Mystic Mansion

"Oh, I hope that help comes soon..." A Mr. Prog nervously paced back and forth, stopping occasionally to look at the warp hole in front of him, trying to will someone into entering through it. Behind him was a rather rickety looking old blue house, which looked a tad too small to be called a mansion. On the other hand, it at least certainly looked like a place virus ghosts would like to hang out...if they existed.

Eventually, the program stopped, and looked at the house. "...Come to think of it, this'll be the first time since the master passed away that the Mystic Mansion will be hosting guests. He's probably rolling in his cybergrave that I haven't dusted lately..."
Sleuth made a beeline from Internet City to the run-down mansion the GNA had pointed her towards with their coordinate data. Her long legs and coat peeked over the corner of a portal she used to enter, then she promptly straightened out her garments with a few brushes of her gloves. A mansion is a mansion, after all. There might be somebody worth impressing (although you wouldn't know she was trying from her unremarkable entrance).

She had felt somewhat "dour," as she would have called it, after being told by her employer that she couldn't risk an NP investigation. Thankfully, there was an abandoned mansion full of unwelcome spirits in front of her and the only thing she needed to revitalize her radiant spirit of curiosity was a good subject to be curious about. She also still had Mata to keep her company, theoretically, if her partner wasn't too turned off by the sudden announcement that the previous case posed too many dangers to continue. Nobody really likes to imagine a detective running from danger, but Sleuth knew her payment consisted of caretaking Jocelyn first, everything else second.

"It reminds me of Father's house! Only a little smaller and a lot more dusty," Jocelyn noted.

"Why, yes, the dwelling is positively scanty," Sleuth agreed sarcastically,wishing someone had bothered to turn their PET towards the Yard family estate as she'd met with Jocelyn's dad so she could have some idea of that grandiosity. "Still, I hear it holds interesting inhabitants as of late!"

"Oh, ghosts? Father said that ghosts aren't real... but the client said he'd seen them. Perhaps the viruses are so covered in dust that they appear to be ghosts?" Jocelyn offered quite seriously.

"... Hm. Then I suppose the place must lack a VacuumFan," Sleuth joked, looking around for one of the amusing little net denizens known as progs while also keeping an eye out for the amusing little net denizen known as her partner, Mata. She found the prog first and proceeded to stroll leisurely in its direction, holding her cane back behind her shoulders, which were a bit stiff. "Hello there, Sirrah! You must be the one who has requested my services, as I see no one else but spirits glimpsed from the corners of frightened, betraying eyes. What sort of exorcism can I perform for you today?" she asked, smiling in a way that showed she east really afraid of any ghosts like she had implied.
Mata arrived to the mansion short of breath, looking side to side to survey the area. "So...That's the place with all the spooky-boogie ghost viruses?" The navi looked uninterested at the building, possibly because it looked so cliche. Seeing her partner already ready to tackle the mission, the spy jogged up next to Sleuth and gave a harmless nudging with her elbow. "Sleuth, you better hope that this will be just as interesting as that NetPolice business." Oliver appeared on the holographic screen, looking even more indifferent than his navi was, and took a quick look at the mansion. "...BAH! Supernatural and spiritual phenomenons are nothing but fog and mirror, no real meat for me to dig in." As he continued to mumble to himself, Mata laughed nervously quickly closed the screen.
"Ah, hello there!" The Mr. Prog waved, and hovered over to Sleuth, who was soon joined by her mission partner. "You two must be Sleuth and Mata. the Mystic Mansion!" As if on cue, a bolt of lightning crashed in the background, complete with realistic thunder sound. "Er, no need to be alarmed by that. Whenever someone says 'welcome to the Mystic Mansion'-" Another lightning and thunder display. "...That happens. It's actually quite stress relieving. Which is good, since I've been under a lot of stress."

"It's as I said in the request. What appear to be virus ghosts are roaming every last room in this house. They really love to hide in things, and then pop out to scare you. It's strange, though...they seem like ordinary viruses at a glance, but you can actually see through them. As far I know, they can't be touched, and they can't touch anyone, but I can't say for sure...and that's where the two of you come in. I want you to investigate the mansion, and ensure that the ghosts are taken care of. It doesn't especially matter to me how, just do it."

"I can't really give you much helpful information, but there are a couple of things I've noticed. First off, it seems they've all staked out their own territory, and so there's never more than one ghost in a single room. Also, no matter how good you think your nerves are, those ghosts will scare the BugFrags right out of you. You probably won't notice as much around you if you're too on edge. Feel free to use anything in the mansion that might help you relax, though."

The Mr. Prog looked thoughtfully for a moment, before coming to a realization. "Oh! Speaking of which, the mansion's old master was a bit...eccentric. He loved to hide various tidbits throughout the place for reasons unknown to me. If you find anything, you're welcome to keep it. Now, to get things started, I'll offer you this."

Sleuth and Mata GET: FearScope

"Thees FearScopes, when activated, will alert you as to exactly how afraid you are at any moment, as a number between 0 and 100, with 0 meaning you are completely serene, and 100 meaning that you're completely paranoid. Just try not to get too scared as you search, and you should be okay. ...So, any questions?"
Sleuth's face momentarily looked pouty, then intrigued; her shoulders slumped but then immediately drew back again, thrusting her immense chest forward. "Ha ha ha! You've defied my expectations again. I thought for sure that you would exhibit fear in the face of our current situation, but there I go with my stereotypes again. Not everything works out the way it does on the tele," the detective chuckled. "Let us not bar our minds from all of the possibilities of a mystic world! While I am a skeptic I am also a great dreamer, you see, and isn't it fun to dream of such things as spirits? But I suppose looking for spiritualism on the net would be the height of silliness, begging for gross misattributions."

Now that she was done greeting her comrade, Sleuth flexed both sets of fingers around her cane's head, planted its butt firmly against the ground, and leaned forward to listen to the prog. "Oh ho! Mystic mansion!" she giggled, allowing the thunder to clap again. "So not only do we have ghostly pests but they are also territorial as well as lone wolves? I don't know whether we should consult a seasoned exorcist or a behavioral scientist for a professional opinion on this one~"

"I think Father would have a fit if our hounds each decided to declare a room to be its territory... what a darling thought though. I can picture the little one hiding in my laundry hamper," Jocelyn sighed fancifully.

"You needn't worry about my nerves, sirrah. I am the picture of composure, as cool as a brisk winter morning," Sleuth assured their client. "Although I will accept your curious device all the same. Better safe than sorry! Handing two women in professions such as ourselves gadgets that warn of paranoia is almost ironic, though... If it seems to be going off already, I asked you, you should treat it as a Geiger counter's reaction to trace radioactivity! Hm hm... I wouldn't be much good as a detective if I were not at least a little paranoid, now would I?"

"I wish I could test it..." Jocelyn murmured.

"... I'm fairly certain that, judging upon your ordinary ability to take notice to your environment and react appropriately, the output if the scope would be more like a hospital heart monitor flatlining," her navi scoffed with a joking smile. "Well now, let's barge in! Shall we enter through the front?" she inquired, already attempting to pull it open.
"...All of this sounds just too ridiculous."

Mata scoffed at Mr. Prog's explanations about their mission, crossing her arm over her chest. Why would ghosts take over the mansion if they can't do anything? In fact, a normal viruses would be more capable than the ones that can't touch or be touched, the navi thought to herself. "And Sleuth, what the heck do you mean that I would show fear?! Things are bit different from real, half-naked navis to fake harmless 'ghost' viruses...Wait...F-forget what I just said." The navi clamped on her mouth with her hand and tried to avert her eyes from Sleuth's gaze.

