Chapter 536 – Second Link of the Relay Task
The first thing Liu Qiao did when she woke up was to confirm the surrounding environment. She found that she was sleeping in the familiar university dormitory. Her three roommates had just returned from buying food and the smell of food wafted in the room.
Liu Qiao sat up on the bed, quickly got dressed and got out of bed. She pretended to be calm and asked, “What time is it?”
The roommate who was still eating said, “1 o’clock in the afternoon.”
Liu Qiao frowned and picked up the phone on the table to look at the time. It was precisely 1 o’clock on December 31st.
Hui Hui on the opposite bed had bought super spicy hot and sour noodles and was desperately drinking water while eating it. The other roommates had ordered garlic greens, vegetable fried peas, hot and sour shredded potato and braised eggplant.
Her roommate Xiao Qing said, “In order to lose weight, I have been eating vegetarian dishes for half a month but I haven’t seen any weight loss. Is it better to go out tonight to have a good meal and celebrate the new year?”
Hui Hui agreed. “I also think so. The four of us should split the bill evenly and go out for dinner tonight. I heard that the hot pot restaurant that opened nearby is very good!”
Liu Qiao, “……”
The style of the food and the contents of their conversation was exactly the same as her memory. The reenactment of the past made Liu Qiao a bit confused but she soon calmed down. “You eat first. I will go downstairs to buy something.”
She just woke up so her hair was messy. Liu Qiao casually picked up the leather hair tie on the table and tied her long hair neatly behind her head. She went to the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. This was followed by changing into sportswear that was convenient for movement and then she headed downstairs. She opened her phone while walking to search for recent news. A celebrity in the entertainment industry had given birth to twins. The hot searches were exactly the same as she remembered.
She touched her pocket and found that her card pack was still there. This made Liu Qiao slightly relieved.
She opened the school’s internal APP to check the class schedule. There happened to be Xiao Lou’s class this afternoon, which was a professional class for the forensics department.
Liu Qiao found Xiao Lou’s classroom and occupied a seat in advance. She hadn’t eaten lunch and her stomach was empty, but she couldn’t care about these things. She had to find Professor Xiao first.
The class time approached and more and more students entered the classroom.
There were only 40 people in the forensics department. Many people showed curious expressions when they saw Liu Qiao’s unfamiliar face. A daring boy saw that she was beautiful and politely came over. “Sister, which major are you from? Are you here to observe Professor Xiao’s class?”
Liu Qiao replied indifferently, “Yes.”
The boy found asking was futile and sat down bitterly.
Liu Qiao looked down expressionlessly. The students gathered in twos or threes to chat and she didn’t find any abnormalities.
At 2:25 p.m., Xiao Lou walked into the classroom on time.
The moment he stepped onto the podium, the entire classroom fell silent in an instant.
This was the first time that Liu Qiao took Xiao Lou’s class in person. She had only heard that Professor Xiao’s public lectures were very popular. Once it came time for choosing classes, his quotas were always filled up first. His temperament was indeed excellent when he stood on the podium. He was a tall, slender man in a shirt and trousers with a blue tie. He looked clean and fresh. Combined with his handsome facial features and friendly face, he was simply a perfect teacher in the eyes of students.
Xiao Lou looked down from the stage and his eyes stopped on Liu Qiao in the front row for a moment. “This classmate, how come I haven’t seen you before?”
Liu Qiao stood up with a calm expression. “Professor Xiao, I am a student of the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I came to observe. I don’t know if I’m allowed to sit in your class? If it offends you, I’ll leave now.”
Xiao Lou smiled slightly and raised his hand toward Liu Qiao. “It’s okay. Sit down.”
He started the lecture as if nothing had happened. The class happened to be about the concept of swollen corpses. Xiao Lou was talking on the stage while the students in the audience looked at photos of various corpses on the PPT. Obviously, they were used to it and they all listened very seriously.
The class passed quickly. Xiao Lou walked out of the class and came to the lounge dedicated to teachers. Liu Qiao immediately followed and knocked on the door of the lounge.
Xiao Lou’s gentle voice came from inside the house. “Please come in.”
