Welcome to Gaia! ::

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          23/10/2012~Event opened!! Feel free to ask any questions if confused, enjoy 3nodding
          24/10/2012~Art competition: Draw Me! now bumped up to 500k in prize!
          24/10/2012~PM your stories to me, if possible please label them Halloween Stories
          25/10/2012~Should also say, event ends on the 31st of October! So get in now!
          26/10/2012~Here is a countdown to the deadline of when all entries/ events will finish. Click here for the countdown. It is be based off American times, only for practical reasons, sorry to all non-Americans lol (I'm not American) sweatdrop
          2/11/2012~Event closed! Thanks everyone heart




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Introduction & Rules .|. Activity 1 .|. Activity 2 .|. Activity 3 .|. Activity 4 .|. Activity 5 .|. Media
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INTRODUCTION

        *knock knock*

        Trick or Treat?! >: D

        Happy Halloween peeps! It’s time to get dressed up in your scariest outfit and scare the shits out of everyone! Pumpkin lanterns, witches on broomsticks, ghosts, vampires, and most importantly……CANDY!!! Stick around this October, participate in events and have a bunch of fun! Win some prizes along the way too

        But you might wanna watch yourselves out there, we all know anything can happen during Halloween….
        *hides bloody hands* wink



RULES

        ✘No cheating
        ✘Do not quote anything on the front page
        ✔Follow Gaia's terms of service.
        ✔Respect others
        ✔To be considered for any completion/ activity, you must post in this thread at least 5 times
        ✔Have Fun!!!

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(Summaries. Scroll down for details)

All winners to be announced on Halloween Day.Click here for a countdown to the deadline

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Activity 1: Trick or Treat

There's been a crime on the night of Halloween. Read the details and solve the mystery!
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Prize: 500k
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Winner: Kaori Setton (received 400k for her excellent efforts)

Activity 2: Draw me!

Like to draw? Artistic? Check it out!
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Prize:500k
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Winner: tba

Activity 3: Peak-a-BOO!

A game of hide-and-seek anyone?
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Prize: Little prizes 3nodding
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Winner: tba

Activity 4: Best Dressed

Show off your costumes!
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Prize: 200k
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Winner: Sunnydew Melon

Activity 5: Halloween Stories

It's time to tell your story! Do your best to scare us ;D
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Prize: 300k
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Winner: tba

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Trick or Treat

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First person to figure out the mystery completely will win the grand prize!
Read each chapter instalment as it comes out, find the evidence and clues, and explain how you came to the conclusion of solving the mystery.
Feel free to discuss and chat about the mystery in the thread :3

Rules:
1. Do not pester for any extra clues or the answer
2. Do not cheat, though that would be impossible lol

Prize:500k!!

A new chapter everyday 3nodding

Stain the Manor Red
Author: Yutora


Character List:
Male:

Sir Snyder Crysis: Host
The Butler: Butler
Dr. Ivor Chopiak: the Surgeon
Augustus Plum: the Chef
Elden Trovito: the Architect
Dorsey Tran: Mystery Man

Female:

Clydia Deverto: the Loan Shark
Mila Swan: the Paintress
Dorothy Mouse: the Actress
Cherr Casters: the Accountant


Chapter One
At a dinner party during Halloween, one where all you do is show off your apparent wealth with the good manners that were carved into your mind at birth, the clock ticked ever closer to midnight.

Nine individuals of different standards and heritages were gathered in a grand hall with jazz music quietly playing in the background, laughing and nodding at each other as they stood in their chosen corners, nibbling on the snacks that were offered and boasting about the privilege of being invited to the Crysis Manor.

After all, Sir Snyder Crysis was a man who didn’t honor just anyone with his invitations. It was more than a privilege to be invited: it meant that one of the highest standing men in the world might want to disclose a deal with you. It meant being the best actor of the night. Because, a man who owned half the cooperations in the city chose his company well.

The grand hall was marvelous, decorated in oranges and blacks. A few bats were hanging from the ceiling and large carved pumpkins occupied the corners of the room. All the way in the back of it stood a spacious mahogany table with intricate incisions made into the dark wood, underneath a chandelier that was covered in spiderwebs. Near the entrance stood the snack table and next to it was a tower of wine glasses. A phonograph was the last thing added to the room.

The Russian Surgeon Ivor Chopiak stood furthest from the small crowd. With a glass of wine placed between his lithe fingers, he silently watched the scene before him. He himself was a man with high standards that did not mingle with the small minded. He prided himself with his knowledge in medicine and with the fact that he was well past forty yet still managed to swoon any woman.

“Well aren’t we a little boring,” an intimate kind of voice rang from his side. He glanced to his left, taking in the robust curves fitted in a short black lace dress. “It is not nice to stare,” the woman said, pushing her long red hair out of the way and revealing more of her slim neck.

“I was not aware that thieves were invited,” Dr. Chopiak spoke. “Though it is a pleasure to finally meet you, Ms. Deverto.” He flashed her a smirk, fully turning his attention towards the redhead.

“Oh my, please do call me Clydia,” she said, extending her hand towards the Surgeon. “And do refrain from insulting me.” The red haired woman applied more pressure than necessary to the handshake, but Dr. Chopiak kept his smile. He was well aware of the fact that the woman before him probably held more power than he could imagine. It was the way her eyes sparkled with bloodlust that truly held up to her well deserved title as the most respected loan shark.

When their hands finally parted, she simply turned and walked off. The way she moved was quite mesmerizing and he found himself staring after her, until she stopped in front of a short thick man with a beard that was impossible to overlook. A man with whom the Surgeon was not very familiar with but knew that he was french and a world-renowned Chef that went by the name Augustus Plum.

If it weren’t for the snowstorm outside that was in a crazed dance with lighting and thunder, Ivor Chopiak would most certainly no longer be there. However, as the lovely weather of London had planned, he was stuck. It was not that much of a tragedy, besides him being bored of course.

The Surgeon yawned into the night as he waited for the host himself to return. Sir Crysis had left a while ago to acknowledge a phone call his Butler had deemed important enough to disturb the man with. The Architect Elden Trovito, who had vanished earlier with some infamous paintress named Mila Swan, entered the room again with said paintress clinging to his side.

Mister Trovito showed no sign of what he and the lovely woman beside him had been up to, but Miss Swan did. Her face was scarlet and she kept fidgeting with her sleek and simple red dress. Ivor smirked at the scene.

“Mila,” a high-pitched voice slurred in a sing-song kind of tone. Most of everyone ignored it, but an older man named Dorsey Tran cringed and complained about the blonde who yet again sang the name of the paintress. Mr. Tran, who was a mystery to most, seeing as no one really had a clue as to what the man did for a living (it was just clear enough that he was wealthier than half of the people currently in the Manor), held an aura of power and a posture that left him peerless.

“Shut up,” she barked towards him and ripped Miss Swan out of the arm she had clung to.

“Mila! I’ve wanted to dance with you! Where were you?” the blonde actress Dorothy Mouse whined. She was definitely the presence that was most questioned for being there. Mystery man Tran couldn’t even compare to the abstruseness of her being in the Manor. What kind of deal could a wealthy businessman possibly make with a woman who barely made it in showbiz?

“The music is too quiet to dance to,” the paintress uttered in a hushed tone, the same one she’d been using all her life. She was a woman who preferred the silence and so her tone never really rose much. A small smile tugged at the edges of her full lips and she swatted Dorothy away to go back to Mister Trovito’s side. The actress was about to complain but hushed as the Butler, whose name escaped most, offered her a new glass of champagne.

“When is Sir Crysis returning?” a small, nervous woman named Cherr Casters finally spoke up for the first time. Mrs. Casters was a well-known accountant. Her glasses were sliding down her nose and her black hair stuck out in various directions from the poor ponytail she’d made. The question, of course, was directed towards the Butler whose ears perked up at the sound of his masters name.

“I shall go ask when he’ll be joining you again, ma’am,” the hollow voice of the Butler sounded.

“You can direct me to the bathroom then,” the Chef announced loudly, barking with laughter. Next to him Clydia Deverto kept nibbling on her bottom lip, while the Architect Elden hurriedly whispered something towards Miss Swan. Mrs. Casters gave the Butler a small smile as he turned with Chef Plum in tow.

The moment they walked towards the door a few things happened. For one, the paintress was near panic and she started trembling as she tried inching her way towards the door without too many eyes following. Secondly, the Surgeon surged past the actress who was in an argument with Dorsey Tran and the loan shark jumped at the sight of him doing so.

In a matter of less than five minutes something happened that turned the night into more than just a chance of snagging a deal that would sky-rocket anyones wealth.

The lights went out with a loud bang that echoed across the walls and resounded in everyone’s ears, leaving them all blind. Dorothy screamed, Clydia cursed and the sound of something large falling to the ground danced through the hall. A few more minutes went by and there was a distinct shuffling that rattled through the sudden stillness. And then the murmurs of the guests were back as most started mumbling incoherently under their breaths.

“I’ll go check on the lights,” the voice of the Butler was heard.

But the moment his message rolled from his tongue the lights were back on and everyone was left with blank faces plastered onto their features as they stared down at Sir Snyder Crysis who was lying face down in a puddle of red by the door.




Chapter Two
The silence was heavy in the air, tittering and mocking. Not a sound was made as everyone stood still. The Surgeon was standing next to Clydia whose mouth stood agape. A few feet away the actress was trying to breathe while Miss Swan was shaking near the entrance.

Behind her, the Chef stood next to the Architect who had been seemingly going after the paintress. The accountant and Dorsey Tran were the only ones whose composure hadn’t changed as he stood next to the snack table, studying the scene with wary eyes and she had occupied Ivor’s earlier spot near the back of the room.

The Butler was the first who finally moved after several minutes of silence. He rushed to the side of Sir Crysis, hurriedly turning him over and checking for his pulse. He lowered his head more than once towards the chest of the well established businessman, and each time his expression darkened even further while his skin turned a sickeningly shade of white. “He’s dead,” he finally announced.

Gasps rumbled through the hall, followed by a few murmurs. “Move aside, dimwit,” Dr. Chopiak spat, pushing the Butler away. He had moved fast enough for most to have missed it. While the Surgeon started fumbling with the body before him, checking and probing, an uproar broke out.

“Is this some sort of sick Halloween joke? Trick or ******** treat?” Clydia yelled.

“It certainly isn’t amusing,” Mrs. Casters murmured.

“Your faces were well worth it, if it is,” Mr. Tran mused.

“Stop fighting,” Miss Swan whispered, now clinging to the Architect.

“You sick b*****d are probably in on it!” Clydia barked, turning towards mystery man and pointing her finger accusingly. She marched towards him, constantly muttering various insults.

“No, he is dead,” the Surgeon’s voice rang. Again, every being stilled. There was a weak ‘what’ that slipped from the loan shark’s lips as she slowly turned towards the Doctor. “Sir Crysis was stabbed. Whoever stabbed him managed to hit the bowel-”

“The bowel?” the Chef interrupted.

“Yes, the bowel. If a knife enters the bowel, bowel contents spread throughout the body and it can kill a person even if said person receives prompt medical care. Those contents are poisonous and cause infections, which quickly spread throughout the body by the bloodstream.”

“What?” a few of the guests said in union.

