T. University’s main building was old. The first three floors were spare classrooms and the upper four floors were used as administrative offices. It was located in the center of the school, and was around a fifteen minute walk from the front gate. Rumor has it that it would be renovated at the end of the year.
The moment Xiao Xia entered the school gates, she realized that the effect this case had on the people was plain to see. It was like a sort of stifling haze that enveloped the school, making everyone’s breathing unsteady. Classes weren’t in session around this time and what should have been a lively place was deserted. There was only a security guard standing outside the gates and a janitor doing some cleaning. She asked where President Qing’s office was and headed upstairs.
She hadn’t walked for long before coming face to face with a giant mirror around the corner of the stairs. It occupied almost the entire wall and it was impossible to avoid when going between the first and second floors.
Subconsciously, Xiao Xia felt this mirror had a sort of powerful attractive force, making her involuntarily step closer. She straightened her hair as she looked at her reflection. She suddenly realized her face was abnormally yellow and her eyes were deeply sunken.
Even if she was Asian and often stayed up late, she shouldn’t look like this!
Xiao Xia’s heart contracted and suddenly recalled that the third victim had died in front of this mirror. She hurriedly took a few steps back but a vision appeared in front of her eyes.
She saw a short-haired girl being attracted by the same force to tidy her hair in front of the mirror. Then, that girl realized her reflection had vanished, leaving a void in the mirror.
That girl turned around in shock and realized another girl was standing behind her with her back turned. They were similar in stature, hair and clothing. It was like there was another mirror behind her, but one that showed her back. She turned back to the original mirror in fear, and saw that her reflection had returned. However, it was also of her back. Slowly, both figures turned around. They were both her!
She didn’t have time to scream before she saw her doppelgangers both withering up, leaving only skeletons. When she died of fright in front of the mirror, the two figures revealed creepy smiles and slowly turned into torrents of blood.
This vision scared Xiao Xia into running anxiously to the second floor and hiding behind the wall. She took a deep breath before peeking her head around the corner. She wanted to verify if she had been subconsciously influenced by the disgruntled feelings at being coerced into taking this case. However, the moment she peeked, she clearly felt a pair of blood red eyes staring at her.
Crap! Her sensitivity must have gotten stronger due to Li Jing Ming’s case last time. She wasn’t able to talk to spirits, and her mind’s eye didn’t have the ability to see what others couldn’t. However, she had always been sensitive, and had the experience of seeing ghosts before. Therefore, she was much more sensitive than normal people and could sense weak, lingering thoughts. This also made her feel fear that others didn’t.
She figured that if people were “lucky” enough to interact with ghosts, there would be two possible outcomes. One was that they would no longer be afraid. The other was that they would hope never to meet one again. As for her, she belonged to the second group.
She peeked her head out for another look and the situation was completely identical. This made her feel a bit of anger along with her fear. What sort of bad luck did she have to frequently encounter such supernatural things? She had used the theory of Zhu Er Dan from “The Collection of Strange Stories’ Second Volume: Lu Pan” to convince herself not to be afraid of those things. If they caused you to die, you’d just become the same as them. What was there to be afraid of! But while it was easy to reason and call out some catchphrases, going through with it was something else. For example, she had the urge to leap in front of the mirror and loudly ask it what it wanted. However, she didn’t dare and could only hide and peep.
The fear of death was probably humanity’s most primal fear!
Luckily she was only here as a consultant, and would only be here during the day. It shouldn’t be able to harm her. Those visions didn’t last long. Xiao Xia reassured herself as she went to act as the “consultant” for the school’s president. However, when she left his office, she started worrying again.
She still had to pass that large mirror, unless she jumped off from the top floor.
As she was hesitating, two familiar figures suddenly walked in front of her. She cried out happily without thinking: “Liu Tie, Ni Yang!” Her voice was abrupt in the empty hallway, startling both of the grown men.
“Big sis Xiao Xia, why are you here?” The two looked at each other.
