Max: ...Did you just say "behold"?
Dad: Don't ruin this for me, Max.
Collin: Whoa, hey. No you're not. You're just a terrible person.
Violet: Oh, you absolute dork. There's a first impression you'll never live down.
Lisa: Teehee. Zigga.
Max: ...Adjectives fail me.
Jeff: You know what fails me? Mr. Garcia, 'cause I don't laugh at his bad jokes.
Lisa: It could be that, Jeff, or it could be you writing the wrong answers on his tests.
Mr. Spender: That's not a thing, Ed.
[awesome mode] That's going to be hard.
"Doghouse": It's been too long, bro! Sam said you're all moved in and sending her mopey text messages!
Max: It's been two days. ...And I'm not mopey.
"Doghouse": So wuhssa word, bro? Anything good to climb and/or jump off of?!
Max: Well... there's like these... gully... sewer things... uh... It's pretty bad. Listen, Doghouse, buddy, I can't really talk right now. I'm at school... in a closet... ...A locked closet.
"Doghouse": HUH?! D'joo scone the local protein already?!
Max: ...It was a small, cheerful girl that did this, actually.
Isaac: They'll appear more frequently and in greater detail until eventually you see them for what they really are...
Isabel: Some of them, yeah.
Isaac: *draws on whiteboard* That creature that attacked you wasn't a ghost—it was a spirit. Unlike ghosts, spirits were never alive, for lack of a better word.
Max: Those drawings are horrendous, for lack of a better word.
Mr. Spender: Isaac, you're embarrassing the whole club.
Isaac: A near death experience, prolonged exposure to supernatural phenomena, a diet obnoxiously high in citrus...
Max: Right. Mr. Splendid.
Mr. Spender: Spender. AHEM. Moving right along, this is Ed.
Ed: *picking nose* We've met.
Mr. Spender: Over here we have Isabel.
Isabel: Sorry about the whole [locking you in a] closet thing.
Mr. Spender: And lastly we have Isaac, who is desperately trying to claw his way up from his position as club mascot by undermining my authority.
Isaac: *drawing "Mr. Splendid"* I will dance on your grave, sir.
No, no, NO! They're exchanging contact information! WE SAW HIM FIRST! No, don't wave goodbye! SPIT IN THEIR FACES!!
O-oh, I get it! He's infiltrating them to do some hardcore muckraking! Yeah!
Collin: I'd shatter that sad illusion, but it's probably the only thing keeping you from blowing up his house.
Suzy: Collin, Dimitri. This betrayal demands an INVESTIGATION!!
Collin: Is this going to end with you blowing up his house?
Dimitri: This is going to end up with her blowing up his house.
Zoey: *defends with broom* Roguish fiend! I'll fight to the end and gut your knees, Father!
Dad: The loss is yours, daughter-of-mine! My knees have no guts to gut!!
Ghost: Mercy, mercy! I don't want to DIE!!
Max: ...Heh heh...
PJ: W-what if none of 'em did? Pete could've just realized there's a lotta scary stuff in the world. ...Like meteorites and the elderly.
PJ: ...Too long.
Max: Too long? You planning to... to pass on soon?
PJ: Not my choice. Ghosts get all white n' forgetty after a while. Then they just fade away.
Max: How long is "a while?"
PJ: Well, it depe—
Max: Five years?
PJ: *gives Max odd look*
Max: My mom, she... If I could talk to-
PJ: Was hers a sudden, grisly sort of death?
Max: C-come agai—!? I mean, I gue-
Max: *traumatized look*
PJ: All the more reason for your mother's phantom husk to still be taunting this torturous plane! Ha ha.
PJ: Lamb on a ham sandwich! That thing has superpowers just like you, Mr. Max!
Max: Haha right just like me
PJ: ...Mr. Max, how do your powers stack up against bringing reflections to life?
Max: Oh, it's no contest, PJ.
PJ: W-well, what sort of... non-contest... would it... not be? You never said what powers you have.
Max: Ghost-sight. The ability to conjure an impenetrable wall of cynicism. ...The potential to have actual superpowers in the future.