“Whoever stabbed Sir Crysis also managed to hit the superior mesenteric artery,” Dr. Ivor Chopiak said, wiping his hands off on a napkin.

“So, whoever did it knew what he was doing?” the actress asked weakly.

“Why he? It could be a woman as well!” Elden spat.

Hmph! There certainly is someone here who knows the human body, inch by ******** inch,” the redheaded loan shark sang with a smirk upon her lips.

“What are you insinuating, my dear?” the Surgeon, cocked his head to the side.

“She’s right!” Chef Plum nearly screamed.

“Stop it!” Miss Swan suddenly yelled. All heads turned towards her. She was still clinging to Mister Trovito, her body clearly trembling as they stood next to each other near the entrance. Dr. Chopiak took of his jacket and covered the upper part of Sir Crysis’ body. Then, turning to stare at everyone again, he nodded as an answer towards the paintress.

“It had to have been one of us, that much is obviously clear,” he announced. “Before we go pointing fingers”—he glared at Clydia—“we ought to figure out why each one of us had been invited. Our dead businessman doesn’t just acknowledge anyone. With that said, Mister Tran, I am ever so curious about what you do for a living?” The Surgeon flicked the man a smile.

“That’s a wonderful question! Trying to lure the asking away from yourself?” Clydia laughed.

“My dear, if you would please stop with your accusations, I would-”

“He is right though,” Mrs. Casters interrupted Dr. Chopiak. “It’s quite obvious why I am here, it’s you guys who really are the mystery,” she said, straightening herself.

“Obvious? Please do elaborate, miss stuck up,” the loan shark spat.

“I’m an accountant aren’t I?”

“Well ********, as if we didn’t know that. Your face is everywhere. That doesn’t ******** make you innocent,” Clydia barked turning towards the woman. “Why are you in the back of the room so suddenly anyway? Wanted to put as much space between you and your victim?!”

“Please, ladies,” the Butler finally spoke up. “If you would please just answer Dr. Chopiak’s question we could get a better picture.”

“Usually a Butler does like to get revenge,” the actress muttered.

“Enough already!” Miss Swan yelled, fidgeting with her dress. “We are all a bit upset, but this fighting does nothing.” She turned towards Mr. Tran. “Would you answer, please?”

“I have been invited for business,” he answered.

“That’s quite ******** obvious!” Miss Deverto snapped again.

Silence swept through the room once more. The Surgeon still stood beside the body, his stares wandering from one individual to another. The Butler looked quite taken aback and Chef Plum had his hand pressed gently against the man’s shoulder now, as if to support him through the situation.

Mister Trovito had his arm wrapped around the paintress as he whispered into her ear, apparently trying to calm the lady. “I am sorry for your loss,” the blonde actress murmured as she walked over to the Butler to pat him on the back. There were a few who muttered their condolence as well. The atmosphere calmed down a bit and it felt easier to breathe again as all the heated shouting was blown out of the way and the reality of the situation finally sunk in.

“We should probably call the police,” Mrs. Casters suggested. “If you would give me directions to the landline I would do it for you, seeing as you are more upset than any of us,” she said towards the Butler.

“I don’t really want anyone else leaving this room,” Dr. Chopiak interrupted. “My trust solemnly lies within the Butler at this moment. Everyone else is a suspect.”

“He could have killed him!” the actress groaned, quickly betraying the condolence she had just offered the man not too long ago.

“I shall call then. I will be back within a few minutes,” the Butler murmured and left the hall.

“Why don’t we all take a seat and resume our discussion in a more civilised manner?” Mister Trovito offered. Everyone nodded in answer and began making their way to the back of the room to sit at the mahogany table. The silence in the room returned and it went deep. There was a chill in the air that wasn’t caused by the storm outside.


Chapter Three
The irritating sound of Clydia Deverto tapping her nails against the table caused the Architect to twitch every once in a while as he tried desperately holding back an annoyed bark. They all sat mostly quiet, half of them deciding that giving everyone a bit of space was the best option of all.

To the left from the head of the table and seated near the end of it, Mister Trovito sat next to Miss Swan, while Dorothy sat across from her, lost in thought over something and looking quite miserable. The Surgeon had decided it was best for him to occupy the head of the table and next to him, another two seats further away to the right, the loan shark sat with her continuation of red-painted nails hitting wood.

Dorsey Tran was still the ever calm one, sitting across from her and two seats next to him Mrs. Casters sat with her shoulders as stiff as cement. Chef Plum sat slumped into his chair three seats away from Clydia.

“So. . .” Mister Trovito finally broke the silence, tightening his grip around Miss Swan’s hand.

“We are all here for a reason,” Dr. Chopiak went on.

Chef Plum nodded in defeat and Mrs. Casters gave a long, drawn out sigh. She seemed tired from the entire ordeal, not much bothered really but very tense. The one thing that managed to throw the Surgeon off the most was the fact that Dorothy was in tears, choking back a few cries.

“He’s taking quite some time,” Mrs. Casters interrupted Ivor’s thoughts.

“Well, the man did just lose someone close to him,” the actress murmured, and her voice broke.

“Anyway, can we get on with it already,” the loan shark spat. “This is tiresome.”

“If you would”—Elden drew in a long breath as he held back the hiss in his tone—“stop with your goddamn tapping, please! It is maddening. . .”

“Oh, dear, why are you so tense?” she mocked in return.

“Please stop, Ms. Deverto,” Miss Swan whispered, smoothing her hand over her dress.

Then, there was silence again. No one knew what to make of the situation and each one of the guests found themselves lost in thought; silently pointing fingers towards another person. Questions bubbled in a mocking hush. The Surgeon sat studying every face, taking in each expression as it flickered over the features of everyone. The smirk never really left the loan shark’s face, which put her higher on the lists of suspects, in Dr. Chopiak’s opinion.

