Chapter 476 – Clue
Xiao Lou heard the results found by Old Mo and Liu Qiao and his heart was very confused.
A family mysteriously went missing?
They had sneaked into the house last night and saw over a dozen maids and servants working diligently. In addition, the young lady had just given birth and definitely couldn’t get out of bed to move around. The cries of the child would also disturb the neighbors nearby. How could they all disappear without a trace overnight?
Even if they were all taken away after being knocked unconscious, there would still be some unavoidable noise created.
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Old Mo, Xiao Liu, go to the inn first and join us. This town is a bit weird. Don’t act on your own so as to not alert the enemy.”
Liu Qiao replied, “Yes, Group Leader Yu. We will go over.”
A moment later, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou brought the Long Qu couple to the inn in the middle of the town.
This inn was called ‘Fulai Inn’ and it was located by the lake.
There weren’t many guests in the early morning. The innkeeper had just finished cleaning the rooms. He saw Yu Hanjiang’s group and greeted them with a smile on his face. “These guests, do you want to eat or do you want accommodation?”
Xiao Lou said gently, “Please give us two rooms.”
“Okay!” The innkeeper politely invited them upstairs while introducing the place. “The Heaven and Earth rooms on the second floor are empty. The four of you can stay at ease. If you have anything you want then please feel free to call me.”
“Thank you.” Xiao Lou sent the innkeeper away and the four people settled down in their rooms first. There weren’t many people in the inn in the morning and it wasn’t convenient for them to directly inquire about the destruction of the Zhao family. Xiao Lou planned to wait until lunch time for them to go out.
Moments later, Old Mo and Liu Qiao also checked into the inn. Liu Qiao walked into her room, closed the door and pressed on the voice headset. “I am with Uncle Mo in the ‘Yin’ room. Professor Xiao, where are you?”
Xiao Lou answered, “We are in the Heaven and Earth rooms. Let’s pretend not to know each other and communicate with the voice headsets.”
Old Mo pressed down on his earpiece. “I just observed the inn. The lobby on the first floor is a place to eat. There are 16 rooms on the second floor and their names are Heaven, Earth, Xuan, Huang and the 12 earthly branches such as Zi, Chou, Yin and Mao. The whole inn is a zigzag structure. The south rooms are facing the lake and have the best view while the other three directions are facing the street.”
He paused before adding, “If something happens in the inn, the closest room to the street is the Yin room where Liu Qiao and I live. We can directly jump out the window to escape and land exactly at the corner of the street.”
Old Mo had developed a habit of drawing a map first every time he went to a new place. He was really afraid of walking through a door and encountering a labyrinth.
Xiao Lou was relieved. “Okay, I wrote it down.”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Just now, did you go inside to investigate that house?”
Liu Qiao replied, “At that time, Uncle Mo guarded the outside while I used the light footwork card to sneak in without anyone noticing. The yard was deserted. There was no one there and the ground was covered with rotting branches and leaves. Strangely, there was no sign of a fight in the house. The bedding, tables and chairs were all very neat. I found a letter in a man’s room and took it out with me.”
Xiao Lou hurriedly asked, “What is the content of the letter?”
“He wrote a letter to his father-in-law and mother-in law, saying that his wife had just given birth to a son and was weak. He planned to take his wife and child to Qingzhou City to meet his father-in-law and mother-in-law in half a year. The letter was signed by Chen Yu. The head of the family should be called Chen Yu.
“Chen Yu?” Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Are there any other clues?”
“I didn’t find any clues other than this letter.” Liu Qiao paused. Then she suddenly remembered something and added, “By the way, I also saw a child’s toy in the bedroom. It should’ve been brought for the newborn child.”
“What toy?” Yu Hanjiang asked.
“A red rattle-drum.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
A rattle-drum? He remembered the rattle-drum he had found at the Zhao house just now and couldn’t help looking at Yu Hanjiang doubtfully. “Could it be a coincidence? We also found a rattle-drum in a bedroom at the Zhao house.”
Yu Hanjiang said, “There weren’t many toys in ancient times and it isn’t unusual for elders to buy a rattle-drum to play with children. This toy is so common that it might be a coincidence.”
Xiao Lou nodded in agreement. “Yes, the toy rattle-drum alone can’t explain the problem. Still, there are many similarities between the two families. First of all, there are no traces of a fight at the scene of the crime, nor any traces of blood. The Zhao family was tragically killed and the Chen family disappeared overnight silently. It is as if they had been killed by…”
Yu Hanjiang continued his words. “It is like being killed by a ghost?”
