The school of Julliard, Manhattan.
Richard Bretel, easily the brightest student when it comes to his generation at this school. Dedicated, intelligent, and has a dark dark secret. The prodigy in special effects walked through the dustier shelves in the school's library, picking up some older books. After a long and meticulous search he finally had all the books on his personal list, ones that would come in handy for his experiments.
Richard walked over to the checkout counter, only now noticing it was eleven at night, he must have lost track of the time for he arrived in the library at midday. How could someone of his intellect and cleverness so foolishly lose time like that? "Ah! Richard, I see you have more lovely choices you intend on studying.." The librarian, Mr.Mesmer smiled while standing behind the counter, catching Richard off guard due to being in such deep thought.
"Hmm? Yes yes..Of course..I do apologize Mr.Mesmer but sleep has been a stranger to me these past months, I feel as if it might be catching up to me.." Richard felt tired just from explaining his problematic fatigue. Not only did he have theater practice, he of course had his personal agenda, smoke pellets...Holograms. Mr.Mesmer only chuckled while pushing his round glasses up and gently took the stack of books to write down.
"Let us see here..Hmm..Illusion, misdirection, slight of hand. Richard, if I didn't know any better I would assume this fascination with such specific topics sparked because of the Puzzler incident in our school?" Mesmer looked over to Richard with a curious yet concerned glare. Bretel froze up at the very mention of the name Puzzler, did Mesmer know? Or was the young man just struck with paranoia after what he did that day, what he caused.
"I-I beg your pardon Mr.Mesmer? Why would I even try to get close to what happened that day? Three students, all dead and because of what? Getting in the Puzzler's way? The fools should have known better not to cross me!" And there it was, a lump formed in Richard's throat as soon as he finished that statement, only getting worse upon seeing the shocked glare on a now pale looking Mesmer.
No more words, just a few more moments before the librarian tried to run. As soon as he reached the doors, Mesmer tried his hardest to force them open but of course, locked. Now he only had the choice of running into the halls of books, the lights shutting off shortly after he did so. "I really cannot believe I let slip like that Mr.Mesmer, I mean how silly of a way to die, because a student accidentally told his secret...I assure your expiration will be somewhat painless if you show yourself now.." The Puzzler promised while speaking loudly through an echoed voice while Mesmer carefully navigated the shelves.
Finally however, the purple smoke started to form around his feet, quickly consuming him. Next thing he knew, he was standing right behind the counter, this time covered in glowing chains, and looming over him was the now costumed Puzzler. "Enjoying the smoke? One would assume it is something like witchcraft or the dark arts..Hmm! Hardly. It is but my own genius, shape-shifting nanites that create actual objects, traveling in this smoke, brilliant no?" The Puzzler gloated while Mesmer quietly stared at him. "Richard..You're insane..You killed three innocent people all because they were apart of some puzzle you created? You really do sicken-" But Mesmer could not finish due to being back handed by the surprisingly strong menace.
"Ivan, isn't it? Ivan I do this to present to the downtrodden that I am superior in every way, a puzzled mass of fools who will soon enough bow down to who deserves it...Me!"
Ivan's pained breathes and fatigued look suddenly ceased while slightly standing straighter. "I would say Richard, that was a very excellent experiment.." The librarian broke the chains that bound him and removed his glasses, all while the Puzzler ceased floating suddenly. "Wh-What is the meaning of this!?" He demanded to know as the smoke seemed to have betrayed him, forcefully removing the costume he was wearing and threw it at Mesmer's feet.
"I have some explaining to do Richard.." Mesmer said while waving his hand gently, the smoke attacking the student and held him up in the air as if with telekinesis. "You assume you were the Puzzler..But when did you start to think you were him? When you were searching for your books don't you remember? You were telling your fellow classmates about how you were looking into the Puzzler incident..But of course, you don't remember..Why? Because I hypnotized you when you finished collecting your books. You didn't think it was strange that you "lost track of time" for eleven hours? I made you think you were the Puzzler Richard..I was controlling the mist..It was all to see how the upgrades to my gear were performing and what better test subject than myself? For you see Mr.Bretel.."
Ivan Mesmer walked closer and closer to Richard as he was explaining, all while the costume was slowly being placed onto him by the smoke until finally the glass dome was placed on his head that started to glow, reflecting Richard's horrified and confused face. "...I am the Puzzler..."
Dean Matthews walked into the library with a curious brow raised, quickly walking over to the main desk where the head librarian Mr.Ivan Mesmer was sitting having a cup of tea while reading Hamlet. "Mr.Mesmer, is everything alright? I could have sworn I heard some commotion from the halls.." The dean leaned on the counter and looked about, seeing everything as it should be. Mesmer looked over and sipped his tea while speaking with his natural British accent "But of course Brian..It's midnight inside of a library, usually most would consider it to be rather hush.." He smiled at his boss, who smiled back and curiously left the library.
What could be heard though, even across the campus was the loud screams from dozens of students who saw the corpse of Richard Bretel, hung in the middle of the campus from the flag pole...