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Re: After•LifeTopic%20Title
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"Not I! He is a stranger to me!"
"That man is a mystery."
"I am not the only one who sent out invites, so there are many who could have brought him here."
"Yet none claim knowledge of doing such a thing."
"He told us he had been friends with my sister, which none of us can confirm, seeing as how she's been dead for years."
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"So who coulda sent these invites, other than you? Just the people who reside in this house? The servants? Mallow?" Pat added jokingly before turning to the others. "Say, could any of ya be kind enough to tell me about this guy's sister? Maybe that'd help with figuring out a connection between the two."
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"If you ask me, Deid's the suspicious one here."
"Nobody knows him, and his 'connection' is one no-one can verify."
"His invite was valid, but it's possible he found a valid invite someone else wasn't using, then put his name on it."

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"What an interesting idea!"
"He was a man with a secret, that's for certain."
"I do feel bad for what happened, but I knew so little about him that I don't know what to make of it."
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"How would someone just find a blank invitation?" Mai asked skeptically. "Don't those usually go out with names on them? And if he erased the name to put his own on it, I'd think... what's his name? Phillip? He would have noticed that when he checked it."
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"It would be a simple enough modification."
"I imagine Philip's tests were more along the lines of checking the card it was printed on."
"The embellishments and suchlike."
"It's certainly possible, so we can't rule it out."
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The Murder

Once the dead were satisfied with what they could learn for now, the group of 6 moved back to the library and time began moving again. Ingram and Posey left, having done what they were there to.

In the time leading up to 10:00, people moved about enough that no-one could know for sure where anyone was or what they were doing. Various individuals went off alone, though their locations could not be confirmed. They did at least all agree to keep an eye open and to remain within locked rooms if at all possible.

Betty headed to the kitchen to prepare a meal. Loreley announced to anyone listening that she wanted to be alone and would be up in her room listening to music; she wasn't to be disturbed. Rori wanted to write up a report on the murder, not wanting to waste the opportunity to be first, so headed up to their room too. Philip, as was his norm, went to the utility room to experiment. All of them said they would lock the doors to the rooms they would be in, so they should at least be safe from the killer. However, as mentioned, no-one knew for sure where any of these four actually went.

At 10:00, Ingram and Posey returned to the library. They felt that it was going to be quite a while before the police could be contacted, so it was unreasonable to expect them to remain in there all that time. In any case, if the killer wanted to tamper with the scene, they'd already had plenty of time last night. The four reluctantly agreed.

Posey and Ness went to check on John again. John yelled at them to go away, telling Posey in particular to "go snoop somewhere else". At least he was still spirited. The pair returned to the library, then all 6 moved to the living room where they could relax, Ali taking John's jacket with him "so the scene would be exactly as we first found it". From this position they could easily see if anyone came downstairs, but for the next hour no-one did.

At 11:00 Betty entered from the lobby, looking grim. She had unpleasant news to report.

John had committed suicide.

The living room crowd could scarcely believe this, and bombarded Betty with questions. Soon they decided it would be best to just go see for themselves though, and headed for the guest room. Betty called upstairs to everyone else.

People began filtering into the guest corridor. Noxx was first to enter the middle guest room, and the others followed after; everyone was now present. Even in-person, the sight they were met with was unbelievable: John was slumped in a chair in the middle of the room, having stabbed himself with an ornate knife. They'd all seen him lock himself in, and it was doubtful he'd have opened the door for anyone. No matter how out-of-character it was for the man, it seemed impossible for anyone other than him to have done it. It really was suicide.
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Investigation

Everyone decided it was best to stick together after that. They had an early lunch, and questioned Betty as to the details. She said she'd gone to the room to ask John about the meal, but had received no answer. It was still locked, but she had a master key and was worried by the silence. She unlocked the door, entered, and found the scene just as the others had later. She hadn't realised he was dead yet, so rushed over to check on him. After confirming his death, she briefly examined the body and found the key to the room inside his trouser pocket, ruling out murder. Hence what she announced to the group in the living room.

Time passed. Eventually, the winds calmed down at last, and Philip left via helicopter with a few passengers to inform the police. The bridge was still out, so the police had to arrive by helicopter as well.

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"What a mess this all is..."
"A murder, followed by a suicide. Remorse, perhaps?"

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"Double murder. Gotta be!"
"You see it all the time."

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"...On TV."

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"Yeah, all the time."

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"*sigh* Let's keep an open mind for now."
"Move that group to the living room, and everyone else to their own rooms."
"Come on people, let's get to work."

