Translator’s notes: Sorry for the delay, had a business trip. I’ll try to get another chapter out later today.
The dark hallway was silent apart from Xiao Xia’s breathing.
How did she end up on the thirteenth floor? There wasn’t a single tenant here!
She looked around and saw no one. She then tried taking a step and the sound reverberated in the emptiness as an oppressive echo.
She tried to walk slowly but the footsteps were seemed very loud in the silence, making her wish she could take off her shoes. However, she still had to walk back to the elevator.
The elevator lights flickered, indicating it was heading down. She would have to wait a while for it. Yet at this time, she suddenly had the feeling something was watching her!
She looked around subconsciously, seeing only tightly shut metal doors. There was a peephole on each door that flickered in the darkness, as though someone was peeping at her behind each door! She also felt something was hiding around the corner at the end of the hallway!
She couldn’t wait here. She would take the stairs!
She headed towards the stairs in a panic. She had only taken a step when the cry of a cat suddenly sounded behind her.
Because it came so suddenly in the silence, Xiao Xia almost jumped in fright. She stuck close to the wall and looked at the source of the noise.
There was a black cat standing with its side towards her. Its head was also turned towards Xiao Xia!
It had a pair of large, green eyes. They were a little too large, seeming to occupy half of the cat’s face. They seemed very empty and seemed to suck in the soul. They shone faintly with green light in the darkness.
Xiao Xia met its gaze. Within a few seconds, she started feeling afraid. She was afraid of a small cat!
Cough, Cough…The cat suddenly made a noise, still looking towards Xiao Xia.
She felt that its mouth was moving, as though it were speaking. Furthermore, it slowly revealed a smile on its face!
She stood frozen. She never knew animals could smile. In her mind, cats were always grumpy-looking. While she stood frozen, that cat suddenly arched its back and pounced towards her!
She was scared stiff. Facing the oncoming black shadow, she could only shut her eyes and raise her hand in front of her face. There was a slight breeze. When she opened her eyes again, there was nothing there. The black cat had vanished.
Xiao Xia leapt up as though electrified. She ran up the stairs straight to the office on the fifteenth floor. After entering, she locked the door tightly, afraid the cat would chase after her.
That black cat was too weird. It felt like…like an emissary of souls from hell!
She shivered, hurrying into Guan Zheng’s office to go investigate. She wanted to leave as soon as possible.
Around the corner on the thirteenth floor, a man stepped out!
It was Guan Zheng!
He sighed towards where the black cat vanished: “After all my planning, you still managed to escape!” He raised his head and looked to the upper floor. “What is she doing here at this hour?”
He stood thinking for a minute before walking up the stairs.
Guan Zheng’s computer wasn’t password protected. Xiao Xia easily got the information she was looking for: the case files of the other branches of this non-profit organization.
She opened the files with cases of disputes between parents and their children. Some data appeared on the screen. She wasn’t interested in the details of the cases. She just wanted to know the outcome of the accused.
This was a thought that suddenly occurred to her. She wanted to know if mysterious deaths were happening in other places as well!
She was completely focused on the computer and didn’t notice the door to the office opening. Someone walked in quietly.
“What are you doing?” A male voice sounded from above her head, startling her into knocking over the cup on the desk. It shattered on the floor.
“Guan…Guan Zheng. Why are you here?” Xiao Xia asked in surprise.
Only the lamp on the desk was turned on. In the dark, the lamp shone on Guan Zheng’s face, making it look a little malevolent.
“I should be asking you that.” Guan Zheng seemed a little sterner than usual, a little flustered. “What are you looking for on my computer?”
His appearance scared Xiao Xia a little and she also had no response to his question.
“Well, speak. Why?” Guan Zheng raised his voice, seeming very angry.
However, his self-righteous manner made Xiao Xia find some courage instead. “I’m looking through the case files of the various branches. You’re the only one with access. If you’re angry at me for using your computer without asking, there’s nothing I can say. I’m sorry. I won’t have any complaints with however you choose to handle this matter.”
“What I’m asking is, why are you investigating those things?”
“I….” Xiao Xia stammered and didn’t dare continue speaking.
If Guan Zheng was truly responsible, he might very well decide to silence her. He was very skinny but he was still a man after all. Her chances of overcoming him weren’t high. Especially since he seemed different from usual, his expression extremely fierce.
“You think Wang Hua and Zhang Mou’s deaths were very strange, right? You’re investigating to see if similar events occurred at the other branches?” Guan Zheng spoke for her. “In the end, you discovered there were similar cases of sudden death by drug overdose. Along with the two in this city, there were a total of thirteen. Furthermore, they were all involving children who refused to support their parents! You’re thinking there must be something wrong with this organization. There can’t be that many coincidences!”
“Are you telling me it’s a coincidence?” Xiao Xia asked, her face pale.
It was Guan Zheng’s turn to be unable to respond.
Xiao Xia stood up and edged to the side. “I’ll be going then.”
