“Just call me Mead.” His remarks really resonated with the auntie. She sighed. “Who said so? I actually want to move away.”
Dong Zheng said, “Mr. Ferdinand’s child was the first case. I don’t know when the police will be able to catch that nasty murderer.”
“Yes,” Mrs. Mead said. “George is such a good child. How could this happen to him…? Yesterday, Mr. Ferdinand said that if the murderer isn’t caught, George will not be at peace and cannot be buried.”
They silently watched as police officers entered and exited the house next door. Old Ford sat on the doorstep with his head bowed, wiping his tears.
After a while, Dong Zheng asked, “How long has it been since Mr. Ficks moved here?”
“Him? He’s been here for seven to eight years.”
“Do you know what he did before?”
Mrs. Mead immediately cast a suspicious glance at him. Dong Zheng let out a “hey”, and explained with a smile, “He and I were friends when we were young, but we hadn’t seen each other for many years. I don’t know much about his past, and it’s hard to ask him directly, so I can only ask you about it.”
Maybe it was because of Dong Zheng’s sincere and trustworthy appearance, but Mrs. Mead finally answered him, “He stopped working when he came here. We don’t know what he did before he moved in.”
Okay. This excursion wasn’t completely useless. After thanking Mrs. Mead, Dong Zheng left.
As for the Ford’s case, he would soon learn more about it through the newspaper. When Dong Zheng returned to the house, he noticed that Ficks garden was a little barren compared to other houses. He probably never took care of it properly.
Dong Zheng didn’t find any useful information in the garden. After returning to his room, he fell into thinking.
“What are you thinking?” Cui Zuojing asked. After he said he would let Dong Zheng go through the instance alone, he never told Dong Zheng what his thoughts were—In fact, he didn’t think he could think of anything that Dong Zheng hadn’t already thought of.
“These clues are still not enough.” Dong Zheng sat on the side of the bed. “I need to go to the rich man’s house and to search Ficks’ bedroom.”
“What about the basement?” Cui Zuojing asked. “If he reminded you not to go to the basement then the basement has a problem.”
“If I hastily went down there to explore, I’m afraid I’ll die here.” Dong Zheng rubbed his fingers against his pants. “Would you like to come out to accompany me for a while?”
Cui Zuojing scoffed. “What’s the point of me coming out?”
“Aren’t you bored staying in the prisoner space for so long?”
All it took was one poke from Dong Zheng before Cui Zuojing’s tolerance reached its peak. He thought for a second and came out from the prisoner space.
Cui Zuojing had never liked staying in the prisoner space. He stood by the window and looked out. The window was opened, and the cool autumn breeze blew against him, dispelling his depression until there was no trace of it left.
“It would be interesting if Ficks came in suddenly at this moment.”
“No, he should be sleeping until afternoon.” Dong Zheng laid back on the bed, thinking about all the clues he’d gathered so far.
Remembering that he hadn’t read today’s newspaper, Dong Zheng went to the living room to fetch it. The headline was still focused on the police’s progress with the case. They gave the mysterious serial killer a code name, L.
L for Left Hand?
Dong Zheng shook his head and put the newspaper back in its place.
Cui Zuojing was inspecting the room curiously. He found the outlines of the picture frames on the wall and looked at the vases gathering dust in the corners. He didn’t say anything.
“Is this really horse meat?” Cui Zuojing opened the refrigerator and asked.
Dong Zheng said, “I don’t know.”
“Anyway, whether it is or not, you’ve already eaten it on the first day.” Cui Zuojing looked back at him, smiling like a little devil. “Speaking of which, I really want to taste the taste of human flesh.”
“There is still some soup left in the pot. If you want to, you can try it.”
Cui Zuojing pulled his mouth, and afraid of waking Ficks, gently closed the refrigerator door. He muttered, “You’re so boring.”
Dong Zheng laughed and said, “I’m just trying my best to satisfy your wish.”
“So devious.” Cui Zuojing fell on the sofa and sighed quietly. “How about you speed up and clear the instance? It’s too boring. I want to go out.”
“Bored?” Dong Zheng stood behind the sofa. He managed to reach out and pinch Cui Zuojing’s face before his hand was slapped away. “Are you bored looking at me?”
Cui Zuojing made a face at him and reached out to press the small coat of arm on the back of Dong Zheng’s hand. “I’ll go. I won’t delay you from doing business.”
The soft sensation of Cui Zuojing’s cheek still lingered on Dong Zheng’s fingertips. Dong Zheng rubbed his fingers together and went back to his bedroom. He looked at the clock and chose to jump to the next plot point.
What he saw this time was still a dark room.
Then, there came the sound of Ficks leaving the house. The clock on the wall was still at 5 o’clock in the morning, and a prompt appeared, asking him if he wanted to make a plot jump.
But this time, Dong Zheng decided to no longer skip forward in time. He sat on the bed and waited patiently, looking at the few text messages on the phone. There was even a notepad that was unique to this era. On his square-shaped mobile phone, he entered the clues he’d obtained one by one into the notepad.
Time passed minute by minute and second by second.
The clock on the wall was already pointing at half past six. By this time, Ficks would have already returned home and started cooking dinner. But now, it was still pitched black outside the window, and there were no movements in the kitchen.
