Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Why’d you ask me to come to the police station?” Li Qiang asked nervously and in dissatisfaction as he followed Gu Xiang to the hearing room.
“Because we need your help to provide clues, but doing it at the school would be inconvenient, and we didn’t want to create any negative impacts for you,” explained Gu Xiang, smiling.
“This way, please.” Gu Xiang walked to the doorway and turned around, letting him enter.
Li Qiang pushed open the door, but before he could even step inside, he was stunned and froze as if he had seen a ghost. There were already five people sitting in the room, and besides one of them, they were all nightmares he had never wanted to see again.
“Since everyone’s here, let’s begin.” Chen QiaoYu also went in and sat down with Gu Xiang on the sofa opposite to them, looking the six young people across from them up and down.
Their expressions really were a sight to behold. However, only Qin Xiao was filled with curiosity and probing as he looked at the others. He was the first to say something. “Officer, this seems like a group interview, I wonder what your selection criteria was? Murderers and arsonists?”
Chen QiaoYu was pleased with his respectful tone. “Don’t worry, you all are not suspects, we just have some questions we need everyone’s help with, and it’ll help us solve this case. Recently, several accidental deaths have occurred at your school. You’ve heard about this, right?”
Besides Qin Xiao, everyone’s expressions changed, and they averted their gazes.
“I have, but since they’re just accidents, what are you investigating?” Qin Xiao blinked.
“As for whether they were accidents or not, we still need your help to confirm that.”
“What do you mean by this? What did those people have to do with us? Why do you need us to confirm that?” asked Li Qiang.
“Looking at the people present, do you still need us to explain why?”
“If you have something to say, then just say it directly,” said Fang YuTian, crossing his arms.
Chen QiaoYu and Gu Xiang exchanged looks, and she took out some printed documents and placed it on the table between them. She spread out the papers. “Take a look, are you familiar with these?”
Five of them all leaned forward to look, and their expressions couldn’t help but change drastically. Only Qin Xiao was still crossing his legs as if this had nothing to do with him.
“Aren’t you curious?” Gu Xiang asked Qin Xiao.
Qin Xiao shrugged. “My eyesight is very good, so I knew what it was when I glanced at it. And, I’m very sure that I was merely a bystander of this matter from start to finish.”
“This is a post and its replies from last September that were on the school forum, though it had already been deleted. However, traces are inevitably left behind on the internet, so we were able to find it on the server. Through comparisons, the people who follow the post, or the members of the club, are all either the people who died or the students present here.” Gu Xiang said slowly, “This is also the only connection we found between the victims.”
“Dong Ping wasn’t one of our club’s members!” Chen Jing said impatiently. Fang TianYu glared at him.
“We’re not talking about Dong Ping today, we’re only talking about the other three people.”
“Isn’t it two?” Lu MinMin said quietly.
“Your memories can’t be that bad, did you really completely forget about Gao Yun, who died first?” Chen QiaoYu swept her gaze over everyone.
The atmosphere immediately became heavy. Some people were wringing their hands, some were biting their lips, but without exception, all of their expressions darkened a little.
“I want to know exactly how Gao Yun got into an accident. Can anyone tell me?” asked Chen QiaoYu.
“Gao Yun was just about the only person among these that I knew.” Qin Xiao was again the first one to speak. “At the time, I joined this Kaidan Society because she and I performed together at the school’s welcome party, and when we were chatting, she got me into this.”
“You’ve never participated in any events?”
“I haven’t. I didn’t participate in the first event after my addition, and later, this club dispersed. Only when I tried to contact Gao Yun did I find out that she had gotten into an accident and was in the hospital, still in a coma. At the time, I was very shocked, but I didn’t think too much of it.” Qin Xiao continued regretfully, “Although I wasn’t that close with Gao Yun, she was very cheerful and full of curiosity, and everyone liked her. What a tragedy…”
Chen QiaoYu nodded and didn’t pursue the matter further.
Everyone else was still silent.
“It seems that no one is willing to recall that unpleasant experience. That’s okay, someone can help jog your memory.” Gu Xiang took out a voice recorder. “I contacted a person who has some inside information, so let’s hear what he has to say.”
The recording started:
Gu Xiang: How could you not know?
The boy: After I went abroad, besides a few close friends, I didn’t contact anyone. After a while, when I asked about Gao Yun’s family and about how she was doing, I found out that she had already passed away… I was very sad, because she was so young… As for the other people’s deaths, no one told me about them, really.
Gu Xiang: Then can you talk about the night of Gao Yun’s accident?
The boy: It was like a nightmare. That day, we had agreed to go to explore the laboratory building by taking some pictures and searching for the remnants of historical legends, and we were also curious about whether or not there were ghosts and whatnot. We went at three in the morning and secretly sneaked in through a window with a broken lock.
Everyone split up to take pictures of some old classrooms and exhibits. At the time, I went to the west side of the third floor by myself, but I had only taken pictures for about twenty minutes when I suddenly heard a strange sound and a scream coming from below. I thought that they had seen something scary, so I quickly rushed down.
At the staircase on the west side of the second floor, I saw that they were gathered there, and all of them were a little spooked. Fang YuTian told me that they also heard a strange sound, but they hadn’t seen anything and MinMin had screamed out of fear. Suddenly, we realized that Gao Yun wasn’t here, so I was very worried and wanted to go find her. Then, I received a text from her saying that she felt uncomfortable and had gone back.
