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Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: GaeaTiamat


After three days of hospitalization, Duan FeiZhou was invited by Lord Perlilla to his temporary residence, the lake house. The work of Duan FeiZhou and Yeats was not yet finished, since the items transferred to the Secret Trading House needed to be identified one by one.

After the fire at Perlilla Manor was extinguished, Xenophon had tried to find occult items in the ruins, yet came up empty-handed. Of course, the real treasures had long been transferred to the Secret Trading House, so he couldn’t bring anything out even if he turned over the house.

Lord Perlilla knew nothing about occult philosophy, and couldn’t help Duan FeiZhou at all. He lost his mind for several days before he recovered. Melissa’s true identity gave him too much of a blow. Perhaps, for a long period of time he wouldn’t have the heart to fall in love. However, he was full of enthusiasm about opening a mine.

“I should go and learn about the mines properly. Even without the blessing of the undead, I can still make the family prosperous.”

On the other hand, Lady Edith had heard a lot about occult philosophy from her late husband. She helped Duan FeiZhou to make a register of her late husband’s relics. Those items with peculiar powers were selected, and ordinary items were returned to Lady Edith so that she could see them. She looked relieved to be rid of the occult items.

She stood in front of the window and gazed out at the sparkling light of the lake. Her face was no longer young and her body was a bit hunched over, but as long as she stood there, no one would ever mistake her identity as a matriarch.

“You know, sir, thirty years ago, shortly after I gave birth to Albert, my husband told me the secret that had been passed down from generation to generation in the Midlov family. At that time I was frightened out of my wits. I am the daughter of a country squire, and although my father wasn’t wealthy, I was considered well-bred compared to the common people. I grew up with love and trust, and had never seen the dark side of society. I couldn’t believe it at the time. How could there be something so evil and so deviant from humanity in the world?

“I thought about it, and finally understood that I couldn’t say no just because I had never encountered it. Since I had seen the kind of saint who gave himself wholeheartedly to others and had no selfish desires, I assumed that there were also evil people in the world who were totally selfish and had no regard for the lives of others. However my husband finally gave up the secret art and cut off the Midlov family’s millennium-old occult art. Then I thought, ‘If there are villains in the world, then there must be sages too. The more vicious the villain is, the more compassionate and loving the sage is.’

“Never have too much hope in human nature. What kinds of saints there are in the world, and what kinds of villains. However, never lose hope in human nature. Even in the deepest night, you can not give up the pursuit of the dawn. For as there is such deep darkness in the world, accordingly there should be such brilliant light.”

The next day, Duan FeiZhou, Yeats and Al boarded the train back to London. Duan FeiZhou thought that the horror of Perlilla Manor would be a psychological shock to the boy, but he didn’t care at all, and was excitedly recounting his capture by the undead all the way back, as if it wasn’t a horrific experience, but a great adventure.

They sat by the window with a pile of tattered notebooks on the table, and Yeats, perhaps with the potential to be a workaholic, spent all the time on the road studying old Lord Perlilla’s notes.

“It’s funny, the Midlovs aren’t very well known in occult society, not because they’re less skilled than others, but they deliberately kept a low profile,” the poet said thoughtfully, as he held a copy of his notes.

“Of course. If they spent all day proclaiming that they buried their wives alive under a tree, it wouldn’t have been long before they went to the gallows.” Duan FeiZhou said.

Yeats pushed the notebook in his hand to Duan FeiZhou. “This one is more useful to you.”


“It talks about secret geometry. Isn’t that your area of expertise?”

Duan FeiZhou thought, Ironically, even a stucco artist might have more expertise in this field than I do. Still, he accepted the notebook with gratitude. He couldn’t understand half of the contents. He decided to use the notes as bedtime reading. In case he had insomnia one day, the notes would come in handy.

Duan FeiZhou never thought he would miss London. He’d lived in the city for less than a month in total, but as the train pulled into the fog that covered London, he felt a sense of homecoming.

He said goodbye to Yeats and Al at the station, hailed a hansom cab, and returned to 49 Frances Place. Looking at the three-story, Regency-era building, he realized that he had called this place home for some time. He had been at MIre Street in Aberdeen for three years and still felt that it was a strange land that belonged to someone else.

Perhaps whether a person considered a place as home or not had little to do with the length of time they had lived in the place. Whether a place was your home depended on whether it was how close a place it held in your heart.

“Mr. Chester, you’re back!” The owner of The Dodo restaurant poked his head out of the door and waved at Duan FeiZhou.

