Chatterbox: Pudding's Place

Dropping your backpack to the floor with a shockingly loud thud, you kick off your shoes and groan. What a day! You shudder at the thought at all the homework sitting in your backpack, probably plotting ways to become more difficult…

“Why does everything hate me?!” You cry very dramatically. You flop down on the couch as though one more second standing would have killed you.

Ouch! The sharp edge of something wedged into the couch cushions pokes your rear end. Huffing, you turn and grab it. It’s an envelope… Addressed to you. How curious… You take a closer look.  The envelope itself is a handsome olive, but there’s no stamp, address, or return address. Most peculiar. Gently, you unseal the flap and remove two pieces of paper. The first one says:

To whoever’s couch cushion this was wedged in,

You and thirteen others have been detected to have elemental magic. To harness these powers within you and learn how to control this magic, you have been invited to Magicae Palace, a place where magic abounds. There are five elements you and your companions may be taught- fire, water, air, earth, and on that is not truly considered an element but I believe is truly essential- life. You AE(s) and CAPTCHA/CAPTCHAE have been detected to have magic as well, so they are encouraged to come. Vacation will last two weeks. The popcorn is free.

Best wishes,

Your hostess,

Simul Stoicheio (sigh-mull Stee-HE-oh)

P.S it is required that you fill out the second sheet.

You hastily stuff the first sheet away and proceed to the second-




Packing list:

Which is your favorite: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, or all/a mixture/none/different?:


Your instinct tells you that this is some kind of scam. Magic? But a voice inside of you knows that going is the right thing to do. How? You don’t know. You can just feel it.


You guessed it- ski lodge!

Spots are open for fourteen CBers and however many companions they may bring. Feel free to guess me.

submitted by Simul Stoicheio, age Mystical, Magicae Palace
(November 19, 2018 - 7:00 pm)

Aaaaaaaah omg! Night! Aaaaaaah! This is so good! You're such an amazing writer! 

*starts singing It's Quiet Uptown*  

submitted by Agent Winter, age Classified, a bookshelf
(July 9, 2020 - 2:27 pm)

Wow. Still only on day 7...  keep it up, Luna!

submitted by Jwyn, age 15, The Realm of Silence
(July 9, 2020 - 3:11 pm)

*rubs hands together* *smiles mischeviously*

Day seven, part three

"And that's it!" Catsquill announced as he reeled in the string for the tripwire. "Good work, you guys."

"Thanks," replied Marigold. "I still feel bad about leaving Win on her own, though..."

Gracia bit her lip as she threw away a wad of tape. She knew it was her fault, but she had to leave, otherwise... well, she didn't know what would have happened if she told Marigold and Win all that she knew. She didn't know... would it be better for the guests as a whole if she had told her, so her curiosity would almost be fully put to rest? Or would it be better for AW herself if she figured it out? Wait, no... it couldn't be good for AW if she tried to figure out all of the secrets of the ski lodge...

Ski lodge. Those were the words Winter had discovered. A significance she didn't know... though Gracia was sure she would find out. And then... and then, what? What would become of her if she found out slowly, instead of all at once?

"Gracia? You just gonna stand there, or do you want to leave?" Terra asked.

"Wha-? Oh, actually, I think I'll stay here," she replied.

"Suit yourself," Terra said with a shrug, closing the door behind him.


Simul, retreating once again to her room, was once again contemplating her situation in the whole mess she had helped to create. She rifled through her thoughts, trying to sort through what she knew, what she thought she knew, and what she had to do with these thoughts.

She started with something she knew: if she didn't shift the focus of the guests to something less related to the murderer, secrets would start to be discovered. So she began to wonder how she could get all of the guests to focus more on their elemental magic...

A lightbulb lit up in her mind. What if they had two magic lessons per day? One in the afternoon as it had been, one in the morning? That way, there would be one more 'distraction' disguised as something to strengthen their magic abilities and allowing them to practice more.

But then she would have to talk to the instructors about it, and they knew she was keeping something from them now... so before she could propose the idea, she would have to find a way to tell them. Just when she was almost convinced it would be impossible and dangerous, she remembered the meeting she and the murderer had with L and C that night- a perfect opportunity to discuss how it might be done. 

