Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Duan FeiZhou looked at the boss and then at Evangeline. “Can you let her come in? She’s an acquaintance of mine.”
“I’ve invited the lady in, but she’s not happy.” Mr. N smiled a little self-deprecatingly.
Duan FeiZhou was a bit helpless. It was no wonder. Evangeline was an occult practitioner, and one of the Dark Ones. She didn’t even interact much with fellow occult practitioners for fear of having her identity exposed. Mr. N was not only an occult practitioner, but also a Nightman – or ex-Nightman. There were a bunch of Nightmen sitting in the cellar of his restaurant. Evangeline came here just like a rat falling into a cat’s nest. Even if the cat had no intention of eating the rat, the rat would be scared half to death.
She needed a safe place of refuge, and the restaurant owner was obviously not a normal person. How can she trust him easily? But Mr. Chester was there, and they seemed to know each other very well. Did that mean that the owner was also an occult practitioner?
Duan FeiZhou nodded at her. “Please come in. I trust all the people here.”
Since he said so, Evangeline no longer doubted it, and walked into the restaurant quickly. The owner made sure no one was watching the street, and closed the door quickly.
“It’s good to see you, Mr. Chester,” Evangeline said, relieved to remove the shawl wrapped around her face.
“What’s wrong?” Duan FeiZhou couldn’t help but frown. Evangeline rarely left her sanatorium. She appeared here in person, which must mean that something major had happened.
“Is it safe to talk here?” Evangeline was a little nervous.
Mr. N pointed to the kitchen, and Duan FeiZhou understood him to mean that he should take Evangeline to the cellar. However, there was a group of Nightmen hiding in the cellar…Although, they weren’t Scotland Yard detectives anymore, and in principle, they weren’t qualified to arrest others.
“Please follow me.” Duan FeiZhou said. He led Evangeline down into the cellar. The crowd of Nightmen saw him bring down a beautiful and attractive young woman, and they had complicated expressions.
“What have you done to wrong the boss?” Xenophon asked incredulously.
“I didn’t.” Duan FeiZhou gave him a blank look. “This is the chairman of the council of Beautiful Gaia, Miss Evangeline Black.”
Evangeline’s eyes lingered for a moment on each face, as she pinched her cuffs uneasily.
“They are all friends of mine.” Duan FeiZhou introduced them. “You can trust them. We took refuge here.”
“Refuge?” Evangeline’s lips trembled slightly as she repeated the word. “You are all occult practitioners?”
Not all of them were. However, no one pointed out she was wrong, just acquiesced in her inference.
Mr. R jumped up and gave his chair to Evangeline in a very gentlemanly manner. She sat down and gave a grateful look to Mr. R. Mr. N also brought food and beer to Evangeline. She didn’t touch the food, and only took a few sips from her glass.
“What’s going on, Councilor?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
She lowered her eyes and whispered, “A group of people calling themselves Scotland Yard detectives broke into the sanatorium and tried to arrest me. I thought they were the Nightmen. But I blew up the wing of the sanatorium and escaped alone. I had no place to turn to, so I had to come to you.”
Duan FeiZhou was stunned.
Evangeline saw the crowd shut up and everyone had a strange look on their faces, so she wondered aloud, “Did I say something wrong?”
“Well…” Xenophon mused. “Madam, I don’t know who your attackers were, but it can’t be the Nightmen.”
“Because one person can’t be in two places at once. And all the Nightmen are sitting here right now.”
Evangeline was taken aback and hurriedly jumped up, readying an occult defensive spell. She cried out in straightforward regret. She had obviously trusted Mr. Chester when she came to him, but as it turned out, he had sent her straight into the wolf’s den!
“Calm down, Souncilor.” Duan FeiZhou held out his hand towards her. “They won’t arrest you. They were all fired a while ago. Now it is the Committee for Scientific Progress that controls Scotland Yard. I believe it was also that group who attacked you.”
At the name “Committee for Scientific Progress,” Evangeline’s sculpted brows furrowed.
Duan FeiZhou briefly explained the feud between the Nightmen and the Committee. Beautiful Gaia’s preachings and Committee for Scientific Progress were in opposition, so Evangeline and that group had long been in contradiction, however, she hadn’t expected that the power of the Committee was so great.
Not only had they dismissed the Nightmen, but also replaced them with their own people. It seemed they could do more than just fight in the newspapers.
“It’s really an oddity.” Evangeline couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. “I’m an occult practitioner and you are Nightmen, but we have to take refuge in the same place because of the Committee.”
Yeats said politely, “When faced with a common enemy, people naturally form alliances. Now there is no longer any difference between occult practitioners and Nightmen. Not to mention that there are many of us occult practitioners.”
