Highway 404 (19)
Ye Chang? Chi Nan hadn’t heard this name from anyone else for a long time after Hei Cha left.
“At that time, on the Dusk Cruise Ship, Ye Chang also knocked out the old captain like this.” Jiang Yu looked at You Yu, who was dragging the unconscious staff members to the side, and narrowed her eyes thoughtfully.
“It is quite similar.” Chi Nan pursed his lips. “You said that Ye Chang, he…”
Jiang Yu looked at his always expressionless face that was slightly dazed and smiled thoughtfully. “Don’t mind it, I’m just kidding.”
She paused before lowering her voice and adding, “In addition, I shouldn’t be the one to say this type of thing.”
Like? This type of thing? Chi Nan had question marks in his mind but his mouth was calm. “Oh.”
Jiang Yu quickly pulled away from her desire for untimely gossip. “Let’s find the remaining body parts now.”
The moment she finished speaking, Chi Nan had already opened the door of the oven that was burning brightly. The sparks swept across his face along with a wave of heat. In the center of the burning stove hung a few roast ducks and a pair of cut human limbs. The jumping tongues of fire licked the black limbs and emitted a strange smell of grease.
“This is the writer…!” Vomit! The strong smell of burnt flesh and crackling bones made Pei Mo recall the disgusting scene from his character’s dream. He covered his stomach and retched.
Jiang Yu was thinking of a way to get the limbs out of the stove, but You Yu had already taken a hook from the hanging stove and pushed the roast duck away. He skillfully hooked the writer’s two arms and legs, dragging them out of the stove and placing them on the board to cool. He acted like a roast duck restaurant master.
“We have the head and limbs, so the body is nearly complete.” He brushed the ashes off his hands and looked at Chi Nan, like he was a virtuous younger brother who had prepared a good table for his older brother. “Brother, where do you think the torso is hidden?”
The group: “……” What was going on with this tone? Was it to surprise his brother with a human dinner?
They felt some fright, but no one had the time or courage to say anything. They just buried their heads in search of the remaining body parts.
Chi Nan had long been accustomed to You Yu’s sick nature and didn’t find it offensive. He looked around the kitchen with the smell of meat and blood before finally turning his attention to the dining cart that had a plate covered with a lid.
You Yu followed his line of sight and the corners of his lips involuntarily rose upwards.
Chi Nan opened the lid of the dinner plate. There was still warm ‘grilled steak’ on the dining cart, and a large pot of stewed brisket with potatoes sprinkled with chopped onions and fried innards… There were also many meat bones sprinkled with cumin where the meat couldn’t be seen.
At this moment, You Yu had already used gloves to arrange the limbs and head of the corpse in order, leaving only the middle part for Chi Nan. His expression and movements were like a chef apprentice helping Chi Nan, or a devout magician’s assistant.
Chi Nan understood. He took out the plate of meat from the dining cart and placed it in the vacant part, as if completing some type of evil sacrifice ceremony.
The smell of meat and spices filled the kitchen as he moved.
Soon, everyone came to help. The moment everyone poured the last plate of ‘stewed red meat’ on the board, the radio that wasn’t far from the board and was originally playing an emotional radio program made a static sound.
[Congratulations to the four foreigners who found all the body parts of the ‘Judge’ at the Sunset Restaurant in Smile Town and found a copy of the important item, ‘Judge’s Revelations.’ Please go explore on your own to get more clues about the corpses.]
Pei Mo sighed with relief after completing his personal task but Jiang Yu frowned. “What is the Judge’s Revelation?”
Last time, the ‘younger brother’s corpse’ was exchanged for a new driver and it was enough to give them a headache. This inexplicable revelation must not be easy to deal with either.
Chi Nan said, “The book of revelation should be the book Killing Intentions with Nowhere to Escape.”
Pei Mo was confused. “Huh? It was all garbled when I read through it?”
Chi Nan explained, “Some important items can only be used after the key plot has been activated.”
Pei Mo had the least experience, so he just nodded ignorantly while frantically noting down the experience of this bigshot in his mind.
You Yu calmly said, “Go back to the car, or the guests who have been waiting for a long time will rush into the kitchen to complain.”
Everyone: “……” At this time, this guy was still worried about the guests waiting for the meal. He truly wasn’t a normal person.
As You Yu expected, they came out of the kitchen and found several impatient guests walking toward the kitchen with smiles. You Yu skillfully smiled at them. “The two chefs in the kitchen seem to be asleep. The food is ready on the cutting board. If you don’t mind, you can grab it yourself.”
The guests cursed and walked toward the kitchen. By the time their panicked cries rang through the Sunset Restaurant, the group had already got into the car, stepped on the accelerator, and fled the hapless restaurant.
Chi Nan opened Killing Intentions with Nowhere to Escape. After the item was unlocked, the mysterious characters that were code-like had become normal characters. He quickly browsed the table of contents and found that this was a dark and strange poetry collection.
Chi Nan’s eyes quickly swept over the title of the poem marked on page 213: Twin Dolls in the Ruins.
Twin dolls? Was this hinting at the twin relationship between his character and You Yu’s character?
