Chapter 487 – New Clues
Yu Hanjiang’s words were just a temptation.
He estimated the time. The dark alley had trapped them for more than two and a half hours while the Peach Blossom Spring of Xiao Lou’s full level Tao Yuanming was only three hours. They were both field cards. The function was different but the duration should be similar.
Moreover, at that time, they deliberately showed weakness. He chatted with Xiao Lou and revealed that their cards had been used up and the situation wasn’t optimistic. This was the best time for the hunter to act.
Yu Hanjiang just hadn’t expected that this hunter’s ability to do underhanded tricks was quite good. She used various endless illusions to confuse them but her ability to manage expressions was very poor. Her actual combat ability was ordinary and the agility of her hands couldn’t be compared to a policeman like Yu Hanjiang.
He had interrogated so many criminal suspects and it was easy to tell from the subtle changes in expression if the other person was lying or not. Just now, it was just a psychological attack. He tentatively probed and the other party actually exposed it directly.
It was an unexpected surprise.
Xiao Lou looked at the lake in front of him in a stunned manner before saying, “The hunter is a young girl?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “She should’ve used a special group attack card at the end. All the girls with umbrellas looked exactly like her and scattered to attack according to her will. Her real weapon was the red oil paper umbrella.”
Long Sen scratched his head. “This girl looks to be 17 or 18 years old. If it wasn’t for Group Leader Yu’s exploratory words that allowed him to quickly find her real body, we might’ve really fallen in her hands.”
Old Mo sighed with a complicated expression. “She is around the same age as my daughter. How could she become a hunter?”
Liu Qiao said solemnly, “This girl had a lot of strange cards in her hands. Just now, Group Leader Yu cut off her hand. If she has a healing card, she can heal quickly. Maybe if we meet her again and experience another hallucinatory attack, we really won’t be able to hold on.”
“Fortunately, the cooldown time of a domain card is generally 24 hours. There is no need to worry about being trapped in the dark alley by her for the time being. Next, let’s be careful.” Xiao Lou looked ahead. “We will continue to investigate.”
At first, everyone thought that the route of the labyrinth had changed. Later, it was confirmed that the alley was actually a closed card space and they weren’t locked in a labyrinth. They were actually locked up in a separate field by the hunters.
Old Mo looked at the lake in front of him. He took a few steps according to the path in his memory and said with surprise. “The labyrinth hasn’t changed. It is still the hive labyrinth from last night. There are six paths around the lake that extend out of many curves. It is basically the same as the map I drew.”
Liu Qiao shrugged. “Okay, it seems that I wronged the Diamonds keeper. The little loli isn’t as abnormal as I thought. She won’t change the labyrinth every day to make things difficult for us.”
Xiao Lou smiled. “Old Mo’s head would explode if it changed every day, right?”
Old Mo answered, “Yes, just finding the way is a huge headache.”
Xiao Lou suggested, “Since it is still the labyrinth from last night, we will first go look for the Zhao family and Chen family.”
The group followed Old Mo’s map and soon found the Zhao house.
Last night, they saw the scene of the bride’s wedding procession. Now when they arrived at the door of the Zhao house, they found the gate open. The courtyard was lit with big red lanterns and looked very festive.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks and sneaked in.
The courtyard was brightly lit. A middle-aged couple dressed in red stood in the middle of the courtyard. Their eyes were always looking at the gate as if they were watching for someone who was far away.
After a moment, the woman wiped her tears with a handkerchief while choking out, “Our Zean, who has been pampered since childhood, is actually getting married and going to a far away place like Yuezhou. What should we do if she doesn’t get used to it…?”
The man patted her shoulder and comforted her. “Madam, you don’t need to worry. Men should marry and women should marry. In my opinion, Xiao Ming is quite a personable person and he has deep feelings for our Zean. He definitely won’t treat her badly.”
The woman nodded reluctantly. “I hope so.”
Just then, a young girl in a pink dress sneaked past behind the two people. The man heard her footsteps and said lightly, “Sui Sui, it is late at night. Where are you going?”
The girl stuck out her tongue and smiled. “Father, my sister is getting married. I can’t let her go so I want to go outside the city to see her off and say a few words to her.”
The man frowned. “It is so late and you are a girl. It isn’t safe for you to go out.”
Zhao Zesui walked over to her father. “I have something very important to hand over to my sister. I was in too much of a hurry just now and forgot about it. Dad, rest assured, I’ll be right back.” Then despite her father’s obstruction, she quickly ran out the door.
The man was stunned before saying helplessly, “This child was really spoiled by you!”
