Dimension 20 (2018-…): Season 8, Episode 2 - Heaven and Hell on Earth - full transcript

Sofia and Dale have a date. Pete deals with Cody. The team hops on the subway.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it - foodval.com
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(Unsleeping City music)

- Hello, one and all,

and welcome back to
another thrilling episode

of "Dimension 20: The Unsleeping City,"

I'm your humble dungeon
master Brennan Lee Mulligan.

With me, as always, are
our Intrepid Heroes.

Say "Hi," Intrepid Heroes.

- Hi, Intrepid Heroes.

- Lovely, incredible, wonderful.

Last we left them off,

the champions of New York City,



we're in the midst of
a lovely October day.

The day before Halloween wherein we saw

Sofia Lee living with her
mother above Spaghetti's Bakery,

heading out to her psychic.

A new character we're
meeting for the first time.

Ms. Iga Lisowski who runs a
little illicit money laundering

slash psychic operation
out of the upper West side

as Madam Anastasia.

We also saw Pete the Plug
working at a bookstore,

looking for a new spot to live,

get together for pupusas with
the wonderful Kingston Brown,

living with Liz back
in their spot together,

and also saw a little flashback

to Kingston's earlier days
back in the early nineties.



We saw Ricky Matsui in a clock tower loft

with the wonderful Esther Sinclair,

living a wonderful life heading off

to work at the homeless outreach shelter,

and also met Cody AKA
the "Night Angel" Walsh,

mall lifer and now

infernal paladin of "Lucifer"

who is just going by Bazathrax.

- I wore a demon necklace for you, Cody.

- I appreciate it. Thank you.

- We saw a day in the life

of our wonderful and familiar heroes,

some emotional turmoil here and there,

some engagements announced over Instagram,

some fights over underwear,

nothing too far.

- Delicates.

- Delicates.

Your delicates, exactly.

And an Islanders ticket that
needed to go to a friend.

We also saw the summoning of a devil

into the slated for
demolition Queens Center Mall

soon to become a Gladiator
shipping and fulfillment campus,

bringing tons of jobs and new buildings

and a wonderful state-of-the-art
campus to Queens, New York,

along with a strange relationship

with an arcane chest in the bedroom

of Ms. Iga Lisowski in Greenpoint

and a changing of a chest
that has been unchanged

previously for some hundreds of years.

We return now to the Unsleeping
City where that same day,

we see Ricky Matsui working his heart out

at the Helping Hands
Homeless Outreach Center.

What kind of work is Ricky getting up to

today at Helping Hands?

- Oh, man.

Well, I think Ricky has recently watched

a lot of YouTube videos on organization

and is trying to organize
like hygiene kits

as best as possible,

and just like really
knocking out a ton of kits.

- Hell yeah.

Ricky is getting these kits good to go.

- Nice.

Doing it.

- You're doing it.

Tasha Keane, who is the director

here at Helping Hands comes in and goes,

"Oh, look at this.

All these ducks in a row.

My goodness, Ricky, you are a gem.

What a hero."

She pats you on the shoulder,

and mentions, she says,

"Oh, by the way, Rusty is here

and would like to say hello
to Ox if you get a chance to."

- "Oh, yeah. Of course."

I feel like is Ox inside
or can he be in with. . .

- Ox?

Yes, he's a super,

well I think that you have

like support dog qualifications for him.

- Mm-hmm.

He's hypoallergenic.

He can't be allergic to
this animal I summoned.

(laughing)

- Exactly.

Rusty comes in.

Rusty's an old fellow.

He's by here a lot

and is very sweet to specifically Ox,

but you look up as he comes
in, and he looks up and says,

"Hey, look at that.

There's Rick the man.

How's it going, Rick the man?"

- "It's going pretty good, Rust the man.

How are you?"

(laughing)

- "I'm better now that
I got this boy here.

Look at this guy.

Come on, you bud."

- I mean, I hope that Ox is not being

manhandled too much by an old man,

but it seems like they have a
good relationship I imagine.

- Yeah, he's being very sweet to him.

You see that Rusty looks up and says,

"Hey, I'm sorry I haven't
been around too long

to say hi to the fellow.

I've been busy busy.

I'm glad to see this fellow.

You're looking good, Rick.

How're you doing, Rick?"

- "I'm feeling good, you know,

I just made a bunch of kits here,

and, you know, I feel like
I got my routine in order.

You know, I got no complaints.

How are you doing, Rusty?"

- "Good.

Coming by, coming by, you
know, come by to help.

I'm gonna help out a little
bit, gonna get a bite to eat,

but, you know, it's all good.

I'm glad to see you and
the dog are good here,

and I tell you, it's wild
out there, you know?"

- "Yeah, I think I know what
you mean, but if you. . .

Rusty, are you okay?

You sorta stared at the
ground pretty hard."

- "Nah, it's pretty
good. It's pretty good.

There used to be a rat."

- "What?

You used to be a rat?"

- "No, no, there used to be.

He would come around, you know?

I remember sometimes, you know,

having a hard time getting myself here."

- "And a rat would show up."

- "A rat would show up and help me out."

- "Hey, Rusty, there
did used to be a rat."

- "What?"

- "There was a rat, and it was huge,

and it was gross, and
it would help people.

That's real.

Rusty, that's real."

- You see, down the hall,
Tasha kind of turns her head.

She's not fully listening,

but she just turns to see
Ricky talking to Rusty.

He goes, "I knew it."

- "Yeah."

- "I knew it."

- "That's not a thing you made up.

I just want you to know
'cause I've seen that rat,

and I think he's,

I think the rat's gone now,

but I think, you know, other
people will help in his place."

- You see, Rusty smiles and gives you

a sort of ginger but
warm embrace and says,

"I know they will.

They're doing it right now.

They're doing it right now.

Hey."

He gives you a little punch in the arm.

- Ow, so strong, dude.

(laughing)

- "Troublemaker, yeah, troublemaker here."

(laughing)

- I get Ox to do a back flip, I dunno.

(laughing)

- What?

- How late does Ricky tend
to work at Helping Hands?

- I think he helps close up

whatever the like hour is that happens.

- Cool.

Rusty stays for a little
while to help close up.

Rusty is one of a couple
of people at Helping Hands

who both use the services
here and also donate

and volunteer their time here,

and you have a lovely day
making a tangible difference

in the lives of people who need it.

It's later at night.

Sofia, after meeting up with
Iga for that card reading,

what does Sofia get up to that day?

- Wow.

- Or I should say into the night.

I should say.

- I mean Sofia's a little shook

by the description of
you can't fall in love.

You're falling off of a tower.

So I think Sofia is like,

"Okay, if my present
is falling off a tower,

I'll go climb some towers.

I'll do a little falling
and catch myself."

So I climb some skyscrapers,

but I'm also keeping an eye out

for any trouble because

part of not drinking is
excruciating boredom,

and so a little adrenaline
rush from getting

into a scrap with someone who deserves it

is perhaps acting as a substitute.

- Copy that.

Go ahead and make a
perception check for me.

This is if Sofia gets lucky,

and if Sofia is really
looking for a scrap,

you can add an investigation
role there as well.

- She's really lucky.

I got an 18 for perception

and a 10 for investigation.

- Cool.

You climb up some skyscrapers.

What, I guess, you. . .

- Scaffolding, fire escapes,
window washer units.

(laughing)

- You're just standing up on the precipice

of a skyscraper looking out.

You're kind of like near
the Manhattan bridge

on the Brooklyn side.

You're partway home to Staten
Island before you get home,

and the sun is setting.

Gazing out over the city,

you look, yeah, and there's just

something about jumping from roof to roof

of these tall buildings

where the moment that you are in motion,

and all you can do is anticipate landing

and rolling into the next leap,

there is a gleeful surrender
of having to think about

or do anything other than jump,

and you're leaping from place to place.

As you do so with that 18 perception,

you see sort of early night.

You're a little bit closer to
like the Clinton Hill area.

You see there's some
trees lining the street.

There's some sort of
dining areas out here.

There's some bars.

You see that there is a couple

outside of a bar kind of engaged in a,

it's just an argument,

but man, are they being
nasty to each other.

- Okay.

I suppose out of curiosity,

this could be almost like a reality show.

I suppose I. . .

Is there like an area
of darkness near them?

- Yeah, there's an area
of darkness nearby.

- Okay.

I'm a shadow monk now,

so I teleport to that area
of darkness to eavesdrop

from the shadows.

- You teleport across the
street through the shadows.

In Sofia's departure from the
way of the drunken master,

having embraced the way of the shadows,

you are a ghost in the night, and. . .

- I'll listen 'cause if
it's a lover's quarrel,

you know, I'll stay out of it,

and in fact maybe it's kind of fun to hear

some lovers really get into it,

and be reminded that romance isn't all,

you know roses, and

bed and breakfast.

- A hundred percent.

Yeah, you hear that this is a couple that

for all intents and purposes,

should not be together.

They are having a clearly bad time.

They are not communicating well.

It's a big argument going on,

and yeah, I guess for Sofia being like,

"Hey, this is great, a
couple that's on the rocks."

- I think if that's the case,

then I come out of the shadows,

and I say, "Life is too short.