He quickly turned to the corresponding page number.
[A pair of twin dolls grew in the land of the welfare home. They were abandoned by their family and now abandoned worldly morality, growing freely in absurdity and loneliness. Two souls and bodies infiltrated and merged. He wasn’t him, he was him. They attracted each other, parasitized each other, and destroyed each other. Sin and desire are sealed in the iron rings on their ring fingers, buried deep in the desolate land in front of the oak forest.]
Everyone followed Chi Nan’s movements and looked over. They couldn’t understand the obscure and sentimental words of the Judge, but they clearly knew from the keywords ‘twins,’ ‘welfare home,’ and ‘iron rings on their ring fingers’ that this poem described Chi Nan’s character.
Jiang Yu instinctively looked at the ring on Chi Nan’s ring finger before his eyes turned to You Yu, who was driving. Her mood was subtle and complicated.
“Then the Judge’s Revelations will give hints on the corpses?” Pei Mo couldn’t suppress the excitement in his tone and unknowingly raised his volume.
Chi Nan turned to page 209, which represented Pei Mo’s number, to continue the verification. The title of the poem was the ‘Cannibal Banquet After Sunset.’
“The motel room number corresponds to the page number of the Judge’s Revelations and the content of the poem has a lot to do with the information about the corpse of each victim.” Chi Nan finally confirmed it.
This discovery made everyone who were originally like headless flies tremble with excitement. Lu Baizhou held his breath. “Turn to page 205 to see!”
Chi Nan turned to page 205. The poem was titled: The Illegal Clinic and the Girl Who Betrayed Her Body.
[The girl committed suicide with her soul in exchange for physical freedom. She tried to use a doctor’s knife to cut through the old skin and put on a new self. But the girl disappeared in the illegal clinic. The whole world is trying to find her and her body, but the mysterious number is unknown…]
“Isn’t this poem too obscure?” Lu Baizhou was a bit disappointed. The poem was obviously describing her character who killed the protagonist and finally died of an infection during plastic surgery.
However, the lines of the verse didn’t give any specific information words such as ‘welfare home’ and ‘sunset’ as in the previous character poems of Chi Nan and Pei Mo.
Chi Nan looked at the words ‘mysterious number’ and thought about it. “Go to the phone booth and call 4040404 to try it? Maybe Dr. He will tell you the specific hospital location.”
Lu Baizhou suddenly said, “I’ll go!”
You Yu cooperated to stop the car. Lu Baizhou quickly pulled open the door and jumped out of the car. She rushed to the phone booth to call the universal number of 4040404.
The sound of the ‘beeps’ as the call was being connected was extremely painful. Lu Baizhou’s hand holding the handset was wet and sticky. Every second of waiting was as long as a century.
“Hello, this is Dr He’s clinic. Is there anything I can help you with?”
Lu Baizhou’s heart jumped fiercely. “Hello, I am Lu Baizhou. I want to ask…”
“Miss Lu, your surgery will start in 15 minutes. Please arrive at the clinic as soon as possible.” Before Lu Baizhou could ask, the other party had already given a hint according to the process set by the nightmare.
Lu Baizhou responded very quickly. She took out the paper and pen she had prepared earlier and placed the earpiece on her shoulder. “Can you tell me the address of the clinic again? I forgot.”
The nurse on the other hand of the phone had a good attitude. “No problem. The clinic is on the third basement floor of the Smile Building at 404 7th Street. Go down the stairs of the Smile Theater and turn right into the third residential room. Please arrive as soon as possible in the next 15 minutes.”
“No problem.” Lu Baizhou quickly wrote down the address and hung up. She jumped into the car and handed the address to You Yu. “I have to be here in 15 minutes.”
“Seven minutes is enough. Fasten your seatbelts.” You Yu promised calmly while the car had already flown toward the destination.
Chi Nan looked at the time. It was only 2:20 now. They had already found a body and obtained important clues and items, so the timing shouldn’t be a problem.
“Drive safely.” Chi Nan reminded the person who liked racing.
You Yu smiled. “Brother, rest assured, there are no problems with my technique.”
No one wanted to waste a single minute or second. On the way, Chi Nan turned to page 201 of the poetry collection. The title of the poem was ‘The Girlfriend’s Wedding and Funeral.’
[She couldn’t stand the ring on her girlfriend’s ring finger that wasn’t hers. The French windows of the bridal store, the endless flow of vehicles, the pedestrians coming and going, the car accident that turned her girlfriend’s wedding into a funeral.]
Jiang Yu gasped after reading the verse. The morbid text made her physically uncomfortable, but it didn’t prevent her from obtaining key information from the verse. “Let’s quickly find the bridal store on the map.”
Chi Nan’s eyesight was beyond ordinary people. He immediately spread out the map and checked the names of the streets and stores in dense font one by one.
“I found it.” Chi Nan pointed out. Everyone looked and saw a bridal store called Angel Goodnight on 1st Street on the map. “I have seen all the streets and there is only one bridal store in Smile Town.”
Jiang Yu nodded gratefully. “We will go to 1st Street immediately after sending Baizhou to the illegal clinic.”
You Yu overtook the cars the entire way and finally arrived at the Smile Building at 2:27, no more and no less.
“I’m on time,” You Yu deliberately said with some grievances when he saw Chi Nan looking at the time.
Chi Nan said, “You worked hard.”
You Yu sighed. This type of painless and polite praise was already difficult to satisfy him.
“I’ll wait for you in the car and won’t go to the clinic,” You Yu said with eyes that seemed to be asking for Chi Nan’s consent.
Chi Nan nodded. He quickly got out of the car with everyone and rushed to the building.
They entered the building and everyone was immediately overwhelmed by the noise of people.
The Smile Building was crowded and noisy. The first floor was rented to various businesses at very low rents. The Smile Theater in the corner flashed with shabby neon signs. It wasn’t a serious theater at first glance.
As if attracted by the neon lights, everyone trotted to the theater and headed down the corner stairs.
The air underground was stuffy and humid. There was no light along the way and the strange scenery made it seem like two opposing worlds. The verse of the revelation described it as ‘illegal clinic’ and this was suitable for it.
Chi Nan was good at moving forward in the darkness and he walked at the front of the group. Pei Mo stopped after taking two steps, feeling suffocated by the unknown darkness below the stairs. “Can I wait for you at the top of the stairs?”
Lu Baizhou followed Chi Nan closely. “You can do whatever you want.”
The corridor was too dark so everyone had taken off their sunglasses. Chi Nan’s green eyes were particularly eye-catching in the absolute darkness.
From time to time, he turned around to confirm the safety of the two ladies behind him. The moment Lu Baizhou and Jiang Yu made eye contact with Chi Nan, their hearts jumped in unison.
This throbbing sensation wasn’t the heartbeat of a worldly desire, but a shock full of divinity and the confusion that followed.
It was as if they were small human beings standing in front of a solemn and huge statue. They unknowingly stopped and slowed down their breathing. They were overwhelmed by the overwhelming sense of sacredness that took over their sense of reason and action.
“What’s wrong?” Chi Nan usually couldn’t read human emotions, but he was keenly aware of the subtle changes in the magnetic field of the two people.
Lu Baizhou and Jiang Yu were immediately liberated from the irresistible bondage and shook their heads after a moment of confusion. “Nothing… Just…”
They didn’t know what had just happened or why they had this strange emotional reaction.
The thing that made them even more surprised was that this long corridor that seemed to be full of danger didn’t have any monsters ambushing them. They went down to the third underground floor smoothly, passing through the damp and moldy corridor filled with a miserable white light.
The three of them immediately put on their sunglasses. Lu Baizhou was the first to go over and press the doorbell. The nurse who answered the door was the one who had answered the phone. “Miss Lu, please come with me. Dr He is ready.”
She said this and looked over Lu Baizhou’s shoulder toward the other two people with her. “Are you a relative of Miss Lu?”
Jiang Yu responded quickly. “Yes.”
The nurse was cold and ruthless to them. “I’m sorry, the rules of the clinic don’t allow family members to wait. You should go back first.”
Jiang Yu wanted to refute it, but Lu Baizhou stopped her. “It doesn’t matter. I can solve the plot of my character by myself. Thank you for sending me here.”
“Okay.” The person involved said so and Jiang Yu wasn’t good at saying anything else.
Lu Baizhou asked the nurse, “How long will my operation take?”
The nurse replied, “The operation takes around two and a half hours. Add the time to wake up from the anesthesia and it is around three hours before you can leave.”
Lu Baizhou immediately glanced at her watch. It was now 2:34. Three hours was tight but it was barely enough time. Therefore, she didn’t say any nonsense. “Let’s start.”
“Lu Baizhou, we’ll come pick you up at 5:30,” Jiang Yu promised.
Lu Baizhou waved at her. “No problem.” She walked with the nurse to the stained surgical curtain and the back of her clothes were already soaked with sweat.
Chi Nan and Jiang Yu returned along the same path. Pei Mo was relieved to see them come out. “You are okay…”
Jiang Yu gave him a blank look and didn’t want to care about him. Pei Mo had to smile to cope with the embarrassment.
You Yu was waiting in the car. After seeing the group of people coming out of the Smile Building, he opened the car door for Chi Nan. “I knew you would be absolutely fine.”
Chi Nan was a bit confused. You Yu said there was some danger in this building, but along the way, they didn’t encounter any obstacles except for the fact that the stairs were too dark and difficult to walk down.
“By the way,” Chi Nan sat in the front passenger seat very naturally and asked in a very natural tone, “I heard that you like me. Is it true?”
The hand that was starting the car suddenly froze and a subtle silence quickly spread in the car.
In the back row, Jiang Yu quickly covered her ears.
Pei Mo’s eyes widened in disbelief and he let out a low ‘ah’ sound. Then, once he received You Yu’s look in the rearview mirror, he busily covered his ears like Jiang Yu.
Covering his ears wasn’t enough and he even closed his eyes tightly.
Those who didn’t know anything weren’t guilty.