Dong Zheng closed the phone and put it in his pocket. He didn’t have the habit of locking the door when he sleeps. Even if he did, Fix could still come and go with a key. After he fell asleep, Ficks must have adjusted the time on his bedroom clock so that he would think that he went out at five o’clock.
After the plot jump, Dong Zheng would wake up to find that it was 6:46 in the morning. Before that, Ficks would only need to adjust the time back to normal.
This was a trap that the box had set for him using the jump function. This would deliberately increase the difficulty in finding clues. As long as he always chose the option to jump plot points, he would never discover this trap.
He suspected that this was the reason why the clock in the living room was taken off…Dong Zheng wasn’t sure if he should continue to try to determine when Ficks left the house or whether he should proceed with jumping to the next plot point.
Since Ficks adjusted the clock, this meant that he should be out for more than one and a half hours. Judging from his need to sleep in the morning, Dong Zheng speculated that he should have gone out at about twelve or one o’clock..
Tomorrow, he would go straight to bed and see exactly what time Ficks left the house.
Dong Zheng made up his mind and jumped to the next plot point.
This day, Ficks made soup as normal. Dong Zheng still said that he wouldn’t eat it. Regardless of whether the meat was eaten for lunch or dinner, he didn’t know what it was. Since he was the one controlling this body, then he couldn’t be indifferent.
“Hey, where’s the clock on the wall?” Dong Zheng asked, staring at the wall.
Fick’s expression was very natural. “Oh, I don’t know why the clock wouldn’t work. I couldn’t find someone to fix it so I took it down temporarily.”
Dong Zheng couldn’t pick out anything wrong with this reasoning so he said, “Or how about I put the clock in my room outside?”
“No need.” Ficks waved his hand. “I’ll fix it in a few days. There’s no point.”
Ficks went back to bed after they were done eating. Dong Zheng looked out the window. There was no one on the street so, even if he went out, he wouldn’t be able to find any useful clues. As a result, he simply went back to his room.
This time, he didn’t choose to jump plot points. Being alone in a room might be unbearably boring to many people. But for Dong Zheng, he took this opportunity to train his ability.
Besides, he wasn’t really alone.
Aftering chatting with Cui Zuojing for a time, Dong Zheng entered his kernel. The door of the floating temple was still closed to him. However, he wasn’t anxious and, instead, focused on sorting the flow of data according to yesterday’s incomplete work schedule.
Since his ability was to digitize thinking, it meant that a lot of computer knowledge and principles could apply. Recently, Dong Zheng had been trying to compress data. As the term suggested, he wanted to gather large amounts of information and archive them in smaller spaces.
If he could do this, his ability to remember information would vastly improve.
But, up to now, this was only limited to an idea. It was unclear how long it would take from the initiation of an idea to the actual realization of said idea.
His kernel world could make him forget the passage of time. When Dong Zheng came out, the sky had already begun to turn dark. He ate very little breakfast and had no lunch. This, combined with his training, resulted in a headache and made him feel very uncomfortable.
He hurriedly walked out of his room and saw Ficks lounging on the balcony, holding a cigarette. He was looking at the setting sun, his gaze heavy. It was unclear what he was thinking about.
There was an obvious sense of loneliness between his eyebrows. Dong Zheng stopped at the door of the living room and slowly frowned.
But soon, he adjusted his expression. He went to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and asked Ficks naturally, “What’s for dinner tonight?”
After dinner, Ficks left everything to Dong Zheng and sat on the sofa to watch TV. Meanwhile, Dong Zheng washed the dishes and chatted with him.
Dong Zheng talked about his past glory and about how, when he fell, there were no other friends who were willing to help him. He wondered out loud if he was a failure of a man. In truth, John’s experience had happened to many people that Dong Zheng knew in real life. Who hadn’t gone wrong in business? There were many examples of defeated generals who couldn’t get up again after a failed investment. Dong Zheng didn’t need to use his imagination to speak truthfully.
Ficks sighed sympathetically along with him. Dong Zheng originally thought that after they chatted, Ficks would reveal a thing or two about his own affairs. But, he didn’t expect that Ficks would remain silent.
However, Dong Zheng didn’t force it. Ficks past should also be the key to exploring the box. Night fell and, after they finished chatting, they each went to their own respective rooms.
Dong Zheng quietly waited for Ficks to go out.
He laid on the bed for a long time and began to doze. Through his dream, he heard someone enter his room. After experiencing so many life and death situations in these boxes, Dong Zheng had become a light sleeper. He awoke immediately.
He increased the data flow to his visual port, strengthening his vision. Through the light streaming in from the hallway, he clearly saw that it was five minutes before one o’clock in the morning.
Ficks carefully took the clock down, set the time to five o’clock, hung the clock back up, and looked at Dong Zheng to make sure he wasn’t awake. Then, he left the bedroom and closed the door behind him.
Finally caught you.
Dong Zheng let out a long sigh of relief. Ficks stayed out from one in the morning to half past six. He’ll be damned if this wasn’t a problem.
Although he couldn’t directly follow, he now knew the timeframe in which Ficks was gone.
Dong Zheng closed his eyes, still deciding not to jump plot points. After waiting up for so long, he needed a real rest.