Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The woman pushed aside her colleagues and squeezed in front of Duan FeiZhou. She was short in stature, a head shorter than Duan FeiZhou, and looked somewhat familiar, but Duan FeiZhou couldn’t remember where he had seen her before.
“You don’t recognize me?” The woman realized that Duan FeiZhou didn’t remember her. She said, “About three weeks ago, in front of Paddington station, Beautiful Gaia held a street preaching. When I was desperate, you and another gentleman sheltered me. Don’t you remember?”
Hearing her explanation, Duan FeiZhou remembered abruptly. It was the day he went to Paddington Station to meet Yeats to go to Perlilla Manor. At that time, they had bumped into the Beautiful Gaia assembly in front of the station. A woman who was preaching had hidden behind them because she was being chased by the police patrol, and Mr. Yeats had used his luggage to shield her, which allowed her to escape.
“I remember!” Duan FeiZhou’s eyes lit up. “So it’s you! I’m sorry, I was in such a hurry, I didn’t even see your face…”
Mr. Lynn cast a puzzled look at him, as if to say what was this?
The woman respectfully curtsied to Duan FeiZhou, “My name is Annie Hall, I am the preacher of Beautiful Gaia.”
Duan FeiZhou returned the gesture. Still, he felt that their organization’s preachers were a bit miserable…
Annie Hall said to her colleagues, “This gentleman is my benefactor and a benefactor of Beautiful Gaia. I think we should give him a chance to hospitalize his friend, right?”
The middle-aged man guarding the gate frowned. “That’s not in line with the rules.”
“Have you forgotten what the Chairman of the council has taught us? Beautiful Gaia never forgets the kindness of others. If we can’t help this gentleman, what kind of gratitude is there?”
Another staff member said, “Let’s ask the Chairman of the council to make the decision.”
“Yes, yes.” others agreed. “If the Chairman won’t take in this gentleman’s friend, we’ll find another way to repay his kindness.”
Hearing the name, ‘Chairman,’ the middle-aged man could not say anything. He opened the iron door, stepped to the side, and invited Duan FeiZhou and Mr. Lynn to enter.
Annie Hall walked ahead of them in her uniform. “Please come in, gentlemen. You are the honored guests of Beautiful Gaia, so make yourselves at home.”
Duan FeiZhou was quite surprised, but followed her footsteps. Mr. Lynn was overjoyed, and his face rippled to life again. He said with surprise, “Son, you never told me that you had dealings with Beautiful Gaia.”
“It was an accident. I forgot about it myself.” Duan FeiZhou smiled ironically.
The fact was that he hadn’t wanted to help Annie Hall at that time. The one with a compassionate heart was Yeats. He couldn’t have imagined that such a small act of kindness at that time would become a lifesaver for them today.
Annie Hall led them into the main building of the sanatorium. The interior of the building was also richly decorated. The floors were neatly cleaned and the air was pleasantly fragrant with the smell of flowers.
Mr. Lynn looked around, obviously very satisfied with the environment. To be honest, the place was much more luxurious than the hospital. They walked up the stairs to the top floor. Annie Hall knocked on the largest door at the end of the hallway.
“Please come in.” A clear voice came from behind the door.
Annie Hall pulled open the door and walked in first. Duan FeiZhou followed closely behind. But once he entered the room, he almost thought he had gone blind.
The room was dark, the windows covered by heavy curtains, all the lights were out, and the only source of light was coming in from the front door. However that only light also quickly disappeared when Annie Hall closed the door. The room was now completely black.
Duan FeiZhou thought, Oh no, we’re in a dark store! If there are any thugs hiding in the dark, they could knock him and Mr. Lynn out with just one blow. Then they would both be at the mercy of others!
With the click of a switch, the room was suddenly lit up. The bright wall light made Duan FeiZhou’s eyes hurt. Just a minute ago he needed to get used to the darkness, but now he needed to get used to the light. He heard a woman’s soft laugh.
“Sorry, I was just meditating, so I turned off the light. Are your eyes okay?”
Duan FeiZhou endured the stinging pain and opened his eyes.
What caught his eye was a woman of out-of-this-world beauty, with dark hair, equally dark to bottomless eyes, and fair skin that matched Victorian aesthetics, so white it was as if she had never seen the sun. She was very young, probably not older than Duan FeiZhou by a few years, but her eyes held many vicissitudes, and were like an old man’s. Someone who had experienced many of the world’s storms. Among all the humans Duan FeiZhou had seen, if he had to rank by face value, this woman could be ranked second – the first was naturally Z. 1
Annie Hall made the introductions. “This is the Director of the sanatorium and the Chairman of the board of trustees of Beautiful Gaia, Miss Evangeline Black.”
She turned again to the Chairman of the trustees, “This is the gentleman I told you about who helped me in front of Paddington Station.”
Evangeline gazed at Duan FeiZhou, then broke into a gorgeous smile, “So it’s you, Sir. Thank you for saving Preacher Hall at that time. The people of this world so misunderstand our Beautiful Gaia that few are willing to help. Your kindness will never be forgotten. From now on, you are Beautiful Gaia’s honored guest.”
