Nate shuffled tiredly down the hallways of Dimitris’ Mansion that next morning, reminding himself with sour humor to not trip over people’s bodies or get whacked in the head with a crowbar by a melon serial killer.
He felt honest sympathy for Leroy-everyone did. Thomas and Leroy had become good friends, and based on Dimitris’ last “motivation”, they seemed to have been friends before this, too-whatever “this” really was.
Nate walked into the Dining Hall to find that he was one of the first houseguests there. Only Mike, Bruce, and Leroy were there, sitting at one of the tables and chatting.
“Morning,” Nate greeted.
“Morning!” Bruce replied brightly.
To Nate’s surprise, Leroy seemed to be in a good mood as well.
“You think we’re gonna get a new floor in the Mansion?” Mike asked.
Leroy nodded. “I guess so. He did that the last two times, right?”
“That’s just what I wanted to talk to you all about today!” Dimitris exclaimed from where he sat next to Bruce.
“AH!” Bruce exclaimed, leaping out of his seat. “W-was he sitting there a second ago...?”
Dimitris chuckled. “You see, the fourth floor’s your motivation.”
Nate frowned. “What do you mean?”
Dimitris grinned. “I can explain more once everyone’s here! I’m too lazy to explain it all twice.”
Nate glanced over at the kitchen door, to look away from Dimitris out of hatred and to wonder when would be an appropriate time to grab some breakfast. He glanced back, and Dimitris was gone.
“Leroy, I’m sorry to bring up this topic, but...you seem fine today, considering what happened yesterday,” Bruce acknowledged.
Leroy blinked. “What do you mean?”
Mike frowned. “Well, your best friend died, and Randy and I had to hold you back so you wouldn’t rip Dimitris to shreds and get yourself killed, too.”
Leroy gave a small grin. “Oh, well, of course, I’m upset about that, but I was angrier, to be honest...I’m trying to stay positive, you know? I don’t wanna bring everyone down. Also, sometimes people get kinda scared of me when I’m angry...”
Nate nodded understandingly, the image of Leroy with insane, furious eyes and sharp teeth bared in a snarl, his brown fur rising aggressively flashing in his mind.
“You’re...you’re okay now, then?” Mike asked Leroy.
“Ah...sure, I guess,” Leroy simply replied. “I’m gonna go grab some food.” He got out of his chair and walked into the kitchen.
“Someone’s taking the situation lightly,” Nate muttered.
“Some of it is probably shock,” Bruce said.
“He does have a point. If he were down, everyone would be down...” Mike pointed out.
Nate went to grab something to eat too, and soon everyone was in the Dining Hall.
“Okay! Everyone’s here, so let’s get to it!” Dimitris exclaimed from the stage of the Dining Hall.
“The fourth floor to the mansion...is secret.”
“What do you mean, secret?” Randy asked.
Dimitris grinned. “I mean, there’s no easy staircase for you to waltz up, you know? I must say, some of you seem to have a brain here. Two of you have already discovered the fourth floor.”
Everyone looked around with wide eyes. “Who found the fourth floor, and how?” Josh demanded.
Dimitris chuckled. “I can’t tell you, obviously! But, I guess I can give you a hint. One of the two who’ve discovered the fourth floor is dead.”
Nate frowned. “You mean...one of the people is in this room right now, and the other has already died?”
Dimitris nodded. “Now you’re getting it!”
“So, how does this information have to do with our motivation?” Mark asked.
Dimitris whipped out a folded piece of paper. “This paper has all you need to know to get to the floor.”
“Wait...” Greg spoke up. “If two people have found it, even if one’s dead, why wouldn’t they tell us about it?”
Dimitris gave an ominous laugh. “Well, Greg...why do you think they’d be keeping it a secret?”
Everyone went silent in thought.
Hm, what would someone want to keep secret that they found? Nate thought. If I found the floor, what there could drive me to keep it a secret?
And then it hit him.
Dimitris chuckled. “By the looks of your faces, I can tell you’re all thinking the same thing! There are indeed possible murder items on the fourth floor of my mansion of despair!”
“So...one of us has access to it?!” Mike asked, glancing around.
“That’s right!” Dimitris exclaimed. “You want weapons, too? To protect yourself? To kill? Just wanna peek out of curiosity? The paper’s right here!” He set the paper down on the center of the stage. “Good luck!” he exclaimed and disappeared.
