Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In Scotland Yard, Xenophon hummed a little tune as he pushed open the door to the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit. Every morning he stepped in and witnessed the same old scene of Miss Acheson with her head buried in typing, Z sitting behind a desk smoking a cigar, and the occasional wail of a prisoner from the underground cell adding a little color to an uneventful day.
“Boss, I heard a strange thing on my way here.” Xenophon sat grumpily on Z’s desk. “The patrol found a man tied up in a junkyard. They thought he’d been robbed, so they took him back to the station for questioning. But the man refused to confess who had hurt him, and kept saying he had just accidentally fallen.”
“I think he himself has done something dishonorable, so he refused to confess,” Z slowly exhaled a series of smoke rings.
“What’s even stranger.” Xenophon looked at the ceiling. “Is that the patrol found a shattered pamphlet at the scene.”
“Some kind of political propaganda brochure?” Z asked.
“No. They couldn’t read it, so they brought it to me and asked me. I saw it right away.” Xenophon’s mouth was grinning from ear to ear. “It’s a book of secret arts.”
Z got up and grabbed his coat that was draped over his chair. “Let’s go.”
“Slow down, boss!” Xenophon followed leisurely.
They went downstairs to the sheriff’s office. A bruised and dusty man was sitting disheveled at his desk, and the officer in charge of the criminal case was glaring at him disgruntledly.
“Mr. Smith, you refuse to say anything, so how can I help you?” The officer said.
“I already said that I’m fine.” The man named Smith said bravely. “It’s just a fall.”
“Do you think I’m blind?”
After saying this, the officer saw Z. He hastily covered his mouth, afraid that the Commander of the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit thought that the word ‘blind’ was sarcastic.
But Z didn’t care about the officer’s words, he just made a gesture. “We’ll take this gentleman away.”
“Yes, yes. Go ahead…” In Scotland Yard, no one dared to disobey the orders of the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit, and they took away whatever cases they wanted.
Xenophon picked up Smith as soon as he could, and escorted him to the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit.
“What are you people?!” Smith panicked. “I’ve said I’m fine. Can you let me go home now?”
“We need you to cooperate with the investigation,” Xenophon said pleasantly. “Have you ever heard of the name Nightmen?”
Smith’s face instantly lost its color, and Xenophon knew he must have heard of it.
“Give us an honest account of what you have done, sir.” Xenophon said. “Maybe our boss will be extraordinarily kind and just put you away for life.”
Smith looked at the white haired man with a cold gaze. So, he was the legendary leader of the Nightmen? He had fought against countless occult practitioners and survived to this day; enough to show how terrifying his strength was. The master of the Secret Trading House was certainly powerful, but how about compared to the chief of the Nightmen? Wouldn’t it be great if the two of them fought and beat each other?
Smith thought of the humiliation he had suffered under the master of the trading house, and his heart surged with a burning anger. He would make sure that boy would die a horrible death!
“The one who injured me is the master of the trading house.” He put on an innocent and pitiful look and said.
The two Nightmen stopped in their tracks in unison.
“Seriously?” Z asked. A strange glow bloomed in his blind crimson eyes.
“Naturally, it’s true!” Smith said. He was secretly happy. If he had earned a credit, maybe he would reduce the punishment?
“Who is he, anyway?” Xenophon asked.
Smith frowned. Because of the secret contract, he could not reveal the identity of the owner of the trading house. How could this be done? He could only try. Maybe just describing the appearance of the owner of the trading house wouldn’t trigger that dreaded contract.
“I don’t know his name.” He said, “But I remember what he looks like.”
“Tell me!” Z yelled.
“He was young…” Smith’s eyes suddenly rounded, and he stared ahead in horror.
Xenophon followed his line of sight. There was an empty corridor ahead and nothing there. What the hell was Smith looking at?
“Young, what else?” Z prodded.
Tears of blood snaked down Smith’s cheek. Immediately after that, blood flowed from his nose, mouth, and ears simultaneously. He scratched his neck frantically, as if something was blocking his throat, and his eyes were so wide they almost fell out of their sockets.
“Blond…Blond…” Smith collapsed on his back.
Xenophon hurriedly knelt beside him and probed his pulse.
“Dead.” Xenophon whispered.
