Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Since there weren’t a lot of people outside, Lu YunYang and Guan Jin took Tao Yu to a small theater on the first floor. Wen JingHan was already waiting there.
When he saw Tao Yu’s state, he raised an eyebrow. “YunYang, you volunteered to invite him here. By the looks of it, you didn’t knock him out, did you?”
“Violence is only something people of low intelligence would resort to, so how could I do that?” Right after Lu YunYang said this, he received a glare from Guan Jin.
“Of course, violence is necessary at times.”
Wen JingHan felt amused at the interaction between the two of them. “Then how do you make him wake up now? I have questions for him.”
“If you don’t mind, can you go gather the others? It isn’t suitable for others to observe my process for lifting the spell.”
Wen JingHan shrugged and walked out of the theater.
“Sleep time is over, wake up.” Lu YunYang repeated, “Wake up.”
Sure enough, Tao Yu slowly opened his eyes and looked at the two people in front of him in confusion, then at his surroundings.
“Do you still remember what happened?” Guan Jin asked worriedly.
Tao Yu blinked slowly as his brain “rebooted”. “I already did what I wanted to do, so I can stop now. You know everything that I did.” He frowned as if he couldn’t remember how they found out.
“We wanted to hear your explanation ourselves, so Officer Wen is gathering everyone,” said Lu YunYang.
“Is that so…” Tao Yu smiled bitterly and recoiled in his seat, seemingly not intending on pleading innocence or escaping at all.
Everyone filed into the small theater, most of them with puzzled expressions, unsure of what Wen JingHan wanted to do.
After a while, even Duke Canterbury showed up with his burly bodyguards, stirring up whispered discussions among everyone.
“Is there a show today?” Min Yan rested his chin on his hand and leaned against the armrest.
Wen JingHan smiled faintly. “There is a show, a one-act play that ends with death.”
“That doesn’t sound very appealing.”
“Everyone will be interested.” Wen JingHan stood on the stage and looked at the people sitting in the audience. “Today, we are gathered here to draw an end to the series of murders from before so that everyone can feel more at ease.”
Wen JingHan simply sat on the stairs of the stage with his hands clasped. “Everything seemed to have started from the hair that unexpectedly appeared on the plate. Right, Miss Jiang?”
Jiang LingXuan was taken aback, but she quickly nodded.
“Purposely putting hair on a plate, running through the corridor wearing a black cloak, putting a murdered dummy on the back of the deck, and in the end, an actual victim appearing… Are these things connected? Why did the killer do these things? I thought about it for a long time before figuring it out.” Wen JingHan swept his gaze over everyone. “I won’t keep everyone in suspense, so I will tell everyone now. There are a few characters here: a murderer, an accomplice, the targets, A, B, and C, and the victims, X, Y, and Z.
“First of all, the killers, ABC, for some reason, killed the victim X.”
“Wait,” Fang Mo interrupted him, “Aren’t ABC the targets? Why did they become the killers?”
“Wait for me to finish. ABC killed victim X and became the killers, yet they are still at large. In order to avenge X, the next murderer stepped onto the stage and became the main killer in this case. The murderer, along with his accomplice, boarded the ship together. Actually, it’s not suitable to call them an accomplice. I think that although this accomplice detests ABC, they didn’t want to vent this hatred by killing them. The murderer first reached a consensus with the accomplice and switched the dessert in the plate with the hair, arousing the past that had been hidden deeply in ABC and creating panic. On the other hand, this prank was also to clear the accomplice of suspicion, allowing her to appear as the victim.”
Someone seemed to want to say something, but Wen JingHan stopped him. “Don’t worry, wait for me to finish and I’ll answer questions.
“Then, the murderer followed his original plan and tested his method of murder. The reason why he wore the black cloak was because it was easy to access and so he could hide his face if he was accidentally seen. He hadn’t wanted to run into Mrs. Fang, so he had run away in a panic, hid in his own room, and then appeared as a bystander. The first time, he was experimenting with his method, which was why he used a dummy. Before, Guan Jin said that he had seen a person near the deck railing stop for a while before disappearing. Actually, that person was the murderer, and he had stopped there to hide the dummy. The dummy had been tied by a rope down the side of the ship near the shelf, since people usually don’t look down there. Then, he spilled some sauce on the deck in advance. Two hours later, when he was sure there was no one around, his accomplice was on the lookout while the murderer quickly hoisted the dummy up and tied it onto the shelf before leaving. In time, the accomplice shouted for people to come, and the murderer waited at the side to see everyone’s reactions. Sure enough, ABC were frightened.”
