At the sound of the scream, I abandoned the solar eclipse and went racing back down the stairs to the source of the disturbance.
Nine of the guests were circle around what looked like a statue, whilst a Xweetok - I guessed she was the screamer - was sobbing hysterically into a handkerchief being comforted by an anxious looking Lutari. I remembered the Lutari from earlier, he'd been entertaining everybody with a tale of his homeland and the festivals they held on the Island. He looked like he'd much rather be there than in this dark, fear filled room.
I turned my attention to the rest of the guests, stepping closer to the statue to see what in the name of Sloth had given them all such a fright. They were paler than ghosts.
At first, it didn't click. I was staring at the statue, and nothing was making sense. It was an exceptional piece of work, with exquisite detailing. There was something hauntingly familiar about the statue, like I'd seen it before. Impossible though, because I'd never been to the house before. He looked just like Mr. Gloomstone from Upper Neoivia...That was when I realised - it was Mr Gloomstone!
Somebody had turned him into stone.
I demanded, whirling back to face the other guests who all stepped back away from me.
"It all happened so fast-"
"I don't know-"
"He was fine-"
"Then he was stone!"
I held up my hands to silence the rush of words, none of them were making any sense and by the sounds of their gibberish - none of them knew what had happened. Somebody had to know though, Chia's didn't just get turned into stone without whim or reason. Somebody was behind this heinous crime, and they were at this very party.
"Okay, everybody calm down. I'm a detective and I'm going to get to the bottom of this!" I announced.
"For your own safety, I'm going to ask you to stay exactly where you are, don't move! ...Also, avoid the food and the drink - you don't know what it might turn you into."
A pompous looking Lenny gulped and dropped the teacake he'd been about to devour and everybody put aside their glasses. Not worth the risk.
I waited till everybody had sat down, muttering to themselves before I started to look around the room, trying to figure out my next move. I needed a hint or a clue...
There was a flash of pink in the corner of my eye and I spun around to see an Acara peering around the doorway. The moment she saw me looking, she vanished down the hallway and I knew I had no choice but to go after her....