The moment they stepped onto the second floor, an eerie chill ran through their bodies.
Cao Qian rubbed her arms, finding the cold a little unsettling.
She stood at the stairs, watching Xing Ye walk further into the hall and stop. Cao Qian wasn’t sure what he saw, and so she endured the cold air, walking up to him and following his gaze. She was then astonished by what she saw.
It wasn’t just one “Mona Lisa’s Slight Smile”. The whole second floor hall was filled with them.
A girl wearing the school uniform was biting her fingers, using her blood to paint madly on the paintings as she shrieked with spine-chilling laughter.
“Hehehe, one 20 points, two 20 points, hehehe!”
From the girl’s side profile, it was clear she was Bai Xu.
What could they do now- Cao Qian only had a gun, and physical attacks wouldn’t be able to harm Bai Xu.
“Let’s go downstairs before she notices us.” Xing Ye said.
From the paintings, they could see that Bai Xu hadn’t finished all the paintings in the hall. There should be some time for a break.
Xing Ye was already holding his phone. If Bai Xu attacked them, he would immediately use “Peaceful Spirit’s Tune”. It took five minutes for Redrawing Pen to draw a QR code. It took too much time and Cao Qian couldn’t hold her off.
Xing Ye had Cao Qian go first and he brought up the rear. Just in case Bai Xu really attacked, he could retaliate.
Fortunately, his gamble was right. Bai Xu didn’t notice the two, completely absorbed in her painting.
The first floor unexpectedly didn’t have any paintings. Bai Xu’s dormitory was on the first floor, yet why weren't there any paintings on the wall?
While Cao Qian was puzzling over that, Xing Ye pointed at the office.
The light in the dormitory nanny’s room was still on.
In the mission space, all the dormitories from the fourth to first floors were empty and without lights. Without a flashlight, they could only rely on the dim light from the blood red full moon to see. Over time, it would strain the eyes.
Only this little office had light.
Furthermore, in the girls dormitory earlier, the dormitory nanny had reacted strangely to Bai Xu’s name. She definitely knew something.
“Knock the door and see.” Xing Ye gestured to Cao Qian to knock the door.
Cao Qian suddenly found herself understanding Xing Ye’s intentions. She was somebody from the dormitory and under the nanny’s responsibility, somebody that the dormitory nanny was obligated to protect. The results would be much better if she knocked the door instead of Xing Ye.
Cao Qian knocked on the door and asked, “Aunty, are you there? It’s room 312’s Cao Qian.”
“I’m here, but how are you here?” The nanny’s familiar voice sounded.
The always honest Cao Qian didn’t know how to answer and changed the topic, “Aunty, there’s somebody really scary on the second floor. Could you let me in?”
“Hurry in!” The dormitory nanny was completely different from the rumors that said she would refuse to open the door after 10:30. In comparison, she immediately opened her door and pulled Cao Qian in.
Xing Ye’s reaction time was quick and took advantage of the situation to sneak in as well.
“How did you get here?” The dormitory nanny evidently remembered Xing Ye, “Didn’t you already leave earlier? When did you run back here again? Leave, hurry up and leave, boys can’t enter the girls dormitory.”
Xing Ye stared at her, “Earlier, I went to see Lin Jingxue’s sister on her behalf. This evening, I was also sent on Ling Jingxue’s behalf to apologise to Liu Muqing.”
“Lin Jingxue?” The dormitory nanny’s face changed, “Where is she? No, she’s already dead, don’t tell me…”
She looked around Xing Ye, but didn’t see anything.
The dormitory nanny knew about Lin Jingxue and was even familiar with her.
Xing Ye had two guesses about her identity. First: she could be Lin Jingxue’s family member, but didn’t seem like it. Second...
Xing Ye spoke, “After Liu Muqing accepted her apology, Lin Jingxue left with her regrets settled. She passed on with her piano.”
The nanny turned dazed, tears appearing in her eyes. “She forgave her? She forgave her just like that? Could a murderer really be forgiven just like that?”
“The one who killed Liu Muqing wasn’t Lin Jingxue.” Xing Ye said, approaching her, “There’s a third party, would you like to see?”
Xing Ye took the memory card from his pocket and glanced at the machines in the office, “There are no computers here. Looks like we’ll have to wait until tomorrow-”
Suddenly, banging sounded on the office door as Bai Xu’s voice sang outside, “I smelled people~ where are they? Hehehe…”
The dormitory nanny immediately rushed to the door, using her back to brace the door as she gestured at Cao Qian and Xing Ye to keep quiet.
At the start, it was just hitting the door. Then it turned to kicking the door and finally, it became slamming at the door. Sweat dripped down the nanny’s forehead. She hardly dared to breathe but continued to use her body to brace the door motionlessly.
Xing Ye noticed that time in her room moved. It looked like time only moved in this room.
Xing Ye and Cao Qian entered early in the night, at one am. Ling Jingxue’s event took around two hours, so it was currently around 3 am.
Dawn was around 5 am.
