They were so busy chatting that before they knew it, it was already 12 o’clock. Dong Zheng guessed that it was almost time for Fix to come in and adjust the clock, so he asked Cui Zuojing to go back to the prisoner space first.
That night, there was a large rainstorm. It slapped against the windows and dyed the small town a gloomy color.
Dong Zheng gave himself a six o’clock alarm, and after the alarm went off, he quickly woke up, dressed, washed, and went to sit in the living room to wait.
Because of the rain, the sky was still very dark. Lightning pierced the night sky from time to time, creating white afterimages that flashed across his retinas.
He didn’t turn on the light, opting to sit on the sofa in the dark. So, Ficks came back that night at around 6:10, empty-handed and covered in rain. He turned on the light, saw Dong Zheng, and jumped in fright.
But then Ficks quickly pretended that nothing happened and said, “Why did you wake up so early?”
“The thunder woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep afterward.” Dong Zheng got up and went to the doorway to help Ficks, who was soaked from head to toe. Pretending to be confused, he said, “It rained all night. Why didn’t you take an umbrella with you?”
A slight, unnatural express flitted across Ficks face. When he had left around midnight, it wasn’t even raining yet. He could only reply, “Something happened in the rain, and so I lost the umbrella.”
Dong Zheng threw Ficks’ wet jacket into the basket of clothes that needed to be washed. When he looked back, he noticed that the pool of water that had accumulated on the floor at Ficks feet had a faint red glow; it was clearly blood.
Dong Zheng let out an “Ah” and hurriedly asked, “Where did you get hurt? What happened? There’s blood down there.”
When he realized that he couldn’t hide it, Ficks stopped trying. He took off his shirt, revealing the obvious wound on his left arm.
“On the road, I took a fall when my umbrella was blown away and ended up getting hurt.” Ficks turned his head and looked at the wound. “There’s a medical kit in the TV cabinet. Help me get it.”
Dong Zheng took out the medical kit and helped Ficks treat his wound. Luckily, the contents of the medical kit in the 1990s was similar to what he was familiar with. From the neatness of the cut, he could determine at a glance that it was created by something sharp.
He sterilized it with iodine and, seeing that it wasn’t bleeding too much, he simply bandaged it up with gauze.
After he was done, he went to the bathroom and took out two clean towels. Throwing them to Ficks, he said, “Wipe your body down quickly. It’s chilly, you might catch a cold.”
Ficks murmured an acknowledgement and began to wipe off the water from his body and his hair. As he did so, he stared into the distance, as if he was mulling over something difficult.
“Did you fall nearby?”
“Ah, yes.” Ficks recovered and smiled at him. “I’m going to take a bath. It’s a bit too cold.”
“You should play more attention to safety next time you go out. It’s not peaceful recently.” Dong Zheng put the medical kit away. “Mmn, you should go and get warmed up quickly. I’ll make breakfast today.”
Ficks agreed and walked out of the living room.
After Ficks disappeared around the corner, Dong Zheng silently withdrew his gaze. Ficks wasn’t young anymore, and the skin around his body was a little loose. However, Dong Zheng could still see traces of muscles on his body, along with numerous deep and shallow scars. Other than that, he looked clean and had no tattoos.
Dong Zheng rubbed the tip of his nose with his index finger. After taking into consideration Ficks recent abnormal behavior, he had a whole new conjecture.
He still had to make breakfast. He hadn’t worked in the kitchen since Lillian joined them in the castle. Until now.
Ficks didn’t bring anything back so when Dong Zheng looked in the refrigerator, he didn’t see any meat. There were only some vegetables left, which made him breathe a sigh of relief.
Finally, he didn’t have to come up with an excuse not to eat the meat.
Even if the sky was blocked by dark clouds, as time passed, it gradually brightened. Dong Zheng finished his work in the kitchen, wiped his hands, and brought the simple breakfast to the table. He happened to see Ficks come out from the basement door and locked the door with his back to him.
Ficks turned around, saw Dong Zheng looking at him, and quickly explained, “I just went down to get some things.”
That was like putting up a sign that said ‘There’s no silver here.’ Dong Zheng asked, “Were you able to get it? If not, I can help.”
“No, I’ve already finished.”
Dong Zheng nodded and no longer mentioned the basement. They sat at the table and began to eat breakfast.
“By the way, the clock in my room seems to be broken. It’s almost six hours ahead.”
“I’ll fix it tomorrow when I fix the clock in the living room.”
Dong Zheng heard this and knew that Ficks would no longer adjust the clock in his room.
Halfway through the meal, he casually asked, “Have you suffered a lot of injuries before? There are so many scars on your body.”
Ficks said, “I used to travel a lot when I was younger, and did a lot of things. It was only in these last few years that I finally decided to settle down and so that’s why I came.”
He didn’t provide a direct answer, likely because it was something he didn’t want others to know.
Dong Zheng didn’t seem to be suspicious. His only response was, “Looking at the rainstorm, it probably won’t stop for a while. I don’t know what will happen today.”
“Nothing should happen today.” Ficks lowered his head, and because he was still chewing, the words that came out of his mouth were a little unclear. “So many people have died already. The police have come down so many times, they now have eyes everywhere. Even if you’re a wild killer, you won’t move your hands so impetiously.”