Z lowered his eyes. Even if the death was of the occult practitioners with whom he had no common cause, he still had a minimum of respect for the dead.
“It’s that contract from the Secret Trading House. They can’t reveal the identity of the owner of the trading house, or they will die violently.” Xenophon wiped his hands on Smith’s clothes. “I just didn’t expect that contract to be so…”
“Immediate.” Z said in a hushed voice.
“But we know some information at least. Young blond man.” Xenophon paused. “It’s just that it’s so broad! There are young blondes everywhere under the sun! Even our newest newcomer here is blonde, it’s not like he’s the owner of the Secret Trading House, hahaha!”
Vilyuy’s Tailor Shop, Mrs. Vilyuy stood in front of the store, standing on tiptoe and looking nervously into the distance. Her son just ran out without saying a word, what could have happened?
After waiting for a long time, until she couldn’t help but prepare to go to the police, Al finally came back. He did not come back alone. Al’s body was bruised, his lips were cracked, his face was covered with dried blood, and his clothes were torn. Mrs. Vilyuy was scared out of her wits.
“Al! What’s wrong with you!” she rushed over to support her limping son.
“Smith did it.” Al pushed his mother away and walked into the tailor’s shop alone.
Mrs. Vilyuy covered her chest. “How could you mess with that man?! You don’t know anything about occult philosophy!”
“It’s okay, Mom. He won’t bother us anymore.” Al looked at Duan FeiZhou, his blue eyes full of admiration. “It was this gentleman who defeated him. This gentleman is an occult practitioner!”
Mrs. Vilyuy tilted her head. “Occult practitioner?”
“Let’s not talk about that. Do you have a pen and paper?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
Duan FeiZhou picked up the pen and, with a little concentration, quickly drew a complex spell on the paper. This was the spell formation for the entrance of the secret trading line customer channel. The paper with this spell formation drawn on it was the key to enter the secret trading house.
It was strange that he had only seen that spell formation once, yet he remembered it clearly and was able to draw it down in one go. He drew two sheets in total and gave one to Vilyuy, mother and son, “This spell goes to another space. Later I will enter that space first, and as soon as I leave, you will follow me immediately. Understood?”
Mrs. Vilyuy was a bit overwhelmed, but Al nodded vigorously. “We will do it, sir!”
Duan FeiZhou took out his own drawing, and with a touch, entered the trading house.
The Vilyuy mother and son were probably confused, right? A big living person who was just standing in front of them instantly disappeared, and left only a piece of paper in his place. He opened the customer channel just long enough for the two to enter, then Duan FeiZhou hurriedly closed the passage to prevent other customers from entering by mistake.
“What is this place?” Mrs. Vilyuy asked in astonishment as she looked at the display cases that reached to the ceiling.
“Secret Trading House.” Duan FeiZhou smiled. “It’s a shop that specializes in buying and selling secret magic items. I’m the owner, Leo Chester,” he said, giving the name of his original body.
Al’s face was full of admiration. “That’s amazing! I knew you weren’t just anyone!”
Mrs. Vilyuy pulled her son to his feet and asked, “But why did you bring us here? We can’t afford to buy any secret magic items…”
Duan FeiZhou explained, “The guests of the trading house are restricted by the secret contract and cannot reveal the identity of other guests or the owner of the trading house to a third party. I’m afraid that that guy Smith will betray you, so I can only let you become guests of the trading house as well.”
“Mr. Smith, he…”
Al pulled at his mother. He ignored his own injuries, and excitedly, colorfully, spiced up Duan FeiZhou’s battle with Smith. He was very eloquent and portrayed Duan FeiZhou as if he had fallen from the sky. Duan FeiZhou listened and almost believed. This child was too talented not to write a book.
“The…So, it was you who saved us.” After having listened to her son’s story, Mrs. Vilyuy also showed a reverent look. “I don’t know how to thank you…”
Duan FeiZhou waved his hand, “No need for thank you. Just don’t make this public.”
Al looked at him with increasing reverence, as if he was a saint who had left his clothes behind and had hidden his work and name. He tugged on his mother’s sleeve. “Mom, since Mr. Chester is a merchant who specializes in the occult, why don’t we sell him the stuff Grandpa left behind?”
