The White Eagle held out the pistol and slowly stood up against the wall. He gave the other two a signal.
The two of them immediately understood and stood up. They grabbed the guns from their waists and opened the safeties.
Another lightning flashed across the sky, and the light blinded the entire room.
The White Eagle pressed his ear against the wall. He was listening to something.
"Someone is outside." He lowered his voice. "There is more than one person!"
When his ear left the wall, mists of white dust dropped from the wall with a constant brushing sound.
"Who is there!" The White Eagle let out a deep roar as he rolled forward. Two bullet holes appeared from the wall he originally stood against. Someone had shot through the wall.
The White Eagle rushed to the door. He slammed the door open and dashed out.
Garen and Dale Quicksilver cautiously remained in the room without moving.
Garen held the gun in his hand and leaned beside the window while staring cautiously at the door. All of the sudden he felt his collar get pulled.
He turned around to discover the window was open. There was no one that could be seen outside. Rain continued to pour down, blurring the vision as close as a few meters away.
"What’s going on Garen?"
"Someone was grabbing my collar," Garen said in a bewildered voice. "Maybe I am just too nervous and got my clothes caught."
Dale approached the window and peeked outside. "This is the second floor and high above the ground. The window probably caught it. Be careful and don’t stand in front of the window. Even if you can’t see anything in this weather, it’s still dangerous."
"Got it," Garen responded.
A gunshot rang in the adjacent room.
"Let’s go!" Dale dashed out of the door, and Garen followed.
The two of them rushed to the adjacent room. It was the same room from which Garen had been pushed out. It was empty.
"White Eagle!" Dale yelled.
No response. Only the door behind him creaked.
He turned around only to discover that Kelly, who had followed him, had disappeared as well.
"Kelly?" He raised his voice. He tightened his grip on the pistol in his hand, and his expression tensed up.
"The White Eagle! Kelly! Are you guys here?"
The wind suddenly blew on the half-open door as it gradually opened.
The noise was oddly disturbing in the quiet hallway among the sounds of rain. Outside the door was a pitch black emptiness, there was nothing visible there.
Dale felt his hand holding the pistol begin to tremble. He realized something was strange.
He scanned the room.
The room was abnormally clean. The spider webs on the bed were gone and replaced with a clean white bedsheet. Multidimensionally shaped tiles covered the floor without a trace of dust.
The box at the end of the wall was spotless as well.
"This place is strange." Gloom covered Dale’s face as he deliberately opened the gun’s safety.
Garen followed. He saw Dale dash into the adjacent room. The wind pushed against the door and closed it for a moment before he opened it again.
The peculiar thing was that he couldn’t see a trace of Dale who was just one step ahead of him.
"Dale!?" Garen slowly opened his safety and walked into the room.
The room was littered with dust. Water spilled on the floor in front of the window. Someone stood in front of it with his back turned.
Garen looked carefully. The person’s clothes resembled the White Eagle’s.
"Dale?" He questioned with his voice lowered.
He heard footsteps behind him.
Garen turned his head and saw the White Eagle run into the room.
"Where’s Dale?" The White Eagle asked breathlessly. "Someone was in the room beside us. I didn’t manage to catch them."
"Dale was beside the window?" Garen pointed at the window as he turned around. He was shocked to discover that the figure had disappeared. It was as if it had vanished into thin air.
"What happened? I just saw someone at the window!" he said in a deep voice.
"Could you have made a mistake?" The White Eagled walked over, frowning. He examined the floor by the window. "There are no footprints. There’s no way that someone was standing there."
"That’s impossible," Garen said firmly. "I am confident that someone did stand in front of the window. Oh right, where is Dale?"
"Isn’t he with you?" The White Eagled asked with agitation.
"I just saw him rush into this room, then all of the sudden he vanished! My vision got blocked by the door for less than two seconds, and he was no longer here!" Garen said with seriousness.
Lightning painted their face pale white.
"This is going to be a problem." The White Eagle’s face became sober. He took out a match to light up a torch he’d brought with him. The bright yellow light slowly lit up a small portion of the room.
All of the sudden, he thought of something. His expression changed as he leaped beside the window and looked down. The dark grass field was empty. He let out a sigh of relief.
"Dale only came in one step before me!"
"Are you certain?" The White Eagle’s face was calm as the way he looked at Garen turned vicious. "There is no way he could have left in such a short time."
"I’m certain!" Garen answered with conviction.
The White Eagle stared at him without blinking. He tightened the grip on his pistol when he remembered something. He slowly backed away from facing Garen. He retreated to the door and squatted down. The White Eagle used his empty hand and gently touched the ground. Suddenly, his body began to loosen up.
"You are right. There are three people’s footprints! But one of the people disappeared as soon as he stepped into the room."
Garen felt a terrified feeling edge into his mind. He took a few steps to check. There were three sets of footprints with one set vanishing as soon as it entered the room. Due to the humidity, the other two sets were still visible.
A sudden furious wind gusted into the room and slammed the door close. It almost hit Garen’s nose.
"The wind is picking up its speed." The White Eagle stood up. "I am sorry I didn’t trust you." He apologized as he pushed against the door, it didn’t open.
"Not a big deal. The door must have locked itself, use the key to open," Garen suggested with a grave expression. He kept alert for any movement in the surroundings. "We need to find Dale now. He may be in dire danger right now."
"I got it!" The White Eagle nodded and his expression became grim. He took out a set of keys and examined the labels. He picked out one to insert into the lock.
The key turned a few times in the keyhole. The door didn’t move. The White Eagle pushed again but couldn’t move it in the slightest.
"Hmm?" The White Eagled paused. "This is not right!"
"Kick it open!" Garen also saw the problem.
The White Eagled agreed. He took a step back and kicked the door with full force.
The door didn’t even shake. Only a flurry of dust fell to the ground.
"There is something wrong with this room!" Garen stepped back to give his companion more space.
"Go grab the stuff. I’ll kick open the door. We’ll leave this place as soon as we find Dale!" The White Eagle yelled out, feeling the absurdity of this as well.
Garen sprinted back to the room they’d stayed in before and packed everything together. Just as he was about to leave the door, another sound rocked the place.
A gunshot was heard from the hallway. Then the sound of the door cracking followed.
Garen took their belongings and rushed out. The hallway was empty, and silence returned.
The room beside them was still locked without any signs of damage.
"Then how did I hear the noise?" His head felt numb as he was certain he’d heard gunshots and the sound of door breaking. But now even the White Eagle was gone.
"Could it be because of the emblem?" He caught a trace of the cause.
He stared at the closed door. He knew that if he didn’t do anything, Dale could die in there.
"Although I have repaid your favor already, but..." He took out his pistol and aimed at the lock.
Bang Bang Bang!
Three gunshots and lock was destroyed.
He tackled the door with full force and opened it.
There was no one in the room, but the bed was moved out of its position. There was a flight of stairs leading to the first floor hidden on the ground.
Garen took a deep breath as he walked to the hidden exit and peaked down. From this angle it directly faced the first-floor ground. Dale Quicksilver lay there, motionless on the ground.
"Dale!" Without any consideration, Garen jumped down. He used a couple of rails to break his fall and landed firmly beside Dale.
"Dale! Are you okay?" He helped the detective up and checked if he was still breathing. He was.
The detective gradually opened his eyes, mumbling in drowsiness,"Below me, below me."
Garen noticed that there was a bronze cross emblem in the place where the detective had lain. It had a visible white scratch mark, most likely done by the detective himself.
Dale begun regaining his consciousness. He sat up straight and gasped for air.
"That was dangerous! Just before, you guys disappeared all of a sudden! I managed to find an enormous secret in that room!"
"Don’t worry about that now. The White Eagle is gone!" Garen said in a stern tone. "I just heard him break into the room, but when I got there, the door was completely fine!"
"The White Eagle is gone?" Dale looked rather calm. "Don’t worry, he is stronger than both of us. If we are okay, then he should be all right too."
"What do we do now?" Garen helped Dale to get up. Both of them unanimously agreed not to pick up that emblem.
"No wonder The Antique of Tragedy is known by its name. I finally witnessed it today." Dale Quicksilver had a perplexed look as he gazed at the emblem.
He took out a gun and aimed up.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Three straight shots.
The gunshots sounded oddly unbearable. The noise even supressed the sound of rain outside.
Quickly, a white shadow sprinted from the second-floor stairs and landed in front of them.
"Are you okay?" The White Eagle asked.
"I am okay!" Dale nodded. "I just saw the Golden Loops! They definitely have something to do with this!"
"Me too! I saw a figure jump from the window and pursued him," The White Eagle said solemnly, "but unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch him. Follow me."
The White Eagle took both of them out through the gate. They walked to the left side of the castle and into a small hut.
A dead body covered in black lay lifeless inside the hut. Blood dripped from its chest and rolled onto the grass field before being diluted by the pouring rain.
"Golden Loop Number 114."
The White Eagle threw the golden loop at Dale.
"Golden Loops’ hundred numbered member. Of course they’re the ones causing headaches!" He walked beside the body to examine it. He asked The White Eagle for some specific details before he starting to analyze based on logic and deduction.