Do you know how nice it is to be

with someone that you belong to be with?

You are preventing both of each other

from finding that person.

Go.

Leave each other.

Right now."

- Give me an intimidate roll.

(laughing)

- I'm gonna intimidate you to not ruin,

to not waste your lives.

Nat 20.

(laughing)

"Do you understand there people out there

who would not make you feel

the way you both make each other feel?

Do you understand how it will
feel to feel that, right?"

- You see the woman looks up at you.

Tears burst into her eyes.

She goes,

"Oh my God.

I can survive being single.

I don't need to be in a bad relationship."

- Yeah.

- She turns and goes,
"Steve, go fuck yourself."

- Yes, Steve.

- And she flips this dude off.

Steve is mostly angry at you, so he goes,

"Who the fuck are you, lady?

Get the fuck out."

You see that as the
woman turns to walk away,

he reflexively grabs her arm hard.

- Okay.

I disarm him.

I flip him over.

I flip him over into the shadow,

so that I now have all advantage

on all of attacks against him,

and he has disadvantage on
every attack against me.

(laughing)

- Go ahead.

Go ahead and make your attack rolls.

- Okay.

I don't like that he touched her,

but I'm not really trying,
I'm trying to like,

I'm trying to control his body

but not really hurt him.

- Okay. Copy that.

- Not really like.

Okay.

So I think I just want to
physically control his body

so that he doesn't try to do
that to another woman again.

The first one is gonna be a 27 to hit.

(laughing)

- Yeah. For sure.

- Okay, I'm gonna go
for a stunning strike.

That's gonna be, okay,
so that is eight damage,

and then I'd like to try
and stunning strike him,

so just to stun him.

- This dude is, you flip
him into the shadows

and move his arm in such a way
that it like pinches a nerve,

and you see he goes into
a full muscle back spasm

where his full body can't move

as he breathlessly gasps in pain.

The young woman turns around to see that

'cause his hand is on her
arm until you pinch his wrist

so that all his fingers
snap open off her arm

so that she can watch as he,

just like a sack of dirty laundry,

flips off into the shadows and just thud.

She looks at you and goes.

- Zumba.

- She puts her fingers over her lips

like you've said a secret name of God

to her and goes, "Thank you."

And rushes off into the night.

Ricky.

You. . .

I'll actually, first of all,

you know, Sofia, you get
a text on your phone,

but the guy is still muscle
spasmed in the shadows.

- Oh, I think I wanna like
release him from it now that he,

now that the girl is safe.

- You release from it.

He's gonna take a swing at you.

- Okay, he'll do it with disadvantage

'cause we're standing in the dark.

- You see a terrible, sloppy, bullshit,

break-your-wrist haymaker from someone

who's never been in a
fight coming your way.

- All right.

I catch his wrist, and I break it.

(screaming)

- He falls to the ground.

- "I was trying not to hurt you."

- He goes,

(groaning)

just on the ground.

- "See, this is what bothers me.

I was trying to teach you a
lesson about touching women,

and you fucking did it again, so."

- Incredible.

Superhero Sofia Bikes is
standing over this dude.

You hear a little bing on your phone.

- I look at it.

- You see a text from Esther saying,

"Hey, Sofia.

Miss you. Hope you're well. . ."

and then you see another
one dropping a pin

from her find a friend's,
which several months ago,

she asked for you guys
to turn on your mutual

find a friend, and she was like,

"Cool that you're in Clinton Hill.

Seems like you're doing some roof hopping.

Hope everything's okay."

Then under that says,

"Seems like you're in the neighborhood.

Wanna grab a bite?"

- Yeah.

I think I call her back.

- Cool.

Okay, she picks up, and she's like,

"Hey, oh God.

Sofia, how's it going?"

- "Sorry, I just thought
it was easier this way.

Yeah, let's get a bite to eat.

Where do you wanna go?"

- "Let's go rent a car somewhere.

I'm not gonna be free for
another like two hours.

Does like a late dinner, like
a 9:30 dinner work for you?"

- "Oh, okay.

Yeah, that's fine.

Yeah. Uh huh."

- "Okay, all right, well miss you.

It'd be great to see you.

Hope you're well."

- "Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, I know I am.

Yeah, you too.

Bye."

- Phone goes off.

Ricky you get a text
immediately being like,

"Sweetheart, Sofia's in the neighborhood.

Looks like she's roof hopping.

I'm not gonna be able to get away

from work for another two hours.

Can you go check on her?"

- I could go hop on some roofs.

(laughing)

- I send her a selfie
of me and Rusty and Ox

just hanging out.

(laughing)

- Immediate heart emoticon on the selfie.

- Roof hopping crew.

(laughing)

Rusty will not hop on roofs though.

I think he's too old for that.

(laughing)

- You immediately get
a little notification

as Esther adds this
photo to a Dropbox folder

called "Ricky Selfies."

(laughing)

You take off.

Sofia, after a little while,

Ricky finds you on a rooftop
somewhere in Brooklyn.

I don't think you got any advanced notice

that Ricky was gonna swing by necessarily,

but Ricky, give me an insight
and a persuasion check.

- Insight would be, sorry.

Oh, 14,

and persuasion, is what you said?

- Oh, perception.

Perception.

- And I do perception
with advantage, right?

- Yes.

Ever since you got turned
into a dog momentarily.

- 18 on perception.

- Cool.

You smell a little bit on Sofia,

just some of those like those dogs senses.

You smell a little bit of

adrenaline and the fear sweat of bad men.

- "Sofia, are you cool?

Sofia, hey."

- "Whoa. Oh, hi, Mr. March,

How are you?"

- "I'm good.

Hey, are you okay?

'Cause I can smell,

it seems like there were

some bad vibes around here recently.

- "Yeah, it's okay.

I broke their wrist though."

- "Oh, shit."

- "Yeah, there was a bad vibe.

I broke his wrist.

I'm hoping that it leads to
meaningful introspection."

- "Okay. Sofia, I."

- "Yeah, how are you?"

- "I'm good."

- "I feel like I haven't
seen in you in a while."

- "I'm pretty good.

I, you know, I sort of changed jobs.

I have a different, you know."

- "Yeah, I know.

I got the calendar this
year, and you weren't in."

(laughing)

- "Yeah, that's been, you know,

an adjustment, not being in that calendar.

Look, are you okay?

What are you doing right now?"

- "Oh, I mean I'm just kind of, you know,

my psychic said that I'm
falling from a tower, right,

so I'm just taking it very literally."

- "Well, you know, I'm
not a firefighter anymore,

and so safety is not
100% my goal all the time

although it is a pretty
heavy hobby of mine,

and I should say that you probably

shouldn't jump off a giant tower.

It seems maybe not the
safest thing in the world.

I have faith in you
that you have abilities

to handle a situation like that,

but just would, you know, I
recommend caution to everyone."

- "Yeah.

You know, Ricky, I
think it's really sweet,

but I do want you to feel comfortable

that I can jump off a lot of things,

and I have a lot of
resources at my disposal

to make it as convenient as possible,

and in general, I think
the people you should worry

about the most are the
people who cross my path."

- "Wow."

(laughing)

- "I mean like who cross my, you know."

- "Are you out for vengeance right now?

I feel there's a bit, you know."

- "No, I'm just out.

I just, you know, going home is always

a little bit of a reality check,

so, you know, I stay out late."

- "Yeah, well I don't know.

It seems like Esther talked to you,

but if you want to hang out with us,

you know in a little bit."

- "Yeah, that'd be great, yeah."

- "I think that'd be fun,

and also like it's just,

I mean, I don't really get to like

have this conversation
with that many people,

but hopping on roofs is
fucking tight now, you know."

- "Thank you. See.

That was what I'm saying.

I absolutely appreciate
how you feel about safety,

but when you practice something enough,

you can kind of put safety

in the backseat a little bit, you know?"

- Yeah, when you get a
level of comfortability

with something, you can just, you know,

you can have fun with it."

- "Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, so if you wanted to just
like hop a bunch of roofs,

we could do that until Esther was free."

- "Tight.

Oh, did I show you this?"

And I make Ox do a back flip again.

(laughing)

- Oh my God.

Sofia faints.

- "I've been training him."

- "Did that dog just do a back flip?"

- "Yeah, he can do the thing where he hops

off my shoulder and catches a Frisbee,

and he can dart between my
legs like dog show style."

- Can I minor illusion a
Frisbee to try to do this?

- As long as it's over the roofs.

I'd appreciate that, but yes.

- Okay. Wow.

- You hurl a Frisbee,

you see that as you hurl the Frisbee,

Sofia, it's made of sparkling light,

and the sparkling light around it

transforms into La Gran Gata

who catches it herself, going,

"It is mine."

(laughing)

- She's very greedy.

I love that about her.

Yeah.

"How are things with Esther by the way?"

- "Oh, I mean, we just. . ."

- "You know, I know a jewelry shop

around here that stays open late."

- "Okay."

- "If you wanna go.

I'm just saying I might go
there to look for some stuff."

- "Late night jewelry shop?"

- "Yeah."

- "Hey, you know this is
honestly interesting to me.

It's the second person who's asked me

about a jewelry shop lately,

and do I come off like a jewelry guy?

Like, I don't.

It's usually not very functional to me.