Long Sen felt numb when he heard it and he couldn’t help saying, “If it was really done by a demon or ghost, it will be difficult to explain with common sense, right? Demons or ghosts don’t leave any trace when killing people. It makes sense to directly eat the entire family…”
Xiao Lou didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Group Leader Yu is just joking. Ghosts committing crimes and eating entire families? A of Hearts won’t be so bored as to set up an illogical case for us to investigate. In addition, if a ghost really commits the crime, how can we explain the mass burial site outside the town?”
Long Sen was stunned before patting his forehead. “Yes! Will ghosts be kind enough to bury people in a mass grave after killing them? This must be man-made. Moreover, by dumping the bodies in a mass grave, it can be see that this murderer has a great hatred for the Zhao family and Chen family.”
At this time, Ye Qi was buying clothes. The moment he heard Xiao Lou’s discussion, he was anxious but he couldn’t interject a word. The shop owner saw that the face of the ‘girl’ in front of her was red and she couldn’t help saying, “Don’t worry. If there are no ready-to-wear clothes in the store, we can also tailor make them.”
Shao Qingge walked to Ye Qi with a smile and asked, “What’s the matter? Do you like anything?”
Ye Qi casually picked up men’s blue clothing and said, “Just this one.”
The female store owner looked surprised. “Girl, these clothes are for men. Why don’t you pick from those over there instead?”
Shao Qingge leaned toward the boss’ ear and explained in a low voice, “The two of us eloped.”
Ye Qi, “……” Chief Shao really didn’t change his expression when telling lies.
He heard Shao Qingge continue to speak. “She is wearing male clothing so she won’t be easily found by her family. Boss, if someone comes to ask if you have seen a woman in red, please help us keep the secret.”
Once he finished, he took out a piece of silver from his money pouch and stuffed it into the owner’s hand.
The female boss raised an eyebrow before smiling. “Don’t worry, I haven’t seen you today.”
Shao Qingge followed up by wondering, “By the way, do you know where Chen Yu lives? I am his childhood friend and I wanted to spend the night at his house. However, I never received a response to the letter I wrote to him.”
The female boss looked around. There was no one on the nearby streets. She nervously turned to close the door and walked to Shao Qingge’s side. She lowered her voice and said mysteriously, “The Chen family, they all disappeared overnight three years ago! The old people in the town said the Chen family must’ve offended some evil spirit and been eaten by demons.”
Shao Qingge’s expression changed. “Demons?”
The boss nodded solemnly. “Yes. Since then, our town has established a rule that once midnight passes, you must not go out. Those who go out won’t return.”
She looked at Ye Qi who had already finished changing into men’s clothes and kindly said, “Young Master, the two of you have just arrived. You must be careful at night. Once the time passes, it is likely there will be fierce ghosts wanting your life.”
Ye Qi pretended to be afraid and hid behind Shao Qingge. Shao Qingge naturally wrapped an arm around his shoulder and calmly comforted him. “Don’t be afraid. We are just passersby. We have no grievances with evil spirits here. They won’t claim our lives.”
Ye Qi nodded. He looked at the boss and asked curiously, “Are there many people eaten by fierce ghosts in the town? Chen Yu is our friend, how could such a thing happen to him?”
The female boss sighed. “I don’t know. He usually looks very kind. On the night of the accident, his wife had just given birth to a child. It is said that when the child was born, a red light in the sky flashed. It was much like a disaster star descending… perhaps it was this disaster star that hooked the evil spirits.”
“……” Shao Qingge and Ye Qi looked at each other.
Disaster star and evil spirits. This statement wasn’t reliable when hearing it.
However, Shao Qingge’s method of spending money to inquire about information was very reliable. After the female boss received the money, she spoke eloquently and told them many strange legends. The two of them at least determined the exact time of the crime.
It was three years ago on July 14, the day before the Ghost Festival.
Chen Yu’s wife gave birth to a child on this day and something descended from the sky, like a disaster star descending to the world. The next morning, the whole Chen family disappeared and remained missing until today.
Shao Qingge asked, “Three years ago, was it only Chen Yu’s family that had an accident?”
The female boss answered mysteriously, “There is also the Zhao family. On that day, the second lady of the Zhao family, Zhao Zean, got married. This was originally a great and happy event but the next day, her fiance came and said that the bride didn’t arrive. Moreover, all the people of the Zhao family were gone.”
Ye Qi’s eyes widened with disbelief. “An entire family was gone?”
The female boss had a worried expression on her face. “Yes, the matchmaker, the bridesmaids and those carrying the dowry out of town also disappeared. It was really strange.”
