Chapter 491 – The Mystery of Qingfeng Town
The day passed quickly and the people sent by Qin Feng to investigate gradually returned to the town.
However, no one was able to find the whereabouts of the missing people.
There were so many people in the Zhao and Chen families but it was as if they suddenly disappeared into thin air overnight. The townspeople kept talking about it and the legend of the powerful ghost was becoming more bizarre.
At night, the doors of every house were closed as if they were worried about encountering a fierce ghost.
Today was the Ghost Festival. The streets of Qingfeng Town were empty but people’s homes were lit up. They started to burn incense to worship their ancestors, presumably asking their ancestors to bless and protect them.
Tang Ci’s drone had been placed at the Zhao house but there were no useful clues in the surveillance footage. The person who arranged the memorial hall for the Zhao family obviously hadn’t appeared yet.
Once night fell, Lu Jiuchuan’s group of four secretly infiltrated the Zhao house to leave clues in the manner suggested by Old Gui.
Gui Yuanzhang spread out a piece of paper on the table. He picked up his brush and asked, “How to write it?”
Lu Jiuchuan opened his mouth. “First, make it clear that we traveled back to the world of three years ago. Then write down the suspicious people we found and the clues related to Qin Feng. Xiao Lou’s group can continue to investigate as long as they find this letter.” He looked at Tang Ci and asked, “Xiao Tang, do you have any doubts that need to be explained to Xiao Lou and the others?”
Tang Ci frowned and thought for a moment. Then he walked over to Gui Yuanzhang’s side and calmly listed what he wanted to write. “First, Zhao Zesui, the youngest daughter of the Zhao family. She left the town after her sister got married on the night of July 14th and had a private meeting with a masked man. She gave the other person an embroidered pouch. Secondly, Chen Yu sneaked out of the town to burn paper money for his father after his wife gave birth to a child.”
Gui Yuanzhang listened to him and quickly recorded it on the paper.
Tang Ci continued. “Next, the roster of the mayor Qin Feng was written only after the crime. Three years ago, there was no hidden room in the study or any rattle-drums. Fourth, on the night of the crime, the people who saw the ghost in white included the vegetable seller Uncle Liu, the hunter Zhang Chengyu, the female boss Qin Ruolan, the butcher Lin Yueran and his son and Mrs Xue who sells tofu. Write down their locations as well.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled and patted Tang Ci’s shoulder. “Xiao Tang is still careful. The murderer has been disguised as a ghost all these years. If he continues to commit crimes, he will definitely leave clues. I hope that the clues we find will be helpful to Xiao Lou’s reasoning. If we find more clues later, we will add it.”
Gui Yuanzhang quickly finished writing the letter. His handwriting was vigorous and powerful, worthy of being a famous calligrapher.
Gui Yuanzhang sealed it with wax oil and asked, “Where to hide it so that it isn’t easy for others to find but Xiao Lou can find it as soon as possible? After all, Xiao Lou’s group is three years in the future. During these three years, the clues won’t be passed onto Xiao Lou’s hands as long as someone enters the Zhao house and finds this letter.”
Lu Jiuchuan lowered his head and thought for a moment. Then he suddenly had an idea. “It is better to hide it in the corner of the roof and leave a special mark to guide them to find it.” He looked at Chu Huaying. “Huaying, let me borrow your dagger.”
Chu Huaying understood what he meant and handed him the spider dagger.
Lu Jiuchuan leapt up and carved a clear spider mark on the beam of the roof. Then he hid the letter written by Gui Yuanzhang in the gap of the beam. Even if outsiders looked up and saw the mark, they would think it was left by the spider. Meanwhile, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou would immediately recognize it as being left by Chu Huaying’s spider dagger.
The mark carved by the spider dagger was very deep and wouldn’t disappear in three years. In this way, Xiao Lou’s group just had to walk into the Zhao family’s house again and they would be able to find the clues left in the gap of the beam.
Xiao Lou’s group didn’t know who lit the incense in the memorial hall so they would definitely go to the Zhao house to investigate again.
However, no one knew what would happen in three years. Lu Jiuchuan had no idea if these clues passed across time could be safely delivered to Xiao Lou’s hands.
They couldn’t go back to the world three years later but they could help their teammates find the real culprit this way.
At the same time, Xiao Lou and his teammates ended the merpeople transformation and emerged from the lake.
Xiao Lou felt a chill go down his spine as he thought of the large number of red-clad girls that he had just seen at the bottom of the lake. He was blown by the night wind and sneezed several times in a row.
Yu Hanjiang asked with concern, “Are you catching a cold?”
Xiao Lou sniffed and shook his head. “I’m fine. I just thought that the bodies at the bottom of the lake are too weird. This murderer is obviously a selective murderer, killing only girls under the age of 18… Hanjiang, what are your thoughts?”
Yu Hanjiang analyzed it in a low voice. “The modus operandi is different. One murderer uses the rattle-drum as the key item to lure people to the mass burial site and kill them. The other drags people to the bottom of the lake, ties them with water plants and drowns them. The target of the hunt is also different. The former directly wipes out whole families while the latter only targets girls under 18 years old.”
Liu Qiao finally understood when she heard this and she frowned. “Group Leader Yu, do you mean that there are two murderers in Qingfeng Town?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes. The motives, means and methods of cleaning up the aftermath are all different. This time, we encountered two cases. Qingfeng Town has seen many people disappearing over the years and this doesn’t seem simple.”
