Chapter 70: Before Dawn (9)
“Miss! Miss Yu, look over here! There are still people inside!” Qi Hui screamed anxiously and began to bang on the window.
But no matter how he yelled, the girl in the red dress never looked back at him.
Qi Hui yelled until his throat became all dry and his hands became sore, then he turned around to see that ― Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng were gone.
In a blink, all his hairs stood on their ends.
Qi Hui hurriedly went to find them and shouted their names. Just when he thought he had been left behind, Tang Cuo poked his head out from the kitchen and looked at him with a blank expression.
Qi Hui went quiet at once and Tang Cuo turned around again.
Taking a deep breath, Qi Hui calmed down and followed behind. He didn’t expect that as soon as he caught up, Tang Cuo turned to him and said: “Keep on yelling.”
Don’t be like that, please let me follow you, big boss!
“Go.” But the big boss concisely said only one word, so the xiao di had no other choice but to obey.
As Qi Hui tremblingly returned to the window, he looked back at Tang Cuo several times. All this reluctance and sentiment made Jin Cheng, who had just walked out of the butler’s room, unable to help letting out a disapproving chuckle.
“Tsk.” The soft sound had Qi Hui so frightened that he wished he could just lie flat on the window. He didn’t dare to look back again, feeling all tiny, pitiful and helpless. He could only continue calling out to Miss Yu outside the window.
“Miss! Miss, please open the door!”
If you have the guts to pour the oil, you should have the guts to open the door, no?!
Only then did Jin Cheng stop bullying him and turn to look at Tang Cuo, who just came out from the kitchen: “Someone wrote something on the butler’s blackboard in chalk.”
Tang Cuo raised his eyebrows and immediately went over with Jin Cheng to find that the blackboard, which should have been covered with dust, had been rubbed messily. The chalk was all over the place, but the words that were recently written could still be read ―
Everything will come to an end.]
8th June 1936 was undoubtedly today’s date. Was ‘Everything will come to an end’ referring to the death of the person in the attic and the destruction of the whole Yu Mansion?
“This handwriting looks a bit delicate and unlike the one in the attic. It seems to be written by the young miss outside.” Jin Cheng had seen the handwriting of the person in the attic. Back in 1926, there were fragments of music scores written by him on the attic wall. The way he wrote numbers was different.
“This proves that the young miss has also come in here.” Tang Cuo stroked his chin and seemed to think of something.
Ten years after the family massacre, the two persons who luckily survived returned to the mansion. One died peacefully while the other wrote a closing note before heading outside to set the whole place on fire.
The key point was that: These two seemed to come back at the same time.
Jin Cheng leaned against the door that was still relatively clean with his arms folded and asked: “Who do you feel brings up the young miss after all these years?”
The answer to this question was rather obvious, so Tang Cuo didn’t answer. Now that their time was tight, they couldn’t just leisurely stand here to discuss their deduction: “The lady’s and the young miss’ rooms haven’t been unlocked yet. There are currently four dimensions, inside each we can find one or two keys. The same thing should be possible here. “
In 1924, Tang Cuo found the keys to the basement and Yu Wangyue’s room.
In 1926, he found the keys to the study and the small room in the study.
What about 1936? Based on the rules of this dungeon so far, there should be something to find here.
Also, in 1924, Tang Cuo obtained five keys from the butler’s keychain. Three were used to open the attic and one was used to open the basement, so where should he use the remaining one?
“Is there no butler’s keychain here?” Tang Cuo asked.
“Someone took it.” Jin Cheng had already checked the spot where the keychain was originally hung. A bit of dust was missing, which proved that the item was hung there but had been taken away.
Tang Cuo instantly thought of the key hung at the young miss’ waist.
But this wasn’t right.
The keys on the 1924’s and 1926’s keychains were different because the butler was still alive during the two years in between. If ther butler was alive, it was reasonable to expect that he would change the keys on his keychain.
But the butler died in 1926. During these ten years, the keys had always been hung at that spot and there shouldn’t be any changes. In other words, the set of keys that the young miss took should be the same one that Jin Cheng obtained in 1926.
Three keys would be to open the attic and one key would be to open the small room in the study.
“Let’s go to the study.” Tang Cuo made a quick decision.
Jin Cheng and he had always had that special connection between their minds, so as soon as he said to go to the study, Jin Cheng immediately understood. Following the method of last time, Tang Cuo went straight to the study and Jin Cheng was responsible for restraining the ghost.
In the study, everything was no different from 1926 except for it having a little more dust.
After Tang Cuo headed straight into the small room, he went around the bed and saw the young servant’s skeleton, which wasn’t much different from before. He looked around, trying to find any traces that the young miss might have left here, but found nothing.
Did the young miss take the keychain just to unlock the door for the person in the attic?
Tang Cuo didn’t believe it and continued to search. After a while, he finally remembered what he had missed ― Yu Wangnian’s diary!