He finished with a slight smile towards Evangeline. He had recognized the woman. She had appeared in the Secret Trading House. At that time he didn’t know her identity, but now he was clear.
“If you escape, will the sanatorium and the other members of Beautiful Gaia be okay?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
“To be honest, I don’t know.” Evangeline looked gloomy. “I sent the preacher to evacuate the people. I am the only occult practitioner in Beautiful Gaia, and I hope no one else will be harmed.”
“How did the Council for the Advancement of Science learn that you were an occult practitioner?”
“I’m not sure. My identity has not been revealed in all these years.” Evangeline rubbed her chin in confusion, “But if the committee also has occult practitioners, then it is not surprising that they guessed my identity. After all, there are only a few types of people under the sun who would go around preaching the evils of Ether crystals…” She suddenly looked up and realized that her arrival had disturbed the busy conspiracy of this group of former Nightmen. “Are a few of you discussing something important? I can recuse myself if necessary. Just give me a place where I can settle in.”
The Nightmen exchanged glances. They certainly didn’t like the presence of outsiders, but they all understood that one more person would make them more powerful now, not to mention that Evangeline was on the same side as them. As an occult practitioner, she would be a valuable fighting force.
The final word came from Miss Acheson. “You stay, ma’am. Xenophon is right. We should stick together, not turn others away.”
“We are discussing how to rescue our boss,” Xenophon said. “He’s being held by the Committee. We don’t know where he is yet. It would be good to get into Scotland Yard and explore.”
Evangeline remembered something and looked at Duan FeiZhou, “Don’t you have a magical plant in your Trading House that can make you invisible if you hold its leaves?”
Duan FeiZhou once used the Phantom Leaf to visit the Beautiful Gaia sanatorium at night. Evangeline remembered this vividly.
“It has all been used up.” Duan FeiZhou shook his head.
Mrs. Q said, “When we were hunting Duncan McKellen, we used Jack the Ripper’s extraordinarily sensitive perception. If you have inherited Duncan McKellen’s ability, can you use it to find the location of Boss Z?”
Duan FeiZhou frowned. He had never tried it before, and he didn’t know if it would work. He could indeed use his extraordinary hearing and sense of smell to monitor the movement around him, but only within a certain range. If he were to extend the range to the whole of London…He wasn’t confident either. Just as he was thinking, there was a sudden clatter of footsteps from upstairs.
“Is anyone there?” a gruff voice yelled. “Since the lights are on, someone must be there! Where is the boss? Come out!”
Mr. N’s face turned cold, and he hurriedly said to the crowd, “Hide!”
He climbed up the ladder, left the cellar, closed the cellar door, and deliberately moved two bags over the opening. Five men in black burst into the shop.
“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, the shop is closed.” Mr. N. put on the kind expression that a restaurant owner should have.
The one at the head of the black-clad men walked up to him, and glared down into his eyes, “Do you know where the Chester man who lives on the third floor is?”
Mr. N. pretended to be surprised. “You mean Mr. Leopold Chester? Ah? He hasn’t come back yet?”
“Nonsense, you live right below him, and you have to ask me?”
“I’m too busy with customers to know his whereabouts. He’s the landlord. He can go anywhere he likes. Oh, yes. He often travels far away, maybe he’s traveling again?”
“Is there anyone else in your shop?”
Mr. N. replied mildly, “No, I’m alone.”
“Get out of the way! We want to search!”
The man in black pushed Mr. N. away from him then hit the counter, and deliberately knocked over a glass.
Pop. The glass shattered with a loud thud. You could hear it even in the cellar. The men in black rummaged through the dining room. They lifted up every tablecloth, opened every cabinet, even the door to Mr. N’s private room was kicked open. Every place where they could hide a person was searched.
“Gentlemen, stop! You are breaking the law! You can’t touch my things! I’m the only one in the shop! Are you the police? Even the police can’t do that! Do you have a search warrant?”
The committee of “police” ignored his shouts and searched the kitchen. They soon found the door to the cellar.
“What’s down here?” The man in black tugged Mr. N. by the collar and made him face the cellar.
Watch your claws, Mr. N. thought to himself.
“It’s the cellar, sir,” he replied. “I’ll open it. I use it as a storage room. There are only ingredients and beer in it.”
The black-clad leader nudged his men. “Go down and see.”
Mr. N’s heartbeat raced.
The men in black weren’t stupid and knew there was a possibility of an ambush in the cellar, so they didn’t dare to go down carelessly. They found a wooden stick, and carefully picked up the door of the cellar to confirm that no traps were set below, before one of them went down to explore the way.
After the man entered the cellar, the leader of the black-clad men rudely grabbed Mr. N’s collar. “You go down too.”