Spoiler: Bobby's Perspective: Locations
Bobby started by examining the first crime scene, in the library. The victim, Deid Purson, had been stabbed in the back. They soon found something interesting clutched inside one of his hands; it would make for a strong way to start the trial, when that happened later. The room was otherwise devoid of evidence.

He then moved to the guest room. It was quickly apparent that there was far more to the corpse than it first seemed: the autopsy would tell them a lot. Even without it, Bobby could tell that the knife stabbed into John was also the one that had killed Deid.

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"Seems open-and-shut to me."
"Come on, we're making an arrest."

An officer accompanied him. They soon arrived at the killer's room, and pushed the door open.

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"Betty Keyesbergh, you're under arrest for the double murder of Deid Purson and John De Silva."



Of course, their job was far from over, so the police continued investigating. Bobby was interrupted by an officer running up to him to give him some strange news: they'd discovered a secret passage upstairs. He immediately headed off to see.

The passage entrance was in the utility room. It was secured by a fingerprint scanner that also checked for a pulse, to confirm the person was alive. The entrance and scanner were both very well hidden: it was all-too possible that no-one except the owner knew about it. Analysis of the scanner confirmed that John was the only one who could open it. The only reason the passage had even been discovered was that it was found open at this end; if it weren't for that, it was likely the police wouldn't have ever found it.

An officer had followed the passage to its other end, but was unable to open it. A few deductions allowed another officer to locate the entrance from the other side: it was in the basement. It was locked and secure, impossible to open without John's presence.

Halfway along the passage was, presumably, the reason for the passage's existence: a hidden room, accessible only by taking the secret passage. There were locked containers and a very secure computer in here. John must have kept all manner of secrets in this room. Given his army exploits, there were probably many who'd go to extreme lengths to uncover just some of this information, which would explain the almost-excessive security. It could take them years to gain access to some of the documents here, especially the digital ones.

Spoiler: Ella's Perspective
Ella was interviewing Mallow in his room.

Spoiler: Bobby's Perspective: Loreley Interview
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"So between 10:00 and 11:00, you were in your room?"

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"That's right."

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"Just listening to music?"
"You never left?"

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"Oh I was far too scared to leave, officer!"
"There was a killer prowling about."

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"...Right. Thanks for your time."
"I'll leave you to your grief."

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"Oh, I just can't believe Betty would do such a thing!"
"I loved my daddy, and now he's gone forever!"
"I'll... I'll try to be strong. For him."

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"Look, lady, I'm not buying the whole 'grieving daughter' routine."
"Try it on one of the other saps in blue. They'll lap it right up."

Spoiler: Bobby's Perspective: Rori Interview
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"Same story with you, huh?"
"In your room the whole time between 10:00 and 11:00?"

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"Yeah, I was writing some notes."
"I heard someone moving about in the corridor outside."

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"Alright. Thanks for your time."

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"Ah, wait!"
"I... have this picture. I took it last night."
"I saw Deid. Last night. Before he was killed, I mean."

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"Did you now?"

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"I wanted a book to read, so I went down to the library."
"I heard someone moving about in there. It made me nervous, for some reason."
"The door was open a crack, so I extended my camera out on a pole to take a peek."
"Maybe it doesn't help much, but I thought I should mention it."

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"Any little thing could turn out to be an important clue."
"Thanks. I'll hold on to this."

Despite what he'd said, Bobby wasn't sure the picture would be of much use. It showed Deid in the library, searching around for something. It was completely dark inside, lit only by the light seeping in through the doorway the camera was looking through. He couldn't see a killer lurking in the shadows or anything lucky like that. All it really seemed to confirm was that Deid had, indeed, been in the library last night.

Spoiler: Bobby's Perspective: Philip Interview
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"You all seem to have the same story, you know."
"In a room from 10:00 until 11:00, and you never left."

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"There's a logical explanation for that, officer."
"There was a killer roaming about! Many of us felt it prudent to lock ourselves in for safety."

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"Yeah, yeah."
"Unlike the other two though, you weren't in your bedroom?"

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"I often perform experiments in my room as well, but my best science is done in the utility room!"
"That's where all my diabolical equipment is kept!"

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"I... guess that checks out."
"Thanks. And, uh, sorry for your loss or whatever."

Spoiler: Promethea's Perspective: Detention Centre
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"Thanks for coming."
"I was recommended your services by Noxx."
"You must have impressed him in court."

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"Noxx?"
"...Oh, the judge guy, right!"
"Aw man, never knew I made such a good impression on him!"

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"I'm... going to trust in his judgement here."
"You don't exactly look the part, girl."

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"Hey, screw-"
"*ahem* What I mean is, looks can be deceiving!"
"It's all about the heart! What's on the inside!"
"You get me?"

