Xiao Lou hadn’t noticed any problems in the kitchen until Yu Hanjiang whispered in his ear and explained, “Look, the chimney on the kitchen roof shows no sign of smoke.”
Xiao Lou looked up and found that the chimney on the roof was very clean. Most people lit a fire in their kitchen every day and the chimney should definitely be black. However, the chimney of Grandma Qin’s house was just like it was newly built. There were no signs of blackening. Grandma Qin obviously never cooked in the kitchen so there must be some secret in the kitchen.
Xiao Lou perceived that Yu Hanjiang went forward and immediately followed.
The two people entered the kitchen wearing the invisibility cloak. The stove was clean and the cutting board and knives were new. The corner of the kitchen had bundles of firewood neatly arranged, but the underside of the stove contained no soot. It looked like it hadn’t been used for a long time.
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes quickly swept over the kitchen. Apart from the piles of wood, the other places were empty and there was nothing suspicious. Instead, there was a jar around 50cm high placed on a corner of the stove top with red paper on the jar. The words ‘rice wine’ were written on it using a black brush. It looked like old rice wine stored in the kitchen by the old lady.
This was the most common rice wine but Xiao Lou suddenly felt that something was wrong. He sniffed it and whispered, “Group Leader Yu, the smell is a bit strange. It isn’t like wine.”
Yu Hanjiang quickly walked past and unsealed the jar.
A strong and strange smell came from it, causing their stomachs to surge. Yu Hanjiang hurriedly covered his mouth and nose and frowned as he looked into the jar. He saw several white human bones floating in the muddy water.
After all, Xiao Lou had seen many human specimens in the laboratory and he didn’t feel any discomfort when he saw this. He lowered his voice and spoke calmly, “This is the smell of formalin. Old Lady Qin is making human bone specimens in the jar.”
Formalin was commonly used in medical schools to store corpses, ensuring that they didn’t rot. Various pathological specimens in the laboratory were also soaked in formalin. No wonder why Xiao Lou felt this smell was a bit familiar.
Yu Hanjiang’s expression was ugly. “This old lady, not only is she raising a fierce Tibetan mastiff, she is also storing human bones in the kitchen. She must have a problem. We will search her house as soon as possible.”
The gems were found in the kitchen but the wine jar with human bones soaked for many years was a very important clue. The two left the kitchen and went into the east room. There were two bedrooms in Grandma Qin’s house, one of which was strangely arranged. It had white curtains, a white bed and white cloth hung from the roof… their eyes were almost all white.
Yu Hanjiang whispered, “This isn’t like a bedroom. It is more like a mourning hall.”
Xiao Lou nodded in agreement as his eyes quickly swept over the room. He didn’t find any mourning objects or remains and was a bit puzzled. “Grandma Qin lay out the room like this, shouldn’t she be honouring a relative? Is it her husband?”
At her age, a mourning hall arrangement was probably to commemorate a dead husband but there were no search things in the room. In order to find other clues about the deceased, the two of them quickly searched and found an exquisite wooden box under the table. Xiao Lou opened it and saw a groove in it that looked like a gem, but the box was empty.
Just then, the voice of the strange man was heard from the hall. “We have taken the gem. The two of you should go elsewhere as soon as possible to search.”
The voice went away quickly. The other two challengers who entered Grandma Qin’s house had searched the mourning hall first and found the gem. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were one step slower but they weren’t without any gains.
The two of them continued to search the old lady’s master bedroom.
This was different from the ‘mourning hall’ style of the second bedroom. The master bedroom was arranged normally and the sheets and quilts were the blue that elderly people preferred. They found a comb and mirror on the table.
Wait a minute… a mirror? Why did a blind person need a mirror? Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang’s expressions changed at the same time.
Just then, they saw an old face suddenly appear in the mirror. It was Grandma Qin!
The old lady had come back like a ghost. Her footsteps were extremely light and Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang had been completely unaware of her presence.
She held the fierce Tibetan mastiff as her eyes stared into the mirror like a vicious snake. Although Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were invisible, they suddenly saw the old face in the mirror and were taken aback. Fortunately, they were used to the various corpses of the Hearts room and their psychological endurance was first-class. They didn’t let out any sounds.