Mr. N bit his lip, and had to climb down the ladder. He thought, if they didn’t manage to hide, then a bad fight probably couldn’t be avoided. There were many of them on their side, and they would have no problem defeating these black men. The problem was where to hide the bodies. Buried? Put them into the wall?
He turned to face the cellar.
Then he smiled heartily.
The cellar was empty. The square table was empty, except for a small, delicate notebook, and a few scattered pieces of paper. On the paper was drawn a complex spell formation.
The leader of the men in black also jumped into the cellar. Finding that there was no one there, he was furious.
His eyes fell on the square table. In his eyes, there was only a notebook and a few sheets of white paper on the table. He picked up the notebook, flipped through it, and found that only a bunch of numbers were recorded on it.
“What is this?” he asked in a stern voice.
“A bookkeeping notebook,” Mr. N said with his eyes wide and earnest. “It’s for keeping track of how much I pay my employees every month.”
“Hmph!” The chief dropped the notebook with hatred and gestured at his men. “Go!”
Mr. N watched them walk out, then asked with a smile, “You’re leaving now? Don’t you want to stay and have a meal? Our grilled sausages are delicious!”
After confirming that the men in black would not break into the shop again (they were smart enough to leave a man to keep an eye on him), Mr. N closed the door, put out the lights and tiptoed into the cellar.
Everyone in the cellar had suddenly become nervous when told to hide. The visitors must be the Committee’s occult practitioners from Scotland Yard. If they found the cellar…If they found the cellar…they were going to be caught in a net! But where could they hide? The cellar was spacious, but it was still only a small room. If there was only one person, they could hide behind the barrels, but there were so many of them…
Evangeline got up with a start. “The Trading House! Hide everyone in the Trading House!”
Duan FeiZhou snapped his head up. Right! As long as everyone entered the Trading House, the cellar would be empty. Even if the Committee came to search, they would only see a few pieces of white paper. Those who didn’t have a secret contract with the Trading House couldn’t see the spell formation on the paper.
However, the Master of the Trading House’s talisman paper had been kept by Z. If the Master wasn’t in the trading house, the guest channel couldn’t be opened. Now that Z had been detained by the Committee, wouldn’t the paper fall into their hands?
Xenophon said eagerly, “I remember that the Master of the Trading House can’t have two talismans at the same time, otherwise only the first one will be effective, right?”
Duan FeiZhou nodded his head. They had done an experiment at that time.
“You might want to try drawing a new one. As long as Boss Z is still clear-headed, the moment he was arrested, he should have destroyed that talisman paper to prevent it from being taken by the Committee, as well as to leave a pathway for you.”
Duan FeiZhou wasn’t sure Z would do that. It wasn’t that he couldn’t trust Z’s mind, but…He knew that Z was very resistant to everything related to the Secret Trading House. However, things had come to this, so he could only try to draw another talisman paper. Even if it failed, it would just be a little waste of time. They couldn’t escape anyway, so they might as well take a chance.
Miss Acheson brought along a notebook and pencil. The notebook was very small, so small that it could fit into a lady’s sleeve. Duan FeiZhou felt his eyes would go blind as he drew the spell on such a small piece of paper.
Upstairs, there were a lot of footsteps. Mr. N shouted in feigned panic. It was hard to draw the spell. Duan FeiZhou tore off the page and put it in the center of the square table.
Success or failure was at stake.
He pressed the spell.
The next second, he appeared in the Trading House.
Success! The furnishings in the Trading House were the same as always, and his compatriots could go right through! This meant that Z had indeed destroyed the piece of talisman paper he had. He hurriedly left the Trading House and returned to the cellar. Duan FeiZhou had to help them draw other ones.
He had never used such a fast pencil to draw a spell formation before. Sweat ran down his cheeks and into his collar. He quickly drew six talismans, handed them to the six, entered the Trading House again, turned the gold clock hands, and opened the guest passage.
The six rushed into the Trading House almost as soon as the passage opened.
Yeats and Evangeline were used to the appearance of the Trading House, but the four Nightmen had never been in the House. They forgot how to speak for a while, their eyes on the ceiling-high display cases and the wide range of goods. As Nightmen, they couldn’t help but exclaim that there were still such spectacular and amazing places in the world.
“Good man, I now understand why the boss wants to confiscate all the merchandise here.” Xenophon’s eyes were wider than brass bells. “This is really…”
He paused. He didn’t know what adjectives to use to describe the sight he was seeing, and how he was feeling right now.
Duan FeiZhou immediately closed the guest passageway to prevent other guests from entering by mistake.
“Is it safe for us to stay here?” Mrs. Q asked. As she stroked the glass display case, she looked as if she was sleepwalking.
“As long as I close the passageway, no one else can enter.” Duan FeiZhou wearily sat down on the only chair.