Liu Qiao entered the room. She met Xiao Lou’s gentle eyes and was about to speak when she heard him calmly ask, “You followed me like this. Aren’t you afraid that I am a hunter in disguise?”
Liu Qiao was slightly stunned before saying calmly, “Even if you are a hunter, I can escape at any time. You should know that my card Little Red Riding Hood allows me to swap places with Little Red Riding Hood. Before I came to you, I left her in a safe place. Besides, you wouldn’t have asked me a question to arouse my suspicions if you are really a hunter.”
Xiao Lou smiled and nodded. “The analysis is good.”
Liu Qiao met Xiao Lou’s eyes and spoke with every word clearly enunciated. “I went to the third floor of the library and borrowed a copy of the Compendium of Materia Medica. I read it for two months before returning it. Professor Xiao, have you eaten? Why don’t I invite you to eat hot pot?”
Xiao Lou said, “I prefer Western restaurants.”
The agreed upon codes were smoothly matched. This made Liu Qiao sigh with relief. She walked to Xiao Lou’s side and asked in a soft voice, “Professor Xiao, are we back in the past?”
Xiao Lou frowned slightly. “It isn’t right. At first, I thought that I was transported to a memory labyrinth of the past. It is because the people and things around me were exactly the same as my memory. Hanjiang went to the forensic center to find me, my mother called me and even the license plate of the taxi I took was the same…”
He paused and looked at Liu Qiao. “It wasn’t until your appearance that I denied this speculation.”
Liu Qiao wondered, “What do you mean?”
“If this was a memory labyrinth, you wouldn’t have come to me today. I didn’t know a student called Liu Qiao in my memories. The fact that you are here means it is a separate secret room and there are multiple teammates who have crossed into this world at the same time. It is just that most of the plot here is consistent with our memories.”
Liu Qiao captured the key point from his words. “Multiple teammates? Professor Xiao, have you seen Group Leader Yu?”
Xiao Lou smiled bitterly and rubbed his temples. “I have seen him but he isn’t the Yu Hanjiang we know.”
Liu Qiao was stunned by his words. “He isn’t Group Leader Yu?”
Xiao Lou explained, “It can be understood that we are in a world that replicates our past. Apart from challengers like me and you who have crossed here, the memories and thoughts of the others are also stuck in the past. Therefore, Yu Hanjiang’s attitude toward me is very unfamiliar and Shao Qingge doesn’t know me.”
Liu Qiao finally understood. “In other words, the 12 of us have been separated again. Group Leader Yu and Chief Shao aren’t in the same instance as us? The Chief Shao and Group Leader Yu we meet here will be copies?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes. As for our other teammates, we have to confirm it as soon as possible. Of course, we must also prevent the hunters from trying to impersonate our teammates and muddy up the waters.” He looked at Liu Qiao and asked, “Is your card pack with you?”
“Yes.” Liu Qiao confirmed it.
“…That’s good.” Xiao Lou didn’t say much. He went to the window, raised the blinds and looked downstairs. Two classes had ended and it was almost dinner time. The campus had become lively. Xiao Lou closed the blinds and said, “The closest to us is Ye Qi at the conservatory of music. We should go and find Ye Qi first.”
“Yes, that’s what I think as well.” Liu Qiao quickly followed.
The two of them walked out of the medical university and circled around the university area. They soon found the entrance of the conservatory of music. The school spirit of the conservatory of music where Ye Qi was located was much more open compared with the medical school. Many students had colorful and non-mainstream dyed hair.
Liu Qiao stopped a blonde-haired girl and asked, “Hello, do you know Ye Qi?”
The girl smiled. “I know him! Ye Qi is from my class and he has entered the finals of the top 10 singers on campus. Tonight is the finals. Do you want to watch it?”
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao glanced at each other. They hadn’t expected that Xiao Ye would be such a prominent figure at the conservatory of music.
Liu Qiao asked, “Where is the venue for the finals?”
The girl pointed into the distance. “It is the gymnasium over there!”
