Chapter 24: Piano
There were some people who usually looked dignified and sanctimonious, but would do unexpected things upon losing the restraints of laws and ethics; for example, Wu Yu.
He had special abilities and could leave this world at any time. He saw himself as a superior existence to the inhabitants of this world, believing he could do whatever he wanted.
Xing Ye knew he couldn’t impose his own morals onto other people, but such a situation still made him feel disgusted.
It was fortunate that he was stopped before serious harm could occur to the English teacher. Xing Ye sent out another bounty and had some of his friends take turns keeping an eye on Wu Yu, telling them to report it immediately if he did something bad again.
Another classmate of Wu Yu’s, gathered with the power of money, sent over a picture of the upperclassman Wu Yu had recently gotten in touch with. The picture was taken from a distance, so all that could be seen was Wu Yu whispering to somebody. Neither the expression nor appearance of the upperclassman could be seen.
Luckily, that classmate was very clever, and after taking the picture, inquired the seniors about the upperclassman's full name before sending another half-body picture of him to Xing Ye.
The upper-classman’s name was Di Kuang. He was 190 cm tall and had a bearing that was unlike a high school student’s, almost giving a cutthroat-like feeling. With just a glance, Xing Ye knew that he was the person behind Wu Yu. Di Kuang had Wu Yu attract other players out in the open, while he himself would bide his time in the back.
Their meetings were always covert, hidden in the boys bathroom. If it weren’t for money buying out practically everyone, he might’ve not found out about Di Kuang even until the very end.
Just by seeing Di Kuang’s picture, Xing Ye knew he would be a formidable opponent.
Xing Ye suddenly thought of something and took out the little mirror from his pocket. He opened the lid and showed him Di Kuang’s picture, “Do you recognize him?”
”Never saw him before,” The mirror said haughtily, “I’m a player who reached one of the highest levels in the world. How could my opponents possibly be in a melee world? He’s just a weak chicken.”
”How does he look?”
”Horrificially ugly.” The mirror’s tone was full of distaste.
Ugly… huh? Xing Ye examined Di Kuang’s picture. No matter how he looked at it, Di Kuang just looked like a handsome and healthy man with a body good enough to be a model. His appearance had a coarse and wild beauty to it, probably a very popular look right now.
Thinking back to how the mirror also called him ugly, Xing Ye couldn’t help but ask curiously, “Then in your eyes, who would be considered handsome or beautiful?”
The mirror thought seriously for a while before answering. “I’d say myself.”
Xing Ye was speechless.
”You have to know, I look at my own face in the mirror every day. Over time, I feel like everyone else is ugly.” The mirror’s voice sounded very serious.
Xing Ye didn’t speak, directly closing the mirror and putting it back in his pocket. He was very busy, and still had a lot to prepare.
Xing Ye was always causing trouble, so skipping class was only normal. He was a bit interested in two of the seven legends: “2. If someone walked around after dusk, there would always be somebody staring from behind.” and “7. why did it feel like somebody just patted my shoulder?” The other locations had special locations or times, such as 12 am in the female dormitory, the youth on the night of the new moon, the piano in the music room, the Mona Lisa painting in the hall, and one or more students in room 404. Only these two legends could take place anywhere on campus and the leading character of the legend would be “you”.
It probably needed the player to fulfill some sort of special condition to find the horror. These events should all be connected.
Xing Ye pondered as he walked to the piano room. Cao Qian took a book from here, so she should’ve found some sort of clue.
It was currently noon and nobody was in the piano room. The piano room wasn’t locked, and the dusty, old piano was stuck in the corner of the room.
Xing Ye picked up the cleaning rag and carefully opened the piano’s lid, wiping its keys
clean before gently pressing on a key.
When he was young, he learned the piano.
Piano, drawing, calligraphy, martial arts… Xing Ye’s learning ability was extremely strong and he learned everything he studied. His parents would invite countless tutors and Xing Ye also studied very hard.
His music teacher said there was no emotion in the sound of his piano, and that it was just like a skillful machine pressing the keys. Xing Ye could remember how to do every song and could even perfectly play some of the most difficult pieces, but the teacher still said that his music had no spirit; it could never touch people and was nothing but an ornate show of skill.
Xing Ye also never thought of art as something that he needed to throw his whole heart and soul into to grow. He just wanted to master every field.
A classmate told Xing Ye the name of the music score Cao Qian took away. Xing Ye searched it up and found an online copy of the sheet music, flipping through the pages as he estimated how long it’d take to play. He found a chair to sit in front of the piano and started to play the piece accurately.
However, the piano was broken. Many of the keys wouldn’t make sound while other keys would be off tune.
But to Xing Ye, none of that mattered. He didn’t care if it sounded good or not, just focusing on playing music score to completion.
After half an hour of playing the piece perfectly to the end, the moment Xing Ye pressed the last key, it suddenly looked like all the keys on the piano were pressed by countless pairs of hands and a heavy, droning cry rose from the dipilidated piano.
Immediately afterwards, a pair of formless hands started to play the piano, playing the same tune Xing Ye had earlier.
It was no wonder Cao Qian took the music score and left. The problem probably wasn’t with the piano, but with this piece of sheet music.