PJ: I thought you were a hero.
Max: Don't gimme that, PJ. That frog thing's no threat. I'll just whack it like I-
Frog-Spirit: *picks up living reflection and eats it* *GLORF!!* *SKLORTCH* *BLORCH* *BLUB* *GLUB* *MURFF* *RUMF-MMFF* *GLORP!*
Max: OK that's a little out of my comfort zone. Gonna call for some backup.
Isabel: Easy, newbie, easy. Is it aggressive? Are you being aggressed?
Max: It has chosen to wage psychological warfare by repeatedly eating itself in front of me.
Max: Um... uh... I'm not a ghost.
Frog-Spirit: [...] YOU WILL BE SOON.
Ed: I've got 80 pounds of face-breakin' spectral muscle standin' between you and the rest of your life, not to mention there's an irate magical girl outside likely t'be half as merciful with you as I'm not gonna be. So! I need you to hurry up n' choose before I acquaint you with your internal anatomy: are we gonna do this the easy way, or the I KILL YOU way?
Dad: OK, theory number six. In some sort of diabolic housewarming ritual, Mayview's local death cultests use an improvised splash n' slide...
...to repeatedly slam their faces...
...into the number eleven.
...Written in goat's blood.
Because eleven is a prime number. That's a math thing, Zoey, look it up. Death cultists love math.
Zoey: I don't get it.
Dad: Ha ha. You'll understand when you're smarter. *ruffles her hair*
Zoey: Don't you mean older? *Dad walks away* ...Don't you mean older?
*Max sees Isaac*
Isaac: *points at Max* YOU!
Max: *points at Isaac* YOU!
Isaac: *points at himself* ...Isaac.
Max: *snaps fingers* Yes!
Dad: Is that a friend, Max?
Max: In the loose sense of the word, sure.
Dad: ...It's OK to have standards, you know.
Max: Not in this town.
Isaac: Man, join the club.
Max: Why, will that help?
Isaac: What? No, I meant...
Like, join the club of not... not being told what...
No, joining the Activity Club will not help, no.
Isaac: Please. I'm not useless. I could completely destroy Ed and Isabel together.
Max: Well that's a dark thought to've thunk, ya creep. Do you assess the murderability of all your friends?
Isaac: It's just a fact.
Max: Sooo... completely destroy them at... chess? Competitive laundry?
Isaac: Shut uuup Max
You broke the promise between us because you did not fear the consequences of doing so. I have not the strength to stop you should you decide to reduce me to mere function... to make a tool of me. You have the storms. You have my secrets.
In your heart, you knew these things, and allowed them to influence your behavior. This was in itself a small act of violence. Thus, our bond withers into a power relationship.
You have seen the damage a lightning bolt can do. If you wish to be truly just, you must understand the destruction wrought by the shadow of a stormcloud.
Do not forget that your oaths of restraint are a means to an end, not the end itself. Learn to appreciate darkness in its more subtle forms, lest its influence deny you the redemption you seek.
Max: *pops up from behind couch* I DO DECLARE
Mr. Spender: How'd you two get in here??
Max: Through the door, man.
Mr. Spender: Ah, umm! That was... *beat* ...Exactly what it sounded like, I suppose.
Max: Wow, sounds promising. First off, what's a good place to learn about spectral stuff?
Mr. Spender: You're looking at him. Well, it. Whatever place I am in. Is a good place. Because of me.
I am, as it so happens, something of an amateur spectral scholar. I possess a respectable knowlege of possession, the ins and outs of the grudge process... studied what little supernatural history there is to study... even dabbled in spirit linguistics.
Which is to say, we have come full circle, and you may ask any questions and I will answer to the best of my considerably significant ability.
And/or the limits of your significantly less considerable authorization.
Max: No, no. I mean like besides you. [...]
Mr. Spender: ...I do own a small, personal collection of scholarly volumes written by spectrals, but-
Isaac: W-WHAT?! Since when??
Mr. Spender: Since most of my adult life and leading up to when it was eaten...
Max: Haha, don't explain that, I want it as is.
