Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The next second, he was back in his body.
He opened his eyes, and sat up with a jerk. He found himself lying in a cold, stone room. This wasn’t his own home, nor was it a hospital. What exactly was this place? Why was he here? The stone room was quite spacious, much more spacious than his bedroom at 49 Frances Place, but the décor was not as comfortable or luxurious.
It was like a cellar, with bare stone walls and an iron door on the front. The only decoration in the stone room was on the ceiling and the floor which had two corresponding huge spell formations. Duan FeiZhou suddenly understood where he was. This was the dungeon of Scotland Yard.
Why was he locked in the dungeon?
Jack the Ripper and Duncan had a street fight, and must have awakened the surrounding residents. It was not surprising that someone went to the police. The Nightmen must have arrived soon after. Could it be that they found out that he was the very owner of the Secret Trading House?
However, Duan FeiZhou wasn’t shackled like Jack the Ripper. It was too negligent to treat the Master of the Secret Trading House in this way, right? He was tempted to try to open the iron door. Just then, footsteps sounded outside the door. Each step was accompanied by a mechanical rattling sound. At first sound, he knew it was Z.
The footsteps came closer and closer, and finally stopped in front of Duan FeiZhou’s cell. He heard the sound of a key being inserted into the lock hole.
The door opened.
The silver-haired, red-eyed Nightman entered the cell. He stood in front of the spell formation, and looked at Duan FeiZhou face to face. For a moment, Duan FeiZhou’s heart was filled with mixed feelings.
Just a dozen hours ago, he had come to the dungeon with Z to observe the occult ritual. All the way, Z wrapped his arms around him and wouldn’t let go. He was even teased by Jack the Ripper. Then ten hours later, he became a prisoner of his colleagues, and had Z condescendingly staring at him. The distance between them was only three steps, but it was as far as three light years.
Just when Duan FeiZhou thought that Z’s silence would last until the end of time, he spoke, “Are you…Are you okay?”
Duan FeiZhou was stunned. He never expected Z to say that. He expected Z to question him harshly about why he was hiding his identity, or to loudly and angrily scold him for deceiving him. However…Z’s first words were his concern for him. He looked down at himself. He was still wearing the same clothes as before, ragged and bloodstained. Yet the wounds were all healed, and the skin was as shiny as new.
He touched his pocket lightly. The spell rune paper for the Secret Trading House was still inside. Surprisingly, the Nightmen hadn’t searched his body, which quite surprised him.
“I remember I was wounded…” Duan FeiZhou recalled the fight in the street. “What about Jack the Ripper and Duncan McKellen?”
“Both dead.” There was no regret in Z’s tone. “They were dead by the time we got to the scene. Only you were alive and unconscious.”
“How did that happen?” Duan FeiZhou grunted.
“I was going to ask you. What the hell happened?”
“Duncan McKellen ran to my house, saying he was wounded and needed my sanctuary. Then Jack the Ripper came looking for him. Duncan McKellen was badly wounded. I ended up chopping off Jack the Ripper’s head, but he bit me too.” Duan FeiZhou recalled the scene. “By the way, Duncan McKellen wasn’t the last member of the Scarlet Feast! He was the prey of the Scarlet Feast, but he was also the one who killed those ten members!”
Z raised his eyebrows slightly. This information was unexpected, but he didn’t show too much surprise. “Did he give you something to eat?”
Duan FeiZhou nodded his head. “Duncan forced me to drink his blood, and eat Jack the Ripper’s heart.”
“And you just took it?”
“I couldn’t move at the time!” Duan FeiZhou defended himself. “Duncan said that because I had saved him, he was willing to give up all his power to me in return…”
Duan FeiZhou hurriedly stopped. Inheriting Duncan and Jack the Ripper’s power meant that he had become an occult practitioner. Even if he was an ordinary person before, he now was definitely a member of the occult practitioners, and what Z hated most was occult practitioners.
Duan FeiZhou’s heart gradually sank. It was like there was a huge hole in his chest, and the cold wind was pouring into his body. He had become the person Z hated the most. Not true. From a long time ago, he was already the person Z hated the most.
“That’s why you guys locked me up here, isn’t it?” He smiled sadly.