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"... ..."
"...I suppose I can understand that much."
"Though it wouldn't hurt to dress a bit smarter."
"Clean yourself up. A healthy discipline leads to a healthy heart."

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"Do you want my help or not, lady?"

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"I'm paying you, aren't I?"

They argued back and forth like this for a while. Eventually they settled on a truce, and Betty caught Promethea up on everything that had happened. There wasn't much she could add, though. No-one could verify her alibi, but she was adamant that she was in her room the whole time during Deid's murder, and the next day was in the kitchen right up until she'd left and found John dead.

With that, Promethea headed off to explore the De Silva manor. She had to request a police helicopter come pick her up.

Spoiler: Promethea's Perspective: Living Room
Ingram, Posey, Ness, Ali, Ino and Noxx were all gathered. Promethea questioned them, learning of how 4 of them had guarded the first crime scene for a while, and how after that they all occupied the living room. Their presence confirmed that no-one went up or down the stairs in between the time John was confirmed alive and the time he was found dead. They didn't have much else to say, and the topic soon changed.

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"Still... Bobby Milverton, huh?"
"He seems to be doing well for himself, but he doesn't seem like a happy man..."

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"You know 'im, miss?"

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"I've heard of him, and his family."
"It's really all very tragic."

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"I know 'is dad was a criminal."
"Poor guy had to arrest his own dad."

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"Yes, well, there's more to the story than just that."
"His father, Brook Milverton, got divorced a short while before his arrest."
"The wife didn't take it well. Not long after, she killed herself."
"I heard from a friend, who heard from a friend, that Bobby was actually born from an affair."
"That's probably what led to the divorce. I doubt Brook could forgive her for it."

"I do have to feel sorry for the poor guy. Bobby, I mean."
"As an illegitimate child he probably got a pretty rough upbringing."
"These are all just rumours, of course. If they're true, the Milvertons must have works hard to keep Bobby's parentage a secret."
"Publicly they were all hugs and kisses, but things can't have been happy behind closed doors."
"Bobby's younger brother was certainly legitimate. He always seemed happy."
"The parents probably spoiled him rotten."
"It's no wonder Bobby acts like he does now, distancing himself from the Milverton name."

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"Well, points for effort."

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"Oh, Bobby! I didn't see you come in."

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"Guess I'm just good at snooping about unseen."
"Look, you're... half-right about some of those things."
"I cant stay silent on it though. I need to set the record straight here."

"My dad was a real piece of work, as you're aware."
"When he caught wind of the case I was assembling against him, he retaliated."
"Out of sheer spite, he divorced my mother and cut her off from the Milverton finances."

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"Oh, what an awful man!"
"He must have blamed her for your actions, given the circumstances of your birth."
"I feel so sorry for the poor woman..."

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"Be that as it may."
"It means, in a sense, that I'm the reason he divorced her."
"I'm the reason she ended up dead."

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"Come now, that's no attitude to take."
"Don't blame yourself for other people's failings."

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"It's a reminder to myself. To make sure I never fail again."
"To make sure I take down other criminals before they can hurt more people."
"Anyway, this got off-topic fast. I just came to tell you all that the investigation is over."
"You can hitch a ride with some of our helicopters, we can take you all to the nearest city."

Another limbo period began after this. The dead could talk with everyone involved, and were to use this moment to organise themselves into two teams again.
Re: After•LifeTopic%20Title
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"Is anyone really surprised? Genuinely?" Edgar said, cranky because his broken mug was taking an unusually long time to suddenly fix itself. "The man locks himself in a room, and is arguably the most secure out of all of us. I think my agent said the kids these days call that a 'death flag'."
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"Called it," Mai commented, not seeming particularly surprised, or bothered for that matter. She quickly waved down the detective. "Hey, so uh, why arrest Betty?"
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DootDootDoot wrote:
"Is anyone really surprised? Genuinely?" Edgar said, cranky because his broken mug was taking an unusually long time to suddenly fix itself. "The man locks himself in a room, and is arguably the most secure out of all of us. I think my agent said the kids these days call that a 'death flag'."


Ella returned from her 'interview' with Mallow in time to hear Edgar's comment.

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"I heard from a witness that he was all like 'ooh you won't get me in here!' when he locked himself inside."
"Classic blunder right there!"
"In a way it really was suicide, huh?"

Franzise Deauxnim wrote:
"Called it," Mai commented, not seeming particularly surprised, or bothered for that matter. She quickly waved down the detective. "Hey, so uh, why arrest Betty?"


