Seeing the old lady so agitated, Zhao Yu was extremely curious. Something must have happened to the girl that year. Zhao Yu told her it was a very important matter, one that he urgently needed to understand, and hoped that the old lady would cooperate in the investigation. He even threatened her indirectly, saying that if she did not cooperate, he would have to personally ask her daughter when she came back.
The old lady was very worried about her daughter hearing the word "piano." After weighing the pros and cons, she could only tell Zhao Yu the truth.
Zhao Yu had had many guesses regarding the girl prodigys sudden withdrawal from the competition; however, after hearing the story from the old lady, he realized that the matter was far more complicated than he had imagined!
"Yes, my daughter Li Dan played the piano, and was even a piano prodigy well known in Fengling County!" the old lady said with a heavy expression. "We only have one daughter. Her father and I spent our entire fortune on her. In order for her to learn piano in the capital, we even sold our ancestral house!" She continued, "My daughter was very sensible. She knew that her father and I worked very hard, so she put in much more effort than anyone else learning piano. She had won competitions on the county-level, city-level, and even on the province-level.
"Although we were very poor then, we saw hope in Dandan, so we felt fortunate. Her father was very confident that our Dandan would have a bright future and bring glory to our ancestors, better than people who had sons! But" At this point, the old ladys hand started to tremble, and a painful expression crossed her face, "But our dream was completely shattered during the Qinshan Grand Piano Competition!"
"Auntie! Are you talking about the tenth Qinshan Grand Piano Competition? The one that was held at Second Middle School?" Zhao Yu asked.
"Yes! Yes! To be exact, it's was the tenth Qinshan High School Student Grand Piano Competition! That competition, I...I will never forget in this lifetime!" The old lady was tearing up. She massaged her stomach, probably because she was agitated, and managed to continue her story after a while. "Although it was just a city-level competition, it was very important, and it had a great significance to our Dandan!
"Only graduating high school students were eligible to participate in this competition. If a competitor was able to place well in the competition, they could be enrolled in advance by some art universities or provincial schools of higher learning. It was a great platform for the piano students!" She continued, "If our Dandan could get into the finals, we would have been able to save a hefty amount of money for her future college studies. As a result, she was extremely nervous during that competition. She was determined to place well and make us proud!
"Initially, the competition began smoothly. The qualifiers, trials, and preliminaries, Dandan overcame them all, and her extraordinary potential was visible from the very beginning. Some teachers even believed that with Dandans potential, it was not only possible that she could move to the finals, but that it was possible for her to emerge as the champion! Soon, Dandan placed third in the preliminary round and got into the finals. We were all elated! If Dandan was able to perform up to her usual standard during the finals, she would have certainly gotten into the art university!
"But Dandan wasn't satisfied. She felt that she was on par with the two who had placed ahead of her in the preliminary round, and wanted to increase the difficulty of the piece she would play during the finals to surpass them! In the end...ugh!" the old lady lowered her head helplessly, and tears flowed down her aged face.
It was pointless for Zhao Yu to say anything, so he waited patiently for the old lady to calm down before she continued, "To make things fair, the competitors had to play on the same piano during the finals. To familiarize the competitors with the piano, the committee would allocate practice time for each competitor in advance." The old lady sighed and said, "The other competitors were all from the city, and had some connections with the organizing committee. The good time slots for the practice session were all given to them. Since we didn't have any connections, we only managed to get the last slot which started at 8pm."
"We thought, 8pm, so be it. It wasn't too late anyway. Moreover, there was no time limit for the last person, so you could practice for as long as youd like. The musical piece that Dandan had chosen was still not satisfactory,so she practiced more.
"But God knows what happened during the day, and our time was pushed back to after 9pm. Although Dandan's dad tried to reason with the management, the finals were the next day, and his efforts to reason went in vain. We had no other choice but to wait. It was almost nine thirty when the child finally got to practice.
"Everyone had left, and there were only three of us in the hall. Dandan had very good psychological qualities and was not affected at all. She put her heart and soul into practicing the piano! But...but" the old lady was shaking all over. She continued with much difficulty, "Her father and I were listening in the audience. The child played beautifully, and we were enchanted. Suddenly we heard Dandan scream! Her father and I rushed on stage and saw the child holding onto her right hand and blood was oozing out, staining her clothes red! There was blood on the piano, the floor, everywhere!"
"What!?" Zhao Yu was engrossed in the old womans story, and exclaimed suddenly. He would have never expected such a thing to have occurred that year.
"The child was terrified and looked at us in shock. Her father and I were freaked out, " the old lady continued painfully, "we did not know what happened to the child. Seeing that she was bleeding non-stop, we immediately brought Dandan to the hospital! There was no one around the hall, so we did not manage to get any help. We couldnt get a cab at all, until finally a kind truck driver drove us to the hospital.
"After the doctor examined my child, he said that her middle finger had been cut by a sharp object. Not only were the tendons and some joints injured, but half of her finger had also been cut off! We needed to find the finger to reattach it, otherwise the poor girls finger would be permanently disabled!
"It was the first time her father and I had come across something like that, and we were dumbstruck! Hearing the doctor telling us to go back and find the rest of her finger, her father rushed back to the hall to search for it. But when her father returned to the hall, the blood stains on the piano were all gone. The piano had been wiped clean, and Dandans finger could not be found!" at that point, the old lady could not restrain herself, and cried out.