She gracefully extended a hand to Duan FeiZhou. Duan FeiZhou took her hand, and kissed it in the air, “I am Leo Chester.” He looked at Evangeline’s face, and a wonderful curious idea suddenly sprouted, “Madam, your last name is Black. Do you have a relative named Sirius?” 2
Duan FeiZhou showed a sad smile. “I’m probably wrong.”
“Black is a very common surname, so I’m afraid I’m not related to the gentleman you know.” Evangeline smiled and offered her hand to Mr. Lynn.
The lawyer looked completely enchanted by her and took her hand and kissed it enthusiastically. “My name is David Lynn and I am…a lawyer.” He stammered.
“I wonder what you two gentlemen want to do here at Beautiful Gaia? Is there anything that our little organization can do to help you?” Evangeline’s voice was soft, as if she were murmuring in a dream world.
Duan FeiZhou said, “Mr. Lynn’s daughter is suffering from Etheric disease. We heard that the Beautiful Gaia’s sanatorium can treat Etheric disease, so we came to visit on purpose. It’s just that the gatekeeper outside said that the sanatorium is only open to members…”
Annie Hall said, “Chairman, you always say that every member’s benefactor is a benefactor of Beautiful Gaia. Could you make an exception for this gentleman and take in the patient?”
Duan FeiZhou couldn’t help but hold his breath, as he waited for her to answer. It seemed like centuries passed. Just as Duan FeiZhou was about to suffocate, she finally raised her head.
“Of course. Beautiful Gaia will never treat a benefactor poorly.” She showed a dazzling smile. “Just make an exception for this gentleman, and take the patient.”
Mr. Lynn exclaimed, as he cried with joy, “Too, too good…Louisa is saved…”
Evangeline took out a handkerchief, and handed it to him. “Sir, let me say up front that not all of our patients are cured, even if they are admitted. You have to expect the worst.”
“I…I know…But it’s better than not having a shred of hope…” Mr. Lynn couldn’t stop sobbing.
In other words, some of the patients residing there would recover, thought Duan FeiZhou.
Although Louisa was expected to be cured, he was also very happy, but he had doubts about whether Beautiful Gaia had the technology to cure Etheric disease, but only secretly. What was their purpose? They preached all day long about the harmful effects of Etheric crystals and warned people about the dangers of Etheric diseases, which was contrary to the public perception and made Beautiful Gaia look like a street rat. Wouldn’t it be more effective if they opened the sanatorium and treated all Etheric disease patients?
Did it mean that…They couldn’t really cure the Etheric disease, and were just fooling the patients’ families? Or maybe they could cure this persistent disease, but the means weren’t open and honest enough that it was convenient to make them public?
“Councilman, I am very grateful for your kindness.” Duan FeiZhou said cautiously. “But can I ask how your hospital treats Etheric disease? It would be nice to meet the patients who have recovered.”
He thought Evangeline would definitely refuse, but she nodded her head and agreed.
“You probably can’t trust our medical technology, right? You can rest assured that we are using an exclusively formulated drug. Of course, the formula cannot be disclosed. Preacher Hall, why don’t you take these two gentlemen for a walk around the sick bay?”
Annie Hall curtsied, and made an inviting gesture to Duan FeiZhou and Mr. Lynn. “Please follow me.”
She led the two out of the office. Duan FeiZhou looked back, but Evangeline had already faded into the darkness, and was nowhere to be seen. They followed Annie Hall to the second floor. On both sides of the corridor were wards. The preacher opened the door of a ward at random and walked in.
There were four beds in the ward, and curtains were drawn around them. Duan FeiZhou looked in through the gaps in the curtains, and found that each patient’s body was covered with the same red lines as Louisa’s, but they were far less dense and much lighter in color.
She greeted the patients one by one like a doctor’s inspection, and then went to the next room. Some of the patients were unconscious and Annie Hall waited to greet the air, but there were also patients who were awake.
“Mr. Hooker, how are you feeling today?”
“Better than yesterday. It’s good to see you, Miss Hall.”
“Mr. Brown, did you sleep well last night?”
“Slept till dawn and never had a nightmare again. When are you coming to give us the walk, Miss Hall?”
These patients were in much better spirits than those in Louisa’s ward. It seemed that Beautiful Gaia really had a trick up their sleeve to cure the Etheric disease.
“I’m going to talk to my wife right now, and have Louisa transferred to this sanitarium!” Mr. Lynn said to Annie Hall.
“It’s a very rare opportunity to be hospitalized with us, because we don’t usually admit outsiders.” Annie Hall said politely.
“I suppose it must be very expensive to be hospitalized here?” Mr. Lynn asked.
“We don’t charge, sir.” Annie Hall said, “The sanatorium is a benefit for members of Beautiful Gaia. Everything is free of charge. Naturally, your daughter will be treated equally.”
