Chapter 21 - Bloody Maple Leaf 02
The Hangzhi Building was the school’s administrative office building.
The easternmost part of the first floor was the security room. The two people deliberately walked past it with light footsteps and Xiao Lou looked through the window. As Yu Hanjiang said, there was a security guard on duty sleeping at the table, a big screen in front of him. It showed countless small squares which were the surveillance cameras of the entire school. Some of the squares were black and they were the monitoring blind spots where the cameras were broken, as confirmed by Yu Hanjiang.
Inside the Hangzhi Building, only the corners of the stairs were monitored and the corridors and offices didn’t have any cameras installed.
The two people looked at each other and continued to move forward.
Apart from the security room, the rest of the rooms were the teacher’s offices.
The first floor was the first grade teacher’s office with a red maple leaf sign used as a logo on the door. The teachers of the nine courses had an office, including political history, physics, chemistry, mathematics and language.
The second and third floors were the offices of the second and third grade teachers and the layout was exactly the same.
Starting from the fourth floor, there were offices for small subjects such as sports, music, fine arts and computers.
The fifth floor was functional organizations such as the School Logistics Office, Student Office, Finance Department, Academic Affairs Office, Awards Loan Centre and Psychological Counseling Centre.
The sixth floor was the office for the leaders of the Youth League Committee, the school union, the vice-principal’s office and the principal’s office.
The entire seventh floor was a multimedia conference centre and it was enough to accommodate hundreds of people at the same time.
Xiao Lou worked at a university and was familiar with the layout of this office building. He only looked through it once but he remembered all the rooms in his heart and marked all the offices on Yu Hanjiang’s book.
The two people carefully examined the layout of the Hangzhi Building and even went to check the toilets and the water system.
After checking the Hangzhi Building, Yu Hanjiang took Xiao Lou to go through the three teaching buildings to explore, familiarize themselves with the place and find escape routes.
There were a total of 22 classes in the first year of high school and the number of students in each class should be around 40. In the second year of high school, it started to divide people into arts and sciences. There were 6 liberal arts classes and 16 sciences classes.
Every time they walked through a teaching building, they would mark all the classes, restrooms and corridor distribution of the building onto the book.
The library and gymnasium weren’t open on weekends and they couldn’t enter for the time being. They could only wait for a later chance to explore them.
It was already dusk by the time the two people walked around the campus.
Standing on the air corridor of the fourth floor of the Chongwen Building, they could look down on the entire school.
The sunset glowed like fire and the bloody maple leaves were still falling, making the atmosphere of the entire campus even stranger.
The breeze blew in and sent the aroma from the flower beds downstairs to their noses.
Seeing Yu Hanjiang frown in contemplation, Xiao Lou asked softly, “Group Leader Yu, based on your experience, the probability of a murder at a high school campus isn’t high in reality?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Now high school students are crazily busy and have to finish their homework after going home. Combined with the strict management of their family, a conflict between students will rarely progress to murder. Of course, it is possible for a psychologically distorted minor to commit crimes.”
In the previous 2 of Hearts room, the surgeon Zhao Sen directly killed two people, digging out his cousin’s heart, taking his cousin’s body and putting his wife on a rose bed to make a specimen. The first was so bloody and it seemed to be giving the challengers a hint that the murderers in the Card World were much more perverted than they thought.
Therefore, for the school campus of the Card World, the possibility of a psychopathic murderer was great.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath and joked, “I don’t know the high school students of the Card World. Do they need to take the university entrance examination?”
Yu Hanjiang’s tight brow slightly relaxed at the joke and he said, “This place is similar to the real world. Political history, physics and chemistry and even a foreign language. The students’ classes are the same.”
Xiao Lou leaned against the railing and looked out at the maple forest in the distance. “Yes, I thought their classes would be about card sorting and card fighting.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at him. “The things that will happen tomorrow are completely uncertain. Aren’t you nervous at all?”
Xiao Lou smiled. “Don’t I have you, a criminal investigation expert? What is there to be nervous about?”
The trust in the other person’s eyes slightly surprised Yu Hanjiang.
In fact, they weren’t very familiar with each other. They had only met four or five times in total in the real world.
Still… the feeling of being trusted wasn’t bad.
Yu Hanjiang opened his mouth. “As a criminal policeman, I have seen all types of murders.” The man paused, leaning against the railing like Xiao Lou as he looked at the distant maple forest. “However, this world and the real world are completely different. The most crucial thing is that in this world, I don’t have the power to enforce the law.”
Xiao Lou quickly understood Yu Hanjiang’s meaning.
In the real world, Yu Hanjiang was a policeman. He had a police officer’s card and could stop witnesses to investigate and inquire, or take people who he thought were suspicious to the police station to make a statement. The public would generally cooperate with a police investigation and his identity provided great convenience.
However, in this world, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou were just passersby.
They couldn’t directly stop the students to ask for details of the murder or make the school cooperate by giving them surveillance videos. They also couldn’t be discovered by the security guards. They could only reason as a bystander.
Xiao Lou was silent for a moment before speaking. “You might not be able to directly interrogate suspects as a policeman but I believe in your rich experience of handling cases. If you can’t break a case in a C-grade secret room, won’t the other challengers be even worse?”
Yu Hanjiang turned to him. “Do you have such faith in me?”
Xiao Lou didn’t hesitate. “Of course.”
Yu Hanjiang’s originally cold face gradually eased and a bit of warmth floated in the dark eyes. He stared into Xiao Lou’s eyes and whispered, “You can trust me. Just like you said, this is a C-grade secret room. If a criminal policeman and forensic doctor can’t solve this secret room, the Card World isn’t giving people a way to live.”
“Yes, so there is nothing to be nervous about.”
The two men smiled at each other.
The original suffocating atmosphere suddenly became a lot easier. Xiao Lou found that Yu Hanjiang usually had a cold face and sharp eyes but when he smiled… he was really handsome.
Yu Hanjiang quickly put away his smile. “It is going to be dark. Where should we sleep tonight?”
Xiao Lou glanced around the campus and spoke helplessly. “Let’s go to the teaching building and find a place to sleep.”
The conditions were limited and they could only do this for one night.
The sky quickly darkened and the streetlights of the school turned on.
The school’s streetlights were very distinctive. The light was soft and the top was decorated with a few maple leaf shapes, making them look like planted maple trees with artificial lights.
Xiao Lou accidentally discovered that several streetlights were broken near the maple forest. An area of nearly 100 metres was completely shrouded in darkness.
Yu Hanjiang obviously discovered this as well and Xiao Lou glanced over.
The two people didn’t need to say much. They tacitly turned to go downstairs to check the situation of the broken streetlights.
Yu Hanjiang stood at the junction between warm light and darkness and frowned. “There are eight streetlights broken on the right and left sides.”
Xiao Lou touched his chin thoughtfully. “The maple forest should be the focus of this secret room. Does the streetlights breaking mean the murder is likely to happen at night? After all, nothing can be seen in the darkness and it is more convenient to commit crimes.”
Yu Hanjiang agreed. “There is this possibility. Tomorrow evening, we must focus on this area.”
A single person alone in this darkness would definitely be sweating with fear. Fortunately, there was a double secret room and there was a companion. They could exchange information, discuss things with each other and their psychological state would be much better.
In the darkness, Yu Hanjiang walked in front and his pace was always stable.
Xiao Lou followed him around the maple forest and asked, “Is there anything else to discover?”
“Nothing unusual. It seems that today is just to let us familiarize ourselves with the environment. Something will happen once school starts tomorrow.” He glanced back at Xiao Lou. “Go back to rest first and recharge our batteries. We will wait until tomorrow.”
Xiao Lou nodded and followed him back to the teaching building, sitting down on the stairs in a corner of the first floor and leaning against the wall to rest.
The secret rooms made them very tired and they soon entered dreamland.
XIao Lou slept very restlessly.
In his dream, his mother spoke gently. “You are an adult and it is up to you to make your decisions. Your parents won’t interfere with you.” Then his female cousin spoke excitedly, “I will report to Jiangzhou School next year and look for you to eat with!” A moment later, his white-haired grandmother grabbed his hand and asked him, “Little Lou, when will you bring back a partner to see Grandmother…”
The loving faces of his family members were unusually clear in the dream.
Xiao Lou felt his entire body freezing up and he became so cold that he shivered.
He had always maintained a strong and calm appearance in front of the keepers. However, he couldn’t control his sadness when he thought of being dead and thought of his family.
At the end of the dream, he and his cousin were playing Fight the Landlord, followed by a sudden voice in his ears—Welcome to the Card World.
Xiao Lou suddenly woke up.
He woke up and found that he was wearing a dark grey jacket. It was Group Leader Yu’s jacket and still contained the other person’s body temperature. Wrapped in this strange warmth, Xiao Lou felt stunned and embarrassed. He hurriedly took it off.
Yu Hanjiang glanced at him with rare gentle eyes. “Did you have a nightmare?”
Xiao Lou nodded and took a deep breath to adjust his mood before handing the coat back to Yu Hanjiang. “Thank you.”
“You wear it, I’m not cold.” Yu Hanjiang didn’t accept it.
In fact, Xiao Lou had been wearing a jacket when he came to the Card World. However, he discarded it in Zombie Town in order to make it more convenient to escape. He was born with a low body temperature and afraid of the cold. Now he was only wearing a thin sweater. In the later autumn weather, he sat in a cold corridor after sleeping all night and his teeth were trembling from the cold.
Yu Hanjiang saw him curled up and covered him with a jacket.
Xiao Lou wrapped himself in the jacket and whispered, “Didn’t you sleep?”
“I also had a nightmare and just woke up.”
Xiao Lou found it difficult to fall asleep again after being awakened by a nightmare and smiled. “I can’t sleep. Is it almost dawn?”
Yu Hanjiang also wasn’t sleepy. The two people had common ground and didn’t chat casually.
The east side soon became white. Gradually, a sharp ray of light split the darkness and shone on the earth. The golden-red sun slowly rose from the horizon.
At 6:30 in the morning, the sky was completely bright.
The two of them exchanged looks and immediately left the school building. They found a hidden place near the school gate and watched the gate with vigilance.
The security guard on duty in the Hangzhi Building woke up.
The security guard yawned and walked to the school gate to open it.
Students in twos or threes walked through the school gate with their bags and entered different teaching buildings. Some teachers carried bags and walked into the administration building while the teacher in charge of this week’s duty stood at the school gate to check the student IDs. The cleaning auntie carried a bucket and mop to clean the hallway and bathrooms.
The campus was becoming livelier.
What was going to happen? The two men were completely uncertain.
The first morning class of Maple Forest High School started at 7:30.
During the period between 7:00 and 7:30, a large number of students flocked to the school. The students were all wearing red and white sportswear and even if Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou’s eyes were good, they also had face blindness.
Thousands of students wearing the same clothes… who could remember this?
Both of them had stunned expressions.
In the 2 of Hearts room, there was someone dead as soon as they entered and the goal was very clear. Was the 3 of Hearts room asking them to find the protagonist in a vast sea of people? It was impossible when thinking about it. Therefore, there must be some clues.
At 7:30, the clear and pleasant class bell broke the silence of the campus.
There were no movements at the school gate for a while.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were planning to leave when at this moment, a girl rushed through the school gate in a panic. She wasn’t wearing a school uniform, only jeans and a thin white sweater. Her cheeks were red and she was panting. She was clearly afraid she would be late and ran all the way.
The male teacher on duty at the school gate frowned and stopped her. “What class are you in? Why aren’t you wearing a school uniform? Your student ID card?”
The girl hurriedly pulled out her student ID card from her pocket and gave it to the teacher. “I-I am Ying Xiaoya from the senior class 3. I forgot my school uniform, forgot to wear it…” She looked down nervously at her watch. “Teacher, I am going to take an English word test in my morning class. Please let me in…”
The teacher wrote a few notes in his book. “Tell your class teacher that your class will have 2 points deducted today. Go ahead!”
The girl’s face was pale as she bowed to the duty teacher and quickly ran into the third grade Chongwen Building.
Senior class 3, Ying Xiaoya. This was the first student to have her name revealed and she wasn’t wearing a school uniform. Her characteristics were obvious.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and nodded.
The two people had nothing to say. They tacitly turned around, avoided the gaze of the security guard at the door and quickly followed the girl who was late.
The key role in the 3 of Hearts room was her!