The two of them followed the girl’s guidance to the open gymnasium. At this time, the gymnasium had a big stage set up and many staff members were busy. Liu Qiao went to inquire about Ye Qi and the other person replied, “Ye Qi went to dinner with friends. The finals start on time at 7 o’clock in the evening. You can come backstage to find him when the time comes.”
Xiao Lou had no choice but to take Liu Qiao to sit in the auditorium and wait for the competition to start.
At exactly 7 o’clock in the evening, the singer finals of the conservatory of music officially began. The host took the stage to give an impassioned speech and the singers who entered the finals performed on stage in turn.
Xiao Lou rarely watched this type of student competition at school. Today, he came to the venue of the finals to find Ye Qi. The standard of the conservatory of music was indeed very high and the students were very professional when it came to singing.
The host said, “Next, let’s give a warm applause to singer No. 7, Ye Qi!”
A teenager wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt with exaggerated patterns jumped onto the stage. Ye Qi seemed to shine in a dazzling manner under the stage. He smiled brightly and and clearly while dancing. He was full of energy and occasionally performed a cool solo dance and waved handsomely at the audience. “Let’s do it together. Everyone, let me see your glow sticks!”
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao, “……”
The passionate Ye Qi was completely different from the Ye Qi in their memories. It was difficult for Xiao Lou to associate the energetic young man in front of him with the thief-like little guy who sneaked around with garbage when they first met.
The Card World had changed many things.
Xiao Lou said with mixed feelings, “This isn’t the Ye Qi we know.”
Liu Qiao frowned. “It really doesn’t seem like it. Is this Ye Qi also copied by the keepers?”
Xiao Lou shook his head slightly. “Once the competition is over, let’s go backstage and take a look.”
After Ye Qi finished singing, there was warm applause from the audience. The deafening ‘Ye Qi, Ye Qi’ gave Xiao Lou the illusion of attending a star’s concert. This showed how popular Xiao Ye was at school.
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao headed backstage and found Ye Qi drinking water.
Liu Qiao walked over and held out her hand. “Ye Qi, hello.”
Ye Qi looked at them doubtfully. “Who are the two of you?”
Xiao Lou said, “We are your fans and came to watch the finals. You sang very well.”
Ye Qi smiled generously. “Thank you!”
Xiao Lou found that his expression wasn’t unusual. Ye Qi really didn’t know the two of them. Liu Qiao took out a glow stick and gave it to Ye Qi. “I wish you good luck and hope you’ll win the championship. There is also the singing contest of Jiangzhou TV station in the future. Jiayou.”
Ye Qi wondered, “Huh? How did you know that I signed up for the TV singing contest?”
Liu Qiao answered, “I am your fan and have been following you!”
“Really?” Ye Qi smiled happily and asked Liu Qiao if she wanted a photo with him.
Xiao Lou took out his phone and took a photo of them before he left the gym with Liu Qiao.
The two of them had just walked out of the venue when a scream was heard in the distance. “Ahhhh—!”
Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao glanced at each other before rushing in the direction where the sound came from.
The lighting of the campus was dim. A girl was holding a tree trunk with a pale face. A bicycle was overturned beside her. Xiao Lou, who had no cards to help, ran slower. Liu Qiao instantly came to the girl with the help of the light footwork card and asked in a low voice, “What’s going on?”
The girl trembled and pointed to the middle of the lake. “There is something in the lake! I just saw a human face!”
Xiao Lou also rushed to the lake.
This tree-lined path surrounded a lake. It was the most famous ‘Liuguang Lake’ of the conservatory of music. Some lights by the lake were broken. The surrounding vision wasn’t clear but the moonlight in the sky was projected on the lake, reflecting the thing in the middle of the lake.
The mass floated up and down in the lake. Xiao Lou narrowed his eyes and looked carefully. The moment when ‘it’ floated up, Xiao Lou really saw a pale, swollen face.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath and said in a low voice, “Call the police.”
He understood the mission of this secret room. It was no coincidence that he encountered a corpse. Ye Qi and Yu Hanjiang weren’t the teammates he knew and their memories were stuck in the past. Xiao Lou and Liu Qiao could use the power of Yu Hanjiang and Ye Qi in this past to help them solve the puzzle.
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality