YBCB: V4C3

Translated by: TaffyGirl13

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Chapter Three

“Powdered sugar?”

“Yep, powdered sugar.”

It was the day after the family members had confirmed the corpse’s identity. Yan Si tossed the new report onto the table in the resting room, and it landed with a thud.

“Could you just bring it straight to the office next time? I really don’t like having a report dumped on me while I am drinking tea.”

Yu Xia put down the spring water in his hands; he had come to drink some tea with his rare free time. He reached across the table to grab the clipped documents that were covered with English and Chinese text. There were several specialised terms used throughout, as well as some annotations in the margins.

“Oh? The office?”

Yan Si clapped his hands together with an expression of realisation. If it hadn’t been brought up, he really would have forgotten about the office’s existence. “But I saw some cobwebs last time. If I put the report there, I feel like you wouldn’t look at it until half a month later. Coming here to grab you is faster.”

He had almost never seen the office with its owner in it. Even when told to write reports in warning, Yu Xia would always bring his laptop into the resting room to eat while writing, unwilling to waste any time.

“If you put it in there, I’ll go in to grab it.” Yu Xia flipped through the pages of the report, which also contained a section written by Jiu Shen. Aside from the autopsy results, there was also a section on the ants. They had apparently shown perfect consideration and respect towards the ants, having even written its species type on there. “So the reason there were all those ants was because there was powdered sugar on her body?”

Typically, corpses always attracted ants. But their numbers in the alley had been way too great, which was why Yu Xia had been suspicious. Apparently, the ants had densely covered the corpse when it had first been discovered, and they had only dispersed a bit after all the commotion from the people walking back and forth later.

“To be more precise, it was a small amount of peanut butter mixed with a large amount of powdered sugar. Similar residues tested positive on the corpse as well. According to the report that Jiu Shen and his group supplied, they had confirmed during their interrogations that the victim had offered others a peanut butter roll cake she had made herself that day.” Yan Si paused. Actually, this wasn’t originally within the scope of his work, but since he had already come here, might as well help speak for the investigation team. “There wasn’t any on her clothing, but there was some stuck on her body. She probably changed clothes before going to work. Apparently, the victim enjoyed making home-made sweets, so it isn’t abnormal.

“Also, it was discovered during the investigations that the victim seemed to have done some other jobs on the side, like selling medicine and health supplements. Several of her regular customers praised her, so her sales must have been pretty good.”

“I’ll apply for a house search permit later…” Yu Xia followed-up with the customary procedure. As soon as he said this, he frowned as he realised that the person next to him actually was not part of his unit. “Wait, why didn’t Jiu Shen come to give the report himself?”

Yan Si walked over to clap one hand on Yu Xia’s shoulder while using the other hand to flick at the corner of the report and flip the page over. “Colleague Jiu Shen requested for leave today so that he could get his spirit recovered. He switched shifts with someone for the afternoon and will come later. Also, I discovered an object of value in the victim’s stomach, which I’m sure you guys will take your time investigating.”

That damn bastard really did run off to get a spirit recovery.

While Yu Xia was planning on how exactly to punish the person later, his attention was drawn back to the report. The advanced autopsy results showed that aside from the expected wounds and residues from the cake, they had discovered a ring in her stomach.

“A ring?”

“Yep, pure metal. It has the letters M.L engraved on it, but we are not yet sure what it means. It’s a male’s ring size, and our guess is that it was worn on either the ring finger or the middle finger. It’s already started to wear down, so it had probably been worn for a while. If such an object were custom ordered, the wearer could likely be guessed…lovers don’t typically exchange vows by swallowing each other’s rings, right? Even if it were put in the roll cake, it would be hard to swallow down since it’s quite large.” Yan Si shrugged and suggested, “The trouble lies in the fact that there isn’t a shop engraved on the ring, so you might have to go to various shops one by one.”

“Got it, thanks!” Since it was an ordered item, there was no reason to be afraid of not finding the origin. Yu Xia closed the stack of information and quickly planned out what to do next. “I’ll go apply for the appropriate documents first then make another trip to the crime scene. See you later.”

