IWOL Chapter 159: Two Choices

The dark environment made it easy to feel apprehensive. Not to mention that there were so many traces of witchcraft around. The smell emanating from the sachet also made Dong Zheng feel dizzy. He found a key and opened the door to a room that predictably had a rotting body inside of it. 

This body should be one of the two missing residents. The corpse’s left hand had disappeared, indicating that it had obviously been taken as a sacrifice.

By now, Dong Zheng already knew part of the truth about the murder–Ferdinand was unable to accept the fact that his son was lost. He invited a witch to resurrect George, and after learning that he would need nine sacrifices, he sent his personal servant to carry out the killing.

The smell of the corpse in the room was unbearable. Dong Zheng quickly retreated and walked to the end of the corridor, where he suddenly found a concealed door with faint lights and small noises coming from it.

Dong Zheng narrowed his eyes and pushed the door open. A man was in the middle of  rummaging through a pile of debris. Hearing someone come in, he straightened, holding a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other. 

It was Ficks, who had been sneaking out almost every night.

“I really didn’t expect you to come here.” Seeing that it was Dong Zheng, Ficks’ tightly furrowed brows relaxed.

Dong Zheng said, “Obviously. You can’t hide these little tricks from me.”

Ficks nodded. Then, in the next second, he stared at Dong Zheng with a sharp expression. He raised the gun in his hand, the black hole of the muzzle aimed right at Dong Zheng. 

All of this happened so suddenly. Just as the bullet was about to be fired from the muzzle, time suddenly froze.

A panel appeared in front of Dong Zheng, giving him two choices.

[Shoot back] 

[Stay still] 

A ten-second countdown began to quickly tick down the time, leaving Dong Zheng only ten short seconds to decide.

Should he raise the gun in his hand to fight back in self-defense, or should he stay still and allow the bullet to shoot over?

With four seconds left in the countdown, Dong Zheng made his choice. 

He chose [Stay still]. 

Fire burst from the muzzle, and a bullet shot out. The recoil made Ficks body shake. His blue eyes were trained on Dong Zheng, hiding an unreadable emotion.

Dong Zheng didn’t move. 

The bullet shot right past his face, creating a strong wind that cut across his cheek. In the next instant, the bullet hit the manservant that was standing behind Dong Zheng, his gun raised to shoot.

Suddenly regaining control of his body, Dong Zheng whirled around and saw the servant on the ground, holding his shoulder and howling in pain. 

Holding the gun with both hands, Ficks approached the servant step by step until he finally stopped not far from Dong Zheng and said coldly, “It’s a pity, Mr. Cyril. You’ve been arrested.”

***********

Six police cars were parked outside, their flashing police lights many times more dazzling than the street lights. The police found three bodies and a total of eight left hands from the basement. They had been lying in wait when they heard gunfire and immediately swarmed in to arrest Ferdinand, Mons, the servant, and the witch. 

Dong Zheng and Ficks stood together in the yard, silently relieved as they watched police officers enter and exited the gorgeous mansion, carrying out corpses. 

Ficks held a cigarette in his mouth and offered another one to Dong Zheng, asking, “Do you want to smoke?”

Dong Zheng didn’t refuse. However, he just bit it between his lips and didn’t light it. 

“It’s over.”

“Yeah.” Ficks took a long puff of smoke, pinched his eyebrows wearily, and sighed in a low voice. “It’s finally over.”

The servant, Cyril, had long suspected that someone was tailing him and had sneaked into the basement. He deliberately pretended to leave with the witch, but had in fact secretly double back, carrying a handgun. He was ready to kill the intruder, no matter good or bad, and use the intruder’s left hand as the final sacrifice. 

Unfortunately for him, Dong Zheng wasn’t the only one who’d sneaked into the basement that night.

“When did you discover my identity?” Ficks asked.

“Actually, I thought you were the murderer at first. After all, you sneak out in the middle of the night every day and bring so much meat when you come back. It’s really weird.” Dong Zheng laughed. “I didn’t even dare eat the soup you made the first few days.”

Ficks also laughed. “But it’s really horse meat.”

Dong Zheng thought for a while, and said, “Do you remember the day it rained? You got a knife wound and was drenched all over. When you came home, you also lied to me that you fell outside. When I was treating your wound, I saw that you have a lot of old scars on your body. Obviously, you’ve done some blood licking on the tip of a knife and is continuing to do so.”

“And I didn’t see any traces of tattoos or tattoos being removed. Although this doesn’t really mean anything, it also somewhat reduces the possibility of you being a mercenary or a killer.”

“No one died on the night you were injured. And yesterday, at the memorial service, I found that the manservant had an injury on his right hand, so it was very logical to guess that you actually prevented a murder that night. During the struggle with the murderer, you two likely ended up injuring each other.”

“On the day of the accident, you didn’t act like how a normal person would when faced with a corpse. Your every action and sentence revealed that you didn’t want to have a relationship with the police, which makes it easy for people to mistakenly believe that you refused to call the police because you’re afraid of being discovered.”

“In fact, you’re just afraid that too much contact with the police might reveal your hidden identity. Also…it allows you to secretly observe from the house whether anyone will take the body away.”

“And one more thing.” Dong Zheng motioned for Ficks to stretch out his hand. He pointed to the layer of calluses between his index finger and the base of his thumb and said, “This kind of place rarely has calluses. The only possibility I know is that it’s created from using a gun for a long time. If you are the murderer, it’s impossible for you to already get a callus from handling a gun.”

“The reason you told me not to go into the basement was because it contains the equipment you used to communicate with the police, as well as some clues you probably collected over the years. After that rainy night, as soon as you got injured, you went down there to convey that you had successfully prevented a murder and to share the news that the murder was the manservant.”

Ficks was a little surprised. “Is that why you guessed that I am a policeman?”

Dong Zheng said, “Until you shot at me, it was just a hypothesis. After all, whether It guessed wrong or not, I had to bet my life on it.”

Ficks exclaimed, “I haven’t seen you for so many years. Your kid brain is as good as ever, but how are you sure I wasn’t the murderer?”

Dong Zheng said, “The biggest question is, if you really are the murderer, why would you agree to have someone live with you temporarily when you’re killing people and trying to fulfill your murderous goals? With one more person in the house, would it make conducting your crimes more difficult? But, since you can’t prevent me from staying in or killing me directly, why bother adjusting the clock everyday to conceal your whereabouts?”

“I was wondering why before, but knowing that it wasn’t peaceful here, you probably wanted me to stay in. Later, I realized that you’re confident you could protect me. Aside from that, I couldn’t come up with any other conjectures.”

Ficks laughed loudly and said sincerely, “You had a gun in your hand at the time. If you hadn’t guessed my identity and had fired at me for self-protection, the two of us would have been dead now.”

Dong Zheng said, “So…can you tell me what’s going on now?”

“Let’s go home and talk,” Ficks said. “I’m tired of being so tense these past few days. Finally, I can get a good rest.”

He walked next to a police car and knocked on the window on the driver’s seat. When the window rolled down, he looked down at the person inside, “Inspector Jacques, I’ll go home to rest. Do you want to go sit there and drink tea?”

An old man in his sixties got out of the car. His hair was completely white and his lips had deep lines, making him look very serious. 

The old man and Dong Zheng looked at each other, and they saw the question in each other’s eyes. 

Dong Zheng smiled at him, and he responded with an answering smile.

The three of them went to Ficks house.

As a child that Ferdinand had adopted, Mons hadn’t lived well since George was born. He knew very well that in his current situation, it was absolutely impossible for him to win the family property.

It was rumored that Ferdinand had a vault with almost all of his savings in there. Whoever could get the key to the vault would obtain the property.

George’s left hand was operated on due to an injury when he was ten years old, and it had made that hand stiff ever since. As George grew older, Ferdinand loved him more and more. Mons, who was immersed in the fixation of losing his life of wealth, was crushed every step of the way. In the end, he shot George.

During the autopsy, the police found that George had a needle prick on the top of his right index finger. Various examinations revealed that George was knocked with an injection of anesthetic and was forced to “swallow a gun” to commit suicide with Mons holding his hand. Mons then cut off George’s left hand because he had always believed that Ferdinand had taken advantage of George’s hand surgery to implant a key in the phalanx of George’s left hand.

Ferdinand couldn’t accept the fact that George had died and tried various methods to resurrect George, until he finally found the witch.

At first, the witch claimed that, in order to call George’s soul back, they would need to find that murderer. When this was unsuccessful, she later told Ferdinand that this was because George’s body was incomplete, and that Death had refused for him to return. As long as Ferdinand could collect that left hand of nine people to be used as a sacrifice of exchanges to Death, she would be able to bring back little George.

Ferdinand believed in morality.

