Blizzardous Threads of Red Main Story 2-3: Hidden Bewilderment

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Hidden Bewilderment (1/4) - Villa Side Hall
Blizzard Villa
Villa Side Hall
Blizzard Villa - Indoors (Lit).png

Go to the rest area to confront Sam Zhang alone.

Sam Zhang and his sister, Ashley, are both sitting in the lounge.

Coincidentally, there is no one else sitting around them, which is a nice opportunity for all of you.

But to be on the safe side, you all find a separate unused lounge to talk in.

You: Hello, Mr. Zhang. There's something we'd like to talk to you about. It might take up some of your time.

Sam Zhang: What... do you want to know?

Sam Zhang: If it's about Mr. Zeng, then I've already told you everything before.

Artem: Relax, Mr. Zhang. We just want to ask something personal.

Sam Zhang: About me?

Vyn: To be honest, Mr. Zeng's death was no accident...

Vyn: Mr. Zeng was injected with a large dose of insulin, which caused him to go into hypoglycemic shock, resulting in death.

Sam Zhang: Ahh... Um...

Luke: Someone told us that you, Mr. Zhang, have a history of diabetes and carry insulin injections with you.

Luke: And you went meet with Mevis Zeng alone before he died...

Luke: We have reason to believe you killed Mevis Zeng.

Ashley Zhang: Impossible! My brother wouldn't kill anyone! You've got it wrong!

Unexpectedly, it was Ashley who had a more intense reaction than Sam Zhang himself.

She stands in front of Sam Zhang, afraid that you were going to take him away at once.

Ashley Zhang: My brother has asthma and diabetes. His body has been weak since childhood, and he doesn't have the strength to kill!

Ashley Zhang: And, the insulin injection that we use is very expensive. He only takes a small dose each time.

Ashley Zhang: It's impossible that he would use a large dose! My brother needs to use it himself.

Artem: Can we see your insulin injection?

Sam Zhang: Of course.

Sam Zhang: The injector I use is needle-free, which makes it ridiculous to use as a weapon to kill someone.

Sam Zhang: Ashley, show them the insulin pen from the cooler in my room.

Ashley Zhang: Sure thing, Sam. I'll go now!

Ten minutes later, Ashley Zhang returns with a panicked look on her face.

You notice that she's not holding anything in her hands.

Ashley Zhang: Sam, not good! The insulin is gone!

Sam Zhang: What did you say? Did you search properly?

Ashley Zhang: Yes... I searched in the cooler and closet... All over the room! It's gone!

It is clear that Ashley Zhang is anxious, judging by the sweat on her face and the sheer panic in her voice.

You: ...

Sam Zhang: No way, I'll go look for it myself!

A few minutes later, Sam Zhang returns without the composure that he had when he left. He seems confused.

Sam Zhang: It's really gone. How can it be...

His expression doesn't look fake, but it is too much of a coincidence.

Everyone exchanges looks with each other as if trying to figure out what to say next.

Marius: Let me test him some more.

Marius mouths quietly to you, then walks over to Sam Zhang.

Marius: Well, that's awfully convenient, Mr. Zhang. Are you sure that's your story?

Marius: Maybe, as you said, you killed Mr. Zeng because your negotiations failed...

Sam Zhang: It's true! After all the years of friendship and business between our families, how could I murder him?

Sam Zhang: We depend on the Zeng family for a living. Why would I bite the hand that feeds me!?

Sam Zhang: By the way, isn't she an attorney?

Sam Zhang suddenly points at you and growls anxiously.

Sam Zhang: If you don't believe me, take her with you and check Mevis Zeng's record books and see if I'm telling the truth.

People end up revealing a lot more when they panic.

As soon as Sam Zhang finishes speaking, his whole face goes pale. He is obviously upset, but it is too late.

You: Thanks for the clue, Mr. Zhang. We will investigate that.

Hidden Bewilderment (2/4) - Villa Study
Blizzard Villa
Villa Study
Blizzard Villa - Villa Study RPG map.png

Investigate Mevis Zeng' study to make sure Sam Zhang's testimony is true.

Main room NW

Vyn: This is...

You: What is it, Dr. Richter?

Vyn: I found a genetic profile and some routine pathology reports.