How would Z sanction him? Lock him up for life like Jack the Ripper, and even if he died, his remaining ghost would be detained here? Or would he just stab him, and give him a good death and then keep his ghost in this place?
Z took a step towards him, followed by a second step.
It seemed to be the latter option.
Duan FeiZhou closed his eyes, and prepared for Z’s sharp blade. It wasn’t the first time he had been stabbed by Z anyway.
Z took the third step.
Then he embraced Duan FeiZhou with one hand.
Duan FeiZhou’s brain went blank, as if it was short-circuited by fever.
Z’s mechanical prosthetic leg tightened around him, as if to rub him into his body.
“You’re okay…” Z whispered.
Duan FeiZhou was at a loss for words. He had never seen Z look so out of it…He had never lost his composure so much.
“I didn’t want to lock you up, but they said…Xenophon said…You had suddenly absorbed so much power, it was highly likely that you would lose control, so you must be suppressed with this spell…”
Duan FeiZhou looked at the ceiling. It turned out that the spell formation corresponding to the top and bottom had this function. He buried his head in the nape of Z’s neck and smelled the scent of steel and tobacco mixed on the white-haired Nightman. He didn’t know where to put his hand. He hesitated, then he wrapped it around Z’s spine.
His palm touched the metal spine that jutted out one by one beneath the black coat.
Z whispered in his ear, “If you woke up out of control and went crazy, I’d have to kill you myself. You know, I’ve never been so scared. Fear of entering the cell and seeing a second Jack the Ripper. Scared that you’d never be the same again. But…It’s great. You’re okay…”
Duan FeiZhou was in a trance, his whole body felt like he was standing on a cloud. His heart was beating so fast, it was almost like there was thunder booming and echoing in his chest. Through his clothes, he could feel Z’s chest rising and falling violently as well. That heart, powered by the Ether crystals, was beating frantically at the moment – just like his own.
The rhythm of the two hearts gradually fell into unison, like an exquisitely choreographed duet. The two people held each other like that for an unknown period of time. It was only when Duan FeiZhou was so excited that he could hardly breathe that Z relaxed his force.
“Since you are physically fine, you can leave this place now,” he said. “Let’s go.”
Duan FeiZhou blinked. Wait, did Z not realize that he was actually the Master of the Secret Trading House? Z didn’t even know that he had acquired his powers before Duncan forced him to eat flesh and drink blood? In other words, he wasn’t actually exposed?
Z took Duan FeiZhou’s arm, and pulled him out of the cell. They went back to the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit office along the dark and cold corridor.
“By the way, can I go see Duncan McKellen’s remains?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“What are you looking at that for?”
“We knew each other for a long time…”
Z sneered. “He’s been cremated, along with Jack the Ripper’s body, and the ashes poured into the Thames.”
Duncan McKellen’s short life had ended that way. He was a victim of the Scarlet Feast, but he died because of the Scarlet Feast. Was that some kind of destiny? Some kind of predestined ending? An inevitability that couldn’t be escaped no matter how hard one struggled?
In the office, Mr. R was standing at the window, smoking. Sword in the Stone was on Duan FeiZhou’s desk.
“Oh, are you okay?” When he saw Duan FeiZhou, Mr. R greeted him first. “I thought the boss would bring out a corpse from the dungeon. It’s good to see that no one was killed.”
He came over to Duan FeiZhou and patted him on the shoulder, and Duan FeiZhou was almost crushed by him.
“You were able to cut off Jack the Ripper’s head with one sweep. Your sword skills must be outstanding. I can’t help but want to try a couple of moves with you, hahaha!” Mr. R laughed. “I heard you were forced to inherit the abilities of Jack the Ripper and Duncan McKellen? But it’s okay, it’s not like we don’t have occult practitioners in the Nightmen.” He glanced at Xenophon. “Just put your powers to good use.”
Xenophon put down his book, and said unhappily, “What do you mean by that? Am I not using my power in the right way?”
“Wow, you’re quite self-aware!” Mr. R laughed teasingly.
Z took the cigarette out of Mr. R’s hand, flicked his finger and threw it out the window.
“Smoking is banned in the office in the future.” Z said.
Mr. R looked like he had seen a ghost. “Are you serious, Boss?”
