Mosaic School (27)
This ‘lovers’ card was very contrary to the current atmosphere, so the expressions of everyone became somewhat subtle.
It wasn’t known which sleepwalker complained behind them, “Generally, don’t schools forbid falling in love when young? Why would ‘lovers’ be the first card…?”
“What are you thinking? Do you really think the lovers card is about falling in love?” another sleepwalker replied.
“The divination is still continuing. The waiting students should please keep quiet, or it is likely to affect the results of the divination!”
The female teacher’s eyes crossed past Chi Nan’s shoulder and swept sharply toward the students who were whispering behind him. Everyone immediately tensed up and fell silent.
Chi Nan put the ‘lovers’ card in front of him and looked up. “Can I ask if I have completed my part of the divination?”
“You did very well.” The female teacher nodded at him before her gaze shifted to Tong Yu. “The second student, please draw a card.”
Tong Yu had always acted in a straightforward manner. She quickly chose her tarot card from the remaining 21 cards and spread it out. It was the positive ‘the hanged man.’
“What does it mean?” Tong Yu didn’t know about tarot at all and was confused. She intuitively felt that the man on the card who had his ankles wrapped by vines and was hanging upside down on a wooden cross had a sad and ominous feeling.
Tang Yu frowned slightly. “I remember that the hanged man symbolizes giving and sacrifice or…looking at things from a different angle.”
The female teacher raised her index finger to her lips and made a ‘shh’ gesture. “The third student, please draw a card.”
Tang Yu pursed her lips. She kneeled on the black silk blanket with a particularly pious expression. She discarded all distractions and calmly drew the third tarot card. Then she flipped over the card and took a breath. “The positive position, death.”
The word ‘death’ was enough to make the expressions of everyone change. After all, it didn’t sound like a good card.
The female teacher’s blood-red nails skimmed over the three tarot cards one by one. “The lovers, the hanged man, and death. These three cards will determine your fate tonight. Please have a wonderful night according to the guidance of the tarot cards.”
Tong Yu looked at the female teacher in a puzzled manner. “Teacher, wait a minute… What do the dance party procedures, rules, and difficulty have to do with the tarot cards?”
The female teacher tapped the cards with her fingernails again. “The answer lies in the tarot cards. You need to observe, explore, and understand it yourself.”
Tong Yu: “……”
Everyone looked at the three slightly ominous cards and was overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Chi Nan looked at Tang Yu. “Can you explain the basic meaning of the cards?”
Tang Yu nodded and pointed to the first lovers card. “The lovers card originated from the story of the golden apple, which is the Trojan War as we know it. In addition to the more literal love, a more accurate interpretation of the core card meaning should be ‘combination.’ This can also be derived as choice, cooperation, good relationship, and smooth communication.”
Then she pointed to the second hanged man card. “I just said that the core card meaning of the hanged man means sacrifice. This can be understood as accepting tests, encountering difficulties, and endless waiting.”
Finally, she looked at the ‘death’ card that everyone was afraid of, and her expression became more solemn. “The core card meaning of the positive ‘death card’ is the end. This can be understood as failure, despair, farewell, or new beginnings.”
Chi Nan thought about it. “The motto of this boarding school is ‘death shouldn’t exist as fear. It is the beginning of beauty.’”’
“The death card happens to fit the school motto…” Tang Yu looked at the very disturbing death card and bit her lip apologetically. “I’m sorry, I drew such a bad card.”
Tong Yu patted her on the shoulder to comfort her. “It isn’t your problem. I feel that no matter who drew these three cards, the rules have been set a long time ago. The so-called divination is just a process. The most important thing is to understand the school rules through these three cards to avoid death.”
That being said, the divination itself had a great influence on people’s emotions. Every time people saw ominous cards appearing, they would instinctively give themselves negative hints and their fear and anxiety would be multiplied. It spread rapidly, like an infection.
“Based on Tang Yu’s explanation of the card, the positive lovers card has the meaning of combination and choice. It can be understood as our partners for the dance party.” Chi Nan looked at the man and woman depicted on the card. “It means that we should choose the right dance partner.”
Tang Yu was inspired by Chi Nan and immediately became enlightened. “Then the next positive hanged man could be understood as one of the partners participating in the dance party needing to make a sacrifice to meet the next test!”
Chi Nan nodded. “The last death card might hint at the result of the sacrifice…”
He paused before continuing, “It is death.”
The classroom fell into a dead silence and everyone breathed lightly. After all, no one wanted to be the sacrificed dance partner.
Tong Yu calmly summed it up, “So the rule of tonight’s dance party is that we must find our own dance partner. Out of the two people who are partnered, one must be sacrificed so the other one can live?”
Shu Yanfan counted the remaining people. “There are 10 people left and it happens to be five girls and five boys. We can be paired together into five groups…”
Chi Nan looked at Tang Yu, whose expression had changed slightly. “There are six girls and four boys. There should also be no gender restrictions on the dance partner.”
“I’m sorry,” Shu Yanfan looked at Tang Yu and apologized. Then she continued, “Even so, no one wants to die.”
Her voice grew louder as she looked at the group uncertainly.
The remaining ten people were Zhao Congnan in Room 202, Shu Yanfan and Liang Han in Room 204, Jiang Liang in Room 205, Zhen Zimo and Tao Le in Room 206, Tong Yu and Guo Yaoyao in Room 207, Tang Yu in Room 209, and Chi Nan in Room 210.
They might’ve developed a tacit understanding of mutual support over the past six days, but they were all strangers who met in the nightmare instance. No one was willing to give up their life for someone they had only known for six days.