It was rather strange, the tense expression that flitted across the paintress’ face every once in a while, but as soon as the Architect caught it, he smoothed his thumb over her hand and it would vanish. Mrs. Casters too was acting too strange, almost guilty, with the way her shoulder muscles stood in tense bunches and even sweat dripped from the side of her face, almost unnoticed by most.

Another sob ripped through the silence, slipping from Dorothy’s lips and finally, she didn’t bother stopping it. She cried quietly to herself and an incoherent mumbling started to rip the silence apart.

Chef Plum moved over a seat so he could put a hand between the actress’ shoulder blades, softly massaging his palm into her back. At the touch of another she seemed to break completely, dropping her face in her hands while her fingers dug into her blonde bangs. Her elbows hit the table hard as she fell forward crying. “It’ll be alright, little one,” the Chef murmured. She just shook her head.

Miss Swan reached out to her friend, but her hand fell quickly once the Architect threw her a look that wasn’t caught by anyone else. At the head, the Surgeon cleared his throat, efficiently catching everyone’s attention but the actress, who continued to cry.

“We all had a private conversation with Sir Crysis,” he started, glancing at every face. “I would like you all to share what the two of you had spoken about. It would make this much easier. . . To give Miss Mouse some time to calm down, we should start with you, Mister Tran. I am still ever so curious when it comes to your occupation, maybe you’ll enlighten us a bit?”

The loan shark’s smirk fell for the first time and her face sealed off every bit of emotion. Dorsey Tran’s gaze never flickered from her features, not even for a second. He had heard the surgeon, but for the moment he was lost in a silent conversation with the woman sitting across from him. It had happened just a while ago, when Clydia’s eyes caught with the man before her and realisation dawned onto her features. It couldn’t be? Was the thought that had jumped to her.

“Business,” he finally spoke after a minute of utter silence.

“We are all here for business,” Mrs. Casters said rolling her eyes, before Dr. Chopiak could interrupt.

“Maybe most of us would like our reasons to stay concealed,” Clydia said quietly, deadly so.

At that, the Surgeon’s brow lifted. “Are we hiding something, Ms. Deverto?” he questioned.

A moment of silence swept through the room at the surgeons question. A few glances were exchanged and most of everyone couldn’t stop staring at the loan shark, anticipating her response.

“It’s not my turn to throw my cards onto the table, dear,” she spat in return. “If I am correct, and I believe I am, then it is Mrs. Casters who you should be questioning next.”

“But he did not answer!” the accountant whined, which seemed unusual of her character.

“Snyder wanted-”

Snyder?” the Chef interrupted Mr. Tran. “Were you two close?!”

“Please do answer; first name basis with the rich man, huh?” Mrs. Casters drew a wicked smile.

“Who are you to be smiling? It doesn’t suit that pinned up face of yours, and if you don’t drop it, I will be sure to make you,” the loan shark mused, leaning forward and resting her chin on her left palm as she herself drew a wicked smile. One that managed to make the accountant shudder at the sight.

“It is a known fact,” Dorsey Tran began as he saw the woman push her glasses up her nose and readying herself for a retort, “that Snyder and I have been in a rather close relationship ever since our High School years. If half of you weren’t so dense you would have known this.”

“That does explain why the ******** he hugged you,” Clydia said laughing. And for the first time of the night, ever since Sir Crysis left, mystery man smiled. Even more so surprising, he laughed.

“But you two were in a serious conversation just earlier today, I saw you!” the actress finally spoke up. She lifted her face to glare at the laughing man. Her eyes were puffy, red and makeup ran down her features, turning the pretty lady into a sad clown. “You were fighting, to be exact. . .”


Chapter Four

The laughing stopped and the man sealed his lips once more. There was an expression of hurt carved into the actress’ face as she sat there worrying her bottom lip. She was still sniffing, obviously holding back more sobs. Chef Plum patted her shoulder once again.

“Miss Mouse, I am glad you’ve calmed down a bit, but we are not pointing fingers he-”

“Not out loud,” the Chef interrupted the Surgeon.

“Enough already, you dimwit,” Dr. Chopiak snarled. “Moving along, Mrs. Casters, please do state your obvious reason for being here, as you so nicely put it earlier.”

“There was a money issue with his old accountant. He was simply seeking a better one, and who else to higher but me?” The loan shark suddenly barked with laughter, a tune that the Surgeon quite liked and even mystery man Tran couldn’t help but smile at the sound of it. She snickered a few more times before she calmed down. “And why is that so funny?” Mrs. Casters questioned.

“Good lord, if you held your head any higher while speaking we won’t be able to see your face. I mean, seriously, ego boosting yourself much?”

“How dare-”

“Please, Mrs. Casters, I think a laugh would do us all good. I am sure she meant no harm,” the Surgeon said, throwing Clydia a soft smile and then nodding his head towards the accountant again. “We are all very well aware of how well you do your job. Now, Mister Trovtio, you left the room earlier, did you not?”

All heads turned towards the Architect, as though they had completely forgotten that he was in fact the only person who did leave the room right before the murder, with the paintress, of course. It was as though most of them had become oblivious to the couple sitting next to each other. They had become too fixated onto the others, pointing fingers and casting evil glances.

“She’d never!” the actress yelled. “No”—she screamed at Ivor who had opened his mouth to speak once more—“you take that accusation back! Right this minute or I swear, so help you God I will shove my foot so far up your-”

“Hey, it’s okay, Dory, he’s just asking,” Miss Swan said quietly, giving a weak smile.

“He is not asking! He is accusing you, Mila! You’d never!” her voice failed her, and she crumbled into her seat, crying again. “I know you,” she mumbled between sobs.