“If the talisman paper we left in the real world is destroyed, what will happen to us?” Mr. R asked curiously. “Wouldn’t we be trapped here for the rest of our lives?”
“I don’t know. I don’t really know much about this place,” Duan FeiZhou replied honestly.
“Just think of all the things we could do with this space!” Xenophon’s eyes glowed with excitement. “We could hide here all the time without having to worry about being discovered by our pursuers, as long as we protect the spell runes! Even if the pursuers put their noses to the windows of the restaurant all day long, they won’t be able to find where we are!”
“We can also use this space for long-distance communication.” Yeats said. “Even if two people are located at opposite ends of the world, as long as they enter the trading house at the same time, they can communicate. However, the premise is that the door to the Trading House must be open.”
“Don’t forget that Madame Boyle also holds the key.” Duan FeiZhou suddenly remembered this matter. “When the Trading House opens the door all the keys will sense it, so she will also know.”
Xenophon said distractedly, “We raided her house when she was arrested. Her key has been destroyed by us.”
“…That’s great.” Duan FeiZhou sighed with relief. At least he didn’t have to worry about Boyle breaking into the Trading House and fighting them to the death.
Among everyone, Evangeline was the only one who looked confused and flustered. “Wait a minute, I should be considered to have just revealed the identity of the Master of the Trading House, right? But why am I still alive? Didn’t you say that once someone reveals the secret, they will die a violent death?”
“Uh,” Duan FeiZhou scratched his head. “Maybe because they already knew that I was the Master of the Trading House.”
Evangeline’s pupils shook. Tonight she was shocked too much by three things: the Committee for the Advancement of Science wanted to kill her, the Nightmen instead took her in, and the Master of the Secret Trading House was called a brother by the Nightmen…What was going on in the world?
They stayed in the Trading House for an hour. Duan FeiZhou was even prepared for the worst; that the Committee had destroyed the spell runes, and they couldn’t go back to the real world. However, the situation was much smoother than he had expected. They managed to return to the cellar. All the talismans were laid out on the table unharmed.
Mr. N sat at the table, and held Miss Acheson’s notebook in his hand. When he saw them jump out of the runes one by one, he looked unperturbed, as if he had witnessed this scene every day.
“I was really sweating for you guys.” His eyes narrowed to crescents. “I was ready to fight those guys to the death, but fortunately you were smart enough to hide in the Trading House.”
“You know this is the Trading House key?” Duan FeiZhou’s eyes widened.
“Z mentioned it to me,” Mr. N said faintly. “Have you discussed how to find him?”
“Using my powers might work.” Duan FeiZhou said.
Mr. N glanced at him, eyebrows together, as if he didn’t quite agree to this plan.
Xenophon added his voice, “Do you have any good ideas?”
Mr. N closed the notebook and gazed seriously into Duan FeiZhou’s eyes. When he stared at him, Duan FeiZhou suddenly felt uncomfortable. He felt like a rabbit being watched by a hawk. “Z told me that Duncan McKellen can communicate with ghouls. Since you inherited his power, are you also able to deal with ghouls?”
Duan FeiZhou was speechless. How could he know? He hadn’t met a ghoul since he inherited his powers!
Duncan’s ghouls were all over the Aberdeen sewers, like little scouts who could sniff out what was happening all over town. Duan FeiZhou once suspected that the ghouls had followed Duncan out of the city, but after the Aberdeen serial murders, the ghouls disappeared.
Duncan later came to London, so the ghouls…so the ghouls…they didn’t come to London too, did they?
Mr. N, as if reading his mind, smiled and said, “Recently, there have been many ghouls in the sewers. If you can communicate with them…I think they must know a lot of things that humans don’t know.”
Mr. N is very knowledgeable, and intelligent. I would never suspect him of being an occult person, let alone the Nightmen. Apparently DFZ is much more powerful than he thinks! Thanks for the chapter!
I feel a bit pissed off with the Nightmen. Blindly following Z’s revenge fuelled attacks on all Practitioners, regardless of whether they did good or not. Many are themselves OPs, but seem to have joined hands for safety. Yet they still viewed Evangeline suspiciously. Both she and DFZ have done more good, without unnecessarily harming others, than the Nightmen! Bit of self-reflection, awareness & review needed, me thinks.
Z could be in bits by now 😬
Ta 4 translating & editing
I feel like Mr. N is also a customer of the Trading House. What if he was on a secret mission to look for the Trading House master, and while investigating he enter the Trading House by mistake. And maybe that’s the reason why he wants to retire so early?
Thank you for the chapter😊
Xenophon’s reaction to DFZ coming down to the cellar with Evangeline was so funny, 🤣
Mr. N is so smart! He remembers all the little details that Z told him. I guess we’ll be seeing those ghouls again. They’re like ugly pets.
Thank you for the chapter!