The Yuan family was still not allowed to leave the small building. After Ah Lan's death, they all looked even more haggard and thin than before. When Ling Shu and Yue Dingtang walked in, they immediately felt the oppressive atmosphere.
Even the patrol officer couldn't stand it and found an excuse to leave and go drink.
"I think the front building isn't very clean. The master and madam's deaths may be related to it," the butler was called forward and after hesitating for a long time, finally spoke up.
Yue Dingtang furrowed his brow. "You didn't say that last time."
The butler forced a smile. "Last time, I didn't know it would escalate to this level. Now even Ah Lan...it's hard not to believe!"
Yue Dingtang asked, "What do you mean by 'not clean'?" The butler sighed, "When the old master moved into this mansion, he was warned..."
In the years before, political power frequently changed hands, and chaos reigned supreme. Warlords with recognizable names were everywhere, today they were friends, but tomorrow they could be enemies. The lesser-known warlords were even more numerous and easy to come by.
Yuan Bingdao was originally a subordinate of Sichuan Governor Liu Cunhou. When Liu Cunhou began to lose power, Yuan Bingdao immediately gathered a group of men and tried to establish his own foothold.
However, his good fortune did not last long, as he was quickly swallowed up by other warlords. His men were either killed or defected to higher branches.
Yuan Bingdao wanted to attach himself to the Nationalist government and make a comeback, but the government looked down on his bad reputation and lack of military power.
Feeling helpless, Yuan Bingdao had no choice but to bring his family to Shanghai and live in this apartment. He had carefully selected this house as his retirement home, and valued it greatly.
At the time, there were three houses for him to choose from, but he was particularly drawn to this one. The cunning Yuan Bingdao believed that in today's world, with foreign powers lurking around, and China being weak and vulnerable, this fertile land would eventually be targeted.
Whether it was the British or the Japanese, a house located in the concession would be safer.
The previous owner of this house was a British man who had been married three times, and each wife had died under suspicious circumstances. There were rumors that the British man had killed his wives, but no one reported it and there was no evidence, so the matter was dropped.
Later, the British man also died. When he was found, it was too late to save him. Rumor has it that before he died, he described something terrifying, as if he had seen something extremely scary. The rumors of haunting spread like wildfire.
After Yuan Bingdao bought the house, it became known as the Yuan Manor and for about ten years, nothing happened.
People gradually forgot about the rumors from before, but the old butler still remembered. When three people died in succession, the memories were suddenly brought back from the depths of his mind, making him more and more afraid.
Yue Dingtang and Ling Shu exchanged a glance.
Even the younger servants in the Yuan family probably didn't know about the events from ten years ago, let alone them.
"Your master is so rich, he could buy any house he wants. Why insist on buying a haunted one?" Ling Shu asked. The butler smiled bitterly, "At the time, we were in a hurry to move in, and this house happened to be big enough. The old master had several wives and concubines, and without a house like this, we couldn't accommodate them all."
Ling Shu looked around and said, "Although the Yuan Manor has a good location, the lighting is not great, and the houses facing the street are quite noisy. For someone like Yuan Bingdao, who has plenty of money, this place is definitely not the first choice for retirement. Moreover, as far as I know, when the Yuan family moved here, your old master only brought one wife, one concubine, and one child, Yuan Bing. After more than ten years in Shanghai, he hasn't taken in any new people, so it seems like he doesn't need such a big house."
The butler replied, "The old master's considerations are not something we can comment on. I advised him against it, but he insisted on buying this place, and we could only obey."
Yue Dingtang asked, "So, in the more than ten years that you have lived here, have you ever experienced any ghostly occurrences?"
The old butler hesitated for a moment before answering, "There were a few incidents, but at that time, there were still many members of the Yuan family living here, and no one really paid much attention to it. However, after the old master and mistress passed away one after the other, the house gradually became empty, and strange things started happening more frequently."
Ling Shu asked, "Then why didn't Yuan Bing and the others think about moving out?"
The old butler sighed, "My master was a spendthrift and often spent half of his day outside of the house. He didn't have the time or energy to deal with these things. Besides, after he squandered all his wealth, there was nowhere else for him to go except for this house."
When they asked about Ah Lan, both the butler and the other members of the Yuan family were clueless. As expected by Ling Shu and his team, Ah Lan's presence in the Yuan family was almost invisible. Although she was an extremely important person by Du Yunning's side, her muteness and illiteracy created serious communication barriers with others. Except for the old butler who knew some sign language, other servants couldn't communicate with her at all.
No one liked her, no one hated her, and no one cared about her. If it weren't for her connection to the murder case this time, her every breath and movement were destined to not cause any ripples.
Such a small character, in this era, in this city, was nothing out of the ordinary.
Ling Shu asked, "Did Ah Lan leave anything behind?" The butler said, "After she had an accident, the chief of the patrol room came and took away all the things she usually used. You can go and ask."
Yue Dingtang didn't express any opinion, "Let's go to the front building first."
The butler hesitated and refused to go with them.
Yue Dingtang knew the reason why.
Nowadays, rumors are flying around outside, especially the rumors of ghosts in the Yuan Manor. They are getting more and more intense every day. Even the patrol responsible for guarding the mansion swear that they have seen Du Yunning standing at the window looking out.
Under these circumstances, everyone is naturally on edge and suspicious.
Ling Shu and Yue Dingtang didn't force him, and since Yue Dingtang had the key in his hand, he could directly open the door of the front building. A musty smell hit them in the face, carrying the cold of ice and snow. It swirled around them, gloomy and dry, without a single element that could lift one's spirits.
The owner of this small building had only left for a short while, yet all signs of life had vanished. It even had a slightly eerie atmosphere, no wonder the old butler stood outside and refused to come in.
Yue Dingtang went to the servants' quarters downstairs, while Ling Shu went upstairs to Du Yunning's room.
He had already seen everything there was to see last time, and there wasn't much new to discover. But Ling Shu was afraid of missing something, so he carefully examined every corner and detail again.
Footsteps could be heard outside the door, light and unhurried.
"Did you find anything?" Ling Shu didn't even turn his head, thinking it was Yue Dingtang.
But no one spoke from behind him. Ling Shu was rummaging through the drawer next to his bed when he suddenly felt a light breath on the back of his neck. The cool air sent shivers down his spine. He quickly turned around, but there was no one there.
As he looked up, the light bulb above his head suddenly went out. Ling Shu was left in complete darkness.