“Do you think I’m joking?”
Mr. R looked him up and down. “It’s over. It’s all over now. The new guy is not crazy, the boss is.”
“Smoking is bad for your health.” Z’s tone was flat, like he was recounting some kind of axiom that everyone knew.
Duan FeiZhou rushed out to intervene. “By the way, where is Mrs. Q?”
“She was injured by Jack the Ripper, and is still in the hospital.” Mr. R frowned. “Fortunately, Jack the Ripper was killed by you, otherwise the consequences were unthinkable. When Xenophon and I found out he had escaped, we were scared out of our wits. We were afraid the boss would skin us…”
“I wouldn’t skin you.” Z said indifferently. “It was Secretary Carter’s idea to skin him.”
“Well, he doesn’t think it’s a bad idea.” Mr. R. rolled his eyes at the sky.
Z said, “I warned him long ago that Jack the Ripper could break free from his occult bondage, but he didn’t believe me. Now he knows the consequences.”
“The guy won’t admit it was his idea that went wrong. He’ll just say, ‘It’s your occult art that’s not good enough, and let Jack the Ripper go’. Politicians. They just dump the blame.” Mr. R snorted contemptuously. “The good thing is that Jack the Ripper died in the end without making too much of a mess. If that guy had escaped, and regained his freedom, God knows what Carter would have made up to drop the blame on us. Maybe we’d all go to jail.”
Mr. R once again patted Duan FeiZhou’s shoulder. “It’s all thanks to you, rookie! Thanks for killing Jack the Ripper! You’re a great credit to our Abnormal Case Investigation Unit!”
Duan FeiZhou hastened to be modest, “No, no, no. I didn’t do anything, it was just a coincidence…”
“You are too modest! Miss Acheson has written a report for you, and it’s waiting to be presented! You took out Jack the Ripper, while Jack the Ripper took out Duncan McKellen, so technically you also took out Duncan McKellen! Double the credit! A promotion and a raise is not a dream!” Mr. R gave him a thumbs up. “You don’t have to come back part time anymore, you can go full time!”
“No!” Duan FeiZhou shouted in despair.
Z turned to Xenophon. “You go send a telegram to Mr. Thales and say that we are sending a psychic to him for training.”
Xenophon looked at Duan FeiZhou, and was a bit surprised. “You’re sending this kid to Mr. Thales?”
Z said, “Who else can train him besides Mr. Thales?”
Xenophon thought for a moment, “It seems so.”
Duan FeiZhou interjected, “Are you talking about me? Where do you want to send me for training?”
Z said in a deep voice, leaning on his desk with his arms crossed in front of him, “You have gained too much power at one time, and even if it doesn’t get out of hand now, there is no guarantee how it will be in the future. So after we all discussed it, we decided to train you according to the standards of occult practitioners.”
“In other words, I can officially become an occult practitioner?” Duan FeiZhou was surprised. “This Mr. Thales you are talking about, is he my future mentor?”
Xenophon smiled and said, “Actually, he is also my mentor. From now on, we are considered to be brothers and sisters!”
Well…If you can train a disciple like Xenophon, you’d think that Mr. Thales was not a serious person either.
Z said, “Mr. Thales was a former Nightman. After retirement, he went to Greece. So we’re sending you to Greece for training too.”
Xenophon said, “He’s one of the rare Nightmen who lived to retirement age. You need to learn from him how to stay alive.”
…Sounds even less of a serious mentor!
“Why can’t I train in England?” Duan FeiZhou asked. “Aren’t there a lot of occult practitioners in the Nightmen? For example, Xenophon, Mrs. Q…”
Z said, “You are now not an ordinary occult practitioner, but a psychic. Therefore you must receive more professional, more focused training.”
Duan FeiZhou was very depressed. Every time he went out of town, he encountered strange events. Would he come back safely this time? However, on second thought, he could finally receive formal training as an occult practitioner! No more studying and researching on his own! The textbooks he had in his hands, although they had a lot of basic knowledge, weren’t strong on the practical, and full of difficult and obscure terms. He couldn’t understand them and didn’t dare to ask others.
Now it was good, he could finally learn occult philosophy openly!
“So when do we set sail?”
