Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
So Duan FeiZhou, Yeats and Madame Boyle were escorted together to Scotland Yard.
As they left the theater, John rushed up excitedly, and looked like he was going to fight with the Nightmen. “Madeleine! What happened to your eye! What have they done to you?” The young Irishman was distraught. “Why are you arresting Madeleine? She’s just a little girl. What did she do wrong?”
“Calm down, John.” Yeats squeezed the youth’s shoulder (wonderfully, the Nightmen didn’t handcuff him), “She’s not your sister anymore.”
“Why aren’t you making any sense, Mr. Yeats?” he asked. “Who else could she be if not my sister?”
“Your sister is dead. That woman is Madame Boyle in her guise.”
John froze, as if someone had pressed the pause button on him. Lord Perlilla and his mother stood a little farther away, as they stared in silence at the Nightmen and their group. They weren’t frozen like John, or questioning why the police were arresting their friends and family. They knew exactly why.
“Mother, what should we do?” Lord Perlilla asked in a whisper. “Will Mr. Chester reveal our identities if he is arrested?”
“The Master of the Trading House is also restricted by the secret contract, and cannot reveal the identity of the customers.” Lady Edith looked serious. “Also, why do you always like to think the worst of people? Is the Master of the Trading House the kind of person who would sell out his friends for glory? Don’t you have any concern for the safety of others?”
“I…Of course I care! But he’s been arrested, what can we do?”
“Of course there is something we can do.” Lady Edith’s eyes shone with a cold light. “There is someone who can order the Nightmen to release him. It’s time to pay a visit to that lady.”
Upon arrival at Scotland Yard, Madame Boyle was escorted straight to the dungeon. Before she left she flashed a glare and an icy grin at Duan FeiZhou. The meaning was obvious. If I’m going to die, I’ll at least pull someone down with me.
Duan FeiZhou and Yeats were pushed into the office of the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit.
Only Miss Acheson was in the office. When she saw the two people being treated like prisoners, she had a surprised look. However, she quickly reacted to the fact that the two people must have committed something to be arrested, so she resumed her usual look of calmness and put down her work.
The five Nightmen surrounded them. Mr. R closed the door and pulled out his vials. Mrs. Q and Xenophon gathered energy in their palms, so that if they made a move, they would be blown out the side of the building immediately, while Z expertly lit a cigarette and began to breathe it in.
“Xenophon,” he called his subordinate’s name. “Had you found out already?”
“Found out what?” Xenophon looked bewildered.
“His identity. You told me to watch out for him, but I never gave it a second thought. When did you perceive it?”
Xenophon’s expression became extremely strange. Z must not know that Xenophon and Duan FeiZhou had contacted each other privately, and had reached a gentleman’s agreement.
“I just had a vague feeling he was hiding something,” Xenophon shrugged. “But I didn’t think he was the Master of the Trading House.”
Mrs. Q spoke up, “I heard that all people who have entered the trading house are restricted by a secret contract from revealing the identity of the Master and other customers of the trading house. However, we are not subject to this restriction, are we? We are not customers, and we discovered the identity of the owner of the trading house on our own.”
Joseph Chester probably could not have imagined that the Master of the Trading House would one day go in and out of the trading house in front of the Nightmen, and reveal his own identity so simply and brutally when he created the secret contract.
Xenophon gave Duan FeiZhou a complicated look. “Since when did you become the Master of the Trading House?”
“The day I came to London.” The more Duan FeiZhou said, the more frustrated he became. Being surrounded by Nightmen and questioned, it felt like being stripped in public.
“Then wouldn’t that be the day before I brought you to Scotland Yard?!” Xenophon was shocked.
“Yeah. Now you know why I didn’t want to join the Nightmen.”
Xenophon rubbed the corner of his forehead. He thought the kid had inherited a huge amount of money so he started to cherish his life, but the reason was surprisingly simple. He didn’t want to become a Nightman because he was an occult practitioner! He turned to Yeats. “Since you have a great relationship with this boy, are you a customer of the trading house?”
Yeats nodded calmly. He was a future literary hero, so he didn’t change his expression before the collapse of the mountain.
