Chapter 31 - Bloody Maple Leaf: Major Clues
In the morning, there were many people in the teacher’s office and this made it inconvenient for them to investigate. The two people waited patiently for an opportunity.
It was soon noon.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang headed to the snack counter again.
Yesterday, they ate instant noodles for two consecutive meals and Xiao Lou now had no appetite when he saw the instant noodles. Meanwhile, Yu Hanjiang naturally took a bowl of instant noodles.”
The boss of the snack counter now knew them and asked curiously, “Why are the two of you always eating instant noodles?”
Xiao Lou smiled bitterly. “We are both single and live too far away from home. We don’t want to go out to eat and will take care of our hunger with instant noodles.”
The boss spoke kindly, “You can try instant hot pot. Isn’t it better than eating instant noodles every day?”
Xiao Lou asked, “There is something like that?”
The boss took out a bowl and introduced it with a smile. “A lazy hot pot. The bottom is made of a chemical material that can be heated. After pouring in the water, it will automatically boil and cook the upper layer of hot pot powder, vegetables and beef.”
Xiao Lou rarely ate this type of fast food and didn’t know about the existence of ‘lazy hot pot.’ Now that he heard the owner say this, he suddenly showed interest. “How much?”
“Two 1,000 gold coins.”
Yu Hanjiang turned to Xiao Lou with eyes filled with anticipation.
Xiao Lou touched the 14 gold coins in his pocket and gritted his teeth. “Then I’ll buy two.”
He really didn’t want to eat a third meal of instant noodles.
He hadn’t expected it to be so expensive. They had 17 gold coins and according to the rate of spending two or three a day, they could only stay in this secret room for five days.
Now it was the second day and the secret of maple forest hadn’t been solved. The owner of the shoes hadn’t been found and they had to hurry. Otherwise, the case would drag on and they would have to solve it in a stage of hunger.
Not to mention, they had nowhere to bathe and could only sleep in the hard corridors...
The more he thought about it, the sadder he became. Still, it was better than the challenger who was thrown into the Nightmare Room.
Xiao Lou bought a hot pot and walked out of the snack counter. He smiled at Yu Hanjiang and said, “I haven’t eaten this type of self-cooking hot pot before. Let’s go back to the office building and pick up some hot water. It will also give us an excuse to go wandering around the office.”
Based on the description, the lower layer was made of chemical materials and it was best to add cold water. Tap water that hadn’t been purified could also be used. However, the upper layer was for cooking food. If the wanted to eat it then they had to add boiled hot water or pure water.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang came to the third floor with the hot pot and separated.
At noon, the offices had the least people. Some officers were empty and there were no locks on the door.
Yu Hanjiang went to the language office first and found the class schedule of the female teacher who interrupted on that day. The female teacher surnamed Lin had classes with Class 4 and 5 of the third grade. She happened to have no class on during the fourth quarter yesterday.
When he went to the biology office, there happened to be a female teacher collecting homework. Yu Hanjiang’s eyes quickly swept across the desktops in the office and found the desk of Class 3’s teacher.
The teacher who stayed in the office looked at him with a puzzled expression. “You are?”
“I am a high school teacher. Can I borrow some hot water? I am cooking hot pot.”
The other person smiled. “Yes, the water dispenser is over there. Grab it yourself.”
Yu Hanjiang said thank you, poured the water into the hot pot and turned to leave.
Xiao Lou was in charge of the physics and English office. He also used the reason of borrowing hot water. After cooking the hot pot, he chatted with the teacher in the office before turning around.
The two people took the cooked hot pot and found a place to sit down and exchange information while the hot pot was cooking.
Xiao Lou opened his mouth. “The physics teacher and English teacher didn’t have class during the fourth quarter yesterday.”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “The two I checked had no class all morning.”
“In other words, during the fourth quarter yesterday when the incident happened, all the female teachers were idle and had sufficient time to commit the crime.”
The first lesson was English and the teacher scolded Ying Xiaoya and stationed her in the back. The physics teacher also scolded Ying Xiaoya, stating that she tested poorly.
The biology teacher didn’t have a class yesterday morning and didn’t show up directly. There should be no conflict with Ying Xiaoya. For the language teacher of a different class, she entered the language office and interrupted the conversation between the class teacher and Ying Xiaoya. This was suspicious.
These four people had time to commit crimes, could wear size 37 shoes and were young teachers less than 30 years old. Moreover, their teaching ability must be excellent or the school wouldn’t easily let them take the third grade classes.
Xiao Lou frowned and asked, “Do these four people have a relationship with the fall five years ago?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “If someone is linked to the fall five years ago, it is likely she is the murderer.”
“I was checking the classes and found that Class 3’s physics teacher has the surname Si. Her name is Si Qi. Perhaps there is a blood relationship with Si Han who fell five years ago?”
Yu Hanjiang replied, “The surname isn’t common but we can’t judge based on the name alone.”
Xiao Lou agreed. “Yes, we have to find other evidence.”
