“Now that I think about it...” Nate thought out loud. “I guess there was someone who could have been hiding something during the investigation!”
Casey raised his eyebrows. “Who?”
“Well, most of you were in the Study Room when I came up...” Nate explained. “But, of course, some people weren’t, and I saw who and what they were doing at the time.”
Josh blinked. “Was anyone suspicious?”
Nate recalled the four people who hadn’t been in the Study Room at the time.
He turned to look into the Dining Hall and was surprised at what he saw. It was empty, except for one single person looking around.
“Randy? What are you doing down here?” Nate asked, walking up to him.
“Ah! Don’t scare me like that...” Randy complained, turning around to face Nate.
“Wait...Nate?! You’re awake?” Randy asked, his eyes widening.
Randy had been investigating the Dining Room, eager to get away from the body. He hadn’t really been searching in any place specific...but had anyone else been in the Dining Room?
Then again, the Dining Room was everyone’s meeting place, so Randy hadn’t exactly been alone there for long.
Nate recalled when he had gone to the second floor. Three others had been there.
On the second floor, in the Living Room, were Greg, Mike, and Thomas.
“Nate! You’re awake?” Mike exclaimed, looking over at him from where he and Greg were investigating the fireplace.
“Yeah...” Nate said.
“I’m glad you’re alive,” Thomas remarked from where he was leaning against the large wall painting, arms crossed.
“Did...um...did Randy tell you about...?” Greg asked hesitantly.
“Yeah...” Nate replied, and passed them hurriedly to go down the hallway.
After that, he had run off into the Study Room, where everyone else was. Was there anyone out of those four who could have hidden a weapon somewhere...?
Nate blinked. Yes, there was.
“I think I have some more evidence on who the culprit could be,” Nate explained.
Bruce looked over at him. “Great; we need some new information now.”
“Okay, so I’m pretty sure the culprit was one of four people; the four people who weren’t in the Study Room when I got there. Randy, Greg, Mike, and Thomas.”
“Randy was in the Dining Hall, investigating alone. He was alone, but I’m assuming that others had been there recently since it’s our meeting place. I don’t think he could have hidden a weapon there.”
“Upstairs were Greg, Mike, and Thomas. Greg and Mike were investigating the fireplace since vital information had been there last time, I guess. First off, it would be hard to hide a sword in there, especially if someone else was looking with you. And then Thomas...” Nate trailed off, turning his gaze to Thomas.
“Thomas was leaning against the large painting in the Living Room. A large painting...just the place to hide a sword behind. No one would think to look there, especially with Thomas casually leaning against it!”
Everyone’s eyes widened, as they realized Nate’s words were true.
“You’ve got a point,” Randy agreed. “Swords are pretty flat. Hiding one behind a painting frame couldn’t have been too hard.”
Bruce nodded in agreement. “And then there could have actually been a sword in the cabinet Thomas checked!”
Leroy glared at everyone. “You’re still forgetting something!” Leroy pointed out. “Seto’s knife was bloody, and the bloody rag in the bathroom! How do you explain those?”
“Well, the knife was obviously used to draw blood if it had blood on it,” Mark explained. “But there wasn’t too much blood-it would have been messier, had it been used to slit Seto’s throat. I’d like to guess that Seto fought back, and possibly inflicted a minor wound on his attacker?”
Brayden’s eyes widened in realization. “Then could, the rag has been used to clean the culprit’s wounds?”
“Everything makes sense!” Casey exclaimed. “Seto fought back against his attacker. His attacker should have some kind of cut or something on him right now!”
Mark nodded slowly. “There was no blood on the desk or book, which could only mean that Seto had gotten up out of his chair before finally being killed against the wall.”
Mike glanced at Thomas. “Thomas...do you have some kind of... injury you could show us?”
Thomas shook his head. “Nope.”
Mark smiled calmly. “You can prove to us that you’re innocent by showing us you’re free of wounds.”
“Unless you’re GUILTY!” Suiko chimed in.
Leroy looked over at Thomas desperately. “Just show them! Just somehow prove that you’re not the culprit!”
