Chapter 41: The Basement
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt stood on one side and observed the reaction of the fat guy. I also watched him carefully. He was looking at the jade lamp with a strange expression, full of fear but also excitement.
What’s he so excited about exactly? I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt said, “Let’s follow the flame.”
He made me lead the way while he and the fatty followed behind.
Yin Xinyue strode forward to catch up with me. She nervously stared at the flame while hugging one of my arms.
The lamp finally led us to the entrance of a basement. The flame was pointing toward the door.
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt turned around and glanced at the fat guy. “What’s inside the basement?”
The fatty replied, “Some miscellaneous things of no value that the owner of the house stored there. However, I’ve never entered, so I don’t know for sure.”
“Is that so?” The mysterious man didn’t seem convinced but refrained from asking further. He stepped forward and forcefully opened the rusty brass lock.
Then, he kicked the door open. A cold wind blew in our faces, bringing along a horrible stench.
The basement was dark, and we couldn’t see what was inside.
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt didn’t bother looking and turned around. He arrived in front of the fat man and said, “Your cousin and sister-in-law are inside. Let’s enter.”
However, the fatty suddenly squatted down and burst into tears. “Cousin, sister-in-law, your lives were really miserable! I brought you here from the countryside so that you could enjoy a happy life, but some bastard killed you! It’s all my fault! I’ll definitely take revenge for you!”
The mysterious man said, “Who told you that they’re dead?”
The fat guy was bewildered. He stopped crying and wiped away his fake tears. Then, he gazed at the mysterious man in shock. “A-Are you saying that… they’re still alive?”
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt said, “Let’s switch the lights on and see.”
Then, he walked to one side and turned on the lights.
As soon as the light was turned on, a bloody scene appeared before our eyes. There was an old, half-open wooden box in the room, and two bodies had been stuffed inside. It seemed that the victims had been trying to crawl out of it at the point of death.
Their fingers were spread open, and they had bulging veins on their faces and eyes filled with hate. It was a fearsome sight.
The fatty shrieked and almost passed out from fright. He lost his balance and fell on his butt.
I recalled the strange sound of footsteps I’d heard in the villa last night. Did the footsteps belong to these two corpses...?
“Cousin, sister-in-law, what an awful way to die!” The fatty burst into tears again. “It’s all my fault... I couldn’t protect you, I deserve to die! It’s all my fault!”
The mysterious man lit a stick of sandalwood and signaled me to go out so that we could talk.
I followed him, leaving the basement.
He said, “Did you see? The fatty is the one who killed his cousin and sister-in-law.”
I took a deep breath. “He’s indeed very suspicious, but why are you so sure that it was him? Why would he do that?”
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt said, “I don’t know what his motivation was yet, but I feel that we’re very close to the truth.”
“If we can’t solve the case, let’s report everything to the police,” I said. “There’s been deaths, and it would be troublesome if we’re implicated.”
However, the mysterious man shook his head. “We can’t report it to the police. This case is related to the Longquan Villa, and you might get into trouble.”
“Me? Why?” I was startled.
“The jade lamp,” said the man in the Kumamon t-shirt. “Didn’t you see how the fatty was looking at the jade lamp? There must be some relation between him and the lamp.”
I nodded, expressing my agreement.
Then, the fat man also came out and asked the mysterious man, “Did you find out who killed my cousin and sister-in-law? And, where’s my niece’s body? Did she escape?”
The man wearing the Kumamon t-shirt shook his head. “I don’t know yet. Do you think we should report it to the police?”
The fatty started sweating again as he stuttered, “N-No need... I-I want to find the murderer myself and mince them into pieces! If we report it to the police, they would, at most, sentence him to death and that wouldn’t be enough to appease my cousin’s soul.”
The mysterious man nodded and asked Yin Xinyue, “Can you let go of the white cat in your embrace?”
The cat had been well behaved while in Yin Xinyue’s arms, but as soon as it touched the ground, it flew into a frenzy and went for the neck of the fatty.
The fatty started bleeding and couldn’t suppress his anger. He grabbed the cat and threw it away while shouting and cursing.
Luckily, the man in the Kumamon t-shirt was quick to react, or perhaps he’d prepared beforehand. He quickly took a step forward and grabbed the cat, pulling it into his embrace. “It’s just an animal. You don’t need to get that angry.”
The fatty reluctantly nodded.
The mysterious man gently caressed the cat, which slowly calmed down. Then, he whispered something in its ear before putting it on the ground.
I looked at him, puzzled. Does he speak the cat language...?
This time, the white cat behaved much better. It roamed around the villa and finally went outside.
The man in the Kumamon t-shirt said, “Get the car ready and follow the cat.”
The fatty also wanted to get into our car, but the mysterious man stopped him. “Sorry, but we don’t have enough seats.”
“Not enough seats…” His face turned blue, red, black, and then white. However, he still went into his own car in the end.
After we began following the white cat, Yin Xinyue asked the mysterious man, “Just what is going on?”
He answered, “That fatty came to me one week ago, saying that his cousin and sister-in-law had come to visit him, but had disappeared soon after. He wanted me to investigate their whereabouts.”
I hurried to ask, “Wait a minute. Something’s strange here. Why did he come to you?”
The mysterious man hesitated a little before giving me a business card.
I took the card and read it, bursting into laughter. According to the business card, the man in the Kumamon t-shirt had a lot of expertise: Geomancy, Divination, Soul Ferrying, Exorcism, etc.
In short, he covered all sorts of weird practices.
No wonder he was able to build a temple in Hong Kong, where the land is extremely expensive.
Still, if this business card is given out in the streets, I’m sure that people would mistake him for a swindler!Previous Chapter Next Chapter