Pesterquest: Volume 9, entitled 'Blood and Binary', is the ninth installment of Pesterquest, a Homestuck spinoff visual novel. The befriendable characters in the ninth installment are Nepeta Leijon and Sollux Captor. Volume 9 Route 1 was written by Aysha U. Farah while Volume 9 Route 2 was written by Anonymous 2.0. Volume 9 was released on December 20, 2019.
Volume 9 Route 1: The Lionliest Girl In Alternia
You knew that something was amiss the whole time; your stint with Aradia confirming your suspicions even further. Even though you feel understandably guilty for forgetting your old friends, you soldier on and decide to visit someone Equius once mentioned.
Almost instantly you are attacked by a terrifying beast, but then you realize that it's just a young troll girl role playing. You quickly tell Nepeta that you're no threat to her, which prompts her to wonder why someone like you is so far from civilization. She proceeds to ask how you managed to find her cave, still role playing all the while.
- If you choose to stop this nonsense, you kindly ask Nepeta to stop messing around so you both can have a proper conversation (also because it reminds you too much of someone). Heartbroken, Nepeta agrees to knock it off. Before you can say something else, Nepeta mumbles something and darts back into her cave. Stunned, you run after her, but find a very angry Pounce de Leon barring your way. < GAME OVER
- If you choose to play along, you make it very clear that you're the weaker party here and show deferance to Nepeta. Pleased with your RP skills, Nepeta formally welcomes you as a friend. You explain that you came here because you and her have a mutual friend, which makes her very curious. She invites you inside her cave so that you can tell her everything about how you met Equius, then instructs you to wait while she gets you something to eat. Nepeta comes back inside just as her lusus is about to claw you to shreds, then proceeds to cook the giant hunk of meat she obtained somewhere. The two of you begin talking about Equius in earnest, though you notice that Nepeta seems strangely sad. You ask her what's wrong, and she inquires what you actually are. You get the feeling that as playful and goofy she is, treating Nepeta like an idiot is not a good idea.
- Should you choose to explain, you tell her that you have no clue what you are or what you're doing. Nepeta tells you that she and her friends were meant to play a game together, but things have been called off unexpectedly. She informs you of the strange dreams she had in the past: seeing her friends, dead or alternate versions of herself, the human teenagers that she doesn't recognize. She notes that she's never seen you in her dreams before, then apologizes for making it sound like you're an unwelcome disturbance in the chain of events that were supposed to happen. Feeling bad, you follow Nepeta to where she's cuddling Pounce and ask why she's living in a cave, of all places. Saddened with the memory, Nepeta informs you that her old hive got burned down when she was very young and has taken residence in a cave since then. Thinking about her situation reminds you of Boldir and Polypa, the olivebloods living rough and being skilled killers (at least in Polypa's case). Hoping to cheer her up, you extend a hand towards her and take her to Equius' place. Excited to see his dear moirail, Equius wraps Nepeta in the gentlest hug you've ever seen. Nepeta is beyond elated to see her friend in person, scampering around Equius in happy cirlces. While you are nohwere near fixing all their problems, you settle for bringing friends together in the meantime. VICTORY!!!
- Should you choose to deflect, you demonstrate your cool teleportation powers as an attempt to distract her. You reappear in Jade's room, watching her and Dave play with her squiddles. Upon noticing your arrival, Dave asks whether you have another stray alien, since he thinks that Karkat's attitude could use some work, thought the troll had great taste in snacks. Both Dave and Jade greet Nepeta casually, though Nepeta is rather freaked out with what's going on. Panicking, Nepeta rushes for the window, not knowing that Jade's room is at the top of a tower. You hurriedly teleport her back home, but accidentally take Dave and Jade with you in the process. While the two human teens process their shock, you apologize to Nepeta profusely, not liking the way she's trembling head to toe. Suddenly you hear loud growling behind you, and Nepeta is unable to prevent her lusus from attacking Jade.
- If you don't get there in time, you can only watch helplessly as Pounce leaps at Jade. Jade shoots Pounce with her rifle, killing her instantly. Nepeta is beyond horrified to see her lusus dead, and viciously attacks Jade for doing so. Weeping in pain, Jade flees from the cave, Dave hot on her heels. You don't know what to do, torn between running after the two humans or staying to comfort Nepeta. Seeing Nepeta go into a near catatonic state of misery makes it clear that you've done nothing but harm to her tonight, so you rush out the cave to see where Dave and Jade went. You don't see them, so you attempt to use your teleportation powers to speed the process up a little. After winding up at several locations, you are equal parts frustrated and worried about the entire mess you've created. Even though your powers have grown to the point where Bec can't stop you, you realize that you'll never find Dave and Jade again simply because they don't fit in Alternia; your tampering with the timeline and continuity ensuring that they'll be eternally stuck in an alient planet. GAME OVER
- If you get there in time, you take the brunt of Pounce's attack and watch as your blood stains the nice green dress Kanaya made for you so long ago. Instead of succumbing to blood loss (or getting booted back to the menu, for that matter), several pairs of hands ease you onto something soft. You hear your three friends discussing how to help you right before you drift off into unconsciousness. When you finally come to, Dave and Jade explain how they managed to patch you up and Bec's recent odd behavior. Feeling guilty for putting them through such an ordeal (though they seem rather fine with what had transpired), you apologize for randomly teleporting them to an alien planet. Nepeta then hands you a warm cup of herbs to drink, and you take it easy while the three of them trade stories. Your thoughts begin to blur as the medicine gets into your system, and you contemplate helping the three of them (and all your other friends) deal with reality and such. Even so, you're tired and high, so you decide to rest. :33 GROUP END
Volume 9 Route 2: It Came From Space
You make your way to Sollux's place, noting how both Karkat and Kanaya mention that the goldblood had recently been ghosted by his dear friend. The only reason why you're out here in the first place is due to Karkat's concern over his friend's emotional wellbeing, the young troll setting up a meeting for you and Sollux. After sitting on a train station bench for a long while, you finally see Sollux trudging down the platform. You think about the best way to apporach him.
- If you choose to tell him that you're Karkat's friend, Sollux recoiles at your presence. Right as you're reconsidering your friend-making tactics, Sollux goes into a rant that friends of a friend don't necessarily have to interact with each other all the time (or even be friends in the first place). While you get the sneaking suspicion that he doesn't like Gamzee in the slightest and is probably using some Alternian slurs at you, you don't want to make a fool of yourself by looking up words on your phone in front of him. Ignoring the departing train, Sollux demands to know what you want. Explaining your true motive of helping him out only enrages him further, but before he can berate you further you both are interrupted by a loud honk. The two of you watch in fascination as Gamzee unfolds himself from his little clown car, the purpleblood happy to see Sollux. Getting really frustrated, Sollux asks if you and Gamzee had planned this just to piss him off. Your attempt to explain doesn't go smoothly as planned, and when Gamzee offers his convoluted explanation, Sollux high-tails it out of there so quickly you're nearly knocked over by the shockwave. Seemingly unbothered with Sollux's departure, Gamzee suggests getting some pie to cheer you up, since you're really bummed out with the goldblood's disappearance. CL:O)WN END
- If you think that the time isn't right, you hang back a polite distance from him and watch as he takes a peek into the train carriage before getting off again. He only boards the next train after another quick look, you following him in a few moments later. You take the seat opposite Sollux, even though the bee-themed train is empty. While he doesn't seem outwardly annoyed with your presence, you're fairly certain that he's bound to say something about your appearance anytime soon. After you stare at him for a bit, Sollux asks if there's anything he can help you with. When you muse that it's not your standard way of introducing yourself, Sollux loses interest and begins tapping away on his phone. You follow suit, sensing his need for space. Rembering the games Karkat showed you, you offhandedly mention how much you love Minecraft, only to get ignored by Sollux. Rattling a few more names gets you nowhere, until Sollux remarks that you're looking a little green. After reassuring him that you won't puke on his shoes, he introduces himself and asks whether you're the alien that everyone's talking about. You confirm his suspicions, but he still remembers the weirdly invasive messages and actions you've done in the past to get more info on him. A small olive troll suddenly demands that you both be quiet, which sets Sollux off immensely. Freaking out, Sollux insists that you and he need to get out of here immediately before you both get killed along with the olive troll.
- Should you choose to teleport away from danger, you and him somehow end up in front of John's house. Stunned, Sollux asks what you've done, so do do some explaining. He cuts you off mid sentence, stating that it's super creepy that you know so much about him even though he has yet to tell you anything about himself. While he's aware that you're friends with his other friends, he doesn't appreciate how you can just take things in life so lightly. He dejectedly informs you that no matter what he does, he's destined to be a war machine. You try to cheer him up a little, but since you're not privy to the whole story, your efforts are limited. Even so, Sollux can see why the others have taken a liking to you, then proceeds to fly off someplace else. You're terrified that he might end up in hostile company, but know that he really doesn't want anything to do with you right now. SEE YOU SPACE GAMER...
- Should you choose to tell Sollux that nothing's wrong, Sollux asks whether you're insane as the train begins vibrating alarmingly. Abruptly the vibrating stops, stunning Sollux and the olive troll. While the other troll goes back to sleep, Sollux inquires whether you've done something to alter what usually happens. Not getting what he's talking about, you listen to his explanation--how he can hear the voices of the imminently deceased and he was very certain he heard the olive troll's voice earlier. But you point out that not seeing people die in front of you was a good thing, so Sollux calms down considerably. He mentions that he's off to see Kanaya, adding that Terezi and Karkat made you sound more annoying than you really are. Upon arrival, he uses his psionics to get you both to Kanaya's hive. You watch the two trolls have a friendly banter about Sollux's psionics, then Kanaya finally gets to the heart of the matter: her keyboard isn't working after it got neatly bisected by a chainsaw. While Sollux goes about dealing with the problem, Kanaya quietly furnishes you with additional details regarding what happened in their friend group as of late though she refrains from telling the whole story altogether. Right as you're reeling from Kanaya's less-than-perfect attempt at sarcasm, Sollux announces that he's done fixing the problem and also gave Kanaya the embarrassing childhood photos of them. Since Kanaya is dead against letting you see the photos, you stand to the side and mind your own business as they chat about the good old days. They get back to you once they're done reminiscing the past, Kanaya stating that she's surprised to see him with company. Kanaya also adds that Peixes was quite excited with the new bond she formed with Sollux, though Sollux remains cryptic about the exact nature of his relationship with Feferi. You note that it's easy for Kanaya to get Sollux to meet new people, but Karkat had to give you this needlessly complex plan just to meet Sollux. Both Kanaya and Sollux scoff at Karkat's inability to filter the people entering his life, but you decide not to take offense and instead remain happy at the sight of Sollux and Kanaya's friendship. Unable to stay the day due to certain other projects, Sollux informs Kanaya that he has to leave, though he agrees to help her make some deliveries. The moment Kanaya goes off to get her things though, Sollux tells you the real reason you both have to leave is because you're not 6 sweeps old and having a sleepover with you is weird. You don't question his logic, though you're quite happy that he doesn't mind spending time with you in the future. He offers to take you to the frozen yogurt place near the drone office, and you are more than elated. 2WEET VICTORY!!
- The name of Nepeta's route is a callback to Jade's route, entitled 'The Loneliest Girl In The World'.
- Similarly, the name of Sollux's route could be a reference to the 1953 sci-fi movie It Came From Outer Space.
- In Nepeta's second good ending, Dave compares Pounce de Leon to Kimba the White Lion.
- Nepeta consistently refers to Dave as Akwete, a reference to the ironic fursona Dave made for himself when attempting to and RPing with Nepeta (mentioned in ).
- In Nepeta's second good ending, the MSPA Reader off-handedly mentions that they always wind up doing some kind of drug when a certain writer is the one writing their route (Aysha U. Farah also wrote Gamzee's route).
- Kanaya mentions that Sollux gets sleepy after using his psionics too much, and his full name is actually Solluxander.