You: Is it one of those reports that record a patient's symptoms?

You: But... this report only lists the gender and age, not the patient names...

Vyn: Yes, most reports in this batch are that of seriously-ill patients, and their names have been deliberately omitted.

You: Mevis Zeng is not a doctor. Why would he be hiding so many pathology reports?

You: It can't be part of his collection, right?

Vyn: ...

Vyn: Take the reports with us, so I can examine them more carefully later.

You: Sure.

(Obtain evidence: Pathology Report)

Main room NE

You: This is a ledger, right?

You: The notes are handwritten. It looks pretty old, judging by the yellowed pages.

Artem: The wear and tear of the pages suggest that the ledger wasn't used by Mevis Zeng but by Nolan Zeng.

You: It must be decades old...

You: "The Zhang family has a high-value guarantee, possible to maintain long-term cooperation," "Sean Li is not suitable for long-term cooperation"...

You: "Quantity purchased this month: 30, high-quality goods: 5"...

You: Is this the number of collections and past sales recorded by Nolan Zeng?

Artem: It seems that way.

Artem: But...

Artem: His records are poorly kept. There's no way to identify what the collection was, where it came from, or where it went.

Artem: We cannot determine anything from these records.

You: (It feels like the descriptions are a bit strange... Oh well, I'll put it away for now. Maybe it'll be useful later on.)

(Obtain evidence: Ledger)

Side room SE

Marius: Huh!? This is...

You: What is it?

Without responding, Marius squats down to feel around the carpet. Then, he finds something.

Marius: Strange. How can this be...

You: It looks like a branch... Is this some sort of metal ornament?

Marius: It's a holly branch.

You: Eh? How can you tell? This is a very abstract shape.

Marius: Holly... represents life and hope...

Somehow, Marius' expression holds a hint of obscure sadness.

It is an expression that feels strange and familiar at the same time.

You: (What's with him? He's been acting oddly for the past few days...)

You: (It's the same as before. Wait! Before!?)

Marius: Miss, what are you thinking about?

Marius: Here, put this metal ornament away first. It might be useful later.

You: Okay...

You remember Marius' strange expression when he saw the potted holly in the hall.

Holly... What special meaning does it have?

(Obtain evidence: Holly Branch Ornament)

Side room NE

You: Books, transaction records... Where would you usually keep them?

Luke: I think they're usually stored together.

Luke: Maybe a box or a folder somewhere... Ah, found it!

Luke opens a wooden box from the top shelf to reveal several neatly-placed stacks of documents.

Each entry is clearly marked with the date, amount, and items traded. This is exactly what you are looking for.

Luke: Sam Zhang has been in business with the Zeng family this year. Monthly transactions have exceeded tens of millions...

You: That much!?

Luke: Yes, the transaction dates are relatively fixed: The beginning, middle, and end of every month.

You: What kind of antique business takes place on a regular basis every month?

Luke: That isn't detailed in the transaction records. It merely says antiques.

Luke: Looks like we have to ask Sam Zhang for more details regarding these transactions.

You: Yes... It seems we need to talk to Sam Zhang again.

(Obtain evidence: Antique Transaction Records)

Hidden Bewilderment (3/4) - Villa Study

As Sam Zhang said, you found the transaction record. Now, confirm with him again.

Sam Zhang: Yes, that's the one.

Sam Zhang flips through the ledger you found, confirming its contents.

Sam Zhang: Now you should believe me, right?

Sam Zhang: Our family has been in the antique business for many years with Mr. Nolan Zeng, who is our biggest customer.

You: (There is a pressing expression on his face as if he wanted to rid himself of suspicion as soon as possible, but...)

Ashley Zhang: My brother wouldn't kill anyone... Don't wrongly accuse the good guys.

Marius: Yes, I believe you are in business with the Zeng family, which is how your family grew rich.

Marius: But that... brings up another question...

Sam Zhang: What is it?

Luke: Based on the ledger, your family and the Zeng family would make large monthly transactions.

Luke: But is it normal in the antique business to have large numbers of fixed orders every month?

Luke: Mr. Zhang, can you explain that to us?

Sam Zhang: The... antique business is all about fame...

Sam Zhang: With how famous the Zeng family is, it's no surprise that everyone wants to do business with them.