Thomas tensed, frowning and closing his eyes.
“M-Thomas...don’t...” Leroy trailed, eyes wide.
“OKAY, FINE!” Thomas exclaimed, his voice surprisingly loud. He whipped off his jacket in a red and black blur, tossing it to the ground, leaving him in his pale brownish-white long-sleeved shirt. He grabbed the sleeve on his right arm and pulled it up, revealing a thin, shallow cut going up the side of his arm.
“IT WAS ME! I DID IT! ARE YOU HAPPY?” Thomas snarled, looking around at everyone’s terrified faces.
“Thomas...?” Mike muttered fearfully.
Leroy’s face changed from fear to anger. “If that cut’s from Seto, how come your shirt isn’t ripped or bleeding?!”
Leroy had a point. The cut wasn’t bleeding now of course, but at the time it should have bled over Thomas’s shirt.
Thomas smirked. “I just took my shirt off. I knew Seto had a knife! I knew he’d be a challenge! I was prepared; I even brought that rag to clean up any cuts!”
Casey stared at Thomas fearfully. “Why did you attack SETO, with the KNIFE, of all people?!”
Thomas’s smirk grew to a full smile.
“I wanted the challenge. Seeing those videos...Dimitris’ motives...watching myself shoot...I remembered how much I enjoyed impalement. I wanted it again!”
Leroy still glared at Thomas. “No... b-but, you’re the Superhuman ARCHER! How could you use a sword?!”
Thomas cast a sideways glance at Leroy. “You saw the videos. I’m exceptional with a bow, but I’m great with swords and karate too. The title of Superhuman Fighter was taken, though.”
Leroy’s eyes widened. “But...no. I won’t believe it. You didn’t do it, Thomas!!” Leroy exclaimed desperately.
Thomas gave Leroy a sad smile. “I couldn’t resist it, Leroy. Especially after I found that sword. I had to kill...” Thomas explained, moving his gaze down to his hands, which he clenched into fists and smirked.
“Leroy...all signs point to Thomas. He even admitted it,” Bruce told Leroy quietly.
“You’re wrong! Thomas wouldn’t do that. Thomas didn’t do that. You’re gonna vote for him, and w-we’re all gonna die...” Leroy rambled, the normally easygoing Baca baring his pointed teeth, his thick brown fur rising.
Thomas folded his arms, frowning and closing his eyes. “Leroy...give it up. You all have to execute me now. That kill sure was worth it...I felt alive again. Now, I’m about to be the opposite.”
Leroy gritted his teeth and stared at Thomas with a look of bewilderment, anger, and realization, but didn’t say any more.
Watching this scene between two best friends go down hurt Nate’s heart.
Dimitris sighed. “Gonna make a climax inference or what?” he muttered.
Mark brightened. “I’ll do it! Of course, if nobody minds.”
Leroy glared at Mark dangerously. “GO AHEAD! DO YOUR STUPID INFERENCE! CLARIFY TO EVERYONE THAT THOMAS NEEDS TO DIE!”
Nate had never seen the Bacca so upset, and he looked dangerous.
Mark didn’t seem fazed, so he started the inference. “Our culprit first found the sword when checking the closet with everyone else. He was lucky enough to find the cabinet with the sword in it. Naturally, he casually lied, saying nothing useful was in the cabinet. Soon, motivated by Dimitris’ videos, the culprit knew how he would now kill.”
When Seto said he would be carrying a knife; the culprit saw his opportunity. He must have retrieved the sword from the closet later on, and went to the Alchemy Room, where Seto said he’d be.”
However, I believe Seto was just being smart. Seto never went to the Alchemy Room, as the culprit though. He had gone to the Study Room- and that’s where the culprit soon found him.”
The culprit knew things could get messy, so he took off his shirt before going in, to not ruin his clothes, and turn them into evidence. Seto was definitely surprised to see our culprit come in with a sword, but of course, he got up from his desk and fought back.”
During the fight, Seto was able to leave a cut on the culprit’s right arm at some point. It wasn’t deep, but it drew blood.”
The culprit soon finished Seto off, pinning him against the wall and slitting his throat with the sword, leaving Seto to collapse and bleed out on the floor.”
The culprit brought out the trusty rag they had brought with them to clean their cut. The blood soon stopped flowing, and the culprit hid the rag in the bathroom trash can, fearing someone would hear if he flushed it down the toilet.”
The culprit put back on his shirt and rushed to the Living Room to hide his sword behind the large wall painting. At the investigation, he would lean against it casually, not seeming suspicious to anyone but ensuring that no one would find the weapon.”
And our culprit...is you, Thomas,” Mark finished calmly, looking at Thomas, who was only frowning slightly.
Dimitris chuckled. “So we’re done? Good! Then it’s time to vote!”
“...Hm, the vote’s almost unanimous. Someone voted for Suiko. Wonder who that could have been,” Dimitris said in annoyance, glaring at Leroy, who gave a wild, angry glare back. “I’m not voting for Thomas...” he growled. Nate felt bad for the poor guy, as he knew that they had been good friends in and out of the mansion
The giant slot machine slid out from the wall, and one by one each slot rested on Thomas’s face. The word GUILTY flashed, and confetti popped out.
“Correct! Thomas is your culprit!” Dimitris announced.
Leroy stared at Thomas with furious and terrified eyes. “They’re lying! They’re lying...” Leroy told Thomas defiantly. Thomas stared at Leroy. “Leroy, stop. I’ve been proven guilty already.”
Leroy’s face fell and his eyes widened, as Thomas began to walk, chin high, down the hallway that had once dragged Ivan by a cuff around the neck.
The metal room that had been home to two deaths already now contained a large archery target on the far side of the wall.
The yellow center ring slid open, revealing Thomas inside. All four limbs were cuffed to chains linked to the walls of the opening.
Thomas stared straight ahead, his eyes sharp, his mouth in a slight frown.
A large bow rose up from the floor, with a quiver of arrows beside it.
An arrow flew up from the quiver into the bow and nocked itself.
The bow drew back and fired.
Thomas flinched, but the giant arrow impaled itself on the very outer ring of the target, vibrating from impact.
Another arrow nocked itself, quicker this time, and shot again, landing on the second outer ring, the black ring.
Beads of sweat formed on Thomas’s face as another arrow shot itself into the middle blue ring of the target.
He kept his eyes straight ahead, his face as straight as possible as another arrow quickly launched into the red ring around the bullseye.
The last arrow in the quiver nocked itself and drew back.
There was a terrible moment where time seemed to freeze......
Then, the arrow whizzed off the bow, directly into the bullseye of the target.
The head of the arrow was so big it covered the hole completely, with blood splattered on the arrowhead and in a ring around it on the target.
Everyone stared at the impaled target in shocked silence.
Nate nervously looked over at Leroy. Leroy was shaking all over, his eyes wide with terrible fear and shock, and tears forming at his eyes.
“There you have it. Another execution well done!” Dimitris exclaimed in a mellow tone.
“W-WAIT!” Leroy exclaimed.
Dimitris narrowed his eyes. “What? Your buddy’s already dead. Behind that giant arrow in the bullseye, you don’t even want to see what’s left.”
Leroy glared at Dimitris with full hatred. “You said that if we killed, we’d find out the meaning behind those videos,” he growled.
Dimitris laughed. “Yeah, about that...”
Leroy’s face became contorted with rage. “THOMAS GAVE HIS LIFE FOR THIS INFORMATION! YOU’D BETTER TELL ALL OF US NOW!”
Dimitris smiled. “I never said that you’d learn this information if you killed. I just said that if you wanted to know, kill. I didn’t promise anything! Surprise!”
Dimitris laughed maniacally, and Randy and Mike rushed forward to hold Leroy back before he tried to attack the laughing man. “LET ME GET TO HIM!” Leroy roared furiously. “HE KILLED THOMAS! HE LIED TO US ALL! HE LIED TO US ALL!”
The despairing sound of Dimitris’ laughter and Leroy’s raging cries echoed across the seemingly empty metal room.