A loud beep clicked into Mata's ears and she looked down to the FearScope she had in her hand. The device was going up the fear gauge before the two even got near the mansion. "...I-Is this thing telling me that I'm scared of Sleuth? Oh geez, this things over-exaggerating!!" While the spy was gritting her teeth, Oliver appeared once more with a charming smile, completely opposite of him moments before. "You guys have a working fear machine in the net-world? Oh, JEALOUS!" His eyes began to glitter in curiosity and continued to ramble on. "Think of how easily I can detect things with that in hand...There's got to be a way we can get this over to this world, but I just need to examine that program in detail and I would be cracking conspi-" Before he could finish his word, Mata literally kicked the screen showing Oliver to pieces, still gritting her teeth and turned to Sleuth. "Lets go already, before my operator begins to talk again!"

The Mr. Prog seemed largely indifferent to the Navis' comments, but did shoot a glance over at Mata. "But that's just it. Just because they haven't done it so far doesn't mean they can't. If I was completely sure that they couldn't harm a fly, I'd just open the place up anyway, and advertise it as a haunted mansion. So please, for your own sake, be careful."

He floated over to the door, and opened it effortlessly, unlike the struggling Sleuth. "Sorry, but I had kept the door locked with a password I installed in myself, so no one could get in...or out, if the case need be. Don't worry, it's unlocked now, and if you absolutely have to leave for some reason, you can."

Inside the house...well, that was a lot of marble. Marble tiles on the floor, marble pillars here and there, marble stairs...if it was part of the actual mansion and not a window, it was made of marble. Strange, considering the outside looked like it was made of wood. There wasn't a whole lot to the room beyond all the marble, aside from potted plants on either side of the twin staircases, each on a small wooden table. Next to the entrance, there was a long, thin table, with a few papers scatted around it.

"This is the foyer, as you can see. The ghost in this room is a Spooky...yes, I've noted the irony for some time. I know it's in one of the potted plants, but since it frequently switches, I can't say for certain which one it's in now...though, last time, it was in the far right plant. Since it switches so often, I think I can say that it's not in that one, at least? Anyway, I should explain where all these doors lead. If you go straight ahead from the entrance, you'll end up in the kitchen. If you turn right and go straight, you'll end up in the coat room, and the dining room is the door near that. To the left is a side room, which is where the master would store various junk he couldn't decide where to put. In the far left corner, there's the door to the library. It's hard to see from here, but it's there. And, of course, either staircase will take you to the second floor. It doesn't matter which you take, but they're the only way to the other floor."

Mr. Prog looked thoughtfully at the Navis, trying to figure out anything else he needed to say. "...I think that's everything. I'll remain here, in case either of you need me for anything. Hopefully, the Mystic Mansion-" Another flash of lightning, and the accompanying thunder made it impossible to hear whatever he was trying to say. It did, however, succeed in annoying the program, who turned and glared out the window. "Oh, be quiet!"

Sleuth: 5/100
Mata: 5/100

5 - Normal reaction fear, search ability still at maximum
"So my friend is afraid of me and also harbors a resentment for partial nudity! Then if I were combine these two ordinarily harmless stigma, I wonder what her reaction would be?" Sleuth teased, slowly unbuttoning her coat. She stopped around two buttons in and guffawed while hooking them back in "Oh, I kid! I kid!" she chortled, spinning her cane and following the Mr. Prog inside.

"If I didn't know better, I would believe that the house's former master was MarbleMan, who I played a role in imprisoning. That is quite a lot of marble architecture," the detective commented, moving further in. "My own pinache for interior design tells me that marble is a status symbol, one to be used either sparingly by the wealthy or heartily by ancient Greco-Roman artist-architects! Was your master one of the latter?" she joked irreverantly. "Well, my friend, it seems our first task is an easy one. We should each check one of the plants, since he has to be in one or the other!" she reasoned, pointing her cane forward.

"When you find the spirits, what comes next? Will you battle them?" her operator inquired.

"Perhaps... or perhaps battling is useless and we must appease their immortal souls in some other fashion. Or perhaps we will have to perform a traditional eastern exorcism! I feel as though that might be a challenge for me, even with my extensive skillset," Sleuth suggested. "Well, no use dwelling on it for now. What say we give those plants a thorough pat-down?"

