People came and went during the day. The five of them suddenly appearing at the community could easily attract the attention of the residents. In the middle of the night when all households were asleep, they could use various movement cards to explore the community. This made it easier to move.
Old Mo and his ‘grandson’ Ye Qi took a taxi to the food street. Long Sen and Qu Wanyue also came at 6:30 p.m. The two sides met at the food street and pretended not to know each other, each side sitting down to eat.
Soon, Yu Hanjiang also came. He pretended not to know anyone and ordered a bowl of noodles to fill his stomach. Then he typed something out and sent it to the group. “I will act alone first and go to the community to find out information. The four of you walk around and wait for my instructions.”
He was wearing casual clothes like a sweater and coat, just like ordinary people on the street. No one would link him to the police.
Once Yu Hanjiang finished eating, he went to a nearby agency to see if there was a vacant place to rent. He said, “I have anxiety and often suffer from insomnia at night. I need absolute quiet around me to sleep. What is the quietest community around here?”
“Antai Garden.” The agent was a very enthusiastic young man who spoke with a smile. “The occupancy rate of this community is less than 50%. The houses are very old and the rent is cheap. Most people staying there are doing business nearby. Many of the breakfast store owners have to get up at four in the morning to prepare breakfast so most of the residents are asleep before 10 p.m. It is very quiet.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Are there any places for rent in this community? Can I go and see?”
“How big a house do you need? Are you living alone or sharing with someone?”
“A single house with one bedroom and one living room or sharing rent with others is fine. Can I go and check the environment first?”
The agent nodded, took a bunch of keys and headed for the Antai Garden district with Yu Hanjiang.
At the gate of the community, the security guard was dozing off in the security room. There were no surveillance cameras around this old community. There were a total of 16 buildings in the community with seven floors. Many of the balconies were empty and should be unoccupied. As the agent said, the occupancy rate was indeed less than 50%.
Yu Hanjiang followed him into the yard. It was past dinner time and several old people were walking around with their dogs. However, compared to most residential areas, this community was too deserted.
The agent took Yu Hanjiang to see a few houses and Yu Hanjiang figured out the floor structure of the community.
Each building had two units and four apartments on each floor. On the east side was a large apartment that was 160 square meters with four bedrooms and two living rooms. In the middle was a place that was 90 square meters with two bedrooms and one living room. It was the most affordable small apartment. In the west was a 130 square meters place with three bedrooms and two living rooms, which was suitable for medium-sized families.
The buildings were dilapidated and old. The corridors were full of children’s doodles and many residents’ doors had advertising signs on them such as ‘clearing the pipes’, ‘unlocking’ and ‘full-time infertility’. None of the buildings were monitored.
Yu Hanjiang followed the agent to look at a few apartments. The facilities outside might be outdated but the decorations inside were decent. The agent asked, “Handsome guy, which one do you think is better?”
Yu Hanjiang asked indifferently, “The rent is too expensive. Is there a cheaper basement room?”
The agent was dumbfounded. “B-Basement?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “My finances are a bit tight recently.”
The agent looked at him sympathetically. “There is a basement and the rent is indeed the cheapest. Uh… if you really want to rent a basement room then I’ll show it to you?”
The agent once again looked at Yu Hanjiang. He really couldn’t connect this handsome and cold man to a poor person living in the basement. He thought this in his heart while taking Yu Hanjiang downstairs. He went to the door of the basement and opened the heavy iron door.
“The rent in the basement might be cheap but the places are small in size. There is only the bedroom. There is no toilet, kitchen or a place to wash up. Um, buddy, if you are really in trouble then you can stay for a few months as a transition.” The agent spoke enthusiastically.
“Okay, let’s take a look.”
There was a narrow corridor in front of him. On both sides of the corridor, many doors could vaguely be seen. Each door was closed tightly and numbers such as 101 and 102 were written on the door. There were no lights above their heads and it was pitch black. The agent fumbled and pressed a button to turn on the light. However, there was only one light bulb in the entire corridor and the light was very dim.
Yu Hanjiang scanned the surroundings sharply and asked, “Has anyone rented the basement?”
“Of course. Alas, some people having difficulties have a limited monthly income and can only afford to rent the basement.” After a pause, he coughed. “I didn’t mean you. You look very educated. This should just be a momentary downfall and you should be fine soon.”
“Yes.” Yu Hanjiang responded casually. Then he wondered, “Did you rent any of the basement rooms as warehouses?”
“Yes!” The agent pointed to the opposite side. “The basement of Unit 1 of Building 13 opposite us has all been rented. Some of them are doing business at the farmer’s market. They sell beef and lamb and rent the basement as a warehouse. In winter, there is no heating in the basement and the temperature is often several degrees below zero. This is similar to the refrigerator. The beef and lamb can’t go bad even if placed here and it also saves electricity!”
“……” Sure enough.
After inspecting the community, Yu Hanjiang discovered that the most hidden place was the basement.
If the illegal clinic rented a place for surgery, it would be suspicious when going up and down the stairs and meeting the neighbors. In addition, the basement had a locked door. They just needed to open the door and go down one floor. Then it was a closed corridor with a total of 14 rooms. As long as they closed the door, they didn’t need to be afraid of being discovered by anyone.
The basement had a low temperature and was suitable as a warehouse. If they rented all 14 rooms in the basement of one unit as a ‘warehouse’ then it wouldn’t arouse the suspicion of the agency and landlord. Doing beef and lamb business could explain the strange smell of the corpses.
Yu Hanjiang put away the sharpness in his eyes and spoke calmly, “Thank you. The basement environment is bad. I should rent the apartment with four bedrooms and two living rooms on the fourth floor. How much is the deposit? I’ll share it with my friends.”
“Yes, it is more comfortable to live in a big house.” A deal was negotiated so the agent happily took Yu Hanjiang to sign the contract.
It was getting dark. Yu Hanjiang finished exploring and told his teammates to enter Antai Garden. Just now, the agent told him that all the basements were rented in Unit 1 of Building 13. Yu Hanjiang took his teammates to the basement of Building 13 according to his memory. His Mastery Key card still had a number of uses so he could use it to open the door to the basement.
Yu Hanjiang opened the door and the team members entered the basement together. Although Yu Hanjiang inferred that the people of the mysterious organization had evacuated, everyone still maintained a high degree of vigilance. What if the group was slow and didn’t retreat? Maybe they would be greeted with a black muzzle when entering the basement!
Yu Hanjiang took the lead with the Night Pearl. Ye Qi, Old Mo and Qu Wanyue walked in the middle and Long Sen was in the rear. Then the moment the five of them entered the dark basement, the door behind them suddenly slammed shut. A prompt appeared in front of everyone at the same time.
[Welcome to the underground labyrinth of Antai Garden.]
[The labyrinth is limited to 30 minutes. If you can’t find the right exit, each of you will lose one kidney—A of Diamonds.]
Could they swear?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten