Ficks was hurriedly coming down from the third floor. When he saw Dong Zheng in the big mirror, he paused, and then acting as if nothing had happened, continued to walk downstairs.
“Why are you here?” Ficks asked.
Dong Zheng listened to his words without question, and he became more certain of the guess in his heart. “I want to ask you this too. I thought guests are restricted to the first floor?”
“I sneaked up.”
As Ficks walked toward him, Dong Zheng looked at the large mirror and heard the voices of servants talking from the corridor on the second floor. He took a step back, turned around, and walked back down with Ficks.
“Do you still have that thing I gave you?”
“I have it.” Dong Zheng roughly understood why Ficks had to make sure that he still carried the cross. There were so many signs of witchcraft on the second floor. The so-called rumor of George coming back as a ghost probably wasn’t a rumor.
Once they reached the first floor, Ficks said, “You can just walk by yourself, but remember not to go down to the basement.”
Dong Zheng looked at Ficks questioningly, but Ficks didn’t want to say anymore. He simply shrugged his shoulders at him and left.
Wouldn’t this be leading him to the basement on purpose…?
What was Ficks trying to remind him?
Ficks quickly disappeared in the crowd. After some deliberation, Dong Zheng went to look for the entrance to the basement.
Dong Zheng didn’t know much about the structure of western mansions in this era, but if there was a hidden basement, the entrance could not possibly be in a crowded place.
He went to places with the least amount of people. The main building wasn’t the only one that was occupied on the first floor. Those friends of Ferdinand were all gathered elsewhere, probably talking about business matters with the owner.
Dong Zheng turned to the building on the left. This side was probably the servants quarter, and there were a few guests milling around, so when Dong Zheng came over, no one cared.
A majority of the doors were tightly closed and so Dong Zheng wandered for a long time, analyzing those doors and trying to determine which of them was the basement door.
He even increased the data flow in his auditory port to the maximum level in an attempt to hear the smallest noises.
In the end, the quarrel in the next room exploded into Dong Zheng’s head and he had to give up this move.
Cui Zuojing said, “Why do you have to find the basement?”
Dong Zheng replied, “Since Ficks said that, there must be a problem with it.”
“Aren’t you afraid that he would cheat you?”
Dong Zheng smiled and shook his head. He found another door to check. It looked like it might be a basement door and was tucked in an inconspicuous corner, locked.
Forget it. If he couldn’t find it now, then he would just return later.
Dong Zheng casually found a chair in the next room and sat down. Since he’d already found the black car in Ferdinand’s house, it was already a fairly good harvest.
As Dong Zheng sat there, he suddenly heard the faint sound of someone stepping up the wooden stairs, and he immediately became alert.
In the next moment, the door in the corner opened, and Ferdinand’s personal servant walked out from the inside with a flashlight in his hand. This, combined with the slightly mottled and dark corner of the wall exposed through the door, Dong Zheng was certain that this was the basement.
The manservant didn’t notice Dong Zheng and turned to lock the door with a key before leaving through another door.
He’d taken off his gloves, and there was gauze wrapped around his right hand.
Now that he’d found out where the basement was, Dong Zheng had no other thoughts for the time being. Although he didn’t know why, this manservant’s suspicious appearance obviously meant there was something wrong with him.
He left the wing.
Walking along the promenade, Dong Zheng thought about the traces of witchcraft he’d seen on the second floor, and suddenly a person walked towards him.
Dong Zheng recognized Mons, the adopted son of Mr. Ferdinand. But, Mons face suddenly changed when he suddenly saw Dong Zheng, as if he’d seen a ghost.
“John, why are you here?”
Mons knew “him”?
Dong Zheng reacted in a split second. Since John was once a wealthy man from the upper class, it was normal that he would know Mons, who was the son of a wealthy family.
He stood, unmoving. He didn’t know the current relationship between John and Mons and so he could only smile at him and say nothing.
Mons panicked all of a sudden. He seemed to be out of his wits. He hurriedly walked up to Dong Zheng, leaned in, and said in a low voice, “It’s really not me. It’s really not me. George saw that gun and insisted on having it. I gave it to him a long time ago. It really has nothing to do with me.”
The gun that George used to commit suicide?
Dong Zheng realized that this was another important clue, so he lowered his head, put his hands in his pockets and stared at the toe of his shoes for a few seconds. Then raised his head and said to Mons, “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything. After all, I’m just a down-and-out bankrupted businessman, temporarily staying at his friend’s house.”
Dong Zheng knew exactly what kind of physical reactions that would give the other person a sense of pressure. Sure enough, Mons became even more panicked. He stared at him with bloodshot eyes. Then, he grabbed Dong Zheng’s shoulder hard and said, “It’s really not me. Right now, everyone, the police, those neighbors, and my father, everyone, everyone suspects me, but it’s really not me!”
“It’s useless for you to tell me these things. I only learned about your family’s affairs after I came here.” Dong Zheng moved his hands away and said, “I’m very sorry about what happened to George. I heard that he was a very cute and well-behaved child. If they can, I hope they will catch the murderer as soon as possible, so that you can avenge your brother and clear your grievances. How great would that be.”
Mons stared at Dong Zheng in a daze. He slowly let go, as if he didn’t recognize him anymore.
“You weren’t like this before, John,” he murmured. “You’ve never talked to me like this before. You also don’t believe me?”
“Don’t be like this, Mons. I believe you. That’s why I said what I said.” Dong Zheng could see that this person had reached the level of paranoia. No matter what he said, it would become something suspicious in Mons ears. “I have something else to do, so I’ll go ahead. But, you shouldn’t get too nervous. If you didn’t do it, you don’t have to worry that you’ll be wronged. Sooner or later, the police will prove that you’re innocent.”
Having said this, he left quickly. He turned the corner, stopped, and secretly looked back.
Mons was still standing where he’d left him, thinking about some unknown thing.
This meant that the gun George had used to commit “suicide” was given to him by Mons, and this gun looked unique. Otherwise, Mons wouldn’t be so sure that he would recognize it by looking at a photo in the newspaper.
Until now, Dong Zheng still wasn’t sure what exactly the box wanted him to explore. Was it the truth about George’s death? Now that the police had taken over it, he had no clues at all.
Or, was he supposed to solve the serial killings? At present, the clues he could find seemed completely unlinked.
At present, the only person Dong Zheng was certain about Ficks alone.
The memorial service ended in the evening. When he was about to leave, Dong Zheng met up with Ficks again, and they went home together.
When he got home, Dong Zheng pretended to casually say, “When do you think the murderer will be caught? This has been going on for ten days or so, and it’s causing quite a panic.”
Ficks changed his shoes and pulled the curtains to block the room from the darkness outside, his back to Dong Zheng. Then, he gathered up the clothes he’d left on the sofa last night and said, “Soon.”
That night, Ficks didn’t go out.
Since Ficks didn’t go out, he didn’t bring back fresh “horse meat.” However, there was still leftover meat from yesterday in the fridge. He cooked a pot of soup as usual, but this time, Dong Zheng didn’t come up with a reason to refuse.
Nothing important happened all day. Ficks stayed in the basement for a long time. This time, he didn’t try to hide this from Dong Zheng and simply unlocked the basement door and went in.
At 12:30 midnight, there was the sound of Ficks coming out of the master bedroom. As usual, he went to the living room for a glass of water and went to the bathroom.
He didn’t try to adjust the time on Dong Zheng’s bedroom clock. The series of movements as he prepared to go out seemed to be louder than usual. Even if Dong Zheng was really asleep, the noises might have woken him up.
But Dong Zheng was already awake.
Today, Ficks anomaly already told Dong Zheng that something unusual would happen. Dong Zheng was already prepared. Now he just had to wait.
He immediately got up from the bed, put on his clothes, and told Cui Zuojing, who was sleeping next to him, “I think that if the situation goes well, it might be over today.”
“Mmn?” Cui Zuojing laid on the bed, hugging Dong Zheng’s pillow. He sounded drowsy. He’d originally come out to play cards with Dong Zheng, but he got sleepy while playing and ended up closing his eyes and falling asleep next to Dong Zheng.
Cui Zuojing’s cheeks had the imprint of the pillow. His sleeves had gathered up to his elbows, revealing pale, thin forearms. Even a large part of his waist was exposed.
“What’s the matter…” he asked dazedly.
“I mean that if there’s no accident, the box should be over soon.” Dong Zheng put on his coat, and seeing that Cui Zuojing still hadn’t woken from his tired daze, he couldn’t help but knelt on the bed on one knee and leaned down to press a quick kiss to his cheek.
“Hmm!” Cui Zuojing wrinkled his face and slowly turned to hide, still unwilling to open his eyes.
Dong Zheng laughed. “Go back to sleep. The prisoner space is more comfortable.”
“That won’t do. If the final climax comes, I’ll have to keep an eye on you at all times.” Cui Zuojing turned over, rubbed his eyes, and patted Dong Zheng’s chest. “I’ll go back. You should hurry up. Otherwise, you won’t find someone else’s shadow anymore and won’t know where to go.”
“Okay.” Cui Zuojing’s figure disappeared before his eyes and reappeared in the prisoner space in his consciousness. Dong Zheng took a deep breath, took a deboning knife from the kitchen, inserted it into his waistband, and went out.
Even after a few days of rain, the weather still hadn’t gotten better. The dark clouds covered the moon, and Ficks was nowhere in sight. Dong Zheng walked out into the dark and turned his head to look at the tower of Ferdinand’s home in the distance.
The street was empty, and the windows of every house was dark. Dong Zheng stuck to the corners and passed under the dim street lights, walking through this unstable town heading toward Ferdinand’s house.
Although it didn’t look very far, the distance was nearly 20 minutes by foot. After the incident with George, security was strengthened by quite a lot, and there were always people guarding the gate.
In the night, when people were most sleepy, there were still one or two guards left. Dong Zheng looked at the tired guard who kept nodding off into a doze. He picked up a stone from the ground and threw it far away.
The noise alarmed the dozing guard. He rubbed his eyes and looked around vigilantly for a while before finally going over to check the situation with some trepidation. Obviously, the recent murders had also made him uneasy.
Dong Zheng took the opportunity to sneak in.