Bai Xu’s actions grew more and more frightening. It sounded like something sharp was scratching the door, as if she wanted to break in.
“Aunty Zhang, why won’t you open the door? If it’s such a cute girl, you should let her accompany me~”
The aunty shut her eyes tightly, but despite her horror, she refused to move.
Cao Qian wanted to help her block the door, but the nanny waved her off. It seemed like nobody else could obstruct her.
They couldn’t continue like this. Bai Xu wouldn’t leave and with still two hours left, she’d eventually be able to break down the door.
While the dormitory nanny was stalling for time, Xing Ye used Redrawing Pen and swiftly drew out Peaceful Spirit’s Tune.
Gentle piano music floated out and the sounds at the door came to a halt. The nanny released a breath and slowly slid to the ground, paralyzed. She stared at Xing Ye in amazement, seeming to want to ask him something when Xing Ye put his finger to his lips, hinting at her to keep quiet. They couldn’t put their guard down just yet.
The copied “Peaceful Spirit’s Tune” was only effective for 15 minutes. One hour took four uses and two hours took eight. Tonight would need Redrawing Pen to be used ten times for a total of 500 points.
Every time the effects of “Peaceful Spirit’s Tune” were about to wear out, Xing Ye would draw a new one, again and again until the whole two hours was finally over.
But finally, something happened. At 5 am, the red moon in the window disappeared as a white glow spread from the east side, arduously climbing up and bathing the first floor of the dorms in sunlight.
This time, the danger outside really disappeared.
The dormitory nanny’s strength was completely exhausted. Cao Qian carried her back to bed, causing the nanny to ask, “How are you so strong?”
“Not as strong as you.” Cao Qian said.
She wasn’t being modest. She truly didn’t expect that the dormitory nanny could brace the door from start to finish, blocking Bai Xu out.
Without her, Xing Ye wouldn’t have had time to draw the QR codes and they all would’ve been done for.
It’s no wonder now that the dormitory aunty wouldn’t come out after 10:30 no matter what happened. It was because the tiny little office would link reality and the mission space. While she was protecting students who accidentally entered from the mission space, she naturally couldn’t open the door in the real world.
“Why did she go crazy today?” The dormitory aunty was puzzled, “Before, she’d just knock a few times and leave.”
“It’s probably because of this.” Xing Ye took out the memory card again.
The reason Bai Xu suddenly appeared outside the room earlier was that Xing Ye wanted to give the nanny the memory card. If there was a variable, the variable was definitely the memory card.
“Bring a computer from your dorm.” Xing Ye told Cao Qian.
“.... I’m a poor high school student, I don’t have a laptop.”
Xing Ye: “...”
Thankfully, they emailed a copy of the video to Zeng Jingrou earlier and thus had a copy in their ‘sent’ folder. Xing Ye downloaded it on his phone and showed it to the nanny.
The nanny’s eyes had gone bad with age. She could only see the video clearly after Cao Qian helped her put on her glasses.
When it reached the part where Bai Xu took the watch and used the key to hide the watch in Liu Muqing’s locker, the nanny suddenly cried out loudly. “I knew it! I knew my Qingqing wouldn’t steal other people’s things! She didn’t do it, she was framed!”
The dormitory nanny was Liu Muqing’s mother?
Cao Qian was a little bewildered. She carefully thought back to the two times Xing Ye provoked the nanny. The first time was when Xing Ye was testing her by saying Bai Xu’s name. The nanny’s face changed greatly and rushed him out. The second time was when they entered the office in the mission space. The nanny reacted very strongly when Xing Ye said Liu Muqing forgave Lin Jingxue.
Cao Qian had come and gone through the dormitories countless times in the past few days and saw the strict nanny often. Furthermore, because she kept feigning illness and skipping class, she was frequently lectured by the nanny so she always thought the nanny was just an ordinary dormitory staff. There way she could’ve thought the nanny would actually be such a key player in the plot.
Xing Ye crouched down and put the memory card in the nanny’s hands. “You can take this to prove your daughter’s innocence. Both of the girls are good students. As they grow up, they’ll inevitably develop shortcomings but a blemish does not obscure jade’s luster. Losing them is a loss to the school, and I’d even call it a loss to society.”
Dormitory Nanny Zhang Shuqin trembled as she held the tiny memory card, sobbing soundlessly.
A system prompt suddenly sounded by Xing Ye’s ear: Player Xing Ye has successfully given the memory card and video to the deceased Liu Muqing’s family member. 1500 points have been obtained; Campus Search progress 27%.
The night cost him 500 points, but now he got another 1500. It was pretty profitable.
Xing Ye currently had 6200 points, enough to deal with Di Kuang’s group. However, Redrawing Pen’s limits were too great. They needed to make a plan.
Nanny Zhang was still crying but Xing Ye was blunt as ever, “Aunty, how did you enter the special space? And how were you able to block Bai Xu?”