“Eh, wait a minute.” Yan Si stopped the person about to rush out of the resting room and said, “The fact that something was in the victim’s stomach was pointed out to me by the friend that went off to get his spirit recovered. He told me to be mindful of anything that the victim had swallowed.” Although Yan Si would have found it sooner or later even without the heads-up.

“I see, he must have looked for Ah Yin.”

Yu Xia coldly grinned as he realised that there were now two people he needed to teach a lesson.

Jiu Shen, that bastard, did he really think nobody would come to notify me?

Yan Si studied the baby face across from him for a while before narrowing his eyes. “Boss, do you have an allergic reaction on your ear?”

Yu Xia subconsciously rubbed his ear and shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He did feel a minor sharp pain, but when he had washed it earlier, he hadn’t seen any signs of an allergic reaction.

“It’s turning black.” Yan Si turned to face the small mirror in the resting room and suspiciously neared him to examine it more closely. “It doesn’t seem like an infection. When you have time, it’s best you drop by my place so that I can help you put some medication on it.”

Strange, it was just a shallow scrape when he looked at it yesterday. Logically speaking, it should have healed without a trace in two days. Why was it starting to turn black?

“I’ll go if I have the time.”

Yu Xia waved his hand, not really caring about this kind of matter. He looked in the mirror himself to see that the faint red line on his ear had started to turn a faint black. He figured that it was something like a bruise, and so he just gave an automatic reply.

“You have to drop by. If the wound gets infected, it will be troublesome. Don’t just assume minor wounds don’t matter; as soon as it’s infected, it will become fatal.” Yan Si patted the other person’s shoulder and checked his watch. “I have some other stuff to do, so I’ll be returning to the office first. If you have any questions, give me a call.” With that, he quickly walked past the other person to exit the resting room.

After watching Yan Si scurry past him, Yu Xia gripped his ear again. For some reason, he suddenly recalled that photo that had caused Jiu Shen to go recover his spirit.

“Hmph, I’m overthinking it.” That kind of thing isn’t within the scope of my work.

Yu Xia wasn’t exactly a realist. After all, his own family member could “see them”. He just believed that every person’s scope was different, and their unknown territory naturally included the rules of that other place, just as the place he lived in had its own laws. Thus, he did not allow for any thoughts like crossing of realms that would interfere with his scope of work.

He was not scared of them, since he felt that there wasn’t any reason to be particularly afraid of them.

Suddenly, the cellphone at his waist rang, interrupting his thoughts.

Yu Xia grabbed his phone and furrowed his brows at the sight. The neat and tidy screen was under some kind of interference as it continuously flickered. There was no indication of an incoming call, but his phone was undoubtedly ringing.

He did not think about it much and simply answered the call. “This is Yu Xia.”

At first, nothing could be heard from the cellphone.

But after two or three seconds, as Yu Xia was contemplating the possibility of a bad signal and hanging up, a strange sound came from the receiver.

It was the sound of something being dragged, something small that had a slight metallic ring to it. At first, the noise was distant, but it gradually seemed to get closer to the receiver end as it got louder and louder.

Yu Xia felt as if the other person would soon end up stuck right up to the receiver. He frowned and said, “If you have the guts to give me a prank call, you had better watch your back.” He would definitely capture this kind of person later when he had time, and make sure they disappeared completely.

The other person did not reply, and the noise abruptly stopped too. The silence continued for a long time.

Several seconds later, he abruptly heard the sound of a child playing and something like a radio station which he vaguely caught the shouting voice of a chinese doctor selling medicine.

A child’s prank?

That didn’t seem quite right, since the child’s sound was a bit distant. For instance, it sounded as if the child was playing around on the other end of a room, while the strange noise from before was right at the receiver.

Before he could analyse the situation more closely, the call suddenly cut.

Once he heard the click, Yu Xia held the phone up to look at it.

The screen had returned to its normal state and was no longer flickering. He accessed the system controls to check the call log, but nothing had been recorded.

That phone call did not exist, nobody had called him just now.

“What was that?”

***

“What kind of call was that?”

Fang Yi Xun hung up in bewilderment as she saw that the record logs had failed to record anything.

