Chapter 45.2 – No.6 Middle School (1)

A fulfilling summer vacation took Chen Jing to many places and schools in search of the ‘strange species,’ yet he couldn’t find its whereabouts. When school started again, he could only pack up and head to school with his backpack.

On the first day of school, many parents escorted their children, especially the high school seniors. Parents accompanied them all the way, showing reluctance when bidding farewell.

Chen Jing arrived at school a little later than expected. His father made up his mind to wake up early to be responsible for bringing him to school, but he ended up staying up late playing Xiaoxiaole and oversleeping. He had to prepare for the other party’s lunch, causing him to be slightly delayed.

Upon entering the classroom, he found several students already there. Some were startled when someone entered the room, relieved when they realized it wasn’t the teacher, and resumed working on their assignments.

Completed homework was considered a valuable asset, and Chen Jing contributed several valuable pieces of asset to the class.

As his classmates divided the homework from his backpack, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He glanced at the chaotic classroom, then stepped outside to a spot where no one was around to answer the call.

It was from Xiao Pang.

Xiao Pang had already started school yesterday and had just finished his assignments. Right after that, he heard some news and took the opportunity to call, briefly explaining what had happened.

A girl of the same age who lived next door to his deskmate, studying in No.6 Middle School, had stayed behind for some time to efficiently finish her assignments. Believing it was already late, she continued staying until it was still bright outside.

When she finally went to wash her hands in the restroom, she lifted her head and saw a dark hallway reflected in the mirror, contrary to the well-lit reality. In a moment of cognitive dissonance, the hands of the clock started spinning randomly. She began to doubt the seemingly normal world, reaching her mental breaking point. Almost instinctively, she shattered the mirror.

As the mirror shattered, everything went black before her eyes. The once brightly lit hallway was now pitch black, devoid of the flowing water sound even though she hadn’t turned off the tap. It was eerily silent.

She almost ran out of the school in tears. Luckily, the person in charge of the teaching building had forgotten to lock the door, or else she would have been trapped inside, shouting without anyone responding. She shared this incident with her family and became too scared to return to school. Her parents sought solutions from various sources, and the matter eventually reached them.

Xiao Pang said, “Doesn’t this sound like an illusion to you?”

Chen Jing pondered for a moment before asking, “Do you have time tonight?”

Xiao Pang proudly stated he had finished his assignments and had plenty of time. He was about to say something more when Chen Jing, seeing someone approaching the corner of the corridor, briefly greeted them and hung up the phone.

It was a classmate. Their eyes lit up upon seeing him, saying, “Class monitor, there you are!”

Simply put, it was someone asking for homework answers. Chen Jing mentioned he had already lent the homework to someone else. The person asked who borrowed it and hurriedly left.

School ended promptly in the afternoon.

As the high schooler was leaving through the school gates, he unexpectedly saw someone.

This person was wearing a shirt that, perhaps oddly, seemed less wrinkled than usual, lazily standing at the school gate, scanning the crowd. When they noticed the high schooler, they gave a slight wave.

Citizen Jiang hadn’t managed to accompany the high schooler to school, but after waking up and watching TV, coincidentally arrived at the school when the high schooler was leaving.

As the high schooler approached, Jiang Yujin turned to look at the imposing school gates, sounding unexpectedly nostalgic, saying, “It’s been a while since I’ve been inside a high school.”

After expressing this sentiment, he turned to the high schooler, saying, “Surprised to see me?”

The high schooler responded emotionlessly.

Not receiving the enthusiastic response he expected, Citizen Jiang sighed regretfully. Then, he casually put his hand on the high schooler’s shoulder and began narrating his glorious past in high school when he could finish two and a half bowls of rice in a single sitting.

“I was something else back then. I copied assignments faster than anyone in the class. They couldn’t catch up even when they used several pens together.”

Jiang Yujin made an effort to recall, saying, “I remember there was a tree by the school wall that was perfect for climbing over. The school found out later and cut it down.”

No one else could climb over after the tree was gone, except for him, so that spot became his personal climbing haven.

It was evident what kind of high school life this person had led.

The true high schooler remained silent, unsure how to react to such abilities.

Jiang Yujin jokingly chastised, “You’re so cold.”

The chastisement was fleeting, but what remained eternal was the delicious dinner waiting ahead.

Chen Jing mentioned that he and his friends had arranged to do homework together. The soap opera started without any surprises. After finishing dinner, Jiang Yujin lay on the sofa without even waving.

The three high schoolers met at a plaza not far from No.6 Middle School.

Both No.6 Middle School and No.1 Middle School were considered the top high schools in the city. Looking at their founding histories, No.6 Middle School had a notably longer history, with even the gates exuding an ancient charm.

There was light in the security booth at the school gate, indicating that the security guard was still on duty.

They had done some preliminary investigation beforehand and knew that the school would be empty at night, with only the security guard present. Teachers, their families, and other staff members lived in nearby residential areas allocated by the plaza, close to the school but not within its premises.

Each school’s walls had convenient spots for climbing over without alerting security. They effortlessly climbed over one side of the school wall and landed gracefully on the ground.

The weather seemed pleasant today. The moon was bright in the sky, illuminating the surroundings enough that they didn’t need flashlights. Right where they landed, there was a tree stump with a flat surface, appearing to have been cut down a long time ago, likely from repeated stepping by those who climbed over the walls, almost merging into the ground.

From where they entered, the cafeteria lay opposite. It was sizable, spanning three floors, and even in the moonlight, they could see the orderly arrangement of tables and chairs inside.

They temporarily decided against entering the cafeteria. Instead, following their initial plan and the map they had found today, they headed towards the teaching building where the previous incident had occurred.

Since the last incident, the person in charge of the teaching building had been diligent about locking the doors thoroughly. They couldn’t enter through the main entrance, so they circled around the teaching building.

The teaching building had a quadrangle courtyard-style layout, forming a square enclosure. Corridors connected the different blocks, and the classroom windows were fitted with anti-theft bars. Each floor had four balconies, all securely locked except for a slight gap on one balcony on the second floor, appearing to be open.

Their only way into the teaching building was through this opening.

The height of the second floor wasn’t too challenging for them. Zhang Xin, dressed in lightweight sportswear, was the first to ascend and began exploring the area.

Chen Jing was the last to go up.

The school, usually bustling with students, was now eerily quiet. The pale moonlight seeped in through the corridors, casting eerie shadows. In such a setting, even ordinary scenes seemed oddly peculiar.

Without hurrying to ascend immediately, the three of them went downstairs first and opened the doors of the floor-to-ceiling window on the balcony on the first floor.

Chen Jing was responsible for opening the farthest balcony window. Zhang Xin and Xiao Pang were closer, so after opening the window, they circled around the first floor halfway.

At the beginning of the school year, the bulletin board on the first floor had several notices. The new ones were on top, while the old ones had been torn down, leaving numerous overlapping tear marks.

Opposite the bulletin board was a massive wall adorned with numerous photographs of outstanding graduates from previous years. Zhang Xin examined each photo one by one, and later, Xiao Pang joined in.

It was evident that this wall had a long history. The bottom-most photos had turned yellow and almost black and white, while the ones higher up were in color and clearer.

As Chen Jing approached, Xiao Pang’s gaze stopped at a photo in the middle. The photo was at the end where the light from outside illuminated it. The person in the photo had a faint smile. Despite its fading, the photo still captivated people even after enduring the passage of time.

Rubbing his chin, Xiao Pang felt a strange sense of familiarity.

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