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"You'll hear the specifics in the trial, but..."
"Well, there's a few points."
"We found decisive evidence on Deid's body, pointing to her."
"Deid was killed with the same knife that was later found stabbed into John."
"It's reasonable to assume that Deid's killer was the one who killed John."

"As for John, yeah, you heard it right. It was murder, not suicide."
"Someone strangled him to death, then clumsily tried to make it look like he'd stabbed himself."
"Even if he wasn't really stabbed to death though, the killer still needed access to the knife."
"From there it's pretty simple."
"He was killed, but it was a locked room."
"Only someone who could unlock the door - i.e. Betty with her master key - could kill him."
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"Is she the only one with a key like that, then?"
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"That about sums it up, sure."
"She has the only one, and she was sure it never left her side."
"The only other key that can open the lock is the one found in John's pocket."
"Each guest room key is unique, so they don't each open the other doors or anything like that."
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"Mm..." Mai hummed to herself for a minute before nodding and smiling. "Alright, thanks for your help!"

She spun on her heel and faced the other dead players with a confident grin. "This Betty doesn't seem as stupid as that idol was. I really doubt she'd kill someone in a room only she could open. Therefore, it stands to reason she was set up. I'll be joining the defense this time, and it'd be wise of the rest of you to do the same."
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“It doesn’t matter what side I’m on. Nobody will ever figure out the truth behind this except for me anyway,” TV-Head gives a thumbs up and joins the prosecution.
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"Well then... Betty, huh?" Pat scratched his chin in thought. "Thinkin' about it, last time we joined the defense, the prosecution turned out to have been right... Clearly that means the defense'll be right this time! I'm defendin' Betty so we can get to the bottom of these murders. Don't think that we're gonna be stopped so easily just 'cause the prosecution has the advantage this time! We're gonna expose the real killer no matter what!" He pumped his fist up energetically, quite excited for this.
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Light crosses his arms and lets out a deep sigh. "I'm defending. Hopefully... this works out a little better..."
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"It wouldn't be much of a closed room if the killer just entered and left through the door, would it?" Edgar dialogue tagged. "I will be defending."
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"It had to be Betty!" Lady yelled. "She's obviously guilty! That's why I'm joining the prosecution!"

"You guys are going down!" She continued to yell, as she flipped off the defense team.
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"Well!!! I'm defendin' her too because I don't wanna be in the same team as the person I'm havin' a knife fight with!!" GUNS yelled, making everyone else automatically join the prosecution.
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“Yeah, yeah, locked room, whatever,” Akari finally added. “Frankly, I don’t care much for that woman. Reminds me too much of my mother. Also I fucking hate being told what to do. I’ll be joining the prosecution to put her away.”

She rotated her shoulders and cracked her knuckles.

“We’re looking a bit outnumbered, so keep your head in the game.”

She failed to notice the irony in her statement.
Vesti and Lauren's Interdimensional Investigations
This CYOA follows Vesti Gates and Lauren Tehra, two detectives who search for the truth, whether in their own dimension or otherwise.

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Once the dead had sorted themselves out, the world faded to black around them, and the courtroom of the afterlife took its place.

The Trial

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"ONCE AGAIN, IT IS TIME FOR THE TRIAL."
"SOLVING THESE MURDERS IS A MORE IMPORTANT MATTER THAN YOU MIGHT YET BELIEVE."
"THESE DEATHS ARE NO ORDINARY DEATHS."
"THEY WERE... UNSCHEDULED."
"NEITHER DON NOR JOHN WERE FATED TO DIE ON THE DAYS THEY DID."

"TAKE DON AS A CONVENIENT EXAMPLE."
"THAT DAY, ENDEA WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE, KILLED BY HER SISTER'S TRAP."
"SOMETHING CHANGED, HOWEVER, AND DON ENDED UP DOING SO INSTEAD."
"I AM ABLE TO GET A GENERAL SENSE WHENEVER SUCH A THING WILL HAPPEN."
"AS THEY ARE UNSCHEDULED, HOWEVER, I NEVER KNOW THE DETAILS."
"THUS IT FALLS TO YOU ALL TO UNCOVER THE DETAILS FOR ME."

Death picked up his guitar and began playing a new piece as he explained the current case.

[Epic guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u038C6kQbYE]

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"THERE WERE TWO VICTIMS THIS TIME. BETTY KEYESBERGH IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING BOTH."
"THE DEFENCE MUST PROVE SHE IS INNOCENT OF BOTH."
"THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE SHE IS GUILTY OF AT LEAST ONE."

"THE FIRST VICTIM WAS DEID PURSON."
"HE WAS THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, BUT HIS PRESENCE WAS A MYSTERY."
"HE SHOWED UP UNEXPECTEDLY, WITH A SEEMINGLY-VALID INVITE."
"NO ROOM HAD BEEN MADE FOR HIM, SO HE WAS GIVEN A GUEST ROOM TO SLEEP IN."
"DAY TURNED TO NIGHT. WHILE MOST WERE ASLEEP, SOMEONE STABBED HIM IN THE BACK IN THE LIBRARY."

"THE SECOND VICTIM WAS JOHN DE SILVA."
"HEAD OF THE DE SILVA HOUSEHOLD, IN CHARGE OF THE FAMILY'S NAME AND FORTUNE."
"FOLLOWING DEID'S DEATH, HE LOCKED HIMSELF INSIDE A GUEST ROOM FOR SAFETY."
"HOWEVER, SOMEONE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO STRANGLE HIM TO DEATH."
"IT APPEARS TO BE A PERFECT CLOSED ROOM."

"THE LEAD DETECTIVE WILL ONCE MORE BE BROUGHT FORTH TO EXPLAIN FURTHER."

As happened last time, a beam of light shot out of the hourglass in the middle of the room, and Bobby Milverton was summoned to the stand.

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"STATE YOUR NAME AND OCCUPATION FOR THE COURT."

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"Robert Milverton. Still a detective."

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"YOU WILL EXPLAIN THE POLICE'S REASONING FOR ACCUSING BETTY OF BOTH CRIMES."

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"We've got a pretty strong foundation. We'll start with Deid."
"You'll never guess what we found clutched in the victim's hand. That's right. A dying message."
"A note, written in Deid's handwriting, said 'Keyesbergh'."
"And before you ask, judging by the smudging of the ink, it was crumpled in his hand soon after being written."
"The autopsy report concluded that he would have lived for a short period after being stabbed."
"The conclusion there is rudimentary."

"As for John's murder, that one's a fair bit simpler."
"It's an impossible closed room, unless you have the master key."
"Conversely, if you have the master key, it's a trivial crime."
"The full details of the 'closed room' are in the court record."
"In short though, only Betty could have killed John."

"Additionally, now we know she killed John, the murder weapon further indicts her of Deid's murder."
"Whoever killed John stabbed a very distinctive knife into him afterwards, trying to make it look like suicide."
"The same knife was used to kill Deid earlier. It's highly likely the same killer was behind both murders."
"If Betty killed Deid, she killed John, and vice versa."
"The two crimes, taken together, further strengthen the case against her."

He paused there, letting the information sink in. The only sound in the void-floored room was Death aimlessly playing notes on his guitar.

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"Now, admittedly we don't have a motive for Deid's murder."
"We couldn't find a connection between him and Betty."
"However, the same goes for everyone else at the manor."
"As for John, I'd like to submit this document to the court record."

One of the Numina flew down to pick up the proffered document, which was a single sheet of paper with an administrative table printed on it. Other Numina quickly made copies, and then showed them to the two sides. The table showed a command structure with "Lt John De Silva" at the top. Further down, one name jumped out at them: Tommy Keyesbergh. There was no mistaking the rather unique surname.

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"We found that document in John's hidden room."
"It was the only file not secured in a sealed container of some kind."
"We've not yet been able to unlock any of those, or the computer, so this is all we have."
"For now it's all we need, though. This is a record of the names of everyone in John's squad during the infamous ambush."
"The one that got most of the soldiers under his command killed."

"You'll have noticed the name on there, I'm sure. Tommy Keyesbergh."
"We did some research, and could find no records past this point on him."
"He was one of those killed in the ambush."
"The motive, then, is clear: revenge. Like many others, Betty resented John's actions."
"Perhaps it's the very reason she became his housekeeper."

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"Oh, hey, uncle Sumbo's on the list too!"
"Gee, I wonder how he's doing?"
"Last I heard, he'd opened up a bar somewhere up north."

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"That's... really besides the point."
"Who let her in here?"
"Look, anyway, we've got a strong motive."

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"I wonder about that."
"You're wrong about your conclusions, there."
"Tommy wasn't my brother, or husband, or whatever other connection you think you can make."
"You have to remember, the armed forces were different back then."
"Woman weren't allowed to serve on the front lines."
"Tommy's just a pseudonym I came up with. That 'killed soldier' was me."
"As you can plainly see, I'm alive and well."

"That's right. I disguised myself and enlisted."
"I served under Lieutenant De Silva for many years."
"There was never a grudge there. I respected the man."
"He was a good leader. Willing to make judgement calls where lesser men would falter."
"He got a lot of flak for it, though. That's why I became his housekeeper when he retired."
"I wanted to support him, while the world vilified him."
"I'm not sure he ever realised 'Betty' and 'Tommy' were the same person, though. Not that it mattered to me."