Yu followed suit, his face expressionless as usual.

It was afternoon. After all the adults in the Yu household had run out, Fang Yi Xun had called Yu to ask to meet him at the library, as she had just finished her supplementary holiday classes in the morning. But just then, the two of them had simultaneously received a call that, upon answering, did not contain anything worth listening to aside from a random mess of weird noises.

“It was probably a prank call.” These words appeared on Yu’s screen. Although he was a bit suspicious, he didn’t tell the other person what he was thinking.

“Would we be able to receive the same prank call simultaneously? Don’t be stupid, it’s not like we’re using a broadband receiver. ” Fang Yi Xun gave his forehead a strong flick and stuffed the phone back into her backpack. “Also, why is that meddlesome guy following us?”

“Young miss, by ‘that meddlesome guy’, are you referring to me?” Yu Yin had just happened to overhear this sentence after parking his vehicle and walking over. He looked over at the girl with a fake smile of amiability and warmth.

He had finally understood why he had felt that unnatural feeling from her during their first encounter.

That person was extremely similar to a certain school flower he knew, where her outside appearance and her inner personality were extremely different.

“Ah, there is no way I would! Ah Yu-Gēgē, you’re just being overly sensitive,” Fang Yi Xun turned to reply with a coquettish expression on her pretty face.

“Save the act, I’ve seen it way too many times.” That school flower has that same revolting behaviour. Yu Yin was suddenly very convinced that women had two faces; he had witnessed it himself.

Yawn, why are you following us?”

Fang Yi Xun immediately dropped the professional, cordial smile that was could charm someone to commit a crime, and instead now sported an expression that clearly said: “You’re the meddlesome one”. “Don’t you know that you’ll end up getting kicked by a pig if you interrupt someone else’s date?”

Yu Yin turned to face at the other boy who was constantly shaking his head. “Are you guys dating?”

Yu quickly turned his cellphone screen towards the university student to voice his firm standpoint: “We are not!”

“What exactly did you come here to do?” Fang Yi Xun had not anticipated that this guy would follow them along, and she narrowed her eyes. This meant that the places they could go to today were all eliminated.

“My old man told me to go study with you guys. A university student is still better than a high school student after all. If this brat really wants to take part in the entrance exam, I can at least teach him something.” The problem was, he had no idea what he could teach. According to his knowledge, Yu’s language ability was another level of powerful; it would probably be more appropriate for Yu to help him cram instead.

“Don’t worry, I’m in the top ten of our entire grade. If he has any questions, I can tutor him. So you can just go back, no need to interrupt us…Ah. Yin. Gē. Gē.” Fang Yi Xun batted her eyelashes and clung onto Yu’s arm.

“Can you not use that style of using super affectionate inflection to talk? It’s extremely nauseating.” Just hearing it had caused goosebumps to rise all over his skin. He crossed his arms and shifted his gaze. “Alright, what phone call were you two talking about just now?” When he had joined them, he’d just happened to hear the words “prank call”, but that person had managed to shift the topic afterwards.

Fang Yi Xun let of the other person in her grasp had begun to struggle against her, and gave a shrug. “No idea. It was pretty weird, honestly. Ah Yu and I got a call at the same time just now, but the phones didn’t show any incoming calls, and all we heard were some strange sounds like something being dragged, a radio station, and a child. It seems like we got the same call. After hanging up, there was no record of it in the call history.”

She found it odd. Are scammer groups really bored enough to try testing technology that removes caller IDs?

“No call history?” Yu Yin reached out to grab Yu’s white phone and flipped through it himself to see that indeed, nothing had been logged. All that was there was that girl’s call from earlier.

“Mhm, no idea what kind of call that was either. A prank call like that is too meaningless.”

The main point is that we got it at the same time, which is beyond bizarre. Fang Yi Xun thought this to herself. She couldn’t think of a way for that to be possible.

“Maybe it’s a phone malfunction. I’ll help you bring your phone to the sales office for a check, you can use mine for now.”

Yu Yin turned the phone around in his hand, not seeing any visible issues. However, since he was apprehensive about its functionality, he took out his black phone of identical model and tossed it at Yu.

“Help me get mine checked too,” Fang Ji Xun piped up from his side.

“Go by yourself!” Who knows where she got her phone from?

“So stingy.” She pocketed her phone and clicked her tongue twice. “Since Ah Yu already has someone accompanying him, I’ll go do my own stuff for now. Let me know of your progress next time we meet. Bye-bye.” Having decided that the presence of the nosy person would make it impossible for her to do anything with Yu, she figured it would be faster to just do things independently.

Yu nodded and waved goodbye.

After watching the girl leave, Yu Yin turned to look at Yu. “Exactly how did you get to know that girl…”

Yu met his gaze with his violet eyes and simply let out a sigh as he began to walk towards the library.

“Oi, oi, you brat, what does that sigh mean!” He had sacrificed his day off to come study with him, yet Yu only gave a sigh in response!

Just as he was about to chase after Yu, Yu Yin sensed the phone in his pocket vibrate a few times. When he took it out, he saw that the screen was flickering.

In a split second, he felt a certain, subtle pain from his temples.

It wasn’t like a headache, but more as if a fine needle was penetrating through. But after a mere two seconds, the pain vanished.

The screen went dark and returned to its original, flickering state, with its frequency now gradually increasing.

Yu Yin rubbed his forehead as he looked down at the white phone in his hand. He had just bought this device; logically speaking, it shouldn’t have any issues. Why had it started malfunctioning so soon?

As he was just about to turn off the power, he saw an image seemingly bounce across the flickering screen.

When he raised his head, he saw that Yu had already walked into the library. Yu Yin quickly strode towards the resting area underneath a tree next to the library where a few elderly people were idly chatting. They were playing some Taiwanese classics from an old-fashioned radio currently switched onto one of those timeless stations.

Yu Yin didn’t notice the elderly people glancing at him. He simply narrowed his eyes at the phone screen that was still flashing.

Like a frequency hopping television, a third image would appear in the short one-second interval between its flickering state and its black state.

This new phone he had bought had a multi-colored display that could access the internet, so he didn’t find it strange that there were images. However, there was no way such images could appear when the phone wasn’t being used.

He saw something flash by…an extremely blurry shadow all huddled together with what looked like several long pipes sticking out from the top that were shaking about. Originally, that thing was a distance away, but it gradually began to get closer and closer. It was like some bizarre creature from a movie that enlarged in size as it approached.

The cellphone suddenly rang, although there was no indication of an incoming call on the display.

Startled by the sudden sound, Yu Yin nearly dropped the phone. After scrambling to maintain his grip on it, he did not answer the call and instead kept his gaze locked onto the shifting screen.

“What is that sound?!”

Just as that thing was closing in, Yu Yin heard a cry of shock from the elderly people next to him.

When he turned to look in their direction, he noticed that at some point, the classics from the radio station had disappeared and been replaced with the static sound of interference.

The phone in his hand also stopped ringing.

From the radio, he heard the noise of something being dragged.

It also had a faint, metallic sound. Originally it was at a distance, but it seemed to quickly reach their side. A silent and suspicious pressure slowly crawled up on everyone’s backs starting from their feet.

The second the metallic sound bumped into the receiver, someone finally let out a yell, unable to endure it any longer, and shut the radio’s power off. At the same time, everyone who had been frightened out of their wits were woken from their stupor.

Yu Yin subconsciously looked down at the image on the cellphone in his hand.

Half of a woman’s face was crammed on the screen.

The skin was almost deathly pale with some purple and black vein lines. The turbid eyes were bloodshot. The face that was stuck onto the screen seemed as if it could instantly cross through and reach the other side. He could even see the liquid being secreted from the corpse on the other side of the screen.

Having been caught completely off guard by the fixed image, Yu Yin nearly dropped the phone again.

If I drop it, my part-time job earnings will decrease again.

As he thought this, Yu Yin pulled out the battery from the phone to forcefully shut it off. The display went dark with a sudden pop so that nothing strange could be seen.

***

“Yu, what places have you been to recently?”