“I went out of town.” Duan FeiZhou walked over and took off his hat and put it under his arm, “Did anything happen while I was away?”

“Nothing important. The lawyer came once, but went back disappointed when he heard you were out. If you go away for such a long time next time, you must leave a message.”

Duan FeiZhou smiled apologetically. “I didn’t expect to be away for so long, I thought I would be back in two or three days.”

“There is also a letter for you. The letter carrier saw there was no one at your house, so he left it with me.”

He thanked the owner and went upstairs with his luggage. The moment he opened the door, a familiar, yet unfamiliar, smell hit him. The smell of old furniture, paper, ink and stagnant air mixed together; the unique scent that was 49 Frances Square.

Duan FeiZhou was too lazy to dust the furniture after a long journey, so he simply sat on the sofa and opened the letter. The letter was written by Ruth, and according to the postmark, it arrived three days ago. Ruth must have been in a hurry to write the letter, because not only was the handwriting scribbled, but also some ink was missing in some places on the paper.

Dear Leo,

I can’t tell you how happy I am to receive your letter.

How are you doing in London? It must be very interesting. Should I visit one day?

By the way, I want to tell you some good news. Dad is now learning shoemaker skills so he can work at home and won’t have to go out and about. My brother Edward also got a job in a textile factory. Originally he was not allowed to be hired until he was 11, but the foreman knew of my family’s difficulties, and gave him permission to work part-time.

As for me, I got a nursing job. You remember that old fox, Dr. Stone, right? Maybe it’s because evil had its retribution, but his son fell the other day while riding in a steamer and became crippled. I’m taking care of him now. That guy’s character is worse than his father’s. You may not know, but Edward was once bitten by his vicious dog when he was a child! It’s probably a good thing he’s bedridden now!

My salary is now ten shillings a week. It’s not much, but it’s enough to support the family, and I can even save some money. When I have saved enough money, I will give Dad a mechanical prosthesis.

By the way, you asked about the trading house, I have not heard of it. No one else knows about it either. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help to you.

I wish you all the best. My best to you on behalf of Edward, Dad, Mom and the others.

Yours faithfully,

Ruth Roberts

Duan FeiZhou folded up the letter and let out a long sigh.

Things really did change. How could he have imagined, when he left Aberdeen, that Dr. Stone would meet with a catastrophe? Maybe it was karma. Since the old man did a lot of evil, his son became a cripple. He stared at the letter, and suddenly a strange scene flashed before his eyes.

— The young girl, dressed in clean and neat clothes, looked back at the window of her house, where her father sat by the window, as he smiled and waved to her.

— A young girl wrung out water from a towel and wiped the face of a man lying unconscious in a hospital bed.

— The young girl handed a few silver coins to her mother, who shed tears of joy.

Duan FeiZhou blinked hard and the vision disappeared.

What was that just now? Was he going to die? However, shouldn’t a flashback be a fragment of his own life? Why did he see Ruth and the people around her?

Duan FeiZhou thought about it, then immediately understood. What he had seen were Ruth’s memories which had remained on the letter.

After the Perlilla Manor incident, the psychic ability he inherited from Joseph Chester seemed to have evolved. Before, he could only see the light emitted by occult items. Now he could see memories that remained on an item with a little effort.

Although it was only a few flashbacks, it was amazing enough for him. He hadn’t foreseen that the journey would be so unexpectedly rewarding. Maybe it would be a good idea to go out once in a while and see the big world.

His mind soon drifted to other things. He had bought a large number of occult items from Lord Perlilla, and had to sell them quickly. It was time for the emerging business methods of the twenty-first century to come online again, right?

However, the blind boxes had already been used once, so this time he should add some new tricks. What to do? Soon, a new idea came up. He needed time to prepare and he would let Al help too. His loyalty had already been proven, so he could let him enter the trading house as his assistant.

Duan FeiZhou opened the suitcase, and took out the luggage piece by piece. At the bottom of the suitcase was an item wrapped in one of his best linen shirts. He opened the shirt, picked up the object, and hung it with joy next to his bed in the bedroom.

It was a roughly crafted, dried garland.


Meanwhile, in another part of the world, Pastor Knox had just finished his sermon for the day, and watched with loving eyes as the people of the parish left the church in a line. Some people dropped money in the donation box before they left. The clinking sound was a delight to the pastor. Who said that sound couldn’t cleanse people of their sins?

The parish wasn’t wealthy, but people were very generous, and most importantly, they knew a thing or two about not sticking your head in someone’s window and asking questions. Therefore, Pastor Knox’s life was quite rich and comfortable.