Mrs. Q and Mr. R had only met Duan FeiZhou later, so they didn’t receive as much of a shock as Xenophon.
“It’s amazing that the most wanted man has been with us all along.” Mr. R lamented. “If I were you, I’d just put a bomb in Scotland Yard. Boom! Quick and easy-“
“I mean you no harm,” Duan FeiZhou interrupted him. “I’ve never revealed the secrets of the Nightmen, nor will I reveal to you the secrets of other occult practitioners.”
“But you have no way to reveal it,” Ms. Q said. “You yourself are bound by the secret contract.”
“What should we do with him?” Xenophon’s eyes kept glancing at Z, as he sought the boss’s opinion. However, Z didn’t say a word, as if he didn’t hear his question. He just delegated the interrogation to his subordinates.
Well, the guy must have been hurt, that’s why he gave us all the dirty work, Xenophon thought with certainty. But the boss was the boss. Even the Master of the trading house can catch his attention, wouldn’t this shatter a lifetime?
“I think we should lock him up first?” he suggested. “After that we can discuss things slowly.”
Miss Acheson asked, “What should we do with the Secret Trading House? We can’t just let it…exist.”
Xenophon looked questioningly at Duan FeiZhou. “Is there any way to shut down the trading house?”
“The trading house is naturally closed when I’m not there.” Duan FeiZhou said.
“But you can get in and out of the trading house with this rune paper, right?” Xenophon took out the talisman. In the eyes of the Nightmen, it was just ordinary white paper. “If you draw another talisman, won’t you be able to enter and exit freely again?”
Duan FeiZhou froze. He had not considered this possibility. What would happen if two rune papers existed at the same time? He answered honestly. “I haven’t tried it.”
“Then try it immediately.” Xenophon was very experimental. He asked Miss Acheson to fetch a pen and paper and moved Duan FeiZhou to the desk. “Draw for me.”
Duan FeiZhou had a good memory for arrays, and drew the seven-manifold spell of the trading house quickly. He pressed the spell formation, but nothing happened. He carefully checked the lines he had drawn. It was correct. The spell wasn’t invalid because it was drawn incorrectly.
With his knowledge of secret geometry, he found that the magic circle had a few unusual lines that formed a triangle on the outside of the heptagram.
In secret geometry, triangles have many meanings: trinity, unique…
“I think that if two spells exist at the same time, only the first one will take effect,” he deduced.
“You didn’t draw it wrong on purpose, did you?” Xenophon smiled dangerously.
“Does that do me any good?” Duan FeiZhou glared back at him.
Miss Acheson picked up the two pieces of talisman paper. “Shouldn’t we seize all the items in the trading house?”
Mrs. Q agreed, “The items in the trading house are extremely powerful occult items, so it would be better to let the Nightmen keep them.”
“But if we enter the trading house, won’t the secret contract be effective for us?” Mr. R asked with a frown.
Xenophon patted Duan FeiZhou’s shoulder. “Then let the boy take them out himself.”
Miss Acheson said, “Since only the first of the spell papers is in effect, we have the key to the trading house by withholding this one. It doesn’t matter whether the secret items are moved out or not.”
The others nodded their heads and agreed with her.
Miss Acheson tore up the talisman paper Duan FeiZhou had just drawn, and handed the old one to Z. “Boss, I think you should be the one to keep this.”
Z hesitated, and slowly took the paper. He stared at the folds of the paper with some bewilderment. After a while, he stubbed out his cigarette, and raised his chin at Xenophon. “Put him in the dungeon.”
The “he” referred to Duan FeiZhou, of course.
Yeats looked at him uneasily. “Wait. Mr. Chester, he really…”
Xenophon turned to Yeats with a smirk. “I almost forgot about you. Now let’s talk about you.”
Duan FeiZhou sat in the dungeon of Scotland Yard.
This was the third time he has visited this place. The first time he came in to observe Jack the Ripper. The second time he had inherited two psychic powers and was locked in to prevent them from going berserk.
The third time…
Duan FeiZhou leaned his back against the cold wall, and tried to shrink himself into a small ball to keep warm.