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"..."
"Huh."
"Okay, yeah, I didn't expect that."
"Don't think you can weasel your way out of this so easily, though."
"If you were at that ambush, then you have a motive. The case stands."

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"A FINE SUMMARY."
"NOW THEN. I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU ALL START BY FOCUSING ON DEID'S MURDER."
"IT WAS THE FIRST OF THE TWO, AFTER ALL."
"DETECTIVE, TESTIFY ABOUT THAT IN MORE DETAIL."

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"Sure, sure."
"So, he was killed during the night. Everyone was asleep."
"Deid was in the library, searching for something. We're not really sure why."
"Betty left her room on the first floor, headed to the library and stabbed him in the back."
"As I said, he didn't die immediately."
"He caught a glimpse of his killer, and wrote her name on a piece of paper with the last of his strength."

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"VERY GOOD. WE SHALL START HERE."
"YOU MAY PROCEED!"

[Defence: Mai, Pat, Light, Edgar, GUNS]
[Prosecution: TV Head, Lady, Akari, Maria]
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"Hallelujah! By God, I've got it!" Pat exclaimed suddenly. A few scornful looks were probably directed at him- after his infamous bomb theory in the last trial, it was hard to not be sceptical of whatever he was about to say.

"Folks, I'm pleased t'say I've already solved the murders! Both of 'em!" He beamed, only giving rise to more concern amongst the others. "Lemme start with this- that note in Deid's hand? Wasn't a dyin' message! Look at the list here, if y'will- doesn't a certain name pop up? That's right, Pier Son! Pier Son, Purson, same thing, right? So we've got a relationship between the two victims now, and a solid reason Deid was invited here! Y'see, the real reason he was here was to dig up dirt on the incident and figure out what happened- his dead relative being the motive for that! So that changes the meaning of the note entirely! He musta, say, found out that Keyesburgh was one of the soldiers who was involved in the incident, and used that to see if there were any books in the library related to 'em! Unfortunately, he couldn't find any, so he crumped the note he'd written the name on in frustration! Truly, a tragic misunderstandin'!"

"But that brings us to the question- who exactly is the killer? Well, like the prosecution, I believe only one person could've killed both people. And that person... is that magical ol' judge!" He declared, referring to Noxx. "That crusty curmudgeon could detect our very presence as supernatural entities early- that, I believe, is because he's a wizard himself! Think about it, it all makes sense. He has a strange occult obsession and keeps tryna rule out magic in every case he's in? It's all because he's afraid of the competition! He's probably some kinda Grand Sorceror himself, I reckon! He killed Deid in the library, but what proves he did it was actually John's murder! Y'might say, 'Wasn't Noxx accompanied with a buncha fellas during the entire time period for John's murder?' but you're falling for his deception!"

Pat tutted, before carrying on with his very true explanation. "Y'see, the real reason the ol' fogey was there the whole time was to establish an alibi for himself! That's right, he did it all so he could say he was being watched the entire time! But y'know what really happened? He used his telekinesis powers to lift the knife up and stab John with it! He probably hid it somewhere in John's guest room beforehand for convenience. Sure, John chose it randomly, but magic powers woulda made it easy to figure out which one anyhow! He also used, er, some kinda wire hidden in the room (with telekinesis of course), to finish him off before stabbin' the knife in! All this was done so Betty could get framed for it further and take the fall! It was all a buncha tricks and deceit and illusions... but I've seen through yer lies, magic man!"

He pointed dramatically. "This is the truth of the case! Is that not so, Noxx Zo?!"

One would have to wonder what he was on to come up with these so regularly. And so quickly, for that matter.
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"... Technically speaking, the inexistence of magic can't be proven. So the theory should stand."

Edgar stirred his coffee for a while with a pencil. His mug never did recover from being smashed against the wall, so he just stole one from the mansion that proudly identified him as the 'World's Best Butler Scientist'. "But just in case this is somehow not convincing enough to you, I have a few questions: a pen is usually needed to write. It would be very hard to leave a dying message without one. I suppose this means the stiff corpse must have been found grasping one as well?"
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"Ah, yes, of course. It was found in his other hand."

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"There exists no magic that can cause a corpse to lie."
"Therefore, the murderer cannot be I!"

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"Noxx, please, you really don't have to respond to that."
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“Do the police, or anyone else for that matter, have any clue when this secret passage was opened?” Light asks the detective, and glances towards Death a few times, hoping he can bring someone to the stand that might know the answer.
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"THERE ARE SOME WHO COULD TESTIFY ABOUT THIS."
"A SIMPLER ANSWER, HOWEVER, IS THIS:"
"YOU YOURSELVES SAW THAT IT WAS STILL CLOSED AT A POINT BETWEEN 8:00 AND 10:00."
"IS THAT SUFFICIENT?"
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Maria tapped her chin.