Mr. Spender: ...
...The government. [Beat] I am, after all, a public school teacher. I must say, Maxwell, these are strange questions for a beginner to ask...
Isaac: His questions make sense. I know I wouldn't want to unwittingly be doing spec work for some evil syndicate.
Mr. Spender: The purely hypothetical organization I may or may not work for is an unequivocal and entirely figurative force for good.
Isaac: Then why not acknowledge its obvious existence!? I've seen Mr. Walker, seen others in the same weid suits, seen those mooks at Isabel's place-
Mr. Spender: Isaac, I know you're frustrated, and I feel very ████ about that, but █████ ███████████ to ██████████ ██████ with ████████████ ██████████ ████ █████████
Isaac: STOP DOING THAT!!!
Isaac: That's "figure stuff out on your own" in enormous jerklord, isn't it?
Max: Are you on the drugs?
Mr. Spender: More than just that. Employ your imagination. *Beat* That was in response to Isaac. I am perfectly lucid. Exceedingly lucid, at times.
Inset Image of Spirit: *nom*
Inset Image of Isaac & Mr. Spender: *genuine distress*
Max: WHAAT?! H-H-How is THAT—
Mr. Spender: It's a supernatural thing. I wouldn't worry about it. [Beat] About how it works, I mean. You should definately worry about getting your head bitten off.
The DOOR'S lessons weren't with you when you let loose LIGHTNING to scare that SPHINX, nor when you expressed your ANNOYANCE toward the GLASSES MAN with ELECTRICITY, though you knew it HARMLESS. You may be reluctant to BITE, but you BARE YOUR FANGS READILY.
Your fury is RIGHTEOUS! Your anger, DIVINE! OATHS of RESTRAINT are not for you! You are an AGENT OF JUDGEMENT!
Now hear MY sermon! Let it have FEW WORDS, as befits a GOD'S COMMANDMENTS!
"GOOD" is that which EVIL FEARS...
...and JUSTICE is when you MAKE THOSE FEARS A REALITY!!
Storm Spirit: What do you call an EVIL BEING who is in AWE of my ABSOLUTE POWER?
Mr. Spender: Ah, just a moment, Isabel. I believe I've accidentially traumitized the new recruit.
Max: I've never gotten my head bitten off before man I don't wanna take that risk.
Mr. Spender: Now Maxwell, there is nothing to be afraid of. If you feel you are in danger while in a spirit trance, simply distance yourself from your tool and the vision will end. The basis of your connection with your spirit is a mental link. If it can't get at your mind, it can't hurt you. Or help you, for that matter. That is why I threw your backpack all the way over there. While you're close to that bat, your spirit will be sharing your senses, so it's wise to not give it any ideas it may not already have.
About murdering you, I mean.
Max: YEAH I GOT THAT THANKS
Mr. Spender: *brightly* but look on the bright side! Since your spirit can see what you see, it'll know the sort of tough customers it's going to have to deal with if it messes with you!
*looks at Ed & Isabel*
Edward, where is your face?
Isabel: Oh, it got erased. It'll come back. Mine did.
Still waiting on some fingers though.
Mr. Spender: ...How is he breathing?
Isabel: *shrugs* ...Pores?
Max: I AM GOING TO DIE.
Dad: Oh boy! Ah, Zoey, I hope you don't mind... I played for you while you were gone.
I only lost twice!
Zoey: I was downstairs for two minutes.
We're playing Monopoly.
Dad: I may have made a few risky investments.
Max: He tried to build a, and I quote, "tower citadel worthy of my sorcery" out of like twenty stacked hotels. On Jail.
I just, um, have to find my hand first. Lefty takes walks.
Ed: *Playing video game* I HAVE AN ALIBI
Isabel: How are you doing I'm doing angry
Ed: Well, I have a high number pointscore, but I don't know its conversion rate re:happiness. Do you want me to draw up a chair?
Isabel: No thanks, I'll stand. *Flops down on her back*
Isabel: Relative to the wall.
Lucifer: ANALOGous to oNE MILLion dolLARS.
