Chapter 512 – Understanding the Truth
Yu Hanjiang asked Liu Qiao to find a safe place as soon as possible, place Li Qingzhao’s mark and take all the team members out.
Liu Qiao jumped through the treetops. She might be wearing an invisibility cloak but she had to find a place to land for her light footwork card every few seconds. Her toes stepped on the trees, leaving traces of shaking.
Sure enough, the moment she came out of the courtyard, she alerted the hunters who were lying in ambush in the yard. The group of people stared at the direction of the swaying treetops and quickly chased after her.
Liu Qiao could feel that several people were following her.
The flash of a knife on her right, the wind behind her and the dark shadows stretched out by the moonlight on the ground…
There were at least three people.
Liu Qiao’s heart was beating as fast as a drum and her breathing was a bit short, but her mind was extremely calm. She took a deep breath and accelerated. She had only flown a few meters when a huge net suddenly fell from the sky in front of her!
She didn’t know which hunter released the card but Liu Qiao hurriedly turned sideways to dodge.
The huge net blocked her way and she could only retreat to the right, but there was a person waiting for her on her right, wearing a cloak and hiding in the darkness. The person following her like a shadow suddenly took out a silver-white crystal ball. A dazzling silver light illuminated the night sky and Liu Qiao was shocked to find that the invisibility cloak on her body had actually failed. She could be seen.
A deep male voice entered her ears. “You thought we couldn’t do anything to you because you were invisible?”
The white crystal ball could illuminate all invisible targets in range.
A woman sneered. “Little girl, your Professor Xiao really trusts you to actually let you come out alone to find a way. He and Yu Hanjiang are stuck in the invincible circle but they are safe. This was sending you to die.”
A middle-aged uncle’s rough voice was heard. “Don’t talk nonsense. Clean up this little girl first. Our people on Xiao Lou’s side will continue to watch. The invincible circle is only 10 minutes long. They will die after 10 minutes.”
Liu Qiao was surrounded by three people and she was nervous.
She saw a sharp sword stabbing toward her and Liu Qiao gritted her teeth before throwing out a card.
Ugly Duckling and White Swan.
She turned the woman into an ugly duckling and herself into a swan!
The woman stabbed with a sword. The sword had only reached halfway when she found that her body suddenly shrank and she became a clumsy duckling. The woman scolded angrily, “Quack quack quack!”
The Ugly Duckling card was particularly useful at key moments. It directly turned enemies into ducklings and the transformation state couldn’t be actively lifted. The person transformed couldn’t attack or be attacked.
The duckling on the ground was still quacking. It wasn’t known what she was saying but she definitely wasn’t saying good things.
Liu Qiao ignored her. She had turned herself into a white swan and flew away from the duckling.
However, the Ugly Duckling card had a limited range after all. She only turned the woman who attacked her into a duckling. She couldn’t change the other two, the cloaked man hidden in the darkness and the middle-aged man whose voice had only been heard.
She wasn’t yet out of danger had to continue flying forward.
She had only flown for a few seconds when a tornado hit her. The black tornado was fierce and so powerful that Liu Qiao’s heart trembled. Everywhere the wind touched, the houses were destroyed in an instant!
This tornado was like the end of the world. In the blink of an eye, the entire street was blown into a mess. This uncle’s card was indeed very strong.
Fortunately, Liu Qiao flew very flexibly after transforming into a swan. She waved her wings back and forth in an S-shaped position and moved left and right, thrillingly brushing past the trajectory of the tornado.
She was just feeling relieved when another huge silver net fell from the sky.
Liu Qiao was unexpectedly caught by the net.
There was no way. In order to avoid the tornado, she could only go to the right but there was a huge net waiting for her on the right. The tacit cooperation between the two hunters forced Liu Qiao to the point where there was no way to retreat.
The white swan couldn’t break free from the net and Liu Qiao had to end her transformation.
The huge net tightened and in the blink of an eye, it became a tailor-made net that turned her body into a rice dumpling that caused pain all over her body. The young man in the cloak said coldly, “What other tricks do you have? Elsa’s Frozen, the queen’s poisonous apple or the Little Red Riding Hood stand-in?”
They actually knew most of the cards in Liu Qiao’s hand…
Liu Qiao’s face was pale. Apart from cards such as Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings that could be activated with their minds, most of the cards were used on the premise of taking the card out of the card pack.
At this time, her body was tightly caught by the huge net and she couldn’t move her hands at all. This meant she couldn’t continue using the cards.
The young man in the black cloak saw that the little girl was pale, tied up and unable to move and finally came out of the shadows. “You are a very clever little girl. Unfortunately, you found the wrong teammates. This will send you to the Nightmare Room.”
He flicked his right hand and a black crystal ball appeared in the palm of his hand.
A thick black mist flooded out of the crystal ball. As the crystal ball continued to rotate, the black mist devoured Liu Qiao like a beast coming out of a cage.
Almost instantaneously, Liu Qiao’s entire body was engulfed in a black mist.