The woman smiled and said, “There are so many people sending off the bride. It is fine. She also said she would go and come back soon.”
The girl passed in front of Xiao Lou. Yu Hanjiang reached out like lightning to grab her but he ended up grabbing empty air.
Her body was like a ball of air. Yu Hanjiang’s hand passed directly through her shoulder. The girl and her parents turned a blind eye to Xiao Lou’s group. It was as if Xiao Lou didn’t exist at all.
Xiao Lou wondered, “Is it an illusion again?”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the girl’s back and said solemnly, “This should be a scene reproduction. Last night, we saw Zhao Zean getting married. Tonight is the plot that happened in the Zhao family after she got married. These are all scenes from three years ago on the night of July 14th, the day of the crime.”
Xiao Lou gave Long Sen and Qu Wanyue a look. “Keep up with her and pay attention to safety.”
The duo instantly used the Chameleon cards to merge with the ground. They quickly followed the fourth young lady Zhao Zesui who ran out the door.
Yu Hanjiang ordered softly, “Old Mo, Xiao Liu, put on the invisibility cloak and go to the Chen house to see. Maybe there is also a follow-up plot.”
Old Mo and Liu Qiao nodded and turned to go out.
The six people continued moving in three groups. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang followed the Zhao family into the courtyard.
At this time, the second young lady’s wedding procession had already left the Zhao house and the guests had dispersed.
The head of the Zhao family and his wife went back to the house to prepare to rest. At this moment, a regular sound was heard from the backyard. It sounded like a rattle-drum but it wasn’t as clear as the rattle-drum sound heard before.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang walked forward in the direction that the sound came from. They soon came to the most secluded courtyard. As confirmed during their daytime investigation, it was the place where the elders of the Zhao family lived. Xiao Lou remembered that there were many copied scriptures in the house.
A thumping sound came from inside the house.
Yu Hanjiang took a few steps toward the door. He poked a hole in the paper window with his finger, narrowed his eyes and looked inside.
He saw an old lady with gray hair kneeling in front of a Buddha statue. Her right hand was twisting a long string of Buddha beads while her left hand was regularly tapping a wooden fish. She wore a dark blue robe like a nun. Her eyes were closed and her face was blank.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang looked at each other.
Yu Hanjiang whispered, “Her granddaughter is getting married but she is chanting here. Is she praying for her granddaughter’s blessings or is she using this method to repent, wanting to wash away the sins of the descendants of the Zhao family?”
Xiao Lou replied, “If the murderer’s motive for exterminating the Zhao family is revenge then the ancestors of the Zhao family must’ve done bad things during those years. For example, in the year of the famine, they raised people as animals in captivity and survived by eating human flesh. If this speculation is true, there is a reasonable explanation for the old lady of the Zhao family copying scriptures and praying to Buddha.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded in agreement. “Yes, she feels that she is deeply sinful so she has been a vegetarian and chanted prayers for years after the famine passed. This is why we found many hand-copied scriptures in her room.”
Just after saying this, the lights in the room went out and the sound of the wooden fish suddenly stopped.
Immediately after that, the big red lanterns in the entire courtyard were extinguished. Xiao Lou originally thought that the murderer was present and turned to look at the door vigilantly. The next moment, a pair of old, emaciated hands reached out from the house behind him. They pierced a large hole in the window made of paper and accurately and fiercely choked Xiao Lou’s neck!
Xiao Lou was choked and couldn’t breathe. His face abruptly turned red.
The dullness in his chest was so strong that his mind was dizzy.
The cold touch of the emaciated old hands was passed through his skin to his mind. Xiao Lou only felt that he was being entangled by a poisonous snake. The pressure on his neck became more intense, making him unable to breathe at all.
Yu Hanjiang saw this scene. With sharp eyes and quick hands he grabbed the old woman’s wrists in a flash and twisted them hard in the opposite direction. The old lady’s hands disappeared but bright finger marks were left on Xiao Lou’s neck.
The pressure in his chest finally disappeared. Xiao Lou sighed with relief and coughed desperately to adjust his breathing. Yu Hanjiang gently stroked a hand down his back and asked softly, “Are you okay?”
Xiao Lou shook his head while coughing. “I’m fine.”
“How could this old lady suddenly attack you?”
Xiao Lou told him, “The old lady isn’t an illusion. She might be a hunter. Let’s get out of here.”
The two of them were just about to go forward when traps appeared under their feet. These traps were about to capture their feet but Yu Hanjiang reacted extremely quickly. His right arm wrapped around Xiao Lou’s waist and he directly flew up like a big bird!
However, the moment they landed on the eaves with Xiao Lou, densely packed arrows shot at them like a rainstorm!
At the same time, a huge net fell toward their heads.
They had become an easy target.
The hunters had already guessed they would come to the Zhao house to investigate and set the traps in advance.
Xiao Lou’s spirit was tense. The moment he saw the arrow rain and huge net, he reflexively summoned Li Qingzhao and used her slowdown skill to slow down the speed of all the sharp arrows.
The arrows seemed like a slow-motion scene in a movie.
Yu Hanjiang cooperated with him with tacit understanding and swung the saber in his right hand, cutting at the sharp arrows that were about to hit them. The blade cut through everything like it was mud and split apart the slowly falling huge net.
The two of them took advantage of the time when Li Qingzhao was using her skill to escape from the rain of arrows without any danger.
Yu Hanjiang took Xiao Lou and used the continuous light footwork to fly across the roofs in the town.
It was unknown how much time passed before the two of them came to the lake. The hunters didn’t seem to catch up with them. Xiao Lou glanced back in a frightened manner, sighed lightly and immediately pressed on the earpiece. “Everyone, be careful. The ghost town at night is full of hunters. They know where we want to investigate and have arranged ambushes in advance!”
Qu Wanyue’s voice came quickly. “Professor Xiao, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Pay attention to safety and come to the lake as soon as possible to meet the two of us.”
Qu Wanyue said, “Long Sen and I followed Zhao Zesui to the gate of the town. The moment she left the town, she disappeared. Is it because only the small town is the ghost town at night? We can’t see her because she left the town?”
Last night’s bridal procession also disappeared when leaving the town, indicating that Qu Wanyue’s speculation was reasonable. At night, only the town turned into a ghost town, recreating the plot from three years ago. This explained why the illusions from three years ago would instantly vanish from sight the moment they crossed the boundary of the ghost town.
Yu Hanjiang told them, “You come back first. What about Xiao Liu’s side?”
Liu Qiao replied, “Mrs Chen was too tired after giving birth. She gave the baby to the nurse to be fed and fell asleep. The midwife has left. The servants were busy most of the night so they have fallen asleep. Instead, Chen Yu left the house in a hurry and sneaked outside the town. We followed him all the way but just like Sister Qu said, he disappeared after walking out of the town.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Okay, I see. Come back first. I’ll pull you with the marker.”
The moment he and Yu Hanjiang had come to the lake, they put down Li Qingzhao’s mark. Five minutes passed quickly and it was just enough to pull his teammates to his side.
The six people checked the clues they found.
In the end, Xiao Lou concluded, “The town at night is a ghost town labyrinth and is equivalent to a separate instance with a large number of hunters. Many of the scenes we see are illusions, which might be fragments of memories left by the obsession of the deceased. The fragments of the past are played and can provide us with clues for solving the mystery. The limit is that we don’t know what happened after they left the town. The illusion disappears as soon as it leaves the town.”
Old Mo added, “Moreover, we don’t seem to be able to walk out of the town at night. Last night, we couldn’t find the exit. Even tonight, we couldn’t find the exit. The door seems to have a transparent barrier sealing us here.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at the time. We have been in the ghost town for more than four hours. According to the sky, it is almost dawn. Chief Shao hasn’t opened the teleportation yet. Has something happened?”
Xiao Lou frowned worriedly. “We haven’t been able to contact Brother Jiu…”
Old Mo’s eyes were also full of worry. “If Chief Shao doesn’t use the Peach Blossom Spring to teleport us out, we won’t be able to leave here. We can’t find the exit to the labyrinth and there is a barrier preventing us from going outside the town. As we saw last night, it won’t be dawn here at all.”
They remembered that yesterday, Lu Jiuchuan and the others said it was already bright outside but they were still in the dark town. Old Mo’s worry wasn’t unreasonable. If they didn’t have the forced teleportation of the Peach Blossom Spring, it was likely they wouldn’t be able to leave the ghost town.
However, currently both Shao Qingge’s group and Lu Jiuchuan’s group were missing. Xiao Lou couldn’t judge the situation outside at all, let alone have Shao Qingge open the teleportation.
Long Sen scratched his head. “Are we going to be stuck here all the time?”
Yu Hanjiang was silent for a moment before saying, “This doesn’t mean there is no exit. The little Diamonds girl might be abnormal but all the labyrinths we previously encountered had exits. A labyrinth without an exit is like a test question that has no answer.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “That makes sense. Let’s look for it again.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality