Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Ceremony of the Devil, Part 1—Not Your Case—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby & Taffygirl13)
Liu Yishi calmly waited outside the abandoned campus, drawing the attention of the policemen coming and going. Fortunately, this situation did not continue for long before the person he was waiting for arrived.
“You are Lu Yang’s father?”
Before Liu Yishi could give a greeting, he heard a young policeman mutter, “How come it’s a westerner? I don’t know English!”
Liu Yishi smiled and used fluent and proper Mandarin to say, “Since my son is half, as the dad, I can only be a foreigner.”
Hu Lican immediately whacked his partner on the back, the force so great that Fang Da’s heart was nearly ejected from his ribcage.
“Sorry, this brat is still green. Don’t pay him any mind. I’m Hu Lican, a captain from the criminal investigations division.” Hu Lican extended a hand out as he introduced himself.
“Greetings, Captain Hu Lican.” Liu Yishi reached out and gripped the other person’s hand. He introduced himself, “I am Liu Yishi, Lu Yang’s father.”
“Then, why is your surname Liu?” Fang Da asked in surprise. Even though taking on the mother’s surname is possible now, it’s still rare for that to happen!
Again? Hu Lican turned and smacked the back of his partner’s head. He scolded, “What the hell does his son’s surname have anything to do with you?!”
With a smile, Liu Yishi stopped him from beating his partner up any further by saying, “Captain Hu Lican, it’s fine. Chatting can help loosen our nerves.”
Fang Da felt very wronged, but he didn’t dare to randomly speak up anymore.
“Actually, my surname isn’t Liu.” Liu Yishi blinked and explained, “My name is Lewis Hunter. My surname is actually Hunter. My son’s English name is Luke Hunter. Overseas, he takes my surname. In Taiwan, he takes his mother’s surname. Isn’t this very fair?”
Fang Da came to a sudden understanding and quickly nodded his agreement.
Seeing that his partner hadn’t caused offense, and the two had even begun chatting, Hu Lican relaxed. It seemed that Lu Yang’s father was as approachable as Lu Yang. This was good news.
Liu Yishi raised his head to look at the abandoned campus, a slight frown on his face.
“Let’s head inside. Even though I’m not as wary of reporters as Lu Yang is, if possible, I still don’t wish to appear in the public eye.”
Hu Lican nodded. As he led the way, he said, “I passed you off as an advisor, an expert on those devil sigils. If you’re unable to explain something, just say that you need to go back and do research. You can wing it. I’ll help cover for you on everything else.”
Liu Yishi didn’t mind much at all. Even though he could not be said to be an expert on this sort of matter, he was definitely more knowledgeable than the general populace in Taiwan. An impromptu explanation was no problem either.
Hu Lican said, “Using an apparatus, we have already photographed all of the erased sigils from the first floor to the seventh. Fang Da, give the data to Mr. Liu.”
Fang Da quickly handed over a folder.
As Liu Yishi flipped through it, he asked, “You mentioned floors one through seven. Does the eighth floor not have one?”
Hu Lican said in frustration, “That’s the weird part. The eighth floor actually doesn’t have one. There’s also a lot of graffiti here, so some people claimed that these sigils actually have nothing to do with the case.”
“It really is the seven deadly sins.” Liu Yishi looked at the sigils. Each of the sigils represented a devil from the seven deadly sins. This wasn’t a big deal, as these types of sigils had great supplementary benefits. They could cause a sense of unease, strengthening the effect of a barrier dimension.
However, the eighth floor didn’t have a sigil. Liu Yishi lifted his head and looked at the abandoned building, a feeling of dread settling in his heart.
There were several policemen on the scene, their complexions all terrible. Whether or not they handled the serial murder case well, they would still get a wave of complaints about poor public security right from the start. The police would definitely get an earful.
A foreigner such as Liu Yishi appearing here drew many curious glances, but once everyone saw that he had been brought here by Hu Lican, they didn’t ask too many questions.
“Even if he’s some advisor about the sigils, there’s no need for him to come to the scene, right?”
Hu Lican shot him a glare, but he was helpless to do anything more than that. The person who had spoken was also a captain and wasn’t one of his people. These kinds of joint cases were the most troublesome.
Liu Yishi smiled at Hu Lican to show that he didn’t mind, while Hu Lican gave him an apologetic look. He led Liu Yishi to the entrance of the room. Inside, the female university student was still limp with her back leaning against the wall.
A person wearing a robe and a mask was currently kneeling in front of her to examine her.
Liu Yishi looked at the deceased girl sorrowfully. Sigh, she was so young.
Someone deliberately walked over to say, “Captain Hu, the advisor you hired sure is daring! So, how is it? Figure anything out yet?”
Hu Lican frowned. It was the captain again, that Chen guy. They never really saw eye-to-eye in the first place. Now, no matter how much patience he had, multiple provocations from the other person made him growl, “He only just got here. Captain Chen, why don’t you show me how you’d solve this case in a snap?”
“Why, are you able to solve the case?” Captain Chen huffed.
Liu Yishi spoke up to interrupt their argument, “This should be an imitation of a sacrificial ceremony for summoning a devil. Floors one through seven were the sacrifices, while this woman on the eighth floor is the end product. That explains why the first seven floors have sigils on the walls, but the eighth floor doesn’t have one.”
Captain Chen looked over doubtfully, while Hu Lican straightened up. He just knew that the father of that Lu Yang brat would be no pushover himself.
“What do you mean by end product?”
“To make it so that the devil can take over her body and appear in this world.” Liu Yishi said with a smile, “Of course, these are all ceremonies of the devil detailed in books. They aren’t actually true. I’m just describing what I know.”
He had to say this, or else the policemen to the side would immediately think of him as a lunatic. It would make things difficult later on.
Hu Lican immediately said, “But the murderer might think of it as real!”
“Yes, that is possible. There are many cases involving religion overseas.” Liu Yishi helpfully called out to the examiner inside, “You can search to see if there are any special marks on her body. They are usually on the palms or the chest, and are only on the lower body on the rare occasion.”
Hearing that, the white-robed person glanced at him and walked over while simultaneously pulling off his gloves and mask. Then, he took out a camera from his pocket and handed it to Hu Lican.
“You are right. These are the photographs I have just taken. There is a mark on the palms and the chest like you said. I haven’t examined the lower body yet. I will perform a more thorough examination after the body is sent back. From my initial examination, I have determined that this injury was made using a sharp object. Based on the condition of the injury, it should have been made prior to death. What is strange is that the deceased showed no signs of struggle. When we head back, we should test to see if she was drugged.”
Liu Yishi was shocked over the other person’s age. Is this really a forensic scientist?
Hu Lican immediately answered his query, “Let me introduce you. This is Qian Shao, our forensic scientist. Don’t be tricked by his baby face. He’s actually been at this for fifteen years already. He has a lot of experience. Mr. Liu is an advisor I hired. He is experienced with things like sigils and devil ceremonies.”
Qian Shao coldly said, “That’s right, so don’t look at me as if I’m some sort of youngster! I’m already thirty-eight. We’re from the same generation!”
Liu Yishi helplessly said, “But I’m already fifty, and my son is now in his second year of university. You’re twelve years younger than I am. It wouldn’t be strange for you to call me Uncle, right?”
Scientist Qian looked at this “uncle” in shock, completely speechless. He really hadn’t thought that this person would be an uncle. Don’t they say that foreigners age more quickly?
Hu Lican guffawed and said, “I was shocked earlier, too. Mr. Liu looks so young.”
Liu Yishi politely said, “You flatter me too much.”
Having made a great blunder, Scientist Qian wore an uncomfortable expression.
Fortunately, Uncle Liu was always amicable and immediately changed the topic. “Could I take a photo of these pictures of the marks?”
When it came down to it, it wasn’t up to him, so Scientist Qian looked at Hu Lican.
Hu Lican nodded and said, “Sure.”
Liu Yishi immediately photographed them. The sigils would help clarify which people were behind this. Even if they were all sigils of the devils, different masters would result in different representations. It was just that he was not all that familiar with these specific sigils.
This, however, was good news. No sigils that he had been forced to become familiar with were from easy-to-handle factions.
Halfway through photographing, he received a text from his son, which detailed a bunch of the school wonders.
“A ninth floor?” Liu Yishi frowned. He turned to look. There were indeed stairs that led up, but what was up there should be the roof. There were only eight floors here.
And we even have to shout “I’m heading up to the X floor now?” Liu Yishi felt that he would get thrown out.
“Could I head up to the roof to take a look?”
Hu Lican looked over. With everyone’s gazes on him, he had to open his mouth and ask, “Why do you want to head up?”
“Logically speaking, the highest floor is the closest to God. If they do not wish to offend God, they should have set something up there too. Going up to take a look will clarify if they are spiritual-minded or if they are amateurs, if this is a poor imitation, or if they are involved with religion.”
Liu Yishi spoke just the right amount of nonsense. Whether or not there was something upstairs, he would not be wrong about the degree of the culprit’s religious familiarity.
Having taken on all sorts of identities to solve cases over the years, Liu Yishi was skilled at making sure he was always in a winning position.