Weekly sermons, occasional social events organized by the local gentry, baptizing newborns, doing deathbed confessions for the dying, and the rest of the time spent on his beloved research. That was the peaceful and happy life of Pastor Knox.

After the crowd listening to the sermon dispersed, a young man came up to the altar. “Pastor, I have something I would like to discuss with you.”

“Ah, Mr. Eastwood! How can I refuse a young man’s search for theology?” Pastor Knox received Eastwood warmly. They went to the back of the church to the pastor’s house.

The pastor was a bachelor, and usually had only an old one-eyed servant to look after him. Villagers said the pastor was really kind for being willing to hire that woman. Still, Pastor Knox refused the young and strong servants, and only picked that servant woman since she was illiterate.

He sent the servant away, and invited Eastwood into the study. In that room were some books that should never be seen.

“Pastor, I want to show you a treasure.” Eastwood held up a small box. He carefully opened the box, which contained a piece of ice. The ice frozen in the shape of a small blue fish. As long as the secret spell applied on that piece of ice didn’t disappear, the ice would never melt.

“Could this be…Parade Messenger?”

“That’s right.” Eastwood was so excited that his eyes burned. “I bought it from the Secret Trading House for a pound! The new Master of the Trading House has started a blind box campaign, where you can buy a blind box for a pound. You might open junk or treasure. You see? I opened a treasure here!”

When Pastor Knox heard the words, ‘Secret Trading House’, his face instantly fell.

“What? You don’t know about the blind boxes?”

“I’m not interested in those things.” The pastor said coldly.

He and Eastwood were the only two occult practitioners in the area, and they often patronized the trading houses in pairs to pick up new arrivals. The masks they used to hide their identities were executioner’s masks. The two of them were regular customers of the Secret Trading House. However, once the trading house got a new Master, Pastor Knox didn’t want to go anymore. When that new Master took charge of the trading house on the first day, he insulted Pastor Knox.

At that time, the pastor had become interested in a spirit doll. He had wanted to ask more about the doll, but the new Master of the Trading House had sneered at him. “If you, as a senior scholar of occult philosophy don’t know what it is, how can I, a mere merchant, know?”

Hear, hear! What a thing to say! It was true that Pastor Knox wasn’t very good at séances, but it was because he wasn’t good that he needed to ask for advice, correct? The Master of the Trading House didn’t even have the patience to introduce his merchandise, just directly and sarcastically accused him of not being proficient enough!

Pastor Knox was so angry that he left on the spot and never visited the trading house after that. When he thought about it, he hated it.

Eastwood talked endlessly about how he competed with two occult practitioners and finally took the treasure. Pastor Knox didn’t listen to a word of it.

“Speaking of which. Eastwood, do you find it strange?” The pastor said, “I asked the Master of the Trading House about the merchandise, but why did he never answer positively?”

Eastwood thought for a moment. “It does seem that way. He never said anything about what the goods were or what they were used for. Only those who know the goods themselves can buy them.”

“I think it’s so much that he feared they would fall into the hands of the unlearned, as he himself did not know their use! He is so young, what does he know about occult philosophy? Perhaps he is deliberately sneering at his customers in order to conceal his ignorance.”

Eastwood’s eyes widened. “How is that possible?”

Pastor Knox grunted contemptuously. “If you don’t believe me, let’s test him.”


The pastor opened the safe in one corner of the study. “I have two treasures here. We can pretend to sell one, and see if the Master of the Trading House can recognize its usefulness. If he can’t recognize it…” The wrinkles on the pastor’s face creased into an evil smile. “Then the Secret Trading House’s reputation can be ruined!”


Pastor Knox said he would do it, so the next time the trading house opened, he and Eastwood visited the secret place with the two items.

One was an ordinary item without any strange power, a treasure that Pastor Knox had gotten when he was in the army a long time ago. The other was an occult treasure that Knox inherited from his late teacher. No one in the world knew the function of the treasure except himself.

Today the Secret Trading House was as lively as ever. A small pyramid was piled up with black boxes in the center of the hall.

“What is that?” Pastor Knox had never seen such a sight.

Eastwood said gleefully, “That’s the blind box!”

“So that’s the new trick the Master of the Trading House has come up with.” Pastor Knox snorted disdainfully.

“Welcome, distinguished guests.” The Master of the Trading House wore a golden mask and greeted everyone in a loud voice. Next to him stood a short teenager wearing a silver mask and holding a white box. Probably the owner’s servant or clerk. The Master of the Trading House said, “As you may have noticed, the trading house is selling blind boxes again today.”