Just then, steam emerged from the hot pot and it was estimated that the cooking time was almost finished. Yu Hanjiang said, “Eat first.”
The two people opened the lids and took out disposable chopsticks to eat the simple hot pot.
The spicy hot pot stimulated the taste buds and Xiao Lou felt that his stomach was finally alive. He bowed his head and ate the noddles seriously. Yu Hanjiang saw this and couldn’t help his eyes became gentler. He whispered, “Do you hate instant noodles?”
Xiao Lou nodded without hesitation. “When I was in university, I often took the train home and the smell of braised beef noodles in the carriage was really prevalent. I didn’t want to eat it after that.”
Yu Hanjiang remembered the two braised beef noodles yesterday... he really wronged Professor Xiao.
He sighed and said, “Wait for the future. We’ll make more money and can have a good meal. I still owe you a meal.”
Xiao Lou smiled. “Yes, then I’ll eat a seafood dinner.”
In this strange world, they didn’t know when they would be eliminated. Eating with Group Leader Yu was a type of agreement. If they could live and make more money, perhaps they would be able to eat a big meal in the next secret room?
Still, he wouldn’t expect too much. It was good that he could buy self-cooking hot pot in the Hearts secret room.
If they were thrown into the wild for the Spades secret room and weren’t given food then they might be much more miserable!
After a full meal, the two people got up and returned to the school building.
There were no new clues in the afternoon. The police took Teacher Qin away and obviously didn’t intend to return to the school. They would conduct a more detailed interrogation of Teacher Qin at the police station. From this point of view, new clues might have to wait until tomorrow.
After all, this was a C-grade secret room. If the clues were too dense then the challengers’ brains would explode.
On the first day, Ying Xiaoya fell from the building and the police came to investigate. Challengers needed to make a preliminary reasoning based on the police’s interrogations.
The next day, the police came to take away the chemistry teacher and told the challengers that Ying Xiaoya was poisoned and the source of the poison was Yu Hui. This amount of information was large and more time needed to be left for the challengers to analyze the investigation.
Most challengers, after knowing that Ying Xiaoya was poisoned on the second day, would go to the chemistry laboratory to verify that the door lock was broken into.
Due to his profession, Xiao Lou saw that Ying Xiaoya was poisoned on the first day. The two men sneaked into the Shuxiang Building to investigate on the first night and learnt the secrets of the laboratory in advance. They directly excluded the chemistry teacher from suspicion. Moreover, the two of them reasoned that the ‘curse’ was related to the fall from the building five years ago. They searched the school archives and found that the deceased student five years ago was Si Han.
The two men took full advantage of their jobs and their investigation had always been ahead of the police.
Once the police arrived on the second day, Yu Hanjiang had found a key piece of evidence—the shoes.
Through analyzing the shoes, they identified four female suspects.
The English, biology and physics teacher of Class 3 and the language teacher of the next class who happened to enter the office to interrupt the conversation.
All four people had time to commit the crime and could wear the size 37 shoes. They taught the class or was the teacher for the class next door. They could find a foolproof excuse to bring Ying Xiaoya to the roof and push Ying Xiaoya off.
They all had an opportunity to obtain Ying Xiaoya’s homework and forge her handwriting.
Locking onto the suspects was a great help in the progress of the case. The thing left was to find the connection between these four women and the deceased five years ago. There was also their connection with Xie Xinghe’s book, Count of Monte Carlo.
Yu Hanjiang proposed, “Tonight, we will go to the office to check their drawers. We will definitely find something.”
In the 2 of Hearts secret room, the important clue was in the study’s safe. For the 3 of Hearts secret room, the suspects’ drawers shouldn’t contain nothing.
Xiao Lou looked nervously at Group Leader Yu. “Do you want to pry open the locks?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “I will unlock them with a wire and leave no traces.”
Thinking of this morning when Yu Hanjiang directly opened the lock of the Shuxiang Building, Xiao Lou let go of his worries. “Okay.”
However, the teachers’ offices were in the Hangzhi Building. This was the location of the security room and the school’s monitoring centre. Wanting to sneak into the office under the eyes of the security guards wasn’t easy.
At least the security guards would go patrol after dark.
Something was wrong in the Shuxiang Building last night and the security guard would definitely check again tonight.
Yu Hanjiang thought of a wonderful method. Once it was dark, he quickly headed to the Shuxiang Building, dropped a flashlight in a corner of the fifth floor and turned it on.
The security guards soon found there was a light on in the Shuxiang Building and the two guards on duty immediately ran over to check. The tiger was lured away from the mountain.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang had plenty of time to sneak into the Hangzhi Building.
The two people ran to the third floor at a very fast speed, first using the wire to open the door of the language office.
The teacher who happened to interrupt Ying Xiaoya’s conversation with the class teacher was surnamed Lin and she had a photo in her desk drawer. The photo read ‘Second Grade (Class 7). The teacher and classmates had taken a group photo.
