Mystery in the Mist- Preview

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Manta Roses

The next morning, Dee woke up early as usual. He shook awake every other member who is still asleep. Without any waste of time, Dee ordered the crew to head back. He found and hired another two coachman, things are all set. Just like usual, separated into two groups. Dee, Yuchi, Rui, and Shun are in one carriage.

“We are not going to have breakfast?” Rui asked Dee. He was in the middle of his sleep before Dee dragged him out of his bed.

“We are heading to Ruyi’s place, to get our uniforms back,” Dee said. “We will have breakfast there.”

“You just miss Ruyi’s food, don’t you? Or do you miss Ruyi in general?” Rui asked Dee. Dee stared down at Rui, he didn’t like what Rui just said. Rui knows that his jokes are too far as well, quickly turning the subject. “I’m so hungry, right now.”

“Just deal with it,” Yuchi said.

Dee started reading again. Yesterday night on the carriage, Dee finished about a tenth of the book. He is yet to find anything very important though. The book is really detailed, it contains all the necessary information about that certain medication or poison. The first half of the book is about medicines, while the second is about poisons. Dee did not read about the poisons right away, instead, he is reading the medicine chapter. According to the author, a lot of poisons are just combinations of specific medicines. In other words, if not used right, a medicine could turn into poison. The author suggested reading the medicine chapter first, Dee took the suggestion.

Dee would read for a period of time, before being a bit tired from the reading. Dee looked outside of the window, today is a very sunny day. The sky is completely cloudless. On such a nice day, still, no one is on the street. The disease is really scaring people at this point. Dee was hoping the cure would finally be found, however, this doesn’t seem like the case.

“Yuchi,” Dee called. Dee thought about their plan for today, generating what he thinks is the best plan. “After breakfast, me, Rui, and Shun will head over to the mansion. While you and the others see if any important events have happened while we were in Zundian.”

“No problem,” Yuchi replied.

The crew arrived at Ruyi’s tavern very soon. They got their uniforms back and changed into them. They all ordered their food and started eating. Dee told all members what the plan is after breakfast.

“Master Dee.” While Dee was eating he heard someone yell his name. He looked out, it was Baozi. Baozi is a close friend of Dee and Rui. He works with Ruyi, in the tavern, as a street vendor selling stuffed buns. Baozi is a young, energetic young man, who has a passion for eating.

“Baozi!” Rui yelled. He ran and hugged the chubby boy.

“Long time no see,” Baozi excamlied.

“Only two days no see,” Ruyi joined in, walking down the stairs. Both Ruyi and Baozi are close with Dee. Basically every single day, Dee will dine in the tavern. Dee has known Ruyi for about twenty years now, beginning when he was still a young man in Dali. Throughout the years, Dee grew a special feeling towards Ruyi. A big reason why he lives in his house is that he wanted to be near Ruyi’s tavern. Even though he has feelings towards Ruyi, Dee never really had a chance to express it.

“Do you have any recent news or rumors?” Dee asked Baozi. Baozi always somehow has the newest news and rumors of the city. It is still a mystery how Baozi obtains those information.

“Oh, I have one.” Baozi is excited to share. “Despite the disease, the emperor is still running the Lantern Festival as usual.”

“We already know that.” Rui’s face turned into disappointment.

“Nobody is going to attend, because everyone is sick.” Ruyi sighed

“Unless the cure is found. Maybe the cure is almost done,” Rui said.

“I should try to get some news on the cure,” Baozi said.

“What happened to your leg, Dee?” Ruyi must’ve seen the bandages on Dee’s right leg.

“Nothing much.”

“Some assassins attacked us,” Rui told the truth. “We beat them up.”

“Are you guys fine?” Ruyi worried.

“We are all healthy and good,” Dee said.

The crew would soon finish their food. As planned, they would separate into two groups. Dee will be heading to the mansion. Dee brought the talisman given by Grandpa Yuan with him. Even though he doesn’t believe in these good fortunes, it is still a gift from a friend.

The mansion has changed a lot since they left. Dee heard from the chamberlain that the mansion would soon be sold since no longer is General Sha alive. The crew has already spent a day investigating in the mansion and tried to cover every corner of the death scene. There are really not a lot of places left that they haven’t searched. So far from the last investigation days ago, Dee has known some information about the case. To summarize, the killer somehow poisoned General Sha, made him too weak to put up a fight. The killer then broke into the room and assassinated General Sha. Even though Dee has a basic summary of how the murder occurred, he has no real evidence to suspect who the murderer could be.

Throughout the investigation, Dee generated lots of questions regarding the two cases. “Why did the killer decide to kill Doctor Li and General Sha?” Dee thought. There is got to be some motivates to the murder. However, the motives are still very much unknown. The killers did not decide to kill civilians, nor went after the emperor. Their clear target is the two victims, who don’t seem to have any connections to one another.

Dee is positive that the disease is also a project of these killers. Even without evidence in mind, the masked performer just seems suspiciously related to all the things that have happened. If Dee knows who the masked performer is, he can probably figure out the whole mystery.

What it seems to Dee is that these killers are reluctant to kill innocents. If they have the power to make the whole city sick, then they probably could cause a massacre. However, none of the civilians are actually dying from the disease. These killers have specific targets, maybe the emperor is one of those targets.

Another thing that has been confusing Dee is that the methods used to murder are different in the two cases. Both cases involved the use of poisons, but the procedure seemed drastically different. In Doctor Li’s case, Dee suspected that it was a poison kill. Evidence supported that nobody, except the deceased, is present in the death scene. In General Sha’s case, the killer used poison to make the deceased weak, then killed him in a face-to-face fight. “If the killers can make General Sha be infected with the poison, why not use a deadly poison instead? This way the killer doesn’t have to break into the room, risking getting caught by others.” There is got to be a legit reason that the killer had to break into the room in order to complete the murder.

Dee has all of these questions in mind, however, the answers to these questions are still very unclear. Dee would like to know what General Sha and Doctor Li have in common, and who relates to both of them. By finding out General Sha’s secret, Dee can maybe find a relation between the two dead. Questions, answers, and plans circled around Dee’s head like planets orbiting the sun. Dee shook his head and took a deep breath, he feels his head overheating.

Dee ordered both Rui and Shun to go through the room full of letters and papers again, to see if any secrets are hidden. Dee thought about what the secret could be. He suspected the secret to be some sort of mystery code, something only General Sha and the letter sender can really understand. If this is the case, then it would be real hard to find anything.

While the other two are investigating the secret, Dee coiled in a corner reading the book. He hasn’t gotten far into it, and still couldn’t really find anything. Dee plans to use probably the rest of today, to at least find something relating to the poisons in this book.

“A rare kind of herb, found in the wild. A medicine used to clear heat and to eliminate toxins. It is used in combination with other herbs for the treatment of snake bites. When being decocted, or boiled up, it turns into a purple-ish liquid.” Dee read from the book. This page certainly caught Dee’s attention. As this is the first page that has mentioned the colour purple. Dee is not completely sure whether this is actually the herb Doctor Li was using before death. Dee will keep an eye on this page, he put a bookmark to remind himself.

Dee kept reading the same page, he glanced at the very top. “Oldenlandia Diffusa.” This seems to be the name of the herb. Dee recognized the word, he has come across this name before. In specific, Dee remembered Oldenlandia Diffusa being in the recipe to cure the disease LiFeng. Days ago, Dee was researching this disease that is circling around the city. He came across LiFeng, a disease very similar to the one in Chang’an right now. However, he later determined it not to be the disease.

“The smell from Oldenlandia Diffusa, paired with the pollen from Manta Roses will instantly kill anyone close to it. Do not ever bring the two together.” This line is at the very bottom of the page, bolded. Oldenlandia Diffusa can be deadly, Dee kept this information in mind. After a moment of focused, subtle thinking, Dee has figured it out.

Doctor Li’s death is due to the poisonous effect of Oldenlandia Diffusa and Manta Roses. When his maid entered, she saw the pot still boiling. Inside, a purple-ish liquid. That is the Oldenlandia Diffusa. Doctor Li, before death is boiling Oldenlandia Diffusa, the smell of it got mixed with the pollen of Manta Roses, causing instant death. Dee could make a bet right now that he will find the Manta Roses in Doctor Li’s room. Doctor Li must’ve thought that the disease is LiFeng, thus he tried to make the cure for it, involving Oldenlandia Diffusa. The Manta Rose is probably given by the killer as some sort of gift that Doctor Li gladly received

Dee shared his theory with both Rui and Shun. “How does the killer make sure that he will boil the Oldenlandia Diffusa?” Rui wondered.

“Because this disease is similar to LiFeng,” Dee explained. “The killer knows that Doctor Li will try to make the cure to test if the disease is really LiFeng.”

“Didn’t the emperor say days ago they already tested LiFeng not to be the disease?” Rui questioned. “Why is Doctor Li still testing the cure for it, if he already knows it is not the disease.”

“How come he didn’t get poisoned when he tried making the cure days ago?” Shun questioned as well.

“Maybe he didn’t try to make the cure until the day of his death,” Dee said. “Good questions, I can’t answer them right now.”

“However,” Rui added. “I do think you are mostly right, Master Dee. I do believe the combine effect of the Diffusa and the Rose is the death cause.”

