Lin Hangzhi and Pan Chuangen talked enthusiastically as they walked into the castle. Dong Linhai silently followed behind them and looked the uninvited guest up and down while no one was paying any attention.
Based on Wang Que’s statement, it could be determined the number of pilgrims who’d entered [Doll’s House] was at least eight people. One of them died in the school, and Wang Que threw the other one away in the woods. Therefore, this person was either the one she’d thrown away, or another pilgrim they didn’t know about.
If this was the case, he must have gotten a different script from them; otherwise, he wouldn’t speak like this to Lin Hangzhi. After all, if everyone have the same purpose, then it should be okay to say something.
Or, another possibility was that this person was an npc in the box. His arrival was to promote further development in the plot.
Whether this further development was good or bad, Dong Linhai didn’t know. No one could know anything before it actually happened.
The three people went to the hall to find a place to sit down. Victor didn’t speak and would occasionally meowed softly, acting like a most ordinary cat. At the most critical moment, if something unexpected should happen and the information was used unfairly, he would be their biggest trump card.
Pan Chuangen wrinkled his nose at the smell of urine on his body and said, “It’s really too bad this time. Those previous incidents had never been like this.”
Lin Hangzhi said, “Uncle Pan came here to help many times before?”
“It’s nothing. I actually live in another town. A few months ago, I happened to pass by this town and found a lot of monsters attacking so I helped with it. After that, I would come here from time to time to check on the overall situation.”
“This is our first time here. Although we want to help, we don’t know what to do. Since Uncle Pan has been here many times before, he must know a lot about how to fight monsters.” Lin Hangzhi didn’t bat an eyelid and also remembered to devolve into flattery, following Pang Chuangen’s manner.
Pan Chuangen smiled and said, “In fact, there are not many ways. People in our town know a little magic so it’s much easier to deal with monsters compared to these doll guards. Sometimes I do what I can to teach them the weaknesses of some monsters. The previous catastrophes weren’t too terrible, and so they were quite easy to deal with.”
If he knew magic, then he must not be a pilgrim like them. Lin Hangzhi and Dong Linhai looked at each other and smiled. “That’s great. The other people in our group have gone to the frontline to help, but the two of us don’t have much ability so we can only stay here to protect the little master.”
“You shouldn’t worry about the situation at the frontline. General Bear has a wealth of experience. I believe that there will be no problem with him and your friends. The most important thing now is Agatha’s condition. When I came last time, I felt that she didn’t look very good. I don’t know how things are now.”
The maid responsible for leading them interjected, “The master was frightened yesterday and is still resting. Someone has already told her about your arrival.”
Pan Chuangen smiled. “Okay, then I have to tidy up and get ready to see our little princess.”
Dong Linhai felt uncomfortable when he saw the greasy smile on Pan Chuangen’s face. For some reason, he always felt that this person was not a good man.
His ability to judge people was fairly standard but, from the moment he’d seen Pan Chuangan, his heart became increasing uneasy.
Lin Hangzhi continued chatting with Pan Chuangen. The other side was also sophisticated, and Lin Hangzhi didn’t have too many topics to continue deliberately chatting with him. After they exchanged some back and fourth, Lin Hangzhi took the lead to end this wasteful act of his life.
The three of them drank tea in silence. Not long after, the maid doll came over and said, “Mr. Pan, the master invites you to go.”
Pan Chuangen smiled, put down the cup, got up, and said, “Then I’ll leave first to see her.”
Lin Hangzhi politely nodded to him. When Pan Chuangen walked by Dong Linhai, he smelled a strange smell hidden in the smell of urine.
Dong Linhai quietly took a hard sniff and a trace of doubt flashed across his eyes.
Once Pan Chuangen was completely gone and his figure disappeared from sight, Dong Linhai asked Victor in a low voice, “Uncle, did you notice a strange smell on this person?”
“Since he first came to the palace, I could smell it.” Victor finally didn’t have to deliberately meow. As a cat, there was no way Dong Linhai could smell something he couldn’t notice. “This person has the smell of blood on his body. It’s still very fresh.”
“Yeah, I think there’s something wrong about this person.” Lin Hangzhi looked into the direction Pan Chuangen had left and said in a low voice, “Agatha must be protected these days. After all, he is a man.”
Dong Linhai was stunned. “What?”
Lin Hangzhi patted the top of his head, stood up and said, “Little child, if you don’t understand, then you don’t understand.”
Dong Linhai finally reacted, his eyes widening in disbelief. “Damn, that couldn’t be?”
In fact, there were already many similar hints in the school. Lin Hangzhi’s smiled disappeared, and he said, “I hope not. Let’s wait patiently. If he is a fox, his tail will one day be exposed.”
Pan Chuangen was really suspicious.
After visiting Agatha, he returned to the dining hall not long after, and the three of them had lunch together. Since the incident at the dining table last night, Dong Linhai had no appetite until now, but Lin Hangzhi’s appetite didn’t change at all, as if he’d never seen those rotting carcasses.
Lin Hangzhi and Dong Linhai pretended not to know anything and stayed with him for nearly a day. Although Pan Chuangen helped the town solved the previous crises, he didn’t seem to be in a hurry and spent most of his time in the castle.
Both Mickey and the astrologer went to the frontline, and Agatha remained silent so none of the castle dolls had the right to order him away.