Of course, the safest option would be to start by simply checking the plant that the prog had suggested, but then again, Sleuth wasn't the safest person. She walked over to the rightmost plant and began pushing the plumage aside with her gloved fingers, more like she was looking for ladybugs than for a ghosts. "Oh, and we shall have a look at those papers momentarily, if you don't object, sirrah. If a thing is worth writing down, it is also worth picking up upon," she commented absently, beginning to drone off as she focused on her plant-tending.
Mata gave Sleuth a sharp glare, despite the fact that it was hidden by her shades, before heading into the mansion. "You think you know everything with that fancy detective head of yours...Well, whatever, lets just see how far it takes you today." The spy mumbled to herself.

When they finally got into the building, the navi was rather shocked by the sudden change in the decor in comparison to the exterior. "Cliche or not...I really wasn't expecting this, y'know? I thought it was rotten wood floors with holes, spiderwebs, broken clock, the whole package." She continued as she examined the marble pillar. "That prog wasn't kidding when he said he was taking care of this place." Oliver's screen popped up and circled around Mata looking outwards, examining the mansion. "This place looks too well off to be an abandoned building, especially for one Prog to take care of...There must be a reason why! Oh boy, I think this is going to be interesting!"

Mata ignored her operator's child-like glee for the moment as she saw Sleuth making her way to one of the pots. She fought against a spooky before, and they were more of an annoyance than a threat, much less something scary. The navi stretched her chest forward and nodded to herself as she made her way to the far left pot. "Just come on out, virus. Don't make this harder than it should be!" With a cocky attitude, Mata stuck her hand into the plant of the leftmost pot and searched it for anything ghostly viruses.
Either the Mr. Prog didn't have a sense of humor, or he just didn't find Sleuth very funny, since he shot her a slightly sour look as she investigated the plant. After a meticulous search, she discovered something...that there was absolutely nothing suspicious about that particular plant, confirming the program's theory.

As Mata's operator started to speak, the Mr. Prog sighed at him, floating over to the spy Navi. "It's...not really that hard for one person to maintain a simple homepage, you know. It's not like dust and cobwebs naturally form in Cyberworld." He backed off as the Navi started to search another plant, just in case...but as it turned out, there were no ghosts in there, either.

Sleuth's suggestion made him turn back to her, this time with a non-annoyed expression. "The papers? Feel free to look through them. Nothing's off limits to you two, so search anything and everything you feel warrants it."

Sleuth: 4/100
Mata: 4/100
"You and Mr. Prog are alike, Ms. Mata. Cute little creatures and oh so fun to tease!" Sleuth chuckled happily as she began to root through the, er, roots. Indeed, she had run out of plant to search and it seemed her partner had as well. "Ho hum. What troublesome ghosts, making me walk around. If you silly creatures don't come out, I may tease you as well!" she warned, before lackidaisically plopping her gloved hand into the next closest plant. "Mata, be a dear and go check those documents, if you would. Perhaps the old master, or better yet, the spooks themselves have left us some useful hints."

"The ghost couldn't be hiding under that paper, could he?" Jocelyn asked, more out of idle curiosity than fear.

"That would make for a paper-thin mystery, wouldn't it? Ugh, that was terrible. Ghostie, Sirrah, I've been a bad girl! I made a bad joke and I need to be puniiished~" she joked in a silly, singsong voice, grasping around the plant without a care. "But really? I would imagine that's unlikely, unless the ghost can hide its physical form altogether. Who knows? By its very definition, superstition is not an exact science!"
"Cobweb, shmobweb. I say it's still impressive!" Oliver yelled in childlike glee. Mata sighed when she found nothing from the potted plant, possibly in relief or frustration, and made her way to the next plant to the right of her...Before Sleuth intervened. "...Why? The plant is right here. It's closer, and if a ghost comes out from either of the two middle pots, we can both deal with it!" said the spy as she tried to reason with her partner. "Oh, just do it, 'little creature.' It looks like she knows what she's dealing with!"

Mata fell silent and quickly turned towards Oliver, immediately pointing her finger straight at his holographic face. "Are you implying that I don't know what I'm doing? You think I'm just doing this because I don't know any better?? All this time I did things for you, I just did everything halfcooked?!?" She lashed at her operator, gritting her teeth like some rabid dog. "Hush hush now." said Oliver as he simply smiled. "You sure look super angry for a super cool spy, y'know?" Mata snapped out of her little anger fit, all the while clamping her mouth shut. She turned silent once more while her dark cheeks blushed slightly.

"...Just...Just be quiet for now." Closing the holographic window, she faced Sleuth and raised her index finger. "This one time, okay? I still think this isn't really smart for us to do, but just this one time..." Mata turned and headed towards the desk next to the entrance, slowly slugging across the marble floor. The navi placed her hand over the papers, but delayed a bit before she actually did anything. "Scared??" Oliver's voice rung in Mata's ear. "Shush!" Taking a deep breath in, Mata slowly exhaled and began to rummage and look through the papers.
And there was more plant searching, though this time only one Navi did it. The Mr. Prog hovered in place, though his eyes went back and forth, almost as if assisting her...but froze as he apparently noticed something about Sleuth's search area. "Er, Ms. Sleuth, you might w-" Alas, his warning was too late, as a translucent Spooky rose from the pot, and gave the detective a 'congratulatory' lick on her face before vanishing. It was strange, though...there was no actual sensation of being licked, and yet, she could feel SOMETHING... how creepy. Fortunately for Mata, it was so quick that in the time it would take for her to realize something happened and turned around, it'd be gone. "Sorry...I noticed a faint glow on the edge of the pot, but I couldn't tell you in time. I hope you're not too rattled."

While all this was going on, the spy Navi got to checking out the papers. They were mostly just random stuff, but one managed to catch her eye, mainly because it had exactly one word on it written in large letters: 'Teeth'. Weird. Perhaps of more interest, there was a small but noticable bump in the paper. A check revealed...compressed chip data!

Mata GET: Attack+10 BattleChip data

"Hmm? Did you find something?" The caretaker program turned around just in time to see Mata obtain her loot. "Is that chip data? Well, like I said, anything you find is yours to keep. What's that piece of paper?...Teeth? Come to think of it, the former master told me he had hidden various papers around the mansion. That's probably one of them, left purposely unhidden to let people know they're here. Can't say I know where any of others are hidden, though...but, what I DO know is that something good will happen if you can solve the riddle. More than that, however, I don't know."

"Now as for that ghost..." Nope, he hadn't forgotten about Sleuth's experience. "I'd say this room is in the clear. I doubt it'll pop up again now that we all know how it operates. That said, I'd hazard a guess that there's nothing else in this room that's of use to any of us. Which brings me to this question...are the two of you going to stay together, or split up? If you split up, you can probably cover more ground, but if you remain as a team, I'd imagine you could cover each room more thoroughly. I intend to remain here, either way, but I'll maintain a link with each of you, regardless of your decision. I'm sure my information will be more useful than my physical preference, anyway." Oddly, listening to the Mr. Prog seemed to calm Sleuth ever so slightly, even if she didn't notice probably would've done the same to Mata, but she was probably feeling so good at the moment she didn't need to calm down.

Sleuth: 19/100
Mata: 0/100

19 - A bit creeped out, but searching ability is still very high
0 - Feeling awesome
"Dear Mata, do not be afraid! You know I have a beast-like sense of intuition. Why, any moment now, I'm bound to light upon the little bundle of ectoplasm and-!" Sleuth joked, before stiffening up as something wet and potentially alive but also invisible slid across her bare cheek and the bridge of her nose. She closed both eyes and pursed her lips into a tight smile. "... Well now!" she spoke out, complaints lengthy silence.

