Chapter 27 - Bloody Maple Leaf: Night Exploration of the Shuxiang Building
The class teacher looked back at everyone and the students of Class 3 were obedient. Their heads were lowered as they did homework.
Of course, there was a classmate who died and most of them couldn’t calm down. They just had the appearance of doing homework and even the class monitor Xie Xinghe had only written one line in the homework book.
In the second and third quarters, all the teachers let the students self-study and the entire classroom was so quiet that a needle could be heard when dropped.
The school leaders wanted to block the news but the school was so big and there were always teachers and students passing by. The students of other classes gradually learned that Ying Xiaoya had jumped off the building. By the time they left school in the afternoon, the ‘curse’ had spread throughout the campus. Students coming and going were talking about it.
Everyone said that Ying Xiaoya was cursed by a vengeful ghost and committed suicide on her 18th birthday.
The rumours between the students told Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang some very critical information.
First, the location of Maple Forest High School was once a place where criminals were killed by gunfire. Therefore, rumours of ‘wrongfully dead ghosts demanding lives’ and the ‘school is cursed’ circulated.
Second, five years ago when the school was founded, there was a girl who committed suicide by jumping off the building on her 18h birthday. It was very similar to the situation where Ying Xiaoya jumped off the building and committed suicide. It was easier for people to believe in the ‘death curse.’
Third, in recent years, some people had disappeared from school.
The curse actually meant this and both of them were a bit surprised.
After school in the afternoon, the students of the first and second grade left the high school. The third grade should’ve stayed behind in the evening for self-study but due to the accident that occurred in Class 3 today, the school leaders approved for all third grade students to study on their own tonight. They could go home early and attend classes tomorrow.
The three teaching buildings soon became empty.
The teachers also left while the cleaners cleared the hallways and toilets. Gradually, only the security guards were left in school as well as Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang, who were hiding in the blind spot corners.
Xiao Lou asked lightly, “The vengeful souls of the wrongfully departed and the death curse, Group Leader Yu, do you feel there is a mystery?”
Yu Hanjiang folded his arms and thought about it for a moment. “This secret room doesn’t have a spiritual theme. It is impossible to have an evil ghost murder setting. The so-called vengeful souls and death curse are just misleading. I think that the girl who jumped from the building when the school was founded and the missing people in recent years have a direct or indirect relationship with Ying Xiaoya’s death. This is probably a serial killing.”
Xiao Lou thought so as well.
The clues in the 3 of Hearts room were very scattered but in fact, every clue was like a sugar-coated fruit on a stick snack. There was always a line stringing all the candied fruit together and it felt like the two people had found the line of reasoning.
The school was cursed so someone jumped and other people disappeared. This was absolutely nonsense!
The devil’s curse? In fact, there was a murderer at this school who was as terrible as a devil.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath, clenched his fists and spoke coldly. “Did the murderer deliberately spread the horror legend of the ‘ghost’ to cover up their crimes?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “There must be a connection between these events. The girl who jumped from the building five years ago was by no means suicidal.”
The first time Xiao Lou entered the Maple Forest High School, he checked the introduction on the stone monument at the entrance.
Maple Forest High School was built five years ago and the cost was huge. The city government supported the project and the city’s education bureau sent a large number of excellent teachers to this high school.
Such a high-profile school actually had a student jump from the building. The school would naturally try to suppress public opinion and minimize the impact of the incident. The legend of the curse was only circulated among the students and the official documents would definitely have a clearer explanation.
Xiao Lou glanced at Yu Hanjiang and the other person looked back. The two people spoke at the same time. “The school library?”
They could only go to the school library to check the information from five years ago.
It was completely dark and the streetlights were on.
They walked with light footsteps towards the Shuxiang Building.
The Shuxiang Building was a very special existence in the school. The shape was like an open book page. The horizontal surface was wide and the vertical direction had five floors. This building hadn’t been open on the weekend so Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang hadn’t gone in to view it. Today it was finally open.
The two people walked inside the Shuxiang Building. The green sign on the stairway marked the distribution map of the whole building. The first and second floors were the school’s laboratories and experimental courses such as chemistry, physics and biology were held here. The entire third floor was the computer centre, the entire fourth floor was the library and the fifth floor was the school’s reference library.