She passed by Guan Zheng as she spoke, but he reached out and grabbed her arm. “Forget what happened tonight. It’s got nothing to do with you. You only need to do your job properly! That is your only responsibility!”
His grip was rather forceful, hurting Xiao Xia. Along with his tone, it roused her anger. “What is my responsibility? What is a lawyer’s responsibility? It is to protect the client’s interests. In these cases, I feel it is in the parents’ best interest to be able to come to an agreement with their children. Even if that’s not possible, there’s no need to kill them! We have to let them fulfill their obligation. Their deaths would only cause their parents more pain. What good are you and your fund in that case?! Did you consider these things? When you use the law, or whatever other means, to achieve your so-called justice, have you ever thought about the pain of those pitiful elderly? Your ideal of upholding justice was fulfilled, but what about the ones who truly need fulfillment? If those people were left alive, there is at least a possibility of remedy!”
“You think I killed them?”
Xiao Xia didn’t speak. She merely struggled forcefully, but wasn’t able to get free. She didn’t think Guan Zheng acted personally. At least, those bizarre deaths weren’t directly related to him since he hadn’t gone on any trips recently. The issue was that as the person in charge of this organization, it was impossible for him to be unaware!
“If only I could!” Guan Zheng suddenly said. “They’re all guilty and deserve to be punished! Although it isn’t a capital offense according to the law, those who not only forget to repay their parents, but even mistreat them, all deserve death!”
“But the ones being punished end up being those parents!” Xiao Xia blurted while making another effort to get free.
She had used too much strength and Guan Zheng released his grip for some reason at the same time. Therefore, she stumbled heavily and crashed against the file cabinet’s door.
The door wasn’t tightly closed so it opened upon being struck. A bundle fell out.
Xiao Xia fixed her eyes upon it before rapidly retreating in shock, almost vomiting!
It was a transparent plastic bag containing a fluffy, bloody thing. The skin was peeled from the flesh and the stomach was cut open, revealing several white ribs. The four little paws were also cut off!
It was a black cat! A black cat that was dismembered after being killed!
Xiao Xia glared at Guan Zheng in astonishment.
He also killed cats? Did he have such a perverted heart under his normally calm appearance? Just what kind of person was he? Did those other cases have something to do with him? Also, was the cat on the thirteenth floor one of his victims that had escaped?
Guan Zheng was also startled at seeing his secret getting exposed. He instinctively started to explain. “I wasn’t…I’m experimenting, I just want to…you don’t understand!”
Xiao Xia ignored him. She stood up to run but was grabbed once again!
“Let go. Let go of me. I’ll scream for help!” She yelled loudly while struggling. It was particularly horrifying in this empty place!
Guan Zheng immediately covered her mouth. “Don’t scream, listen to me! Don’t get involved with this matter. Forget about it!”
“Why did you have to kill a cat?” Xiao Xia couldn’t help but ask after he moved his hand from her mouth.
Guan Zheng released her and suddenly laughed bitterly. “Curiosity killed the cat. Have you heard this before?”
“Whatever!” Xiao Xia yelled and ran off.
She didn’t wait for the elevator, running down the stairs not daring to look behind her. She also didn’t dare stop. Only when she got back home and locked her door and windows did she collapse onto the sofa!
Guan Zheng was a weirdo! He definitely had some secrets!
“Xiao Xia, Xiao Xia, wake up!” A man was calling to her from the darkness. Then, he shoved her, making her almost fall out of bed.
When she opened her eyes, it was still the middle of the night.
This was Xiao Xia’s first thought. She planned to shake herself out of it before turning over and going back to sleep. She was very tired. The fright she had at the office earlier made her ponder for a very long time. She decided to have a discussion with Guan Zheng tomorrow in a public place. At least the others in the office should be present.
If there was something wrong with him mentally, she would refer him to a psychiatrist. Perhaps he was under too much pressure. If he had truly committed crimes, she would urge him to turn himself in.
Actually she was still confused about the entire thing and didn’t know the details. She just knew there was a secret behind these unnatural deaths, and that it was related to Guan Zheng.
She racked her brains for a long time before going to bed. Who would have thought she would start dreaming after finally falling asleep.
She often had someone shoving her in her dreams or shaking her bed. She was used to it so she didn’t think too much about it. She once again sank into sleep. But that man started calling to her again.
“Xiao Xia, Xiao Xia….” He dragged out his words. “Uncover this secret!”
Xiao Xia was startled awake once more, but this time she was thoroughly awake. She had this weird feeling….someone else was in the room!
Fear scratched at her heart like the claws of a cat!
She gripped her protective amulet. Ruan Zhan had spent two months digging through the mountains to find it for her. If she didn’t have this, she probably would have been scared to death.
Ruan Zhan! Ruan Zhan!
She called his name in her mind, and felt a little better.
However, the man’s voice calling her name rang out at this time. “Xiao Xia….Xiao Xia….”
This was no longer a dream. There was truly someone calling her in the darkness!