It was clearly early summer, but the dungeon was as cold as a morgue cellar. How long would he be held here? Until the Nightmen discussed what kind of punishment he should receive? Or was it a lifetime? Even if he died in this place, wouldn’t his soul not be able to escape?
In that case, he would never see Z again.
That garland, those fiery kisses…It was like an illusionary dream that was too good to be true. Now the dreamer was awake, and everything was broken.
A coughing sound came from the other side of the wall. “Hey, next door,” a muffled voice said. “New here?”
“…Palmer?” Duan FeiZhou recognized the voice. “You’re still alive?”
“Shit, it’s you!” Palmer got excited. “How did you get in here too? What’s wrong with you? Practicing medicine without a license?”
“No.” Duan FeiZhou sighed.
“Selling fake drugs?”
“Am I that kind of person?”
“Engaging in homosexuality?”
Duan FeiZhou, “…”
How did he and that rat-like occult practitioner have such a connection? He wouldn’t have met Z and the others if Palmer hadn’t come to him for healing in the first place. Now that he’s a prisoner, he’s a good neighbor to Palmer.
“You’re not actually an occult practitioner, are you?” Palmer shouted. “I thought you were different then. You’re even hiding from your own people.”
“I only became an occult practitioner later.” Duan FeiZhou defended himself.
“Never mind the order of things! You know, I heard that if you are willing to join the Nightmen, you can be free. I’m considering it. Do you want to join me?”
Duan FeiZhou smiled bitterly. “I’m afraid I can’t.”
“Probably because I was a Nightman. Albeit for a short time, and then only part-time.”
Palmer, “???” After a long moment, he said in awe, “So, you were working undercover at Scotland Yard and you got exposed?”
“…Great.” Duan FeiZhou was in tears when he received Palmer’s praise.
He couldn’t tell how long he’d been in the dungeon, because he couldn’t tell the sun from the moon. The Nightmen brought food and water twice a day and took away the potty. (Duan FeiZhou didn’t know who did this job. He speculated that it might be Miss Acheson, because each time the footsteps coming from the hallway were soft and feminine.)
At first, Duan FeiZhou would rely on the number of meals delivered to count the days, but over time, the counting got messy.
The dungeon held more than one occult practitioner, and every now and then he could hear hysterical roars or frantic murmurs coming from left and right. He didn’t know where Madame Boyle was being held. The Nightmen made a point of separating the two from each other. It was only thanks to talking to Palmer that Duan FeiZhou didn’t fall into a state of madness like the other prisoners.
“Where is your companion, Goldstein?”
“He’s not an occult practitioner. He’s off somewhere else.”
“Didn’t you volunteer to join the Nightmen? Why are you still here?”
“Damn it, shut up! They just haven’t discovered Palmer’s strengths yet!”
“Speaking of which, why were you hunted by the Nightmen in the first place?”
“Just bad luck. I exposed my identity as an occult practitioner in front of that blind detective. Damn it, he’s obviously blind, how could he sense that I’m an occult practitioner?!”
“He is no longer blind now.”
“Then wouldn’t it be even more finished!”
After being locked up for an unknown number of days, Duan FeiZhou had completely given up hope of regaining his freedom. He was ready to be a neighbor to Palmer for the rest of his life. However, one day he received an unexpected guest.
There was a mess of footsteps in the hallway, then more than one person entered the dungeon.
Palmer began with an ecstatic shout, “Ladies and gentlemen of the Nightmen! I volunteer to join you! Please let me out! I’ll be a good man!”
However no one paid any attention to him. The group stopped in front of Duan FeiZhou’s cell. The occult spell lock was opened.
“Z!” Duan FeiZhou jumped up with hope.
However, it wasn’t the white-haired policeman Nightman he had been longing for who entered the door.
“Hello again.” Secretary Officer Carter tilted his nose high, and haughtily sized up Duan FeiZhou.
Xenophon and Mr. R stood outside the door, and watched all of it uneasily.
“Why is it you?” Duan FeiZhou raised his eyebrows.
“What’s with that tone of voice?” Carter sneered as he looked at him. “I came to let you out, yet you talk to me with this attitude? Looks like someone really needs to teach you what etiquette is so you don’t lose your manners later.”
