Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After Guan Jin calmed himself down, Lu YunYang finally avoided the fate of being driven out of the house. Guan Jin would just regard it as he had hired a housekeeper who would clean the apartment, wash their clothes, and prepare meals. All Guan Jin was doing was providing him with a place to sleep, so it was a fair deal.
“So you’re saying that you think that the incident in November has something to do with these three cases?” said Lu YunYang after he listened to Guan Jin talk about their progress.
“They all happened in the laboratory building, which seems a little too coincidental. And, after Gao Yun died at the beginning of this year, the ‘accidental’ deaths began occurring.” Guan Jin was very sure.
“That makes some sense, but if we can’t figure out the relation between them, it’ll be very hard to continue. We’ll have to see how the investigations of JingHan and the others are going.”
“You don’t have any idea at all?”
“If this is a serial murder triggered by one person’s death, then I can only say that we’re facing an extremely smart and calculating criminal. They hide, invisible and silent, and they’re confident and thoughtful. As of now, we can’t even confirm that any of these deaths were a murder.”
Guan Jin was disdainful. Could a kid who hadn’t even entered society yet really be so powerful? He didn’t believe it. Guan Jin’s phone suddenly rang, and he finished out his old backup phone, glanced at it, and walked into the bedroom.
That wasn’t his usual phone; Lu YunYang slowly narrowed his eyes.
“You better have some serious news.” Guan Jin really couldn’t stand Tony’s harassment several times a day.
“I really do this time.” Tony’s voice wasn’t that casual anymore. “Do you know who the Organization assigned to receive the mission to assassinate Hermes?”
“Ah, I forgot, even if I said who it was, you probably wouldn’t know. Anyway, this guy is very difficult to deal with, and I reckon it might not even be easy for Hermes. He’s a lot more insidious than Ethan.”
A person emerged in Guan Jin’s mind, and he breathed, “Spider.”
“Wow, you actually know him? Guan, are you really not a spy that Ethan secretly assigned to go undercover in the police?”
“What do you plan to do?”
“Nothing, I came out to lay low.”
“From the moment you came to find me, don’t even think about staying out of things. Since the Organization is this persistent, let’s just go with the flow.”
“You want to help Spider? No no, baby, that poisonous being doesn’t distinguish between enemies and people on its own side, it’ll bite at random. We’d better not get mixed up in this. And, I asked around, he’s come to this country, and although I don’t know what he’s come here to do, if you’re not careful, you’ll get exposed.”
Into this country? Could Hermes have come to Country C? Guan Jin was surprised.
“I know what I’m doing, you just worry about taking care of yourself!” Guan Jin warned, “Don’t mess around, if you do, I don’t have the energy to wipe your ass for you!”
“Relax, I understand, I need to be low-profile.”
Lu YunYang, who was mopping the floor, walked to the bedroom door.
“Okay, go to sleep.”
Lu YunYang furrowed his brows. This was his first time hearing Guan Jin talk to someone using this tone; although it wasn’t gentle, they sounded quite close. At the end, Guan Jin had even said good night. He and Guan Jin were often together, and they had even slept in the same bed more than once, but he had never heard him say good night before.
Lu YunYang felt an inexplicably dark aura begin to spread across his body. He mopped the entire apartment, which was less than 100 square meters, six times, which made Guan Jin feel like it was a sin to even step on the floor.
Before they went to sleep, Guan Jin said something to him, which he rarely did. “I heard that psychologists have even more severe psychology problems, so shouldn’t you also go see a doctor?”
“…” This was not what he wanted to hear.
The next day, after he finished his classes at night, Guan Jin didn’t return to the apartment. Instead, he strolled to the laboratory building. The closing time had already passed, and the building’s lights were off, which made it look eerie. As Guan Jin considered if he should go in or not, he heard some light footsteps.
He hid behind a sculpture and saw a person slowly walk towards him from a flower bed, and they seemed to be sneaking in and looking around cautiously. It was a boy, not too tall, and quite thin.
He walked to the doorway of the laboratory building, looked up, stepped back, and took out a stack of things from his back pocket, placing them next to the steps. Firelight flickered, and he used a lighter to ignite the stack of things, muttering something under his breath. Under the weak flame, Guan Jin got a clear view of his face.
“What are you doing here?” He stood behind the boy.
The boy fell down in shock, and his face contorted. After a bit, he stammered, “Wh-who are you?”
Guan Jin crossed his arms, towering over him. “I should be asking you the same thing.”
“Can’t I burn some things?” The boy suddenly stood up, and his tone hardened.
“You can, but I think I should report this to the school administration, lest you cause a fire.”
The boy flinched nervously. “I’ll extinguish it.” He stomped on the stack of things a few times, extinguishing all the sparks. Then, he glared at Guan Jin. “Is this all right? You don’t need to report me for such a small offense.” Then, he suddenly ran away, disappearing behind the corner of a building.
Instead of chasing him, Guan Jin walked over and picked up the paper that hadn’t been entirely burned yet. It was yellow joss paper used for memorials, and it was covered in strange, hand-drawn symbols and text.
Guan Jin felt admiration for his amazing memory; he could remember anything just by glancing at them, even if that face was this unremarkable. This boy lived in Area C, in which Lin Bai resided. The day before, when he passed by there, he had seen him.
“Little Jinjin, I have news!” Just when he arrived at the apartment, Lin Bai called. “Tonight, I went with my roommate to the laboratory again, I saw a person tinkering with the door to the warehouse. I pretended to want to ask them for the directions to the nearest restroom, but before I could even say anything, they noticed me and quickly left. When I ran out, I didn’t see them.”
“What did they look like?”
“Quite tall, they were wearing glasses, but I only saw the side of their face. In a bit, I’ll find Ding Ding so she can quickly create a sketch, lest I forget tomorrow.”
So that was a different person. How come this was becoming increasingly more complicated? In one day, two new people were now in the picture.
The next morning after Guan Jin got out of class, he walked back quickly, since he wanted to confirm the latest clues with Lin Bai and Ding Ding.
“You seem to really like to go to the laboratory building lately.” Qin Xiao was going the same way as him again.
“I like it.”
“But speaking of it, the legends of that place are enough to write an entire book about ghosts and monsters. Are you planning to write something?”
“Are any of the rumors about it real?”
“Some are, but unfortunately, I’ve never seen them for myself. Most of them are probably fake.” Qin Xiao shrugged. “Schools are a strange place, everyone might have connections between them, so a piece of information can be spread in many ways. Among imagniative students, who knows what they can twist the stories into.”
“There’s over twenty thousand people here, how can they all be connected?”
“Haven’t you heard of the idea of six degrees of separation? On Earth, through at most six people, you can build a connection with any stranger, not to mention a tiny school. Social relations, informal organizations, the internet… It’s too easy.”
That was true, building connections was too easy, could they have overlooked something…? Guan Jin suddenly had an idea.
Qin Xiao watched his receding back and dialed a phone number. “I think that there’s something off lately. The new transfer students are strange, and as for one of them, no matter how I look at it, there’s something special about him.”
The other side seemed to say something.
“Of course I can tell, beasts are very sensitive to the smell of danger. …Oh…so that’s why, I understand. Rest assured, I won’t overstep any boundaries, I’ve just been a little bored lately, so I want to find something to do.”
Guan Jin looked at the portrait Ding Ding had made based on Lin Bai’s description. It indeed was just the side of someone’s face, so finding them would be rather troublesome. Fortunately, Lin Bai had secretly taken a photo of the residential registration form of his Area C, and Guan Jin quickly found the person who had burned the paper: Li Qiang, junior, Spanish major.
“These incidents are very fishy, and there’s already five people that we suspect are involved in them. Chen Jing, Lu MinMin, Tang ZiYou, Li Qiang, and Glasses Boy,” Chen QiaoYu counted off on her fingers.
“But exactly how are these people related to the case? Some have strange reactions, some are suspects, and some are very secretive and odd…” Lin Bai was puzzled.
“Little Bai, check the school website, are there any forums on there?” Guan Jin was still thinking about what Qin Xiao had said. “There should be a lot of information there.”
Lin Bai wagged his finger. “The internet is my specialty. Needless to say, I’ve already read some of the things that had been posted around the times of the incidents, but they’re all either sympathizing or speculation. I didn’t notice any special things.”
Guan Jin carefully went over the clues in his mind. “If the first incident is the starting point, then perhaps these people were connected before. Look at the posts from before November, and don’t let go of any suspicious ones.”
“Right, it’s also possible that some posts were deleted,” reminded Ding Ding.
“On this forum, only the administrators have the authority to delete posts, even the people who posted them can’t delete their own post. And even if they were deleted, I can still pull them up. Just relax and leave the internet part to me!” said Lin Bai.
When Guan Jin returned to the apartment at noon, Lu YunYang was already making lunch.
“Say, if Cheng JiaoJiao and Wang TianPeng’s deaths weren’t suicides, then exactly what method did the killer use?” asked Guan Jin as he leaned against the doorway to the kitchen.
“I’m afraid that the murders were really well-designed, then. When Cheng JiaoJiao died, there were no signs of her being tied up, and there were no traces of the use of anaesthetics. Even if someone locked the door from outside, that door’s still very easy to open from the inside. There were also the materials used for making phosgene on the table, and there were only Cheng JiaoJiao’s fingerprints on them. She should understand the toxicity of the things she made herself, so it wouldn’t make sense if she got poisoned and couldn’t even run outside.”
“What if someone was outside, blocking the door, so she couldn’t get out?”
“Then she would still have enough time to call for help. She had her phone on her. Moreover, she only had to open the window, and the poison gas could’ve been dispersed, or she could’ve stuck her head out the window to breathe, which wouldn’t have made the poisoning fatal,” analyzed Lu YunYang.
“So what made her stay in the room the entire time and not be able to call for help or leave?” Guan Jin thought back to every corner of the laboratory room.
“Don’t think about that for now, let’s eat first.” Lu YunYang carried a large bowl of soup out.
“What are you doing?” Wen JingHan always called at unsuitable times.
Guan Jin looked at the dishes on the table. “I’m eating.”
“Who made it?”
“Oh…” Wen JingHan’s tone was enigmatic. “The information you guys sent us are under investigation, but your progress isn’t enough. You have to work harder, don’t let us down.”
Guan Jin humphed. Suddenly, he heard some meowing and a commotion on the other end.
“What’s happening there?” asked Guan Jin.
“My A-Dai wanted to steal your A-Gua’s toy, but A-Gua ignored him, so he’s jumping around like crazy and knocking over things,” Wen JingHan described objectively.
“Your cat is so misbehaved.”
“Thanks, your dog is also very mild on the outside but wild on the inside.”
“You let Wen JingHan take care of A-Gua?” Lu YunYang was surprised.
“Wen JingHan has a cat, and he said that he had people in his house to look after the cat, so there’s not much difference in looking after two pets.” Guan Jin threw his phone to the side and began wolfing down the food.
Wen JingHan had a cat? Lu YunYang imagined what it must be like over there, and he silently mourned for A-Gua’s predicament. When A-Gua returned, would he really turn into a hairless melon…