Chapter 23: The Missing Link
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Looking at Qinshan Second Middle School’s solemn and magnificent gate, Zhao Yu felt his legs become heavy, gluing him to his place.
Qinshan Second Middle School was one of the biggest, most famous middle schools within the entire district! Many people would give up everything just to get themselves into the school.
Zhao Yu never would have dreamed that Jiang Xiaoqing would be attending the Second Middle School! Not to mention, she was in the eighth grade, and that in a month and half she would be taking the High School Entrance Examination!
He was even more surprised that Jiang Xiaoqing did not want her own father to come to the parent conference; not because her grades were too low, but because her grades were too good!
As it turned out, Jiang Xiaoqing was the Second Middle School’s genius. Every mock exam that she had taken, she was always ranked in the top three among the entire school.
The little girl was very interesting. She told the school that night recitation did not fit her learning style, and that she wanted to study at home. The teachers did not even dare to say no to their best student. With just a simple notification to Jiang Xiaoqing’s father, she was allowed to skip her night recitation.
But the teacher did not know that Jiang Xiaoqing’s so-called "father" was not actually Jiang Xiaoqing’s father. Even before Zhao Yu, the kid had already faked her parent contact information multiple times.
The reason she did not want to show up for night recitation was because she went to study hacking in internet cafes, teaching herself how to scam peoples’ accounts. Although she did these things, her grades never slipped, so her actions were not noticed by the school or her parents.
Jiang Xiaoqing’s grades and capabilities almost put Zhao Yu to shame. He was not sure why, but as he stepped through the school gate, he had a feeling that he did not fit in. His heart sped up and he started sweating buckets. Even back when he walked into another mafia’s territory to taunt them, he had never been this nervous. At that moment, he truly regretted agreeing to pretend to be Jiang Xiaoqing’s dad.
With the Lost Hand Case taking up so much of his time, he did not have any energy left to spare for this. But Jiang Xiaoqing had pulled out her trump card, and had stumped the experienced, and street savvy Zhao Yu.
Jiang Xiaoqing had said it like this, "Think about it. Both of our lives are at stake here. If you don’t come to the parent conference with me, my scamming will be exposed! And when it does, you won’t get any money! Also, you might even face heavy repercussions since you’re a policeman!"
Her move had been checkmate for Zhao Yu! Of course, Zhao Yu could simply not admit the truth and escape, but he also had a lot at stake and realized it was not worth the trade. With no way out, Zhao Yu could only reluctantly become her "dad."
"Don’t worry," seeing the other’s reluctance, Jiang Xiaoqing tried to make the situation less intimidating for him. "It’s only a parent conference, all of the parents are going to be there. You just have to sit in a chair and listen! If our homeroom teacher asks you to make a speech, you can just say something random. Just don’t say why I don’t attend night recitations!"
Zhao Yu could not do anything except follow the little girl.
After Jiang Xiaoqing opened the gate with her card, she brought Zhao Yu to the school’s music building. The building was fairly old, with many eaves and pillars, almost looking like it was from the 70s or the 80s. You could even see the yellow five-point stars that were scattered on the walls, somewhat faded from age.
In fear of affecting the students’ studying, the parent conference was organized in the music building’s lobby. The lobby could hold up to a hundred people. Using it for the parent conference almost felt like a waste.
But the sign-in at the door was very strict. Every participating parent must use their phone to scan their WeChat code. Thankfully the hacking expert Jiang Xiaoqing had already taken care of everything, and Zhao Yu did not have any problem getting in.
Because students were not participating at the parent conference, Jiang Xiaoqing left for class once she led Zhao Yu to where he needed to be. As she was leaving, she was still worried, and threw several glances back at Zhao Yu.
Zhao Yu was unprepared, so he simply found a seat near the front and sat on a chair.
The eavesdropper in his mind was still turned on. Even if he was acting as Jiang Xiaoqing’s dad, he could not slack off at his real job. He was still keeping an eye on Team B’s every move.
But even as Zhao Yu was sitting in the music building, Team Leader Qu Ping was still out of ideas, unable to continue.
There was still some time before the start of the parent conference, so there were not that many people yet. Among them, there was a forty-something year old mother. When she saw the piano on the podium, she looked incredibly interested, and ran up to begin playing a tune.
Unexpectedly, she was apparently a pro, playing a gentle and soothing, yet incredibly difficult tune.
The clear and elegant music rang through the lobby, lifting the mood of the parents present. Everyone stood by the piano player and listened with great interest.
Zhao Yu may have been a crude person, but he was very interested in music. Leaning against his seat, he was also enraptured by the sound of the piano.
Zhao Yu sat at the perfect spot as he could see everything that was happening. Unconsciously, his eyes were drawn to the piano player’s beautiful, pearly white, long hands.
It was probably the influence of the Lost Hand Case, but in his mind, Zhao Yu was considering, "Such beautiful hands. What would be the best way to chop them off?"
The woman’s hand fleeted across the piano agilely yet with strength, producing beautiful notes. The music was almost alive, filled with emotions and tugging at everyone’s heartstrings. The entire room was spellbound. It was easy to tell this female parent’s piano skills were not simply average.
When the music ended, the seated parents were all stunned in silence for a few seconds before they started clapping loudly.
"Hehehe…Shan Shan’s mom!" Another mother praised, "I didn’t notice before, but your piano skills are amazing! Even better than professionals!"
"I don’t know what you mean!" Shan Shan’s mother, who had just been playing the piano, smiled humbly, "I haven’t played in so many years! Not to brag, but during our time, to reach the tenth level of piano was much more difficult than today!"
"Oh! You’re piano level ten! We’ve already known each other for so many years, how come you’ve never mentioned it? Were you hiding it?" The other mother laughed.
"Haha…" Shan Shan’s mother laughed, "It’s not like I do this for a living. Why should I tell people? Actually, I was just being nostalgic, almost emotional! I still remember twenty years ago, I was right here attending a piano tournament, and almost got accepted into the Central Music School!" She continued, "Even though this place looks old, at the time, the Second Middle School’s School of Music was known to be the musical paradise in Qinshan City! A lot of famous people graduated from here! Sigh! If I worked harder at that time, maybe, I could be living a whole different life!"
"Hahaha…joking again." Another female parent noted, "Your Shan Shan is so excellent already! If you went to some Music School, where would you get such a wonderful kid?"
"True, haha…" the mother laughed.
Hearing the discussion between the two, Zhao Yu felt like he had caught something. He tried hard to remember something. Then suddenly, as if struck by lightning, he hopped up from his seat.
"Holy sh*t! Piano!" He thought. "Piano!! Pianoooo!!"
Could it be that the key to the Lost Hand Case was right here?!