Artem: Is it normal that there are similar amounts of antiques being sold and recorded each month?

Vyn: As far as I know, the antiques vary greatly in terms of price. How were you able to maintain the same price every month?

Sam Zhang: It's just a coincidence!

Sam Zhang: You're asking me so many questions... Does that mean you don't believe me?

You: We don't mean to question your story...

You: But, we must remain cautious until we figure out the truth.

Sam Zhang: Hmph, then hurry and get to finding the killer!

Sam Zhang: I don't want to spend another day in this hellhole!

With that said, Sam Zhang turns around and ignores all of you.

You: (He... seems to be upset...)

You: (Or is he trying to hide something?)

Hidden Bewilderment (4/4) - Villa Garden
Blizzard Villa
Villa Garden
Blizzard Villa - Courtyard (Snow).png

We found many clues about Mevis Zeng's death. Find a place to discuss it with the others.

After Elijah Yin and Mevis Zeng were murdered, the snow-enclosed villa is no longer safe.

None of you can guarantee that the killer doesn't already know what you're up to, or what your group has found.

So, after investigating the study, you look for a remote corner to sort out the clues.

It is then that you finally have the opportunity to ask the question that has been troubling you.

You: Marius, did you come to the Blizzard Villa... to investigate another matter?

Marius: !!!

He stares at you, and you look right into his eyes.

The others stand by you in silence until Marius breaks the silence himself.

Marius: *sigh* I can't hide it from you anymore. How did you find out?

You: You've been inspecting the decor in here ever since coming to Blizzard Villa.

You: And when you found that metal ornament in the study... You had a strange look on your face as if you were hiding something.

You: So it always felt like you were looking into something, but you couldn't tell us.

Marius: It's not that I couldn't. Just before coming to the villa...

Marius: I felt like what I was thinking was a little ridiculous, so I was too embarrassed to tell you guys.

Artem: So, you found evidence found that confirms your conjunctures?

Marius: Yes...

Marius raises his hand to brush the hair away from his temples as if thinking about something.

Marius: I'm here partly for the auction, and partly here for... Payton.

You: Mr. Way!?

The image of the amiable old man flashes through your mind, but what does this remote villa have to do with him?

Marius: Payton, who came to work for Marius' family ever since he was 20, has remained single and dedicated himself to the von Hagen family.

Marius: I thought he had given up his life to take care of our family, until one day, my father casually mentioned...

Marius: That Payton had a girlfriend when he was 19 years old.

You: !!!

Marius: His girlfriend was named Holly, and she was from Yuchen Town.

Marius: 50 years ago, Holly went back to Yuchen Town to visit her relatives and was never heard from ever again...

You: How could that be...

Marius: Back then, Payton was still young. He tried everything to find her to no avail.

Marius: After all these years, he never once mentioned it to us, but I know he never forgot about Holly.

Artem: What does this have to do with what we found in Blizzard Villa?

Marius: Yes, that's what I found strange.

Marius: In the invitation and brochure sent by the Zeng family, there were several photos captured of the interiors of the hall.

Marius: One photo clearly captured the oil painting hanging on the wall in the hall...

Marius: I saw Payton draw that painting when I was young.

Marius: It was almost the same. The composition, the lines, and even the color of the ink were similar.

Vyn: ...Are you saying that someone here in the villa is connected to Payton?

Marius: Payton drew that painting as a gift to Holly, so I'm curious why a similar painting would appear here.

Marius: So I thought I'd take the opportunity to see if I can find the person Payton was looking for.

You: You mean... Holly?

Marius: Yeah, but after a few days at the villa, I thought I was overthinking things.

Marius: That painting is a decoration that nobody cares about, so it doesn't really mean much.

Marius: After that, many things happened at the villa... so I didn't bother bringing it up.

Marius: Until I found something...

Marius pauses for a moment, then beckons you with his eyes.

You quickly take out the metal ornament you had found under the carpet in the study and put it in his hand.

It looks like a dried branch, but Marius insisted that it was a holly branch decoration.

Now that you think about it, everything seems to be hinting at something.

Marius: I once saw Payton make a holly branch brooch with a metal ornament of this exact shape.

Marius: He said he made one for his girlfriend decades ago. He wanted to make it again in case he forgot how to make a brooch...

