This servant looked to be in his thirties, with an upright face and a strong body. He stood respectfully behind Ferdinand. With the three of them standing together, if he hadn’t been distinguished by his clothes, he would seem more like Ferdinand’s eldest son than Mons.
“I heard that George was the child that this gentleman was finally able to have after much effort?” Dong Zheng asked Ficks in a low voice.
Ficks sighed and said, “That’s why he’s having such a hard time accepting it. Anyone would find it hard to accept.”
Ferdinand already struggled to have this child. At his current age, it would be impossible for him to beget another child and cultivate it as his heir.
Dong Zheng realized that Ficks wasn’t hesitating in telling him information about Ferdinand’s family. He was being sneaky and had deliberately prevented Dong Zheng from discovering that he was going out in the middle of night, but he hadn’t avoided talking about the these murder cases.
When it was time for them to pay their respects to the deceased, Ferdinand quickly left the hall. As the host, he should have stayed to listen to other comments about George’s life.
But no one seemed to mind; everyone understood the father’s feelings very well.
Judging from the atmosphere of the memorial service and the attitude of the residents, they still liked this gentleman. As the newspaper said, Ferdinand had funded and helped the town of Wisteria repair several roads and was keen on charity.
At some point, Ficks had left, but Dong Zheng didn’t want to find him. With no one around, he could better explore the house.
Except for the first floor that was opened for the memorial service, the rest of the mansion was not open to others, and the doors were tightly locked.
Taking advantage of the servant’s negligence, Dong Zheng sneaked up to the second floor. There was a fairly large oval mirror hanging on the wall facing the stairs. This allowed the person in the hall to see who was coming upstairs at a glance. If two people were approaching each other at the same time…the mirror would reveal their movements step by step.
This layout was not only awkward, but it also imperceptibly revealed evil influences. Dong Zheng stood sideways out of the mirror’s perception and noticed the dense patterns on the frame.
The patterns were completely different from those used for decorations. The carvings were very abstract and seemed to outline distorted human figures. Dong Zheng hurriedly glanced at it without taking a closer look. At this moment, he was sneaking upstairs and could be discovered at any moment. He needed to take this time to hurry up and explored other places.
The doors of the rooms on both sides of the corridor were mostly closed, and on each door hung a small purple bag. Dong Zheng stretched out his hand and squeezed it, noting the fragmented touch.
He leaned forward again and carefully took in a small sniff. A very peculiar fragrance drifted up to his nose, immediately making him feel nauseous. Feeling dizzy, he quickly took a few steps back.
Even so, the smell lingered. Dong Zheng frowned and took a few deep breaths of normal air, but he still couldn’t suppress the nausea.
By hanging this thing on the door, wasn’t this family afraid of being scented to death?
Even as Dong Zheng thought this, he moved on and continued to explore quietly.
He walked to the entrance hall at the end of the corridor, which was connected to a room decorated like a lounge. Next to the table were two luxurious wooden chairs, one of which had a large blood stain on it. The silhouette of a human figure was marked on top of the table.
Little George probably swallowed a gun to commit suicide here.
The police likely requested that the scene of the crime be kept well preserved. However, more than ten days had already passed since the incident and since the crime scene had already been thoroughly investigated, there was no purpose in guarding the room.
Interestingly, a strange statue sat on the chair. The humanoid statue was about 20 centimeters tall with arms encircled around itself. The statue’s head was rectangular and was so large that it was about one third of its size. It wore a necklace that was painted with a few strokes of dark red and dark green paint.
“Witchcraft?” Dong Zheng murmured, “Is it used to suppress George’s wronged soul?”
No one could answer him, but Cui Zuojing asked in the prisoner space, “Do you think there are supernatural elements in this instance?”
“It’s hard to say.” Dong Zheng chuckled and added, “If it is, I hope you won’t look at me.”
After saying this, he moved to the window and looked out. Below was the inner courtyard of the garden, which was surrounded by the mansion and could not be seen from outside.
The plants in the garden seemed to be well taken care of, and there was even a small fountain spraying water in the middle of the courtyard. Dong Zheng leaned against the wall and peered out, so as not to be seen by the people outside.
A black object was hidden in the shadow of a tree and only the corner could be seen. It seemed to be a black car.
There shouldn’t be many people driving in this town.
Dong Zheng decided to go down and see if it was the car that killed that person the other day and left the crime scene. He’d just turned the corner and was about to go downstairs when he ran into a maid who was coming up.
The maid kindly reminded him, “Sir, the memorial service is only held on the first floor. The rest of the other floors aren’t open to guests.”
“Sorry, this house is too big. I was looking for the bathroom but didn’t expect to get lost. I didn’t mean to come up deliberately.” Dong Zheng played the image of a restrained and sincere guest. “Can I ask where the bathroom is?”
“I’ll take you there.”
Back on the first floor, they passed through people talking to each other. George, as the son of a wealthy business, wasn’t old enough and naturally hadn’t met many people. Therefore, after saying a few words about him, the topic inevitably shifted to the chaotic, dark clouds that had been shrouding the town of Wisteria in recent days–the serial murders.
“Is the murderer someone from our town? I haven’t seen anyone move in recently.”
“Yes, didn’t a friend just move in with Ficks?”
The speaker caught a glimpse of Dong Zheng passing by, immediately became silent, and smiled at him.
Dong Zheng returned her smile. To be honest, he never thought that the residents of Wisteria would doubt their own. After all, to pilgrims, aside from the key characters, the NPCs in the box were simply made up elements and nothing more.
He walked past the two people.
However, he needed to be more careful. If he were resident of Wisteria, he would definitely doubt anyone who’d recently moved in during this particular period.
The inner courtyard was also closed to guests. After ensuring that there was no one present, Dong Zheng opened the window in the bathroom and climbed out. He landed in the bushes and used the apple tree to conceal his figure.
He hid behind the tree and waited for servants to pass by before sneaking closer to the spot he’d seen from the second floor.
The car was parked in a very hidden location. If Dong Zheng hadn’t gone to the second floor, it wouldn’t be visible from the windows in the hall on the first floor.
If he had to bet on it, Dong Zheng was almost certain that it was the hit-and-run vehicle from that day. Although he’d only caught a glimpse of it, his ability to remember things was significantly stronger after his kernel improved. He could still remember every detail up to now.
Based on the position of the pedestrian lying in when he was hit and killed, the left wheel ran over the person’s left after knocking him to the ground. Dong Zheng checked the tires carefully and finally saw a small speck of blood stain that hadn’t managed to be cleaned off.
It was definitely that car.
Thinking about how the body had disappeared later and Ficks phrase “Who knows? Maybe someone stole it,” Dong Zheng sucked in a breath and kept his eyes on the rear door to ensure that there was no one around.
The indistinct sounds of noisy conversations came from inside the house. Dong Zheng looked around and finally discovered a small bit of blood at the lower end of the rear car door.
Having found the clue he wanted, Dong Zheng didn’t delay for a moment longer. He immediately turned around and followed the same path to the bathroom. Then, after wiping off the mud from the floor, he left the bathroom and returned to the hall.
After the accident, the person in the car had taken advantage of people’s inattention to return to the scene of the accident, put the body in the back seat, and brought it back.
Back to this house.
Why did they want the corpse? And who ordered the person to bring the body back? Was it Ferdinand or Mons?
Dong Zheng took a glass of lemonade from the table. He didn’t know where Ficks went, had no acquaintance, and knew little about George so he couldn’t mourn. He could only silently eavesdrop to the conversation around him.
Most of what they were saying were anecdotes from neighbors to neighbors. With something so major happening, everyone had avoided visiting each other. As a result, they used this opportunity to exchange gossip with one another.
In the end, all topics inevitably shifted to the homicides.
“Why did that murderer take away all the corpses’ left hand?”
“Doesn’t this mean that George’s soul has come back to get revenge?”
“You really believe this. Hey, but then again, why would George…want their left hand? Is there something special about it?”
“I don’t know… But do you remember? When George was ten years old, he was playing in the yard with Bailey’s children and accidentally fell from a tree and broke his left hand. It had to be operated on and took a long time to recover. It seemed that since then, the little finger on his left hand hadn’t worked well.”
“Could it be related to this?”
“Who knows. It’s a pity that this happened to such a clever child. But this serial killer is really powerful. Even after killing so many people in a row and the police came so many times, he still hadn’t been caught.”
George’s left him underwent surgery?
Dong Zheng noted down this clue, unsure if it would be useful or not. He felt that the box wouldn’t require that he solve the mystery of George’s death. After all, up to now, he had no contact with the police and was unable to obtain any insider clues.
He listened for a while, but discovered no other useful information. The clues provided by ordinary residents were extremely limited. With nothing better to do, Dong Zheng began wandering around.
Based on the idea of ‘unfamiliar at first, but well accustomed soon enough,’ Dong Zheng planned to go back to the second floor and look for clues he might have missed the first time. He’d just walked up the stairs and hadn’t yet reached the second floor when he looked in the mirror and saw a familiar figure that had been missing all this time.