Nate gasped. “The paper’s gone?”
Leroy eyed him suspiciously. “Sure is. Wanna tell me why you were late?”
Nate sighed. “I swear, I was with Brayden, Bruce, and Randy inviting everyone to the lounge party tomorrow. We even stopped by your door! Go ask them if you don’t believe me.”
Leroy tilted his head to the side. “Hm...that’s right...”
It was Nate’s turn to act suspicious now. “Do you think I’m not going to be suspicious of you, now? You’re the only one here, and the paper’s gone.”
Leroy glanced over at the sage. “Oh, geez, you’re right...ugh, I guess I don’t really have any proof here...well, did you see the paper at lunch? If it was gone before lunch, it definitely wasn’t me.”
Nate thought for a moment. “Hm...I could have sworn I saw the paper at lunch... I guess I can’t say you definitely took the paper, but you’re not cleared of suspicion, either.”
Leroy nodded. “Okay! We should probably get everyone here so we can interrogate.” His suspicious attitude gone in a flash, he was suddenly full of energy again. Typical Leroy.
Everyone was gathered in a circle in the center of the Dining Hall, eyeing each other suspiciously.
“When did you last see the paper?” Brayden asked Randy and Greg, who had been the first shift.
“When we were guarding it,” Randy reported. “I didn’t see Greg take it; he didn’t see me take it.”
“Same for us,” Mike added, who had been the next shift with Mark.
“Then after those two shifts we had lunch,” Bruce said thoughtfully. “Then Leroy and Nate’s shift.”
Nate frowned. “So...if the paper was there for the first two shifts, and it was there at lunch, but it was definitely missing on the third shift. Could it have been taken during lunch?”
Casey raised his eyebrows. “Wouldn’t we have seen them? We were all in the room during lunch.”
Nate nodded. “Probably not at lunch, but maybe right before or right after, or between shifts?”
“Well, after our shift was over,” Randy explained, “Mike showed up first. Greg left, but I stayed until Mark showed up, too, so at least two people were in the hall at any time. The paper couldn’t have been taken between the first and second shifts.”
“It couldn’t have been taken before the first shift either,” Josh pointed out, “Because Randy and Greg stayed behind while everyone else left. There wasn’t a time when one of them was alone to take the paper. Oh, and it couldn’t have been between the second shift and lunch, because I was the first person to arrive for lunch and they were both still there.”
“Was the paper still there, though?” Greg asked nervously.
“Well, the two of us were guarding it, correct?” Mark pointed out.
Mike nodded in agreement. “The paper was still there before Mark and I stopped to eat lunch with you. I checked.”
Brayden narrowed his eyes in deep thought. “Hm...so, then the only other option as to when it could have been taken would have had to been between lunch and the third shift, right?”
Nate nodded. “It makes sense. After lunch, everyone left except for me, you, Randy, and Bruce; we were hanging out and discussing our plans for tomorrow. We all completely forgot about the paper, and we went to go to invite everyone.”
“Everyone was present in their rooms, too,” Bruce added. “Leroy must have remembered it was his shift and went down to the Dining Hall after we invited him, but before Nate came, meaning Leroy was alone in the Dining Hall for about a minute or two.”
Leroy sighed helplessly. “I’m obviously a suspect now, but when I got there the paper was gone. I instantly thought it was Nate because he wasn’t there.”
“Yeah, you seemed pretty suspicious of me when I got there,” Nate added.
“So, whoever took the paper took it between lunch and the third shift?” Brayden asked.
Everyone looked around and nodded.
“Probably,” Randy said.
Nate sighed. “I guess we just need to be extra careful from now on, then...since whoever’s got the paper definitely doesn’t feel like admitting it anytime soon.”
Everyone nodded grimly, glancing uneasily around at each other.
After the mini-trial, were not much but the time the paper had been stolen was determined, everyone hastily returned to their rooms.
Nate had only just sat down on his bed to try and do some thinking before he heard the scream.
Nate leaped out of bed when he heard it-he couldn’t identify who had screamed, and he listened for a couple moments to see if he could hear everything else. But it was silent.
Nate cautiously opened his door and looked around, only to see Bruce dash down the hallway in front of him.
“Woah! Bruce!” Nate called.
Bruce skidded to a halt and whipped around. “N-Nate?!”
Everyone was opening their doors to see what all the commotion was by now.
“Bruce, was that you screaming?” Casey asked.