Marius: I thought the holly branch design was very unique, so I remembered it.

Marius: Although the ornament's design is crude, the general shape is exactly the same as the brooch Payton made.

Marius: I think... there can't be that many coincidences in the world, right?

Yeah, there aren't too many coincidences in the world. And if there is... then there must be a connection.

But what does this connection have anything to do with what you have experienced at the villa?

Or is it just another puzzle that has left your group scratching their heads?

You: After hearing that, it feels like there are more questions surrounding the villa.

Marius: That's my speculation, for what it's worth. Maybe I was overthinking things... We don't need to consider this yet.

Marius: It's more important to solve the problem at hand.

Luke: There are two difficult matters... Find a way to contact the outside world, and find the suspect hiding in the villa.

Vyn: And, it might be worth it to explore the Zeng family's secret.

Vyn: Did you guys notice how nervous Sam Zhang was when we pressed him about the transaction details?

Vyn: He was afraid we would look into the transaction details.

Luke: Yes, he didn't want us to know the details of the transaction.

Luke: If Marius hadn't pushed him to reveal this information as proof, I don't think he would have said anything.

Vyn: I was also intrigued by the stack of pathology reports in Mevis Zeng's study.

Vyn: After taking some time to review the pathology reports, I discovered the dates on them...

Vyn: ...coincide with the transaction dates in the ledger.

You: Dr. Richter, what did you say!?

Vyn: Yes, look...

Vyn puts the pathology reports together with the transaction records.

He lays the pages over each other, his finger pointing at a marker in the upper right corner.

You: Nothing seems to be there...

Vyn points to the edge of the paper where the date of the transaction was written.

But the pathology report was completely blank, without any similarities.

Vyn: There are pen marks here. Very light, but visible if you look closely enough.

Vyn: The marks are made at a similar angle when compared to the date in the upper right corner of the ledger.

Vyn: The pathology report must have been the next sheet of paper when someone was filling in the transaction records.

Artem carefully inspects the marks that Vyn pointed out. His expression changes from shock to grimness.

Artem: ...

Marius: What kind of transaction requires a pathology report?

Vyn: Not an artifact acquisition at least.

Artem: It seems like there is more to the Zeng family villa than the murders we know of.

Artem: There may be more to the story than we are aware of.

You: But we still can't communicate with the outside world...

You: We have clues here and there, but we haven't been able to put them all together.

Luke: It is because there are too many variables happening at the same time, and we cannot keep track of them.

Marius: I'll try to make contact with the outside. In the meantime, you guys try sorting out the clues.

Vyn: Yes... For now, we have to wait and see how things turn out.



Pathology Report

Pathology Report icon.png

Evidence Description (Spoilers)

A report recording patients' symptoms, strangely without names of the patients but only individual's gender and age. Excerpts are as follows:
"Male, 56 years old, classic renal cell carcinoma in the cortical area behind the middle of the left kidney...
Female, 23 years old, right breast invasive ductal carcinoma, grade II-III, no definite intraventricular thrombus and small nerve tissue involvement...
Male, 8 years old, infiltrative pulmonary gland malignancy in the upper lobe of the left lung with no clear intraventricular tumor embolus..."


Ledger icon.png

Evidence Description (Spoilers)

A brochure found in Mevis Zeng's study, recording transactions of collections. It is suspected to be written by Nolan Zeng. Excerpts are as follows:
"October 1983:
Monthly purchase quantity 30, including goods from high-quality source quantity 5. Carrier Sean Li has default record for more than 3 times, has lost trust, not suitable for long-term cooperation. Trader Zhang family has a high-value guarantee, possible to maintain long-term cooperation. The goods are expensive, should be extra cautious.
June 1995:
Monthly purchase quantity 35, including goods from high-quality source quantity 0..."

Holly Branch Ornament (3D)

Holly Branch Ornament icon.png

Evidence Description (Spoilers)

A metal ornament that looks like holly branches. It is unknown why this is in Mevis Zeng's study.

Antique Transaction Records

Antique Transaction Records icon.png

Evidence Description (Spoilers)

Antique transaction records between Sam Zhang and the Zeng family. The records include time, amount of money and goods. Although it involves a considerable amount of money, the schedule of transactions is fixed.