Dong Zheng said, “If I were the murderer, I would run away once I see so many officers coming everyday.”
Ficks smiled and said, “Clearly, he thinks it’s more interesting to kill under the nose of the police…”
After he’d finished the last bite of the egg drop soup, he put down the bowl and said, “I really didn’t think you would be a pretty good cook. Was it before you got rich?”
“Before I got rich, I also had to look after myself,” Dong Zheng replied with a smile.
After the meal, they went back to their own respective room. Cui Zuojing laid on the bed in the prisoner space, watching what was happening to Dong Zheng as if he was watching a movie. He said, “Is he also suspicious of you?”
“Seems so.” Dong Zheng let Cui Zuojing out and opened the window, allowing the misty breeze into the room. “I’ve tried my best to perform, but I must have neglected something. Ficks isn’t a careless person. He would definitely notice.”
As expected, it rained all day.
Ficks slept until the afternoon, and Dong Zheng ate lunch himself. When they met again, it was already dinner time. Dong Zheng came out of his room and saw Ficks sitting on the sofa with a small silver thing on the coffee table in front of him.
Ficks saw Dong Zheng come out and threw the thing at him. “Keep this with you all the time.”
“What for?” Dong Zheng looked down at the item in his hand and realized that it was a cross.
“Just keep it.” Ficks stood up and went into the kitchen. “What to eat tonight?”
Dong Zheng put the cross in his pocket, thinking: Does Ficks also believe the murders were due to George taking revenge?
As he prepared dinner, Ficks told Dong Zheng, “Mr. Ferdinand will hold a memorial service tomorrow. I’ll be attending. Do you want to stay home alone or go with me?”
“I’ll go with you.” When Dong Zheng heard this, he knew that the plot was finally moving on to the next stage. “If everyone is going to the memorial service, I’ll feel a little embarrassed if I stay home by myself.”
“Alright,” Ficks agreed. “Prepare your clothes, and you can go with me tomorrow.”
Ficks didn’t bring home the newspaper that day, but there were no police cars in town, so it was likely that no one died.
Dong Zheng was sure that the police had set up surveillance everywhere by this point, even though hadn’t noticed anything himself. However, although he didn’t know how western police handle cases in this era, he knew that they would definitely not ignore serious cases like this vicious serial killing.
George’s memorial service was held in Ferdinand’s mansion. Except for those who had already moved out of town, almost all the residents of the town of Wisteria came.
Ferdinand’s mansion was almost like a palace. Dong Zheng stood at the door and looked at the looming tower in the middle of the building. He suddenly realized that this was the tower he’d seen everyday when he opened the window from his bedroom.
In addition to the residents of Wisteria, Ferdinand’s relatives and friends were also in attendance, pulling the number up to about two hundred people. The butler and servants lead the guests to the living room and recorded the gifts that were given.
Dong Zheng saw Ficks gave the servant the box he’d brought along under his arm to the servant. He didn’t know what was inside, but knowing Ficks character, he didn’t think it would be something too exquisite.
Ferdinand’s living room was as large as a banquet hall and wasn’t crowded at all despite the two hundred people. He’d probably held all kinds of gatherings here in the past.
Some police officers in charge of security work stayed outside, but didn’t enter the house. There must also be officers in plain clothes mixed in with the crowd.
During this period, almost no one went outside, so Dong Zheng hadn’t met most of the people in town and wasn’t familiar with them. However, there was always someone greeting Ficks, making it seem like he was well-liked.
When they greeted Ficks, they were curious about Dong Zheng, as expected, since Ficks brought him along. Ficks only introduced Dong Zheng as a friend temporarily staying with him and didn’t say anything else.
After everyone had greeted each other and there weren’t very many people around, Ficks asked Dong Zheng in a low voice, “Did you bring that thing?”
Dong Zheng said, “Brought it.”
He nodded and stopped talking.
As the host of the memorial service, Mr. Ferdinand soon came down. This was the first time Dong Zheng had seen this key figure that was at the center of the plot. He was 56 years old with the typical pale face, gray hair, and a sturdy body. However, with the loss of his beloved son, his mental condition wasn’t very good.
Next to him was a man about 30 years old who looked quite ordinary but dressed luxuriously. Together with Ferdinand’s personal servant, he helped him to the stage.
As if he could sense Dong Zheng’s doubts, Ficks explained in a low voice, “This is Mons, Mr. Ferdinand’s adopted eldest son. He’s 30 years old this year.”
“He doesn’t seem to be grieving.”
Ficks was noncommittal. “Who knows.”
Ferdinand spoke, thanking everyone for taking the time to come to this memorial service, saying how lovely his youngest son George was, and expressing his heartache and nostalgia. He hoped that the police would find that murderer who killed George as soon as possible.
Dong Zheng looked around as he listened. There was a black and white photo of George on the wall in the hall. He was indeed a cute child, smiling brilliantly at the camera.
Ferdinand was unmarried, and George’s biological mother wasn’t present. There was only Mons and Ferdinand’s personal servant standing beside him.
Dong Zheng secretly and carefully observed those two people, and he suddenly realized that the male servant’s right white gloved hand was slightly bulky, as if there was something else in the glove.
For example, gauze.