The corners of the man’s lips raised in a contemptuous smile. “The boss said that this group of people isn’t easy to deal with yet that’s it?”
He stepped forward in order to collect Liu Qiao’s body.
He had just walked over the giant net and waited for the black mist to dissipate when he was shocked to find that Liu Qiao trapped in the net had disappeared!
The man was stunned. “She is gone? Was she sent directly to the Nightmare Room?”
The middle-aged uncle frowned and answered in a deep voice, “Challengers who die in an ordinary secret room will leave their corpses behind. There is no reason for it to disappear inexplicably.”
The young man finally reacted. “F*k, it is a trick!”
At this time, Qu Wanyue activated Li Qingzhao’s teleportation on the opposite side of town and pulled all her teammates over.
Xiao Lou’s concerned gaze immediately turned to Liu Qiao. “Xiao Liu, are you okay?”
Liu Qiao sighed with relief. “I’m fine. I was calculating the time and Sister Qu’s teleportation was opened in time. A man in black had many strange crystal balls and the black crystal ball should be able to kill people in seconds. However, I had the witch’s antidote under my tongue. If the teleportation didn’t come in time, I would’ve been able to take the antidote to save myself.”
This was why Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang dared to send Liu Qiao out. Liu Qiao’s means of self-rescue were the best among the team members.
Qu Wanyue said, “It is Group Leader Yu who shrewdly led them away. Those people really chased Xiao Liu and I could successfully escape to set up the teleportation for everyone.”
There were two Li Qingzhao cards in total.
One was in Xiao Lou’s hand and the other was always in Qu Wanyue’s hands.
Not long ago when Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang went to the mass grave to look for the clues left by Shao Qingge, they had Qu Wanyue use Li Qingzhao’s mark to teleport them. The team members naturally remembered it very clearly. Liu Qiao didn’t have Li Qingzhao’s card in her hand at all.
So just now, Yu Hanjiang’s loud words about Liu Qiao being the fastest and running through the trees to find a place to put Li Qingzhao’s mark was deliberately said for the hunters to hear, not him remembering it wrongly.
Liu Qiao was very clever and immediately understood Group Leader Yu’s meaning.
This was to let her lure them away and create opportunities for Qu Wanyue. Otherwise, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were surrounded by the red cloth and the invincible circle only lasted 10 minutes. If none of them could get out, they would be caught in the trap of the hunters and destroyed in the backyard of the Long family.
Thus, the group cooperated and put on a show.
Liu Qiao pretended to run away and lured several hunters. Qu Wanyue used the Chameleon card to assimilate with the ground and borrowed the dance king’s buff to flexibly move out of the courtyard. She and Liu Qiao ran in opposite directions and she dropped the teleportation mark as soon as possible, pulling her teammates over.
The hunters thought the victory was in their hands but at a critical moment, Liu Qiao was pulled away by Qu Wanyue’s teleportation.
Yu Hanjiang told them, “Don’t be careless. Those people will catch up soon.”
Old Mo asked nervously, “What should we do next? The labyrinth has been turning but the exit hasn’t appeared yet. Do we need to continue to deal with them in the labyrinth?”
Xiao Lou said, “Don’t worry. The treasure chest that Chief Shao gave us didn’t only contain a large amount of silver. There was also a card.”
He took the card out of the card pack.
It was Tao Yuanming.
In the beginning, Xiao Lou gave Shao Qingge the two Tao Yuanming cards for safety reasons to have him be a transit station to teleport the two groups of teammates. Who would’ve expected that Chief Shao would be teleported 20 years in the past by the keepers?
In the joint grave of Shao Qingge and Ye Qi, the legacy left for everyone was a Tao Yuanming card. Thanks to Shao Qingge’s wits, he returned one card to Xiao Lou in this way.
Xiao Lou found a hidden corner to open the Peach Blossom Spring. “The Peach Blossom Spring exists for three hours. We can go in first to avoid them. If I guessed correctly, we just need to find the murderer of the lake drowning case and this room will be solved successfully. As for the murderer, we already have a guess.”
After 10 seconds, the entrance to the Peach Blossom Spring opened.
Only the user of the card could see the portal to this place. Other people wouldn’t notice it even if they passed through the entrance. Xiao Lou led his teammates into the Peach Blossom Spring and the six people disappeared from the street completely. The hunters definitely wouldn’t be able to find them for a while.
They entered the Peach Blossom Spring and the teammates asked curiously, “Professor Xiao, who is the murderer?”
Xiao Lou looked at Yu Hanjiang and the latter replied softly, “Zhou Xiaoyun.”
A look of surprise flashed across everyone’s faces.
Xiao Lou patiently explained to everyone. “Just now, we went to the new house to do an autopsy and the braid that Lin Wanqing used to hang herself was made of hair. Normally, a woman’s braid consists of three pieces of hair. They are flattened side by side. Then the left side is crossed with the middle and the right side crossed with the middle, creating a beautiful twist braid.”
Liu Qiao nodded. This was exactly the method she used to do her braids.