Yu Yin raced into the library and immediately dragged the person looking for books in the original texts section outside without caring about anything else. The library attendant organising the books had been shooting him supercilious looks, so he could only pull the other person outside of the library to question him.

Yu first tilted his head then shook it in confusion.

“When did your phone start having problems?”

Yu Yin was almost certain that this wasn’t as simple as a call from a ghost. He had a bad feeling about this.

Yu took out the black phone that Yu Yin had lent him and wrote down an explanation of the odd building, as well as all the issues with the phone that had come up today, before passing the phone over for Yu Yin to read.

After swiftly reading the contents, Yu Yin dragged him towards the parking lot. “Bring me there.” He wasn’t sure why, but he felt like there was definitely something wrong with that place. Something very wrong.

Yu, who likely also knew that something was fishy, did not struggle and obediently let himself get pulled away. He accepted the safety helmet passed to him and climbed onto the backseat by himself.

Under the other person’s directions, Yu Yin quickly drove to that building.

Then, he discovered another very coincidental fact.

“Isn’t this near the death case that Uncle is investigating right now…” It really wasn’t far at all. He could easily reach the crime scene from here in no time at all.

Yu looked at him and nodded.

Yu Yin turned to glance up at the building.

It was an aged, old-fashioned building that could be said to be on the older side compared to some other buildings. It did not have the current-age guard office. There was a shop on one side, with an external upwards staircase on the other side. It was possible that it had a metal gate before, as there were still traces of a metal frame, but the metal gate had somehow disappeared. There were quite a few flyers stuck all over the walls for almost everything imaginable, like private investigators, fixing leaks, moving homes, sex lines, etc. There were also several red papers with “For Rent” on them overlapping each other. The slightly emptier side of the wall had been covered with a spray-painted picture. Aside from all this, there was also the building’s number and its mailbox. The building had a total of ten levels, with a single residence on each floor. It could be said that it was an earlier style home.

It didn’t seem like there were many residents, as the iron grates on the windows of the second and third floors had corroded quite heavily. Although it seemed there were still people regularly entering and exiting the building, there probably weren’t any living there. The doors and windows were all tightly shut for some reason.

A glass screen window repairs truck passed by from behind. The sound of the advertisement briefly cut through the peace and quiet, but it gradually grew more and more distant.

And then the surroundings returned to the same deathly silence from before.

When Yu Yin looked up, he saw that quite a few homes were up for rent, while some of the upper ones still had residents, as there was some clothing hung out on the balconies to dry.

Yu Yin lowered his head to glance at the building’s entrance.

He could see a faint, weak light from the elevator inside. The small elevator in the building was quietly waiting in place for someone to use it to go up.

“Did you say the kids you saw were on the fourth floor or the fifth floor?” Yu Yin studied the “For Rent” posters stuck outside as he asked the boy next to him.

Yu nodded and held out four fingers.

Although Fan Yi Xun hadn’t paid close attention back then, he was certain that the two children had laughed and run into the fourth floor residence.

Although it was daytime, the place was still dark, as if the sunlight couldn’t enter the staircase. Yu Yin could feel his hairs starting to rise. Typically speaking, he would never want to enter such a place.

Yu pushed at him and then took one step back, grabbing onto his jacket tightly.

“You think it’s strange too, right…?” Yu Yin could feel his body gradually turning cold starting from his feet, and he subconsciously swallowed hard. “I think it’s probably best we don’t just go up as we please…after all, this is someone else’s home.”

Before the boy behind him could respond, both their phones erupted in sound at the same time.

Putting aside the fact that the phone Yu has is ringing…Yu Yin glanced at his own pocket. He had just removed its battery and had not put it back yet.

“What are the two of you doing there?!”

“Whoa!”

The sudden bellow made Yu Yin tightly grab onto the boy behind him and dash forwards a few steps before he noticed something fishy. That voice had been extremely familiar. He turned and immediately let loose his bated breath. “Uncle, are you trying to terrify us to death?! It’s scary enough as it is. Could you make some noise next time you walk?” He would have thought his uncle was practicing his martial arts or something, noiselessly appearing out of nowhere. Although he hadn’t originally been scared of the place, he had been frightened by his uncle.