“Why does all this seem very unnecessary?” Guan Jin couldn’t help but interject.
Wen JingHan unexpectedly nodded. “This was also something I couldn’t figure out at first. Actually, the accomplice had never thought about killing someone before, but the murderer was already determined to. Thus, in order to use his accomplice to help him cover up, he purposely made the dummy to scare ABC, and the accomplice naturally helped. Actually, he had planned this out a long time ago. The next day, he told his accomplice that he planned to torture ABC further and that he would make another dummy. He would take advantage of the darkness, tie the dummy there, and then steal some fireworks to create an explosion so the smoke would distract everyone. Meanwhile, the accomplice was supposed to make this dummy appear at the shelf. Thus, the accomplice did it completely unknowingly, and Dong Chong’s body appeared, seemingly magically, on the shelf that had been empty the entire time.”
“Wait, I’m a little confused.” Qin Se raised her hand.
“The important thing is the method. It was night when Dong Chong appeared, and there was still fog on the ocean. Everyone gazed outside from the ship, but all we could see was hazy blackness. The murderer used this natural backdrop to direct a dazzling death. He hadn’t put the black cloak on the victim in order to create a horrific atmosphere, but instead to cover up. First, the murderer took advantage of when all of the waiters were busy bringing food to everyone’s rooms, since no one would go to the dining hall using the rear deck. He moved the victim, Dong Chong, who was wearing the black cloak, to the shelf and tied him there. He also stuffed the edges of the cloak into the gaps of the rope, so it was as if the entire body had been wrapped like a black mummy. Then, he rotated the shelf——That’s right, rotate. That shelf was fixed on the deck, and if you look closely, you’ll see that it is fixed there with five screws on its square base. The murderer removed the four screws on the corners, leaving only the one on the middle, so the entire cage-like shelf could be rotated freely. The murderer rotated the shelf so the side with the body was facing the ocean, and from the ship, you can only see the blackness on the other side of the shelf, and unless you walked very close, you wouldn’t see that there was anything tied there. When the fireworks exploded, everyone rushed to the front of the deck, and the accomplice used this opportunity to quickly turn the shelf around as fast as she could and screw on one of the corner screws so that the shelf couldn’t rotate anymore. Then, she pulled out the edges of the cloak so it would flutter in the wind and finally rushed to the front where everyone was. Soon afterwards, that body was seen by the waiters.”
Wen JingHan stopped and took a breath. “So tiring.”
The Duke frowned, and the one of the men in black rushed over and handed a bottle of water to Wen JingHan before quickly disappearing.
“So you’re saying that the accomplice…” Lu YunYang looked at Wang XuTong, who looked very relieved.
“That’s right, it’s Jiang LingXuan.”
Jiang LingXuan clutched her armrests and looked up. “These are only your inferences!”
“That’s true. You were the first one to discover the hair, and it was also you who first discovered the dummy. It was also you who was the last to arrive on the night the body was discovered. With so many facts, it would be unreasonable not to suspect you.”
“Where’s the proof?”
“Miss Jiang, I know that you want to protect him, but there’s no need. Right, Tao Yu?” Wen JingHan looked at Tao Yu, who was leaning against a chair in exhaustion.
Tao Yu opened his mouth and said a little hoarsely, “LingXuan, thank you. I used you, yet you’re still trying to cover for me. There’s no need, I’ve already done what I wanted to do, and although one of the fish slipped through the net, I’ll just let her live as atonement to Little Meng.”
Everyone looked at Tao Yu in shock.
Fang Sen stood up, his expression somber. “Why did you kill those people?!”
“Because they deserved to die! It is justified to take a life for a life, including your sister. If she wasn’t so lucky, then she’d also be paying Little Meng a visit right now,” Tao Yu said derisively.