Oh Dory,” the paintress gasped. She jumped out off her seat, which caused Elden to lose his grip on her hand, and walked around the table. Miss Swan let herself fall into the chair next to her friend, gracefully so, and threw her arms around the other woman's shoulders, who quickly nuzzled into the embrace and started crying into the crook of the paintress’ neck.

Elden looked a bit nervous, before his features smoothed over again. He cleared his throat before he finally spoke up, “A gentleman never tells.” The Surgeon smirked at his response and simply nodded his acceptance for the answer given to him.

“Well, then, why are you here?” he went on questioning.

“We’re snowed in. . . and the line is dead. I tried more than once, but we are stuck here with whoever killed. . .” the Butler’s shaky voice interrupted everyone. He stumbled and swayed towards the large table, quite shaken up. His face was twisted in a grimace of horror as he dropped himself into the seat between the loan shark and Surgeon. “We’re trapped until tomorrow. . .”

Another uproar of protest started. The hall rumbled with yells and mocking tones, a fist or two slammed against the wood and everyone was ready to hurl just about anything at any other accusation thrown their way. The Butler, however, just sat quietly, defeated.

“Silence!” the Surgeon yelled.

“You know what? [******** you. Who the ******** made you the detective anyway?” Clydia snarled. “You want to know why I am here? ******** the secre-”

“Why don’t you just calm down, Ms. Deverto, we shouldn’t be yelling again,” Mrs. Casters interrupted, laughing nervously. A few raised brows were questioning the sudden change in the accountants behavior. She opened her mouth to speak again but found herself at a loss for words.

“Why are you here?” Chef Plum asked quietly, disrupting the moment.

“You know what, now that we’re on the topic of your being here, you did seem rather nervous earlier, just before all of this started,” the Surgeon mused more to himself than to anyone else. “I saw you worrying your bottom lip, quite an attractive sight now that I think about it again. But, please do explain what has such a woman as yourself worrying?”

“Was the guilt seeping in before the act?!” the actress screamed, jumping from her friends arms and knocking her chair away. “Couldn’t handle it?!” Dorothy was fuming with anger and despair. Miss Swan tried desperately to make her sit again, but she just slapped the nimble hands of her friend away, managing to make the paintress hang her head. “Was that it? Little low life,” she yelled.

In a moment that took less that two seconds Dorsey Tran jumped across the table and tackled the loan shark to the ground as she pulled out a butterfly knife and aimed for the head of the blonde yelling at her. Shock swept through the hall and panic rose within the actress. She froze in the middle of opening her mouth again just as Clydia fell to the ground with mystery man straddling her sides. He had her hand secured above her head and she hissed at the pain of the impact.

An explosion of stars erupted before her sight and for just a second she was completely lost and unaware of her surroundings. Her breathing halted and she squeezed her eyes shut while everyone stood still watching the scene playing before their sight.

“Get your ******** hands off of me, now!”

Her voice rang through the grand hall, sending shivers down the back of many as the threat of unspoken words hung in the air. She opened her eyes slowly, and a gaze that would have sent most running was thrown at Mr. Tran. She struggled beneath the man, but even though he seemed to be of an older age her struggle was nothing compared to the strength with which he held her down.

“Not now,” mystery man whispered, hoping no one heard him.

“That little s**t thinks she can speak to me like that? She should keep in mind just how I make my ******** money and that I have no problem cutting off her fingers one by ******** one,” Clydia snarled.

Mr. Tran slowly let go of her hands, staring down at her and making sure they didn’t lose eye contact. Whatever he was silently saying to her didn’t go unnoticed by the Surgeon and his curiosity rose further and further with every second they spent glaring at one another.

After several minutes of tension building, he got up and held his hand out to the loan shark, waiting patiently for her to take it. For a moment she bit into her bottom lip, biting back more insults, but then something inside of her settled and she accepted the hand, getting to her feet.

“That’s going to be a pain in the a**,” she said rubbing the back of her head tenderly. “You couldn’t have just shouted: hey Clydia, let’s not throw knives?” Her face contorted into a grimace that was stuck between a pout and a sneer.

He laughed at her, easing their little moment of tension between each other and a smile tugged at the edges of her red lips. Confused looks were casted upon them but they didn’t seem to care.

“Kinda nice to know you were the one who he wanted me to team up with,” Ms. Deverto said, smirking up at Dorsey Tran who just held out his hand for her to shake, and she did.


Chapter Five

“What the hell just happened?!” Elden Trovito broke the silence first.

“She has a knife. . .” the actress mumbled, still frightened. “A knife!”

“Hold it!” the Surgeon said loudly. The panic and accusation that was bubbling within half of the guests settled for a moment longer as they stared at the man whose hand was now held up to silence them. He stood tall, intrigued with the situation himself but neither worried nor shocked.

“Mila,” the Architect whispered.

The paintress glanced at him for a brief second, threw him a gentle smile to ease his discomfort and then picked up her friends chair again, pulling her down into the seat. Reluctantly, the actress let herself drop into it and Miss Swan slung an arm around her, sitting back down herself.

Dorothy kept mumbling about the knife, which was now lying forgotten on the ground. Chef Plum stood still, eyes wide as disks and fists clenched beside him. Mrs. Casters, who had been nervous earlier, was now a wreck of her former self and she could not control the trembling of her limbs.

The only one undisturbed by the entire ordeal was the Butler who still sat defeated within his own chair, keeping to himself; oblivious to whatever was happening around him. Sir Crysis had been his close friend, one he had grown to hold very dear over the years of his serving, and he felt lonely.

“Explain yourselves?” the Surgeon finally said, raising an eyebrow.

The loan shark and mystery man Tran had retreated to their seats and were now smirking at each other. She was practically revelling in the fact that he was the one Sir Crysis had talked about in their private conversation. “It’s nothing,” she said and there was a hint of amusement within her tone.