I don't think about jewelry."

- "Yeah, no, sometimes
it's like a fun present

or a fun like a token
meaning something else."

- "Oh, cool.

Yeah, well I guess I'll go
with you if you wanna go."

- "Okay."

(laughing)

Me and Ricky go look at engagement rings,

but I never call it out.

I pretend like I'm looking for myself.

(laughing)

- "These are cool."

- Bummer.

- "Are you gonna buy a couple of these?

These are really expensive."

- "No, Ricky. I'm not.

I'm not, no."

- "Okay, so I guess I'll
see what Esther's doing."

- "Yeah, okay. Okay."

- You guys do some roof jumping.

Ox and La Gran Gata keep their

respectful distance from each other,

and you eventually end up
at a tiny, little, very. . .

You end up at a tiny,
little Italian restaurant

around the corner.

Like couple of tables, very small,

great food, not that expensive,

and Esther comes in and sees you, Sofia.

You've probably been working with her

not too infrequent, so it's
not like you've gone months

without seeing her, but she
walks up and goes, "Sofia."

And puts her arms wide
and gives you a big hug.

- I lean into the hug.

"Esther, I'm actually
really glad to see you.

I have some sort of more official business

to maybe talk about unless
you wanna just shoot the shit.

We can talk about it later
in a more official capacity."

- "No, go for it. Let's sit down."

You guys sit down, get
some bread and olive oil,

and some like little candle light.

She goes like, "Yeah, absolutely."

- Wait, now I feel like
I'm crashing their date.

"This is very romantic.

Do the two of you just wanna be alone?"

- She says, "No, I mean, this is like our,

one of our like local go-tos,

but it's not here all the time, yeah."

- "Okay.

It's just, it's much fancier
than we have in Staten Island."

- "Yeah, I mean it's like at Clinton Hill.

This is, I think this is sort
of pretty, yeah, you know.

I'm sorry if it made you uncomfortable.

I didn't want to."

- "You're fine."

- "Yeah.

But yeah, what did you wanna talk about?"

- "Okay, well I guess
I've been doing a lot

of reading at the library at the monastery

because they actually have
like many interesting texts,

and, you know, reading is a
hobby I picked up in sobriety

that's actually a pretty underrated hobby.

It's. . ."

- Esther nods vigorously.

She says,
- Yeah.

"Yay books.

Yeah, a hundred percent"

- "Honestly, I agree.

I feel similarly."

- "Yeah?

What's you favorite book, Ricky?"

- "Gosh, my favorite book,

'The Mind Hacker,'

it's a near future a novel about

water rights and, and also Bitcoin.

I didn't kind of catch a lot of it

and didn't quite understand
what it was about, but."

- "That's cool."

- "There's definitely layers
of mystery throughout."

- "Wow."

- It just says that verbatim
on the back of the book.

(laughing)

- He's been reading
this book for two years.

(laughing)

- "Well, yeah, I've so
I've been going through

a lot of the books at the monastery,

and a couple things keep coming up

that are a little strange,

and I was curious if
Gramercy Occult Society

knew anything more about it,

but, you know, a lot of
the books at the monastery,

it's very practical,
very pragmatic, you know,

how do you defend yourself
against X, Y, or Z,

but they keep referencing sort of like

monsters and beasts
from like deep dreams."

- Esther sort of furrows her
brow a little bit, and. . .

- "Like something deeper
than what we went and saw."

- She sort of thinks
for a moment and says,

"Huh, well I feel like a
lot of that is conjecture."

I mean, you see that she
looks very interested.

She says, "I remember
you talking about finding

some of these older scrolls about like

the most dangerous
forms of dream entities,

but, you know, there's
so much we don't know

about the geography of Nod.

This is sort of, I mean,

I've read some things that are talking,

that talk about like different

other cities' relationships
with the dreamscape

and other things like that.

What have you kind of read about the. . .

Have you read anything about
like deeper dreaming or no?"

- "Well, I guess the thing
that's kind of bumping me

is that like, you know, that you say,

'Oh, it's just conjecture,'

but like the Order of the Concrete Fist

is all about what is.

They are the opposite of conjecture,

and so when I read, you know, bestiaries

about deep dream of beasts
that only come out sometimes

that doesn't feel, it's not in their style

to be hypothesizing."

- She looks to you and says,

"Okay.

Well, yeah,

it's true that we, there's a lot

we don't know about Nod even still.

I mean the society is trying to bring

on new members right now to kind of engage

in all the work that needs to be done.

Do you think, look I don't wanna. . .

the order and the society
have had periods of tension

in their working relationship over

the past century and a
half in New York City."

- "Yeah."

- "It. . .

I would be, oh, listen
this is, it's you and me,

you're the chosen one.

I'm the chairwoman and head of the order,

head of the society.

If we said thumbs up,

do you think you and the other monks

might be into a more formal
exchange of resources?

I mean, if there's stuff

the monks know about, things deeper."

- "I mean."

"Yeah."

- "Yeah, I haven't really. . .

If anything, it was probably
a little, a little. . .

I probably jumped the gun

by telling you because we're friends.

I probably should have
run it by the other monks.

I mean Nadia at the library
knows I've been looking

into this stuff, but I'll
bring it up with them,

I'm sure I can."

- "Yeah, I mean that sounds. . ."

- "I'd love to pool our resources.

I don't think that there's
any reason that we shouldn't."

- "I think we should."

- "Right?"

- "I mean this is the order, the society,

and two voxes in the
city at the same time.

We have. . ."

- "A rare moment."

- "The planets have aligned as they say.

Yes.

Talk to the monks, and let's
put our heads together."

- "Okay."

- You see that she think. . .

Go ahead and give me an
insight check real quick.

- Nat one.

- Here's the deal.

Sofia has been burning the
midnight oil researching,

and basically what you had discovered that

about the nature of Nod was basically

that the sixth borough is
the part of the dreaming

that touches New York and
the Unsleeping City, right?

And what Sofia's revelations were about

were about the relationship
of like, is Nod,

I guess like what started
Sofia's journey was,

is Nod the fullness of the dreaming,

or is there more dreaming past Nod

the farther you get away

from the Unsleeping City in New York.

And Sofia's found out
some troubling things.

You were about to see
Esther connecting dots

in her own head with some of the

society's resources until
your guys' food arrived,

and you saw her, in
perfect rhythm with Ricky

setting up his plate, just
take something from her plate

that she knew Ricky would want,

that she wouldn't want
and put it on his plate,

and there's just a small
squeeze of his arm.

- Puts a whole meatball in his mouth.

- Okay, that was a trigger
for me, but I passed.

(laughing)

- So you. . .

- "The book says it's a, you
know, it's a thrill ride.

It's suspense."

(laughing)

So, that's also. . .

- He's holding the book.

- Important to continue that.

- He's trying to be one of those guys

that has a book in his back pocket like,

"Oh, just on the go.

I'm just reading."

- This is my favorite book.

- Sofia, Esther and Ricky walk
off arm in arm that night,

and Ricky, Esther walks away
with you and looks up and goes,

"How do you think Sofia's doing?"

- "That's a hard question.

I feel like she seems really busy.

I don't know if she's too busy, you know?

I think she's,

maybe like there've been times where

I wasn't feeling so great,
so I worked out super hard,

and I just would do two three-a-days."

- "Sorry, two three-a-days?"

- "So sometimes, so you know
I do two-a-days, right?"

- "Of course. Yes."

- "So I would add two
three-a-days to every week,

and so three days,

so two days of a week, I
would work out three times,

and that was usually 'cause
I wasn't feeling great."

- As you do that you see Esther just nods,

and her eyes just sort
of slowly migrate down

to your abs through like
your baseball shirt.

She's like, "Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm."

- "You know, you know what makes me. . .

Hey, Esther?

Sorry, my eyes are up here."

- "Yeah. Sweetie, yes of course.

Yes, yes, yes.

Absolutely."

- "What's interesting to me is like,

I feel like in the past when
I had questions like this,

I used to ask my ax, and I'd feel like,

I dunno, I was just
thinking about that today."

- See, she looks and says,

"Yeah, I mean, what you
did with the questing blade

was incredibly selfless, sweetie."

You guys get back to
the apartment together,

and Esther takes a moment to sort of

put some stuff away and
then sits on your couch.

Again, super lovely, cozy home together,

and she looks at you and says,

"Sweetie, you. . .

You're very good all the time,

and it's not like you don't
take care of yourself.

Like, you do take care of
yourself physically, mentally,

like you're all about safety.

Is there. . .

It was a huge sacrifice when
you gave up the questing blade

because that was that was your
key into the Unsleeping City.

That's how you met me.

We went to the Hall of Heroes,

and you saw the other
champions of New York,

the defenders of the city,

and I think you know you always do that,

like hero Ricky Matsui thing

of anytime you make a big
sacrifice, you're so quick to go,

'Anyone would have done it.

It's the right thing to do.

It's the thing I have to do.'

But occasionally, if you
do something selfless,

it's okay to acknowledge that
it like stings a little bit.

It's okay if part of you misses that."

- "Yeah, I hear you.

Well I'll, I mean anyone
would have done that.

It was the right thing to do. . ."

- "Goddamn it, Ricky, no.