Bruce nodded shakily. “I-In the Alchemy Room... there’s a ghost!”
“AAH! G-GHOSTS?!” Greg screamed.
“What do you mean, ghost?” Mike asked.
Bruce glanced down the hallway. “There...there was some kind of glowing light coming from the Alchemy Room...I saw the light and heard someone talking so I went to check it out.”
Nate frowned. “Was it definitely a ghost?”
Bruce shook his head. “I don’t know... I didn’t get a good glimpse.”
“Ahahaha! What’re we all getting scared about?” Suiko asked. “He must have...is ‘come’ the correct term? When Greg freaked out…”
“C’mon, we should go check it out!” Josh exclaimed, and everyone headed towards the Alchemy Room.
Inside, all was dark except for a lavender light in one corner of the room, casting an eerie glow on the place.
“Hello...? Is anyone there...?” a voice echoed. It was somewhat faint and unclear, making the voice unrecognizable...but it did sound a bit familiar...
Leroy cautiously pushed open the door and walked inside. Everyone followed.
Someone flipped the lights on, and everything became clearly visible. Some people let out startled gasps, others just stared at what they saw in confusion. What they were staring at stared right back at them, with wide, curious eyes, head tilted to the side.
Standing on the alchemy desk was a mini hologram of Seto.
“S-Seto?!” Casey exclaimed.
“Ha...it appears to be a magical hologram...!” Mark explained happily.
Nate couldn’t believe it. The image was coming from a beam of lavender light that shot from all four vials of liquid on the table, connecting over the recipe book into the mini-Seto that hovered over the book. The Seto image was the same lavender color. It was slightly transparent and glowed faintly. Seto was glancing around at all of them with wide, curious eyes that seemed all too Seto-like.
“Hello there...are you all the Superhumans?” the Seto asked.
“It talks!” Josh whispered in a high voice.
“Y-yes, we are,” Brayden replied uncertainly. “Who...who are you?”
The Seto smiled. “Haha, I think you all know, right? You all live with my Master, right?”
“Master? You mean...Seto?” Mike asked.
The Seto nodded. “Yes! He created me, with his magic. He created me to help him search the books in the mansion for clues on our past. I haven’t seen him in a while, however. Is he here?”
There was silence.
“Seto...died,” Randy said grimly. “He was killed by Thomas.”
The Seto frowned. “Oh...I see...I guess that would happen sooner or later...”
Nate still couldn’t believe it. This was a magical creation, not the real Seto, yet was it feeling true emotions for Seto?
“What’s your name?” Brayden asked.
“Oh...I don’t really have an official name, but I think Master called me Malcolm,” the Seto replied.
“S-Seto...” Bruce murmured painfully. “You...you’re not entirely dead...?”
Nate had forgotten that Bruce had been good friends with Seto, once again making him feel sympathetic.
Malcolm gave Bruce a small reassuring grin, so similar to how the real Seto would act it was creepy. “Bruce... I know I’m not the true Seto, but I hope that I can help you all with my studies, just like I helped my master.”
Bruce nodded silently.
“However,” Malcolm continued, “without my Master’s magic, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep going... I hope I can still help find information by then.”
Bruce nodded and stepped back.
“What exactly have you found so far in your studies?” Mike asked.
Malcolm seemed to become happier when the topic of his studies came up. “Well, I’ve been reading all these books! I believe you all cannot read them because they are in Latin, but Master and I can, and there’s some useful information to be recognized!”
“Really? Like what?” Brayden asked.
“Well, there was one book about how everyone was excited for a new mansion being built, having to do with something called “Dimitris’ Mansion,”“ Malcolm explained. “But the project was quickly shut down and said to never have been finished. No one knew why.”
“Could that be referring to Dimitris’ Mansion of Despair?” Josh asked.
“Who cares? Can I stick my hand through the Seto thingy? I wanna see if it’ll go through, or hurt it!” Suiko exclaimed.
“Hm...probably,” Nate said, responding to Josh. “But then again, if we’re here now, why wasn’t the project ever finished?”
Josh nodded. “You’re right...”
“Well, I hope to find new information soon for you all! It’ll take longer now that master’s gone, but I can do it!” Malcolm declared triumphantly.
“Okay, just keep reading books, then!” Brayden told Malcolm. “We’ll be sure to check on you every day if you find anything.”
Malcolm’s eyes brightened. “Will do!”
Nate wondered all about what Malcolm had reported that night. What had happened in the world before they had come here?