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes quickly swept over the map. He was just about to speak when a warning rang in the two men’s ears at the same time. “A security guard is close. 50 metres, 49 metres…”
Not far away was the security guard’s voice. “There seems to be a light on the other side of the Shuxiang Building. Is someone there?”
Another voice was heard. “Go and see. The principal said that we should strengthen vigilance for the next two days to prevent any accidents.”
A bad feeling entered Yu Hanjiang’s heart!
They had turned on the flashlight when they entered and this light had caught the attention of the security guards on patrol.
Listening to the footsteps approaching quickly, Xiao Lou stiffened and was prepared to use his acceleration shoes when his arm was pulled by Yu Hanjiang.
Yu Hanjiang forced Xiao Lou into a corner and gently whispered in his ears, “Shh… don’t talk.”
This was a dead corner and the space was extremely narrow. The two people were crowded together and their bodies were close to each other. Xiao Lou’s entire body was held in Yu Hanjiang’s arms and he could almost hear the intense heartbeat coming from the chest in front of them. Their backs were upright because of tension.
The security guard’s footsteps approached as they patrolled the building with a flashlight, the light almost shining on the two men’s faces.
The security guard chief on duty asked, “Little Liu, have you found anything?”
“There is no one? Was it a mistake?”
“Well, the students and teachers are gone and the school shouldn’t have anyone left. Let’s lock the Shuxiang Building.”
The security guards turned away, followed by the sound of the door locking.
The two people locked in the Shuxiang Building, “…”
Once the security guards left, Xiao Lou sighed with relief. “Fortunately, Group Leader Yu responded quickly enough.”
Yu Hanjiang’s anti-reconnaissance ability was first-class and he was very good at finding blind spots. Thankfully he had a habit of finding hiding places or the two people would’ve bumped into the security guards and be expelled.
This incident was a shock.
Yu Hanjiang let out a breath and loosened his grip on Xiao Lou. “We have to be careful. You stay here first and don’t move. I will go and see if there are any security cameras in the building.”
Then he left in a hurry.
The flashlight wasn’t turned on and it was dark but Yu Hanjiang’s steps didn’t hesitate at all. He seemed to be able to see in the dark but Xiao Lou couldn’t. He could only stand in the same place.
A moment later, Yu Hanjiang returned to Xiao Lou. “The building’s cameras are bad and we will first go to search the chemistry laboratory.”
Recalling the inference that Ying Xiaoya was poisoned, Xiao Lou asked softly, “Do you suspect that the poison came from the chemistry laboratory?”
Yu Hanjiang replied, “Today, Class 3’s chemistry teacher took time off. I don’t believe this is a coincidence.”
Xiao Lou agreed with this and immediately followed Group Leader Yu.
There were laboratories on both sides of the corridor and the internal situation couldn’t be seen from outside the building. They didn’t have to worry about being seen by the guards and Yu Hanjiang could turn on the flashlight without any worries.
On the left were five chemistry laboratories and the right had five biology laboratories.
All the laboratory doors were locked. Yu Hanjiang raised his flashlight and shone it into a room through the window. The chemistry laboratory was full of glass instruments and the tables were thoroughly cleaned. The vials in the cabinet were neatly placed.
Laboratory 3 had some messy chemical formulas…
Yu Hanjiang hadn’t reacted yet when he suddenly heard Xiao Lou cry out, “Here!”
Yu Hanjiang bowed his head and observed the door lock carefully. He found that the door lock had races of being pried open and wanted to say that Xiao Lou’s observation skills were meticulous when he heard the other person say, “The chemical formula written on the blackboard contains ‘carbon-phosphorus.’ This is a common organophosphorus compound. The chemical equation for calcium phosphate is also written below. This chemistry class should be talking about the difference between organic and inorganic substances.”
The science slag Yu Hanjiang, “…”
He didn’t understand.
The two men came at it from different angles but they both pointed to the same result. There was a problem with this laboratory.
Yu Hanjiang handed the flashlight to Xiao Lou, reached out his hands and forcibly broke the door lock. The loud sound echoed in the dark corridor. The lock was indeed passive. It seemed to be locked but it could be forced open with no key.
The two people looked at each other and quickly entered the laboratory.
Xiao Lou stood in front of the blackboard and stared at it carefully. This was truly stating the difference between organic phosphorus and inorganic phosphorus. The chemistry teacher’s writing in chalk was very neat and was just like printing.
Yu Hanjiang quickly swept the flashlight over the surroundings and found a book on the back of the door. This should be the signature book of the laboratory. There were spaces such as ‘materials recovery’ and ‘instrument cleaning. There were the date and the signature of the inspector: Xie Xinghe.
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes slightly lit up. “Professor Xiao, come and look at this.”
Xiao Lou came over and was shocked after seeing the signature. “It seems that Class 3’s laboratory class last week was in this laboratory. The content was about organic phosphorus and inorganic phosphorus while Xie Xinghew as responsible for the final inspection of the materials and instruments. He might’ve taken the poison away from the scene. The chemistry teacher is also suspicious.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Let’s go see the pharmacy cabinet.”
The pharmacy cabinet was also locked and couldn’t be opened, but the contents could clearly be seen through the glass. All the bottles had the name of the chemical agent, most of which were commonly used in high school chemistry. However, the top layer had exactly one bottle that said ‘organophosphate’ and the inside was… half empty.
Xiao Lou’s eyes lit up. “It should’ve been taken away.”
Both Xie Xinghe and the chemistry teacher were suspects. The chemistry teacher didn’t come to school today and hadn’t been seen all day. They only heard from the PE teacher that her father went to the hospital and she had to accompany him for an examination.
Could she control it remotely when she wasn’t at school? Was she an accomplice? Or was Xie Xinghe the accomplice?
The two people were thinking and the room fell into a brief silence.
Yu Hanjiang’s senses soon returned. “We will leave here first. Tomorrow, the chemistry teacher will definitely come to work and we can focus on her then.”
Xiao Lou nodded and followed Group Leader Yu to leave the laboratory.
The two men came to the information hall on the fifth floor.
There were rows of bookcases and countless folders placed neatly in the bookcases. The door was locked but Yu Hanjiang had a way in. He opened a window and directly entered from the window.
Xiao Lou saw Group Leader Yu quickly move through the window and he had to keep up.
He was a good student in the eyes of teachers and parents since childhood. Today was the first day doing something like ‘breaking in through the window.’
The reference library was classified by year and the two men went to the first row to check the information of when it was established five years ago.
Five years ago, there was the urban planning, large-scale demolition and reconstruction of the northern district. Maple Forest High School was established and several high schools in the north district directly merged together. At the beginning of the school’s establishment, there were more than 3,000 students.
After the merge, the third grade was re-assigned. The best students were selected to form two key classes and old teachers were assigned to these classes to get the best result. Most of them had the ‘first class’ title attached to them.
The folders contained the list of all classes and the admissions after the university entrance examination.
It was all recorded based on the student number and it was very convenient to check.
Yu Hanjiang swept through the information lists while Xiao Lou compared the admissions data.
The two people soon realized that something was wrong.
Yu Hanjiang opened his mouth. “The key liberal arts class has one less person?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “The class list has 40 people but the admission list is 39 people. The missing name is… student number 1733, Si Han?”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “After the school merger, she was assigned to a key class according to her grades. This indicates that her results were at the top of the year. She didn’t get an admission place after the university entrance examination. This means she either failed the exam or… she was the student who jumped from the building.”
Xiao Lou said, “If a student jumped from a building then the education bureau must check and the school must write a report.”
Yu Hanjiang turned to check the official documents of that year. The school documents were very messy and contained things like committee activities, teacher class selections, speech contest… Yu Hanjiang swept past the folders and soon found the target.
He pulled the folder off the shelve and flipped through it quickly. Then he saw a stack of reporting materials.
[A detailed report on Student Si Han’s fall.]
Si Han was a girl with excellent grades. She was usually in the top 10 of her class but in the mid-term examination last month, she fell to the bottom of the class. On her 18th birthday, she left a suicide note and jumped from the Hangzhi Building.