No."

- "That's definitely true, but. . ."

- "No, that's not, I
wasn't saying it in that."

- "You know, to be honest,

every now and then, I
instinctively reach for my ax,

and it's not there and I,

I feel a tiny bit sad,

not so much 'cause I want
to hit things or whatever,

but, you know, he was
kind of a bud, and. . ."

- "You deserve a bud."

- "Yeah."

- She gives you a big warm comforting hug

and buries her face and
your neck, and goes,

"Well, you know,

questing blades are pretty
rare, but who knows?

Maybe, maybe the questing
blade will return

or come back, I don't know but. . ."

- "I looked on Craigslist.

I couldn't find anything."

- "Probably not Craigslist, hun.

Yeah, probably not Craigslist.

Probably a different website
or maybe not a website at all,

maybe something more magical than that."

- "A magical website?"

- "No."

(laughing)

"You see. . ."

- "It just feels like, sometimes to me,

the magical thing could be honestly

any regular thing that's magical,

you know, like, magical podcasts

or something like that, you
know, or a magical. . ."

- "We should start a magical podcast.

I feel like we, if we did
release a magical podcast,

it's not a huge audience of people

that can perceive magical things,

but that could be very fun,

that could be a fun
couple of thing to do."

- "Yeah I would do that."

- You see, she looks at you and goes,

"I'll keep an eye out
for anything like that.

In the meantime, I know that Sofia

is gonna need some help tomorrow

just like keeping an eye on the city

during Halloween, and
questing blade or not,

I know you're off from work tomorrow.

Maybe tomorrow like tag along with Sofia

and like hit the old
stomping grounds again,

you know, go keep the city safe."

- "Gosh, I like safety.

Gosh."

(laughing)

"Yeah.

Yeah, let's do it.

I'll hop some roofs
hanging out with Sofia.

It sounds like a good Halloween.

Thanks, babe."

- "You got it, babe."

And you guys get ready for the night.

Sofia, you head back to Staten Island,

what do you do as you arrive?

How do you make your return
to your home in Staten Island?

- I get in my car.

I go all the way back
to the upper West side

where my car is,

and then I drive back,

once again going through Bay Ridge

and taking the Verrazano Bridge.

- You take the Verrazano.

You're driving to Spaghetti's Bakery.

You pass by

the empty lot

where your house used to be,

and you see

a shimmering, scintillating
column of light

very faintly but almost like fireflies

or something like that,
and you see a shape turns

and beckons to you there

as a mama deer and two fauns
come out of the woodline.

- I put the car into idle,
leave the keys in it,

and open the door and try to follow them.

- You go.

- Is the car still moving?

- Yeah.

(laughing)

The car just kind of
inches forward very slowly.

Ghost riding.

Sofia, you walk over.

It's been a couple weeks,

but as you approach,
you see that the light

sort of moats, the fireflies coalesce,

and with wings on his back,
Dale appears before you.

- And, but I saw him a couple weeks ago?

- Yeah, probably like six weeks ago.

- Oh.

Can I touch him?

Is he corporeal?

- He's corporeal.

- Okay, cool. I make out with him.

- He, 'cause he's covered in angel blood.

He's got the questing blade on his side.

He's beaten his way out of heaven again.

You guys make out hard.

You can tell that he's so invested

in this tiny amount of time he'll have,

and the spaces between
visits get longer and longer

as the angels find ways to stop him

from using the questing
blade to get back out again.

He's making out.

You can tell the only thing

as he's making out with you
is every once in a while,

he'll come up for air he go,

"Look, look, look, look, look, look,

They're licking the dew off the grass."

- "Oh my God. I mean it's just,

I was gonna say it's heaven on earth,

but you're literally heaven on earth,

so I mean there's just a
lot of that right now."

- You guys fully make out.

I will say that like,

you see the deer start
going back into the woods.

As the deer retreat
further into the woods,

Dale's like, "Do you wanna follow them?"

- "Okay, yeah."

- You go follow them
with Dale into the woods.

You quickly lose the deer in the woods

and return to making out,

and I would say whatever. . .

Dale is down for whatever
Sofia wants to do

in those midnight Staten
Island forest with the smell

of the New York Times printing factory

and the world's largest or
America's largest landfill.

(laughing)

Beautiful.

- Yeah.

- Off in the distance.

- I think we do exactly what you imagined.

And she's gonna be like,

"I don't know, is this gonna work?

Is this. . .

Okay, yeah, I don't entirely understand

how you're physically here,

but I'm not gonna take it for granted."

- "Hey, these are not,

you don't have to ask these questions.

If it works, it works."

And you see, he smiles at
you and winks and says,

"It is what it is."

- "It is what it is.

It's, yeah, which is honestly a bad motto.

It's not a great motto.

It's not inspirational,

but it is what it is."

- He nods.

You two are in a tiny clearing

off in these sort of Staten Island trees

lying down on the ground,
looking up at no stars at all

because of all the light
pollution from New York City.

Just looking at the underside
of gray clouds and empty sky.

Just going.

- "Beautiful."

- "Wow."

- "So, Dale, just so I can
kind of get my bearings,

what's the social scene in heaven like?"

- "You know, there's a lot
of wild people up there.

Some people, you would expect.

Some people, you honestly really wouldn't,

and the people who aren't
there are surprising.

There's some people that you really think

would be there, and they're not there."

- "Wow, wow.

I guess I'm trying to understand like,

what's your social life like up there?"

- "Oh.

I don't really,

I don't really have,

I don't really have one up there."

- "Okay."

- "You know, there's the
other, I talked to other monks

both from the Concrete
Fist and from other orders.

There's a tremendous amount
of sort of enlightened people,

and incredible

sages and scholars and. . .

Why do you ask, if I can ask?"

- "I just, you know,

our visits are,

they're not scheduled,
so every time I see you,

it's kind of a surprise,

and then I wonder if
they'll stop at some point,

and if there would ever be
something in heaven that would,

you know, beyond the angels that are

physically trying to prevent
you from coming back down,

if there was, you know,

if there was ever going
to be anything else

that might prevent you from coming down.

Like if you,

I don't know, met someone up there."

- Go ahead and give me an insight check.

- 19.

- Also, Dale got a 24 on
an insight check for you.

You look at him and see

that he looks sort of confused and. . .

- "I'm sorry, I know this
isn't a fair conversation.

I just, you know. . ."

- "No, I understand.

I don't really spend a lot
of time focusing on heaven,

paradise, you know, the beyond.

I'm mostly just trying to plot

and figure out ways to get past security

and get back here."

What is he reading on Sofia right now?

- What he's reading on Sofia is that

she is in the opposite situation,

but the same situation at the same time

where she's not really
living in the present.

She's kind of just always,
when she daydreams,

it's daydreaming about
getting to where he is.

- He looks at you, and it
gets very quiet for awhile.

He goes,

"How about you?

How's your social life down here?"

- "It's awesome.

(laughing)

I just had dinner with Ricky and Esther."

- "Oh, great.

Oh, Ricky's such a good dude."

- "I mean, yeah."

- "He's the founder of the feast.

He's why I'm even able to come here."

- "Yeah, yeah.

So yeah, I'm really,

I'm really having a lot of fun."

- He looks at you lie to his face,

and he goes,

(slow music)

"These are really hard for you."

- "Oh, please don't read
that from what I just said.

It would be harder if it didn't happen,

and I hope you understand that."

- "Right.

No, you're right.

I. . .

Yeah.

There's. . .

The things that are waiting
for us past here are not worse

considering each and every day

of your life here in this place."

(slow music)

Huh.

You see, he starts crying pretty hard,

without sobbing, but you just see

those sort of tears are
coming down his face.

- "Why, why?

Why are you crying?

We're. . ."

- "Nothing. I'm sorry."

- "We both agree that we miss each other.

Isn't that beautiful?"

- "Of course.

Of course it's beautiful.

Of course."

- "Is it hurting you to come see me?

God, it is, isn't it?

I mean, you should be enjoying paradise.

You shouldn't be trying
to escape it all the time.

For what?"

- He smiles and

looks off and just goes,

"I. . .

Yeah, I got some. . .

Sorry I'm having a hard
time articulating things.

How is the monastery
Cindy, Nadia, Solomon,

everyone's good?

First Fist of the monastery.

So cool.

Chosen one."

- "Yeah, it's a lot of paperwork, yeah."

- "Mostly I mean it's a whole monastery

about pragmatism and realism.

So the being chosen one is mostly

paperwork, and just sort of. . ."

- "Mostly paperwork, yeah."

- "Sorting out the kind of
tax status of the monastery.

Yeah, it's great.

Woo. Fun."

- "Yeah, I know.

I'm learning a lot, and I see
why you loved it so much."

(giggling)

- He nods and says, "I'm so proud.

You're the best thing
that ever happened to me."

- "Well, you are obviously the best thing

that ever happened to me."

- He goes silent, and you guys spend

a nice long amount of time together,

continuing to talk about
favorite memories, things shared.

- Okay, so it transitions to good

because I definitely feel
nervous from this conversation.

- You see that Dale moves it

in the direction of good and sweet things.

- Okay. Cool.

- And it almost seems like he
makes it like a perfect night,

like you hit every one
of your inside jokes,

all of your favorite bits,

every great memory all the way down,

and that he takes a lot of time

to say like little things here and there

like bits of advice about the order

and things that he
wished he had known back

when he was a monk, and
stacks all these things up

until truly it's like
the sky is getting light

in the East, and you wake
up in the middle of the day,

covered in ants on a hot patch of dirt.

You fell asleep in Dale's
arms, and he is gone.

- Okay, I the player know
exactly what that means.

Does Sofia know what that means?

What you just described mean?

Does she pick up on the fact

that he made it the perfect night

and also gives all of the
tips that he needs to give?

- Go ahead and roll.

Give me a DC 20 insight check.

- Okay, I desperately want to fail this

'cause I don't wanna know.

Six plus a three.

Nine.

I don't know it.

Great. Good.

(laughing and clapping)

"Wow, that was just an awesome evening.

Wow, I feel really. . .

I mean, Dale really went out of his way

to like have a good time.

That was awesome."

(laughing)

- Incredible.

The following day.

It's Halloween.

We have some characters that had

a lot of crazy shit happen
the proceeding night.

The following morning,

Pete and Cody, you guys are
now living in the same spot.

The following morning.

Cody, you know like the nearby
like bagel spot and place

to get like a breakfast
sandwich and stuff like that.

Pete, this dude who got infernal awakened

into the Unsleeping City last
night is now your roommate.

- Yeah.

- What are you guys. . .

As you guys dive into it the next morning

on your way to get breakfast,

you're walking down like
Steinway street and Astoria,

what are you guys talking about?

- Okay, I think I wanna
know like everything about

what you promised, what the like,

do you have the contract on you,

or like what the fuck?

What are talking about?

- Let me see.

Fuck, I was so excited.

Did I bring the book
with me or the contract?

- Give me honestly a DC
five intelligence check.

- Oh, my intelligence is okay.

It's my wisdom that's bad.

- Okay.

- Okay, I'm fine.

Dirty 20.

I rolled an 18.

- Great.

- So yeah I guess I show
the back of the ripped

WWE poster that is signed in my blood

that doesn't, I think,
doesn't clarify anything.

It just says that I gave
my soul away essentially.

- Go ahead, give me an Arcana check, Pete.

- Oh, great.

Okay.

So this is gonna be,

oh, yeah 27.

- Ooh, doctor.

This is the fucking
dumbest infernal contract

you've ever seen.

You've ever seen.

It's on the back of a WWE poster,

crisp out of the plastic,
scrawled in blood.

It's very clear that Cody
got woozy from blood loss

because he wrote the
full word "Night Angel"

out in his own blood,

which is too long to
write in your own blood

without getting woozy.

The deal, the contract,

the bargain is in exchange
for selling his soul,

he gets to work for this devil.

- "What?

This was a bad deal, dude.

What the fuck were you thinking?"

- "Lucifer himself fucking
comes out of hell."

- "No."

- "And tells you that
you can save the mall,

and you won't sell your fucking soul?"

(laughing)

- Oh my God.

Do I have any idea of like,
why devils would be back or?

- On a 27, you know shit load.

Ask me as many, truly as
many questions as you want.

First of all, you know Bazathrax.

Memories comes up from
Emma Lazarus back when she

was the Vox Phantasma of New York.

Bazathrax is a lesser,
lesser, lesser devil lord,

like sub, sub, sub devil lord.

He is literally a lord of the second

out of nine pits of hell.

He's in the number two,

he's in one of the number two,

and like kind of right
through the front door,

and he is the sub lord
of reckless decisions.

That's his fiendish domain
is reckless decisions,

and literally he's

what you're realizing is like the,

like the highway hex is still here,

like Robert Moses is gone,

but the thing that kind
of shunts powerful devils

and fairy creatures and
celestials like out of New York.

Bazathrax is one of the larger entities

that could have made it
through the highway hex,

so also you remember that,

like Isabella Infierno,
back three years ago,

was hell's representative here,

and she was a succubus.

She was like not a high
ranking devil either,

like again one of the most powerful. . .

It's sort of like a net that
bigger fish can't swim through,

but smaller ones can, and so like,

Isabella could make it through,

but because no one could like,

no one bigger than her could come get her,

she just like joined up with Robert Moses

and hung out for years, right?

But with her gone,

there is literally zero
infernal presence in the city,

so you're like, "Oh,
someone like Bazathrax

who is a full-stop chump
could still clean up here

because there's fucking no competition,

and there's 8 million people."

- Yes.

"Okay, can I. . .

Hey, 'Night Angel' Cody,

can you fucking summon Bazathrax please?

I need to talk to this guy."

- "I was super pumped when it happened.

I'm not a hundred percent sure if I can,

but I think I can 'cause
technically he's my boss now."

- "Yeah, yeah, right.

Yeah, cool man."

- "Cool."

- You know how employees can
always summon their boss?

- "'Cause like you can like
make butterflies and shit,

so you made a deal with another
devil or something, right?

We're getting the mall back."

- Okay.

I explain like,

can I just explain a lot more to Cody?

Like there's actually a
whole group of people.

We work to keep the city safe, or. . .

- Yeah.

- Can I explain?

Yeah.

- You guys are Blade.

- "And you keep, see, I notice, man,

that you keep bringing
it back to the mall.

We're actually, none of us
are working on the mall.

I'm so sorry to tell you."

- "So that's sort of my thing, I guess."

- "I'm not the Vox Phantasma for the mall.

I'm like for the whole city."

- "But I am."

- "No, dude.

Well, yeah maybe.

Yeah. Yeah."

You're kind of the Vox
Populi of the mall."

- "Got it. Cool.

Yeah, I think I get like
the fucking gist just a bit.

Let me call Lucifer and
see if wants to. . ."

- "Bazathrax, yeah."

- "Maybe that'll, maybe
he'll sort it out."

- "Great, yeah bring him in."

- "Oh, mighty, Lucifer,
in the name of Jeff Hardy

and the Hardy Boyz,

in the name of Breaking Benjamin

and all the other sick ass,

new metal bands,

I summon you."

And then I just like pull out a knife

and stab myself in the leg.

- "No, dude, you don't have. . .

You just gotta, you
just gotta say his name

I think, man, don't worry about it.

You don't have to hurt yourself."

- On that 27, first of all, Cody,

you fall to the ground.

You have a bad leg stab.

- "Fuck."

- It's bad.

For Pete, you can tell
that nothing happened here

because the devil's name is not Lucifer,

so this is, it's not gonna work.

- "So, hey, man, look you
just got to say, 'Bazathrax.'

You gotta summon Bazathrax.

You got me?"

- I say the exact same thing
again except Bazathrax,

and I stab my leg again.

- "No, no, no, you don't have

to fucking stab yourself, man."

- In a burst of nasty like sewer smoke,

a man hole cover pops up,

and you, Pete, see Bazathrax again.

Marmot head, ram's horns, slimy humanoid,

very like emaciated looking torso

with long claws and
like a centaur-capybara

lower body with a long rat
tail that goes, "Holy shit,"

and crawls out of this smoking manhole.

- Okay, I'd like to grab him by the collar

and shove him against a wall

and be like, "What the
fuck are you doing here?

Tell me everything."

- Holy shit, okay.

Go ahead and roll initiative.

- Oh, not intimidation?

- Actually, yeah, before you roll,

intimidation, gimme intimidate first.

- Okay.

Ooh, that's a 28.

(laughing)

- Cody, you've seen Pete do
some like butterfly stuff.

As Pete slams this demon,

you see that the wall behind Bazathrax

turns into pure liquid chrome,

and circling daisy chains

of happy, what look like, children's dolls

with buttons sewed into their eyes,

dancing in this technicolor
swirl going into infinity,

reach out, and with
their little puffy hands,

grab Bazathrax and restrain him

in this circling phantasmagoria.

Bazathrax goes,

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, I give up.

I full give up. I surrender."

- My butterfly is flipping him off.

- "Are you fucking kidding me, dude?

Can I sell my soul to Pete?

Can you trade my soul?"

- "Well, I'm gonna try.

I'm gonna try to get your soul back.

Bazathrax, what the
fuck are you doing here?

How did you get here?

What's going on?

Tell me."

- "I don't fucking know, dude,

I don't fucking know.

The kid summoned me all right?

He said my name in the fucking book,

and he signed his soul.

You can't sell your soul to
shit, dude, you work for me."

Cody, you see that he
snaps one of his fingers

even while restrained, and you slam down

to one knee with the sword in your hand.

- It's so fucking sick
that I work for a devil,

but Lucifer kind of sucks.

- Can I like, with any
sort of magic, create

like a contract for Bazathrax to sign

and try to somehow get Cody out of this?

- Give me an Arcana check here.

- Okay.

Here's my Arcana.

Oh, good.

Ooh, 20 but not nat.

- Cool.

You feel like this devil's
probably not gonna sign anything

because the worst you could
do to this devil really

is banish him back to hell,

and then he would just be in hell,

but one soul richer right?

So there's not, like, you
and he are at an impasse

because you're vastly
more powerful than him,

but because of the nature of what he is,

there's like a short list of things

you can do to a guy like this, right?

- Okay.

- But you could definitely
get some concessions

out of him because he's scared of you.

- Yeah, I wanna know
everything or what's going on.

What his plans are.

"Cody, let Cody stand back up.

Jesus Christ, man."

- You see, he goes, "All right, all right,

all right, all right, all
right, hey, stand back up, kid.

Stand back up.

Do what the Vox Phantasma says, okay?"

- "Yes.

I serve my dark master."

- "No, dude."

I put my arm around Cody.

"Look, man, you don't.

This is a fucking like
weird old gym teacher."

- "I understand, I understand,

but I'm just trying to make the best of it

because do you know how long
I've been waiting for this?

Do how many fucking goth kids just wait

for the devil to fucking show up

and just turn you into a
fucking like hell warrior."

- "He's not the devil.

He's honestly, he like stocks

the vending machines of hell, man,

like you're fucking talking
to like not the devil."

- "I wish.

I fucking wish.

That's a primo gig.

That is a primo gig."

- "All right, Bazathrax, you can work,

you can stock the vending machines,

I fucking believe in you, you fuck."

- He says, "Cody, Cody, I'm lying.

I really am Lucifer.

Don't worry.

Don't worry.

I really am, just shh, shh, shh, shush."

- "I am no fool to believe anymore."

- "Hey, Cody, okay. . .

Actually, you know what?

Bazathrax, just what, what's going on?

Literally spill it."

- You see, he says,

"Look, something fucked up
is happening in the city.

This place is crazy."

He goes like, "There's, it's like,

there's, there's no fucking
devils here anywhere,

and like, I don't know how to put it,

but there's like something
that's keeping like

people from noticing when
shit is weird or whatever."

- "Yeah, yeah, we have that."

- "They're doing something at the mall.

they're taking over everything."

- "I explained the Umbral Arcana to Cody."

No, no, it's not the mall, again.

Anyway, so, it's much
bigger than the mall."

- You see, Bazathrax says like, "Yeah."

He's like, "That shit,

it's fucking leaking out everywhere.

It's getting thick and goopy in places,

which is pretty fucking crazy."

He's like, "There's something fucked up.

It's. . .

It's going down.

Has anyone been keeping
an eye on the sewers?

Do any of you heroes keep an
eye on the sewers or anything?"

- Would I know if any of us
have been doing like monitoring?

- Well, not really since Kugrash tied. . .

- Kug would have.

- Yeah, Kug would have.

- I think I have like on my key chain,

I have a little like
class of 2019 for Kugrash

'cause we all said he graduated,

and I think I got everyone
a little key chain

that says that to remind them of Kugrash,

and I just hold it.

- Bazathrax says, "That's all I know.

I can help you find it.

Look, something's fucked up in the sewers.

Something's fucked up in
the subways right now.

There's a, there's a confluence.

There is a confluence within the subways.

That's all I know."

- "Tell me more.

Can you take me there?"

- He says, "Yeah, yeah,
yeah, I can take you there.

I can take you there."

- "Are these demons friends or foes?"

- He says, "Oh it's not demons.

It's coming from people."

You see, he says, "It's the anti populi."

(laughing)

As he says anti populi, Pete,

I think you hear anti populi.

Give me an Arcana check again.

- Let's see.

That is 11.

- Anti populi is way out
of your field of knowledge.

This is some Kingston shit.

- Okay, when am I gonna
meet Kingston for that game?

- That's happening probably
like two days from now,

but today's Halloween, so
probably you gotta like,

today might. . .

You know that Sofia is gonna
be busy doing shit today.

It might be time to round up the troops.

- Yeah, okay.

I send out a text to everyone

just kind of explain
this whole devil thing,

and just say my new
roommate got roped into it,

and he's cool.

Just, I'm gonna introduce you to a guy.

He's cool, just he's cool.

- Gotcha.

- As a way to get. . .

Oh, sorry.

- Sorry.

I was gonna say, Iga Lisowski,

the next morning it's Halloween,

your kids are getting ready.

Your chest is still changed

after being unchanged for centuries.

- "I do not like this.

I do not like this."

Is there anybody I feel like
I could talk to about this?

Like I'm somewhat within
the confines of the. . .

- Yeah, you're within the Unsleeping City,

but you've just made a point

to avoid those people
because they're dangerous,

and you like have a family

and don't fuck with those kind of people.

- We could say hypothetically

that I would have probably texted you

for like a tarot reading after seeing Dale

or something like that.

- I mean, you do know that you have

one client who is an important fit.

You know Sofia has
divulged everything to you.

I think Sofia's your go-to probably.

- Great. I will maybe text Sofia,

"Hey, I need to talk to you.

I can give you a reading at a discount."

(laughing)

- Not even free.

- Sofia immediately hops
on the phone to call her.

- "Hi."

- "Hello."

- "Hi."

- "Hi, Sofia.

How are you doing?"

- "Honestly a little confused,

which is why I texted you that wall."

- "Yes.

Fun.

I have a thing that I need
maybe some little help with."

- "Oh, absolutely.

What can I do?"

- "There is an heirloom that
I have, a family heirloom,

it's an important,

let's say powerful heirloom."

- "Hmm, necklace, broach."

- "Sure.

So something happened to this heirloom.

It is a, it's a box I will tell you,

it's a box that has power.

Now, something happened last night.

It has always had trees on it,

and now it has you on it as
well as the trees, so. . ."

- "I'm sorry,

me or like a hypothetical you?"

- "There is a picture
of you and also a very,

very buff looking man
who is taking a selfie.

This is, again, a
hundreds of years old box.

I do not know."

- "Madam Anastasia, have you,

have you gotten the firefight. . .

Do you have the firefighter's
calendar from 2019?"

- "Yes, of course I have the

firefighter's calendar for 2019.

It's the best one.

They took out, they replaced
Mr. March this year.

I'm like, 'What is going on?'"

- "Right, okay.

Is there any resemblance between

the man on your box and Mr. March?"

- "Oh my God, this, yes,
definitely is Mr. March.

He is my favorite in that whole calendar."

- "He's everyone's favorite."

- I feel like, as you're
having a text conversation,

Sofia, you and Ricky
just have like your feet

off the side of the skyscraper
you're like eating lunch on.

Like, Ricky.

- "Yeah, would it be
okay if me and Mr. March

swung by and looked at this box?"

- "Yeah."

- "Is that the help that you
were looking for, or did you?"

- "I don't know.

I mean if you think, yes.

Do you or do you know somebody

who's like good with magical items, or?"

- "I know a couple people."

I guess I'll get on that group thread.

Can I just add Madam
Anastasia to the group thread?

- You absolutely can, yes.

- "It's fine.

It's my burner phone."

(laughing)

- Welcome to the thread.

- Hell yeah, so,

as Iga is going to meet up,

you see that Oscar says like,

"All right, you headed
out for the day, darling?"

- "Yes, I've got to, hmm.

Yes.

I'm going to, yes.

I'm going out for a little bit."

- Your husband looks
at you with a look of,

I have known that my wife does

something bizarre for,
you know, like 15 years

and he goes, "Okay, you
have a great time to go

out in the city to do your business.

I love you."

- "I love you.

Hey, I'm going.

If I go by the Carnegie Deli,
I'll get you a sandwich."

- "Yes, please do.

Also maybe we grab some,
from Carnegie Deli,

if they have that, the
pickled radish, you know."

- "Oh, yeah, no the, yes.

Yes."

- "Great, I like it from there."

You see that your kids are getting ready

for Halloween later in the day.

Look at you headed out with a
box that is now travel sized.

After you have compacted
it with your magic.

- I have that and Meshach in like

a really big sort of hand-woven bag.

- Incredible.

You head out to meet Ricky and Sofia.

Cody and Pete,

you had the thing Bazathrax said.

You're still carrying Bazathrax with you.

Cody, very humiliating,

your devil lord is being
dragged around by Pete.

You guys can see that Bazathrax

is just on a sedan chair of

like, sort of, they look like
they're made of light paint.

Like it's made of light, but
it's dripping like paint would

and splashing into light on the ground.

Just a small like cushion of butterflies

that he can't escape
from of different colors

is moving him along he's like,

"Whoa, whoa, whoa."

- "Dark lord, could you like,
do devils ever like trade?

Like could I get traded?

Could you just like trade me up?"

- "It's not the fucking NBA, dude, okay?

People don't get, no one's
getting traded, all right?

That's not gonna happen."

- "Fuck.

Yes, my dark lord.

This fucking rules.

This fucking rules."

- "Whee, dude."

- When we're walking, can
I ask Cody about the mall?

Like, "What's your thing with the mall,

and what's happening
with the mall right now?"

- "What's not happening with the mall

right now is the question."

- "This is gonna be poetic, isn't it?"

- "I worked at the Hot Topic.

I was a mall goth."

- "Yeah."

- "All my friends were there.

I had friends who worked at Spencer's.

I had friends who worked at Zumiez.

Hell, I even had friends
who worked at PacSun

even though I don't like the sun.

And then people started
buying shit online,

and it was really fucked up.

First, Spencer's closed and
then Zumiez not long after."

- "Whoa."

- "And then PacSun,

and Hot Topic stayed right till the end,

but then they just shut
the whole mall down,

and now Gladiators come in with their,

'Oh, we're on the internet,

but we're gonna, we
need to fucking campus.

Fucked up, so."

- "They're just mowing it all down

and making a fucking Gladiator campus?"

- "Yeah, they're making,

like they said it was gonna
be like a big job thing

or some fucking bullshit,
like they're just,

like they're crushing all the
small businesses like Sears.

You know what I mean?"

- "Yeah, totally.

Little mom-and-pop shops like Sears."

- "Yeah, like Sears and the
McDonald's is fucking closed.

I have to walk like a fucking

two miles to get to McDonald's."

- "That sucks."

- You guys arrive where
you've been headed,

which is outside of st.
Owens Memorial Hospital.

Kingston, you're just getting off a shift,

having been reached out
to by young Pete here

'cause you knew that Kingston would

know about that anti populi thing.

- Yeah, can we go to like Kingston's

little secret whatever room, or?

- Yeah, absolutely.

- What does the devil
look like in real life?

Is it like Kugrash, or it just looks

like something weird, but not a devil?

- It looks like a bunch of
sagging helium balloons right now

that all have satanic logos.

So that's what everyone else is seeing

as Pete has a bunch of sort of sad,

half deflated, satanic
balloons behind him.

- "Get over here."

(laughing)

Talking to these balloons.

(laughing)

- Yeah, Kingston is fully
dressed up for Halloween

and is dressed like a pirate.

- "Oh, shit.

You're a goth, too?"

- "What?"

- "It's so fucking good to,

it's so good to meet another goth."

- "I've never been called a goth before.

Nice to meet you.

Pete, is this your new friend

and your other new friend?"

- "Yeah, look, Kingston
doesn't usually wear eyeliner.

It's just for his thing right now.

Okay, yeah."

- Cody looks extremely offended.

- "Kingston, devils have gotten in.

This devil right here, this is Bazathrax.

He conned my new roommate
into giving him his soul.

We'll deal with that later,

but he's said something
about the anti populi.

- "Can I interject?

I really didn't con him.

He was extremely quick to offer."

- "I need to believe that you conned him."

- "Well, the thing is
that Bazathrax is like,

okay, you know when you
start working at Hot Topic

and there's like your manager,

and then there's like corporate,

so Lucifer is corporate,

so that's my real boss.

So I work for Lucifer."

- "Okay."

- "I'm coming for
Bazathrax's fucking job."

- "Okay."

- "All right. Okay."

We can, we'll work through this I think.

I think, Cody, it's nice to meet you.

I'm Kingston Brown.

We'll. . ."

- "Nice to meet you."

- " We can get into
Bazathrax and all of that.

I think that seems to be
a little less pressing

than, Pete, the anti populi."

Have I heard the word
"anti populi" said before?

- You a hundred percent have.

Go ahead and roll me a
religion check with advantage.

- Oh, what a thrill.

Here we go now.

It's only a 14.

- Only 14.

You know the term "anti populi,"

it basically refers to,

it's like antimatter but made specifically

of ill will towards people.

Anti populi is rooted in the culture

of the place that it's in.

So the anti populi of a like, you know,

small, quaint, Northeastern
town might be like,

oh, not saying hi to Jeff

down at like the lumber store, right?

Anti populi in New York
is specifically related

to the misanthropic ill will

and refutation of the
social norms of the city

that create a magically
toxic spiritual substance.

And when it congregates,

it can become spiritually
poisonous to people

in a very potent way.

It's extremely dangerous stuff.

It is a combination of
misanthropy, ill will,

and substance that exists
in direct opposition

to the social customs
and norms of a place.

- That gets Kingston real nervous

'cause I don't know.

Well, it sounds like, yeah,

I think I like, look at
Pete and I'm like, "Okay.

I mean, the fact that we
have anti-people building up

or anti populi building up is a bad thing,

and it sounds, I mean,
this definitely means

that there's a bigger problem going on,

but I mean, if there's something
we can handle right now

that your Bazathrax can maybe bring us to,

it feels like we should
get the gang together

and go handle this."

- "I think so too.

Yeah, it sounds like just a bunch of

this substance is being
created in mass under the city.

Yeah, we should get
everyone and go back down

to the sewers, the train station.

It seems underground."

- "Hey you, in the chair,

you said you have a,

you know where this is coming from?"

- "Yeah, yeah.

I've been snooping around all night.

You know, taking a look around.

I can lead you to it, yeah."

- "My dark lord, what
if people just started

calling me ambassador of the dark lord

and you would like not come out

and you would just like
talk to me in my head?

- "What's that?"

- "Dude, why don't you like,
get the fuck outta here,

and you can just talk to me in my head

and tell me where shit
is, and I could just be

ambassador of the dark lord?"

- "Cody, this is a hospital.

You can't smoke in the hospital.

I'm sorry."

- "Fuck."

(laughing)

- It's just like, when it's his roommates,

I feel like he's like an asshole,

but as soon as like an adult tells him

to do something, he's like, "Fuck."

- "Hey, thank you for putting that out.

I appreciate that.

Thank you."

- "Fine."

- You see, Pete, with that incredible

intimidate check from before,

you feel like you could probably

at least momentarily
like imprison Bazathrax

within Cody, so he's not
like getting up to trouble.

- "Hey, Cody,

I'm about to do something
really metal for you.

Are you ready?"

- I bend a knee and put my sword out.

- Can I take Bazathrax and turn him

into a chest piece tattoo for Cody

and just slam him into his chest?

- A million percent.

- I turn him into a chest
tattoo that says "redemption,"

and it's dripping in blood.

(laughing)

- Cody never smiles and just
like keeps trying to not smile.

"This is awesome.

Thanks."

- "Hey, are you okay, man?

Are you having a stroke, or?"

- "No one has ever been this happy.

This is normal fucking stuff,

and I'm just doing my job.

Thank you."

- Oh my gosh.

- "For sure, man, I got you."

- You can feel Bazathrax burning inside

this incredible tat that has been made

by the Vox Phantasma himself of New York

slamming this like raw dream magic

into your chest that is now
this dripping Gothic font.

You hear Bazathrax in head say, "Oh, shit.

What the fuck, dude?

Aw, goddammit."

- "Well, okay Bazathrax, we're gonna

have to fucking work something out

because you can't just
talk whenever you want.

You need to like tell me shit,

not just say like, 'What the
fuck is going on in here,'

because that's going to get,

you're going to drive
me fucking nuts, man."

- Cool.

I'm going to say that
you're not sure how to talk

in his head so you do
have to talk out loud.

(laughing)

Your half has to be out loud.

- I'm just freaking out.

Yeah.

You see, he goes, "All right, dude,

look, I'll help you out, okay?

Look, there's a confluence
happening on West Fourth Street

by Washington Square Park,
West Fourth subway station.

That's where I saw it, okay?

If you guys head there, that's
what you're gonna find it."

- All right. I relay that to the crew.

- Let's do it.

- Great.

- We text everybody.

- "Exactly.

Wherever Sofia and Ricky can meet us,

We'll meet, and the new person,

you guys know who the new
person in the group chat is?"

- "Her name is Madam Anastasia.

She's the most honest
person I've ever met."

- So, Iga you, you head
and you have your box.

You meet up with Ricky and Sofia as they

are taking like the L out of Brooklyn

to go meet up with everybody
else at West Fourth Street.

On your way to this thing,

I think, Iga, you're probably
just getting swept up

in it by virtue of like
talking to these people.

What do you say to Ricky and Sofia

as you meet up with them?

- "Oh.

Oh my goodness, Mr. March.

It is truly just such
an honor to meet you."

- "Former Mr. March."

- "Oh, yes.

Well, yes, but the
forever Mr. March in our,

in our hearts."

- "Thank you.

Thank you.

I might be making my own calendar,

but I'll let you know if it happens."

- "Wow."

- "Yeah."

- "That's amazing."

- "Maybe it was supposed
to be for just private."

- "Yeah, I was going to say,

I think as someone who's
friends with Esther,

I can't see that calendar."

- "Yeah, maybe I'll. . .

We'll talk about it.

We'll give you an answer.

We'll talk.

Sorry, nice to meet you."

- "Madam Anastasia, what is going on

with this box that
you're telling me about?"

- "Yes, so. . ."

Nobody but us could see it
on the train anyway, right?

'Cause it's only people who are inside.

- If you made it full-size,

everyone would think you just had

a lot more suitcases than they thought.

- Okay, great.

So, I like elbow people out of the way

on the subway and then make it big.

- "Whoa."

- "Okay, this, it's hard,

it's, okay it's a little hard to describe

because you didn't see it before,

but this used to be just trees,

and if you look at that's for sure, you,

and that's for sure you on
the bunch of buildings."

- Can we see ourselves on it?

- You can see two figures.

This is like an ancient, medieval

like Eastern-European kind of
moss covered in parts chest.

It looks like something that some

ancient pagan warrior god
would have had in their

like, giant castle in
a fairytale somewhere.

And instead there are
still trees carved into it,

but now there are skyscrapers,

and they look and feel
ancient to the touch.

And you see that there are two figures

on top of one of the skyscrapers

that look like a broad-shouldered man

and a woman with like high hair swept back

in a ponytail from her
head gazing heroically

off into the skyline of these skyscrapers.

- "Madam Anastasia, you've
been so direct with me already,

and I'm sorry to ask for
more honesty from you,

but what does this box mean to you?

What do you keep in it?

How does it. . ."

- "Oh, I. . .

The box, we do not open.

We do not open the box.

I had a great-great aunt.

As a little girl, she opened the box.

Who knows."

- "So it's sort of a big haunted box

you keep in your bedroom?"

- "I don't like haunted.

I would say more it's a box of power

that a powerful spirit
resides inside, and. . ."

- "You have children, right?"

- "It helps out our family.

Yes, I have two children, and. . ."

- "How do you make sure the
children don't open the box?"

- "They know not to open the box."

- "Okay.

Okay."

- "Feels a little like we should maybe

take a few more
precautions with this box."

Ricky's gonna cast divine
sense to see if it's,

to detect good or evil.

- Powerful magic.

Not divine, not fiendish,
not fey, not undead,

but something of a
category like those things

that you've never detected before.

Give me a perception check.

- Can I do one as well?

- [Brennan] Yeah.

Give me a perception check.

Calling DC 20.

- I only got a 10.

- I got 13 for me.

- Cool.

You guys look at it,

and yeah, your divine sense
tells you that there's

some powerful magic to this with a type

of being like those other
things but not those things.

Feels deep and prime evil.

- "So Madam Anastasia,
was it communicated to you

what your, that, you know,

did your parents say,
'Watch over this box?

Never open it?

It is the task of our family?'"

- "Yes, pretty much that.

Yeah, those are all the
things that were said.

It's been passed down

from mother to daughter for generations."

- "Mother to daughter.

Interesting."

- "Yeah, always mother to daughter.

I don't know.

We always have one daughter.

She's the one that takes the box.

It's sort of an inevitability.

I don't know.

It's. . ."

I shrink the box back down

and put it back in the bag next to Meshach

and give Meshach a little bit more drink.

- You guys transfer trains to go down.

You take the C one-stop
down to West fourth,

and as you merge on the platform,

Kingston, Ricky and
Pete, meet up with Iga,

or sorry,

Ricky, Sofia, and Iga meet up
with Cody, Pete, and Kingston.

- "Hello, Kingston."

- "Hey.

Hello.

I was wondering if it was
this Madam Anastasia."

- "How you doing?"

- "I'm good.

How are you?

Interesting.

I haven't seen you interacting
with the Unsleeping City."

- "You know, I tried.

It's not my business.

It's your business.

I don't try to get involved,

but, you know, sometimes maybe

we can help each other out
a little bit, you know."

- "Hey, this is true.

This is true.

Good to see you all."

- "Hey, what's up, everybody?

I am the ambassador of the dark lord,

formerly the 'Night Angel,' AKA Cody."

- I mind link with everyone
while he's talking.

(laughing)

I'm like, look anyway, like explaining,

but nodding next to you like.

- I'm nodding based on what Pete is saying

and not listening to Cody.

- I just like keep going on.

"Yeah, so like Bazathrax is like,

he's a manager, but corporate is Lucifer.

So I work for Lucifer."

- "Wait, what is your name?

What's your name?"

- "The ambassador of the dark Lord."

- "No, no, Cody?"

- "My name is fucking Cody."

- "Okay, thank you."

- "Do you want us to call you Cody,

or do you want us to
call you something else?"

- "You can call me,

you can call me Cody."

- "Dude, he goes by 'Night Angel.'

I don't know why you're
being so shy, man."

- "Well, now I'm the
ambassador of the dark lord."

- "Dude, you're a lot of things,

and they're all badass, okay?"

- "If you wanted to,

you could just tell us
which one you prefer."

- "Cody's cool.

You can just call me Cody."

- "Okay, Cody."

- "Kingston, how do you
know Madam Anastasia?"

- "Oh, I mean, I just know most people,

and, you know, she's been
around, has chosen to,

not be as involved, and
I respect that choice,

but it is nice to see her today."

- Kingston, you feel a,

a sharp pain.

A sharp pain in your chest.

If you were going to guess what it was,

it'd be like a,

some kind of like maybe a muscle spasm

or maybe something else,

but you feel sharp pain in your chest.

- Being in this group, I
think I do my best to hide it.

Just kind of like, be like,

"All right, well, let's, ow,

let's, let's get to it."

- Give me a deception check.

- Great.

That's gonna be, wow, that's only a 12.

- [Sofia] What would that go up against?

Our passive perception, or?

- That's your passive insight,

so anyone whose passive
insight is 13 or higher,

Pete, yeah, you notice
something's wrong with Kingston.

- Oh, yeah.

Mine as well.

- Yeah.

- I clock it, but I
don't call him out on it,

but I want to ask him later.

- Kingston, you begin to hear whispers

coming from one of the empty rails.

You guys are on the platform
in between the local. . .

You have like the local
train stopping on one side

of the platform, the express on the other.

Looking down one of the
express lanes, Kingston,

you see this woozy thing of the
subway extending down there,

and for a moment, all of you stop,

like seeing certain things.

Like Pete's little green butterfly

like flickers out for people.

Everyone kind of sees Meshach,

the little sick looking
dragon in Iga's bag,

kind of turn into a
chihuahua for a second like,

and the tunnel extends.

Kingston,

You begin to hear, sort of like a

(rasping breaths)

"Move over.

I said fucking move.

Why are you always like this?"

(rasping breaths)

"Yeah, I said it, he wouldn't know."

"I'm not giving up my seat."

(laughing)

(rasping breaths)

And you see through a
haze of like a heat wave,

a train approaching the station,

and you get this powerful sense

of New Yorkers wailing out.

And this is not articulately put,

but you just know this is a bad train.

- "Hey, everybody, this next train,

this is not articulate,
but it's a bad train."

(laughing)

- "Whoa, did you just come up with that?"

- "That sounds kind of fun to me.

I like that."

- "Do you wanna just throw
a fucking rock at it, or?"

- "No, it's not the good bad.

It's the bad, bad.

I might, I'll be ready for something."

- You guys see the train
pulls into the station.

As it starts slowing
down, you start seeing

it's filled with commuters,

but it's also sort of
flashing in and out of,

it seems like somehow more or less normal

than usual distorted somehow.

As it gets very, very slow,

the train is like looking
at it's about to stop,

and then you hear over
the PA it being like,

"My mistake, this train is going express.

Not making this stop.

Not making this stop at all."

- I jump on it.

- Can we try to make it stop?

Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, Sofia you can
leap to the very back.

- Cast jump on myself, and jump on it.

- You can leap to the very
back car of the train.

Actually, all of you can.

It's starting to pick up speed again,

but if every one of you guys wants

to leap to the back of the train,

you absolutely can.

- Let's do a run and jump onto it.

- You run and jump on.

- I'll reach my hand out to help anyone.

- Cool.

- I try to pick up Cody.

- Can I cast cold?

Can I cast like cone
of cold to like freeze

its gears and like keep it there,

or does it seem like I don't have time?

- You can definitely cast cone of cold.

It would potentially
damage the car itself, but

you could definitely do it
to slow it down for a moment

to let everybody like leap onto the train.

- Nah, we'll just leap.

I think we'll make it.

- Cool.

- I'm gonna use my elemental gift and fly.

- Hell yeah.

Iga just takes off flying off the ground.

As the train begins to pick up,

you hear that voice say,

"That's right, ladies and gentlemen,

this train is making all express stops.

In fact, just one more stop.

The end of a line."

(laughing)

You guys leap.

So trains like this have conductors,

sort of like stations at
both ends of the train.

You guys bust through the door on your end

to see this conductor's area has been

completely destroyed,
smashed apart, rent asunder,

and as you open the door to look in,

you see a bizarrely empty subway car

with people crowded around the doors.

You see that the people
crowded around the doors

are crowded because there's a bunch

of just fucking spaced out people

who are not moving further into the car.

They're just like on
their phones or reading

and like leaning against
poles and shit, like,

and there's all these New
Yorkers that are trying

to get to seats that they can't get to

because these people
won't move further in.

Kingston, as you see
this, this is like a shot

to the heart of like you don't do this.

- Yeah.

- And you realize this entire train

is flooded with anti populi.

There is a magical substance here.

This train car is filled
with a spiritual force,

gleefully shredding the most
basic and fundamental laws

of how you are supposed
to behave on the subway.

And as you recognize that,

all of you see the people flicker,

the people that are stuck disappear

as the train car morphs into a train car

with the floor as grass and
stone gravestones everywhere.

And you see those people
that are not moving further

into the car just like spaced out,

not being considerate,
not paying attention.

Rotting flesh hangs from these zombies

as indeed you pass by the station

of everybody here on Halloween.

I'm going to need everybody
here to roll initiative.

- Yeah.

- That's all for this episode
of the Unsleeping City.

Tune in next week as a
very Halloween-y subway car

filled with monsters,

all engaging in the rudest acts

of New York subway etiquette imaginable.

Join us next week for episode
three of the Unsleeping City.

(eerie laughter)

- Wow.

- "Oh, Kingston, nice Halloween costume."

- Oh, yeah.

Full on dressed like a pirate
through this whole fight.