For a moment, Simul was finally smiling, thinking about her triumph. But then, her grin slowly fell as she thought about all that the instructors would have to learn about... and the possibilities of how the ski lodge could be put at risk by giving them that kind of knowledge. She sighed heavily, sad that her happiness had to be short-lived. It was nice to feel like she had something to feel good about, and yet she managed to take it away from herself. Maybe that was just what the whole experience was doing to her...

Simul threw her door open and marched through the halls, deciding to go take a walk.


"Darkking, I'd appreciate if you stopped staring at the floor and tried to practice," Terra snapped. 

"Sorry," Darkking said, hastily getting back to his work.

Terra's mind was in a different place- though not too different that he couldn't be sarcastic. He of course had been told that Simul was keeping secrets from him by his fellow magic instructors. He didn't know exactly what to make of it, because they still didn't know what kind of secrets- Simul very well could have been being overdramatic in an attempt to get Vita, Ingus and Caeli off her back. Unfortunately for his students, this meant that Terra's attention wasn't on them, despite the obvious progress Caspian and Estrella were making.

The students in Earth left lessons that day sighing in frustration. Terra was an odd mix of distracted and harsh, even though they hadn't done anything wrong. In fact, Ingus seemed to have been very distracted that day too, though this almost worked out well for those in fire.

When her lesson in air was finished, Agent Winter went out looking for Gracia, still very curious about what she hadn't been told. But Gracia wasn't anywhere near the life classroom or dormitory, to AW's surprise. She must have left quickly after the lesson was finished. AW turned around and began to walk through the hallways, wondering where she could be...

"I know you were up this morning."

The menacing voice made Win stop in her tracks. She didn't know who it was, their voice had been made low and gravelly...

Winter backed up and pressed her back to the brick wall, listening to the conversation that was happening in the small, dark hallway just around the corner.

"How would you know?" Came the response in a fierce whisper.

"Because I saw you, sneaking around. You made Simul look twice."

"So you were up too. What does it matter to you if I was up?"

"Because later that night, Simul found a note on her desk. From the murderer. I need to know if that was you."

"Of course it wasn't! Why would you ever accuse me of that? And how would you know that a note appeared on Simul's desk anyways?"

Winter edged a little closer to the hallway to hear better.

"She knew where the traps were. She knew that the craft room where Night died was rigged. There's only one person who could have told her that."

As Winter edged closer, she could feel the pull of the secrets again- ski lodge. What did it mean? And how was it attached to the people in the hallway? She bit her lip.

"I- I can't believe you'd think I'd do that. Everyone who died was either my friend or- or somehow connected to my friends. I'd never hurt any of them."

"Oh, wouldn't you. Just admit it."

"No! I can't! I didn't do it, any of it, I swear!"

There was a pause. Agent Winter could vaguely hear one of them sighing. Picking up the hint that the conversation was almost over, she began to edge away from the hallway. As she did, the pull of the secrets lessened.

"We both know what you did," the interrogator hissed menacingly. "So I'll leave it at..."

Agent Winter couldn't hear the final piece of the conversation; she tiptoed over to the closest room, went inside, and swiftly closed the door behind her. For a second she thought with a sick, swooping sensation about the possibility of a trap in the doorway, but then started to breathe again when she was met with nothing but the sound of her own beating heart.

She heard footsteps just outside her door. But even after they had faded, she still sat with her back against the door, breathing heavily and thinking...

Ski lodge. What did it have to do with the people in the hallway? Why would it mean more than-

And then it clicked.

The murderer.


OooOOh, spooky! What are your theories? Who was interrogating who? What kinds of secrets did Gracia want to tell AW? What all might AW discover? I'd love to hear what you're thinking!


submitted by Day seven part three, Top
(July 13, 2020 - 4:07 pm)

Top top! This shall not be stuck on the second page!

In looking over this for edits I dsicovered that, for the first time, like, ever, there were no typos in this segment! Hooray!

Day seven, part four

"Uno," Wren called quietly as she placed a red two on top of Artimerrx's blue two.

"But not for long," Artimerrx replied with a smirk, placing a draw three card on top of hers.

"Aaww!" Mor cried. She and Porcelain had also been playing, but had both won the game. Mor was cheering for Wren, but Porcelain was neutral. They both watched as Wren silently drew three cards and selected one of them to play.

"Uno!" Artimerrx announced in turn.

Wren looked from Arti to her cards. Then, she played a red Uno Reverse card, played a green Uno Reverse card, called Uno, then played her last card, which was green. Mor cheered. Artimerrx looked at the stack of cards in confusion.

"Wait, but- you can't- it that allowed?" he stuttered.

"Itis noww!" Mor proclaimed triumphantly. Porcelain simply laughed at the look on Artimerrx's face.

"Fine, you win," he said, giving in. "But I'm still not entirely sure if that's fair."

Wren only sat there with a small smile, secretly proud of herself.


Reese was in an almost empty room that had cobwebs gathering in the corners of the ceiling and dust coating the windows. But that wasn't what she was paying attention to. In fact, she wasn't paying attention to much of anything. She was simply pacing the room in the form of a cat, her thoughts coming so fast she was surprised she was able to think them all.

She  transformed back into a human, sighing heavily. She went to the door, swung it open forcefully, then went back to being a cat and prowled along the hallway.

"Reese? Is that you?" Darkking asked as he passed her. She ignored him and carried on. Darkking sighed as he watched her go. He was sure Reese would feel better if she would only talk to someone...

Meanwhile, Agent Winter, also fining solace in an empty room, sat in silence, trying to sort through her thoughts of all that had happened to her that day. Night... poor, kind Night, had been killed... she had given a glimpse of the truth at the fence... and then, the whole conversation between the murderer and someone who knew of their identity! Who was it that had figured it out?

Then, suddenly, it hit her- Gracia! Gracia had a secret she was about to tell her and Marigold, then suddenly decided against it! It very well could have been her, trying to get the murderer to admit what they've been doing...

And then, there was the connection of the murderer to the mysterious ski lodge! Agent Winter's brain hurt just trying to unravel it all. The murderer... ski lodges...

Eventually, she simply gave up on figuring out how the two were connected and decided to sit in silence for a while, without trying to decipher all of her thoughts.


Estrella mindlessly picked up a slice of bread and began to eat it slowly as she read the Fellowship of the Ring under the table, paying no attention to the conversations that were going on at the table. She was not able to stop reading at this point- the Company was stuck in a snowstorm! She had to know!

Meanwhile, Marigold was watching Win, who was watching Gracia; they all had their own reasons to be paying attention to one another. Gracia was trying not to look suspicious and was talking to Nihil. Winter remained mostly silent throughout dinner. It was more exciting as their dinners went, however, because Devin decided to try spaghetti with peanut butter and lemon juice. Darkking laughed at him the entire time, and Artimerrx chanted "Eat it! Eat it!". However, most of the other guests rolled their eyes at him and called him disgusting- which Devin took as a compliment. It was lucky for him that Estrella was to busy with her book to say something sarcastic.

Considering how uneventful the day had been for most of the guests, with only one death, most of them were in a good mood that night. Castquill, Bean, Artimerrx and Estrella got popcorn from the popcorn room and watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail together, to which Catsquill made references to the rest of the vacation (much to everyone's delight that slowly descended into dismay).

There were, of course, the exceptions to the overall happiness that was surrounding the castle that night- Nymph was sulking as always, Gracia was concerned and anxious behind her smile as she chatted with Alex and Bean, Reese was staring with an odd intensity at her pillow, and of course, Agent Winter was still just thinking...

Then, after even the most restless of the group had gone to bed, the murderer and Simul met up at the drawbridge once again to go meet with L and C. 

submitted by Day seven part four
(July 15, 2020 - 8:53 pm)

Amazing, as always!! For some reason I suspect Marigold, and I think maybe Reese was the one being interrogated in the last part.

submitted by Quill
(July 16, 2020 - 4:10 pm)

I agree. Marigold is definitely suspicious.

submitted by Jwyn, age 15, Also Indigo Feather
(July 18, 2020 - 10:12 am)
submitted by TOP Stoicheio
(July 15, 2020 - 8:53 pm)

I just went to reread this whole thing, and up until I found out about everything I was totally convinced that I was the murderer. This is so cool! I'm probably going to die soon, though...

submitted by Gracia
(July 18, 2020 - 6:11 pm)

Thanks everyone, and you all have good theories!

Day seven, part five

Simul only gave the murderer a curt nod before setting off down the sloping lawn of the palace and into the edge of the forest. The murderer thought this was odd- though perhaps understandable. They knew that Simul had a lot on her plate.

Their greetings with L and C were cut short. "We have something important to tell you," C announced.

"Gracia managed to find out about... everything, somehow. We don't know why. It's just like the Mystery will decide to come over you in a weird way, and not care about secrecy."

"That's what happened with Jwyn," the murderer muttered. "She knew it all too."

"Whatnow? Jwyn knew?" Simul cried. 

"Yeah. She came to me and... confessed it," the murderer said. "She knew that... I... had to stop her."

Their words came out slow, like they had gotten stuck in their throat. Simul stared at them, shocked. She just shook her head then turned back to L and C. "So, what are you saying about Gracia?"

"I'm saying... well, I mean, we're saying that... her secrets can't be spread," L replied slowly, "And..."

"You're saying I have to stop her."

The murderer didn't flinch, they just stared at L. "Um, well, yes," L confirmed with difficulty. The murderer, looking at the ground, nodded a little, enough to let the others know they understood.

There was silence after such an announcement, but Simul knew of the subject she had to bring up. She cleared her throat loudly, efficiently getting everyone's attention.

"So," she began, "Um, the elemental instructors figured out that I'm keeping... some kind of secrets from them. I told them that things could explode a little bit if I told them, but I was wondering, you know, if there was a way would tell them what's going on without... breaking everything. Or otherwise risk having everything broken."

The murderer raised an eyebrow as L and C looked at each other, contemplating what to do with that kind of announcement. "We could probably find a way to do that safely," L said, "But we'd also have to make sure. We want them to know kind of in the same way that you do- you're sort of obligated not to tell anyone. They'd have to know exactly what would happen if a guest figured it out."

"Alright alright," Simul mumbled in an odd sort of reply, looking at the ground. 

There was a painfully awkward pause in which Simul continued to stare at the ground, L and C stole glance at each other, and the murderer sighed in a slightly exasperated way.

"Are we going to discuss anything else?" the murderer finally asked, "Or are we just going to stare at our feet?"

"Well, I don't have any feet to stare at," Simul reminded them. The murderer gave her a look. She promptly shut up.

"Well," C said, "We have been trying to figure out what caused the Mystery to malfunction in the first place."

"And what have you found?" the murderer asked. They would have loved to know why they were forced to be this way.

"Not a whole lot, really. We... do know it's been acting up lately, in other cases, and we're sure they're connected somehow, but we haven't quite figured out why, or how," L explained.

"But then main thing right now is still to keep the others from knowing," C reminded them.

"We need to stop using the word 'secrets'," Simul announced abruptly.

"What? Why?" asked C.

"Because we keep saying it over and over again! 'They can't know about the secrets.' 'We have to protect all these secrets.' Secrets secrets secrets. Say it over and over and it stops sounding like a word. And it's spelled weird and it's a pain to type," Simul explained.

"Why," the murderer began, "Are you so weird."

"Secrets secrets secrets secrets secrets. You know, she's right about how it stops sounding like a real word," L observed. the murderer rubbed their forehead with their hand.

"Are we going to talk about something real?" the murderer asked, not even trying to hide their impatience.

"Well, we could celebrate making it to the halfway point," C offered.

"Halfway!" the murderer scoffed. "That means we still have the other half to live through!"

"But that doesn't make getting through the first part of it less of an accomplishment... right? I feel like one of us has slightly skewered logic about this," L puzzled.

The murderer sighed. "Whatever. I'm tired and it doesn't seem like anyone has anything important to say anymore, so can I go back and go to bed?"

"Well... okay, I think we can give you that," C gave in. "When should we meet again?"

"I guess whenever one of us says that we really need to for some specific reason?" C suggested. "It would probably be more productive that way."

"I agree," the murderer said with relief. It was a pain to stand there with nothing to say.

"Then I think we're done," Simul announced, perhaps a little harshly. L and C only nodded. the murderer turned and left without another word. Simul followed.


But when the murderer got back to their room, they didn't go to sleep at all. They knew that, since Gracia knew and Jwyn did too, there was a good chance many others could find out too. The murderer didn't have all the power they wanted over themselves, and they knew that what Jwyn and Gracia discovered was not a fault on the murderer's part, but they could still try to create distractions for the guests, make them less likely for them to fall in the same trap Gracia and Jwyn did...

And so, planning more carefully this time, the murderer went without sleep that night as they planned their 'distraction'... 

submitted by Day seven part five
(July 20, 2020 - 10:16 am)

Eeeeep this is so good! I think Reese was the one being interrogated, but I'm not sure. I really love this!

submitted by Agent Winter, age Classified, catalyst
(July 20, 2020 - 4:07 pm)

Day eight, part one

Alex woke up early on the eighth day, though she wasn't entirely sure why. It wasn't extremely noisy, and she hadn't woken up from some dream. But, she was up early, and she decided that it would be better to take that time and read than to do nothing with it at all.

She slipped out of the Life dormitory and into a nearby library where she could read by lamplight without disturbing anyone. Settling down into a big, comfy chair, she turned on a lamp beside her and peeled open the pages of her books. Soon she was immersed in its words, lost in the story. Time slipped by without Alex ever taking notice, and soon, it was light enough outside that she no longer needed the lamp. She continued to read until finally her stomach growled and demanded to be fed. In fact, checking the time, she realized that she might have missed breakfast with the rest due to her reading. Sighing, she put her book down and made for the door. She strolled down halls that were mostly empty, planning to eat breakfast quickly- she had stopped just after the climax and wanted dearly to finish just as soon as she scarfed down some toast. But, as she wandered down a staircase, Caspian came around a corner and nearly ran into her.

“Ah, good,” he panted, “I’ve found you.

“Alex, could you please follow me? Estrella found Gracia just a few minutes ago… dead. There was a note, and…”

Through Caspian’s rambling, Alex was able to interpret the real meaning: Gracia was dead, and another game was to be played.

She never got her breakfast that day.


“Dear Chatterboxers,

“It hasn't been long since I've last written to you, but I'm fast becoming bored. I was hoping you'd be part of another game. Though we both know you don't have much of a choice.

“Now that Gracia is dead, 18 of you are left. A bit shocking, even to me. Let's see if we can play around with those numbers...

“I've hidden 17 pocket-sized, empty notebooks labeled with numbers around the castle- one less than the total number of guests there are. In the hat beside this note, you will find clues- one per person. Everyone will take one clue and set out to find their notebook. When you do find yours, you'll come back here and place yours under your name tag- which I have so graciously taped to the wall for you, as you can see. After that, you can be on your way, so long as you don't help those who are still working out their clues.

“If you have not found your notebook by noon, come back into this spare room. I'll have to deal with you…

“Best of luck to you all.

“The murderer”

Artimerrx took a deep breath, his hand shaking as he lowered the piece of paper. He now pitied Porcelain and AW when they had to read a note from the murderer out loud…

Looking around him, he saw that everyone was standing still, not making a move for the hat with all the clues. A mix of hesitation, thoughts and fear kept them all rooted in place. Artimerrx bit his lip and looked down at the ground.

“Okay, then,” he said, taking on a roll he didn’t really want to, “Should we, um, start now?”

“I suppose,” Marigold replied in a fairly gloomy voice, which was unlike her to do. Slowly, people filed into a sort of line, each grabbing a clue, some staying in place and pondering what it said, others taking off towards different rooms around the castle.

Artimerrx grabbed his own clue last. He reached down into the hat, seized it and unfolded it.


Artimerrx gave the paper a confused look. Was that it? He checked the back and found nothing. Did the murderer just get lazy? Or… was this the clue that lead to nowhere? Was he the eighteenth one with no notebook at all?

No. He refused to let those thoughts get to him that early. So Artimerrx decided to head to the dining room with a clear head and a resolute attitude.



Devin looked at his own note, similarly dumbfounded. What the heck was it supposed to mean? How come there wasn’t anything else to it? How was he supposed to find the notebook on such a worthless heading?

Well, he thought, it was best to start in a place where dirt certainly was- outside, around the castle.

Everyone was finding their notes to be similar- one word, leading them to both simple and complex conclusions. Many of them felt it was unfair to have to try and figure out where their notebook was on such an unsubstantial kind of hint. And yet, the pressure was upon them to finish out before noon. It was already 9:35 by the time they had all gotten their clues, and with what they had been given, nobody knew how long it would take to get their notebooks.

Bean stared at her own word of leaf, wondering if she should go out to the forest or to the life classroom and dorm. She decided that the classroom and dorm would take less time to search, so if it wasn’t there, she wouldn’t waste as much time as if she went to the forest and it wasn’t there. On her way up, she saw both Reese looking rather lost and a half-lizard she could only assume was Nymph. It was strange to see Reese looking something other than energetic and/or crazy, at least to her. But, there was no time for that. She had to find the notebook.

Finally, she arrived at the life hallway and went first to the classroom. Looking at the walls all decked in green, a doubt crept into the back of her mind. If it really was in the forest, she would waste so much time here... what did it mean by simply giving her the word "leaf" and leaving her to fend for herself, as with everyone else?

Bean took a deep breath. This was exactly what the murderer intended! She couldn't allow herself to fall into that trap! 

Many of the others were experiencing similar doubts. The murderer, who came up with all this in the middle of the night, was surprised by the effect it had on everyone. The stress and doubt that came with it wasn't their intention, but it was their advantage- and their guilt.

Artimerrx, hunting in the dining room, was the first to find a second clue. Feeling under the table, his fingers ran into a piece of paper taped to the underside of the table. Peeling it away, he read:

Close. Wrong mustard

Wrong? There were multiple choices and he managed to choose the wrong one? What else could be a sensible place for mustard?

then he realized- it wasn't sensible.

the popcorn room.


Devin, meanwhile, was searching around outside until he, too, found a note telling him he had the "wrong dirt", and Bean got a similar notion. Now they were starting to get anxious. How much time did they have left? Were they the one, destined to search for the notebook that wasn't there?

Porcelain, clutching a wrinkled piece of paper with the word Stone scrawled on it, was standing in the Earth classroom, looking out the window and thinking about Gracia. Poor Gracia, just like all of her other friends who had fallen, killed by someone and-

Stone. The place where all of them were buried.

A sick feeling came to her stomach. How disrespectful could the murderer have been? She took a deep breath and set out for the lawn. On her way she passed her own Nihil, who was wandering around looking for Power, and Devin, who looked dejected.

"What's wrong, Devin?" Porcelain asked. Devin sighed, frustrated.

"This stupid clue lead me outside, then told me I had the 'wrong dirt'!" he huffed. "Now I don't know where to go."

"You could try the Earth room... but, I was just there and I didn't see anything. Maybe you'll notice something I didn't," she suggested. Devin blinked.

"You know... that's a pretty okay idea, I guess. Though if you didn't see anything I don't think I will..." he went up the stairs, looking just as disappointed as he was before he had met Porcelain. She sighed, sorry not to have been helpful, and continued on.

As Porcelain approached the place where all of the funerals had been held with a lump in her throat and a heavy, hesitant heart, Artimerrx was scouring the popcorn room, Devin was looking around the Earth room frantically, Bean was moving from the life classroom to its dorm, Nihil was wondering where on earth something relating to power could be in or around the castle, and the rest were having similar struggles...

Simul, meanwhile, was ringing her hands, unnerved by the new game, and knowing that today was the day all of the elemental instructors would become aware of the Mystery... she had found more specific instructions from L and C earlier that morning, telling her how to go about doing this and what would happen to them.

There was plenty of unease to go around, and yet, to the murderer's pleasure, none of it, to their knowledge, was related to the Mystery. Their job had been done well- even better than they had anticipated. Around them their friends were panicking, and it was to their advantage. 

submitted by day eight, part one
(July 24, 2020 - 4:44 pm)

No! I'm dead. I guess I knew too much.

submitted by Gracia
(July 25, 2020 - 8:04 am)

This is my favorite installment yet! This is So. Good. You are so awesome, Luna!

submitted by Jwyn, age 15
(July 25, 2020 - 8:47 am)

This is so good!! I can't wait to see where the clues lead!

submitted by Quill
(July 25, 2020 - 2:16 pm)

Ahw, thanks so much, guys! I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

What made this one your favorite, Jwyn? 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(July 27, 2020 - 9:43 am)