Long Sen scratched his head. “On the roster that Mr Tang got from Qin Feng’s house yesterday, there were dozens of people with red crosses. These are the people who have disappeared over the years. In other words, some of them were killed by Murderer A who led them to the mass burial site. Others were dragged into the lake by Murderer B and drowned?”
Murderer A and Murderer B. Long Sen’s way of expressing it was simple and intuitive.
Qu Wanyue continued, “Two murderers? If Murderer A is associated with the famine of 20 years ago and it is a revenge crime… what is the purpose of Murderer B in killing so many young girls?”
Yu Hanjiang answered, “This is a typical paranoid personality. All the girls tied to the bottom of the lake were dressed in red and their long hair tied to the water plants in knots. He is venting his emotions in this way. Perhaps in his heart, there was always a girl in red. She is either a lover he couldn’t forget or an enemy who once had a great influence on him.”
Xiao Lou frowned. “The two murderers have committed many crimes in these three years and people in the town have been brainwashed by the rumor of a powerful ghost. They don’t even pay attention to the fact that people are missing. They hear that someone is missing and instinctively think that person was taken by the ghost. These two murderers relied on such clumsy means to cover up their crimes and kill so many people. It is hard to believe.”
Qu Wanyue said helplessly, “It is easy for people in ancient times to believe in ghosts and gods. In addition, the murderer played a ghost. Some witnesses have seen a ghost. It is normal for people in the town to be deceived.”
Yu Hanjiang looked down at the moonlight on the lake. “Let’s find a way out first. Old Mo, is there anything different about this lake from before?”
Old Mo was stunned. He followed Yu Hanjiang’s gaze before his eyes lit up and he said excitedly, “The labyrinth is rotating again. I seem to have found the rotation rule of this labyrinth!”
After saying this, he took out the map of the labyrinth, spread it out in front of Xiao Lou and pointed to the Drunken Moon Pavilion in the center of the map. “The pavilion where we are now is the central point of the labyrinth and its position is fixed. The outer labyrinth rotates at a certain angle every once in a while. The reflection of the moon projected on the lake will also rotate with it.”
For example, just now, Old Mo saw that the reflection of the moon in the lake was located at 30 degrees to the southeast corner of the pavilion. Now the moon’s reflection was in the east after the labyrinth rotated. This suggested that the labyrinth was rotating counterclockwise.
Old Mo said, “Based on the position of the moon’s reflection on the lake, the angle of each labyrinth rotation is 30 degrees. If you want to return to the original position, you need to rotate 360 degrees or 12 times. This corresponds to the 12 hours of the day.”
Xiao Lou looked at the map. “It takes 12 hours to rotate an entire circle. In other words, it was the correct passage when we entered the labyrinth last night. Then the labyrinth rotated and the exit was turned to an unknown place. If we want to find the exit of this labyrinth again, we just need to wait for the next day’s Yin Shi to let it return to its original position?”
Old Mo nodded excitedly. “That should be the case. 12 hours is one circle. At the corresponding hour, the labyrinth will be exactly the same as the previous day. The rest of the time, it will only look the same on the surface but the path will be chaotic. The correct exit can’t be found. Last night, we entered the labyrinth from the exit at Yin Shi. Tonight, the exit will be correct at Yin Shi.”
Xiao Lou said, “Let’s wait and see. We’ll talk about it when the time comes.”
After rotating, the labyrinth had no exit at all. Currently, they couldn’t contact Shao Qingge and Brother Jiu. They couldn’t have their teammates open the teleportation to pull them up. They were locked up in the ghost town labyrinth and had to find a way out by themselves.
Fortunately, Old Mo finally analyzed the law of the labyrinth’s rotation from the reflection of the moonlight.
Time passed minute by minute. It was always night in the ghost town and it was difficult for them to judge the accurate time. They could only rely on the reflection of the moon on the lake to speculate how many degrees the labyrinth had turned.
It wasn’t known how much time passed before Old Mo said happily, “The angle is right! The labyrinth has returned to its original position!”
Yu Hanjiang immediately flew up with Xiao Lou, using the light footwork skill. “Quickly find the exit.”
The six of them left the Drunken Moon Pavilion and followed Old Mo’s map. Sure enough, they found the real exit to outside the town. It was the same entrance they had entered through last night.
Liu Qiao tried to take a step. The moment her foot stepped over the border of the town, her entire body disappeared. It was as if she was sucked into another space.
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other. Then they didn’t hesitate to step over the border of Qingfeng Town together.
The six of them suddenly seemed to come to another world.
It was noon outside. The sun was shining high and the sky was clear.
Xiao Lou looked back behind him. It had obviously been a dark ghost town just now but it had disappeared. It was replaced by the stone monument of Qingfeng Town and the lively residents.
Yu Hanjiang spoke softly, “We are finally out of the labyrinth. We spent too long in the ghost town and it is already noon in the real world.”
Xiao Lou tried to connect to the team’s voice channel. “Chief Shao, Brother Jiu, can you hear me?”
The earpiece was quiet and there was no response from any teammates.
Xiao Lou immediately opened the team’s contract book. All 12 names were here and no teammates had died. So why couldn’t they be contacted?
He looked at Yu Hanjiang. “Will Brother Jiu and the others also be teleported to an independent space like the ghost town labyrinth? Then due to the space isolation, we still can’t contact each other?”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Possibly. Fortunately, they are all alive. Let’s go back to town and check what happened to the girls who drowned at the bottom of the lake.”
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten