Doomsday Wonderland Chapter 541
Lin Sanjiu and the brothers looked towards the source of the sound.
The gas lamps on the sides of the street went out one by one. The young man lowered his face so that he could mask his facial features from the other three people. He wasn't tall, and he wore a high-shouldered vintage denim jacket that didn't really go well with his scrawny body frame.
"How did you know that this is 19th-century London?" One of the potato brothers asked.
Both brothers had round eyes with black and large irises. Their faces were somehow different, but they looked very similar. Whenever they were talking, they always stared at you, making you want to avert your gaze away. After all, it was uncomfortable for most people to maintain eye contact.
Lin Sanjiu looked around, and she found out that the elder brother's height only reached her eyebrows. Although she was a woman, she was the tallest amongst four of them.
The young man seemed to be an introvert. He shrunk back a little when he heard their query, but soon lifted his face again, "... Because I've always been interested in Jack the Ripper and read a lot about him, so I knew it at first glance. When did you guys arrive here?"
He spoke with a slight Cantonese accent. Having a pair of phoenix eyes with double eyelids, he had a stunning androgynous outlook. It was no wonder Lin Sanjiu mistook the old man's description as her grand prize.
"We have been waiting here for a long time," the elder brother said impatiently. As he averted his steely gaze away from the young man, Lin Sanjiu could sense the latter relaxed, "So, when will the whatever-Jack go murder people? How should we capture him?"
The young man shook his head, "I'm afraid I have no idea… It all happened hundreds of years ago, and until now no one knew who Jack the Ripper was. Even the London Constabulary had a hard time tracking him down… It's not that easy to capture him."
The younger brother let out a sigh. He surveyed around and said to himself, "... Don't you guys feel this place is a little bit… creepy?"
"Not only that," Lin Sanjiu chimed in, drawing attention to her. She rubbed her temples and sighed, "... I suppose this pocket dimension is not as safe as the old man claimed. At the very least, I think we can't use either of our Evolving Abilities or Special Items."
As she said that, she had secretly put the [Battle Item] into her pocket. It now looked like ordinary porcelain. Initially, she wanted to put it into her card, but she was unable to do so. Her [Planar World] would not reply to her call no matter how many times she tried to summon it.
The other three people looked at each other. None of them spoke.
None of them knew each other (aside from the potato brothers). They were there merely because they had entered the same Pocket Dimension, and it was impossible for them to trust a stranger. Hence, it was considered reasonable if they refused to say their Evolving Abilities had been sealed away.
After they had a short discussion, the group of four decided to go down the street to see if they could find anything useful. Their appointed characters were inconsequential—ordinary residents that resided in the slums of the East End of London. They walked for a while, and the brothers were the first to get "identified" when they bumped into a heavily drunk Eastern European immigrant. It turned out that their roles were owners of a tavern nearby.
The immigrant kept asking them, "What's up peeps. Are you guys on your way to open the tavern now?"
The clear blue sky in the morning was darkened by the drizzle and mist. Although the young man had read a lot about Jack the Ripper, it was apparently his first-time visit to London. The group went round and round several times before they finally stumbled upon the infamous Whitechapel in East End. According to him, Jack the Ripper's first victim was a middle-aged prostitute. Her body was found here, and according to the autopsy, it was said that she had suffered 39 stab wounds in the breasts and genitals.
The rain continued to fall, and the alley seemed even darker. The air in the 19th-century London was often poisoned with a pungent sulphuric smell, and the entire capital was covered in a dense fog that not even rain could wash away. Silently, the four of them traveled down the hazy alley, which looked extremely unreal. All of a sudden, after they had walked for some time, there was the sound of heels hitting the cobblestone.
Click, clack, click, clack, it went like this.
They all were stunned, then they saw a young woman coming out from the rain and fog ahead. She wrapped her shoulders with a time-worn shawl, walking with hasty steps. After turning down a corner, she was startled by the group of people blocking her way. She hitched up her skirt and recoiled a few steps back. However, she seemed to heave a sigh of relief when she saw Lin Sanjiu.
"Carol," she called. There was a dark circle below one of her eyes. The corner of her lips had swollen up, blood was seeping out. A cheap-priced perfume hung about her, and her make-up was smudged. Judging from the woman's attire, it wasn't hard to tell her occupation.
The young woman walked a few steps closer to Lin Sanjiu and looked at the young man. She pressed nearer and asked, "... Are you going home? Are they your two new customers?"
Exchanging glances, Lin Sanjiu, and the young man was torn between tears and laughter. They had never expected that the game had given them a Dutch widow identity.
Since Lin Sanjiu had no idea how to reply, she just answered, "Ah."
"You guys have to watch out," the young prostitute said, her voice teetering on fear. She used her hand to cover the dark circle under her eye, "... There is a killer here. He has killed two people around here. If you can go home early, please do yourself a favor and get home as early as possible!"
Hearing this, the few posthumans looked at each other.
"It feels so nice to have a place to stay," the young prostitute smiled dryly, "I thought the man from yesterday was going to let me stay at his place, but who knew? Anyway, I'm going to try my luck at the pier, perhaps I can still get somebody before the sunsets."
After that, she left without waiting for Lin Sanjiu them to reply. From a closer range, her high-heeled shoes no longer produced the crisp clicking sound; it sounded more like spoiled high-heeled shoes of inferior quality where the toebox hit the outsole.
The young man withdrew his eyes from the young prostitute after she had gone far. He turned around and whispered to the other three people, "What should we do now? Jack the Ripper has already murdered two people."
"All of them are prostitutes?" Lin Sanjiu asked, her brows creased in concern, "How many people did he kill?"
"Five, all are harlots," the young man replied softly, "All the murders happened between 31 August and 9 November 1888. After that, he vanished."
"That means the game would end very soon even if we do not do anything," the elder brother said, "Well, the truth is I'm not particularly interested in capturing a serial killer. I suggest we find a place and wait until the game ends. What do you guys think?"
Before Lin Sanjiu could give any comment, the young man's cheeks flushed, "Well, it's not easy to have such a chance… I--I really want to know the real identity of Jack the Ripper."
"How about you? What's your thought?" The elder brother looked at Lin Sanjiu.
"Let's move in a team," Lin Sanjiu said after some contemplation. She turned to the young man and tried to talk him down, "Let's find a place to settle down first. After that, you can go out and investigate who Jack the Ripper is."
The young man lowered his head, and Lin Sanjiu took it as a yes.
It wasn't hard to find a place to stay, but it wasn't an easy task either. In the end, the young man gave a suggestion, "Hey guys, I have a suggestion. Why don't you two pretend to be drunk and ask around for the location of your house? I suppose tavern owners should at least have a house to stay, right?"
Though the suggestion was a little bit stupid, and the process was kind of tedious, they still found their rented house.
However, it seemed that life was difficult for the two tavern owners as well. They rented the house together with an old coachman and a cobbler. The backyard was full of the ammoniacal smell of the horse's excretion and leather odor. The smell was so strong that even when they closed the window, they still could smell it inside the house.
After the four of them had settled down in the ill-lit, claustrophobic living room, Lin Sanjiu heaved a long sigh of relief. The air in the house smelled damp and dusty. It was as if the house had been left vacant for a long time. Lin Sanjiu allowed her gaze to jump from one person to another. She found that, aside from the young man, whose eyes were brimming with excitement at the prospect of meeting Jack the Ripper in person, the brothers had the same blank and lost expression on their faces.
"Why are you so interested in this serial killer?" The elder brother asked, slouching into a single sofa. They could only see his eyes, which glowed mysteriously in the dark.
The young man shrunk back a little, then he spoke plaintively, "... He's very famous. Movies, songs, literature… There are a plethora of works about Jack the Ripper."
"Since we're here, can you tell us more about this whatever-Jack?" The younger brother asked, sitting in an almost identical fashion as his brother.
Lin Sanjiu could tell this was the topic the young man had been waiting for. It was obvious that he had done plenty of research about Jack the Ripper. The moment the younger brother told him to tell them more about his idol, his timid self disappeared, and his confident side took the stage. He told them everything about Jack the Ripper, from his origin to his criminal motive through the entire case. He remembered every detail, and he even could point out the different origin.
"Every time I talk about Jack the Ripper, people would say I am a freak," the young man realized that he had been too agitated when he was about to come to an end of the chronicle about Jack the Ripper. He lowered his head in embarrassment and said, "But there are a lot of people out there who, like me, are serial killer fanatics; it's no rare thing. I've also heard that some admirers communicated with serial killers through letter-writing after they had been arrested and imprisoned. Some of them even tie the knot in prison…"
Lin Sanjiu had heard about this as well.
"Hey, the sky is getting dark," the younger brother glanced out of the window and called out to them.
The other three people followed his gaze and they were all stunned. It seemed that the time flow in the game was faster than the time in the real world. They were merely listening to the young man talks about Jack the Ripper and the sun had already set. As the day turned dark, prostitutes, hooligans, drunkard, all came out from their lairs and began to gather under the gas lamps, filling the alley. All kinds of women of different ages and appearance stood beside the street in groups, shivering in the cold and waited for their customers to arrive.
"You can go now if you want to search for the murderer," the elder brother said to the youngster. He pointed at the shadow that hid under the lamps, "We two can accompany you if—"
He couldn't finish his sentence as he was interrupted by a rapping on the door. Four of them looked at each other, and since Lin Sanjiu was nearest to the door, she got up and went to open the door. Once the door was opened, the woman outside stunned.
"Carol? Didn't Mr. Dalton called me over?" The woman had a pair of bright red lips, and her face was white. Though she had put on heavy make-up, she couldn't hide her saggy skin and wrinkles. The woman raised her voice, assaulting Lin Sanjiu's ears with her sharp tone, "Why are you here, Carol? Did you undercut me?"
The commotion at their house had caused the neighbor to open his door. An elderly man poked his head out and smiled at her, teasing, "... Annie, I guess Mr. Dalton is not very fond of an aged woman. Why don't you come over to my place instead—"
"Ptui! Close the door and get your ass back into that filthy room of yours! My service demands money!" The prostitute spat phlegm next to Lin Sanjiu's shoe.
It seemed that Dalton was the name of the brothers in the game. The woman was giving Lin Sanjiu a headache, and just as she turned around to have the brothers sent her off, she was first met with a pair of bright eyes.
"Annie?" The youngster stammered, "Are you, Annie Chapman?"
The old prostitute turned her head and asked, she felt confused, "... Yes, I am. What's wrong with that?"
Lin Sanjiu and the brothers looked at the youngster. The youngster turned to face them and talked in an extremely low voice, "She is the third victim."