Dad: Now, now, you two. This is no time for fighting. BEHOLD!! You're in Mayview, the town on two hills, with nothing but a pristine lake and friendly people in between!!
Max: ...Did you just say "behold"?
Dad: Don't ruin this for me, Max.
Suzy: Darn it, Collin, I'm a terrible journalist.
Collin: Whoa, hey. No you're not. You're just a terrible person.
By now it should be apparent that Paranatural is an elaborate advertisement for hair and blue jeans.
Jeff: NNNNNZIGGAZIGGA-NEW-KID!? No way! No one told us or nothin'!
Violet: Oh, you absolute dork. There's a first impression you'll never live down.
Lisa: Teehee. Zigga.
Cody: So what do you think of Mayview, Max?
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.
Ed: [into walkie-talkie] Come in, Creepy Weasel. This is Papa Dragon King. Target's trail is showing evidence of poltergeisting. Property damage imminent. Requesting danger level change to code Delta 3 Orange Soda.
Mr. Spender: That's not a thing, Ed.
Don't bother getting up. You'll be back on the floor in a few moments.
[cute mode] Are you trying to scare me?
[awesome mode] That's going to be hard.
Max: [answers phone] Hey, Doghouse. What's shakin'?
"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.
If I knew... you were so dedicated to this whole "not getting beaten up by me" shtick... I'd have stretched or something.
[dramatically] Black spectral energy!? That's... [normally] ...fairly common.
— Mr. Spender, Chapter 1, page 59
Mr. Spender: Faint, purple wisps that appear and disappear in a heartbeat: seeing them is how it begins. We call these visions shades.
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.
Max: OK, so ghosts are real. Hot dog. Why can I see them?
Isaac: A near death experience, prolonged exposure to supernatural phenomena, a diet obnoxiously high in citrus...
Mr. Spender: Well. Introductions. You know me, of course.
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.
Suzy: CRIME OF ALL CRIMES! Max ignores my invitation and then starts flitting about with the Activity Club!? INEXCUSABLE!
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.
Dad: *attacks with plastic lightsaber* Fiendish rogue! I'll end this fight with a knee to your guts, Zoey!Chapter 2
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!!
Max: *uses choke hold* Haunt ME, will you!?
Ghost: Mercy, mercy! I don't want to DIE!!
Max: ...Heh heh...
Guys, I'm pretty sure what this comic needs is more characters.
I swear, hissing is the worst defense mechanism for things without poisonous fangs. It just gives your exact location away to things that do have them.
— Max, here.
Max: Man, PJ, how am I supposed to know which of these ungaingly little freaks set Hissing Pete off?!
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.
Max: So, PJ. Have you been, uh... dead for long?
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.
Paranatural: kids repeatedly traumatizing each other.
Frog-Spirit: *pulls reflection of itself out off glass*
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.
Max: I was just wondering how you felt about amphibian monsters because there is one in my house help please help.
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.
Frog-Spirit: RRRRAWAY WITH YOU. I AM FEEDING... AND HAVE NO PATIENCE... FOR THE DEAD.
Max: Um... uh... I'm not a ghost.
Frog-Spirit: [...] YOU WILL BE SOON.
Frog-Spirit: CHOOSE YOUR LAST AND SECOND-TO-LAST WORDS, INTERLOPER. I WILL CRUSH YOU AND THEN DEVOUR YOUR GHOST.
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?
Together, the tools can summon Activitron, a gigantic spectral robot that will appear every chapter to defeat a monster that will inevitably grow bigger when it’s about to lose. Ed is the robot’s right arm, Isabel its left, Mr. Spender is the legs, Isaac is its crippling self-doubt, and Max is the head, which has a detachable hat-shaped escape pod.Chapter 3
*Dad & Zoey stare at remnants of ghost battle*
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: *comes downstairs, greets Dad* Father.
*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.
Max: [...] No one's telling me what I want to know!
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.
Max: So, what, you do the club's... laundry? Taxes?
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
Young Master Isaac. You have spoken of your vow to not use your powers to destroy, and to use violence only to defend. You do not swear these things lightly... ...or without cause. This I know.
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.
— The Doorman, here and the following page.
*into phone* ABSOLUTELY NOT!! [...] Since when did B.L. start caring about the gut feelings of vigilantes!? [...] If the Cousinhood wants to trail their greasy trenchcoats all over my town the least they could do is habeas a gosh dang corpus!!... ...EXCUSE YOUR LANGUAGE, TEXAS!! [...] I'll half-swear all I want, you scallion! [...] OUTRANK MY FIST!!
— Mr. Spender, here.
Mr. Spender: *into phone* There are no monsters in Mayview. The Cousinhood has no business here. I don't see why this warrented a phone call. Honestly, it's bad enough seeing you in my dreams every night.
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.
— This Comic (Continuing from previous quote)
Mr. Spender: I will answer [your questions] to the best of my ability and/or the limits of your authroization.
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.
Max: Who do you work for?
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!!!
Mr. Spender: Answers I can't give you... answers you can't read in a book... With evidence and insight, they can be assembled safely somewhere else, can they not? *taps forehead*
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.