“You? Let me out?” Duan FeiZhou grew more and more confused.
Carter grunted and raised his chin to the two Nightmen behind him. “Take him away.”
Xenophon and Mr. R looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. They escorted Duan FeiZhou out of the cell, and followed Carter back to the surface. Duan FeiZhou thought they were going to the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section, but they walked right past the office door and out of the Scotland Yard building.
“Where are we going?” Duan FeiZhou asked Xenophon in a whisper.
“Don’t ask me. I don’t know,” Xenophon grunted.
A luxurious carriage was waiting for them at the door. Xenophon picked Duan FeiZhou up and shoved him into the carriage, then stood on the ground and silently saluted Duan FeiZhou. Carter boarded the carriage. He sniffed the air with an expression of disgust. Duan FeiZhou had spent too much time in the dungeon, and smelled really bad.
The carriage left Scotland Yard, and drove to an area that Duan FeiZhou had never been to before. Duan FeiZhou asked Carter the same question, “Where are we going?”
“You’ll know when we get there.” Carter moved toward the window.
The carriage left downtown London and drove through the surrounding area, then on to a sprawling manor house. The manor was far more luxurious than Perlilla Manor, and was more like a palace than a manor. The carriage stopped in front of the back door of the palace. Carter couldn’t wait to get out of the carriage to get some fresh air.
Two soldiers dressed in red came forward, and dragged Duan FeiZhou out of the carriage.
“Let go of me!” he shouted. “What is this place?”
The soldiers were silent as they escorted Duan FeiZhou into the palace. They wandered through a maze of corridors for a long time, and finally entered a bathing room. The bathtub was already filled with hot water and soap, while neatly folded towels lay on a nearby shelf. Two well-dressed footmen came forward, took Duan FeiZhou from the soldiers, pulled off his smelly clothes without a word, and pushed him into the tub.
Secretary Carter, wandered close to the door and ordered the two servants, “Hurry up. Finish in ten minutes.”
“As you wish, Your Excellency.” The manservants replied respectfully.
“Wait! What are you doing?”
One manservant grabbed a towel, while the other took out a bath brush and started to clean Duan FeiZhou like a pot or a dish. He screamed and screamed, but the well-trained servants didn’t seem to hear anything. They cleaned Duan FeiZhou from head to toe, shaved his face, and then brought out a brand new tuxedo for him to wear. The last thing they did was to give him a few sprays of perfume.
When he left the bathroom, Duan FeiZhou’s skin was all red from their scrubbing.
Secretary Carter was standing outside the door, and sized him up from head to toe. He haughtily tucked his watch back into his pocket. “Like a man now.”
The manservants returned Duan FeiZhou to the soldiers. They escorted him behind Carter, who said, “Keep your mouth shut later. You’re not allowed to talk.”
The group descended the servants’ staircase to the hall, then ascended the main staircase and entered the largest room on the second floor.
It was the most luxurious room Duan FeiZhou had ever seen. The floor was covered with a red carpet, the price of a foot of which could be measured in gold. The chandelier that hung overhead wasn’t a cheap one made of glass, but had real crystals. All the furniture was made of fine mahogany, and every inch of it was carved with exquisite and superb reliefs.
There was a woman in the spacious room. She was sitting alone in a high-backed chair, as she read the book on her lap. She was old, with white hair, and was covered in wrinkles. She wore a gorgeous white dress, along with a blue ribbon that crossed her chest. She might have been a slim beauty when she was young, but time was not kind to people, and now she had blossomed.
The two soldiers straightened their backs and saluted the woman. Secretary Carter, on the other hand, bowed deeply, bending almost ninety degrees at the waist. When he saw Duan FeiZhou was frozen in place, he hurriedly pressed Duan FeiZhou’s spine and forced him to follow suit and bow.
The woman raised her head, and nodded toward the soldiers. “Thank you, gentlemen.”
The two soldiers left the room with a quick step. There was only one woman in the world who could make the soldiers bow so much and Carter so respectful. That was the woman who stood at the pinnacle of this country and had an entire era named after her.
Duan FeiZhou realized that he was standing in front of Queen Victoria.