“You mean the wind lamp that Smith coveted?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
Mrs. Vilyuy shook her head. “That lamp is my father’s relic, I have no intention to sell it. However, my father left behind many other things that I have been wanting to sell, but I don’t know who to sell them to.” She looked gloomy. “I only knew Smith as an occult practitioner, but he wasn’t interested in anything other than the lamp…”
Al said eagerly, “Master of the Trading House, just take a look! Grandpa really left a lot of stuff! Our family is very short of money right now…”
“Al!” snapped Mrs. Vilyuy.
Duan FeiZhou scratched his head in embarrassment. He had no intention of running a trading house at all, so naturally he had no intention of doing business seriously. But the financial situation of Vilyuy’s mother and son was indeed difficult, and Mrs. Lynn also said that in order to treat her husband’s illness, the family had borrowed money from all over the area and was now in debt. Otherwise, they would not have taken the pearl necklace to Mrs. Lynn to cover their debts.
Duan FeiZhou also had tasted poverty, and could empathize with them. It was only a one-time deal, and it wouldn’t happen again. After this deal, he would never deal with occult practitioners again.
He was not doing it to make money, but to save the pair of poor mother and son. As the saying went, helping people to the end! He felt the red scarf on his chest was even brighter! 1
“Then let me see,” he said, with his chest puffed up.
Al was kind enough to show him the way, as he limped up the stairs of the tailor’s shop.
They ascended the narrow, steep staircase to the attic. Compared to the tidy shop downstairs, there was so much stuff piled up here; crates upon crates, up to the ceiling. It looked like someone had tried very hard to sort through the clutter, but eventually gave up because there was too much of it and resigned himself and stuffed everything into the crates one by one.
“All of this.” Al pointed to the small mountain of crates.
Duan FeiZhou’s jaw dropped. What a guy. He thought he was here to shop for a boutique, but he didn’t think he was here to buy from a wholesale market!
Al approached the nearest crate and opened the lid. It was filled with all sorts of odd-shaped knick-knacks, polished round glass, worn-out rag dolls, stained dream nets, missing tarot cards…
Some of them were plain, some of them were emitting a faint light. Since there was light, it meant there were secret arts attached. But Duan FeiZhou had sensed that the strength of the light represented the strength of the items themselves. The fact that these items had such a dull glow meant that they weren’t powerful and wouldn’t fetch a good price.
“My father enchanted the items himself. He also liked to travel around collecting interesting trinkets. There is a lot of stuff here, but not everything is a secret item,” Mrs. Vilyuy said apologetically as she ascended the stairs. “Let me show you…”
She was just about to tell Duan FeiZhou that those items were ordinary items, but she saw that Duan FeiZhou had already skillfully picked out the items that didn’t possess any power and placed them on the floor.
“How do you know?” Mrs. Vilyuy asked in amazement.
“At a glance, I could see it.” Duan FeiZhou shrugged. “If I can’t even see it, I might as well find a factory to work in.”
Mrs. Vilyuy turned red. “I was a little suspicious of you. After all, you are so young…Now I’m convinced.”
“Mother, I told you that he is a great occult practitioner! Why don’t you believe me?” Al stood up for Duan FeiZhou.
Duan FeiZhou counted the number of remaining boxes. Assuming that each chest contained similar items, then all the secret items combined…
Mrs. Vilyuy asked, “Sir, how much can these be worth? Could it be a hundred pounds? I borrowed money from everywhere to cure my husband, and I still owe money. If I could pay off that money…” She paused and carefully observed Duan FeiZhou’s expression.
“Madam, although you have a lot of things, I’m afraid they won’t sell for a particularly high price.”
“Is that so…” Mrs. Vilyuy looked gloomy.
When he saw her looking so disappointed, Duan FeiZhou was also a bit upset. He had a flash of inspiration. “But I have an idea. Maybe I can sell some more, but I need your permission.”
Mrs. Vilyuy said, “Of course I agree! But what’s the solution?”
Duan FeiZhou crossed his arms, scanned the piles of crates and smiled with his teeth. “It’s time to show them the new business methods of the 21st century!”
- The Young Pioneers of China (or just Young Pioneers) is an organization for kids aged six to fourteen. It’s a bit like the Girl/Boy Scouts. The only uniform item is the red scarf they wear. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Pioneers_of_China