After hearing this, Mr. Lynn was completely convinced. If Beautiful Gaia charged expensive fees, it might be deceitful and harmful to the world. But they were free of charge, this was a good church! What kind of spirit was this? This was the spirit of internationalism!
Mr. Lynn was impatient to transfer Louisa here, so he hurriedly said goodbye. As they left the sanatorium, they found another group of people gathered outside the iron gate, crying for hospital treatment. The man guarding the door chased them away coldly. When Mr. Lynn and Duan FeiZhou came out, they cast jealous glances at them.
Mr. Lynn rushed to the hospital and discharged Louisa with the intention of transferring her. The doctor was naturally upset about this. “Would you rather trust those charlatans than our regular hospital?”
“Is that so? Then why did the patients treated in your hospital show no signs of improvement?” Mr. Lynn retorted. “I just want to cure my daughter, what’s wrong with that?”
Louisa was unlikely to get better if she continued to be hospitalized anyway, so she might as well take her chances with Beautiful Gaia.
The doctor turned blue, and grumbled to Mr. Lynn, “no good, no bad.” They were discharged in a fury, and Mr. Lynn called a carriage and immediately took Louisa to the sanitorium, where Mrs. Lynn and the family maid escorted her.
Louisa settled down, Duan FeiZhou also stopped worrying about it. The next end depended on Beautiful Gaia’s medical skills, and in this area, Duan FeiZhou was completely unable to intervene.
The next day was a working day. After that day’s work, Duan FeiZhou was off, but he arrived at the office as early as the day before. He believed he would be the second to arrive, but to his surprise, in addition to him, all the Nightmen’s five people had arrived.
Mr. R and Mrs. Q read the newspaper leisurely. Z was standing in front of the window smoking a cigarette. Once he heard the door open, he sheepishly crushed the cigarette and pushed open the window to ventilate the smell. Even Xenophon, who was always late, was sitting nicely behind his desk.
Duan FeiZhou looked at the time suspiciously, he shouldn’t be late, right? He said, “Everyone is here early today.”
“Mrs. Q’s illusion is ready to be performed on Jack the Ripper today.” Z said. “If you want, you can come and observe.”
“Observe Jack the Ripper?” Duan FeiZhou was so excited to hear about it that he rubbed his fists together. That was one of the world’s most famous serial killers, the inspiration for countless literary works! If I could see his true face, it would be worth coming to Scotland Yard every day as a work animal!
Hearing Duan FeiZhou was so interested in Jack the Ripper, Z’s expression got a bit complicated. “I meant to observe the process of performing occult arts, not Jack the Ripper.” Z said. “Aren’t you always interested in the occult arts?”
Duan FeiZhou was dumbfounded. He was indeed interested in the occult arts, but he had already seen many of them, so this interest was gradually decreasing. But he couldn’t tell Z the truth, so he could only say, “That…I’m naturally interested in the occult arts, but Jack the Ripper…That’s Jack the Ripper!”
“I can’t believe you’re such a curious person…” Z was helpless.
“When will you perform the occult technique?” Duan FeiZhou asked with interest.
Z turned to Mrs. Q for her opinion. The gray-haired old woman took a small pocket watch out of her pocket and took a look at it.
“In seven minutes,” she said. “We can go to the dungeon now.”
Everyone in the office stood up at the same time, moving so neatly and uniformly that Duan FeiZhou was taken aback. He had the impression that the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section was considered, “loosely disciplined” (in large part because of Xenophon). It wasn’t until then he realized, in a trance, this group of people’s casualness was only the surface. Their bones were well-trained, and comparable to the military.
The Nightmen filed out of the office, Mrs. Q and Mr. R leading the way, followed by Xenophon and Miss Acheson, with Z and Duan FeiZhou in tow. As they walked through the dark corridor, none of them opened their mouths, so there was only the sound of footsteps that echoed in the empty building.
At the end of the corridor stood an iron door, behind which was a staircase that led underground. Xenophon took out a key and mumbled something Duan FeiZhou couldn’t understand while he inserted the key into the keyhole.
“What is he doing?” Duan FeiZhou whispered to Z.
“Chanting the correct incantation. If the incantation is recited incorrectly when opening the lock, it will trigger the countermeasure secret spell.” Z said.
Xenophon put the key back into his pocket and stepped aside, indicating for Mrs. Q to go first. They formed another column in the same order as before, and went down the steps.
Duan FeiZhou unconsciously swallowed a mouthful of saliva. This was the dungeon the Nightmen used to hold occult practitioners. He originally never wanted to come here in his life, but he had to in order to see Jack the Ripper and achieve his purpose. Perhaps Z was right, he was a man of some curiosity.
The further underground you went, the more damp and cold the air became. The floor was dusty, but no mouse footprints were visible, and no cobwebs could be seen in the corners of the ceiling. Even the spiders and vermin refused to come near that prison.
Suddenly, a mournful wail came from the depths of the earth, and Duan FeiZhou was startled. Z immediately put his arm around his shoulders, as if he had been prepared for that moment. Duan FeiZhou obediently shrank into Z’s arms.