I typed the username “ALightOfALie” into my search engine, and found the webpage on some weird social network. It had a bunch of tiny anime-style avatars. I skimmed the profile, but there was no mention of a name, interests, address, phone number, or email address. We basically knew nothing about the mysterious person.
“I heard his password,” I told Ixi. “Maybe, if I can get into his account, the message will still be there.”
“Try it,” she urged. “It’s our best chance.”
I went to the login page of the website and tried the username and password. My hands were actually shaking as I typed the words in.
“Got it.” I clicked on the little envelope in the corner of the screen to see the messages. There were five messages from Zombie Incineration Affect, but no others.
“Let’s see them in order,” she suggested.
I went to the oldest one and read it,
“Well? What does it say?”
“It looks like she’s just introducing herself. But she did call herself Zia, so it looks like she’s less careful than A Light Of A Lie.”
Ixi paled. “So it really is Zia…” she whispered.
I went to the next message, almost nervously. It had a photograph of a lion, and no words.
Her nose scrunched as she concentrated on the photo. “That’s weird. Why’d she just send a picture to this person?”
“I have no idea…”
The next message was even stranger. It was a picture of a dancer, who had a blue spotlight shining on her. Then I realized it was a video. As I watched it, the dancer was lifted from the stage, flying up into the air.
“It’s fake,” Ixi mumbled. “I can see the wires.”
I was about to reply, but then I saw the dancer suddenly lose control. She crashed right into the spotlights. Ixi cried out and covered her face, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. People in the audience were screaming, and stage crew was rushing on to help the girl. She was bleeding heavily, and didn’t seem to be moving. The video ended abruptly when a hand covered it.
I looked over at Ixi, who was shaking. “Are you okay?”
She nodded weakly. “Y-Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay.
“Okay. Ready to see the next message?”
“Yes, let’s just get them over with.”
“Okay. Message number three.” I looked at the third message. “This one’s got an mp3 on it.”
“Well, listen to it.”
It was a woman’s voice, saying just four words.
“Her name is Ixi.”
Ixi’s hand gripped the back of my chair so tightly that her knuckles went white. When I looked, I saw that her eyes were closed and she was taking deep breaths, trying to calm down.
“Was it Zia’s voice?”
“Yeah. It was. There’s no doubt at all. That was Zia.” She opened her eyes. “Let’s just see the fourth one.”
The fourth message actually had text in it, like the first one. It said, very simply, “Ixi is coming.” When Ixi gave me a nod, I tried to view the fifth message, but an error popped up on my screen.
“… What happened?” she asked.
I frowned. “The message was deleted. I think A Light Of A Lie knew we were looking at his messages.” I checked the original page. “Sure enough, he deleted the rest of the messages.”
“Did he send anything back?”
“No, it doesn’t say he replied to any of them. He didn’t send any individual messages to her either. Maybe they met in person and she told him not to send her anything.”
“Well, it looks like there’s nothing else to find here. We already know Zia’s identity, so looking her up her profile won’t do anything good for us.”
“I guess.” I turned off my computer with a sigh. “You know what I think?”
She perked up. “What? You have a theory?”
“I may be stating the obvious, but I’m pretty sure A Light Of A Lie is the human that Zia picked for chess.”
Ixi blinked a few times. I stared at her.
“Um, Ixi? What’s wrong?”
“I… hadn’t actually thought of that.” She let out a long, heavy sigh. “I guess I’m just not a very good detective.”
“Well, that’s why you’re not one, I guess.”
The doorbell rang loudly, making us both jump. I urged Ixi to stay hidden in my room, and went to answer the door. As soon as I saw who it was, my hand shot into my pocket to hold my keychain. I’m not sure why I felt that I had to hold it then, but it felt like it could keep me safe.
Mark smiled. “Hi, Leo.”