Sorry for the delay!

We’re about to have a lot less gum-flappin’ and a lot more face slappin’.

[Image 1, text reads “ERRRRRNNKK”]

Poppy gripped the handle to Eggton’s gate, nostalgia washing over her, and pulled, gently.

“Oh… Poppy,” said a familiar voice waiting for her. “I was really, honestly hoping it wasn’t true.”

[Image 2]

“Petunia?” Poppy asked, surprised. “Um, nice outfit.”

Petunia only stared in response, the glare of her glasses barely concealing the malice behind them.

“What… are you doing up at this time of night?” Poppy asked, cautiously taking a step forward.

“I’m here to tell you to go home and stop getting other people involved in your messes,” said Petunia. Her voice was blunt and spiteful.

Poppy had known this side of Petunia in tiny doses before, lashing out from between the cracks in her refined facade whenever she lost her temper, but she had never seen it this openly exposed. Petunia didn’t look upset or frustrated, but was instead perfectly calm. Poppy realized she had never seen her this restrained before, it made her appear as though she was an alien being wearing Petunia’s skin.

“I don’t know what you-” Poppy started, but she quickly regained her focus. “Look, I don’t have time for this, Hallia is-”

“Hallia is fine,” Petunia interrupted. “Well, I wish ‘fine’ was the proper word. She is currently under house arrest, and will be for the foreseeable future.”

“Under hou- What for?” Poppy asked, as if she didn’t already know.

“She’s under suspicion of collaborating with a conspiracy against the State.” Petunia sighed and furrowed her brow, as though bracing herself. “A conspiracy being organized by Poppy Odeletta Possum.”

“Petunia, you had me going,” Poppy laughed. “Don’t tell me you actually bought that bulsha, you can’t believe I’m conspiring agains-

“Are you not attempting to take down Arthur Chicadino? Is that not what this is all about?” Petunia countered without a moment’s hesitation. Poppy was stunned. She heard the words, but she couldn’t process what Petunia was saying.

[Image 3]

“No… Petunia, you’re working for him…?” she finally mustered, crestfallen. Petunia said nothing, which spoke volumes. “I don’t understand. How can you be okay with all of this?”

“Okay?” Petunia snapped. “You think I have the luxury of being ‘okay’ with the things happening around me? You think I like being woken up at four in the morning and being told that my friends have become enemies of the State? That our town’s assets will be seized if I don’t cooperate?”

“What?! They can’t do that!”

“Oh, yes they can,” said Petunia. “Eggton belongs to Chicadino. The deed was signed away months ago.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“Because we don’t need your help,” said Petunia, her voice dripping with venom. “Ever since you showed up, things have gotten more and more complicated, so just… let us handle our own problems this time.”


“No. If you insist on trying to complicate things for everyone else, then I will dissuade you by force, if I have to.”

“Force?” Poppy repeated, baffled. “What happened to being a pacifist?” Petunia’s face grew grim, and she simply turned, revealing her bare back.

“Do you see this mark?” she asked, and it glowed softly on cue.

[Image 4]

“This is a charm that has been permanently tattooed into my skin. If I ever harm another person, no matter how slightly, the blows I land on them will be magically backlashed onto me. That is the nature of my vow. Pacifism isn’t something I believe, it’s a curse I willingly had inflicted upon myself.”

“I don’t understand,” Poppy said. “Why do that if you don’t really believe it?”

“That’s not important,” she deflected. “What is important… Is that it doesn’t work on you. And I will not hesitate to exploit that if you force my hand.”