Mr. Spender: *dramatically* Then let's get this party started, shall we?
*gets into bed*
*turns off light*
*goes to sleep*
Mr. Spender: O-oh, I am aware, thank y-
Cinnamon Stix: Ya little meetin' of ta mindless is bein' minded by Boss Leader. You sure getta lotta juicy hweeyurms for a caged boid. Must have yaself a real pritty voice.
Greco Stucks: juicy what?
Mr. Spender: Heh. So I've been told.
Thank you for the compliment
Cinnamon Stix: It was sah-POST t'be an intimidatin' metaphor.
Mr. Spender: Oh.
It's me. Yes, some pasty fooligans are lifting my shop.
Ha ha, I don't know how, they must be really strong.
Better bring one, maybe two grenades. God Bless America to you too, ma'am. Thanks bye.
Isaac: That won't do, Your Majesty.
Deer-Like Spirit: Oh? But I really do have nothing to give-
Isaac: I would have you remember me... as a friend.
Deer-Like Spirit: *gleaming happiness* I will never forget you, friend human.
Isaac: Nor I you.
Deer-Like Spirit: *departs*
Max: Did I... miss something...?
Isabel: Nah, stuff like this happens every morning. You get used to it.
Isabel: *tugging on bat spirit* HRRFF... same.. here...!!
Ollie: Well actually we were chasin' those nerds though.
Johnny: Right, Ollie, beating on nerds is my business. It is my main source of income. S'how we got that grape. And those golf cards.
Stephen: That's not income if we can't get cash for it-
Johnny: Hey. HEY. This stuff's gonna appreciate in value over time!! What are you? An out-of-work doctor?! Have some patients!
Ollie: Jonny I just lost a lot of respect for you.
Johnny: These things are gonna be worth QUADROUBLE what we stole them fore once these suckers kick the bucket. And golfers are notoriously mortal. Use yer brain, Stephen. Ya don't sell yer chickens before they hatch.
Ollie: That's... You do... do that. It's a whole... it's a big thing.
Johnny: WHATEVER We're off topic.
Stephan: Shut up and start talking!
Jeff: I CAN'T DO BOTH OF THOSE THINGS SIMULANEOUSLY!
Stephan: Can it, dweeb! I know all about what you do with your legs!
Jeff: THAT'S NOT REALLY PRIVELAGED INFORMATION
They'll just think yer crazy!
And if ya really own it, they might even like you! Ha ha!
Ed: Ah, cute
Isabel: That was cute
Eightfold: *grows wings* Wike so! Do you think, then, if I possessed you and made you my medium, your power would be to... ...control your poop
Isabel: *swats Eightfold with spectral-flyswatter*
Eightfold: Isabell whyyyy?
Ed: [...] The color of your spectral energy has t'match the spirit's if you wanna feed it an' use its powers! I'm tellin' you now, Max, 'cause Eightfold asked me the same thing an' I was real upset when I finally realized I'd never be an excrementalist!
Isabel: Really? Who?
Ed: Iono, he didn't say. Prob'ly another agent gonna learn from your grandpa.
Isabel: Ugh, they're endless. Whoever it is better bring their own toothbrush. They're not using mine. *smacks fist* The six of us who already are won't stand for that.
Max: NOT A CHANCE!! The past tense of "drag" is "dragged" and the editor will probably catch that, so—
Johnny: I KNOW! I just like to say "drug" because it disappoints authority!!
Max: YOU'RE EVIL!!
Spirit of America: *sorrowful tear*
Mr. Garcia: HEY! I heard all that. You woke me up.
Johnny: MR. GARCIA! Where did you come from!?
Mr. Garcia: From the blighted womb of your worst nightmare, quivering on legs innumerable, soaked in the black ooze of your greatest fears. I rear back my heavy head, and howl: DETEEENTION ...for AAAALLL three of you! I swear, I'm the only one around here that doesn't find threats and violence to be charming.
Max: What I saw? You mean... you floating in a brook... on a random Mayview hillside?
Mr. Garcia: I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.
Max: *deadpan* Oh, did you mean something else, then?