“Got it.” Although he really wanted to throw the entire case at Liu Yishi, as a policeman, Hu Lican still had to say, “Let the police head up and do a search first. Then, you can head up.”
Liu Yishi smiled and said, “Of course.”
Hu Lican got busy coordinating the people who would head up with him. When he turned, he saw that Qian Shao was actually still standing in his original spot. He asked, a bit shocked, “Scientist Qian, aren’t you busy? You actually have spare time to stay behind?”
Qian Shao said with a scowl, “I took over starting from the third floor. I don’t believe there are any problems with my results. They definitely died from the cold, hunger, and a heart attack. But, what kind of murderer can kill people like that? Even the one who died from hunger should show some evidence of getting restrained or drugged, but there’s no such evidence!”
Liu Yishi felt Scientist Qian to be quite unfortunate. Eight floors in a row had gotten hit, and the eighth floor was even an obvious murder. It wasn’t strange for the autopsy reports of the previous seven floors to get doubted.
Hu Lican awkwardly said, “Maybe someone really is capable of using strange methods to commit murder. Anyway, I’m going to head up to take a look.” After saying that, he fled the scene.
“Strange methods still need to be feasible! Are there really cases like this one overseas?” Qian Shao asked, disgruntled, “And the deaths, are they just as weird?”
Liu Yishi, who had tons of experience under his belt, innocently said, “I am just a specialist in researching devil ceremonies. I am neither a forensic scientist nor a coroner. Why would you ask me?”
Qian Shao was unwilling to give up and asked, “Don’t tell me you never heard anything from the police during investigations? Like this case, don’t you already know the methods of death?”
Liu Yishi serenely said, “Scientist Qian, this is a curious world. There will always be things we cannot explain. It is best not to overly dwell upon it.”
Qian Shao stubbornly said, “Forensic science is all about dwelling upon the minutiae, haggling over every little thing! If you won’t say it, I’ll report that Hu Lican is bringing unauthorized personnel to the crime scene.”
Liu Yishi indicated that he had lost and helplessly gave an example, “I have once seen a death resulting from losing every drop of blood in the body, yet there was no wound to be found.”
Qian Shao frowned but said, “Continue.”
“All the bones were shattered, but there was no outward bruising.”
“Hm.” Qian Shao furrowed his brows in thought. How was that achieved?
“The head was gone.”
“What’s weird about that?”
“It was found in the stomach.”
“There was no injury over the stomach?”
Liu Yishi shrugged. “The only injury was on the neck.”
Qian Shao felt that the current case was a cinch. He said in satisfaction, “Thanks, I’ll treat you some day.”
“Then, I await the feast.” Liu Yishi seized the opportunity to accept. If he were to remain in Taiwan, another acquaintance was another acquaintance. After all, both he and his wife had been absent for a long time. Their original contacts were probably no use anymore. They were likely to be less connected than their son, which was really a huge hit to the parents’ dignity.
Hu Lican came down and said, “There’s nothing much upstairs. You can head up. Be careful, there aren’t any railings up there.”
Liu Yishi nodded and walked right on up. As he had expected, there was nothing there. It was just a normal roof.
He knelt down to study the floor, but he did not notice any signs of alteration.
Footsteps sounded behind him. Liu Yishi didn’t turn to look and quietly said, “Can you set up a time and make sure no outsiders are around then?”
Hu Lican frowned and asked, “Is late at night all right? It’d be difficult to have no one around, but arranging four or five people who won’t blab is manageable.”
“Then, let’s do that.” Liu Yishi didn’t mind. He wasn’t Lu Yang, who was still a student and didn’t want too many people to know about him. Rather, if a few people among the police knew of Liu Yishi’s capabilities, it would make things a lot more convenient.
“Got it. Let’s do it tonight. The sooner it’s solved, the better.” Hu Lican said in frustration, “This guy has already killed eight people, and we’re defenseless against this kind of stuff. I can’t have my subordinates face this kind of danger, but I can’t command them to always be in groups of three. The other squads wouldn’t listen to me either.”
“All right, tonight then.” Liu Yishi nodded.
Hearing that, Hu Lican relaxed a bit, but then he began worrying again. “Damn, with this kind of murder, even if we catch the guy, I really don’t know what kind of evidence could convict him.”
Liu Yishi looked at him and smiled faintly. “Don’t worry, we have our ways of punishment.”
When he heard that, Hu Lican froze. He felt it to be wrong, but then he thought of the eight murder victims and the nearly impossible to convict murderer. He was unwilling to say that Liu Yishi was wrong, so he could only ask in curiosity, “How are these kinds of cases handled overseas?”
Liu Yishi smiled.
“Let practitioners deal with the practitioners.”