“The sooner the better.” Z said. “Miss Acheson, are there any flights from Heathrow Airport these days?”
Miss Acheson pulled a form from the pile of files on her desk and scanned it from top to bottom. “There is a steam airship ‘Sappho’ sailing from London, England to Lesbos, Greece in three days.”
“Book three tickets for us, please.” Z said.
“Three?” Duan FeiZhou looked at him. “Who wants to go besides me and Xenophon?”
Z had a strange look on his face, and was silent.
“Do you want to go too?” Duan FeiZhou was stunned.
“… If you don’t want me to go, then I won’t go.” Z grunted.
“No, no, no, no, no. I’m glad you’re coming along!” Duan FeiZhou blushed a little.
He didn’t know if it was just him, but he seemed to see Z smirk.
“You should go home now and pack your bags.” Z said, “Come back to Scotland Yard tomorrow. The Duncan McKellen matter needs a detailed report and your statement.”
Duan FeiZhou looked at his bloodstained, tattered clothes. If Al saw him like this, he would scream. He picked up Sword in the Stone from the table, who made a muffled “tsk” sound.
“I’ll leave you to it.” He gave a salute to the people in the office before slowly leaving.
Z stood reluctantly in the doorway, and listened to the distant footsteps until his keen hearing could no longer catch the distinctive sound.
“Boss,” Xenophon said as he closed his book. He looked as serious as he ever was. “I have a question that might offend you.”
“If you know it will offend me, then why do you ask?” Z said coldly.
“Because I’m a person who likes to ask questions where I can find them.” Xenophon said cheekily.
“…Go ahead. What is it?”
“You and that boy. Did you…develop some kind of relationship that goes beyond friendship?”
Z raised his blind eyes, and gave a cold sweep in his direction. “What? Are you going to put me in the dungeon?”
Ms. Acheson’s always continuous typing was interrupted for a second, and Mr. R. cast a surprised glance at him.
In Victorian England, the culture was far less open than in modern times. Homosexuality was a crime these days, and jail was a minor punishment. As a detective at Scotland Yard, Z’s position was somewhat awkward, as he knew the law.
“Oh, of course not. I’m very open-minded in that regard.” Xenophon spread his hands. “I’m just saying, that kid might not be as innocent as you think.”
“What do you mean? Make it clear.”
Xenophon shrugged, “It’s not too late to get out of it, Boss. You’ll be hurt worse when you get caught up in it, and find out he’s not what you think he is.”
Z frowned, “What are you trying to say?”
“Nothing. Just some advice as a subordinate and long-time friend.” After saying that, Xenophon lowered his head and continued reading.
What, did Xenophon already knew? Well, it is weird if he doesn’t realise who leo is, when any occult practitioner would know their own kin at first encounter.
Thank you so much for that series! I have read all chapters up till now within few days! I love the plot, the suspense and the character development 🙂 thank you so much!
Every day DFZ gets a little more complicated, but I love Z’s hug and concern for the DFZ. Thanks for the chapter!
Z hugged him with his leg? 🤔
Sweet interaction 💞
Xenophon is psychic; explains how he knows about DFZ. Does he know everything? Not surprised he’s kept it to himself, as he’d also ‘read’ that DFZ isn’t a monster, evil, or a greedy, power hungry person. He just wants an easy life & can’t help but assist people.
Z didn’t refute being gay & having feelings for DFZ. That’s brave.
Lesbos (Lesvos; Greek b is our v) is my favourite island! Molyvos village is stunning.
Z stood his ground. I like it!
I wouldn’t be surprise if Xenophon notice anything suspicious by now. After all DFZ can’t keep it all under wraps. Especially how he handles his swords versus when they first net him in Mire Street.
I think X already knows, DFZ isn’t exactly good a hiding his strangness, he’s officially recognized as an occult now!
Thank you for the chapter!
Their reunion was so sweet! ❤️
What does Xenophen know about DFZ? He’s clearly known for a while now. I hope Z doesn’t get too mad when he learns the truth later.
And I can’t believe that Z openly acknowledged his feelings towards DFZ!! Wasn’t expecting him to be so upfront in front of everyone.
Thank you for the chapter!
God i love how interesting each characters are
Thanks for the chapter ♡♡♡♡♡