“Well,” Dee stood up. “Let’s make a trip to the death scene again. I think we’re close to figuring out how Doctor Li was murdered.”

Dee, Rui, and Shun, made it to Doctor Li’s death scene as quickly as they could. Shun and Rui appear to now be on peace terms, having a friendly conversation on the carriage. Since the fight, the crew has definitely become more united.

There are still many guards protecting the death scene. While no one is inside the room, the inside was kept relatively the same. As soon as he walked in, Dee looked for the Manta Roses. Just like he has predicted, put on a bookshelf is a pot of flowers. Dee is not completely sure whether this is the Manta Roses, but it probably is. Dee quickly went through the book, trying to find recorded information about the Manta Roses.

Dee would find the Manta Roses in the poison section. “Manta Roses: Super rare kind of roses grown in the western. Its leaves are poisonous when eaten, its pollen poisonous as well whenever someone comes in contact with it.” Dee signaled everyone to back off from the flower, there might still be poisonous pollen around. “The flower will only blossom, shoot out its deadly pollen, when being stimulated by certain materials. After it has blossomed the flower will lose its poisonous, the flower will then die after a few months. Oldenlandia Diffusa, snake venom, and Mandala pollen are the so-far recorded stimuli.”

Every page in this book contains an illustration, Dee can confirm the flower in this room is the Manta Rose. According to the book, after blooming, the rose will not be dangerous anymore. So the three are probably fine staying around it. The flower is a natural black coloured rose. Right now it appears as it has blossomed. This flower is definitely pretty, it’s elegant. Charming, yet dangerous.

The book mentioned that there are many other materials that can cause the same poisonous effect. However, Dee still believes it is the Oldenlandia Diffusa that caused it all, because of the purple liquid.

Dee called Doctor Li’s maid and guards to his side. He asked them if they knew when the flower was put into this room. They told Dee that the flower was already here a month ago. Whoever gave Doctor Li the flower is probably the guy who planned this murder. Could it be a friend or his patient?”

It appears Dee’s predictions are right, but some things are still off. According to the emperor, the doctors have already tested the LiFeng cure days ago, involving Oldenlandia Diffusa. If the Manta Rose is already here for a long time, shouldn’t Doctor Li die when he made the Lifeng cure, many days ago? There could be a world where maybe he didn’t test it in this room, or maybe he did not test the cure at all. But, then why is he all of a sudden boiling a rarely used Oldenlandia Diffusa again? When the LiFeng was already ruled out. This makes no sense to Dee right now.

Dee decided to find a fellow doctor of Doctor Li. “How’re you guys doing with the cure?” Dee asked.

“Working on it,” The doctor replied.

“Do you know LiFeng?”

“Of course,” The doctor said. “The first disease we thought about is LiFeng. However, the cure never did anything.”

“Which doctor made and tested the LiFeng cure?”

“I’m not too sure what other doctors did,” The doctor said. Dee was disappointed to hear this. “We are starting to think that it’s a mutation of LiFeng.”

“What does this mean?” Dee felt interested in this.

“Because the symptoms are so similar, we are testing if the materials to cure LiFeng can cure this disease with other combinations.”

This the answer to the questions, the information Dee wanted. Doctor Li probably didn’t participate in making the LiFeng cure, thus he survived. However, the doctors are suspecting a mutation. Recombine the old LiFeng cure materials with other medicines, involving the use of Oldenlandia Diffusa. Which ended up causing Doctor Li to be dead.

Dee generated a whole theory in his head. This disease is the project done by the killers. They specifically picked a disease that had similar symptoms to Lifeng, so that they can kill Doctor Li using the poisonous effect. The killers somehow gave Doctor Li the Manta Roses beforehand, setting up the whole murder. However, their plan failed at first, as Doctor Li did not make the LiFeng cure. So, a backup plan was formed. The killers started to spread rumours about a potential mutation, which then lured Doctor Li to death. The last part of the theory is completely based on Dee’s guess, he feels that the killers must’ve set up and lured Doctor Li into death.

Dee thanked the doctor for his helpful answers. Even though how the murder was executed is quiet clear to Dee, he still doesn’t have a clue who the killers might really be, or where they are at. These foreign masked people might still be hidden in Chang’an, and at any time they could pull off another brutal murder.

Dee explained his final theory to the other two, this time the two seemed to agree with Dee’s thoughts. As it made more logical sense than before. The three would stay in the death scene for a bit longer, trying to find evidence to further back up their theory. However, not much evidence is left for them to explore. Dee saw the time and decided to head back to the mansion. He told Yuchi to bring everybody back to the place at lunchtime, they are all supposed to meet there.

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