Xiao Xia rejoiced as she walked over. Their energetic aura somewhat improved her depressed mood.
These two guys were the servers at the Nocturnal Revenant bar. While she was living at Ruan Zhan’s place, even though she didn’t show herself much, the two who often went upstairs to move goods still got to know her over time. Initially they thought their widely-admired boss was keeping a mistress in his golden house. Then, after seeing their interactions, with one person scowling and the other person ignoring, they understood the two might have been enemies in a former life. However, Xiao Xia got along very well with them. They also really liked this lively and charming older sister. Towards this, Xiao Xia’s takeaway was that she was definitely a wonderful person and easy to get along with. It was a certain someone who made things tense. Regardless, it meant she wasn’t at fault.
“I’m here for work.” She said. Now, she wasn’t scared of going downstairs even if those red eyes were watching her.
“What work?” The outgoing Ni Yang asked curiously. “It’s not some confidential secret, right? Oh, that’s right. You’re a lawyer. You must be here for the school’s case. I heard the family members of those girls have all come.” As he spoke, they happened to be walking by that mirror. Xiao Xia still felt the chills, but with a sunny guy on either side, she felt much more relaxed.
As expected, there was safety in numbers!
“Our firm has accepted a position as the school’s legal consultant. I’m came over to help a bit.” Xiao Xia said. “The details are confidential so it’s not appropriate to say too much.”
“Cheh, what secrets are left in this case? It’s already spread throughout the school.”
“Oh? Tell me about it.” Xiao Xia pressed Ni Yang for answers on the stone steps outside. Getting to the bottom of things might be an occupational habit of hers. However, she truly should be questioning some sources.
“Is there an informant’s fee?”
“You’ve watched too many police dramas.” Xiao Xia gave Ni Yang a punch. “It’s a citizen’s duty to volunteer the truth. Now, immediately fulfill your obligations. Otherwise, I’ll push your boss to reduce your salary.”
“How long has it been since you’ve come? My boss has probably forgotten who you are.”
“I have my means of making him remember.”
“More like the means of giving him a headache.” Liu Tie who had been silent this whole time smiled and said. Outside the basketball court, Liu Tie was a shy and quiet person. However, he was a little more relaxed around the casual Xiao Xia.
“‘Praising’ women this way will make girls dislike you, you know!?”
“He’s definitely liked by girls.” Ni Yang interjected. “I’m also one of the basketball team’s pillars, but I only have half as many fans. Even the first victim of this case was one of his cheerleaders. They even had some scandal last semester!”
“Really?” Xiao Xia was surprised.
“Don’t listen to his nonsense.” Liu Tie blushed. “I was just doing some cultural research on the Xiangxi region, which was her hometown. Therefore, I went to ask her some questions about it.”
“Ah, so it was for schoolwork, serious business!” Xiao Xia’s tone was a little teasing, but when she recalled the poor girl had died, she felt she shouldn’t be joking around. She just enjoyed seeing Liu Tie’s awkward appearance. Women were too dominant nowadays so shy guys like him were very popular. He wasn’t like a certain somebody, who had a gentle appearance but a cold and unfeeling heart. Only blind women would be interested in a guy like that. Although there seemed to be truly quite a lot of blind women at the moment.
“Whatever the situation, tell me about this girl’s matter.” Xiao Xia continued investigating.
“But it’s almost four. We still have to go work.” Ni Yang looked at his watch. “How about you come to the bar tonight. I’ll tell you in detail.”
“Go to the bar?” Ruan Zhan’s face flashed through Xiao Xia’s mind. She hesitated a little. “Fine, tonight at eight.” Perhaps she should go check up on that hateful person. He had helped her after all.
After the two guys took their leave, Liu Tie asked: “Why do you insist on having big sis Xiao Xia go to the bar?”
“Don’t you want to see the world’s most gentle boss with a dark expression?”
“That’s why I say you’re such a bad dude.” Liu Tie laughed.