"Betty killed Deid to frame John, and then after killing John tried to make it look like a suicide so that there would, hopefully, be no way anyone could trace it back to her -- aside from the whole master key thing, though. Why would John have had it out for Deid, at least enough for Betty to use that as a cover? Well, it's obviously because John was getting all his cash from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Deid Purson, which he was then giving to that rotten Loreley. Deid was threatening to cut John off from the money, which is why he then had to threaten to cut off his daughter. Makes sense to me. Case closed. Oh, and Betty was pissed at John for the ambush. Case closed. Again."
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"Okay, hold it, I'm not done with this point yet." Edgar splashed some coffee on his face to... Focus better, I guess. He held up the autopsy report like nothing happened. "Mr. Purson was stabbed in the back, and according to how we found him, he fell forwards and died. The report states he likely didn't even see the killer coming, given the lack of a struggle. At which point could he have identified them to write a message with their name?"
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"He lived for long enough after being stabbed to catch a glimpse of them."
"Betty thought she had nothing to fear from a dying man."
"Perhaps she simply passed by in front of him. Perhaps he turned his head and saw her leaving."
"Maybe she spoke to him for whatever reason."
"There are all manner of reasonable ways he could have realised it was Betty."
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[music of logic and reasoning]

Pat, who had been in the corner grumbling about how nobody would accept his epic theories this whole time, suddenly spoke up. "Hol' on a minute! I just saw another name on t'list- Raphael Mann! Is this lad perhaps related to famous politician Liev Mann, well known friend of our very own Deid Purson? There's another relation for ya! Mr. Purson was after info regardin' the ambush from years ago, hence why he coulda had Keyesburgh written on that paper!"

"But o' course, I'm expecting the prosecution t'say "What does that matter? If she killed John, then she had to have killed Purson as well!". Worry not, though!" He exclaimed brightly. "Ol' Pat's figured this one out as well- there's a way for John to have died without Betty's involvement in it as well! Y'see, we already know that secret tunnel was closed between 8 AM and 10 AM. Afterwards, though... John coulda left his guest room and gone to the first floor usin' the tunnel. On the way there, he encounters Deid's killer, who strangles him as well. Then he got placed in his room and stabbed. Now the question arises, how did the killer get through the tunnel with John dead? There's several answers to this, 'course. Maybe John was in such a hurry he left the tunnels open at the time (before the killer shut 'em later). Maybe the fight between John and the killer didn't happen yet, and he was guidin' em to his room through the tunnel then. Maybe the killer only strangled John enough to make him unconscious, and thus alive and able to open the tunnel doors in that unconscious state!"

"Carryin' on, we now have John's dead body in the guest room with nobody else noticin'! The killer planted the knife they used t'kill Deid onto him!" Pat chuckled. "That brings us to the locked room. One easy way to explain it is that the room was never locked in the first place and Betty jus' didn't notice it as she unlocked the door, only believing it had to have been locked because of the circumstances. The other way- this is what I believe t'be the truth- is that the killer did lock the door and then hid in the room somewhere, waitin' for somebody t'come! Reasonably it really coulda only been her who unlocked the door in the end, and she'd have been too panicked by the death to focus on somebody being in the room. Anyway, once she came and saw the body, she left to go tell the others. It was durin' this time that the killer left the room, which was now unlocked and went back to their room on the first floor through the tunnel! They made sure to close the basement entrance but sadly forgot to close the utility room entrance in their haste! Then all they had t'do was wait till Betty called them. In this case there's quite a few suspects here- Loreley has the most motive but more importantly, ol' Philip was supposedly in the utility room the entire time! Lil' strange y'didn't see anythin' in there huh, Phil?" He smirked.

"Anyway, that's my explanation of how things went down. One other thing I'll add though, is that the photo Rori took is a lil' strange? I can believe Deid was in the library that night since that's where his body was found, but the photo shows him searchin' in the dark. Isn't that a bit strange? How d'ya think he was gonna be able to find somethin' in there like that? I don't think the body had any type'a torch or candle on it- and it woulda made no sense for the killer to try an' remove! Plus, its lack of existence is shown in the photo itself! Other than the light comin' through the door, the library was pitch black! How d'we explain that one?" He scratched his chin in thought.
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"Oh boy, where to even begin with this..."
"Only John can lock the doors to the secret passage, so that's out."
"John's strangulation resulted in his death. No injury is consistent with him being knocked out."
"There's nowhere to hide inside the guest room."