Yu Hanjiang continued, “Twist braids are the simplest and most common method. Women in ancient times often did their hair in twist braids. Meanwhile, the braid that hung Lin Wanqing just now wasn’t a twisted braid but five bundles of hair. If the hair is cross-braided, the braiding method is more complicated and it is naturally stronger. The hair bundles are interwoven into a mesh and it is more similar to the method used when crafting bamboo baskets.”
If it wasn’t for Yu Hanjiang’s sharp eyes, Xiao Lou would’ve almost ignored this point. After all, it was a braid made of hair. A person couldn’t tell the difference if they didn’t look carefully. They saw the corpse in the dark room and time was limited. They had to do the autopsy first. Perhaps only Yu Hanjiang could’ve noticed such details.
Xiao Lou said, “The vine we saw on the cliff was exactly the same as this braid and there is a great possibility that it was done by the same person. The vine also must have something to do with the murderer at the mass burial site. Using the method of exclusion, the only one left is Zhou Xiaoyun whom we have been looking for.”
The clues in this case were so misleading that they fell into a misunderstanding of reasoning from the very beginning.
Many young girls were dragged to the bottom of the lake. The first thing they thought of was that it was done by a strong adult man. Then they found out that the bride Lin Wanqing died on the wedding night and speculated that the murderer’s motive was love and hatred or a vendetta against the bride. The murderer mingled with the guests, sneaked into the bridal room and killed the bride while the groom was toasting everyone…
Today, they found that all these assumptions were wrong.
Yu Hanjiang said, “The murderer doesn’t have to be strong to drag the young girls into the lake. She could first knock them unconscious and use the vines to tie them up and drag them into the lake to drown them.”
Xiao Lou asked, “On the day when Lin Wanqing was killed, the murderer was also hiding in the pond of the backyard, right?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “No one left the guest seats so the murderer must’ve been hiding somewhere else. The location of the pond is between the guest seats and the new house and it is relatively hidden with lotus leaves. She can see when the bride is sent to the new house. Once everyone leaves, she can come out of the water, kill the bride quickly and dive into the pond to find an opportunity to leave.”
If this was the case, Zhou Xiaoyun was like a silent water ghost.
Liu Qiao frowned and wondered, “Why did she kill so many girls?”
Xiao Lou carefully thought back on the clues left by Shao Qingge. “Chief Shao’s clue said that 20 years ago, Zhou Xiaoyun accidentally saw the true faces of the five bandits. These five people captured her grandmother and three children in order to kill them and shut them up. Only Zhou Xiaoyun escaped.”
Yu Hanjiang continued, “It seems that she was very clever when she was a child so she could take advantage of the chaos to escape. Out of the children adopted by the grandmother, Uncle Ren made the rattle-drums, Han Ningshuang made kites and Zhou Xiaoyun made vines. Perhaps they were crafts taught to them by their grandmother. After the grandmother died, Zhou Xiaoyun and Qi Ran lived together with Uncle Ren. I don’t know what happened that made her have such bad feelings toward red clothes and a deep obsession with long hair.”
They didn’t know what happened but the psychology of the murderer of such large-scale killings was completely distorted.
It was no wonder why the murderers of the ghost killing case and lake drowning case used each other but didn’t interfere with each other. If the perpetrator of the lake drowning case was Zhou Xiaoyun then it all made sense. Zhou Xiaoyun had long known that Han Ningshuang used a kite to pretend to be a ghost while Qi Ran led people to the mass burial site to kill them. She followed the two people’s actions and killed before the Ghost Festival, dragging the corpses into the lake to create the illusion of a ‘ghost killing’.
Qin Feng also knew that the other missing people in the town were killed by Zhou Xiaoyun so he couldn’t stop it.
In this way, the two sides tacitly used the public opinion of a powerful ghost seeking lives to kill people separately.
The more Xiao Lou thought about it, the more he felt that this speculation was closer to the truth. He looked at Yu Hanjiang and said, “After the famine, Zhou Xiaoyun and Qi Ran left Qingfeng Town with Uncle Ren to escape the Hound group. Chief Shao and Ye Qi couldn’t stay with these people for over 10 years so there is no information on what happened to them. My guess is that Zhou Xiaoyun went through something related to red clothes and long hair.”
Yu Hanjiang agreed. “For example, her hair was cut off or she met a loved one but suffered an accident that led to her psychological distortion when they got married. After returning to Qingfeng Town, Qi Ran only targeted the relatives of those who killed their grandmother. Meanwhile, Zhou Xiaoyun was disgusted by beauties with long hair so she vented her anger by killing them.”
These three people were really similar to each other.
Only Qin Feng didn’t participate in the killings because he had been separated from them for many years and wasn’t affected by their hostility.
Xiao Lou sighed softly.
The grandmother who adopted the children 20 years ago was undoubtedly a kind-hearted person. She provided food and clothing for the children and taught them how to survive. In order to save the children, she even had her hands and feet cut off and died in extreme pain.
She probably never would’ve thought that the children she adopted would later become completely crooked and turn into murderous demons.
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality