At 4:00 in the afternoon, an old couple was crying in the reception room. Lin Dongxue tried to console them, promising that the police would find out the truth.
Chen Shi stood outside the door, and Peng Sijue came over with a report saying, "The blood stains that you found in the office have a 99.99% match with the parents of the missing person. That is, the missing person had left them behind."
"Sure enough, it's not that she’s simply missing. What about the ashes above?"
"It should be cigarette ash."
"What kind of cigarettes?"
"Still comparing them one by one."
Chen Shi suddenly remembered Tao Yueyue's words. "Try Zhonghua cigarettes."
Shortly after Peng Sijue returned, he sent a message to Chen Shi, "The ash is indeed from soft Zhonghua."
Chen Shi pondered it over again and felt that it was necessary to return to the school.
At 5:30, school was out. After a day of hard work, everyone had forgotten what happened in the morning. They left the campus in throngs while discussing the topic of games and animation. Tao Yueyue and Wei Zeng Mary walked side by side and saw Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue standing at the door.
She quickly stepped forward, "Uncle Chen, are you here to investigate the case?"
"Why didn’t you guess that we’re here to pick you up?" Chen Shi smiled.
"Tch, I don't believe you would pick me up with Elder Sister Lin!"
"The teachers haven't left yet, right? I want to see them. Did you want to come with us?”
Wei Zeng Mary also went together with them to join in the fun. She followed behind them quietly and asked, "Yueyue, is that your mother?", "Will they take the form teacher away?"
"What's wrong with your form teacher? I feel like you all want him to be taken away." Chen Shi asked.
"The form teacher often takes up our physical education classes by dragging out his classes. He picks his nose while teaching the class, and often ridicules the students with poor grades." Wei Zeng Mary enumerated several major crimes of the form teacher angrily.
Tao Yueyue said, "He often sniffs violently and then swallows his snot."
Wei Zeng Mary laughed loudly, "Yeah, it’s super disgusting!"
Lin Dongxue whispered, "Yueyue has also made good friends at school!"
The first person that they saw was Teacher Liu. Chen Shi said, "We heard that you lost a packet of Zhonghua cigarettes. When did you find out?"
Teacher Liu was flustered. "Oh, how can I bother you guys with this matter... Why is Tao Yueyue here?"
Chen Shi touched Tao Yueyue's head. "She is my child."
Teacher Liu’s mouth became O-shaped, and it took a while to return to its original state. "Like father, like daughter. Respect. Respect."
"Let’s get back to business. When did you find out that you have lost your cigarettes?"
"Do you really want to investigate this? This morning."
"You came to the office on October 1st and didn't discover it?"
"Well... I had brought cigarettes that day, so I didn't open the drawer to have a look. The cigarettes were given by the parents of a student and I kept them in the drawer. I’m guessing that it was a male student who smokes that had taken them from the drawers. They sure have guts. They took the whole carton apart and only took a pack."
Chen Shi thought that the "criminal" might be a teacher. This person had smoked in the office.
It so happened that the ash had fallen onto the bloodstains of the missing person, which couldn’t help but cause suspicion.
As a former smoker, Chen Shi understood this kind of mood. One really needs a cigarette for comfort when one is extremely dejected.
Teacher Liu took out the carton of cigarettes, and Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue carefully extracted the fingerprints on it, as well as the fingerprints of Teacher Liu himself. Teacher Liu also specifically urged, "It’s just forty something yuan for a pack of cigarettes. Don't make this matter too serious. I just wanted to scare them. If they really get disciplined because of this matter, then it wouldn’t be too good!"
Chen Shi said sternly, "That's not okay. A child who steals needles will grow up to steal gold. We need to investigate this matter thoroughly.”
Upon hearing him talking nonsense, Lin Dongxue explained, "We suspect that the lost cigarettes are related to the missing person case. Of course, it’s just a suspicion."
"We want to meet the other teachers from the same office."
Teacher Liu glanced outside, "Aiya, aiya, Teacher Yan is about to leave. Hurry down and stop him."
Chen Shi asked Teacher Liu to stand in front of the school gate. If teachers of the same grade attempted to leave, he was to stop them. Then he hurried with the others to the parking lot. Teacher Yan drove a black Mercedes-Benz car and wore a pair of sunglasses. He looked very handsome. When he saw people heading over, he asked, “Looking for me?”
Lin Dongxue showed him her badge. "We’re criminal police and want to collect your fingerprints."
After the collection was done, Chen Shi said, "I heard that you’re currently dating Teacher Lin."
Teacher Yan nodded. "The news about her disappearance is also quite sudden to me. I’ve been uneasy all day and I couldn’t get any news about her even after calling all the people who knew her."
"How is your relationship with her?"
"Although we haven't reached the point of talking about marriage, it's quite harmonious. We’ve never quarreled. You can ask about this at school if you like."
Chen Shi nodded, "We have heard that you two are an ideal couple and very well-matched. Was there anything unusual before she disappeared?"
Teacher Yan tilted his head and thought, "I didn't notice any."
"Why do you think she’s missing?"
"Oh, if I could guess this, what would we need the police for?"
"Don't get me wrong, we just want to know more about Teacher Lin from different aspects."
"Then I’ll just say something for what it’s worth. I think that her disappearance may have something to do with her family. Her ambition was originally to be a musician, and she didn't originally major in education. She had participated in a provincial music competition just after graduation and won a prize. She had a boyfriend who played rock music, but her family has been teachers for two generations, and her father is now the deputy director of the Education Bureau. He hoped that his daughter could follow in his footsteps, and the family had arranged everything for her. However, her heart was not in it. She finally compromised after experiencing a lot of things. Whenever this matter is mentioned, she’d feel wronged. Being a music teacher and a musician are completely different things. As her boyfriend, I don’t wish to think this way, but I am wondering if she went to look for her ex-boyfriend?"
"What's the ex-boyfriend’s name?"
"He’s called Ma Baobao and his stage name is Ma Qianli. He’s the lead singer in what is called a black metal band. It’s one that’s fairly popular. It’s not that I have any stereotypes about rock singers. I just don’t think they’re the same kind of people and that it’s impossible for them to get together. But the thing about dreams is that people won’t give up until they hit the south wall.”
Chen Shi felt that he was a bit too calm talking about these things, but perhaps that was just his character.
Chen Shi took out a packet of Zhonghua from a bag and handed it over, "By the way, do you smoke?"
Seeing the Zhonghua cigarettes, Yan Ke panicked for a moment. He smiled and waved, "No thanks. I quit many years ago."
"Haha, it’s good you quit. We won't disturb you then."
"Remember to inform me if there’s news about her!"
1. Needles and gold rhyme. Idiom similar to “As the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined”.
2. Traditional Chinese houses are built with doors facing the south and there would be a wall placed just behind the doors so that you can’t see inside for privacy reasons. This is what’s regarded as the south wall.
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