Melissa, can you not rub my nose in it… Klein muttered inwardly. He felt a throbbing pain in his head.
The amount of content Klein had forgotten was considered a lot, but neither was it negligible. The interview was in two days, so how could he find the time to make up for it…?
Furthermore, he was involved in such strange paranormal activity, so how would it be possible that he would be in the mood to revise?
Klein gave his sister a perfunctory response and began putting on the appearance of studying. Melissa moved a chair over to sit beside him. With light shining from the gas lamp, she began working on her assignments.
The atmosphere was serene. When it was almost eleven o’clock, the siblings bade each other goodnight and went to bed.
Poundings on the door roused Klein from his dreams.
He peered out of the window to see the first glimmer of dawn. In a daze, he flipped over and sat up.
“Who is it?”
Look at the time now! Why didn’t Melissa wake me up?
“It’s me. Dunn Smith,” a man with a deep voice outside the door replied.
Dunn Smith? Don’t know him… Klein got off his bed and shook his head as he walked towards the door.
He opened the door to see the gray-eyed police inspector whom he had met the day before standing in front of him.
Alarmed, Klein asked, “Is there something wrong?”
The policeman replied with a stern look, “We found a carriage driver. He testified that you had gone to Mr. Welch’s place on the 27th—the day when Mr. Welch and Ms. Naya died. Furthermore, Mr. Welch was the one who paid for your transportation fees.”
Klein was startled. He did not feel a tinge of fear or guilt that one would expect from having his lies exposed.
It was because he was not even lying. In fact, he was surprised by the evidence provided by Dunn Smith.
On the 27th of June, the former Klein had indeed gone to Mr. Welch’s place. On the night that he returned, he killed himself, the exact same way as Welch and Naya did!
Klein gave a forced smile and said, “This is insufficient evidence. It does not directly prove that I am associated with the death of Welch and Naya. Honestly speaking, I’m also very curious about the whole incident. I want to know what exactly happened to my two poor friends. But… But… I really can’t remember. In fact I have almost completely forgotten what I had done on the 27th. You may find it hard to believe, but I fully relied on the diaries I had written to roughly make a guess that I had gone to Welch’s place on the 27th.”
“You sure have great mental fortitude,” Dunn Smith said while nodding. He showed not a trace of anger; nor was he smiling.
“You should be able to hear my sincerity,” Klein looked him straight in the eye and said.
I’m telling the truth! Of course, only part of it!
Dunn Smith did not give an immediate response. He swept his glance across the room before saying slowly, “Mr. Welch lost a revolver. I guess… I should be able to find it here. Right? Mr. Klein?”
Indeed… Klein finally understood where the revolver had come from. A thought flashed in his mind and he came to the final verdict in an instant.
He raised his hands halfway and retreated, leaving a path open. Then, he signaled at the bunk bed with his chin.
“Behind the bed board.”
He did not specifically mention that it was the bottom deck, as no one would normally hide things at the back of the bed board on an upper deck. That would be too obvious for guests to notice at a glance.
Dunn Smith did not move forward. The corners of his mouth twitched as he asked, “Nothing to add on?”
Without hesitation, Klein replied, “There is!”
“Yesterday, when I woke up in the middle of the night, I realized I was laying on my desk with a revolver beside me. There was a bullet at the corner of the room. It was as if I had committed suicide. But due to a lack of experience of never having used a gun, or maybe I was too scared at the final moment… Anyway, the bullet did not achieve the desired result, my head is still in its place. I am still alive now.
“And since then, I have lost some memories, including what I saw and did at Welch’s place on the 27th. I’m not lying. I really can’t remember.”
For the sake of being eliminated as a suspect. For the sake of getting rid of all these strange events surrounding him, Klein explained almost everything that had happened. Except, the transmigration and “gathering.”
Also, Klein was careful with his words, allowing every sentence to be amenable. Such as, not revealing the fact that the bullet had hit his brains, but only mentioning that it did not achieve the desired result, and that his head was still in its place.
To others, these two statements might seem to convey the exact same ideas, but in reality they were like chalk and cheese.
Dunn Smith listened quietly, then said, “This corresponds with what I had surmised. It also corresponds with the hidden logic of similar incidents in the past. Of course, I have no idea how you managed to survive.”
“I’m glad you believe in me. I don’t know how I survived either.” Klein heaved a small sigh of relief.
“But—” Dunn threw out a conjunction. “There is no use in me believing you. You are currently the prime suspect. You have to be confirmed by an ‘expert’ that you have indeed forgotten what you went through, or that you indeed have nothing to do with the deaths of Mr. Welch and Miss Naya.”
He coughed, his expression becoming serious.
“Mr. Klein, I seek your cooperation on coming with me to the police station for the investigation. This should take roughly two to three days if it is confirmed that there are no issues with you.”
“The expert is here?” Klein asked blankly in return.
Didn’t they say it would take another two days?
“She came earlier than expected.” Dunn turned sideways, signaling for Klein to leave.
“Allow me to leave a note,” Klein requested.
Benson was still away and Melissa had gone to school. He could only leave a note to inform them that he was involved in an incident associated with Welch so that they would not worry about him.
Dunn nodded, barely minding.
Klein returned to the desk. As he searched for paper, he began thinking about what was about to occur.
Honestly speaking, he did not wish to meet the ‘expert.’ After all, he had a bigger secret.
In a place where there were seven major churches, under the premise that Emperor Roselle, who was suspected to be a transmigrator predecessor, was assassinated, a thing like ‘transmigration’ usually meant having to go to court and enter arbitration!
But, without weapons, combat skills, or superpowers, he was no match for a professional policeman. What’s more, a few of Dunn’s subordinates were standing in the dark outside.
Once they draw their guns and shoot at me, I’d be finished!
“Ugh, I’ll take one step at a time.” Klein left the note, grabbed his keys, and followed Dunn out the room.
Along the dark aisle, four policemen in black-and-white checkered uniforms split into pairs and guarded them on both sides. They were very alert.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Klein followed alongside Dunn as they went down the wooden stairs which occasionally creaked in protest.
Outside the apartment, there was a four-wheeled carriage. On the side of the carriage, there was the “two crossed swords and a crown” police emblem. Their surroundings were crowded and bustling with noise as usual.
“Go on, up.” Dunn signaled for Klein to go first.
Klein was just about to step forward when an oyster seller suddenly grabbed a customer and claimed that he was a thief.
Both parties wrestled and triggered a response from the horses, causing great chaos.
There wasn’t much time for Klein to think any further; he bent forward and dashed towards the crowd.
Either shoving or dodging, he escaped frantically towards the other end of the street.
Right now, for the sake of not “meeting” the expert, he could only proceed by going to the pier outside the city, taking a boat down the Tussock River and escaping to the capital, Backlund. The population was higher there, making it easier to hide.
Of course, he could also get on a steam train, go eastward to the nearest Enmatt Harbor and take the sea route to Pritz, then towards Backlund.
Not long after, Klein arrived at a street and made a turn onto Iron Cross Street. There were several carriages that could be hired.
“To the pier outside the city.” Klein reached out his hand and hopped onto one of the carriages.
He had thought through things clearly. Firstly, he had to mislead the police that were coming for him. Once the carriage was a suitable distance away from them, he would jump right off!
“Alrighty.” The carriage driver tugged at the reins.
Clop! Clop! Clop… The carriage left Iron Cross Street.
Just as Klein was about to jump off the carriage, he noticed that it had turned into another road. It wasn’t leading out of the city!
“Where are you going?” Klein blurted in his momentary daze.
“To Welch’s place…” the carriage driver answered monotonously.
What!? Klein was at a loss for words. The carriage driver turned around, exposing his cold gray eyes. It was Dunn Smith, the gray-eyed policeman!
“You!” Klein was flustered. Everything suddenly became a blur as though the world spun around him when he instantly sat up.
Sat up? Klein looked around, confused. He noticed the crimson moon outside the window and the room being covered in a crimson veil.
He reached out with his hand to feel his forehead. It was all moist and cold. Cold sweat. His back felt exactly the same.
“It was a nightmare…” Klein heaved a sigh. “All is well… All is well…”
He found it weird. He was rather clear-minded in his dream, he was even able to think calmly!
After calming down, Klein looked at his pocket watch. It was only two in the morning. He got out of bed quietly and planned to head to the washroom where he could wash his face and empty his burgeoning bladder.
He opened the door and walked along the dark corridor. Under the dim moonlight, he walked lightly towards the washroom.
Suddenly, he noticed a silhouette outside the window at the end of the corridor.
That silhouette was wearing a black windbreaker that was shorter than a coat, but longer than a jacket.
That silhouette was partly camouflaged in the darkness, bathing in the crimson moonlight.
That silhouette turned around slowly. His eyes deep, gray, and cold.