Chen Ge could not deduce the truth since there were plenty of clues still to be found. He returned the three chairs to how they had been before turning his head to look around the room. Due to the wall of mirrors, the dance studio felt larger and emptier than it was.
The place is so clean. It has been probably cleaned more than once recently.
There was no visible trash on the floor, and this was not good news for Chen Ge.Someone has messed with the place already. Hopefully, the red dancing shoes haven’t been tossed out.
Chen Ge moved away from the wall of mirrors to the corner of the dance studio. The wall was covered with various certificates and accolade. There was also something that looked like a results list. After taking a closer look, Chen Ge found an anomaly. The first place of the list had been crossed off with a marker pen.
A list without the winner?
Chen Ge found all of the girls’ names, including Qian Yujiao, on the list, but he could not find Zhang Ya.
He moved his gaze away, and one of the pictures on the wall grabbed his attention. It was a group photo of six individuals. Five of them were smiling brightly at the camera in a group hug while the sixth stood alone in the corner, quite a distance away from the rest. The photo had been manipulated to cut her out, if not for the snow-white dance shoes that peeked out from the corner, Chen Ge would have thought this was a group photo of five girls.
These are all individual photos or group photos, why isn’t there a photo of the whole class?
Chen Ge aimed his phone at the wall and snapped a photo. Then, moving forward along the wall, he soon stopped before a room without a sign. Compelled by curiosity, he pushed the door open and walked into it.
The small room was equipped with a desk, a dresser, and a single bed.
This appears to be the office of the teacher, but why is there a bed? The teacher needed to work the night shift?
Chen Ge ransacked the room in the hope of locating the red dancing shoes. Unfortunately, the dresser was empty, and the drawers of the desk were filled with nothing but photocopies of winning certificates.
Looks like the dance students here were all very talented, since they won so many prizes. Chen Ge picked up a few random pieces to look at, and one of them had the name of Qian Yujiao’s group printed on it. Swan Lake Citywide Ballet Group Competition Champion. This means that they were qualified to join the state-wide competition.
This certificate was not pasted on the wall outside, and most curiously, the winning group was supposed to have six names, but the last name had once again been crossed off.
It’s the same as the result list.
Chen Ge wandered around the room for a little while longer before leaving it empty-handed. Chen Ge’s heart skipped a beat when he pulled the door open. The three chairs had moved from their original position to a spot closer to the door that he had just exited.
It has started again!
Chen Ge told himself to just ignore those chairs. He rushed to look for other clues. If he could not come up with any clues for the next three minutes, he had decided to leave the Activities Center. Using his phone as a light source, Chen Ge walked to the deepest edge of the dance studio before he found the door that said the girl’s dressing room.
According to rumors, the girl’s bathroom and dressing room are where the Ying energy is the most concentrated at any school. I’ll need to be extra careful.
He pushed the door slowly open. The dressing room was lined on both sides by steel lockers, and a long wooden chair sat in the middle.
So, this is what a girl’s dressing room looks like.
This was the first time Chen Ge had entered such a place. He left the door half closed and walked into the room to pull open one of the lockers. A girl’s school uniform was placed on the top level of the iron shelf. The design was different from other public school; it was more exquisite and prettier.
The skirt barely reaches my knees, isn’t that a bit too short?
Chen Ge searched through the uniform’s pockets and found nothing. He looked down the shelf and spotted a pair of white dancing shoes.
The color is not right, not the ones I’m looking for.
After closing the locker room, Chen Ge realized there was a small card pasted above the lock; it had the girl’s name written on it. Now, this should make my life easier.
Using his phone, he examined the names on the lockers, but after one round, he still had not found Zhang Ya’s name. However, he did find a solitary locker at the corner, isolated from the rest without a marking or a name.
The owner of this locker seems to have been ostracized by the rest. Chen Ge opened the door, and other than a dirtied ballet dress that sat on the top level of the shelf, there was nothing else.
No name and ostracized, who could this locker belong to? Chen Ge already had the answer inside his heart. He took out the dress and realized there were five candy boxes that had gone sour hidden underneath the dress.
What are these for? Presents? Chen Ge placed the ballet dress on the wooden chair and picked up the candy boxes. Every box had been hand-wrapped, and each one of them had a girl’s name written on top. Every name was different, but the handwriting was similar, so they probably came from the same person.
These candy boxes were most likely the presents that she prepared.
When Chen Ge picked up the last box, he noticed a picture that was placed at the bottom. The picture was the complete version of the picture that was stuck on the wall outside. On the back of it was written, “Congratulations to Room 414 for winning the qualifications to enter the state-wide competition.” The front showed six girls.
Five of them were happily celebrating on the right side on the picture while the sixth girl was standing about half a palm away from the rest. The girl had a tall figure, about 1.7 meters, and she looked like the main character of Swan Lake, graceful, pure, gentle, and beautiful. Even in the same picture, her supernatural grace put her apart from the rest.
“Could this be Zhang Ya?” muttered Chen Ge. He really could not reconcile the girl in the picture with the cruel and vicious Red Specter.
It was a pure accident that Chen Ge mentioned Zhang Ya’s name, but when he did so, the lockers in the girl’s dressing room started to creak and rattle—it sounded like they were overloaded and were about to burst. On top of that, Chen Ge could hear an insistent banging noise coming from outside the door, like someone was trying to get in.
“Who is it?”
After shoving the picture inside his pocket, Chen Ge turned towards the half-closed door as his grip on the mallet tightened. He looked through the opening and saw that the three wooden chairs had formed a barricade at the entrance.
“You really think I don’t have the guts to smash you all into pieces?” Chen Ge’s back was drenched in cold sweat, but he did keep his word as he walked toward the chairs with the mallet in hand. There was no other exit from the girl’s dressing room; if he didn’t clear a way out for himself, things would only get worse for him.
Chen Ge’s eyes wandered outwards as he tried to plan his escape route. However, his legs froze when his eyes landed on the wall of mirrors in the dance studio.
The mirrors were reflecting the situation in the dance studio. The only difference was… there were three girls sitting on the three chairs.