Chapter 489 – Time and Space Disorder
Lu Jiuchuan always thought that they had just been teleported to three years ago and that things would return to normal after dawn, just like Xiao Lou’s group was teleported to the ghost town last night. After dawn, everyone could investigate together in Qingfeng Town.
Day and night were different worlds. This inference had been acknowledged by his teammates.
Now tomorrow had arrived and they were still in the world of three years ago? In other words, the four of them could no longer meet with Xiao Lou and the other teammates until they solved the puzzle?
Lu Jiuchuan suddenly had a headache and didn’t know what to say.
Tang Ci quickly calmed down and spoke to the employee. “Can I trouble you to give us four rooms? We want to stay in this inn.”
The inn employee said, “Objectively, there are only three rooms left on the upper floor of our store.”
Lu Jiuchuan nodded. “Then three rooms. I will live with Xiao Tang.”
Tang Ci didn’t object and the employee smiled. “Yes. Guests, please come with me!”
He brought the four of them to the second floor. Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci lived in the ‘Heaven’ room while Gui Yuanzhang and Chu Huaying chose the Earth and Xuan rooms respectively. The four of them entered their rooms and settled down. Chu Huaying spoke into the voice channel, “The Xuan room is clean and there is nothing left by Chief Shao or Ye Qi. So did we really come to three years ago?”
Gui Yuanzhang added, “After Xiao Lou’s group came out of the ghost town, they won’t be able to find us and they will definitely be worried when they are unable to contact us. We are scattered in different times and spaces and unable to communicate with each other. Jiuchuan, what should we do now?”
Lu Jiuchuan frowned and walked to the window. He opened it and looked at the street.
There was a heavy rain last night but today’s weather was exceptionally clear. The air was fresh and fragrant and the residents of Qingfeng Town had started to move. The streets had gradually become lively.
People sold breakfast, carried water, chopped firewood and shopped on the street with their children. There were smiles on people’s faces and acquaintances greeted each other. It was like a peaceful paradise here.
Suddenly, a piercing scream came from the distance. “Ahhhhhh—!”
Lu Jiuchuan’s expression changed and he immediately told his teammates, “Go over and take a look.”
The four of them quickly turned and went downstairs, following the direction of the sound.
They soon arrived at the door of a house. The screams of the person were too loud so the nearby residents were all attracted by the house and gathered around to watch the liveliness.
It was already surrounded by people when Lu Jiuchuan’s group of four arrived and the crowd was chattering. “Isn’t this the Chen family?”
”Ah, Chen Yu’s wife just gave birth last night. I heard the child’s cry in the middle of the night.”
”Who was yelling just now? What’s the matter?”
“I don’t know. The mayor seems to be talking to her in the house.”
Lu Jiuchuan was tall. He might be standing in the back of the crowd but he could clearly see the situation at the scene.
The objects in the yard were neatly arranged and there were no traces of fighting. A young woman wiped away her tears and sobbed. “My sister just gave birth last night. I came over to visit early this morning but all the people in the Chen family were gone! My sister and her husband have disappeared and the maids and servants also aren’t here. How can this be?”
Next to her, a man with good facial features spoke in a comforting manner, “You are a foreigner, right? Don’t worry, your sister’s family has probably gone out. I’ll send someone to look for them.”
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci glanced at each other. This person was Qin Feng.
Three years ago, Qin Feng was already the mayor of Qingfeng Town despite his young age. It wasn’t known what dynasty this world belonged to but the rights of the mayor were equivalent to the county magistrates and village chiefs in ancient times. However, there just wasn’t an official government. Therefore, Qin Feng lived in his own house and would handle anything in the town.
Previously, Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci rushed to investigate Qin Feng’s house and they happened to encounter him coming back. They didn’t have time to enter the secret room but the drone photographed a hidden room full of rattle-drums.
At present, he was the number one suspect locked on by Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou.
It was an unexpected gain for them to be able to witness Qin Feng’s actions three years ago.
Qin Feng looked mild as he turned back to the crowd of onlookers. “My fellow villagers, please go back to town to look around and ask where the Chen family went.”
People spontaneously rushed around to look for the missing people.
Just at this moment, a young man came over. He was wearing a red groom’s official clothing. His face was extremely serious as he strode to the mayor. “Are you the mayor of Qingfeng Town?”
Qin Feng nodded. “Exactly. Can I ask who you are?”
The man clenched his fists and bowed. “I am Xiao Ming, the fiance of the second young lady of the Zhao family, Zhao Zean.”
“It turns out to be Young Master Xiao… Last night, didn’t you and Miss Zhao get married? Why are you here now?”
Xiao Ming explained, “Last night, according to the auspicious hour calculated by the fortune teller, Miss Zhao should go out at Yin Shi and come to my house to worship. However, the auspicious time passed and there was still no sign of the bride. I was worried and rushed to the Zhao house early this morning to investigate. As a result…” His face turned pale and he lowered his voice. “The entire Zhao house is empty.”
“Empty?” Qin Feng couldn’t believe it. “They were setting up a banquet last night. How could this be?”
“I also don’t understand it.” Xiao Ming frowned. “I have already signed a marriage contract with Miss Zhao and it is impossible for the Zhao family to go back on the marriage. The bride and the Zhao family suddenly disappeared. There is something strange about it and I hope Brother Qin can pay attention to this.”
Qin Feng nodded solemnly. “Rest assured, I will send someone to investigate.”
The expressions of the onlookers were somewhat complicated when hearing this.
The disappearance of the Zhao and Chen families soon spread throughout the town.
The originally lively town seemed to be shrouded in a cloud and the pedestrians on the street looked nervous. They gathered together and whispered while guessing what happened to the two families.
Tang Ci looked at the scene in front of him and said in a low voice, “At the moment, there is no talk of a ghost seeking life. Qin Feng also seems to be investigating seriously. Brother Jiu, do you think Qin Feng knows the murderer and is deliberately helping the murderer set up the deception?”
Lu Jiuchuan answered, “It is possible. We have to check Qin Feng’s origin again. In addition, Zhao Zesui had a private meeting outside the town last night. We can’t get rid of the suspicion of that masked man. The timing of this Xiao Ming’s appearance is also very clever. We need to pay attention to these three.”
Chu Huaying raised a question. “Does Xiao Ming’s age match the murderer’s characteristics? I remember that Professor Xiao and the others reasoned that the murderer was most likely a tiger because a rattle-drum with a tiger on it was left at the scene where the two families disappeared.”
Tang Ci carefully calculated it. “If it is a tiger, minus three years and the murderer should be 26 years old or 38 years old. Xiao Ming got married this year and he is only in his early 20s. This doesn’t quite fit the age of the murderer. However, the rattle-drum being left behind is just our speculation and can’t be used as evidence. We have to find more convincing evidence.”
Gui Yuanzhang agreed. “That’s right. The rattle-drum is indeed a key clue in the series of disappearances but we still need to verify that the rattle-drums found in the two families was left by the murderer. We have gone back to three years ago so we can investigate this.”
Lu Jiuchuan thought for a moment. “Yes, we will split into two. Tang Ci and I will follow Qing Feng to see what tricks he is playing. Old Gui and Huaying will walk around and pay attention to who is putting out the rumor about a ghost killing people. Remember, we are just passersby in the inn. Don’t let the residents of the town suspect that we are the murderer. Then it will be more troublesome.”
The four of them acted in groups. Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci followed Qin Feng to the Zhao family.
All the people of the Zhao family had disappeared. The entire yard was empty and the red lanterns were extinguished. Qin Feng stood in the yard and frowned. The few men he brought with him quickly finished investigating the scene and reported back to him. “I didn’t find any traces of fighting or blood in the house.”
Qin Feng looked at Xiao Ming. “Do you know if your father-in-law’s family has offended anyone?”
Xiao Ming shook his head. “I don’t know. I was engaged to Miss Zhao from a young age. 20 years ago, my family moved to Yuezhou City for business. We lost contact with the Zhao family after that. I also grew up in Yuezhou. Last year, my grandfather became seriously ill. It was only when he was dying that he remembered I had a fiancee. Thus, he asked me to return to Qingfeng Town to look for Miss Zhao and complete the marriage as soon as possible.”
He paused before adding, “Based on what I heard from my grandfather, the head of the Zhao family has a honest nature and my father-in-law has only been doing small businesses during these years. Even if he really offended someone, it wouldn’t reach the level of a deep hatred, right?”
Qin Feng was confused. “Strange. How could more than a dozen people in the Zhao family disappear overnight without a trace? Their clothes and silver weren’t taken away so they don’t seem to have been robbed. It is as if they moved away on their own.”
Xiao Ming immediately denied it. “Impossible! My father-in-law’s family has lived in Qingfeng for decades and it makes no sense for him to suddenly move the entire family away. Besides, you said that the clothes and silver weren’t taken away. If they left by themselves, they should’ve packed some luggage right?”
Qin Feng was silent for a moment before turning his head. “Have the people sent to investigate in the town come back?”
He had just finished speaking when several people hurried in. “Uncle Liu from the vegetable market said he saw a powerful ghost last night! The ghost was dressed in white with long hair covering her face. She floated around town and was right at the gate of the Zhao house…”
Qin Feng snapped solemnly, “Nonsense! Uncle Liu is old and his eyes are bad. Do you believe him when he says that he saw a ghost?”
The man next to him trembled. “However, Brother Zhang in the west of the town also saw it. He said that he was woken up by thunder last night. After the rain stopped, he got up to go to the toilet and it happened that he saw a ghost in white passing by his door and drifting to the Chen house.”
Qin Feng and Xiao Ming glanced at each other.
Xiao Ming said with a sullen expression, “Is it possible that my father-in-law’s family was taken away by a powerful ghost? This is nonsense!”
Qin Feng’s voice was low. “Young Master Xiao, you can’t believe it is a ghost but that doesn’t mean you can completely disbelieve it. Perhaps someone is pretending to be a ghost and doing bad things in this small town. I will definitely try to find out the truth.”
Xiao Ming politely said, “Then please, Brother Qin.”
The two of them walked out beside each other and Qin Feng said loudly, “Everyone, please rest assured. Since there are people missing in town, I will definitely investigate to the end. Please leave first and don’t listen to rumors.”
The crowd of onlookers quickly dispersed. Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci followed the crowd but before Tang Ci left, he quietly left a drone on the big tree in front of the Zhao house.
Not long after, Chu Huaying and Gui Yuanzhang also returned.
The four of them summed up the clues before Chu Huaying said, “There were several people, among which were the elderly, young adults and children, who saw the ghost last night. They were all woken up by thunder in the middle of the night and saw the ghost from different angles and different locations, which means the ‘special ghost’ does exist. It is very likely that the murderer is pretending to be a ghost to deliberately confuse the public.”
Gui Yuanzhang said, “There are more and more rumors about a powerful ghost seeking lives. Everyone is panicking. Many merchants are afraid to do business and are hurriedly closing their stalls to go home. If the missing people aren’t found for a long time, some people will eventually believe it. This is why when we came to the town three years later, everyone said that the ghost committed the crime.”
Lu Jiuchuan looked at Tang Ci. “Qin Feng seems to be seriously investigating. Did we blame him incorrectly? Looking at his behavior, it seems that he doesn’t know the murderer.”
Tang Ci told him, “I left a drone in the Zhao family. Maybe it can take some photos. Let’s wait until it gets dark.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality