Undesirable Sanity

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CHAPTER 17

When they got to the Dining Hall again, everything was normal. The paper was still on the stage.

“What should we do about the paper?” Bruce asked.

“No one else should see it. We don’t need more people with access to poison and who knows what,” Brayden growled.

“Then how do we get rid of it?” Nate asked.

“I know,” Leroy said.

He walked up to the stage and picked up the paper. Without opening and unfolding it, he crumpled it up, stuck it in his mouth, and swallowed.

“...Leroy, did you just eat the paper?” Brayden asked.

“Yes,” Leroy replied.

“Well, no one will see it now,” Nate said and laughed.

Everyone joined in, but suddenly Leroy stopped, his face suddenly becoming serious.

“Leroy? What’s wrong?” Bruce asked.

“I smell poison again,” Leroy growled and strode over to the kitchen. Brayden, Bruce, and Nate followed anxiously.

In the kitchen, Leroy swung open the door to the fridge and began rummaging through food.

“Someone poisoned the food?!” Bruce exclaimed.

“W-what if we ate some?!” Nate cried out.

“Relax. Do you think the culprit could have poisoned all the food?” Brayden asked, but he still looked scared.

Leroy stopped going through the fridge and pulled out something.

“There’s only one kind of food in here that reeks like poison,” Leroy growled and held something up.

It was a raw fish.

Everyone gasped.

“How do you know?” Nate asked.

“Here,” Leroy said. He grabbed a kitchen knife and put the fish on the counter. He sliced its head off and held up the body for everyone to see.

“The meat’s even tinted green. That’s probably the poison.”

Nate nodded. The inside of the fish had a green tint.

“Leroy, don’t you eat raw fish?” Brayden exclaimed, tensing.

Leroy shook his head. “I haven’t eaten all day today-I’m starving, by the way-but the last time I ate was-” He broke off, eyes wide.

“What?” Bruce demanded.

“Oh, gosh,” Leroy muttered. “The last time I ate was at that contest with Casey. I hadn’t touched a single fish, but he had a mouthful.”

Everyone stared at the fish in shocked silence.

“You mean...” Nate said quietly, “Casey was poisoned by eating the fish?”

“I...I think so,” Brayden said in shock.

“Leroy, you swear you never had any fish today or yesterday?” Bruce asked.

Leroy nodded. “I swear, there was no time for breakfast this morning, and yesterday I lost my appetite for dinner because of the steak.”

“Oh gosh. Someone poisoned the fish, to obviously kill Leroy instead,” Brayden muttered.

“D-Do you think Leroy just set Casey up to eat it and make it look like someone else did it?!” Bruce exclaimed.

Leroy looked baffled. “Casey had suggested the contest, not me! It was sheer luck that he ate the fish!”

“Either way, there’s still plenty of information pointing to you as the culprit,” Brayden said thoughtfully.

“Huh?!” Leroy exclaimed.

“For instance, how did you smell the poison so easily?” Brayden asked.

“Baccas have a good sense of smell!” Leroy shot back. “And if I were the culprit, would I be showing you the poison?”

“Hm, and then you were alone with the paper...” Brayden went on.

“Only for a minute! And Casey ate the fish before that!” Leroy said defensively.

“Give it up, and save it for the trial!” Nate told Brayden.

Brayden sighed. “Sorry.” He threw a suspicious glance at Leroy, then turned away, walking over to investigate some kitchen cupboards.

Bruce, looking uncomfortable and scared, exited the kitchen to go investigate the Dining Hall more.

“Ugh,” Leroy muttered, frustrated, putting a paw on his forehead.

Nate watched Leroy walk away as he left the kitchen. He didn’t know why, but he didn’t really suspect Leroy. Nate supposed it was just because of what Leroy said; it made sense anyways. If he was only alone with the paper after lunch, how could he have poisoned the fish?

Nate sighed and left the kitchen and the Dining Hall, deciding to see what the others had found out with Malcolm.

Halfway down the hall, he met up with the rest of the group.

“Hey Nate,” Randy said.

“Hey. Did you find anything?” Nate asked.

“Nothing much, really,” Mike replied. “Malcolm didn’t seem to know anything about where the secret passage to the fourth floor could be.”

“He did tell us something useful, though!” Josh added. “Apparently, the dead person who knew about the fourth floor was Seto.”

“Really? Did Malcolm know anything about where it was?” Nate asked.

“Nope! That Seto made sure to keep his little AI friend quiet,” Suiko said in annoyance.

“Someone seems eager to get to the fourth floor,” Randy growled.

“Of course I am!” Suiko replied. “There could be really good weapons up there. Baseball bats, metal pipes, more crowbars...”

“Hey, guys. You found anything?” Leroy’s voice came from behind Nate. He turned around to see Leroy, Brayden, and Bruce walking out of the Dining Hall towards them.

“Malcolm told us Seto knew about the fourth floor, but he either didn’t know where it was or couldn’t say where it was. No info on where the fourth floor is.”

“On top of the third floor, maybe?” Suiko suggested.

“Shut up, you!” Randy muttered angrily as Suiko started cracking up.

“Anyways, we found out what had poisoned Casey, thanks to Leroy’s nose,” Bruce said.

“Oh, really?” Mike asked. “What?”

“All the raw fish, and only the raw fish, was poisoned, and the last person to eat a raw fish was Casey at lunch yesterday. Leroy hadn’t eaten one since then,” Brayden explained.

“Wouldn’t you have smelled the poison back then at the challenge?” Josh asked Leroy.

“I thought I smelled something, but I thought it was just the steak because it tasted terrible,” Leroy replied.

“Was the steak poisoned, too?!” Nate asked.

Leroy shook his head quickly. “No, I’d be dead by now if it was!”

“That’s enough investigation time, don’t ya think?” Dimitris’ voice blared through the halls. “Please make your way to the elevator, for our fourth household Trial.

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