"Are you okay, Sleuth? That looks like the face my little sister used to make when she drank cough medicine," Jocelyn noted. "Which, as Father said, is useful but none too pleasant."

"I think this event merits a similar description. What a forward little spirit! He could at least have invited me to dinner first," the navi scoffed jokingly, while not so jokingly rubbing her face down with her gloves. She'd been licked in the face by both dogs and men before, but this was less pleasant than either of those. "Let us hope the ghosts awaiting us further in will have the pinache to buy some flowers."

She rejoined her partner and listeners Mr. Prog explained the new puzzle to both of them. "Riveting! Now there's a nice little riddle to unravel, don't you agree?" she exlaimed, clenching both hands at the head of her cane. "What could the message be? The location of a great fortune, you say? Well, you didn't quite say that, did you? But something fortunate will occur! Even the most dogged of pessimists must appreciate such an opportunity!"

"Or perhaps he left some sort of advice? Then the message itself would be the reward," Jocelyn offered.

Sleuth smiled but lowered her eyebrows skeptically. "A message that reads 'Brush Your Teeth' is not much of a reward. At any rate!" she broke off, spinning and coming to rest with her arm over Mata's shoulder, "Let us not separate! How foolish would it be to deny one another the pleasure of such delightful company as we each provide, hm?" Besides that, she had a hunch she would want that Mr. Prog around for whenever a question arose and, unless he had a freaky mystery trick of his own, he probably couldn't be in two places at once. Additionally, although the place was spooky by itself, the thought of having only Jocelyn to talk to was much scarier.

"As for where we go next, my beast-like intuition points me to the coat closet! I vote we work counterclockwise. Of course, you're free to disagree. I'm not always right, just usually!" the detective concluded, folding her arms.
"Yeah yeah. Quit your yapping, we already know how much of an awesome private eye, detective, or whatever...Hey look, I found something over...Here?"

Mata turned towards Sleuth when there was an awkward pause in the detective's talking, but the spy found nothing out of place...except maybe the slime dripping down her face. "...Oh...Oooh...Not good." The navi turned silent as well, maybe out of sympathy towards Sleuth, or maybe out of the fact that there were actual ghosts in the house. Either way, she was quiet till Sleuth broke the silence with her rant...Her desperate rant. S-stay strong, Sleuth! said Mata in her thought as she instinctively clenched her fist.

As things calmed down, the two navis investigated the paper with "Teeth" written on it. "'Brush your teeth'? That's gonna be the biggest let down in the history of riddle...I think I may have an id-" Before Mata could properly speak, Oliver intervened once more as the holographic screen appeared between the two girls. "Why teeth out of all things to write? If this was a dying message, or even a suicide note, it doesn't make a lick of sense!...Unless...It's the name of the organization that was behind the death of the owner?!...N-no, that's not it, No right-minded organization would ever call themselves TEETH......Yeah, I got nothing. Back to square one, sorry for the intrusion~" With a big smile, Oliver left as quick as he appeared, leaving Mata blushing completely red while her jaw dropped open. After all this time to conceal her operator's erratic behavior, Oliver just revealed his love of conspiracy theories out in the open to Sleuth and Jocelyn.

"Aha...Hahah...T-that operator of mine...Always j-joking..."

For what it was worth, Mata had to try to salvage her image from Sleuth as best as she could. The mere thought of being constantly teased by the detective, especially about Oliver, was unbearable. "ANYHOW!" The spy suddenly screamed. "...Anyhow, I think there's more to this message than we think." Pointing at the paper with her lean finger, she finally talked about her own theory about the message. "Obviously, we need to find other parts to get the full message. But I doubt that its simply going to spell something out and that'll be it. If anything, I would have to say that this is a series of code that needs to be used somewhere in the mansion." All the secrecy and espionage that Mata...lacked, due to not being a real, true spy in a sense, made her want her theory to be true in a way. But nonetheless, there was no doubt that she was interested in what the message had in store.

When the choice was given whether or not the two should split, Mata obviously had no objection about sticking together. "Pleasure of one another's company?" said the spy in a sarcastic tone. "I think you need me to stick around the next time you get licked up by another ghost!" And when Sleuth pointed towards the Coat Room, the spy shrugged and nodded her head. "I guess I don't mind...But wouldn't it be too cramped for the both of us??" Nonetheless, Mata gave Sleuth a small thumbs up. "Right or wrong, lets just find the ghosts already!"

[To the Coat Room]
"The coat room, eh? I don't think even my master would hide any clues in there, but by all means, search away...but don't worry, it's not overly small, since my master...well, you'll see..."

And indeed, the two ladies did see. To each side were racks 20 feet in length, and entirely covered in blue coats. At the far end was another, smaller racks, covered in the same blue coats. To each side, an umbrella stand, both of which had a single red umbrella in it. "Yeah, one day he decided to start a collection of blue coats, and the next thing I knew, the coat room looked like you can see, there's a lot of coats. I don't think you can cover either side row very thoroughly, though. Maybe if you focused on, say, half the rack at a time, you could give it a proper search?" Despite mentioning monitoring them, the Mr. Prog was content to just float over behind them, probably because it wasn't exactly a long distance to cover. "The ghost here is a Skarab, but I don't quite remember where it liked to hide. I...want to say something about ribs, though? Does a Skarab even have ribs? I don't remember...I'm sorry."

With that apology, the caretaker program stepped back, to allow the detective and the spy to do their thing...

Sleuth: 18/100
Mata: 0/100

18 - A bit creeped out, but searching ability is still very high
0 - Feeling awesome
"Or perhaps the clue means that the treasure is hidden in something's teeth?" Jocelyn mused, scraping only the most clear-cut, obvious tangents, as usual. "Or perhaps the treasure is teeth? What do you think, Mr. Oliver? Maybe dentures?"

Ignoring her operator for now, Sleuth went back to teasing Mata, which always set her own mind more at ease. "Lucky for us we still have so many clues to find! I think that a sequence of, say, more than one word will provide us a good starting point from which to speculate further," she joked, happy that Mata had gone along with her choice. "And do not worry, Mata! I have no doubt we will both fit quite snugly. Poor Mr. Prog might be a little too much, so large is his head." As it turned out, there was no reason for them to be worried about the size of the closet. Sleuth gave the closet a brief look over, then smiled. "So many blue coats! Your master must have believed that spring is eternal. None the matter; only a genius such as myself can appreciate the true class and pinache of a full brown ensemble. If I had a closet of my own, it would be similarly single-toned."

"Even a brown summer dress?" Jocelyn asked. The idea of such an unfashionably colored version of such a pretty garment seemed all wrong to her, but she hated to doubt Sleuth's judgment (or anyone else's).

"Save only the skivvies! Brown knickers are just so conservative feeling... you really need a dash of color in them, I say, at least if you wish to reflect some sexual prowess," Sleuth offered, looking like she was speaking to Mata more than anyone else. "But I think a man or woman in a brown coat inspires some confidence."

... The door had been hanging own for a while now, so Sleuth cleared her throat and strolled inside, holding her cap to her head. "Let us each take a rack and then meet halfway," she affirmed, starting with the left. "A skeleton, hm? We will bleach his bones right out," she announced in response to Mr. Prog's description. She also decided to take it a half rack at a time, starting from the closest, since she had a rule of thumb regarding matters of a foreign estate: the manservant usually knows the home he cleans. Of course, that didn't fully apply here, nor did it in most cases where she used it, but she was so keen on the phrase that she had to try.