“You just nearly threw a knife at Dory!” Miss Swan hissed. Elden’s eyes widened at the tone of his beloved and the actress actually stopped mumbling to stare at her friend. “This is anything but nothing! She could have died. . .” she then said in a calmer tone of voice.

“Well, maybe she’ll know how to keep her ******** mouth shut now!” Clydia snapped.

“How about we forget about that incident? No one was harmed,” Mr. Tran offered.

“The ******** no one was harmed. I am currently sitting here with a splitting headache thanks to you.”

He laughed, again. It was a sound that most of everyone never got to hear, because Dorsey Tran wasn’t a man who generally laughed, but he couldn’t help himself around the loan shark. Snyder had good taste in company, he thought as he smiled at the woman once again. The Surgeon, however, was still intrigued and he knew something else was going on within the Manor.

Something that Sir Snyder Crysis had kept from most of them was now surfacing, and he was amused. This was certainly better than the start of the night had been. He knew to keep his smile to himself though, it wouldn’t be wise to have everyone question the sudden giddiness with which he found himself in. The wealthy businessman hadn’t been such an innocent man.

Dr. Ivor Chopiak was a man who liked a mystery such as this, and it would not be of any good steering the attention of the sudden murder towards himself again, as Ms. Deverto had done in the beginning. Everyone’s suspicion of him seemed to have vanished within thin air.

“That balisong of Ms. Deverto is too clean to have been used on our dear host,” Dr. Chopiak said loudly as he watched the actress’ gaze constantly flicker to the shimmering metal with its intricate golden designs etched into it. “It is not the weapon we’re looking for.”

“You can’t just ignore what happened. Such manners are out of question,” the Architect said.

“You’re all getting a bit too ahead of yourself,” Mrs. Casters mumbled.

“You can drop the ******** act now, Cherr,” the loan shark spat. “You questioned my being here, dear doctor? I am here because Sir Crysis doesn’t like people stealing from him.” A smile settled on her features as she stared at the accountant. “Don’t look so baffled now, dear.”

“I-I. . . it has nothing to do with his death. . .” Mrs. Casters whispered.

“You stole from him?!” Chef Plum said in disbelief, followed by a murmur from the actress.

“No! Well. . . yes, but-”

“Our little dear accountant here lied earlier. She was not here for any sort of deal, she was here because she was being fired. That previous accountant? It was her. And you really thought a man with such power would let you get away with threatening his life and stealing his money?” the loan shark questioned. A laughed bubbled from her lips and she shook her head.

“I’ve been working for Sir Crysis for many years now, and I was simply invited to have a little chat with Cherr.” Ms. Deverto’s eyes gleamed with a spark that didn’t go unnoticed.

“And you”—she pointed her finger at the actress—“are his little ******** buddy. I know this because I had a little inside joke about you, little miss ******** sunshine. I am tired of this entire ordeal here and you are not about to go pointing your filthy fingers at me, because I know every little secret you guys are trying to hide,” Clydia barked loudly, glaring at everyone.

“Calm down, Ms. Deverto,” the Surgeon urged.

Calm down?! Why should I ******** calm down! This is maddening! I did not kill him, he was a friend and I would have never harmed the man! Pretty much everyone here probably has a ******** reason to do so, you filthy people. ******** your accusations, I was here to do my ******** job and-”

“I can vouch for her. . .” the Butler interrupted her rant. “She’s been to the Manor quite often and he had found a liking to her personality. It wouldn’t have been good for business if anyone were to find out about his close friendship with a loan shark, so they kept it from everyone.” His eyes seemed dead as he sighed and looked at Clydia. She gave him a soft smile and put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing it just a little to let him know that she appreciated him speaking up.

“He was a friend,” the loan shark then said quietly. And for the first time of the night there was an emotion that resembled sadness lingering within her gaze as she averted her eyes from everyone to stare at the mahogany wood and take a deep breath. “I kept silent so I wouldn’t tarnish the memory of him. He was a good man and I wanted him to be remembered as one.”

She waved her hand about, trying to make her point and Mr. Tran smiled fondly. “Snyder had problems, outside of his usual business and he asked me if I minded teaming up with someone he knew very well. Someone he trusted. I suppose Ms. Deverto was just nervous earlier, seeing as she did not know who exactly would be the person that had her back while she went about the business that she was supposed to handle,” he explained, still smiling at the loan shark.

“What could you possible do for a living that would be of any of help for her?” Ivor asked, baffled.

A wide grin spread across Dorsey Tran’s face, showing every sparkling white tooth he had in his mouth. Within seconds he had everyone’s attention, besides the Butler who was well aware of what the man did for a living - he receded to sulking once more. The loan shark did have a hunch as to what he did, but it was just so far-fetched she didn’t really believe it. Mister Trovito and Miss Swan both quirked an eyebrow at the same time, while Dorothy looked confused. Mrs. Casters kept her gaze averted, finally outed within a circle of people she didn’t know, she felt ashamed.

“I,” Mr. Tran started, his grin never-fading, “am a Hitman.”


Chapter Six

I knew it!” Clydia shrieked. “We would’ve had so much fun. . .”

He smirked. “I felt that if I had told you this earlier, you would have just pinned the blame on me. However, I can assure you that I work with guns and not knives. Besides the fact that Snyder and I were friends since High School and that none of you needed to know my occupation,” he said in a drawl. “I am a nice man, and I like having my peace, so if this comes out in the open, I can assure you that I will find you. ”

The loan shark barked with laughter once again, tears welling up. The Chef froze within his seat and looked as though he was about to faint, while the actress’ mouth stood agape and Mrs. Casters’ eyes were wide disks of blue.

