Chapter 30 - Bloody Maple Leaf: The Secret of the Shoes
The cleaner aunt soon turned over the entire garbage bin and faced Xiao Lou. “Teacher, your ID isn’t here?”
Xiao Lou smiled at her. “I troubled you. I should go back to look carefully. Perhaps I didn’t throw it away.”
The auntie said, “Then you look for it again. I will also pay attention. If I find it in the trash cans, I will send it to the school’s lost and found.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Thank you, auntie.”
He blinked at Yu Hanjiang and they turned away together with Yu Hanjiang still holding the shoes.
The auntie stared at their backs with confusion, probably wondering, ‘Why did the teacher take the shoes from the trash?’
This was class time and there was no one on the playground.
The two people headed to a corner of the playground, Yu Hanjiang crouching down to carefully check the evidence.
They were very common white canvas shoes and was the same style as those worn by Ying Xiaoya. The soles had crossed diagonal lines and stepping on the ground created special footprints. The edges of the shoes also had visible trademarks.
Xiao Lou stared at the shoes thoughtfully. “I saw many students wearing shoes of this brand at school. It should be a popular brand. These shoes are very new but they were thrown away. The murderer obviously wants to destroy the evidence. Group Leader Yu, who do you think the owner of these shoes might be?’
Yu Hanjiang carefully checked the inside and outside of the shoes before saying, “If the murder happens to be size 37 then it wouldn’t be surprising for them to buy such a popular pair of canvas shoes. They could keep the shoes and there would be no need to throw them in the trash. The murderer must dispose of the shoes for only one reason. Their feet aren’t the same size as Ying Xiaoya’s feet and it isn’t appropriate to wear these shoes. Once discovered, it is easy to raise suspicion.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “In other words, the murderer bought these pair of shoes and temporarily wore them in order to fake footprints on the roof. This would make people mistakenly think that the footprints on the roof belonged to Ying Xiaoya and that she committed suicide by jumping off the building. The murderer has long paid attention to Ying Xiaoya’s shoes and planned to kill her on the rooftop. This seems to be a long-term plan.”
“Yes, that’s why they had to dispose of the evidence.” Yu Hanjiang frowned and observed the shoes before saying, “I think that a woman is more likely to commit this crime.”
Xiao Lou looked at him doubtfully. “Why not male?”
Yu Hanjiang analyzed it in detail. “This is a typical crime committed by an acquaintance. Ying Xiaoya had to go to the Hangzhi Building from Class 3 then climb to the seventh floor while avoiding the surveillance cameras. This distance isn’t short and wouldn’t be silent if she was forcibly taken away. Once she screams or resists, someone would hear her.”
Xiao Lou followed this line of thought. However, Ying Xiaoya was very quiet from beginning to end and the process of her fall is unknown. Obviously, she voluntarily followed the murderer to the roof.
Yu Hanjiang looked back at Xiao Lou. “If the murderer is a man then wearing size 37 female shoes will definitely raise Ying Xiaoya’s wariness and suspicion. If the other person leans over to change shoes then Ying Xiaoya would notice something was wrong and escape or call for help. Therefore, the murderer should directly wear these shoes when finding Ying Xiaoya.”
Men’s feet were usually more than size 40 and wearing size 37 canvas shoes simply wasn’t possible. If a man wore them as slippers then it would be very strange. It was unknown how many people he would encounter on the way. Besides, if a man wore size 37 canvas shoes to find Ying Xiaoya then she would certainly be aware that something was wrong and wouldn’t stupidly go to the rooftop with the other person.
Unless the murderer was a woman.
The other person’s feet being size 35 or 36 would easily allow them to wear size 37 shoes. She just had to insert paper towels inside and then fasten the shoelaces and the shoes wouldn’t easily fall off. Or a person with size 38 feet could squeeze and barely put on size 37 shoes. Their feet would be very uncomfortable but it could be ignored in the short-term.
If the feet was slightly smaller or slightly bigger then it would be hard to see that these shoes weren’t suitable. In addition, this type of shoes are very common. Many people in school were wearing them, including female teachers and female students. Ying Xiaoya shouldn’t think too much.
Xiao Lou bowed his head and thought about it. “A female committing the crime…Yi Ru, I remember that her height is shorter than Ying Xiaoya and her feet should be the same size. If she wore the same shoes as Ying Xiaoya then it isn’t easy to attract attention.”
He paused before analyzing, “In addition, Yi Ru’s confession is very one-sided. At that time, she and Ying Xiaoya returned to the classroom together before Ying Xiaoya died. There is no evidence that she went to the snack counter. The snack counter indeed saw her but… what if they first went to the roof, she pushed Ying Xiaoya off the roof and then bought the potato chips before pretending to witness the fall?”
Yu Hanjiang heard up to here and looked at the rooftop in the distance and then the location of the snack counter. He quickly came to a conclusion and shook his head. “It isn’t Yi Ru. There isn’t enough time.”
After all, Xiao Lou was only making a theoretical analysis and Yu Hanjiang was more experienced in actual crimes.
He followed Group Leader Yu’s eyes. The Hangzhi Building had seven floors and Ying Xiaoya had fallen from the top of the building. The snack counter was far from the Hangzhi Building. If Yi Ru first pushed Ying Xiaoya down the stairs, went to the snack counter to buy potato chips and then returned downstairs to pretend to see Ying Xiaoya falling, this time period was really short.
Xiao Lou remembered yesterday’s crime scene. Yi Ru had replied intermittently to the police’s questions but she wasn’t panting like it was after strenuous exercise. Her breathing was relatively stable.
The school didn’t have an elevator. It would be hard for Yi Ru to run up to the seventh floor, push Ying Xiaoya down, run down seven floors to pretend to buy potato chips and then pretend to pass by the Hangzhi Building. This was only possible if she had the speed of an Olympic long distance champion and could run a few kilometres without gasping.
Xiao Lou overturned his own analysis. “It seems that Yi Ru can be ruled out. The time for committing the crime really isn’t enough. She bought potato chips and the boss of the snack counter can prove her alibi.”
Yu Hanjiang reminded him, “We should focus on the female teachers.”
It would attract too much attention carrying a pair of shoes into the teaching building. Yu Hanjiang thought about it and went to the snack counter to ask for a paper bag. He put the shoes inside as well as the homework book where the school map was previously drawn, making it look like a homework bag.
The two people returned to the teaching building.
Class 3’s chemistry teacher was taken away by the police and the students of Class 3 was panicked. Everyone was restless and wasn’t paying attention to class. However, the second quarter happened to be the language class and the class teacher personally came to maintain order, arranging an essay question. The students didn’t dare to talk indiscriminately and the classroom was surprisingly quiet.
Yu Hui, Xie Xinghe and Yi Ru had no obvious abnormalities.
Xie Xinghe lowered his head and looked serious as he moved his pen. It seemed like his mind was open as he wrote an entire page of text. Yu Hui was scratching his head madly and didn’t seem to know what to write. Yi Ru was bitterly biting at her pen and obviously couldn’t write.
The teacher’s essay title was ‘Pursuit’ and this was a real headache.
After observing the class for a while and discovering no movements, Yu Hanjiang whispered, “There should be no new clues in the classroom. It is better to check if the other teachers had any classes on at the time of the incident.”
A high school teacher didn’t only teach one class. Apart from the class teachers, most teachers would have at least two classes or the workload wasn’t enough and they would have points deducted in the final evaluation. Yesterday, Ying Xiaoya’s accident happened in the fourth quarter. If a teacher had another class at the time then they could be eliminated as a suspect.
The class schedule posted on the classroom doors only had the subjects such as language and chemistry and didn’t have the teacher’s name. The teacher’s own class schedule only had their own classes and the time of the class.”
Xiao Lou thought carefully. “English, physics, chemistry and biology, these four subjects have female teachers and their height is between 1.6 to 1.7 metres. They can wear size 37 shoes. Apart from the chemistry teacher, we have to go to the office to see if they had any classes during the fourth quarter yesterday.”
Yu Hanjiang added. “The language office also has a female teacher that we should pay attention to.”
Xiao Lou reacted quickly. “You mean the female teacher who interrupted when the class teacher was talking to Ying Xiaoya? She is also a woman and perhaps could’ve committed the crime?”
Yu Hanjiang looked serious as he whispered, “This teacher came too coincidentally. At that time, Ying Xiaoya was about to tell someone the reason for the decline in her performance. This reason was very important and might’ve led to her death. Unfortunately, an outside came in and interrupted as she was going to say it.”
Xiao Lou remembered the scene at the time and immediately agreed. “Yes, the timing of her coming in was really coincidentally.”
Ying Xiaoya had said, “My performance dropped during this time because…” only for the female teacher to open the door and Ying Xiaoya immediately closed her mouth.
This teacher might have something to do with Ying Xiaoya’s fall and deliberately came in to interrupt.
It was possible that this was just a character arranged to push the plot of the secret room. If she didn’t come in at the time, Ying Xiaoya would’ve told the truth about everything that was happening.
Even so, it wasn’t wrong to check it out.
They couldn’t let go of any suspects.