Grandma Qin spoke coldly into the air. “Someone came into my house to steal things.”
The Tibetan mastiff barked at the air.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang stood in a corner and remained silent. They saw the old lady holding a cane and walking slowly to the bed. She reached out to wipe the mirror with her sleeves and her voice was hoarse. “Don’t think that I am a blind old lady. My heart is very clear. I’ve known for a long time that people who bully the blind will receive retribution sooner or later, haha…”
Her laughter was like a villain in the depths of hell.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang held their breaths and didn’t dare to make any sound to alarm the old lady. Both of them stayed still in tacit agreement, wanting to see the old lady’s next move. They saw her pull out a purse from her pocket with trembling hands. She smelt it like she was remembering something before calling out, “Little Black.”
The Tibetan mastiff heard its master’s call and immediately came to her. The old lady leaned down to touch its forehead and sneered. “This village is isolated from the world. They can’t go far.” She placed the purse to the Tibetan mastiff’s nose and let it smell the purse. “The thing they stole has this special scent on it. Follow the smell and get it back.”
The Tibetan mastiff smelt it and then waved its tail before a dark shadow rushed out quickly. Xiao Lou perceived things weren’t good and opened the Peach Blossom Spring skill, taking Yu Hanjiang into the spring.
The two men took off their cloaks and could clearly see each other. Xiao Lou found that Yu Hanjiang’s face was ugly and his face must be the same. This secret room had actually left a bit pit for challengers clearing the instance. The gem must be found but there was a special scent on the gems.
The dog’s nose was very good and the village had many dog owners. Once Grandma Qin called for the entire village to search, they couldn’t escape being found even if they hid on the small spring mountain.
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “I didn’t expect for the gems to have a special smell on them.”
Xiao Lou’s face was serious. “A of Spades has set too much of a pit. Liuxi Village has a total of seven gems. In order to clear the instance, everyone will be eagerly searching for them. Obtaining the gem is equivalent to putting a special scent on the body, allowing the villagers to easily hunt them.” He thought of the danger in the village and hurriedly said, “Little Ye, Chief Shao, how is your situation over there?”
Ye Qi’s voice entered his ears. “Rest assured, we have placed the three bugs in the village chief’s home, Niuniu’s home and Grandma Sun’s home according to the map Group Leader Yu drew.”
There was the Teleport card and it was really convenient for Ye Qi and Shao Qingge to move. The bug could be placed in a 100 metre range and they only needed to hide behind a tree to place the bug in the villagers’ homes.
The next moment, Ye Qi suddenly swore. “F*k! There are many dogs running around the village and they are smelling with their noses like they are looking for something!”
Xiao Lou’s expression changed. “Come back soon, it is dangerous in the village!”
Ye Qi and Shao Qingge also didn’t want to stay. They were wearing the invisibility cloak and had the Teleport card. they soon returned to the temple on the mountain.
Xiao Lou pulled them into the Peach Blossom Spring. The peach blossom spring was a separate space. Even if they chatted loudly inside, the people outside couldn’t hear.
Xiao Lou explained the clues found in Grandma Qin’s home and Ye Qi’s face was slightly white. “This old woman is too abnormal. She is actually soaking bones in the jar! Is she the culprit of the village massacre?”
Xiao Lou replied, “It isn’t certain yet but her home has a mourning hall set up and a jar of dead bones in her kitchen. For now, she is indeed truly suspicious.”
Yu Hanjiang added, “There is a problem. None of the old lady’s relatives are present. She is living alone and there are no traces of a fire in her kitchen. Obviously, she doesn’t cook on her own. Then how can she take care of this?”
Ye Qi thought carefully. “Yes, when Chief Shao and I were searching the village, I found that Mrs Qin stopped by the village chief’s house while walking the dog. She stayed at the village chief’s house for 10 minutes and tied the Tibetan mastiff at the door. Perhaps she went to eat?”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Did you see the village chief?”
Ye Qi shook his head. “I didn’t see him but based on his voice, he should be a young man.”
Yesterday, Grandma Qin had sent a person to inform the village chief. Yu Hanjiang had made a note of the direction the person took and in the evening, he explored that position and found that the house had two large willow trees by the door, making it very obvious. Grandma Qin, who lived alone, seemed to have a good relationship with the village chief. It was possible for her to go to his house for a meal.
Xiao Lou followed up by asking, “Is there anything unusual about the village doctor, Grandma Sun’s house?”
Ye Qi answered, “I just put a bug when Grandma Sun was cooking in the kitchen. There was nothing unusual.”
He turned on the bug and there happened to be a conversation coming from it.
A young woman was speaking in a worried voice, “Grandma Sun, my Niuniu was in the rain a few days ago. She had been having a low fever. Then today it became a high fever and she is speaking nonsense. Do you think she has a serious illness?”
An old voice said, “Put Niuniu on the bed and let me check.”
There was a burst of sound before the old woman’s voice said, “Niuniu, the wind and heat hit her lungs, causing her to be out of harmony. This will cause a fever, chills and a sore throat. I will prescribe medicine for you. Go back and boil the medicine for Niuniu and have her drink it with her three meals a day. At night, give her an extra bed quilt and don’t let the cold wind blow on her to aggravate the illness.
The woman was grateful. “Thank you, Grandmother.”
Grandma Sun asked with concern, “Your second brother’s wife, will she give birth soon?”
The woman laughed. “Yes, listening to my second brother, her birth date will be in the next few days.”
Grandma Sun nodded. “Yes, then I need to prepare in advance.”
“Then I have to trouble you to deliver my sister-in-law’s child. It is really hard on you to be the only doctor in our village.”
Grandma Sun smiled. “It doesn’t matter. I’m old and my hands and feet aren’t good. My little apprentice is about to finish her apprenticeship. In the future, if the village is sick then you can go look for her.”
The moment she said this, a young girl’s voice was heard clearly. “Grandma, Sister-in-law Yun’s medicine is done.” She walked very lightly as she passed the medicine to the woman and smiled. “Thank you Xiao Qing. Then I won’t disturb you.”
The girl said, “Sister-in law Yun, take care.”
The woman left with the child and there was a sudden sound in the room, followed by the sound of broken jars. Grandma Sun spoke helplessly, “Little Qing, your actions are too careless. This is the fifth medicine jar you have knocked over.”
Little Qing smiled with embarrassment. “Sorry, Grandma. “I can’t see and there are so many bottles and jars of medicine. I can’t always remember the location…”
“You have to remember it quickly. Once I die, the village will rely on you later. There are more than a hundred households here. If they get a headache or fever and there isn’t a doctor then won’t they die?”
The girl spoke earnestly. “I know, I’ll learn well.”
Grandma Sun started to teach the young girl to judge various pulses and identify the smell of some medicine. The girl studied carefully. Xiao Lou listened for a while and didn’t hear anything wrong. He looked at Yu Hanjiang and said, “This grandmother sounds very loving, unlike a murderer who could slaughter dozens of people and bury their bodies in the backyard of the ruined temple. The girl called Little Qing should be 17 or 18 years old based on her voice. She wasn’t born when the village was slaughtered.”
Yu Hanjiang ordered, “Listen to the village chief’s side.”
The eavesdropping channel was switched to the village chief’s house. Grandma Sun came to the door with a cane and the young village chief whispered, “Aunt Qin, are you saying your family’s things have always been stolen?”
Yu Hanjiang keenly noticed the word ‘also’ and pricked his ears.
Sure enough, Grandma Qin said, “Little Liu, someone sneaked into your house last night and you were completely unaware?”
The village chief said, “I slept like the door and woke up in the morning to find the contents of the boss missing. My family’s Du Hui also didn’t call out. I don’t know if he was knocked unconscious by something. Even when someone came in the morning, they had to call out several times to let me know they were there.
Grandma Qin’ voice was hoarse. “These things are very important and must be recovered as soon as possible.”
