Lin Dongxue received a call and hurried down the mountain. She found that Chen Shi was grabbing onto Xin Bai and dragging him to the town’s public security bureau. Like a shameless kid, Xin Bai struggled, "No, no, no, we can talk this out." He squatted down after walking for two steps.
The two stopped outside a fat offal noodle restaurant a few steps away from the public security bureau. The police officers standing guard in front of the bureau took a look at them. Lin Dongxue stepped forward and said, "The fire has been extinguished. It wasn’t very big, but the files were all burned."
"You didn't expect it to be him, right?!" Then, Chen Shi shouted at Xin Bai. "Why did you set the fire?!"
Xin Bai stammered and Chen Shi sneered. He brought them into the noodle shop next to them. He asked the boss to bring a plate of raw pig intestines and put it in front of Xin Bai, saying, "If you can finish all of it, I won't pursue this matter further and let you go right away."
"Of course, it's true."
Xin Bai began immediately, but vomited after taking two bites. He said with a grimace, "Can we not go to the bureau? Let’s settle this privately. I’m willing to compensate for the burned things."
"Shameless!" Chen Shi was so annoyed that his jaws clenched. "It depends on your attitude when you admit to your crime."
"Yesterday... Last night I had a dream and I met the Dream Master. She said that she could give me a beautiful dream, as long as I did one thing for her."
"You know I don’t have the ability to resist temptation at all. Fantasy is my whole life. If I can dream as I want, doesn’t that mean I’d possess another life? So, I agreed. When I was done, I was suddenly here. When I got here, yes, it was this small town. The streets and surrounding mountains were exactly the same. She asked me to go to a school on the mountain to burn their archives room. I tested it in my dream, and after setting the fire, she told me not to forget the promise, otherwise she’d make me unable to dream forever. After that, I had the best dream of my life. I was the protagonist of an urban novel. The dream was so realistic that I had my own consciousness. It was bliss. Do you get what I’m saying? I stayed in the dream for three days!" Xin Bai smiled in content. "After waking up, I felt a sense of loss, and even wanted to buy some sleeping pills and go back to bed. However, I clearly remembered everything that happened in the dream. If I didn’t fulfill my promise, she would make me never dream again, so I came here by bus and did... what I needed to do."
Chen Shi's eyes looked as though he were looking at a piece of garbage, and he pointed to the raw pig intestines in the plate and said, "Eat some more!"
Xin Bai obediently ate a few mouthfuls, then turned his head aside and vomited again. He wiped his mouth and said, "It's too unpalatable. At least give me a plate of mustard."
"You’re really disappointing. You betrayed us so casually. Do you know what you did?"
"Burned an archive room."
"Do you know how important that archive room was to us?"
Xin Bai lowered his head and said nothing. Lin Dongxue asked in a tone of hatred, "Teacher Bai, how could you have no principles at all?"
"It's not that I don't have principles, but the conditions were too attractive. If it were you..."
"I'm not like you!"
Xin Bai lowered his head in shame. Chen Shi asked, "Is it you who went to my house last night?"
"What? I didn't go anywhere last night. I was always in my bed."
Chen Shi asked Lin Dongxue, "How is arson judged?"
"His situation would be upwards of three years and less than ten years."
"Ah, no, no!" Xin Bai was frightened and waved his hands desperately. "Let’s privately deal with this. Let’s privately deal with this. I’m willing to reimburse the school money so they won’t sue me."
"When you go to jail, can't you continue to dream?" Chen Shi mocked him.
They immediately took Xin Bai back to the school and explained the situation to the school, but said that Xin Bai had been instigated by a bad guy and didn’t know what he was doing. The school agreed to settle the matter privately. Xin Bai took out all his savings, which was his income for the past year. His face was full of pain when he paid the money.
Chen Shi told Xin Bai to stay outside as he and Lin Dongxue entered the charred archives room to see what could be rescued.
The piles of archives on the shelves were already burned to ashes. After searching, both of them were covered in soot. Suddenly, Lin Dongxue called out. She found a photo under the ashes, which was only half burned.
In the photo, there was a girl in a shabby school uniform. She was standing on the edge of a group of happy and cheerful students with a gloomy expression. What was surprising was that she looked exactly like the little girl from that day.
"How could there be such a thing?" Lin Dongxue was shocked.
"They may be related by blood." Chen Shi guessed.
"Even mothers and daughters don’t look so alike. Are they the same person? The teacher said that she didn't even have her menstruation at the age of fifteen. I think it might not be because of malnutrition, but a problem with her pituitary gland. This problem kept her from growing up."
Chen Shi nodded, "If this is the case, then we can explain how Chen Fengde had met her."
They went to check with the teacher. The teacher said that he had never seen the girl's appearance, but this graduation photo seemed to belong to her class.
"Do you know where she previously lived?" Chen Shi asked again.
"I don't know this. It was all hearsay for me. You should ask others!"
While leaving the school, Chen Shi showed Xin Bai this photo. Xin Bai was shocked and said, "Yes, she’s the Dream Master. The eyebrows and eyes are exactly the same as those I saw in the dream."
"Would you like to help us inquire information from your dreams and redeem yourself?"
"Okay, okay. Should I go now?" Xin Bai couldn't wait.
Chen Shi took him to a motel and booked a room. Xin Bai entered the room and threw himself on the bed. "I'll go to my dream to help you find clues!" In less than a minute, he had fallen asleep, and showed a very happy expression.
"I can't believe that indulging in dreaming is like taking drugs." Lin Dongxue said in surprise.
"That kind of dream and drugs are of the same nature. It makes you extremely happy and is simple... He will definitely not run around here."
"Was that your plan? To put him here?"
"No, I'm doing an experiment. I don't believe that a so-called Dream Master can bestow others with dreams. I don't think his dreams were made."
"Then what is it?"
"We'll know when he wakes up." Chen Shi smiled mysteriously.
The two discussed where to find information, and finally reached an agreement to go to the town’s public security bureau.
Regarding the mysterious girl, the Public Security Bureau produced two files. The name of the girl registered with the Public Security Bureau was Hanmeng. She had no surname, most likely because her grandparents rejected her from their own family. Her name was actually given to her by a female officer from the public security bureau back when she was still in elementary school.
One file was about the bizarre death of a student in Hanmeng's class. This student named Gao Lei didn’t return home after school one day. His family searched all over and finally found his body at the school.
Gao Lei’s head had been buried in the long jump sandpit and he suffocated to death. The body was bent over, standing on his legs, with his head stuck in the sand and his hands supporting the ground, maintaining a weird triangle shape.
"At that time, a school worker was so scared that they were bed-ridden for three months," said the policeman who showed them the file.
The police didn’t find any traces of injuries or coercion on Gao Lei. The technology wasn’t advanced back then and many identifications couldn’t be made. The final conclusion written in the file was only one sentence - "Gao Lei suspected of suicide."
In order to find out why Gao Lei committed suicide, the police also conducted a lot of investigations. Some students told them that Gao Lei often bullied Hanmeng at school...
1. The pituitary gland makes growth hormone, which stimulates the growth of bone and other tissues.
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