In the afternoon, Agatha finally came out. The little girl’s complexion seemed to be worse than when Dong Linhai had visited her in the morning. Her lips were a little blue, and as a doctor, Lin Hangzhi asked her a few questions, wanting to know what was wrong. But Agatha only said that she was dizzy.
During the meal, Agatha asked Wang Que about the whereabouts of the others. Pan Chuangen sat next to her and said a few words to Agatha from time to time. Whenever he asked a question, the little girl would answer him seriously.
The sunlight did not come all day. At more than 7 o’clock in the evening, Lin Hangzhi stayed in the hall to chat with Pan Chuangan, trying to extract more information from him. Dong Linhai carried a temporary cat bag and an umbrella and went out with Victor.
The cat bag was actually a basket tied with a rope and hung around the neck. Victor laid in the basket, and Dong Linhai had to support the bottom of the basket with one hand to prevent Victor’s weight from resting solely on his cervical spine.
The rain continued endlessly. A layer of disgusting, yellow urine had accumulated on the ground, and the crows hovered above the castle, seeming as if they would never grow tired. When they rushed to the frontline last night, most of the crows had followed. But for some reason, they were all back today.
Those crow feathers were soaking wet, and two to three perched on the spire of the castle building, cawing. Dong Linhai squinted his eyes for a while and asked, “What attracted them?”
“They like the smell of death.”
Dong Linhai: “……”
He went to look around and found that the giant earthworms had destroyed half of the town. Those earthworms that broke through the town’s defense from underground seemed to have only one purpose: causing the town to cave in on itself. Apart from this, they did not cause any other troubles.
Most of the dolls had gone to the frontline and there was no one to clean up the rubble.
Agatha’s castle was isolated from other parts of town, much like a lonely island.
With only the three of them left in the castle, Dong Linhai secretly determined that he must not allow anything to go wrong, so as not to drag Dong Zheng’s hind legs. A part of his heart also felt the pressing need to prove to Cui Zuojing that even if he didn’t have the right ability, he could still perfectly complete the tasks set by the box.
Therefore, he’d been secretly paying close attention to Pan Chuangen’s movements. After Pan Chuangan finished speaking with Lin Hangzhi and went back to his room, Dong Linhai put on a raincoat and deliberately broke the street lamp nearby. He hid with Victor in the bushes underneath Pan Chuangen’s window, cleverly blending his figure into the dark night.
Victor leisurely nested in the cat basket on Dong Linhai’s chest. Linhai was wearing a black raincoat and had deliberately tightened the neckline so that, even if it leaked, the rain wouldn’t fall on Victor. Using the excellent hearing that belonged to cats, he listened to the movements in the room, monitoring Pan Chuangen.
11:38 in the evening found Dong Linhai leaning against the front wall with a hat on his face, on the verge of nodding off. Victor heard the sound of the door opening and closing.
“Linhai.” Victor immediately slapped Dong Linhai’s neck with a paw and woke him up. “That man came out.”
Dong Linhai became awake in an instant and straightened up. Victor jumped out and quickly followed after Pan Chuangen, keeping as close to the base of the wall as possible. Meanwhile, Dong Linhai ran to another part of the castle and knocked on Lin Hangzhi’s bedroom window.
Their rooms were too far away from Pan Chuangen’s so they could only use this method.
Lin Hangzhi hadn’t fallen asleep. Once he received the signal, he rubbed his face. Then, he got up, grabbed the black raincoat on the coat rack and put it on, opened the window, and climbed out to meet Dong Linhai.
Their original plan was to guard against Pan Chuangen in the middle of the night, but they didn’t expect him to act so fast.
They surreptitiously looked around by the front gate but couldn’t find their target.
Lin Hangzhi whispered, “Where’d they go?”
Dong Linhai made a gesture of silence, cleared his throat, and took a deep breath–
Lin Hangzhi: “Pufft.”
Very good. This cat was very milky.
It must be said that Dong Linhai’s imitation was very realistic. It was hard to tell that the sound came from a person. After a while, Victor’s voice came from the side entrance. “Meow–”
The two rushed to the side entrance, and they really saw Pan Chuangen’s figure. The man was also wearing a raincoat, and he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all as he walked down the steps. Dong Linhai and Lin Hangzhi hid behind two load-bearing pillars and, under the cover of rain and darkness, followed him all the way to the castle’s garden.
Pan Chuangen stopped in front of the tulip bushes.
This was an open area, allowing the two of them no choice but to hide some distance away so their observation wasn’t as clear.
But it was enough.
Pan Chuangen took off his raincoat and set it aside on the flowerbed. Many things were blurred in the darkness, but when a pair of hind legs and the tail of a goat grew from his lower body, Dong Linhai and Lin Hangzhi both sucked in a breath.
His body was covered with a hard, ash gray sheen. On his forehead jutted out two disc-shape horns particular to rams. The circling crows momentarily gathered their wings and landed on the shoulders, arms, and fur of his goat body. Before long, it seemed as if he’d been swallowed by black birds.
“My God, what the hell is this?!” Lin Hangzhi couldn’t help but squeeze out such words through his teeth.
Dong Linhai covered his mouth and nose to prevent his heavy breathing from drawing attention. He stared at the half-human, half-goat monster with wide eyes. When he touched his side, he suddenly realized that Victor, who’d been lying next to him, had disappeared without a trace.