Ye Qi showed a frightened expression upon hearing this. “Is there really a powerful ghost seeking lives?”
The female boss said, “After that, we didn’t dare go out at night. Over the years, many people have disappeared in the town and they all disappeared after going out at night. Every night, we will go to sleep as soon as it becomes dark. I advise you not to go to Chen Yu’s house. His family’s house hasn’t been inhabited for three years and it is very evil! Why don’t you find an inn to stay in?”
Shao Qingge took out a piece of silver from his money pouch and handed it to her. He said with a smile, “Thank you. We will go find an inn to settle down. The two of us are new here. Please take care of us in the future.”
The female boss quickly put the silver into her pocket and narrowed her eyes with a smile. “That is easy. If you need help, please ask me. I’ve lived here for more than 30 years and I’m very familiar with the neighborhood!”
The two of them said goodbye to the female boss and went out side by side.
Ye Qi had changed out of the cumbersome red dress and he took off the jewels and jewelry in his hair. He wore a clean and tidy blue robe with black boots. His long hair was simply tied behind his head in a ponytail and it gave him a youthful feeling.
Shao Qingge felt that such a Xiao Ye was more pleasing to the eye and full of vitality.
It was just that Ye Qi’s eyes were full of doubts at this time. He asked softly in Shao Qingge’s ear, “Do you believe it is an evil ghost?”
Shao Qingge shrugged. “I am an atheist but nothing is impossible in the world of the secret rooms. Didn’t we meet zombies last night? Professor Xiao also witnessed a ghost bride getting married.”
Ye Qi shivered and got goosebumps. “Let’s join them as soon as possible.”
The two of them came to the inn and stayed in the ‘Xuan’ room on the second floor.
Then Shao Qingge pressed on the bulge of the earpiece and told his teammates the result of his inquiry just now. “The incident happened three years ago on July 14th of the lunar calendar, the day before the Ghost Festival. Many people in the town believe that the Chen family and Zhao family did something bad and a powerful ghost claimed their lives.”
Xiao Lou frowned. “The Ghost Festival is said to be the day when the passage between the human world and ghost world opens. Just one day before the Ghost Festival, an accident occurred and the two families disappeared so bizarrely. It is no wonder that the residents of the town think it is a ghost.”
On the surface, it really looked like the two families had done something wrong and suffered from the revenge of a powerful ghost.
Yu Hanjiang said, “It seems that this ‘powerful ghost’ is the murderer.”
Ye Qi asked curiously, “A lot of people disappeared overnight. How did the murderer do it?”
Xiao Lou thought about it carefully before saying, “The Zhao family’s house is full of memorial tablets but someone still offers incense. This proves that not everyone in the Zhao family is dead. Group Leader Yu and I speculated that the wife and child of the eldest son, Zhao Zeping, escaped this disaster. We have to find this survivor. Maybe she knows something?”
Yu Hanjiang, “However, what if she secretly comes to offer incense every night?”
Xiao Lou was stunned. “This… at night, the ghost town will become another world. How can we even meet her?”
“Yes, that is the first problem.” Yu Hanjiang lowered his voice. “We are challengers, not locals. Once night comes, we will be forcibly teleported to the ghost town labyrinth if we are in town. We have already tested this last night. Many streets of the ghost town are empty and those who remain should be ghosts who have been wrongfully killed.”
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci had been staying outside. Once they heard this, Lu Jiuchuan interjected. “You mean that the town at night will be divided into two instances. The residents will still be in their town and we will be teleported to the ghost town?”
Yu Hanjiang said, “That’s right. During the day, we can freely come and go in the town to investigate the clues. Night is the real battle royale. If my guess is correct, the ghosts in the ghost town are likely to attack us after they find us.”
Lu Jiuchuan wondered, “Then what about leaving the town before it gets dark?”
Xiao Lou helplessly held his temple. “If we leave the town, we won’t be able to find clues and can’t solve the mysterious disappearance of the two families. In that case we won’t be able to leave this secret room.”
It was a pitfall.
If they didn’t leave the town, they would be teleported to a labyrinth full of ghosts at night. If they left the town before dark, they wouldn’t be able to find complete clues. This was an endless dead end loop.
The two worlds were switched at day and night. Was this forcing them to go to the ghost town at night to be abused?
Yu Hanjiang’s voice was low. “What suggestions do you have?”
Xiao Lou said, “I want to go to the ghost town at night since the ghost bride might reappear. The ghost town might be a survival instance and is dangerous, but it also contains the clues for the instance, so I definitely have to go”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Okay, I’ll go with you.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality