Chapter 490 – Doubts
Tang Ci placed the drone on the tallest tree and the angle of the lens was adjusted downwards. It was just enough to capture a panoramic view of the Zhao family’s courtyard. He held the other end of the drone in his hand and could monitor the situation of the Zhao house at any time through the card.
However, after Qin Feng and Xiao Ming left, no one entered the Zhao house again. The drone only shot an empty courtyard and no figures could be seen.
Lu Jiuchuan frowned. “Who will arrange the Zhao family’s memorial hall?”
Tang Ci said, “At present, the whereabouts of the Zhao family are unknown. Even if a family member sets up the memorial hall, they won’t arrange it on the first day of their disappearance. Their deaths need to at least be confirmed before the memorial hall is set up. I think it will take at least three days?”
“In other words, we have to monitor the Zhao family for the next few days before it is possible to find the person who arranged the memorial hall.” Lu Jiuchuan paused and said, “They come to light the incense at night but Xiao Lou’s group will be teleported to the ghost town every night. They definitely can’t find out the identity. Therefore, this person can only be investigated by us who went back three years in time.”
“That’s right.” Tang Ci spoke calmly. “We traveled back to three years ago and can find some clues that Professor Xiao can’t investigate. In addition to the person who arranged the memorial hall for the Zhao family, there is also the origin of the legend of the ‘powerful ghost seeking lives’. Don’t you think there is a problem?”
“Many people said they saw a ghost last night.” Chu Huaying’s voice came from the headset. “The first person who said he saw the ghost was Uncle Liu who lives to the east. This man is the oldest one in the town. He is in his 80s and his eyesight is bad. At the beginning, he said he saw a ghost but most people didn’t believe it.”
“Later, a few young people and children also said they had seen the ghost. The rumors of this ghost seeking lives is becoming more and more bizarre.” Gui Yuanzhang added.
“Who specifically said they saw the female ghost in white and what time and where did they see it? Did you carefully investigate it?”
“Yes. During my visit to the town just now, I wrote down the names of all the people who said they saw the ghost last night.” Chu Huaying didn’t need to use a pen or paper. She remembered everything directly in her head. All her physical qualities had been strengthened and her memory was several times better than ordinary people.
Chu Huaying closed her eyes. She carefully sorted out the information in her mind and said, “Apart from Uncle Liu who first mentioned the ghost, the others are Zhang Chengyu, a hunter who lives in the west of the town; Qin Ruolan, the owner of a clothing store in the center of the town and Lin Yueran, a butcher in the north of the town and his seven year old child, Lin Duoduo. Finally, there is Mrs Xue, the widow who sells tofu in the south of the town.”
Tang Ci heard this and couldn’t help wondering, “There were people who witnessed the female ghost dressed in white in the east, west, south and north of the town?”
Chu Huaying agreed. “The murderer must’ve deliberately circled the town so that people from all directions could see the figure of the ghost. This way, it would be more convenient for them to create the public opinion that a ghost was seeking lives.”
Tang Ci wondered, “What exactly did these people see when they saw the ghost?”
Chu Huaying spoke with regret. “They were scared silly when they saw a ghost in the middle of the night, so no one could say the specific time. However, everyone saw it after the rain stopped. The rain should’ve stopped after Yin Shi.”
Lu Jiuchuan said, “In other words, the second young lady of the Zhao family, Zhao Zean got married on July 14th and Chen Yu’s wife gave birth to a child at the same time. Chen Yu and Zhao Zesui walked out of the town one after another. Chen Yu went to burn paper and Zhao Zean went on a date with a mysterious man. At the same time, a female ghost in white appeared in the town. Then the members of the Zhao and Chen families disappeared en masse.”
Tang Ci continued, “In this way, the suspicion of the masked man who met with Zhao Zean is greatly reduced. He can’t date Zhao Zean while pretending to be a ghost and wandering around the town so that different people see him, unless he has helpers.”
Lu Jiuchuan nodded. “Xiao Ming’s suspicion is also reduced. Last night was his wedding day. According to his description, he waited for the bridal procession in Yuezhou until the auspicious hour passed and he didn’t see even a shadow of the bride. Thus, he came to Qingfeng Town early in the morning and looked for the Zhao family to investigate. It was only then that he found the people of the Zhao family were collectively missing.”
Tang Ci agreed. “I also think that the possibility of Xiao Ming committing the crime is very low. As the groom, it is easy to be discovered if he disappeared. Moreover, the timing is simply too late for him to come to Qingfeng Town to pretend to be a ghost and kill people, return to Yuezhou to pretend to find that the bride hasn’t arrived and then go back to Qingfeng Town to find her.”
It wasn’t the groom Xiao Ming or the mysterious masked man who had a private meeting with Miss Zhao. Who was it that disguised himself as a ghost last night to kill people? All four of them fell into contemplation.
After a moment, Lu Jiuchuan asked, “What about Qin Feng, the mayor of the town?”
“It doesn’t seem like it on the surface but we don’t have definite evidence.” Tang Ci paused before suggesting, “He is now going around and investigating the missing residents in the town. His residence on Xiushui Lane must be empty. We should go there one more time and examine his hidden room more carefully.”
Lu Jiuchuan simply nodded. “Let’s go. Hurry up.”
Based on the path in their memories, the two of them quickly came to Xiushui Lane and sneaked into Qin Feng’s residence.
Qin Feng went out to investigate the case so the house was left empty.
Tang Ci came to the study and walked quickly to the bookshelf. He remembered that there was a very thick copy of the Compendium of Materia Medica in the middle of the bookshelf. He just needed to pull the book out and the bookshelf would open up on both sides, revealing a hidden room.
Tang Ci gently pulled out the book but to his surprise, the bookshelf in front of him didn’t move.
Lu Jiuchuan was stunned. “What about the hidden book? Was it not this book three years ago?”
Tang Ci frowned and looked around. He tried to pull out the other books but the bookshelf still didn’t react. He reached out and tapped carefully on the surrounding walls but he still didn’t hear any echo.
There was no hidden room?
Tang Ci checked again. Only then did he confirm it. “Three years ago, there was no hidden room in this study. In other words, Qin Feng didn’t use the hidden room to hide the rattle-drums when the serial murders first began.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s expression changed. “Go to his bedroom and see if the roster is there.”
The two of them walked quickly to the bedroom next door. The wooden cabinet next to the bed was still there but it wasn’t locked. Lu Jiuchuan opened the cabinet and took out a large stack of rosters that indeed had the information of all the residents in the town recorded in them.
Tang Ci and Lu Jiuchuan took half of the rosters each and flipped through them quickly, but they didn’t find the one with red crosses.
All the rosters looked normal.
The two people looked at each other.
Just then, there was the sound of footsteps outside. It sounded like two people walking into the courtyard side by side.
Lu Jiuchuan immediately grabbed Tang Ci, left the room and flew up to the roof outside. He uncovered a piece of the roof tile and listened attentively to what was happening inside.
He heard Qin Feng say, “Young Master Xiao, do you know if the Zhao family has any relatives or friends in other places?”
Xiao Ming said, “I really don’t know. I have met Miss Zhao no more than three times. We were engaged as babies… by the way, I heard many people say that there was a ghost in the town last night. July 15th is the ghost festival. Did the Zhao family really do something against their conscience that made them killed by a ghost?”
Qin Feng smiled. “The words about the ghost can’t be fully believed. Then Young Master Xiao, you should go back to the inn first to rest. If there is any news, I will definitely send someone to inform you as soon as possible.”
Xiao Ming nodded and turned away with a dignified expression.
Qin Feng paced back and forth alone in the study, his brow furrowed like he was deep in thought. A moment later, he took out an empty blue notebook. He sat down at his desk, lifted his pen and carefully wrote in it one by one.
Lu Jiuchuan hid on the roof and through the gap in the tile, he could see the names of the people who disappeared last night.
The 10 members of Chen Yu’s family.
The 14 members of the Zhao family.
Everyone’s name was written down in his notebook in a dignified manner.
Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci glanced at each other. This was precisely the roster that they had found in their investigation three years later. It was just that back then, the names on the rosters had been marked with red crosses. Now the red crosses weren’t drawn yet and it was simply names written in calligraphy.
Tang Ci only spoke after returning to the inn. “Qin Feng isn’t the murderer. He has been investigating the murderer.”
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin thoughtfully. “It seems that Qin Feng’s roster records the innocent dead people. He hadn’t yet put red crosses on the roster. It might be that he isn’t sure whether these people are dead or not. They might just be missing.”
Tang Ci suddenly thought of a key point. “However, many people in the roster that we found weren’t dead, nor had they disappeared. They were still alive. Why did Qin Feng write down their names as well?”
Lu Jiuchuan answered helplessly, “For this, we have to wait for Xiao Lou to investigate. We can’t find out something that happened three years later.”
Tang Ci wondered, “How can we leave clues behind for Xiao Lou?”
Lu Jiuchuan fell into deep thought.
They were three years in the past. How could they leave clues for their teammates three years later?
They weren’t in the same time and space and couldn’t talk directly. All team teleportation, the Voice Headset card and mind communication abilities were disabled. How could people from the past and present communicate with each other?
Then Tang Ci thought of an idea. “For this roster that Qin Feng started to record, Xiao Lou’s group can see it in three years. If we leave some books behind, Xiao Lou can also find it in three years, right?”
Lu Jiuchuan’s eyes lit up. “That’s right. The question is where to place it. Where is it safest? There are too many changes in three years. If someone happens to take the clues we left behind, Xiao Lou is likely to be unable to find anything. Moreover, if they don’t find us after dawn, they will be anxious and this will further affect the progress of their investigation.”
At this moment, Gui Yuanzhang suddenly said, “My paintings and calligraphy can be preserved for a long time and should come in handy.”
Tang Ci wondered, “Old Gui, what do you want to do?”
“Write a letter detailing what happened now, three years in the past. Then hide it in a place where Xiao Lou’s group is bound to go but others rarely go to—”
The most dangerous place was the safest one.
Tang Ci reacted. “You mean, the two crime scenes of the Zhao family and Chen family?”
Gui Yuanzhang nodded. “The Zhao and Chen families are rumored to be killed by ghosts so the residents of Qingfeng Town don’t dare go near these two houses. Meanwhile, Xiao Lou’s group will definitely want to investigate it and they will naturally go to the scene to find clues. We should hide these clues in the Zhao and Chen houses. Xiao Lou’s group will definitely understand our meaning when they go back there in three years.”
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten