he wilted, “We’ve just done this so long, we have a rhythm. And now it’s all messed up. Don’t get me wrong, Arthur’s a great guy, but he’s not…Shaggy.”

“I know,” Velma agreed. “I love having someone I can talk to about science, but it feels like something’s been missing ever since Shaggy and Arthur switched.”

“Just remember, this isn’t permanent.” Daphne reminded them. “We’ll see Shaggy in another week at the latest. Then everything will go back to normal.” She hoped. She really really hoped.

“Will it?” Fred asked. “We still don’t know how to switch them back.”

“We’ll think of something. And even if we don’t…I think we all know it’s not the body that matters. Shaggy’s going home with us, no matter what body he’s in.” Daphne stated firmly.

“That’s fine for you to say Daph, but neither of bodies in question are yours.” Velma pointed out. “I can’t imagine Shaggy or Arthur being okay with leaving their bodies behind. Not to mention how would we explain it to Shaggy’s parents?” At least the Skulls didn’t have to worry too much on their end. Apparently this was somewhat par for the course for Arthur.

“I’m not leaving Shaggy behind.” The redhead was stubborn,

“No one’s leaving anyone behind.” Fred insisted. “None of us, and I imagine none of the Skulls either. If all nine of us are stuck together for a while, so be it. We’ll figure out this mirror thing one way or another.”

“Magic,” the word left a bad taste in Velma’s mouth. She couldn’t deny that was what was happening, but she hated to admit it. “We need to figure out the magic.” She sighed. “And we all need to look into it.” Vivi had confirmed that the more rational a person was, the harder a time they had understanding spellcraft. Which meant Fred, Daphne, even Shaggy was more likely to figure out a solution than she was. And it grated.

Fred sighed. “Let’s focus on the case for now. We’ll find Professor Mansfield and go from there.” He honestly didn’t like magic being real anymore than Velma did. At least not when it kept him separated from his friends.

~

Scooby watched as Arthur’s fingers flew over the keyboard, inputting every detail of the Robot he could remember. Sometimes he understood the terminology Arthur was using, but most of the time it went right over the dog’s head. Arthur had far more than a passing interest in robotics, it seemed. And he was way smarter than any mechanic Scooby had met. He was more like Velma in intelligence.

The conversation Arthur and Velma had about colleges worried him. If Arthur was so smart, he probably could have been much more than a mechanic, but he’d opted not to go to college because it would separate him from his friends. Would Velma do the same? The thought of the gang splitting up, even temporarily, was painful. But the thought of Velma never living up to her potential, ending up in a menial job, was worse.

And it’s not like they would lose contact. The past week showed that without a doubt. Not a day went by without at least one, often more, calls to check in with Shaggy. Even if his absence was like a physical pain in Scooby’s heart, Shaggy was still connected to them.

“Done.” Arthur hit send, the email going to multiple recipients. “Most of the guys should get back to me by later tonight, tomorrow at the latest.” His phone rang, and he checked the number. “And one right now.” he gulped and answered. “Hey, Uncle Lance.”

“Arthur, why did you send out an email asking about robots?” his Uncle asked with fake calm.

Maybe he shouldn’t have included his Uncle in the contacts. But he heard a lot through the grapevine. “Well, we stopped at this robotics festival-”

“Arthur, are you working a case?”

He flinched. “Yes, Uncle Lance.”

“Without Lewis or Vivi there as back up? Not to mention whatever that ‘dog’ is?”

“It’s fine. There are no evil cults, no supernatural monsters. Just a robot that someone programmed to make trouble. We find the creator and case solved.”

“Or you get shoved in a robot’s endoskeleton.”

“Endo….Have you been playing Five Nights at Freddy’s?”

“That’s besides the point,” Lance sighed. “I love you Arthur. But you always seem to run into the worst possible things. Can you blame me for being worried?”

“No, Uncle Lance.” It was true, after all. “But this isn’t like one of our cases. We’re not putting ourselves at risk, we’re just gathering information we can turn over to the police. And since we’re not officially involved, we have the option to just leave if things get too dangerous.”

Lance was silent. “I’ll contact some people I know that weren’t on your mailing list. Take care of this quickly and please be careful.” He pleaded.

“I will, Uncle Lance. You stay safe too.”

“Hmph,” But he could hear the smile in his uncle’s tone. “Anything tries to mess with me is gonna regret it.”

“Don’t I know it.” Arthur couldn’t wait till this was over and they were visiting home.

“Ro riss rim,”

“Yeah, I do. Uncle Lance has always been there for me, even when…” he clutched his arm. “Even when things were at their absolute worst.”

“Rood.” Scooby nodded. He was glad Arthur had someone to watch over him. “Rarthur? Rhy rid roo rick re?” Scooby had made it a point to stay by Arthur’s side, but at the same time, Arthur hadn’t seemed anymore attached to him than any other member of Mystery Inc. Perhaps even less so if you took into account his distrust of ‘talking dogs’.

One day he’d convince him he was a real dog.

Arthur was silent for a moment. “Part of it is the fact that your remind me a bit of Mystery.Which is silly, because you’re nothing like him, really.”

“Rystery rade rou reel rafe?” Scooby asked.

“Not really, at least not most of the time. But there was one thing I knew I could count on him for.” He bit his lip. “Scooby, you believe in ghost and stuff, right?”

“Ruh-huh.” Scooby agree. “Rhey’re rary.”

“They can be,” Arthur agreed. “What about possession?”

“Roression?” Scooby’s ears and tail lowered. “Really rary.”

“No argument there.” Arthur’s tone was calm, but his grip on his arm was white knuckled. “So if something was controlling me and tried to make me hurt the others, would you stop me?”

Scooby nodded. 

“No matter what? Even if it meant hurting or crippling me? Or worse”

“Rorse?” What had happened to Arthur?

“Please, Scooby. I need to be sure. I need to know I’m never going to hurt anyone ever again.” Arthur looked at the dog desperately.

Scooby nodded again, not trusting his voice. He might hear the lie. He needed Arthur to feel safe, but there was no way he could cripple Shaggy, or anyone for that matter. Much less ‘worse’.

Arthur seemed to have bought it, at least he relaxed significantly. “Thanks. I needed to know.”

At that point the computer dinged and Arthur turned his attention to it and though the whole disturbing conversation hadn’t just happened. Or worse, as though it were normal.

Scooby shook his head. Something bad had happened to Arthur, he’d known that for a while. Now he knew it involved possession and Arthur hurting someone unwillingly. He leaned against Arthur, making sure his mood didn’t take a dangerous dip again.

But the mechanic was fine, now. He simply tapped away on the computer, getting responses and cross referencing them. There couldn’t be too many places capable of not only building, but programming a construct like that.

~

“Whatcha working on?” Velma asked, looking over Arthur’s shoulder. They had decided to meet at a local diner to compare notes. Arthur had flipped his paper place mat over and had begun a series of drawing that looked like a robotic joint. “Is it for the case?”

Arthur started, “No, this is a project I’m working on. These are for the case.” He handed her a few sheets of paper, on which he had sketched the Robot in various stages of motion, complete with notes on how certain joints might work. “This is definitely not a guy in a mask unless he’s quadriplegic. The joints are too slim to fit a limb through.”

“An actual robot then, one remote controlled to kidnap the professor.” Velma sat down next to him and looked at the sketches.

“That’s what I’m thinking.” Arthur agreed. “Building a robot is one thing, though. Programming it is another. We’re looking for a team, or someone capable of doing both.”

“Are you two starting without us?” Daphne mock-chided.

“Sorry couldn’t help it.” Arthur gestured to his order of mozzarella sticks. “I’ve heard of having a black hole for a stomach, but this is patently ridiculous.”

“She meant the case,” Velma explained, sounding exasperated, though her grin gave her away. “What did you guys find?”

“Turns out Professor Mansfield doesn’t completely own the patents for most of his inventions and developments. They’re co-owned through a group called CLA Limited.” Fred explained. “Also, Mansfield isn’t just a teacher, the whole school was his idea. He spent every cent he had financing it and runs almost the whole thing.”

“So the target might be the school itself,” Velma surmised. “Removing Mansfield might see it collapse. On the other hand, causing the school to fail would put Mansfield in some desperate straights, which someone could take advantage of.”

“So what was the residue?” Arthur asked.

“It was from the ‘jetpack’ taking off, alright. But this compound hasn’t been used in years. In fact, I don’t think it could have gotten the robot off the ground, much less through the roof. It was for show. The robot must have had another way to fly. What about you, Arthur?”

“Well, like I said before, not a guy in a mask. Also, not a single design matches, but several seem to have partial similarities. And all of them originate from one company Fezness Animatronics. They did stuff for kids parties and even some Hollywood, but they went out of business a while back. We might be looking for an ex-employee with ties to Mansfield.” He finished his fourth appetizer. “So when are we turning this information over to the police?” 

“When we solve the case, of course.” Fred answered, as though it were obvious.

Arthur shrugged. He supposed he could understand their arguments being more persuasive if they handed in an idea for a suspect as well. He ordered his meal, content in that at least this time they wouldn’t be chasing after the bad guy themselves.

~~~~

Sorry this took so long. Even after getting a new compy it took a while to get back in the swing of writing full chapters.

And special thanks to Idigihearts1x3 who helped me when I wrote myself into a corner.


Next time on Mirror’s Gaze