"As for the library photograph, see for yourself."
"It's dark in there, sure, but Deid would just about be able to see using the light coming through the door."
"Maybe there's something to your theory that he was searching for something incriminating."
"If so, I assume he was trying to be covert about his search."
"Instead of turning a light on in there, he relied on the small amount seeping in from next door."
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Pat winced but refused to back off that easily. "There's still somethin' suspicious goin' on here! We saw the tunnel was closed between 8 and 10 AM! If the door in the utility side was opened, then that'd mean only John coulda opened it and left it open! And since it coulda only been opened after 10 AM, that means Phil was there the whole time! But he didn't mention John at all, so he has to be lyin' about it! No two ways about that!" He insisted.
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"THAT SEEMS A REASONABLE POINT."
"KEEP IT IN MIND FOR LATER."
"FOR NOW, FOCUS ON THE FIRST MURDER."
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Light grumbles and sighs. "Fine, fine. Have it your way, Death."

"I wonder how Deid even saw anything in that Library... Considering the picture Rori took showed it was pretty damn dark. The killer is one thing, but reading books on the shelves seems like a whole other thing,"

"Has anyone checked out the library? The man was looking for something, maybe whatever it was could be important?"

Light sighs again and goes back to searching through the evidence, struggling to find something.
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Edgar slammed his mug into the desk repeatedly, spilling it a bunch. "I demand you present evidence Deid Purson knew how to write!"
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"Hrmmm, come to think of it..."

"If we look at Rori's photo, clearly that picture was taken from the Game Room door. The room's totally dark, aside from light coming from that door only. The other one was shut. I dunno if this means jack, but Deid was staying in a Guest Room. Naturally, he would've come into the Library directly. Why would he go and rely on the Game Room for light? Unless that door was already open, or something... But then I wonder why he shut the Library door behind him. And if it's all dark, why did the Game Room have lights on? If Rori turned them on, then wasn't Deid searching in complete darkness?"

"And what else makes me think, is the idea that Betty left her room in the middle of the night, knife in hand, to kill a man that she wouldn't have had any idea was there. Seems odd to me, that she'd be prowling the halls in the middle of the night, to kill a man that wasn't supposed to even be in that house. How would she have known he'd be in the Library? If she killed him, she'd have to known enough to bring a knife from her room."

"Speaking of, where the hell did this knife come from anyways? Does anyone in the family know about it?"
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"I believe I can answer that one."
"The game room light was left on that night."
"John, a few others and I were up late playing poker, you see."
"I imagine Betty usually switches things off, but she was in bed by the time we were done."
"I suppose none of us thought to turn the light off as we left."

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"As for the knife, it's an heirloom. Usually kept up in the attic."
"Anyone could have taken it, I don't think it would be noticed missing."
"I believe it has a long, sordid history of being used for human sacrifices!"
"Perhaps it grew thirsty and called out for some fresh blood?"
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Kachu wrote:
"And what else makes me think, is the idea that Betty left her room in the middle of the night, knife in hand, to kill a man that she wouldn't have had any idea was there. Seems odd to me, that she'd be prowling the halls in the middle of the night, to kill a man that wasn't supposed to even be in that house. How would she have known he'd be in the Library? If she killed him, she'd have to known enough to bring a knife from her room."


“Maybe she was up late doing fuckin’ uhh…housekeeping things when she heard him in the library? Maybe they’d arranged to meet there? Who knows? Thing is that logic can be applied to any Joe Schmo you wanna claim killed Purson that might. So it ain’t much use.”

Akari stared at the prosecution bench, drawing circles against the wood with her finger.

“And none of you have looked in those books, huh? Maybe they’re in Braille. Contradiction resolved.”
Vesti and Lauren's Interdimensional Investigations
This CYOA follows Vesti Gates and Lauren Tehra, two detectives who search for the truth, whether in their own dimension or otherwise.

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"Was Deid in this game withcha? If he was, then he woulda known to open the door on the other side for more illumination rather than the one on the guest room side... otherwise, it seems like a strange guess for the man t'have taken at the time", Pat remarked. "Also, how was the condition of that note? If Deid wrote down that name while strugglin' in his last moments in the dark, you coulda expected it to be written a bit hurriedly, right? Was the note written anythin' like that?"
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"He would have seen light peeking out from under the door."
"He knew the light was on in the room on the other side."

"As for the note, well..."
"It was definitely a bit sloppy. Consistent with being written in near-darkness."
"I don't think it looked like it was written in a hurry, but then, a dying man's movements are often quite slow."
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