Yu Hanjiang saw Ying Xiaoya and Xie Xinghe in the photo.
Xiao Lou also discovered it and he pointed at the two people in the photo. “It seems that previously, Ying Xiaoya and Xie Xinghe were classmates. This teacher happened to be their language teacher. After the second grade, they changed to the current class teacher to learn language?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “This Teacher Lin’s suspicion is very big. She taught Ying Xiaoya language and must have texts written by Ying Xiaoya. It is very simple to copy and forge a suicide note. Then when she went into the office and interrupted, Ying Xiaoya’s face was very ugly, like she had seen a ghost.”
Thinking carefully, this was really true. Ying Xiaoya was about to say the reason for her decline in performance but the language teacher came in. Ying Xiaoya’s face was white and she didn’t immediately speak. The class teacher didn’t ask again and let her go back first.”
At that time, the class teacher had said, “This girl is in love and her performance declined.” The female teacher had followed with a few words agreeing and obviously didn’t know Ying Xiaoya’s family situation. The loophole of apologizing to her parents in the forged suicide note made sense.
Was it really just a coincidence that she pushed open the door of the office and interrupted the class teacher’s question?
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang quickly searched Teacher Lin’s desk and actually found the texts of Ying Xiaoya and Xie Xinghe in the bottom drawer.
This discovery shocked Xiao Lou. “Ying Xiaoya and Xie Xinghe are students she taught two years ago. Why would she still keep the texts of these people?”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “The direction the evidence is pointing in is rather obvious. Let’s keep looking.”
Nothing else was found except for the photograph and texts.
The two men searched the desk of the class teacher beside this one.
The class teacher’s drawer was full of transcripts, home visit materials, lesson materials and language workbooks for each exam. There was no doubt that the class teacher was a really responsible teacher.
The two people left the language office and continued to search the biology teacher.
There was no obvious abnormality in the biology teacher’s desk, only a drawer of plant specimens.
The physics teacher’s name was Si Qi and this was the same last name as Si Han who fell from the building five years ago. Xiao Lou wanted to focus on her desk but was disappointed to find only various question sets, physical papers and many textbooks. There was nothing else.
The two men finally found the English office.
The English teacher’s desk had some cute succulents, a thick English dictionary and some folders. One drawer had an English test paper and the other drawer contained review materials.
The bottom drawer was locked and Yu Hanjiang opened it with a wire. They found that the locked drawer only contained a very thick book. This book looked a bit old and the pages were yellow. It should’ve been turned over many times and the cover of the book stated:
Le Comte de Monte-Cristo.
Author: Alexandre Dumas.
Yu Hanjiang didn’t understand and turned to look at Xiao Lou, only to find that Xiao Lou was very pale.
He didn’t wait for Yu Hanjiang to ask as Xiao Lou spoke with trembling lips, “The Count of Monte Cristo, it is the French original book!”
Yu Hanjiang’s expression changed sharply. “The French book? Right, she is an English teacher and foreign language school students are required to learn a second language. her second language might be French so she can directly read the original book?”
The Count of Monte Cristo told a story of French in the 19th century and was written by the famous French writer, Alexandre Dumas.
As Group Leader Yu speculated, people who learned English were generally required to learn a second language. French was one of the most popular choices and many English majors chose French.
As a world-famous book, the Count of Monte Cristo had been translated into various languages. The Chinese version was easy to buy and there were several different versions from the publishing house for readers to choose from.
However, the original French book wasn’t so easy to buy. People who usually liked to read famous books would read the translated version. Who would pay a big price to buy the original book?
It was only if you particularly liked this book that you will buy the original book to collect.
Xiao Lou looked at the old book that had been obviously read and felt the hairs on his scalp rising.
This teacher’s drawer contained the book Count of Monte Cristo and it was the French original, indicating that she loved this story.
The theme of this book was revenge... was she the avenger?
During the first class, the English teacher had yelled at Ying Xiaoya in front of the class and asked Ying Xiaoya to stand at the back. Ying Xiaoya had been shaking the entire time and endured her tears. She started to cry after class and Yi Ru gave her tissues.
There was the explanation that Ying Xiaoya tested badly and cried because she felt aggrieved.
Another explanation was... she was afraid of the English teacher and cried after the English teacher scolded her.
Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that the English teacher asked her and Xie Xinghe to translate, “My family is cursed.”
She was the first to say the word ‘curse.’
The words that her desk mate said to comfort Ying Xiaoya flashed through Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang’s heads at the same time. “Xiaoya, it is nothing. This time you didn’t test well but next month’s result will be better. Zhang Qing, this woman is fierce but she isn’t only like this to you. Many people have been scolded by her. Don’t mind it.”
Xiao Lou opened his mouth. “Zhang Qing? We seemed to have overlooked a key thing...”
Yu Hanjiang nodded solemnly. “Yes, the name of the English teacher was actually revealed the earliest of all the teachers.”
The secret room had long told them that the English teacher wasn’t a passerby.
Her name was Zhang Qing.
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