After this whole ordeal, everyone wanted to go back, so we parted. It still felt very strange to me, since Gao Yun had clearly been the most excited about it, and when we came, she was still in very high spirits. Who knew, the next morning, I heard that she had been found lying on the floor next to the stairs on the east side, and she seemed to have fallen from them.
I don’t know when she fell, but I’ve always kind of suspected whether or not that sound that had scared everyone had come from her, and I really regret not insisting on going to find her at the time…
There was a brief period of silence.
The boy continued: After all, Gao Yun got into an accident because we broke the rules and sneaked into the laboratory building in the middle of the night. Everyone felt very guilty, and I wanted to go tell the truth. However, everyone exhorted me, saying that the accident had already happened, and if we confessed, then this might be remembered and my trip abroad might be canceled, and that it wouldn’t do Gao Yun any good either. In the end, I gave up on it, because I didn’t want to risk my future… Even today, I still can’t let go of it, since I feel that I was partly responsible for the incident.
Gu Xiang: Just now, you said that you regretted not insisting on going to find her. Does that mean that you still wanted to look for her after you received the text, but someone stopped you?
The boy: I think so, yes.
Gu Xiang: Who stopped you?
The boy: Mn… I can’t really remember, everyone was talking over one another.
Gu Xiang: Last question, were you very close to Gao Yun? You may refuse to answer.
The boy: Officer, you’re overthinking it. I already like someone, and although Gao Yun is very cheerful, she’s too simple, and she’s not the type that I like. Besides the time of the event, we rarely contacted each other privately.
The recording ended.
Gu Xiang turned off the voice recorder. “His voice is very familiar, right? I think that WenWen’s story might help you guys recall some things. That night, did things go how WenWen described them?”
The five of them paused for a while before nodding one after another.
Qin Xiao sighed. “I really didn’t expect this. Now I feel lucky I didn’t participate in that.”
“If it’s possible, I have a request.” Chen QiaoYu brought out a stack of papers. “Everyone, please do your best to describe that night in detail, and write it down for me. However, I want to make it clear, if you can’t remember clearly, you can say so, but if you purposely make things up, you’ll have to take legal responsibility for that.”
“Does this count as a court testimony?” Qin Xiao raised his eyebrows.
“Although you didn’t participate in it, you can write down your views of Gao Yun, we really need it.” Chen QiaoYu handed him a piece of paper.
Qin Xiao took it helplessly.
“Officer, is Gao Yun’s incident really this important? Is it related to the other cases?” Tang ZiYou, who had been looking down the entire time, suddenly asked.
“It’s up to us to judge whether or not they’re related, you just need to worry about doing your best to provide information. I guarantee, unless it’s a last resort, we definitely won’t disclose these things to the school,” said Chen QiaoYu.
At this, everyone picked up a pencil and began to write on their papers.
Guan Jin, who had been in the neighboring room watching them, turned around and asked Lu YunYang, “Do any of these people match the criminal’s profile you have in mind?”
“We can’t even prove whether or not these were murders or not. How could I have a psychological profile already?”
“Stop it, aren’t you the person who looked at them just now like you have X-ray vision? I’m afraid you already have a general idea of what everyone is like and are comparing them to the killer’s special characteristics.” The corner of Guan Jin’s mouth twitched.
“Little Jin, it turns out you pay such close attention to me.” Lu YunYang grinned.
“Who’s paying attention to you?! Stop trying to claim credit for yourself, anyone can tell that.”
“Hey, don’t get off topic.” Wen JingHan pointed at the people through the one-way mirror. “Assuming that these are a serial case, then this killer did it practically seamlessly, making everything look like an accident. This killer must be very smart and calculating, with rigorous logic and a lot of patience.”
“Confident, extreme, and crazy,” added Lu YunYang.
“They didn’t even leave any traces at the accidents they caused. Isn’t that just to avoid arousing suspicion? How can you tell that they’re confident?” asked Guan Jin.
“When Cheng JiaoJiao died, there must’ve been someone hiding outside, we’ve reached a consensus on this already. I think that the possibility of this person being the killer is very high, because that person wasn’t poisoned, so they were evidently prepared for the poisoning. The murderer created the illusion of it being an accident, yet they still strutted in and left easily. This shows their confidence.
“No matter what their motive is, these are all an extreme emotional outburst, since ordinary people wouldn’t choose to solve their problems by deliberately killing someone. He’s already killed at least two people before, and the victims’ processes of death were all very painful. We have no way of knowing whether or not there will be even more victims in the future, since the killer is in a crazy state. The most frightening type of killer is a crazy one that still has a logical plan.”
Lu YunYang paused and changed his serious expression. “Of course, all of this is under the premise that these deaths were murders.”
“So we still have nothing,” summarized Guan Jin.
“I’m just a sham of a psychic that fools around. The police have more expertise in searching for the truth,” Lu YunYang said casually.
“Then do any of those people inside match what you described?” asked Lin Bai.
“They said too little, and although I can tell some things based on their posture, gestures, and small movements, the killer is very smart, so we can’t forget that they might be pretending to be someone they’re not.” Lu YunYang looked at the undercover team of three. “After all, this person is a serial killer, so we can’t judge things based on the victims, nor do they have any clear methods or psychological appeals. I still hope that you three can observe them in their daily life and see their true state, so we can have more information to go off of.”
“They’re almost done writing, continue watching.” Wen JingHan ended the discussion.