The report contained a detailed description of Si Han from teachers and students as well as photographs of the suicide note.
The writing was very simple: I’m sorry to my parents and teachers. I want to let my life end.
The last page of the report was a detailed psychological analysis.
The report pointed out that Student Si Han’s psychological state was fragile. She couldn’t withstand the blow of her test results. In addition, her parents weren’t around and she lacked care. She couldn’t think of a solution and jumped from the building, committing suicide. Finally, it was concluded that in the future, they should pay attention to the student’s mental health and conduct psychological evaluations, regularly holding psychological counselling courses to let students overcome their difficulties.
All the papers were stamped with the school’s official seal.
These words were shocking!
Xiao Lou felt a chill run down his spine. “It is almost exactly the same as Ying Xiaoya’s situation.”
Yu Hanjiang’s expression was somewhat ugly. “This student’s fall and Ying Xiaoya’s fall might be the handwriting of the same murderer. The suicide note left behind is very similar.”
He suddenly had some doubts. “I always felt something wrong when I saw the suicide note. The writing really belongs to Ying Xiaoya but it isn’t her. Perhaps someone else took her homework and copied it.”
“In addition, apologizing to her mother and father isn’t consistent with Ying Xiaoya’s family situation. She lives with Yu Hui and her parents aren’t around. If she really committed suicide then she should be most sorry to her cousin and his family. The person who wrote the suicide note apparently didn’t know the relationship between Ying Xiaoya and Yu Hui or her family situation.”
There should be Ying Xiaoya’s homework left in the school. In particular, the language class often required writing text and it wasn’t difficult to pick some words and copy them to another piece of paper.
Similarly, the suicide note left behind when Si Han jumped from the building might be forged.
Two girls who left behind the legacy of ‘suicide’, what was the relationship between them?
The case was becoming more and more complicated.
There were two cases of falling and the deceased were young and beautiful girls. This made Xiao Lou couldn’t help having a terrible guess. Did the two girls experience something perverted at school, perhaps even rape? The two of them didn’t want to jump from the building but the other person was afraid of them talking and killed them?
However, this was just his speculation and had no basis. Moreover, the most suspicious chemistry teacher was female.
Just then, the sound of thunder was heard from outside the window, startling Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang.
The two of them left the data room, turned off their flashlights and went to the end of the fifth-floor corridor, looking out through the window.
Outside the window, there was thunder as rain poured down and slammed against the glass window. Through the misty rain and fog, the maple forest in the distance with its countless falling maple leaves seemed stained in red blood. It was even stranger under the illumination of the streetlights. The dark area where the streetlights were broken was like a monster opening its huge mouth to gradually devour the campus.
Five years ago, a girl fell to her death. Now another girl committed ‘suicide’. The originally simple and beautiful high school campus had become a devil field where a murderer killed girls.
Xiao Lou’s back was cold and his face was unnaturally pale.
Yu Hanjiang looked at him and gently held Xiao Lou’s hand, whispering words of comfort. “Don’t think too much. The murders in the Card World are complicated and the murderer will definitely leave clues. Our reasoning is getting closer and closer to the truth and the murderer will soon surface.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “It seems we will be sleeping here tonight.”
There was a thunderstorm outside and the door of the Shuxiang Building was locked by the security guards. They could only sleep in the corridor and wait for the building to be opened tomorrow morning before sneaking out.
Tomorrow, the chemistry teacher would come back to work.
The students who had leave such as Yu Hui and Yi Ru would also return to school.
The police would return to school tomorrow to continue the investigation. Through the autopsy, the medical examiner should’ve discovered the deceased’s poisoning and confirmed the composition of the poison. They would find the chemistry laboratory and the chemistry teacher would become the first suspect.
The legend of the curse would surely remind the police of the fall five years ago.
Meanwhile, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang walking ahead of the police had gained the evidence of the poison from the chemistry laboratory and knew the story of the fall five years ago. The deceased was a girl named Si Han.
The words about vengeful ghosts and the death curse, these were all cover-ups. After this heavy rain, the murderer’s veil would be removed and the truth of the fall would finally be uncovered bit by bit.