After the long holiday from October 1st, Tao Yueyue discovered changes in her school. Several police cars were parked on the edge of the sports field, and several local police officers entered and exited the office. The dean accompanied them with a smiling face.
The students asked one after another. It was unclear who had said this, but it was said that Teacher Liu, who taught geography, had lost a packet of Zhonghua cigarettes. Police had to be dispatched for such a small matter? Everyone thought that it was unbelievable. After the morning class, Teacher Liu really ran over and blocked everyone in the classroom from leaving, saying with a serious face, "I know one of you did it! Not bad, even daring to take things out of a teacher’s drawer. If you’re a man, then take responsibility. I advise that person to confess and not get other students involved. Otherwise the matter will become more serious and you’ll be punished!”
As he said this, he walked between the seats. His gaze stayed on the faces of a few boys who weren’t too honest, as if they looked like suspects.
"Who is it… Stand up... You’ve seen the police cars parked outside. Don't think that you can get away with it..."
When Mr. Liu mentioned "police", a policeman poked his head through the door of the classroom and said, "Mr. Liu, we have something to ask you."
"Oh? Oh, I’ll come immediately!" Teacher Liu's attitude changed 180 degrees. As soon as he left, the class laughed and chattered away. Although they didn't know what happened, it was definitely not regarding the missing cigarettes.
"Did someone die?" Someone speculated in horror.
"Haha, I really hope it was the form teacher." Someone also responded randomly.
Tao Yueyue sat in her seat without saying a word, and composed a text message to Chen Shi, "There are a lot of policemen at school today!" After thinking about it, she deleted it and rewrote, "Uncle Chen, why are there so many police officers at my school?"
It was still inappropriate. She deleted it and changed it to, "Are you going to solve the case today?"
The first lesson was English. The English teacher was an easy-going old lady who stood on the podium and shouted, “Good morning everyone”. Some boys below asked at the same time, “Ms. Song, did a case happen in school?”, "What are the police investigating?"
The English teacher smiled gently and shook her head, "I can say nothing about it! Regardless of the secret, there will inevitably be a day when it’s disclosed publicly. In the afternoon, your form teacher may tell you. Well, boys and girls, let us open our textbooks to page 36. Today, we’ve going to learn…"
There were disappointed sighs followed by the sound of people flipping through their textbooks.
Chen Shi replied to the text message, "I’m at the bureau. I received the bonus for solving the case today, what do you want to eat tonight?"
Tao Yueyue hesitated for a long time and said via her phone, "It seems that a case has happened in our school."
The English teacher walked around while reading out from the textbook. When she saw Tao Yueyue holding the phone, she turned a blind eye. As the top student in the school, she had many invisible privileges and she wouldn’t be disturbed even if she slept in class.
"The police are there?" Chen Shi replied.
"They’re here. They’re from the sub-bureau and local police station. I’m curious, so I asked you."
"I’ll ask about it..." After a moment, Chen Shi replied, "A female teacher from your school surnamed Lin is missing."
Tao Yueyue suddenly realized that it was no wonder she hadn’t seen her that day.
She didn’t tell anyone else about it. After class, everyone was still making wild guesses. A boy slipped into the office to eavesdrop on the police’s conversation. When he ran back, he was immensely pleased with himself and acted as though he was a warrior who had come back after taking a huge risk. However, he didn’t hear any substantial content.
At 10:00, several cars drove into the sports field, and the boys at the window whispered, "Are they also policemen?", "Hey, they don't wear police uniforms!", "What do you know? They’re in plain clothes, they are the highest-ranking policemen", "Wow, that policewoman is so pretty, she looks like a star."
Tao Yueyue turned her head and saw a few familiar people. Chen Shi, Lin Dongxue, and Xu Xiaodong. Chen Shi looked a bit frustrated that day. He hadn’t combed his hair and was wearing a dull grey jacket, because he was still handling a case late last night.
When Chen Shi looked over, he smiled. He guessed that Tao Yueyue must be looking out at him.
Today, Chen Shi had persuaded Lin Qiupu to send them out. He had told Lin Qiupu that Zhou Tiannan was at this school. Lin Qiupu was shocked and blamed him for not saying so earlier. Chen Shi said, "If it was a murder, it’s better to go sooner rather than later. Hurry and take over the case from the sub-bureau!"
"Do you think that Zhou Tiannan would be so stupid as to kill someone next to his own nest?"
"Of course he’s not stupid. He’s been quite low-key these years, but in case this case is related to him, we’ll have a chance to investigate him."
"That’s true. Okay, let me communicate with the sub-bureau!"
Chen Shi and the others went directly to the dean for the grade that the missing person taught. The people from the sub-bureau and the local police officers were also in the office. When they saw the people from the head bureau arrive, a police team leader said, "I really wouldn’t have thought that Captain Lin would be so eager about this case. He actually transferred it over directly. We actually saved a lot of energy. Please thank Captain Lin and the chief for me."
"What’s the current situation?" Chen Shi asked.
"Teacher Lin...", "The situation is..."
The police officer spoke at the same time as the dean and then realized his disrespect. The dean said obsequiously, "You talk. You talk... Would you police officers like to drink some tea?"
"The missing teacher is called Lin Xiaoxiao. She’s the only daughter of Deputy Director Lin of the Education Bureau. She teaches music and is also in charge of a class. She went missing on October 1st. She had come to school to pick up some things that day. The security guard saw her at 9:00 AM. Teacher Liu of the same grade also saw her. The two exchanged a few words. She left her mobile phone in the office with an unsent message saying that she was troubled recently, wanted to go out for a walk and asked everyone not to look for her, for she’ll be back soon. It’s been four days since then, and her family couldn’t get in touch with her, so they reported the case.
Xu Xiaodong whispered, "It doesn't sound like a big case."
Lin Dongxue replied in a low voice, "Do you believe in words like ‘I’m going out, don’t look for me’?”
"Have you watched the surveillance footage?" Chen Shi asked.
"During the holidays, the school wasn’t monitored."
"So, there are only witness statements? Which one is the witness?"
A fat male teacher with a balding head said, "That’s me. That’s me."
"Why were you at school on the holiday?"
"I divorced my spouse last year and the house was given to her. I’ve been living in a rental house near the school. The monthly exam is around the corner and I couldn’t stay idle. I was coming up with exam questions in the office on October 1st."
"What did you talk to Teacher Lin about the last time you saw her?"
"It was just an ordinary conversation."
"Be more specific."
Teacher Liu repeated their conversation. It really was just exchanging casual greetings with each other. Chen Shi said, "She left her mobile phone on her office table?"
"Yes, when I left, I was wondering why she had left her phone behind and helped her by putting it into her drawer.”
"Did she seem abnormal that day?"
Teacher Liu thought for a long time, "She seemed very normal!"
1. This was said in English
2. This part was said in English, but “nothing” was written as “noting”. I don’t know if the author did this on purpose or not, but I changed it to the correct spelling.
3. “Secret” was said in English.
4. “Boys and girls” was said in English.
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