Xing Ye listened patiently until he suddenly heard a note that was played differently from his own. He mentally noted it down and focused on the music. Both his memory and technical skill were very strong; after half an hour, he found 18 notes that were different.
Xing Ye now knew why Cao Qian took away the music score. That score should’ve been the one automatically played by the piano and was different from the ordinary one he found online. She thought that if she took it away, other players wouldn’t be able to discover the problem.
However, it was sheet music. If someone who didn’t understand music theory tried to find eighteen different notes from the original in such a long music score, they might have turned blind from all the searching.
Xing Ye pressed down the eighteen keys in chronological order.
He clearly remembered that while he was playing, these eighteen keys wouldn’t work. But this time, Xing Ye could hear an English letter sounding by his ear with each note he played.
Xing Ye wrote down the letters to form a sentence: Who Killed Cock Robin.
”Who Killed Cock Robin” was a famous British nursery rhyme, narrating the story of a trial because of a trial. Cock Robin was a bird that was about to be tried but was killed by the sparrow right before it was about to be tried. The cold housefly said it saw everything and the fish said it caught its blood. All the onlookers were indifferent, but after they saw that Cock Robin really died, everyone started to grieve.
Click here to read "Who killed Cock Robin"
After the nursery rhyme, the next one to be tried would be the sparrow that killed Cock Robin.
Everybody had their own interpretation of the nursery rhyme, but Xing Ye didn’t start making his own guesses at the nursery rhyme’s meaning. Right now, he just wanted to destroy this crucial piece of information.
Therefore, he started to violently tear apart the piano. Not letting the piano make sound was useless, he had to make it so this piano wouldn’t be able to work ever again.
He took a piano tuning tool and started to pry off the keys one by one,
”What are you doing! This is public property!” Somebody outside saw Xing Ye breaking the piano and charged into the music room.
Although the person was clearly there to stop Xing Ye, their voice was very quiet, almost as if they were afraid to alarm other people.
”Is that so? How much is it, I’ll compensate.” Xing Ye threw out two bundles of money from his bag, “Is that enough? If not, I still have more.”
The other was startled for a moment before awkwardly smiling: “I, I’m not from the music department.”
The other was an adult man seemingly around thirty years old. Xing Ye looked at him indifferently: “First-year gym teacher, Ding Chengshuang. Mr. Deng, what did you come to the music room for?”
”You recognize me?” Mr. Deng looked rather average, with a face that was easily forgettable in the masses.
Xing Ye spent a lot of effort memorizing all the teaching and admistrative staff. After all, everybody was suspicious. The substituted players might not appear very comfortable with their position, but actual teachers would be skilled and easy to recognize.
”There’s a girl in your class with a pretty good figure. I often watch her during class so I also casually remembered the useless you.” Xing Ye sat his butt on the piano and kicked his legs, not the slightest bit concerned about damaging the piano.
”You… sigh, even if the piano broke, you still have to treat it with respect. How could you just do that…” Mr. Deng’s face was distressed.
Xing Ye observed him for a moment before suddenly smiling: “What are you trying to hide the main point for? Since I already know the secret hidden in the piano, it’s normal to break it so nobody else has the chance to discover it. Isn’t that so, Mr. Following Fate player?”
Mr. Deng was startled for a moment before his face turned gloomy: “You’re also a player?”
”I’m an Opposing Fate player,” Xing Ye went right to the point, “You’re probably also a solo player so why don’t you cooperate with me?”
”How do you know… no, why should I cooperate with you?” Mr. Deng asked, “You don’t seem to understand my strength well. I can clear this game alone. Furthermore, we aren’t even in the same camp. After the melee world, there’ll probably be more PVP worlds like the newbie world, so there’s not much point in cooperating.”
”I’m good at observing people,” Xing Ye said, “The first thing you did when you entered was block the sound instead of indiscriminately attacking me. This means you are a mature person and without ascertaining the other’s identity, you won’t rashly attack people.”
Apart from being mature, he was also timid and not decisive enough, refusing to act until a flaw showed itself when in a difficult situation. No matter what nature a person like this has, they would be easy to manipulate.
”How many legends have you investigated?” Xing Ye asked.
Mr. Deng’s face turned red: “I haven’t found anything yet. It’s too embarrassing to sneak into the girls’ dormitory at night, none of the school buildings, office buildings, or dormitories have a room 404, none of the hallways have a Mona Lisa painting, I didn’t hear anything from the piano yesterday, and when I came down today, I just saw you breaking the piano.”
It wasn’t convenient for players to enter the girl’s dormitory. In this respect, it would be a good handle to use and help their cooperation go smoothly.
”I investigated two of the legends and obtained crucial clues as well as confirmed the identities of four players. Are you sure you don’t want to work with me?” Xing Ye asked, “Or do you think that a weak chicken like you, who hasn’t even experienced more than three worlds, can use the pathetic amount of special QR codes you have to force me to share my leads?”
Mr. Deng was alarmed: “How did you know I’ve only experienced three worlds? This is just my third, I didn’t think it’d be so hard!”
Because your eyes don’t have the cold, detached look in your eyes towards ordinary people in other worlds like veteran players do, and you’re just too easy to fool, Xing Ye inwardly thought.
Here's a link to "Who Killed Cock Robin"! I recommend reading it bc it's a really important plot point. It's really short but interesting~