Zhen Xiong (changed from Yin Xiong), Jia Lai, Livingstone, and the schoolkid were all waiting in the hallway, remaining as silent as possible and even making sure the doors were closed gently. Once Livingston saw that everyone was present, he produced a lighter from his pocket. He lit it up and placed it near the copper lock on Bruno’s door. A few seconds later, something magical happened before their eyes. The lock which was supposed to be made out of solid copper melted in the lighter’s flames!
It was typically impossible to melt copper in such a matter of seconds, what more with a mere lighter. That left only one explanation for this magic trick. The lighter had to be a game item. However, Livingston seemed to have no intention of explaining how it worked. The moment the lock melted down, he quickly kept away the lighter. The schoolkid opened the door next and entered the room with the others. Once everyone was in the room, Zhen Xiong swiftly shut the door. At the same time, she stuffed a towel she was holding into the keyhole to prevent any sound from escaping out.
Soon, they realized that all that stealthiness was pointless. Although they made little noise while melting the lock, light sleepers would still be awoken by the shuffling of footsteps, especially with that many entering the room at the same time. To their amusement, Bruno was still fast asleep despite the less-than-graceful entrance. Livingstone hurried to his bedside and tapped his face a few times. Surprisingly, he didn’t respond. All he did was grunt, turn himself around, and continued sleeping. After that, Livingston turned on the lamp beside the bed, picked up a bottle from the ground, and examined it under the light.
“What are these? Sleeping pills?” asked the schoolkid curiously.
Livingstone didn’t answer. Instead, he pulled a pill from the bottle, opened the capsule, and poured its contents out on his palm. However, after attempting to smell it, he still failed to determine what the substance was.
“Can I take a look?” asked Zhen Xiong while extending her hand.
Livingston handed the bottle to her. Shen then examined it carefully, sniffing it, then dipping her thumb into the powder to taste it. “It tastes like LSD.”
“LSD is a hallucinogenic substance. Its scientific name is lysergic acid diethylamide. Once consumed, the user would experience powerful hallucinations. It’s really difficult to describe the effects. Some say you can hear strange sounds and see kaleidoscopic colors moving around you. Your perception of your surroundings distorts and deforms; all these happening in your mind, of course. I was once tricked into tripping on LSD when I was at a club. According to what I know, it should be highly addictive.”
“Huh? So, what are you trying to say?” asked a confused Jia Lai.
“He’s saying this stuff right here is a drug,” said Livingston.
At the same time, the schoolkid took the initiative to tie Bruno up. It was at that time, they realized that Bruno was actually not asleep. His eyes were actually open all the time, albeit so small that no one realized it. At the same time, there was a smile on his face, as if he was completely oblivious to his surroundings.
“This man is an addict. No wonder he always looks so weak,” Jia Lai scoffed.
“Let’s put that aside first. We need to focus on something more important. Search and see if he’s carrying any game items with him,” instructed Livingston.
To prevent anybody from secretly taking possession of the items, they agreed to pair up and keep an eye on each other. 15 minutes later, they were done with searching Bruno and his room. They even went as far as to look in the water tank of his toilet. In the end, they found two game items in his room. One looked like a fork, and the other one looked like the fang of an animal that probably belonged to a big cat. As of now, these two were considered as unidentified items. They would have to wait until Bruno regained consciousness before they could question him.
Unfortunately, the effect of the LSD lasted quite a long time. Bruno came around at five, quickly realizing that he wasn’t in the best state. Rage overwhelmed him right away, and he swore that he would kill Livingston. However, when Livingston placed the bottle in front of him, Bruno swiftly calmed himself down.
“You refused to let us search you because of this thing, right? You knew all too well that NASA would never allow an addict to travel to space, huh?”
“I have told you time and again that I’m not the darn killer. You are looking at an innocent person. Oh, wait…”
Bruno then stared at Livingston.
“Maybe, you are actually the one behind all this! You are trying to divert everyone’s attention to me. By doing that, you’ll get away with whatever you’ve done!”
“Don’t you think it’s a little too late to divide us? We will have to solve this problem first, no matter what. I will now ask you some questions and I hope you can answer me truthfully.”
“So what if I answer you truthfully? Does that mean you won’t tell NASA that I have been on LSD?”
Bruno stared and shook his head in disbelief at the other four players before going on.
“Sooner or later, you will regret what you have done to me! Hasn’t it occurred to you that it doesn’t matter who the killer really is? The real killer is using this opportunity to eliminate players that threaten him the most. It seems I’m the first one.”
After that, Bruno turned his gaze to the school kid and warned him gravely.
“You. You will be second.”
His statement managed to make the student rethink the whole thing. A hesitant look now appeared on his face.
“Don’t allow his words to sway your emotions and thoughts. If you want to get to a higher rank, you have to get past him first. With him out of the game, it’s nothing but good news for you. That’s something that will never change, I’m afraid. Right now, we need to focus on finding the real killer. Anything else on your mind; we can discuss that later. Agree?”
Nobody disagreed with Livingston’s decision.
Seeing how he had everyone’s support, Livingston pulled a chair and placed it in front of Bruno.
“I know that you must hate me a lot right now. I have to admit, I was the one who planned the whole thing tonight. However, it’s only because you are the most suspicious among us. But… I must also admit that your deduction made perfect sense. If I were to be the murderer, I would kill the player that threatened me the most. I’m fair, and so I’ll give you a chance to prove you’re not the killer. By doing that, your point will automatically be validated. Even though you will still be kicked from the game, you won’t be the most suspicious person anymore after you leave. Isn’t that what you wanted to see?”
“Heh. Save it. I’m no three-year-old kid. I know exactly what you want. Rest assured, I’ll make sure not to give you what you want. You’ll never know who the real killer is. Therefore, you better pray you’re not the next target.”
Bruno was strangely calm at a time when his resolve was put on trial before his teammates. He knew that once the other players found out that he had been consuming contraband, it was the end of him. He also made it clear that he was not about to work with Livingston’s investigation.