Mr. Spender: The vision [of your spirit] is essentially real to you, so if you were to, say, get your head bitten off by your spirit, that carries over to real life.
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.
We are not so DIFFERENT, you and I.
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, here.
Zach: This page doesn't have a lot of gags so here is an extra joke to gag on.
Storm Spirit: What do you call an EVIL BEING who is in AWE of my ABSOLUTE POWER?
— Below This Comic
Isabel: *bursts in* Morning patrol, reporting in!Chapter 4
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.
Zoey: Pizza's here!
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.
Since you are busy, Max, I, P.J., shall deal with this single-handed.
I just, um, have to find my hand first. Lefty takes walks.
— PJ, here.
Isabel: *Bursts in* Ed!
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.
Mr. Spender: *putting on suit footsie pyjamas* How do I look?
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*
It's not that I don't appreciate being a lizardman... I'm just worried people see the lizard before they see the man. So from now on, I... I... wanna be a MANLIZARD!!''
— Greco Stucks, here.
Cinnamon Stix: Oy, Spender! Walker's waitin' fa youz on da fifteenth floor. His room.
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.
Paranatural: people of all ages traumatizing each other.
Hello, cops police?!
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.
— Max, to cell phone, here.
Deer-Like Spirit: Thank you, great hero. By gathering all 7 Scepters of Salutation, you have broken the ancient curse that so tormented my people. Now we must return to the Kingdom of Kindness. Though I can give you no prize worthy of your deeds, know that you will be remembered always... as our champion.
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.
Max: *tugging on baseball bat* Guh! My bat's stuck!!
Isabel: *tugging on bat spirit* HRRFF... same.. here...!!
Johnny: ...So there I was, mindin' my own business—
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.
*holding pool noodle threateningly* Do you want to know that we do to artists?
— Mr. Starchman, here.
Jeff: I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING, I SWEAR!!
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
Don't worry. Peeps won't deduce the whole spirit ghost secret spectral superpowers club thing from a bit of weird behavior.
They'll just think yer crazy!
And if ya really own it, they might even like you! Ha ha!
— Ed, here.
Eightfold: Hey, you. Do you know what my power is? I eat the words right outta books, then weave whatever I wanna with the wast weft bweehind.
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!
Strong and weak... perfect and imperfect... You can't rank complex beings so simply. If you start underestimating meeeee... I'LL EAT YOUr favorite book.
— Eightfold, here.
Ed: We're takin' the ghost train outside the barrier t'pick up some Consortium person.
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.
You are here... why? To kill me? You are too weak. Burn.
— Forge, here.
Johnny: Here's a headline fer that news chick: "Nerd Drug Into Alley, Reveals Secrets, Innards"
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*
Johnny: OK, now listen up, you little punk—
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.
Mr. Garcia: OK, now listen up, punk— You haven't told anybody what you saw, have you!?
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.
Mr. Spender: We didn't get to talk earlier, but if you ever do want to talk - about anything - you can come to me.
Max: Anything? Wow, dude, you must be really lonely.
Max: Hey, Dad. I've got a question for you.
Dad: Ask ye, mine sweet loinsfruit.
Max: Can you never, ever call me your loinsfruit again? Ever?
Max: Did we really have to take our shoes off in your car?
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.
Max: *whispering* Hey, Isaac, by the way, I gotta tell you about something serious. [...] That guy Johnny—
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.
Mr. Spender: Master, if I may be so bold—
Guerra: You may not. It's about time someone asked permission.
Guerra: Listen to yourself, Spender. Is that any way to talk about a coworker?
Mr. Spender: You've said worse about me.
Guerra: Well I'm retired.
Mr. Spender: I don't like sounding callous, Master, but it's a natural side effect of working pragmatically for the greater good.
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.
Mr. Spender: *admiring the Ghost Train* I must say, I've no idea how you tamed such a formidable spirit.
Dr. Zarei: Ufufu... a girl has her ways.
Mr. Spender: ...You seduced the train?
Dr. Zarei: What? No.
Ahh, wisdom. Always getting in the way of good sense.
— Dr. Zarei, here.
Forge: (W-WE'VE BEEN HAD...!!)
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.
Isabel: I'm not great with dogs.
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
Forge: (...You yelled out "kids". Who was on the train?)
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.
(But you do have one, don't you? An excuse?)
(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, here.
Spender: Please. Did your heart tell you to scrape open the length of the Ghost Train? It seems to me a bit more calculation then would've prevented the mistake you're so desperate to make my responsibility. But I suppose you were focused on the immediate good of... what, mangling a spirit? Escaping from me? You're selfish. You don't care about the future, you just want to feel good about your actions in the present. Well, that's not who I am. Mayview is my greater good. It's every person I love and have loved and ten thousand more, and protecting its future is my purpose. Everything else is secondary.
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.
—Spender's rebuttal to the above, from This Page
Eightfold: I don't think it was the wrong decision, helping Max then… but… I could feel that you weren't scared for me, like you were for him… as a friend in danger. I was just a book.
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.