Fang Sen looked at Fang Lin in surprise. Fang Lin was looking down and clutching the corner of her shirt, and she seemed to be trembling.
“Who is Little Meng to you?” asked Wen JingHan.
“Little Meng was my half-sister, as well as Tao Yu’s girlfriend.” It was Jiang LingXuan who replied. “After my parents divorced, they each established their own family. My mom gave birth to Little Meng later, but Little Meng and I were very close. She was very lively, and we looked somewhat similar. A year ago, she got to know a group of friends who loved the outdoors, so she would go on adventures with them. Unexpectedly, only her cold corpse came back. Later, I looked into it. They were separated by torrential rain, and there were only three people left with her: Dong Chong, Tian QingLin, and Fang Lin. After the three of them were rescued, they said that Little Meng lost her footing and fell into the water, and they tried to help but were unsuccessful. However, they didn’t know that Little Meng had the habit of recording her travels at all times so she could organize them into a journal when she got home. There was an audio recorder in her waterproof bag, and all of their conversation was stored in it. When I was organizing her items, I listened to it. The place they were at was almost submerged, and they were discussing crossing the rapids. Little Meng volunteered to go last and was responsible for pulling the rope. After they crossed the river, they were supposed to pull the rope from the other side to help Little Meng cross. However, after the three of them crossed, no matter how Little Meng shouted, they didn’t reply… In the end, there was only Little Meng’s cries for help… They abandoned her and escaped by themselves,” Jiang LingXuan said through gritted teeth.
Fang Lin trembled even harder, and Elena patted her shoulder lightly and said something in a low voice.
Fang Lin looked up, her face streaked with tears. “We didn’t do it on purpose… The three of us climbed onto a higher rock, but that rock was a lot smaller than we expected. The three of us could barely fit, and there was no way we could have another person on it. I wanted to pull Little Meng over so I kept pulling on the rope. Even if she couldn’t fit on the rock, it would still be better if she wasn’t washed away by the rapids. However, the two of them said that we didn’t know when help would arrive, and we didn’t have the strength to keep pulling her. At this point, getting ourselves rescued was of higher priority, so they weren’t willing to help. I couldn’t do it by myself, and I was also frightened, so I panicked. In the end…” Fang Lin suddenly sobbed into the back of her chair. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I really didn’t want that to happen, I really didn’t…”
Her sobs echoed in the small theater, the climax of this play, and afterwards, it was time for the curtain to fall.
“He pretended to be Fang Lin and wrote Tian QingLin a letter, tricking him into going into the cold room. Why didn’t he also do the same with Fang Lin?” Guan Jin asked after the dust settled.
“He did write one to her, but Fang Lin didn’t take the bait, or perhaps she was too scared to go outside by herself. It ended up saving her life.” Wen JingHan said, “He had originally wanted to slowly torture the remaining people, but he hadn’t expected that there would be police and such an important figure on the ship. He was scared Fang Sen would turn back or directly contact the helicopter to pick everyone up. Thus, he gave up on his tactics to create panic and cut to the chase.”
“How do you know?”
“That’s what he said when the bodyguards and I escorted him back to his room.”
“No wonder he didn’t want to stay with anyone, it was so he could move about more conveniently. He won’t commit suicide or something, will he?”
“No, he said that he wanted to use his remaining time to think back to that deceased girl. Originally, Tao Yu’s familial situation was quite good, but there was a falling out, so he became self-loathing. Then, he met the optimistic and brave Tang Meng and slowly refound hope in his life. Unfortunately, Tang Meng’s death made him completely spiral out of control. Ever since he found out how Tang Meng died, it was the only thing he lived for.”
“There are so many people who want revenge…” mumbled Guan Jin.
“Nothing. Anyway, your inference gave me some inspiration, so I need to go back and think about it carefully.”
“Inspiration?” Wen JingHan was baffled and looked at Lu YunYang, who was standing silently to the side.
“Lately, he’s been wanting to do something creative.” Lu YunYang smiled.
For example, renaming this ship to The Vengeance or something.”
“…Very creative indeed.”