Mr. Garcia: WHAT? NO. THE THING YOU JUST SAID.
Max: The thing you don't know about.
Mr. Garcia: YES.
Max: Anything? Wow, dude, you must be really lonely.
Dad: Ask ye, mine sweet loinsfruit.
Max: Can you never, ever call me your loinsfruit again? Ever?
Mr. Spender: No, but you don't have to not punch bears, either.
Isaac: Was that a death threat
Max: How'd a teacher afford a car like this anyways. Do you get paid for ghostbusting? Do we?
Mr. Spender: The precious memories you'll make on the job are their own reward. [Beat] Aaand the only reward. We are not paid.
Isaac: *whispering* Wait, Max. If this is a secret, tell me later. Mr. Spender can definately hear everything...!
Mr. Spender: No I can't.
Isaac: Oh, good.
Guerra: You may not. It's about time someone asked permission.
Mr. Spender: You've said worse about me.
Guerra: Well I'm retired.
Guerra: ...And of being a callous servant of evil. You'll perish choking on the words "greater good" with some hero's blade in your gut, mark my words.
Dr. Zarei: Ufufu... a girl has her ways.
Mr. Spender: ...You seduced the train?
Dr. Zarei: What? No.
Mr. Spender: ?
Forge: (SPECTRAL, BEHIND YOU!!)
Mr. Spender: Aha! I won't fall for THAT a sixth time!
Forge: ... *facepalm*
Alt Text: In Spender's defense, one of those times was a "Whatever you do, DON'T look behind you" which is really tricky.
Max: Huh? These are dogs? Aren't they cats? Pointy ears, multiple lives...
Pixel Dogs: ...
Blue Pixel Dog: WOOF
Green Pixel Dog: MEOW
Isabel: ...They're trying to psyche us out.
Pixel Dogs: *faces peel back* <Skull skull>
Isabel: THEY'RE TRYING TO PSYCH US OUT!!
Max: ARGUABLY NOT DOGS THOUGH
Mr. Spender: M-my students.
Forge: (I see. I've put them in danger. I did not know there were kids.)
(What's your excuse?)
Mr Spender: ...How dare you.
(You're like me. For you, good is a rational act.)
(It's rules, it's calculations, it's your choices plugged into a grand equation, added up, up into evils vanquished. Ideals upheld. Civilizations saved.)
(How the worth of a few lives pales before such greater goods! What is three, two lives, one life weighed against the world?!)
(The world is nothing! Nothing!! Why couldn't we see this, you and I?!)
(We burn the present for the sake of a brighter future and act surprised when all it holds is ash!!)
(No, if our minds decide the sum of small evils is a greater good, then it is our hearts that are rational.)
(Tell me, how did your mind silence your heart? What is your reason for choosing to stay and fight me?)
(What is your excuse?)
Forge: ("Mayview" is on that train right now, fool.)
Spender: My students can take care of themselves! You don't know anything. Something terrible happened in this town and it's going to happen again. You and those dogs are pieces in the puzzle I need to solve to save it. I like my hands clean, but if reality insists, I won't let shortsighted morality trump practical solutions.
Isabel: H-huh? Don't be stupid, Eightfold. I-
Eightfold: Hee hee. "My book!" you yelled. When I went out the train.
[Isabel is taken aback]
Eightfold: It's okay. You're mad 'cause you know you really do care about me. It's just… "out of sight, out of mind," right? …Well, that's part of it.
A great heart is… well, it's great! Being good by nature is great. But there's no such thing as a pure heart. Not really. All these books in here, I've eaten. Learned the words inside. Some of them I… wish I hadn't learned. But I can't not be the spirit that has learned all this stuff, y'know? No matter how I feel about it. Which means I gotta be careful trusting my gut, 'cause my gut is a vast phantasmal library full of dark tomes! Hee hee. The heart's the same way. It gets dirty. Things you pick up, things you're taught… they stick to it. An' there's no flutter or feelin' that isn't filtered through all that stuff.
Having the instinct to help people is wonderful, but… if you've… learned to believe that someone's less than people… that can only go so far.