While she searched, she also thought of one other point of personal interest: the Prog had said "collection." She turned the coats out just enough to see inside, inspecting the depths of a few pockets to see how far caved the inner lining was. If he had worn the coats before, she suspected she'd find them pressed in, either by himself or his servant. If he had only been collecting them, the insides of the pockets might contain packing tissue or cardboard straightener, possibly even pins or receipts. Of course, it'd be stupid to check them all on a hunch, so she checked only the first few. Of course, there also might be ghosts in the pockets, but that was just a risk she'd have to take.
Mata wasn't as surprised as Sleuth when they saw the rows of blue coats, merely sighing and shrugging. "This...looks familiar to your collection, Oliver." Mata whispered as Oliver appeared with his usual smile. "Oh please. this is nothing compare to my wardrobe of my janitor suits! All of these may be matching COLORS, but you can't beat 31 identical clothes nicely hung and creased and in the perfect shade of gray~. PLUS, that's all that blue coats are digital, it literally is nothing compare to mine!" As the operator started to become more and more passionate about his collection, Mata closed the connection quickly and began her search on the rack of coats opposite of the one Sleuth was checking out.

"...Are we gonna find one of those special notes in here as well?" said the navi as she flipped through the coats one by one, occasionally stopping to stare at strangely designed ones. "What's it gonna say next? EYES, TONGUE, FEET? I'm getting pretty curious here." As interested as she was, Mata wasn't going through the coats as thoroughly as Sleuth was and already made it pass half way through the rack...
The ladies proceeded to check the coats. Mata had little to worry about with odd looking ones, though; they were all identical in appearance for some reason. She also had little to worry about, period, as she encountered absolutely nothing. Sleuth, on the other hand, had a bit more luck, as her more thorough searching resulted in some literal pocket change.

"Oh, did he leave some money in there? Well, you found it, so it's all yours. Not like my old master will be using it any time soon..." And thus did the detective Navi get some extremely easy zenny. She found some at each end of her rack (of coats), and even on her half of the middle. The latter proved most important, as there was a single slip of paper in there, that read only 'Deer'. That was...informative?

Sleuth GET: 600z

"Hmm? Is that another piece of paper? ...Deer? There aren't any deer in here, that's for sure." Apparently, the Mr. Prog had seriously good vision, as he spotted this nearly the entire length of the deceptively long room. "Still, it's gotta be a hint towards something. He was eccentric, but he certainly wasn't a drooling idiot. Anyway, that's the hint for the room. Maybe there's some more stuff in the other coats, if you search them more closely, but...well, you didn't find the ghost, so maybe you should count your blessings and leave? The decision's yours, of course, but I'd rather not see anyone run out in terror...""

Speaking of terror, the joys of free cash and beating Mata to the hint had evaporated any that Sleuth had been feeling. Because nothing calmed one's nerves quite like mysterious slips of paper.

Sleuth: 0/100
Mata: 0/100

0 - Feeling awesome
As Sleuth pocketed the money with an appreciative smile, her brain was at work processing several interesting new threads and tidbits. Was the prog still greiving his master at all following the loss, I.e., was that a sullen tone she detected in his voice? Does Oliver's uniform collection have something to do with his mysterious nature? How did Mata so tactfully evade a discussion about the best color for underwear? Was this the first money she had found on the net since coming under Jocelyn's care?

But the most important question for now: why would the Prog suggest they move on without discovering the ghost? Perhaps he just pitied the two of them as laborers is perhaps his nerves were shot and he didn't want to encounter another ghost... Or perhaps there was another less obvious reason? She always liked to imagine there was.

"Come now, my good man! A house with just a few ghosts is like soup with just a few flies; it's not so substantially improved until every pest is out of sight!" Sleuth responded heartily. "Well, ghosts are typically out of sight anyways... and the soup isn't any better if the bugs are submerged rather than floating upon the surface... bugger, it is hard to find an especially witty comparison today."

She went towards the last spot in the coat rack where neither she nor Mata had checked. "Stand aside! I'm the one that insisted we confront the spirits, and with God as my witness, I confront them!" Sleuth declared, although she swore faith to no entity but her own intellect. She swept both arms out from beneath her cape, causing it to billow around her dramatically (but briefly) as she swiped the coats aside, searching for another spooky spectre.