The cheers of the customers almost drowned out his voice.

The owner waved his hand to silence them. “However, today’s blind box is different from the last one. I have made a simple grading of the items in the blind boxes into three levels. R-rank, SR-rank and SSR-rank, depending on their rarity.”

Reverend Knox grunted, “Just a gimmick.”

The Master of the Trading House gave a wink to the teenager beside him. The young man raised the white box in his hand. The top of the box was painted with a secret array. Pastor Knox didn’t know much about arrays, and didn’t quite understand the purpose of the pattern.

“If you want to buy a blind box, please come here to draw a card…Ah I mean, come here to draw a blind box. I have engraved an array on the draw box to ensure that the draw is completely random. However, if any customer is willing to draw ten in a row at once, they will be guaranteed an SR-ranked blind box.”

The customers, who had never heard of this type of sale, mingled in astonishment.

“Wouldn’t it be profitable to buy ten at once?”

“But even if you buy ten, you may not get an SSR! And spend a lot more money!”

“If you don’t draw ten in a row, you might get several R’s in a row, ten in a row is at least a guarantee…”

Someone soon came forward to be the first person to eat the crab. It was an Indian woman, wearing a thick veil, who spoke in heavily-accented English and said, “I’ll take ten in a row, Master of the Trading House.”

She picked up the box and shook it so hard that ten bamboo sticks fell out of the box. Each bamboo stick had a number written on it. One of them burst out with a blazing golden glow.

“Wow! Golden Legend!” The Master of the Trading House shouted pompously. “Congratulations, madam, you have won an SSR. Please go over there and take the blind box with the number corresponding to your stick.”

The Indian woman bathed in the envy of the crowd and went to claim her prize. The Master of the Trading House looked at the box and whispered, “That’s one less SSR.”

The crowd suddenly realized that the number of SSRs was limited, and if the others drew them all, then the remaining ones would not be able to draw them. So the earlier one went, the better.

They rushed up and scrambled to be the first to ask for the lottery. Pastor Knox stood back and watched coldly, while he held the items he had brought with him. He wasn’t going to buy anything today. He definitely would not give money to the Secret Trading House.

Soon, the blind box was sold out in one go. Customers who were lucky enough to draw SSRs jumped up and down in the hall like monkeys, while those with bad luck had dower expressions that made people think they had come to a funeral parlor.

Pastor Knox felt that the time was almost right, and approached the Master of the Trading House with his items. Knox said in a deliberately sweet and cloying tone, “Dear Master of the Trading House, I would like to sell two items.” 

The Master of the Trading House yawned at him. “Please put them on the counter.”

As he put down the two treasures, Knox said, “These are some things I inherited from a relative. Since I’m short of cash lately, I’d like to exchange them for some money.”

The Master of the Trading House hastily gathered the money he had just received into a drawer. Pastor Knox grunted inwardly with disdain. Then the Master of the Trading House stepped behind the counter, “Let me see.” 

The two items Knox brought were first a shallow plate that was originally silver-plated but had oxidized to a grayish-black color with age. The other was a slender ceramic vase with a tightly corked lid and a seal.

The Master of the Trading House picked up the ceramic bottle, and tried to remove the seal, but Knox stopped him. “This thing cannot be opened!”

The Master of the Trading House had to put it aside, then he held up the silver plate, as he turned it over and over to look at it.

“How much do you think it’s worth?” Knox asked impatiently.

“Well…” The Master of the Trading House mused. “Does it have any special powers?”

“Since I don’t know, much less use it, that’s why I want to sell it! In the hands of people like me, this strange object may give rise to some mischief!” Knox’s tone couldn’t help but take on a bit of sarcasm.

The Master of the Trading House stared at the shallow, silver-plated plate, without saying a word. 

He must have been scared because he couldn’t see it, Knox thought smugly. He added, “You must have seen its power right away, right? You are the Master of a trading house, you can’t be so blind, right? Really, the art of identification isn’t difficult. Or don’t you know that spell at all? Really? It’s understandable that someone like me wouldn’t know it, but you’re the Master of the Trading House! How can you not know the art of identification?”


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December 13, 2022 1:43 am

Why are Pastors and the like, so often the opposite in character of what they should be?!
How will DFZ deal with this?…
Thanks for translating and editing.

February 2, 2023 6:34 am

Awwww, he hung it on his wall with ‘joy’. It’s a good lesson to learn early – there’s nothing better about someone who is, for example, a CEO, a pastor or teacher. Everyone is tempted and some are not able to resist.

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