Randy’s eyes widened. “You...you’re saying that you didn’t kill Seto?!”
Mark nodded with a sad smile. “I’m sorry. I really wish I did know. If it was me, or Suiko, or Greg, I would gladly reveal it to you all to help!”
Suiko glared at Mark. “You’d give me away if I did it?! How inconsiderate!!!”
Nate blinked. “If you were the culprit, Mark, you’d give yourself away?!”
Mark nodded. “Anything to help you all and your wonderful hope get another step forward!”
Brayden started at Mark in bewilderment. “You’re...you’re just straight-up insane. You should at least be valuing your life! And stop talking about this stupid hope and despair crap, because we’re not taking it. You were the true mastermind behind Nate’s attack, and you know it! You’re even crazier than Suiko!”
Mark laughed calmly, setting Brayden off even more. “If you believe I am talking crap, then so be it. But I wouldn’t mind dying for everyone, so as long as they flourish in hope.”
Brayden looked away with an angry snort of disgust.
“So...so then who could have killed Seto?” Bruce asked.
“We should just start from scratch,” Nate replied. “We’ve solved our first mystery, but we need to focus on the second right now. Let’s just try and find a culprit, and if it leads to Mark or Suiko, then they can be punished like any culprit.”
Casey nodded. “Let’s just forget this...for now. My brain hurts thinking about that mess, even if it’s over...sorta.”
Thomas frowned. “So, what evidence was there for Seto’s murder?”
“Hm...there’s the bloody rag unless it was used in Nate’s attack?” Josh pondered, glancing at Mark.
Mark chuckled. “That rag wasn’t part of anything I know of.”
Brayden nodded. “The rag was obviously used to clean blood from somewhere. On top of that, whoever used it was trying hard to hide the evidence. Not only did they bury it at the bottom of the trash can, but they also didn’t just flush it down the toilet-probably so that no one would hear the noise if anyone was nearby.”
“Was it definitely used in the murder?” Bruce wondered.
“If it wasn’t evidence, then why would someone try so hard to hide it?” Mike asked.
Bruce nodded thoughtfully. “True.”
“Then what was blood cleaned off of?” Thomas asked. “Nothing in the room looked slightly smeared or stained with blood-the rag wasn’t a high-tech cleaning product. There would surely be some kind of remnant of blood.”
“Maybe someone could have been using it to clean off a weapon?” Josh asked.
“Clean the rightfully gained blood off your weapon? Why would anyone do that?!” Suiko exclaimed, outraged.
“To hide their evidence, idiot!” Randy growled.
“Maybe...but Seto’s knife is still covered in blood, right?” Mark asked thoughtfully.
Randy raised an eyebrow. “Yeah...then again, who said the knife was definitely the weapon?”
Suiko laughed. “Ooh, was someone hiding it? Hiding their weapon? Wimp!”
“Shut up!” Casey growled.
“Where could someone have found a weapon other than a knife? It was definitely something with a blade, by the looks of the wound...” Bruce wondered.
“Another kitchen knife?” Randy suggested.
“Maybe they just used Seto’s knife,” Casey said.
“But they were so keen on hiding the rag, wouldn’t they try to hide the knife, too? And it would be hard to just take Seto’s knife from him,” Nate pointed out.
“So then what was the weapon?” Thomas asked.
“MMMMMM,” Suiko hummed meaningfully.
Brayden glared over at him. “What?”
“MMM MMMM,” Suiko hummed angrily.
Bruce rolled his eyes. “When Casey told you to shut up, he didn’t mean it literally. You know that!”
Suiko laughed. “Hahahahaha! Just having fun. Lightening the mood of the trial, eh?” He glanced eagerly around at the glaring faces fixed on him. “Eh? Eh? Ah, whatever. Anyways, I have some nice info for ya that could be of service! Hehe!”
Brayden narrowed his eyes. “It better be important.”
Suiko nodded. “You better believe it, fish! Well, when I was going through the closet, looking for something to Greg with, I came across a fine sword in a cabinet! A shiny one!”
Leroy tilted his head with a confused expression. “Why didn’t you take it? It was an easy weapon to kill with.”
Mark chuckled. “Ah, Leroy, I believe Suiko made it clear before; he is a basher, not a slasher. He doesn’t like using swords and blades.”
“You stay out of it!” Leroy growled.
Josh frowned. “But there was no sword there when Nate and I checked later on.”
Suiko snickered. “Exactly! It was mysteriously gone! Hmm, how could that have happened?”
“There was an empty cabinet in the closet,” Nate pointed out. “And it was clean, which meant someone had probably gone through it.”
Mike’s eyes widened. “So someone took a sword from the closet, and killed Seto with it?!”
Casey nodded. “That seems about right.”
“But, how had someone known there was a sword there...or, at least, known to check the closet?” Bruce asked.
Brayden frowned. “Hmm...well, Suiko saw the sword when he was in the closet, and that was before Nate was attacked. So, it was most likely after Nate was attacked that the culprit found the sword.”
“How would they know about the sword?” Thomas asked thoughtfully.
“Hm... they must have seen it in the closet,” Mike assumed.
“When could they have seen it?” Leroy asked.
Nate thought for a second. He tried to remember back to when he had been in the closet before he had been attacked…
“What’s in these cabinets?” Josh asked, stepping inside and opening the nearest cabinet eagerly. “Ugh, it’s all useless stuff, like receipts and broken pencils,” he said disappointingly, holding up some of the contents for everyone to see.
“Yup,” Thomas confirmed, opening another cabinet. “It’s all just useless stuff, the kind of stuff you always forget to throw away.”
“Oh, well,” Randy sighed. “There’s one more room on this hallway, right?”
“Yeah, let’s go,” Seto said, and everyone headed down the hallway to the last door.
That’s right...only Josh and Thomas had checked the cabinets…
However, they had both found only useless materials. Had the culprit just checked the closet later when no one was looking? But then again, they’d need to know a weapon was there to check.
Nate’s eyes widened with realization. There was something suspicious here…
“I think I have an idea,” Nate announced. Everyone looked at him.
“Let’s hear it, Nate. You’re always very good at trials. I admire your hope,” Mark said. Nate ignored Mark, still upset about the whole “Mark tried to kill him” thing.
“The culprit must have checked the cabinets when we were exploring the closets for the first time!” Nate explained.
Casey frowned. “Hm... that was Josh and Thomas, right? But they both found useless crap. No weapons.”
Nate nodded. “That’s right. But try to remember...Josh checked a cabinet first. He announced that there were only dyes and other useless materials in the cabinet, and held some up to show us.”
Josh nodded. “That cabinet really was dusty. I wish I had my helmet then...”
Nate went on. “Thomas walked over to the cabinet to examine it. He confirmed what Josh said; that there wasn’t anything useful in the cabinets.”
Bruce blinked. “Yeah, I remember. So, what’s your point?”
Nate looked around the group. “Thomas never held up any of the items in the cabinet to show us what was inside. For all we know, he was bluffing. He could have been staring at a brand new shiny sword inside, and we wouldn’t have noticed!”
Leroy growled, tense. “Thomas wouldn’t lie!”
Randy nodded slowly to Nate’s words. “That’s right...I remember now. Thomas, Nate’s right,” he pointed out, glancing uncertainly at Thomas.
Thomas frowned in annoyance. “I didn’t think I needed to. Everything was dusty, and I didn’t want to touch it. I thought Josh’s proof was enough.”
“AHAHAHA!! Everyone’s looking at Thomas now!!!” Suiko exclaimed.
Thomas went on. “I mean, there’s no real proof a sword was even there. You’re actually just taking a psycho watermelon killer’s word for it.”
“A psycho watermelon killer? ’Daw, you’re too kind!” Suiko gushed.
“Okay, seriously. Shut your trap unless you have some vital information,” Casey growled.
Josh nodded. “You’re right, Thomas...there’s no proof there was a sword there, besides Suiko’s words...which aren’t exactly reliable.”
Nate frowned, thinking again. There had to be some other way to pick out a culprit...right?
“Hm... Let’s say that there really is a sword. For argument’s sake,” Mark spoke up. “There was no sword found at the investigation if I’m correct. That doesn’t mean that there was no sword.”
Bruce tilted his head. “What do you mean?”
Mark half-smiled. “The culprit could have just hidden it.”
Randy frowned. “Where would they have hidden it? Pretty sure we searched about everywhere.”
Mike looked thoughtful. “Maybe...maybe they took the job of searching the area they hid it in, so no one else would bother to check there?”
Casey nodded. “Was anyone acting weird or suspicious during the investigation?”
Nate asked himself the same question. He tried to remember where everyone had been during the investigation. Most people had been in the Study Room when he had first gotten there…
“What if...could Nate have done it?” Leroy asked hesitantly. “I mean...he wasn’t there for half the investigation.”
Nate’s eyes widened. Who didn’t hate being accused? “No... that’s not true! I never checked anything in the closet while we explored together, and I was unconscious for most of the time from when we saw the third floor to when we found Seto’s body.”
Brayden frowned. “Yeah...but you said you had been attacked because you were in the Living Room, right? You could have checked the closets before you went down there.”
“I think Suiko and I would have seen Nate, then,” Mark pointed out.
“Would have seen him, didn’t see him!” Suiko confirmed.
Randy nodded. “Yeah, and I saw Nate downstairs, too. That’s three witnesses in his defense; I don’t think he could have done it.”
“True...sorry then, Nate,” Leroy apologized sheepishly.
Not all of the dots have been connected yet, Nate thought. Can we really determine the culprit here?