The inside of the house was so quiet that only the echo of Mo Qianren’s footsteps could be heard. The beam of light focused on the fireplace, then the red sofa, then came to rest on the Japanese-style coffee table atop the oval-shaped carpet in front of the fireplace. The last time he was here, he’d found a strand of Jin Moli’s hair beneath the coffee table…
Mo Qianren narrowed his eyes and walked toward the table before moving both the table and carpet aside to reveal a small wooden door, a great contrast to the glossy floor tiling the rest of the room. There was even a door handle to the side of the wooden door.
He reached out, hesitating for just a moment before continuing with more strength and the door to the basement was yanked open…
The steps to the basement were illuminated by the spotlight. There were five steps going down, with moss growing down the side. The middle of each of the steps were quite clean, looking like someone had walked frequently through.
Mo Qianren sniffed the air. He could smell the scent of many drugs mixed together, the scent of disinfectant water and preservatives cloying in the corridor. He took a step down and slowly proceeded.
Plip plop… Plip plop… Translated by The Novelst
The sound of dripping water echoed from all directions in the small passageway.
There seemed to only be one room at the end of the hall. Mo Qianren walked to the door and looked closely at it. There was a small crack and it looked like the door hadn’t been closed completely.
He slowly began to push the door open, the scent from earlier getting stronger and he could smell something new… the faint smell of blood.
Tap, tap, tap…
The sound of footsteps sounded out, the white flashlight scanning the smooth marble top. Mo Qianren walked closer, a woman’s shrill scream flashing through his mind. He shook his head clear and gazed at the marble, seeing fresh blood pouring from the marble top to the ground. He himself was stepping in that fresh blood.
Mo Qianren quickly shook the scene out of his head and tried to focus. He turned away from the scene before him and looked elsewhere.
Each of the iron racks in the room held an assortment of different drugs, many unlabeled. They seemed to have been placed and mixed by a non-professional. Test tubes, gas cylinders, bandages… There wasn’t anything illegal in this room. He moved his flashlight to shine on the wall opposite the door, illuminating different photos of a person stuck to the wall, cut from magazines and newspapers.
Mo Qianren furrowed his brows. He had been abroad studying psychopaths for a long while, so he didn’t recognize any of the people in the pictures.
He reached out and took a few photos from the bottom of the album and placed it inside his pocket. He then looked at the other iron rack and noticed a few boxes placed together.
Mo Qianren carefully opened one box. Inside were neat rows of new scalpels. Mo Qianren was very familiar with this kind of item. In his twenty-five years of life, he dealt frequently with these in the last ten.
He opened the next box. Inside were seven long nails fixed to a red cloth, looking somewhat ceremonial.
Just as Mo Qianren moved to open the third box, he froze.
He could hear footsteps getting closer and closer.
Time seemed to slow down to an incredible degree, Mo Qianren crouched there staring at the dark entrance…
Two childish screams rang out at the same time. Two identical little children were standing at the door, both their eyes open wide staring at Mo Qianren still shadowed in the dark.
Mo Qianren frowned. Weren’t these two little kids here last time, when Mu Rulan sent them back home? How had they found this place?
Mo Qianren took two steps toward them, and the two little ones immediately shouted for help and running back the way they came.
The two had wanted to look for Mu Rulan since they’d been scolded by her the last time, but because of her warning they didn’t dare enter the house again.
That morning they finally ran out of patience and couldn’t help but run over to the house, but realized that dog entrance had been filled already. So they found a corner and started to dig another hole.
After entering the courtyard, they realized the house door wasn’t locked. Thinking Mu Rulan was home, they snuck into the basement, following Mo Qianren’s footsteps.
Not only did they frighten themselves, Mo Qianren had also been startled.
Since he had been interrupted, it was impossible for him to continue his search. The two little kids had been screaming the entire time; who knew when Uncle Bao might rush into the house and blacklist him.
Mo Qianren quickly chased the two children before they ran out of the house. They struggled for a little until Mo Qianren began to comfort them.
“Hic… A-are you helping sister catch the mouse?” The one in gray asked through his hiccups.
Mo Qianren nodded calmly, the pressure of having to lie to the children not showing on his face.
“Then did you catch the bad doggy hiding inside the closet?” The one in white asked pitifully, his eyes teary.
Mo Qianren’s gaze immediately focused in on him: “A bad doggy hiding in the closet?”
The child nodded. “Mn! Mn! Hiding inside the closet. It keeps banging on the door, so it’s a bad doggy. That’s why sister trapped it inside the closet.”
“Where is it?”
The two pointed to the second floor.
Mo Qianren looked in that direction before turning back to the kids: “I’m going to go catch the bad dog. Both of you go back home, Sister Mu isn’t returning today. Also, if you dare barge in here again, your Sister Mu will ignore you next time.”
“Noo!” The two gave combined shouts of horror. “We get it! But Brother Mo, you can’t keep Sister Mu all to yourself!”
The gray child seemed to come to a realization. He puffed his cheeks out roundly and said, “Hmmph! Even if you’re Sister Mu’s boyfriend, I’ll replace you when I grow up! The only person to marry her will be me!”
Mo Qianren looked in surprise at the two children as they ran out of the house, not giving him enough time to react.
Mu Rulan’s boy…friend? What a joke.
But it looked like there are more secrets hiding inside the house…
Mu Rusen and Mu Rulan had eaten together at a seafood restaurant and were strolling back home.
“Sister,” Mu Rusen said, holding Mu Rulan’s hand and swinging it back and forth leisurely.
“Hm?” Mu Rulan looked at him. Translated by The Novelst
“In the future, don’t associate too closely with Bai Suqing,” he continued with a disgusted expression.
“Did Yaya Tongxue tell you something?” Mu Rulan asked innocently.
“She did, but I didn’t like her from the start either.” Ever since Bai Suqing arrived to the house, she seemed only to steal their parents’ attention and interrupt their conversations. She was nothing but an outsider; why did she talk so much?
Mu Rulan didn’t say anything, only smiling and turning her head back to the path.
Mu Rusen held tighter to Mu Rulan’s hand and changed the topic. “Sister, why did you want seafood today?”
The corner of her smile inched deeper, an interesting light flashing through her eyes. “I wanted to see whether I could catch a fish today.”
Mu Rusen recalled that today she’d been catching prawns and there had been no fish, so he replied, “It’s too bad you couldn’t catch any.”
“You’re right. It’s too bad that I didn’t catch any,” Mu Rulan smiled mysteriously.
Proofread by: Hannah