The young servant saw Yu Wangnian’s diary before her death and her blood stained the diary, so only a few pages were readable. But what about the diary now?
Items in each dimension wouldn’t disappear after they were taken away by a player, for everything should reset after the player left the dimension. If the diary was gone, it could only be taken by an NPC.
But why would an NPC take a diary that had been dirtied with blood? Was there any key information in the diary that wasn’t covered by blood?
At this moment, Qi Hui shouted from outside: “She’s looking at the watch! I think she’s about to ignite the fire, what should I do?!”
Hearing this, Tang Cuo immediately stepped out and ran into Jin Cheng in the corridor.
The two stood facing each other, their eyes met and then they ran towards the attic together. Behind them was the lady’s ghost. She might have been really irritated by Jin Cheng’s repeated provocations, for this time, she looked even more fierce, her ghostly icy breath almost sweeping by the back of Tang Cuo’s neck.
“Go first!” Jin Cheng gave him a push and turned around to scatter a handful of incense ash, his movement as neat as a goddess bestowing flowers.
But incense ash could only help deter a ghost. In the face of a fierce ghost like the lady, it might work once, but definitely not twice. Without Yu Wangyue on the second floor, the lady seemed to be more likely to go berserk. Her eyes now turned eerily red, her nails became sharp and even her low growls sounded like they could pierce anyone’s eardrums.
At this time, the two of them reached the staircase leading to the attic. Tang Cuo moved all the way forward and didn’t look back even once. Jin Cheng stomped on the staircase’ handrail and sharply flipped back, at which point the small harp in his arms made a beautiful sound.
A non-physical attack like sound waves, when facing a spiritual body like a ghost, could actually work like a full-blown physical attack. Being hit directly, the lady’s whole body was pushed several meters back, her expression excruciatingly painful yet full of madness at the same time.
She bolted forward again, but by this point, Tang Cuo had already opened the attic door. The second the door opened, he turned to let Jin Cheng in before shooting a small fireball at the lady’s face.
“Ah!!!” Being caught off guard, the lady covered her face.
At the same time, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng got behind the door. Although a door couldn’t stop a ghost, there were Yu Wangyue and the other man inside, so they weren’t afraid of the lady trying to break in.
Paying no mind to the two ghosts in the attic, the two quickly walked to the window and looked down.
The young miss was still standing in the large courtyard covered in weeds, with an empty oil barrel at her feet and a pocket watch in her hand. As they were too far away, the two couldn’t see her expression clearly. All they saw was her casting a feeble look at the mansion, a lonely aura exuding from her figure.
Jin Cheng: “She’s hesitating to do it.”
Tang Cuo: “Her heart is wary.”
Jin Cheng: “Do you think she really can’t hear our voice?”
Tang Cuo: “Then let’s try asking her.”
If Tang Cuo said it, he would do it.
Jin Cheng smiled as a wicked idea immediately came to mind. He knocked hard on the windowpane and shouted towards the courtyard: “Hey, pretty girl downstairs, the person in the attic isn’t dead yet. He’s alive, don’t you want to come and take a look?”
The young miss didn’t respond at all, let alone looking up. But Tang Cuo kept staring at her without flinching and saw a tint of stiffness on her face ― she heard it.
Jin Cheng continued: “It seems that he wants to die with us, but ― we’re all going to be burnt to death soon. How can we just let him die so easily like that? Great detective, you tell us, isn’t that right?”
Tang Cuo reluctantly replied: “Uhm.”
Jin Cheng suddenly felt intrigued: “Then what do you say we should do?”
Tang Cuo: “Listen to you.”
Jin Ching was almost shaken to the core upon hearing this sentence from Tang Cuo, even if he knew they were both putting on an act.
“Let’s do it then.” Jin Cheng swept his eyes across and he had an idea: “How about we shoot him dead with Yu Wangnian’s gun? Aren’t there still bullets in that gun?”
As the father of the young miss, Yu Wangnian let his daughter grow up in such a depressing cage. Would the young miss hate him? Jin Cheng think she would.
The lady was always bed-ridden, so the love the young miss could get from her mother must be severely reduced. Meanwhile, her father was a man with an extreme desire for control.
She couldn’t learn piano freely, couldn’t have a normal family and even witnessed a massacre of the whole household.
Hatred was bound to happen.
What kind of feelings did she have towards the person in the attic?
There were too few clues for Jin Cheng to make an accurate judgment, but he would soon know the answer, because the young miss suddenly looked up at him.
There was anger in her eyes.
This proved Jin Cheng’s deduction. No matter what kind of feelings the young lady had towards the man in the attic and how complicated they were, the feelings must be more positive than negative.
Grasping this key point, they might be able to keep her in check.
However, a ghostly aura suddenly broke out behind him, but there was no need to even turn around. The shrieking gust of wind could tell them that ― a ghost was standing behind them, who had gone berserk because of their actions.
