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The Longing-ist Playthrough: Day 75 – 15/03/22 – 219 Days, 19 Hours, 43 Minutes and 37 Seconds to go…

16 March, 2022 - 11:16 pm by
About 10 mins to read

*** Looking to catch up with the adventure? ***

Returning beneath the mountain with an agenda was refreshing – Monty and I had something to focus on and work towards rather than just ambling around without a clue. Little did we know that we’d make a huge discovery and it wouldn’t take us very long at all…

I came [home] and found Monty sitting idly in his chair, exactly where I’d left him – goofy grin and all. Right mate, let’s not mess about, eh? Get that fire going! Having lost a lot of time messing around over the last few days, I didn’t want to waste a minute more and so immediately asked Monty to sling some sulphur on the fire and see where it took us.

Legitimately looks like a home these days

Always eager to please, Monty stoked the fire with the stinky stuff and immediately had to evacuate to get some fresh air. This time I paid a lot more attention and followed along as Monty passed through the [Hall of the Mountain King] and up the stairs into the kingdom proper. I kept pushing buttons as Monty walked to see exactly when I stopped being ‘locked out’, and I was surprised to find that I managed to stop Monty as soon as he topped the first staircase and came upon the [crystal crossroads]. Hmmm… well this definitely isn’t a secret path! Okay, let’s try that again…

I asked Monty to return home and as soon as he walked into his cave he turned on his heel and strode away from the noxious fumes. This time I stayed patient and simply watched as Monty walked and walked. He passed through the whole of the kingdom, past the [old mines], through the [mushroom mines], up beyond the [tall ledge] and into the darkness.

This is where, last time, I began to panic. I wasn’t paying as close as attention before, and when I looked back and saw Monty striding through the darkness and the small patch of lit up ground beneath him and I thought he was coming upon [The Pit]. But this time, since I was keeping watch, I realised he was no way near throwing himself into the abyss, and was actually just coming upon the hidden rampway that led to the (former) [Eyes in the Darkness]. More comfortable about the situation this time, I kept watching as Monty walked the long path on the way towards [The Well]. I heard Monty’s footsteps change from the noticeable ‘crunch’ of stone to the softer shuffling of earth and I glanced back at the screen… I was suspicious about this when I first heard it… If something’s going to happen, it’ll be here…

And it was.

Monty exclaimed as he found a fork in the road and doubled back on himself to head eastward and uphill instead of going west towards [The Well]. Bingo! Slowly the darkness gave way to the murky light of a cave, and an angry maw of stalactites came into view, along with something else…

Is… is that a body?!

That’s a rough way to go…

Despite Monty’s adorable naivety about what he was seeing, it was indeed a body. A humanoid skeleton, seemingly a little taller than Monty (perhaps a human rather than a Shade) was pinned to the ground by an enormous stalactite. Through it’s eye socket. 😳 Holy shit. Talk about sinister. I urged Monty past the skeleton (but not before asking him to pick up the mattock it was holding), and up the huge winding stairway beyond. Soon afterwards I began to bristle nervously as a slow and sinister harpsichord tune began to play. It was deep and deliberate and suggested at an ominous mystery waiting to be discovered.

The higher that Monty climbed the tighter the stairway became and the more light poured in from above. This is a tower, isn’t it? Very soon the tower staircase took Monty above ground, albeit still inside, and a vista of the forest sprawled out on both sides beyond the rough building that Monty now found himself in. It was a pretty creepy affair. There was a bookcase with a few tomes strewn across it’s shelves and the staircase continued upwards to a pedestal housing a large pink crystal. More eye-catching though was the collection of animal skeletons hanging in cages throughout the room… Who the hell was this guy, and what was he doing?!

What in the hell is this place?

I had Monty creep across to the bookshelf and scoop up the six books that were lying there, and the Shade was ecstatic to find that one was labelled The Neverending NotebookThat might make an interesting read, mate. Continuing up the stairs, I realised that a strange sound was emanating from the crystal – a repetitive and technological sound like nothing I heard beneath the mountain before. Ever the collector, and not at all put off by the sound ringing from it, Monty snagged the crystal with the plan to proudly display it at [home].

There was also a ladder that led to the top of the tower; the stonework was more organised here and was definitely more brickwork than the rough hewn stone of the caves below. We could see the roof of the tower outside and the mountains in the far distance beyond, but what caught my eye was the strange metal contraption on a table that stood across a small walkway. It looked like a cooking pot stood on gangly mechanical legs, and protruding from the pot was a tube with some kind of vacuum end on it. What was more shocking was that in the top of the pot was a collection of long, bleached bones, and lying on the table, beside the nozzle, was a large mound of white powder. Why the hell is he grinding up bones?!

That machine is more than a little menacing…

Urged on by nothing more than morbid curiosity, I had Monty walk over to examine the pot further but he didn’t have anything to say about it. Sure, ’cause this isn’t completely weird at all, is it? As Monty stood alongside the contraption the camera zoomed out, giving a broad view of the mountains in the background and a bird flying past in the distance. We waited for a while until the camera had stopped zooming out and then a little while longer still, since I was curious about what exactly I was supposed to be looking at.

Much more than the view, Monty took interest in a stork that had nested in the roof which he apparently didn’t like. And then, right on cue, the rather cross looking bird flew into the foreground and sat atop the large nest on the roof. We stood and watched the huge bird for a couple of minutes, and eventually it stood up and flew away. Wait… what was that? Did that bird just drop something on the walkway?

That is one grumpy stork… no wonder you’re not a fan, Monty

I walked Monty onto the walkway and found that the stork had indeed dropped something – a mysterious key! Monty had no clue about what it was for, but I was willing to put money on the fact that it was for the hidden door “where you can see the most” that the [Face in the Wall] talked about!

I was excited. Not only had we found something of great interest in the key but we had a raft of new books and the pink crystal too. Eager to investigate our finds, I had Monty head back for the night.

When he finally arrived [home], I placed the pink crystal (which was still making the strange sound), down in the mushroom plot, before asking Monty check out the new books. It was always difficult to pick out the new books amongst all of the old, but I could tell that a couple of collections were coming together nicely. I opened the Neverending Notebook and couldn’t help but laugh to myself.

“All work and no play makes Shade a dull boy

All work and no play makes Shade a dull boy

All work and no play makes Shade a dull boy

All work and no play makes Shade a dull boy

All work and no play makes Shade a dull boy

Neverending Notebook

Okay, that’s pretty funny. It would seem that the man who built [The Lab] (as I’m calling it), went a little crazy, a la Jack Torrence in The Shining.

I had Monty quickly leaf through his diary before I disappeared for the night, and I could see that not only had he crossed through his desire to find a book that wouldn’t end, but also that he’d made an entry proclaiming that we’d explored all of the caves! What great news! But we haven’t… we haven’t found the hidden door… Odd.

Not comfortable leaving Monty to read 30,000 pages of a madman’s scrawl, I had him start The Nibelungenlied – a translation of an ancient German poem. Enjoy a touch of culture, my man – give me the run down tomorrow when we start looking for where to use that key…