The phones that had been ringing just now seemed to also have been startled, as both went quiet.

Yu Xia narrowed his eyes at his blood-related child that had been frightened as well as the other child that despite having been taken by surprise, was still expressionless. He had simply widened his eyes a bit. Yu Xia waved the phone in his hands as he asked, “What kind of shameful deeds have you done to be so scared of me standing behind you?”

“Nothing…anyways, what are you doing here, Uncle?” With the eerie atmosphere shattered by that person, Yu Yin relaxed and was no longer as nervous as he had been earlier.

Sometimes, he was really grateful for his uncle’s existence. With him present, any “thing” from the other side would always be wiped out, and the surrounding air would become enviously clean.

Yu Xia put his phone away and raised his head to eye the top of the building while also scanning the surroundings. “Nothing in particular. I was just heading back to the crime scene to see if anything was missed, while also asking around nearby to see if anyone saw any suspicious strangers. Then I picked up a phone call.”

“Don’t tell me it was also of something being dragged? And did a woman appear on your screen?” Yu Yin suspiciously glanced at the phone in his uncle’s hands. He couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at the thought of the image that had shown up earlier.

“Woman? What woman, the screen was just constantly flickering…wait, you two also received the same call?” Yu Xia saw the other two children nod, and instantly knew why they had come here.

After giving a general summary of the situation, Yu Yin pointed at Yu standing by his side. “It was his phone, not mine.” His phone had managed to escape scot-free this time. If it continued to run into weird things at such a high frequency, he would definitely cry. Finally, things are equilibrating.

“Now that you mention it, I only started getting that kind of call after passing by this place too.” Yu Xia shrugged as he recalled what had happened after he’d left the scene of the crime that day. He didn’t really believe in these kinds of things.

“Wait, Uncle, why are you over here then?”

Although the crime scene was close, there was still a distance between it and this building. Since Yu Xia didn’t see the image, why was he holding his phone when he came here? Yu Yin was extremely suspicious.

“When I first picked up the call, I couldn’t hear anything. But then I heard the advertisement music from a repairs truck, and happened to see said truck turn around the alley we were in. I calculated based on the timing and its route that it would have been around here, so I came to test my luck and see if I could find a bastard lazing around with nothing better to do.” If Yu Xia had not happened to be nearby, he would have tried tossing this investigation task to the guy who had gone for a spirit recovery.

Yu Yin stared at his uncle for a long time, feeling like his question just now had been meaningless.

He shouldn’t have tried to assume that his uncle had come chasing after a paranormal phenomenon…The day that happens would be the day a red rain floods the ocean and submerges the city!

“Did you mention the fourth floor just now?” Yu Xia couldn’t be bothered to waste any time. When he had heard the description from the two kids just now, he had felt something was fishy.

“Yeah, but Uncle, you can’t go in, right? You don’t have the paperwork.” That would be a break-in…

“Paperwork is only needed if someone sees. If nobody sees it, you can just pretend it didn’t happen.” Yu Xia responded with completely skewed logic and then fearlessly walked straight inside.

…That’s illegal. Definitely illegal.

Yu Yin considered secretly exposing his uncle one day.

As soon as Yu saw Yu Xia walk inside, he quickly followed behind.

“Oi, oi, can you two slow down a bit!” Yu Yin helplessly shouted after the two people that ambitiously gave up on the elevator and ran for the stairs instead. Of course, nobody paid him any mind.

Yu Yin sighed and lifted his head to look upwards. However, he instantly regretted this decision.

In the space between the sixth and seventh floors, a woman was sprawled outside the building in an extremely unnatural posture—feet up and head down—and was looking straight at him. All of her black hair hung downwards, and her extremely pale face covered by the hair that had lost its luster was turned in his direction.

He immediately felt chills run through his entire body.

“Uncle, Yu, wait for me!”

As Yu Yin ran into the dark staircase, he seemed to hear the sound of a child’s frolicking laughter outside.

With a clang, something fell onto the ground behind him.

Then, he heard the sound of a child laughing and clapping their hands from above.


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