“N-Not against me right? Y-You weren’t teaming up for me were you?!” the accountant stuttered and every word littered with fear.

“No, dear, I could’ve handled you on my own,” Clydia said before Mr. Tran had a chance. “Sir Crysis was receiving threats from some underground gang members and he needed me to deal with them. I refused to do such a thing on my own, since I am not a ******** superhero so-”

“He asked me to help her out, and right about now I think I would’ve enjoyed the time spent with you, Ms. Deverto.” She smiled at his statement and then turned towards the accountant.

“I still don’t doubt that you killed him, Cherr,” the loan shark spat as her mood turned sour again.

“I know who it was by now, you’re all very open when one takes the time to observe you,” the Surgeon said with a smile upon his lips. “It’s unsurprising, really and I can’t believe I did not notice this before. It was such a huge stain within this entire picture.”

Everyone looked up at him, his words even caught the Butlers attention.

“Before I go on though, I would like to ask my final question, which I wanted to know before all of this escalated. Miss Swan, why were you rushing towards the door?”

The woman in question sighed heavily. Her eyes shimmered with a few tears and her mouth turned down into a frown, or a pout. The hand she had draped around Dorothy’s shoulder fell and she looked defeated. The actress stared at her, quite interested in the Surgeon’s question as well.

Mila,” the Architect whispered, interrupting her moment of thought.

“I. . . We planned on marrying,” she began. A tear finally found it’s way from over the brink of her eye and spiraled down her cheek. “But he blew it off! Another project, another building. . . That’s why Elden is here. And he actually found it-”

“Mila, let us not do this here!” Mister Trovito stopped her.

“You started it here! This is the fourth time you are pushing the date further away! And you tell me this here? What kind of coward are you?! I doubt you even want to marry me at all. . .”

“I love you, this is just for us!”

“I didn’t want anyone to see me cry, you see, so I was just going to leave unnoticed. . .” she said ignoring Elden’s plea. Dr. Chopiak nodded at her, and Dorothy held her hand.

The sound of the Surgeon clapping his hands together resounded loudly in the hall, a few flinched at the sudden noise. He got the attention he wanted, and needed. As everyone perked their ears to listen to him, silence settled within the room.

The paintress ignored the Architects attempts to reach out for her, her hand was shaking as she smoothed over her dress again for the umpteenth time. The actress continued to send a few glares his way - trying to make sure he knew that she was angry at him for hurting her friend.

The Chef and Butler both sat upright, patiently waiting. Mrs. Casters was nervous again, fidgeting with the hem of her jacket. Dorsey Tran was back to being his ever calm self while Ms. Deverto seemed bored with everything going on, while in truth she couldn’t wait to hear Ivor speak.

“Congratulations,” he announced. “You had everyone quite fooled there for a while.” The surgeon couldn’t help but smile now that he had it all figured out. He arranged himself more comfortably on the chair. Once he had finished doing so he leaned back and stared at the ceiling, starting to recount the events, his smile never-fading.

“Years ago, you were with a young maid that had been employed to look after Sir Crysis. The maid was an innocent woman, quite lovely looking as well. She looked after him well, her intentions were very genuine as she was a woman who liked to help others.

“I remember this story so clearly because it had been a scandal back then, one Sir Crysis himself couldn’t escape. And seeing you here now, those features, I feel rather stupid for not noticing it earlier. But it was unexpected of you being here in the first place, you see. I am sure our host himself had no clue as to who you really were, a fatal mistake, I must say.

“The events of the maid watching after him resulted in a love, which then resulted in a child that was not acknowledge because Sir Snyder Crysis was a married man back then. His wife had just fallen ill as well and he was the loyal type of person. In his eyes the affair was a mistake. He was angry with himself, and he couldn’t bear the guilt over what he had done.

“The pretty maid was fired and she was burdened with a child that fell ill soon after birth. Prostitution ended up being her only option of getting by and paying for your hospital bills. She must have done a lovely job, seeing as you are so healthy right now, practically glowing. I can’t believe I kept overlooking this fact in the first place,” the Surgeon paused.

He closed his eyes and let out a deep sighed. Nervous murmurs travelled along the table as he did not speak for several minutes. Raised brows and confused stares were casted on each other's forms.

“I didn’t know he had fallen ill at some point,” Mr. Tran said.

“It was years ago. You were overseas and he didn’t see any reason to bother you with such trivial matters,” the Butler answered quietly.

“Trivial matters? Snyder that idiot. . . I would have come back to take care of him.”

“He knew that, and that’s exactly why he didn’t tell you.”

“As I was saying,” Dr. Chopiak interrupted the conversation between the Butler and hitman. “Your mother was a stressed woman who had to constantly be there for you, feeding your high streak for attention you had as a child. With the money she made she could barely live, it was never enough and so she blackmailed Sir Crysis, who refused to admit the child as he tended to his dying wife.

“That once beautiful maid was a strong and determined woman, you could see this in the interviews she gave. And somehow she even managed to raise you into what you are today. All those years of torture and being used by men just to feed you. . . By the time you were old enough to realise just how much pain your mother was in, she was already stretched thin.

“This time, money had to be borrowed for her sake, but it was money that could no longer be borrowed seeing as your mother went to everyone she could possibly think of. She was beaten, abused and raped plenty of times without your knowledge, because she loved you and she wanted to keep you close and nurse you. She did a wonderful job, really. You had a good mother.

“You’re probably wondering why I know so much about this, it’s because your mother gave a lot of interviews when she had been fired and even after, when she threatened Sir Crysis, trying to get people to believe her that you were his child. But who would listen to a maid?