His most loyal manservant spent a long time trying to persuade him, but he was never able to succeed in persuading this man despite his deep grief in the loss of his son. In desperation, this loyal manservant ended up helping Ferdinand get the “sacrifices.”

On that rainy night, Ficks got injured when he prevented the manservant from killing. They struggled under the dark, rainy night, but neither of them could see each other’s faces clearly.

Dong Zheng said, “Have you suspected him for a long time? Or did you get lucky by coincidence, or were there other reasons?”

Ficks said, “The police have long suspected Ferdinand of embezzling under the guise of charity for nearly ten years. I happened to retire after I got injured so I ended up taking this secret assignment and stayed in Wisteria. After Goerge’s murder, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to continue investigating in secret. But the reason for George’s death was actually inferred by Detective Jacques. He is the most powerful detective in our police station.”

Jacques smiled at Dong Zheng and didn’t say anything. 

After chatting for a while, Ficks went to pour water for Jacques. After he left the living room, the police inspector that was actually young looked at Dong Zheng and asked, “Are you also a pilgrim?”

Dong Zheng had realized it the moment he saw Jacques. “Yes. You also came in through the single-person box?”

“Yes.” Jacques touched his chin thoughtfully. “It seems that I am in charge of the police case while you’re in charge of Ficks. If either of our two sides made a mistake, we wouldn’t be able to pass clearance so smoothly.”

“You’ve already passed clearance?” Dong Zheng was a little surprised. Up to now, he still hadn’t received a prompt from the box. It stood to reason that his mission wasn’t over yet.

“Yes, the door’s already open. It’s over there.” Jacques pointed to the door of the room, stood up, and said, “If there’s nothing else, then I’m leaving.”

“Walk carefully.” The door would only open for five minutes. Dong Zheng also stood up to watch. Jacques walked to the door, stopped, and turned around. He said, “My name outside the box is Chen Jianguo. How about you?”

“My name is Dong Zheng.”

Jacques–No, Chen Jianguo smiled at him and said, “I looked forward to seeing you outside in the future.”

He opened the door and walked out.

Dong Zheng sat back down and realized that he’d discovered a clue about the so-called single-person box, where it was originally thought that pilgrims would not have intersections with each other or meet each other.

Ficks came out from the kitchen and saw that Jacques was gone. He said, “Eh? Where did he go?”

“He said he had something to do and left.” Dong Zheng yawned. “If there’s nothing wrong, I would like to go and sleep for a while.”

“Okay, I’ll go to bed too. I haven’t slept at night for several days.” Ficks was ​also tired. He’d been lurking for eight years as an undercover cop. Today, his mission was finally completed.

The two reached an agreement and each went back to their own bed. 

It seemed that the dust had settled down, but even until the next morning, after Dong Zheng had slept all the way to when the sun was one third up in the sky, there was no prompt that he’d cleared the instance.

Why hadn’t he cleared the instance yet?

Dong Zheng didn’t understand.


<<  Previous  |  Chapters Next  >>


 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you for the chapter~

How puzzling O.O The mystery should be solved, so why hasn't the box been cleared? Is there going to be another incident? If there is, then it might probably be related to the witchcraft. Or is Kether interfering? It's a bit unexpected that Dong Zheng met a pilgrim in the box. I wonder if this Chen Jianguo will be relevant later.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Hmm well it's expected since I myself won't believe it either if Dong Zheng finishes the box right there. There's still clues about the person Ficks lived with, and many more about Ficks. This story is naturally about Ficks for Dong Zheng's mission. And, since the queen makes the endings where she can get the despair that the pilgrims felt, then there would obviously be something that will happen to Ficks 🙁 Ficks is a good person, and the role Dong Zheng took would naturally make anyone in Dong Zheng's position feel close with Ficks. Then doesn't that mean that Ficks will die…? And the pilgrims would feel despair, like the queen intended..

Dreamer
Dreamer
2 years ago

These plot twists came out left and right. Turns out Ficks is really a good guy, a retired police man. Then suddenly another pilgrim can enter a single person box nani?! What is the rule to that???

For DZ, his task isn’t complete yet because he hasn’t fully explored Fick’s past. There’s still some unanswered questions like who was he previously living with? Why let John live with? Is it really out of goodwill?

Qi Qi
Qi Qi
2 years ago

Will Chen Jianguo become a teammate later? Since they’re…one person less in their team 🥺

yel
yel
2 years ago

maybe it has something to do with ficks’ past? like why did he looked so lonely and why were those picture frames taken down