Everyone was silent.
“Nobody is taking that paper,” Brayden growled.
“Someone already knows about it!” Josh exclaimed, glancing around.
“What an interesting motivation...I wonder, is anybody that curious?” Mark thought out loud.
“We should have shifts of people watch it,” Casey said.
Mike nodded. “Yeah, two people at a time so one can’t steal it. That way, nobody will get the paper, right?”
Everyone glanced around and nodded agreeably.
Soon, the shifts had all been set out. They would last thirty minutes each, none during meals since everyone would already be there. The shifts were strategic, like placing suspicious people like Mark, who had manipulated Greg to almost kill Nate, and Greg, who could turn into Suiko at any moment, with strong people like Randy, who usually seemed pretty calm and mature, and definitely had the Batman thing going for him, and Mike, who was a robot, after all.
Randy and Greg took the first shift after breakfast as everyone left the Dining Hall. Nate hoped that everything would turn out okay, even though he knew they wouldn’t...someone already knew about the fourth floor.
Later, everyone came back in for lunch, and no one needed to take a shift. Everyone seemed to be in a pretty good mood; Casey even sprung up a conversation with Leroy about his raw fish diet.
“Is that seriously all you eat?” Casey asked Leroy with a laugh. Leroy had just sat down with a plate full of raw fish.
Leroy shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. It’s a Bacca’s diet.”
Casey chuckled. “You don’t eat any, like, steak, or anything?”
Leroy shook his head with a face of disgust. “Bleh, are you kidding? Cooking it takes out its flavor.”
Nate laughed. “You guys are seriously arguing over food?”
“We’re not arguing!” Leroy and Casey replied simultaneously.
“Alright, let’s make a deal,” Leroy said with a grin. “I’ll eat your steak if you eat my fish.”
Casey laughed. “You’re on!”
Everyone gathered around to watch amusedly as Casey ate a raw fish and Leroy ate a cooked steak.
“Ugh!” They exclaimed simultaneously, and everyone started laughing.
“Ugh, how do you eat this stuff?” Leroy asked.
“How do you eat this stuff?!” Casey replied.
Leroy snorted. “Truce?”
“Uh, yeah!” Casey laughed.
Casey and Leroy’s “challenge’ had definitely brightened everyone’s mood, and later after lunch, Nate, Randy, Brayden, and Bruce still hung around.
“You know what I’ve been thinking?” Brayden asked.
“Why does Leroy eat raw fish?” Randy asked. Bruce snorted.
Brayden nodded. “Yes, and that we should have a little...party, I guess you could call it? Get-together? I dunno, but we should all hang out in the lounge. The place really does seem nice.”
Nate nodded. “You’re right; that does sound fun!”
“Yeah, we can do it tomorrow, and invite everyone today!” Bruce added.
“And, if everyone’s there, we can, you know, keep an eye on them,” Randy added.
“Let’s go invite everyone now, then,” Bruce declared, standing up. “They should all be in their rooms anyway.”
One by one, the four knocked on everyone’s doors. Everyone seemed pretty enthusiastic about it, except for Mark.
“What do you mean, ‘no?’“ Randy asked.
Mark gave his signature calm smile. “You must not want me there, because I’m so suspicious and all.”
Nate narrowed his eyes. “Uh, Mark, everyone’s gonna be there. You shouldn’t make yourself that suspicious.”
Mark’s eyes flashed with understanding. “Oh, I see! You want me there to keep an eye on me. Haha, I see. I will be there, then.” He smiled and closed his door.
“Well, guess that’s everyone, then,” Brayden said.
Nate’s eyes widened. “Crap, I forgot I’m supposed to be on shift with Leroy now! See you later!” He called, dashing down the halls.
When he got to the Dining Hall, he saw it was empty except for Leroy leaning against the base of the stage.
“Oh gosh,” Nate breathed, relieved the paper hadn’t been left unattended. “Sorry I’m late, Leroy.”
Leroy didn’t reply, He just glared at Nate with his arms crossed, which was something unusual for Leroy.
“...Leroy?” Nate asked cautiously.
“Where is it?” Leroy growled.
“What? What do you mean?” Nate asked, already knowing clearly what Leroy meant, just not wanting to believe it.
Leroy threw Nate a sideways glance. “The paper.”
Nate ran up to the stage.
Sure enough, the paper was gone.