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Chen Ge was thankful that he didn’t say anything bad about Zhang Ya earlier. He laughed awkwardly and said, “I came out for fresh air because the dance studio was a bit too stuffy.”

The red blood trailed down her uniform as Zhang Ya stared at Chen Ge. Then she raised her slender, pale arm to point at the building that Chen Ge knew as the teachers’ lounge.

“You want me to go there?” Before Chen Ge could get an answer, Zhang Ya disappeared. Chen Ge was several meters away from the gate, so he was caught in a conundrum. If he returned to the school to investigate, he might run into more danger, but if he just left like that, he would feel so unsatisfied.

Zhang Ya’s attitude toward me seems to have softened. Her hint should be related to the case four years ago. However, this school seems to have another presence similar to Zhang Ya, and there is more than one. I should probably wait for the police to arrive first before I go back in.

After jumping out of the school, Chen Ge stood on guard outside the gate. He wasn’t sure whether Zhang Peng was still alive or not, so he did not dare let his guard down. Fifteen minutes later, the blinding headlights of a car cut through the darkness; two police cars were heading his way.

Chen Ge jumped out into the road and waved the flashlight on his phone. “I’m here!”

The cars stopped at the gate to Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy, and Inspector Lee, as well as an officer Chen Ge hadn’t seen before, stepped out from the car.

“Uncle Lee, you’re so fast.” According to Chen Ge’s calculations, the police should have required another half an hour before to get there.

“We received a distress call from a taxi driver earlier, saying he was getting robbed, so we were already on the way to this place.” Inspector Lee had heavy circles under his eyes, signs that he had overworked himself for the past few days.

“Is that so? In any case, come in quick, Zhang Peng should be still inside the school!” Chen Ge pointed at the abandoned school’s gate—one might have thought he was the host inviting the guests into his house.

“Da Yong,” Inspector Lee said, and a muscular police officer who was about 1.9 meters tall pulled out a clipper from the car’s trunk. “After entering the school compound, we’ll need to be very careful. The suspect is very cunning, so stick together in pairs.”

He turned to look at Chen Ge. “Where is the last place you saw the suspect?”

“At the dance studio, but he has run away already. In any case, I have something else to report to you.” Chen Ge walked to Inspector Lee’s side and pointed at the teacher’s lounge. “Inspector Lee, do you mind following me?”

“Da Yong, you stay behind to watch over the road, others move out according to plan.” Inspector Lee issued his orders, and then he followed Chen Ge into the teachers’ lounge.

This building only had three floors, but the interior décor was much more high class than the other buildings Chen Ge had been in.

Inspector Lee held the flashlight in his hand and asked, “Why are we here? Did you see the suspect run this way?”

His gaze was sharp, and the tiredness fell from the man. Once he entered the crime scene, Inspector Lee seemed to morph into another person.

“Zhang Peng won’t have come here.” Chen Ge walked ahead, trying to pinpoint the exact room Zhang Ya’s finger had pointed at. “I’m bringing you to the place that’s related to the death of the girl four years ago.”

“Haven’t I said I will help you investigate that after we capture Zhang Peng? The two cases cannot be mixed together, and the most important thing now is to capture Zhang Peng.”

“We’re here; this is the room.” Chen Ge didn’t answer Inspector Lee. He had waited for the police to come because he wanted to lower the risk to its bare minimum. The sign on the door said that this was the storeroom for gym equipment. After pulling off the seals and kicking the door open, Chen Ge and Inspector Lee walked into the room.

Numerous balls littered the room, and exercise equipment like tennis rackets and ping pong paddles hung from the walls.

“You brought me here to see this?” Inspector Lee used his flashlight to scan the corners of the room. “What can it prove?”

“Gym equipment…” Chen Ge walked to the center of the room and started ransacking the place. He stopped when he reached a single bed that was placed next to the innermost cupboard. There was also such a bed inside the dance studio; it looked specially made because the bedframe was slender than most normal bedframes.

“Why is there a need for a bed inside the storeroom?” Chen Ge frowned with confusion before lifting up the bed’s wooden boards. A harrowing scene revealed itself before their eyes.

Underneath the worn and dusty bedframe hid ten female ballet shoes of differing sizes, and a pair of them had been dyed black by blood!

“That many of them?” Looking at the shoes that appeared to have been purposely hidden underneath the bed, Chen Ge did not feel anger but shock, shock that the incident at Western Jiujiang’s Private Academy might be more distressing than he had assumed.

“There’s more than one victim!” Chen Ge asked Inspector Lee, “Why would the ballet shoes of the suicide girl be hidden here? Was there any mention of the girl’s shoes in the case report?”

“There’s no record on the shoes.” Inspector Lee frowned. “The shoes are all covered with dust even though they are hidden under the bed; this means that they have probably been left here for a long time already. However, they were placed neatly in a row, like someone took special care to look after them… perhaps this is the murderer’s fetish.”

“Uncle Lee, you’re the police officer here, so you have to help return justice to the victims.” Chen Ge dropped the boards to the side. “The murderer had free access to the dance studio as well as this equipment storeroom, so he was probably a manager or guard.”

“If what you’re saying is true, then that does narrow down the investigation scope quite a bit.” Inspector Lee seemed to have been moved by the pair of darkened dancing shoes. “Don’t worry, I will not rest until I get to the bottom of this case. No matter who the murderer is, I’ll have him punished to the full extent of the law!”

When Inspector Lee said that, Chen Ge’s black phone vibrated. He pulled it out to glance at it. There was a new message on the phone.

“Managed to locate Zhang Ya’s red dancing shoes before dawn. Completed Zhang Ya’s Bloody Heart Mission, Mission Completion Rate: 50 percent.

“Zhang Ya’s affection level toward you has increased! You can write something you want her to do in Zhang Ya’s personal profile page (Note: It mustn’t be against Zhang Ya’s will).”

Chen Ge silently retreated to the door. Tonight’s experience might have been harrowing, but at least the result is good.

He opened up Zhang Ya’s personal page, and the display turned red immediately. My demand mustn’t be against Zhang Ya’s will—that’s the only requirement.

After some thought, Chen Ge wrote, “I hope Zhang Ya will listen to me forever.”

“I’m sorry, but your demand is against Zhang Ya’s will, please change it.”

“I hope Zhang Ya will protect me from being harmed.”

“I’m sorry, but your demand is against Zhang Ya’s will, please change it.”

“I hope Zhang Ya will not harm me or harbor any intention to kill me!”

That’s doable, right?

“I’m sorry, but your demand is against Zhang Ya’s will, please change it.”


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