370 Piano Recital

    The collapse of the tree at Nan Xiang City's Third People Hospital caused 7 instant deaths. They were from all hospital staff, 4 of them doctors and 3 nurses. All of them participated in the Tourette Syndrome consultation, in fact, Liu Guolin was the attending physician of said hospital's Patient Zero. Was the fallen tree... just an accident?

    When Gu Jun heard this horrible news, he was inordinately angry. He did not believe for a second this was an accident. Was this a tragedy or a sacrifice? Who was it for? How was it managed?

    Gu Jun's emotion was shared by many. Members of Phecda boiled with anger as well. A tree fell and claimed 7 innocent lives. Such accidents did happen occasionally and it always brought with it immense pain, but it was especially true this time because this was clearly a premeditated murder. The oak tree that fell was over 500 years old but during the previous inspection by the Forestry Department, it was perfectly healthy, there was no danger of falling. When the botanists from Phecda went to inspect the scene, the cause of the collapse was a shrunken root system and decay of the main trunk. Only through prolonged decomposition that this was possible...

    The oak tree was over 20 metres tall. The bark scabbed into unnatural formations. The branches were thick and twisted. It had the appearance of a haunted tree from fairy tales. It fell so perfectly to cause 7 people to die on the spot, probability-wise that was close to zero. The whole thing reeked of supernatural intervention. The oak tree had no symbolic meaning in China, but in western culture, oak trees were always associated with the mysterious and malicious. For example, in ancient rome, cultist priests worshipped oaks and mistletoes. They conducted living sacrifices inside oak forest. And in medieval Europe, witches were said to have their covens deep inside the oak forest. But these were just historical rumours. Unlike the Free Masons and Illuminati which had become part of the public culture, no one had much information on these secret cults.

    From what happened today though, the rumors surrounding the witches' covens might not be entirely fallacious. The oaks, the witches, the chosen target of young girls as well as a shadow who self-proclaimed herself as Gu Jun's big sister... So many elements spoke of witchery.

    Was this part of R'yleh Cult's doing? Not even Phecda could be sure because this incident was so unique from any of their previous cases. Could it be another organization who also worshipped the Lord of R'yleh? An organization like Lai Sheng Company or Dagon Cult? Gu Jun was sure there was a connection between the banyan tree and the oak tree but he could not put his finger on it. If the banyan tree represented the Son of Misfortune when what would the oak represent...?

    Just the thought of it caused a blade to saw through his brain. He had to stop.

    On that very same day, something else happened. Among the 126 registered patients, there was a girl quarantined at Eastern State Medical University's attached hospital. Her name was Zhong Huili, she just had her 6th birthday party. The girl came from a normal family but her parents enrolled her in piano classes when she was 4. Little Huili was not particularly talented. After 2 years of training, she was slightly above average in piano skill but she had never won any competition. Huili was quiet and obedient. After she was quarantined with her mother, she did not make any fuss except making multiple requests of, "Mummy, I want to play the piano."

    Her mother, Song Fang blamed herself for not noticing her daughter's symptoms earlier so she now paid extra attention to everything her daughter said and did. She thought this was an unusual request so she reported it to the nurse. Normally Huili never showed much interest in the piano so why would the girl make such constant requests that day?

    After getting the news, the Eastern State Medical Department's interest was hooked. This was because in past research, many children with Tourette Syndrome would temporarily lose their tics when they were entirely focused on an activity, playing piano would be a perfect example. Every method had to be tried so Phecda immediately transported a piano to the hospital to fulfil Huili's request. The piano was placed inside an empty examination room. There were cameras everywhere and Phecda members guarded outside the door to deal with sudden accidents. The activity would be stopped once something went wrong. In such an environment, Little Huili sat alone before the grand piano. With the assessment stone around her wrist, the girl prepared for her recital.

    Huili's parents, Song Fang and Zhong Zhihao were given permission to stay in the surveillance room. They watched the screen anxiously. They were joined by other Phecda members from the Eastern State Division and the headquarters. Everyone held their breath. Elder Tong was one of them. He was afraid that once the girl's finger touched the piano keys, the well-inspected piano which was painted with the Ancient Seal would suddenly explode.

    A melody started to play. Earlier when Song Fang asked Huili about the song that she wanted to play, Huili just shook her head. She said she didn't know, she just wanted to play.

    On the screen, the girl's fingers pressed against the keys. After giving it some tuning, her small face focused into attention. Her hands flew like lightning. With a speed that was disproportionate to her age, she played maddeningly. However, she was not just bashing against the keys. A melodious harmony poured out from the piano. It was swift yet impressive.

    "This, this..." Song Fang was flummoxed. Zhong Zhihao's eyes widened. 'Is this their daughter?' Technically, they should be over the moon because their daughter was a prodigal pianist but now, all they felt was chills. They just wanted their normal daughter back. A contained gasp travelled through the headquarters. No one expected this.

    "Should we end the performance?" Someone asked.

    "Wait, just wait a little longer..." Elder Tong ordered. Since the assessment stone did not glow and the guards posted outside the room did not sense anything out of place, the performance could go on. Elder Tong had been through many things in his life and that provided him with a sharp eye for talent. The girl was immensely talented, she was even more gifted than Xiao Xu...

    "What song is this?" Someone asked.

    "It's Mozart." Someone gasped, "But a child shouldn't be able to perform a song like this!"

    At the same time, a wave of thought overwhelmed the doctors. 'Is this phenomenon unique to Little Huili or it manifests itself among all the infected little girls?'
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