“Wow.” While Jin Cheng let out an exclamation, he quickly shielded Tang Cuo behind his back. It was too late to take out the small harp now, so he bit the tip of his tongue and a character bloomed from the tip.
The powerful sound wave spread out like ripples, and at the most critical moment, it managed to stop the ghost in his tracks.
Tang Cuo could see that it was the person in the attic who had gone berserk. His attack power was even stronger than the lady.
As the two quickly retreated to the second floor, Tang Cuo pulled out his Sword of Judgment.
Although the ghost had no body and wouldn’t be subdued with physical attacks, the Holy Light of Judgement had a suppressing effect on all evil beings. Ghosts might not always be evil, but they definitely didn’t belong to the side of good either.
Unluckily, although the lady never followed them into the attic, she kept wandering along the corridor of the second floor. At the end of the corridor, near the common bathroom next to the staircase, there was the patch-up ghost.
If they went down at this time, they would certainly be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
But they only needed a bit of time. Making a basic judgment on the current situation, Tang Cuo quickly turned to ask Jin Cheng: “Can you lure them both to one corner?”
Standing back to back with him, Jin Cheng replied: “Of course.”
As their words fell, the two quickly went their separate ways. One strode forward while one fell slight behind. The moment the person in the attic was about to catch up, the figure falling behind suddenly stopped and turned around.
Naturally, it was Tang Cuo who turned around. He often used the rewards given by the system, but there was one skill he hadn’t used until now ― ‘Air Walk’.
[Air Walk · Basic]
Description: Stay in the air for 1 second, Cooldown time: 1 minute.
Tang Cuo leapt up on the wall with all his strength. Using the exact one second that the skill allowed, he hung upside down at the right angle where the ceiling met the wall. With a swing of his sword, he pushed the ghost towards Jin Cheng standing behind.
A second later, he coolly landed on the ground.
As the person in the attic was about to turn around to hit him, Jin Cheng’s attack also arrived, which triggered the ghost to turn even more hostile.
Jin Cheng’s ability to provoke ghosts and monsters had always been the best in Yong Ye City. No matter what the dungeon might be, there was no hostility that he couldn’t attract. At this time, three ghosts were chasing after him, each more powerful than the other. The person in the attic was the one that looked most like a Game Boss with an overwhelming ghostly aura floating around him, so much so that it even blocked their vision.
The corridor was nothing but spooky blackness.
The wailing of a ghost accompanied by a hair-raising wind truly could send chills run down anyone’s spine.
Tang Cuo wore a slightly serious expression, but he was as calm as always, because his companion was Jin Cheng. He only needed to call Jin Cheng’s name and Jin Cheng would understood his thoughts at once.
Within five seconds, his familiar voice rushed out of the darkness like a smooth blade.
Tang Cuo drew his sword and rushed forward. The two figures passed by each other, one advancing and one retreating. In a blink, their exchange was completed. Tang Cuo called out the ‘Holy Light Shield’, whose powerful light instantly illuminated the corridor in its entirety.
The light was so dazzling that the ghosts subconsciously stretched out their hands to cover themselves, a rare hint of panic flashing in their eyes.
They had only fifteen seconds of shielding, so every second was precious. Tang Cuo decisively pushed forward, forcing the three ghosts to step back and back, and the exact moment they reached the staircase, Tang Cuo and Jin Cheng immediately turned ― to go downstairs!
After they descended the staircase, there were five seconds left.
There were ghosts on the first floor, but Tang Cuo didn’t bother avoiding them. He directly used the shield to clear the way and charged towards the floor-to-ceiling window in the living room with lightning speed, the sight of which made Qi Hui’s jaw drop open.
Jin Cheng stood silently between the two again and glanced at Qi Hui with icy cold eyes, which had him immediately step backwards.
“Big brother, outside the house…” Qi Hui was deeply frightened.
“Don’t worry, she won’t ignite the fire for the time being.” Jin Cheng said with a firm voice. He glanced out of the window and met the young miss’ eyes. He raised his eyebrows and smirked slyly, his expression full of provocation.
If they wanted to restrain the young miss, they had to figure out a very important setting in the dungeon ― whether a living NPC could see ghosts.
If the young miss couldn’t see the ghost of the person in the attic, naturally, she wouldn’t be able to tell whether he was dead or alive. Judging from the fact that that someone was still offering incense to the worshipping hall in the basement, a living NPC shouldn’t be able to see ghosts.
Jin Cheng looked at Tang Cuo again: “What did you find in the study?”
Tang Cuo: “Yu Wangnian’s diary has been taken.”
Jin Cheng: “Do you remember what was written on it?”
Tang Cuo: “Of course.”
Jin Cheng: “Perfect.”
To never forget what he had laid his eyes on was a basic quality of a detective, even if he was just third-rate.
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.