“Angered, you sat beside your mother's death-bed and could only stare and watch her wither away. Your resolve was probably made that day, to get his attention and perhaps some revenge? You’re quite the feeble little thing. . . Did you want to kill him? Or did you just panic and took the opportunity you saw? It doesn’t really matter, you did it with a dagger most likely, did I get it right?”

The room tensed, it was as though the entire building froze with the knowledge the Surgeon was spouting. And the silence that had been casted upon them as he spoke broke once the person in question burst out crying. A sob racked through their body and they sat there, devastated at the fact that they had to listen to a stranger speak about their dead mother.



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“She used to go to his house. . . begging, threatening and crying for his help but he refused it all. He refused to budge. He watched her fall apart just because he wanted to stay loyal to a wife he had already cheated on! But I did not kill him. . .” Miss Swan said so quietly that everyone had to strain to hear her. “I couldn’t because Dory was so in love with him and he seemed to like her just as much.”

“Then why is there blood on your dress?” the Surgeon mused. He finally lowered his head to stare at the paintress, and smirked. Everyone turned in her direction as well and Dorothy paled. “Don’t look so shocked, love. I should have noticed. . . It was the thing that suddenly bugged me and I couldn’t help but notice you constantly running your hands over it.

“ You somehow miraculously managed to flip your dress inside out within the time the lights were gone. Impressive, really. I wouldn’t have managed to be that quick. But that little dark patch just beneath your breast is a different shade of red than the rest.”

Mila Swan gasped. Dorothy pushed herself away from her friend, gawking at her in a mixture of horror, pain and anger. Even a tad bit of hatred lingered within her gaze. “Pardon?” she said.

“No, Dory, I swear it wasn’t me!” Miss Swan begged.

“I do wonder where the dagger is. It was one, wasn’t it or was it really a balisong? Though those seem a bit too short to have gone that deep,” Ivor questioned.

Everyone stayed silent while the paintress panicked. “The evidence is all there, the police will know. A lot of murderers kill without the intention of doing so. It is just a moment's decision. . . You wanted to hurt him, most likely, but you hit him where it caused death.”

“I would never hurt Dory like that!” she protested.

“Jail awaits you, dear,” the Surgeon mocked.

Just as the paintress was on the verge of breaking down, someone coughed, clearing their throat. “I murdered Sir Snyder Crysis,” Elden Trovito said. “She tried to stop me and the blood got on her dress. . . I ushered her to flip it. I figured no one would notice, since it’s a simple design.” He removed the dagger from somewhere within his suit and placed it on the table. Blood still clung to it, marking the metal in a dark shade of red.

“It was his eyes, when he recognised her laugh. She sounds just like her mother. . . They were mocking. I had talked to him earlier, told him to try to build a relationship with her because she longed to get to know the man. Because, Mila is sweet and she wanted to forgive him for what he did to her mother. . . But he refused and told me to get the filth out of his Manor.

“She brought the dagger, I admit that much. Maybe she planned to use it, maybe she was angry when she got an invite, I don’t know. . . All I know is that she would have never used it, not my Mila. So I did it. I couldn’t stand the look of hurt within her eyes. You guys don’t know how much she had to go through, how often I had to listen to her cry at night. What was I supposed to do? She deserves so much better,” he murmured while looking at the paintress.

“You deserve the world; I would do anything to keep that smile on your face.”

There was an eerie silence that followed his confession. Mila Swan could not move an inch, no matter how much his eyes were pleading for her to hold him. Dorothy Mouse was speechless, but the mixture of pain and a sneer never left her face as she stared down at the murderer of her lover.

The Butler was on his feet and anger was clearly plastered onto his features, he was held back by Clydia Deverto as she stood with her head held high and her emotions in control; she had locked them up quite well so far and she was not about to break down and cry over the loss of a friend just because they had finally found out who did it. Her grip around the Butler’s arm tightened, though.

I love you, Mila. I love you so much. . . I couldn’t take your sadness any longer, knowing who put you in that position. You are to kind to be treated this way,” Elden Trovito whispered. He slouched back into his seat, hiding his face behind his arm. The man was crying, and his voice broke.

Dorsey Tran was not the type to lose control, he knew how to keep calm and hold the storm going on within him at bay. His best mate was gone, the killer sat just a few feet away from him and all he could think about was: did he deserve it? Something within him was not angry at the Architect, he did it for his loved one and Mr. Tran knew Snyder would do the same thing for his loved ones.

Cherr Casters shifted uncomfortably within her seat, though never letting her eyes leave the man who had killed Sir Crysis. Out of everyone, Mister Trovito had never been her guess; he had seemed like such a kind man, a man who was not capable of such things. Chef Plum sat, shaking his head and murmuring something that resembled the words ‘poor little ones.’

“I suppose my guess was slightly off then,” Dr. Ivor Chopiak whispered. “We shouldn’t do anything drastic now,” he said, glaring at the actress who was ready to leap across the table any time now.

“Morning will be here soon and the phone lines might return within a few hours. The storm seems to have passed, and once we get to calling the police they will be handling everything. I think it is best if we all just sit down for now, or get some rest. Either way, we are still trapped and I do not think Mister Trovito here will be trying to go anywhere.”

A protest slipped from the actress lips, but Miss Swan silenced her quickly. The Architect had finally looked up again and he held the gaze of his beloved who was now looking at him in a way he never wanted her to. She had been so angry earlier, she had despised him. He had felt the hatred within her seep into his pores the majority of the night as he held her hand, desperately seeking comfort.

Just as he was about to give up trying to understand just why she hated him so much, she smiled. It was barely there but he saw it and he knew what it meant. It wasn’t the death of her father that she was mad at, it wasn’t the fact that he had killed him. “I just didn’t want to lose you,” she whispered, never breaking the eye contact. And he started crying again, knowing exactly what she meant. He had ripped that dream from her because he would no longer be able to stand beside her.
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