Aunty Zhang wiped her tears away. “I don’t know either. Two years ago, after Qingqing died, I applied to the dormitory manager position. Qingqing died in the dormitory stairs and the monitors were malfunctioning, so I thought I might be able to find some evidence here. The school didn’t want to employ me at first, but the other dormitory manager had gone completely mad, cycling between periods of insanity and foolishness. No matter how the school raised the wage, nobody dared to accept the position. In the end, the headmaster finally decided to let me try and I’ve been here every since.
“When I found out that Bai Xu, that child, would turn into a monster at night, I was indeed scared. Fortunately, I had a keepsake from my daughter. Whenever I was afraid, I’d stare at it and it’d support me until day.
“The Heavens are truly watching over me, finally granting me this piece of evidence! Little guy, you’re a good person. Whatever you want me to do in the future, no matter how hard it is, I’ll do it!”
“No need for that,” Xing Ye said, “Just let me see Liu Muqing’s keepsake.”
Aunty Zhang looked very reluctant, but with the memory card, she couldn’t refuse.
She hauled out a trunk, which was filled with all sorts of little things of Liu Muqing, from underneath the bed. Xing Ye glanced through the chest and noticed a furled up painting.
Aunty Zhang explained when he picked up the painting. “It’s a painting Qingqing painted not long after starting high school. She entered it into an art exhibition and even won. It would’ve granted her 20 bonus points on college exams but now, it’s basically useless.”
“That’s it.” Xing Ye held the painting, “This is the prop we need to beat Mona Lisa’s Slight Smile. Bai Xu’s painting lost to Liu Muqing’s- that’s an established fact. In other words, no matter how many paintings she draws, it can’t beat this one.”
“The thing protecting Aunty Zhang from Bai Xu was this landscape painting.” Cao Qian said.
She was a little happy upon realizing she could also take the initiative to analyze things.
“Right, so that means we can’t take it.” Xing Ye still had to return the painting to Aunty Zhang.
“Then the only tool we have against Bai Xu is ‘Peaceful Spirit’s Tune’.” Cao Qian said worriedly.
Bai Xu was truly difficult to deal with. The stress from last night was no joke.
“Why do we have to deal with Bai Xu?” Xing Ye said, “Isn’t there still that guy Di Kuang?”
Cao Qian: “...”
“We can take advantage of how they still don’t know Bai Xu and fool them into going in tonight.” Xing Ye said, “At that time, we’ll protect Aunty Zhang and let her see Liu Muqing with the painting.”
“Wouldn’t that scare Aunty Zhang?” Cao Qian was very worried, “Liu Muqing’s current situation is really quite frightening.”
“True, we have to prepare her.” Then Xing Ye turned to Aunty Zhang, “Your daughter’s head has been on the third floor this entire time. Do you dare to see her?”
Cao Qian: “...”
That’s called ‘preparing her’?
The news almost made Aunty Zhang faint from fear. Fortunately, the past two years with Bai Xu forced her to become much braver. Furthermore, Liu Muqing was, after all, her daughter. As her mother, she had to bear it. In the end, Aunty Zhang could accept it.
The seven unbelievable legends, the 13 steps of stairs, the piano, room 404, the shoulder patting, the person behind you, and the Mona Lisa painting were completely settled. The only thing left was the youth running around campus with a human head, which needed to be done tonight.
The thing about finding Liu Muqing’s head was just a pretense. What they needed to find wasn’t a head, but Liu Muqing’s brain- or rather, her wisdom and memories.
“We stayed up all night, so there’s no need to continue searching.” Xing Ye said, “Let’s save our strength, there’s definitely going to be a big fight tonight. If we have time, we should find special QR codes to increase our fighting ability. Though naturally, the chances of finding one is slim.”
Cao Qian also felt exhausted by the night and returned to her dormitory to sleep.
Xing Ye returned to his dorm and locked the door before running a bath as usual. Although the bloodstains had all disappeared when they returned to the normal dorms, it didn’t leave a comfortable feeling.
After bathing, Xing Ye customarily opened the mirror. He’d feel like something was missing if he didn’t chat with the mirror every day.
And today, Xing Ye had a very big conjecture that he needed to ask the mirror about.
The moment he opened the mirror, the mirror started talking. “That scared me to death, this world is seriously too scary!!”
“You were hiding in my pocket the whole time, what was there to be scared about?” Xing Ye didn’t understand. The whole night, he hadn’t been scared at all. He didn’t think anything scary happened tonight.
This was a world arranged by the system, meaning there would never be a dead end. There would always be a way out.
“I could hear sounds,” The mirror trembled, “Bai Xu was so scary, how could there be such bad people.”
A person as kind-hearted as him couldn’t imagine people could actually be so evil.
“Lin Jingxue too, how could she just blindlessly be friends with Bai Xu? If she wasn’t so careless about making friends, Bai Xu wouldn’t have been able to take her key and the whole tragedy wouldn’t have happened.” The mirror said.
“It would just create a new tragedy.” Xing Ye said, “Bai Xu resented the two for being better than her. If framing wouldn’t work, she would’ve thought of a different scheme.”