The teacher continued, “However, as the saying goes, “The pitiful person must have their deficiencies”, this child is really not worthy of sympathy. In a chemistry class, he knocked over the sulfuric acid bottle and burned another student’s leg. The other boy was a top student in the class that we were focused on cultivating. They didn’t have any prior relationship with each other. Why do you think he would hurt him? In plain terms, it would be envy. Envy towards the child's good family and his being loved by the teachers. Another time, it happened to me. I don't even want to remember now. I have asthma. I have to carry an inhaler with me everywhere. I also keep one at the office. Once, I used up the one I had on me, so I hurried to the office to get my spare. As a result, when I inhaled, I felt my lungs burning. I almost died. Fortunately, I was able to be treated urgently and survived. The doctor said that my medicine was filled with chalk dust. I asked myself, who would harm me like that? No matter how much I investigated, I found no answers, but I heard that...It’s only a rumor, but someone saw that child touch my desk during the day. Why do you think he would harm me like that?”
“Did you make a report?” Chen Shi asked.
“No, the school didn't want to blow everything up, so this big incident was covered up... But it blessed me with a silver lining. At that time, I was competing with several teachers to climb up to the position of teaching director. I had to take public classes for this and was worried it would affect my progress. I discharged myself from the hospital early to attend the classes. The school head said that my efforts were commendable and later gave me the position. Some people said sourly that I had implemented a self-harming scheme... Oh, these are all tangents. I shouldn’t mention this further.”
Chen Shi continued to ask, “Other than the indifference of the teachers, was Wang Sunxu abused by his classmates at school?”
“Uh, as far as I know... Yes! Once when I got off work, I saw a few boys hitting him on the playground. It was some of the kids who had poor grades in class, and I yelled at them to stop!”
The teacher said awkwardly, “I did shout, 'What are you doing!' but they said it was a joke, so I said nothing and left...”
“What's the name of the student who often bullied him?”
“Is there a student file for him?”
The teacher found Lai Wei ’s student file and showed it to Chen Shi. Chen Shi photographed it on his mobile phone. The teacher said, “Actually, now that I think about it, this child was quite pitiful, but it’s not that everyone was bad to him. There’s always true sincerity in human society. There was a teacher named Xu Nianqiang who was very concerned about him. I remember that when the child celebrated his birthday, Teacher Xu even bought him a cake. Teacher Xu was kind-hearted and especially cared about these undervalued students.”
Lin Dongxue said, “This Teacher Xu should know a lot about him.”
Chen Shi asked, “Which class is Teacher Xu in?”
“He...” The teacher coughed and said, “He has resigned long ago.”
“Isn't it inappropriate to talk about that? Perhaps he offended someone. Someone reported that he had sexually assaulted a student. The school did not renew his contract out of consideration for the school’s reputation... Of course, I know that Teacher Xu is a good person and couldn’t have done such things.”
“It feels like Teacher Xu is a different kind of person. Maybe he was socially excluded?” Lin Dongxue said.
“You can't say that. We’re not bad people. Why should we exclude him? Personally, I have never done anything wrong...”
“Okay, okay!” Chen Shi interrupted them, “Thank you, I'll contact you if there’s anything else we need.”
“No problem. Nothing will happen at school, right?”
“Be careful these two days, especially with the doorway surveillance monitoring. Be sure to confirm that it works properly. If there is anything wrong, contact me immediately. This is my contact number.” Chen Shi was not being an alarmist. According to his prediction, the teachers and students may be Wang Sunxu's next murder targets.
The teacher was scared and nodded repeatedly.
After leaving the school, Chen Shi drove directly to look for Lai Wei. The student's file only had his parents' addresses. The two asked Lai Wei’s parents about his current address and work unit and heard another earful from people boasting about their son.
Chen Shi dialled Lai Wei’s number and couldn’t get through. Chen Shi said, “Nothing has happened to him, right?”
“You have a crow's mouth. Can’t you say something good?”
“It's not that I have a crow's mouth. I just think that this school bully is likely to be the next target.”
“Go to his house then!”
“Okay, let’s do so!”
On the way, Lin Dongxue dialed Lai Wei's work number. After inquiry, the other party informed them that Lai Wei hadn't come in to work today and or answered his phone. Lin Dongxue's ominous uneasiness increased a little.
At noon, they didn’t even bother to eat. At 1PM, they found Lai Wei's apartment. They knocked on the door a few times and no one responded. They could only leave empty-handed. When they got downstairs, an aunty complained, “Who poured all that chicken blood into the drainpipe? They really lack morals. Don’t they know that blood clots can easily block the drains?”
Chen Shi walked over and saw that the sewers indeed smelled of blood. The dirty water was flowing down from the residential building.
Chen Shi immediately beckoned and said, “Go to Lai Wei's house. Something may have happened.”
The two rushed upstairs, and Chen Shi rammed the door a few times. When the door was opened, a heavy stench of blood filled his nose and Lin Dongxue covered her mouth in shock.
There was a trail of blood in the living room. They followed it to the bathroom. They saw a man lying inside, holding half a bottle of soda in his hand. The shower head was on and the water was flowing, washing the blood from the man into the sewer.
Chen Shi turned off the shower, opened the man's eyelids, and said, “We’re too late. He was probably killed last night!”
“I’ll contact the bureau.” Lin Dongxue said.
Because he was not wearing gloves, Chen Shi did not examine the body carefully. He looked around the room and found leftover instant noodles, biscuit packaging, beverage bottles, and other items. The bed was messed up. It seemed that Wang Sunxu had not only killed the victim but had stayed there overnight.
Judging from the intense frequency of such crimes by Wang Sunxu, it was likely that the next victim had already appeared.
Chen Shi called the teacher from just now and asked, “Apart from Lai Wei, who else bullied Wang Sunxu?”
“Uh, I don't know. You can ask Teacher Xu, he should know... Teacher Xu now runs a CD shop on Erlong Road. He should be there at this time.”
Chen Shi hung up the phone and said to Lin Dongxue, “You can guard things here while I go to Erlong Road to look for Teacher Xu... Are you afraid of being alone here?” Chen Shi was referring to Lin Dongxue being alone with the corpse.
Lin Dongxue said, “I'm fine. Be careful.”
Chen Shi rushed to Erlong Road. It was already evening when he got there. There were many CD audio stores on the street. He asked one of the bosses to see if he could find out where Teacher Xu was. The boss said, “You’re looking for Xu Nianqiang? He is diagonally opposite us... Mm, he seems to be closed. Just shout. He lives alone upstairs.”
“He lives alone?”
“Yeah, he’s an old bachelor.”
“Do you have a phone?”
“I have a phone, but I don't have his number in it.” The boss smiled as he made a dry joke.
There was a staircase beside the storefront. The second floor was where the owner lived. Chen Shi went up the stairs and knocked on the door. He suddenly noticed a bloody fingerprint on the doorknob and a strong ominous premonition rose in his heart.
At the same time, he was full of doubt. Why did the teacher who cared the most for Wang Sunxu become his prey!?
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