Chapter 511 Whitechapel Serial Homicides
Zhang Heng tossed a half-pound gold coin to Holmes, the money for the bet they’d made before.
Sherlock took the coin and slipped it into his pocket, a rare contented smile appearing across his face. “Don’t be discouraged, my friend from the far-east; you have progressed greatly compared to a few months ago. As I said, you only lack understanding of this city, but these things cannot be rushed. Live in London for three to five years and I’m sure you’ll know most of its crooks and nannies.”
“But if one wants to surpass the great dectective, I am afraid he will need more than three to five years.” Zhang Heng said.
“This is something that has always intrigued me.” Holmes tore up the remainder of his sandwich and threw tiny bits of it to a flock of feral pigeons nearby. “You seem to be very obsessed, trying to outdo me at every corner. Why is it so important to you?”
“Climbing the highest peak has always been a climber’s ultimate dream.” Sherlock Holmes smiled. “You flatter me-my eastern friend sees me as the tallest mountain in my field of work.” Just when Zhang Heng thought Holmes had changed, he added, “Well, I don’t think I can find a detective better than me.”
Zhang Heng wanted to defeat Holmes, not because he was dying to be the best detective, but simply because the main mission required it. It was also something he had struggled to complete ever since this game started. It had been more than a hundred days since he entered this world, and fortunately, his extra 24 hours provided him with another 240 days of game time. Nevertheless, after so many cases, he still failed to defeat Holmes even once.
This arrogant, impossible man of a Victorian sleuth was nothing less but a legend.
However, after stripping off the halos surrounding Holmes, living with him for a period allowed Zhang Heng to peer into the real, true person Sherlock Holmes was. He was really just a man, not a god, meaning that even he made mistakes and had his share of weaknesses. Whether he liked it or not, Zhang Heng had to admit that Holmes was leagues ahead of him in a fair contest, not to mention how Holmes was in a familiar setting. There was indeed an apparent gap between the two of them and a rather large one at that.
Zhang Heng never thought he’d never beat Holmes, though.
Holmes’s hubris was justified, and as he said, he was truly the best detective of the era. Zhang Heng wasn’t that bad, on the other hand. The two were similar in more ways than they’d like to think, both equipped with excellent observation, reasoning, and an uncanny composure under duress.
He was confident that he could fill in the gap between him and Holmes. After completing so many games, Zhang Heng was no longer the innocent student he once was. Based on Holmes’s ability to reason, he estimated his criminal investigation skills were probably at the top of Lv.3.
With Irene’s assistance, and when his criminal investigation skills had reached Lv. 2, he might just be able to Defeat Holmes. Instead, the competition appeared to have already begun, something Zhang Heng expected would only happen after he had gotten a bit of practice.
“Look at this.”
Holmes handed over the newspapers in his hands to Zhang Heng, “It seems our dull existence about to end soon.”
Zhang Heng took the newspaper, and when he saw the headline, he was stunned.
(The Whitechapel serial murderer has sent a letter of provocation to Scotland Yard. The public hopes the police will apprehend the culprit as soon as possible!)
Seeing the Whitechapel serial murders, Zhang Heng couldn’t help but think of an unsolved case. Reading on, the news matched what he was thinking of.
What was London’s most infamous criminal case at the end of the 19th century? It was none other than the case of Jack the Ripper.
In just three months, six women were murdered around the Whitechapel area of London’s East End (five of the victims were generally thought to be related to Jack the Ripper). All of them were prostitutes and were killed using ruthless and brutal methods. Due to a lack of substantial evidence, the case remained unsolved, and to this day, Jack the Ripper’s identity remained a mystery. Many theories subsequently surfaced about who he was, but the case gradually grew cold as time went by.
If Zhang Heng’s memory served him right, then Jack the Ripper had started his killing spree in the fall of 1888. It was now in 1881. He surely didn’t expect to bump into the case seven years beforehand, though, and realized how this might just turn out to be his golden opportunity. Although hundreds of years had passed, interest in the Whitechapel murders of 1888 hadn’t diminished. In fact, Jack the Ripper remained a hot topic that would be fervently discussed among future generations, where numerous films and novels depicting him sprouted like mushrooms after the rain in the modern world.
Whether police, detectives, or fanboys, they had always sought to find the real serial killer. No matter how compelling some of the theories were, none were convincing and conclusive. It meant the gap between Holmes and Zhang Heng had finally drawn closer. Holmes had the home advantage, but Zhang Heng was equipped with all kinds of weird fan-based theories that later generations had come up with. Zhang Heng knew very well that this game wasn’t going to be so simple as the previous ones.
The victims, for instance, all the names of the victims, differed from the original cases. Jack the Ripper would choose his target randomly, and since his killing spree had started seven years earlier, many victims of the actual cases hadn’t even began becoming prostitutes yet. Thus, these women wouldn’t be the targets of Jack the Ripper. This time, intervals between the prostitute murders had increased significantly. Thus far, three people had already been killed in just half a month. Meanwhile, news publishers had also received the first letter with a “Dear Boss” written on it.
The murderer’s arrogant attitude shook up the entire Scotland Yard. Most didn’t think that the murderer himself wrote the letter. As a result of the many unknowns, panic began to fester withing the East End bowels, amongst them, prostitutes and women that lived alone. The police had also started to receive flak for the way the case was handled.
No wonder Holmes said his boring life was over after he read the news. The two did not stay in the park any longer, where Holmes hurriedly flagged down a carriage to return to 221B Baker Street. As he expected, two other carriages were parked by the side of the road. “It seems that we have many visitors today,” Holmes said while knocking on the door.
The door opened to a very disturbed Mrs. Hudson. Obviously, she had never witnessed a scene as such before. Seeing Zhang Heng and Holmes had returned, she let out a massive sigh of relief.
“Thank god, you two are back! I have never seen so many police in my life! I wouldn’t be too worried about Zhang Heng being the good, law-abiding, courteous man he is. As for our Mr. Holmes, what trouble have you caused us again?”
“Don’t worry. This is work!” Holmes chuckled delightfully, adding, “And what a terrible judge of character you are! Our eastern friend here is not as harmless as you thought, Mrs. Hudson. You have never seen his performance in the boxing ring. He is a total beast.”