Once again, there was silence.
“I don’t want to die. It will obviously be the 29th after midnight, and maybe our birthday is the turning point…” Liang Han suddenly sobbed. The fear of death that had lasted for days combined with the fatal blow where they seemed to have no bargaining room made Liang Han collapse instantly. “It is the last night. I really don’t want to die…”
Guo Yaoyao was also infected and kept wiping away her tears. “Hey, who wants to…”
Chi Nan was silent for a moment. Then he suddenly turned to the female teacher who was observing them silently. “Can I ask what the conditions are for attending the dance tonight?”
The female teacher twisted her neck stiffly. “You can participate in the dance as long as you are a student of the current year of this school.”
Chi Nan wondered, “Can deceased students also participate?”
He remembered that the female teacher had stressed in the morning class that death wasn’t the end. The souls of all students would stay at the boarding school forever, sending good luck and shelter to the surviving students.
The gray eyes of the female teacher finally lit up. “Of course, they are also one of us.”
Chi Nan asked again, “We can invite our deceased classmates to the dance, right?”
The female teacher stared at him. Then, her blood-red lips cracked open and she smiled without answering. A moment later, she drew ten small, rectangular boxes from behind her and opened one of them to show the group. “Each box has one red and one white flower. Once you decide on your favorite dance partner, you can give one of the flowers to the other person. This is equivalent to inviting them to the dance.”
Tong Yu wondered, “Do the red and white colors have different meanings?”
The female teacher smiled darkly. “If I give you the answer directly, you won’t be able to solve the problem by yourself, right?”
Tang Yu had already understood. “The white flower symbolizes death and a funeral. It should be used to invite the deceased as a dance partner. On the contrary, the red flower is used to invite the living.”
Chi Nan confirmed it with the teacher, “Can we invite someone of the same gender?”
The female teacher answered, “Of course.”
“Wait a minute, what are you talking about…”
A few newcomers with slow brains were still confused. They couldn’t understand why Chi Nan and Tang Yu suddenly mentioned their dead classmates. Weren’t they still discussing who would be willing to make the sacrifice just now?
Tang Yu explained, “According to the tarot card instructions, one of the partners in the dance tonight must die as the price for the life of the other dance partner. In other words, out of the two dance partners, one must die for the other to live.”
Everyone understood up to here and nodded.
Tang Yu continued, “When choosing a partner, those of us who are alive should directly invite the people who have died as dance partners. It is equivalent to avoiding the ‘sacrifice’ link and directly realizing the result of life and death. The living people can live to the end.”
“Chi Nan confirmed it just now with the teacher that we can invite our deceased classmates to the dance. Therefore, this method is absolutely feasible.”
This was the best solution they could think of…
Tang Yu’s expression wasn’t cleared up. “However, there is a problem. The teacher said that the participants of the dance party must be a student of the current year. We still have 10 sleepwalkers left, but there are only nine souls that can be chosen.”
Her voice gradually lowered. The best solution couldn’t avoid death completely…
“There is one sleepwalker among us who won’t have a dance partner,” Tong Yu bluntly finished Tang Yu’s words.
“Ah, this…” The people who had hope rekindled fell into tension and embarrassment again.
Tonight was really special. It was probably their last night at the boarding school. If they survived the dance party, then their chances of survival would increase dramatically.
The eve of February 29th was important for everyone.
They just had to sacrifice one more person…just one last sacrifice.
Chi Nan broke the disturbed silence. “I already have my own dance partner candidate. He isn’t among the nine classmates who passed away, so the number is just right.”
He spoke firmly and calmly. It didn’t seem to be a whim.
Chi Nan remembered Old Yu saying that the dream makers didn’t belong to the living. Therefore, 229 should also belong to the ‘dead’ part of this world.
“Chi Nan, you…” Tang Yu looked over with worry. She knew that Chi Nan wasn’t the type to blindly sacrifice himself for the group, but she couldn’t figure out what his plans were and whether he would be in danger.
Chi Nan blinked and stared at the white flower in the box that was blooming just right. “It doesn’t matter. I have to invite him to be my dance partner.”
After class, the remaining nine sleepwalkers took their white flowers and went to the cemetery behind the school building according to the plan agreed upon in class. They put the white flowers in their hands in front of the corresponding gravestones, and invited the souls of the deceased sleepwalkers to be their dance partners tonight.
Chi Nan took his little white flower and walked to the school doctor’s office.
“Brother Nan, does this mean that as long as I stay in this nightmare, I can receive the white flowers you give every day?” The doctor took the flower that Chi Nan handed him, raised it to his nose, and sniffed it.
Chi Nan thought about it. He couldn’t send the white flowers anywhere else except for the school doctor’s office, so he nodded seriously.
The doctor laughed.
Chi Nan told him, “However, today’s white flower has a different meaning.”
“I know. You want to invite me as your dance partner tonight, right?” The doctor’s voice was soft and patient, as if he was the one who gave the invitation and he was waiting for the other person to nod and agree.
Chi Nan stared at him. “Is it okay?”
He confirmed that it was not only the will of the other person, but it was also equivalent to confirming that 229 was really a ‘dead person.’
“Rest assured, I won’t bring you any danger.” The doctor’s eyes curved as he answered very affirmatively. This was also the final answer given to Chi Nan.
He paused before smiling. “After all, it isn’t the first time we’ve been each other’s dance partners.”
Chi Nan instinctively looked at the doctor’s pockets to find traces of the pocket watch.
If the dream maker was a dead person, then the pocket watch should be 229’s death token.