The village chief spoke in a puzzled manner. “You have always told us to protect these seven stones, saying it is a rule passed down from generation to generation. Aunt Qin, can you tell me what these stones are? What effect do they have?”
Grandma Qin spoke a few times before saying slowly, “You should’ve heard that our village was cursed a long time ago. The mountain temple was destroyed and our ancestors became blind. These gems were given by an expert and once placed in seven positions in the village, they can create a formation that can crack the curse, allowing us to restore light after seven generations…”
Xiao Lou’s group of four glanced at each other.
Did Grandma Qin really believe this type of curse or was she deliberately lying to the village chief? If it was the former, she might be a foolish old lad. If it was the later… her suspicion was too great.
Just then, Grandma Qin’s voice suddenly shouted, “Who is outside? Sneaking around, come out!”
There was the sound of jingling bells and footsteps hurrying to escape.
Xiao Lou stated, “Some challengers must’ve discovered something wrong and went to the village chief’s house to eavesdrop. The challengers who can reach 4 of Spades have some skill. We have Ye Qi’s eavesdropping card and they will definitely have different eavesdropping methods.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded, looking serious. “Based on the information currently known, the seven gems are placed in the village in accordance with a formation. The old later said that in order to break the curse of blindness, the gems were scattered to protect the villagers. This will undoubtedly give us an important clue for finding the gems.”
He found the map of Liuxi Village that he had drawn yesterday and quickly marked a few points. “The first gem, if right, was in the backyard of the temple. It was taken away by the girl who first found the human bone pit yesterday.”
He pointed to the village chief’s home. “The second gem was taken last night. There was a bold and clever challenger who lurked in the village chief’s home and used a special means to control the big yellow dog in front of the chief’s house, stealing the gem.”
Yu Hanjiang continued “The third one is from the old lady’s house. We were wearing invisibility cloaks and two challengers were also wearing invisibility cloaks. They found the gem one step ahead of us.”
The four of them looked at the map together.
The three locations marked with the ruined temple on the west mountain, the village chief’s home and Grandma Qin’s home. These three points seemed to form a triangle. Xiao Lou felt that something was wrong. He turned around and looked at it from a different angle, this time using the west mountain as the starting point. Then he reached out, trying to connect the three gems with lines.
He found that he had written the character for ‘person 人’ , with the west mountain at the apex of the ‘人’ character.
Xiao Lou’s eyes brightened. “Looking down at it from above, the division of the gems should be a simple structure map of the human body. The one on the west mountain is the human head while the village chief and Grandman Qin’s homes are the symmetrical hands. If we want to draw a human figure, there is still the neck, abdomen and two legs. All these vertices add up to exactly seven.”
Yu Hanjiang said, “The neck i.e. the point that extends upward from the two hands and downward from the head. The junction of these three lines—” he pointed precisely to a position on the map. “It is the pond.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “The lower abdomen is a house in the easternmost part of the village. The two feet are the farmland in the southeast direction?” After drawing these positions on the map, he took a closer look and it turned out to be a human figure illustration.
Ye Qi and Shao Qingge looked stunned. The two great Hearts gods actually solved the secret of the gems’ locations so quickly! Sure enough, it was necessary to eavesdrop on the conversations of NPCs to find key information in this Spades room. Otherwise, who knew where the gems would be in such a large village?
The location of the seven gems was actually a huge human body structure with the head as the west mountain, the feet as the farmland and the body as the entire Liuxi Village.
Shao Qingge spoke happily. “Then shall we find two gems casually to at least guarantee clearing the instance?”
Xiao Lou replied, “Simply clearing the instance only requires finding the gems. Now three gems have been taken by other challengers and there aren’t many left. We have to hurry to find two to clear the instance.”
Yu Hanjiang suggested, “The villagers have started a large-scale search. The smell of the gems will lead the villagers to the west mountain. It is no longer safe here. We might as well go in the opposite direction and search the farmland to the east.”
Xiao Lou smiled. “I think so as well.”
Yu Hanjiang simply put away the map. “Go.”
Shao Qingge smiled as he followed behind the two people, thinking, ‘The feeling of lying down to win is really good!’