Before Ye Qi went on stage, he had been very nervous and was afraid that he might sing badly. He didn’t expect the final effect to be so good. Listening to the warm applause and cheers from the audience, Ye Qi restrained his excitement. He jumped down from the high chair, held the guitar in one hand and bowed deeply to the audience. “Thank you, thank you!”
Xiao Lou looked at the young man’s flushed face and smiled. “Xiao Ye looks very excited. No matter the result of this secret room, the trip shouldn’t be in vain right?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes, he indirectly achieved his dream.”
Ye Qi had prepared two songs. One was the sad guitar version of White Birch Forest and the other was the relatively passionate ‘I Believe’. Ye Qi obviously became more engaged with the singing. During the second song, he put down his guitar, sang and danced and waved to the audience. The entire stage seemed to be his territory.
Shao Qingge chuckled. “He really is having a good time.”
Xiao Lou spoke helplessly. “It would be fine if nothing happens at this concert. We can leave Xiao Ye with a good memory.”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “A of Hearts wouldn’t be so kind as to let Ye Qi come to this secret room to hold a concert.”
It was as he said. It was impossible for a keeper to kindly let Ye Qi come to the secret room for a concert. The purpose of arranging this concert was to let everyone find clues. It might even be that someone would die. It was possible that the people at the concert today were related to Lin Yiyan’s murder, such as Xie Yuan and his wife. They hadn’t had time to investigate Liang Ting’s line previously.
Ye Qi’s two songs soon finished. Today, he had obviously experienced a singer’s addiction. He excitedly bowed to the audience and thanked them. Then he said seriously, “It is an honour to participate in the concert of my senior sisters. I hope that everyone will support the 505 girl group. I also wish for my senior sisters’ concert tour to be a complete success!”
The fans in the audience clapped and some people went online to search for information on Ye Qi.
Ye Qi bowed again to thank them and returned to the backstage area.
After the concert started, in order to ensure the safety of the stars, there was a special security company personnel in the backstage area responsible for clearing the venue. Apart from the staff with work permits, the stars, agents and assistants, other people weren’t allowed to enter.
The security was very strict. In addition to worrying about the black fans threatening the singers’ safety, it also prevented the paparazzi from coming backstage to take photos.
Ye Qi stepped off the stage and his agent immediately patted his arm with a big smile. “You sang well. I think the audience’s response was very good. After the two songs are sung, the amount of followers on your Weibo has increased by tens of thousands.”
She took her phone and showed Ye Qi the tens of thousands of new Weibo followers. Ye Qi didn’t care about the number of fans. After all, they would disappear after leaving the secret room. He was just happy to sing on stage as a singer today. He looked at Yun Lan and said, “Sister Yun, thank you for giving me this opportunity.”
Yun Lan handed him a bottle of water. “Drink some water.”
Ye Qi had sung two songs in a row and his mouth was indeed a bit dry. He took the mineral water she handed him and drank half a bottle before heading to the lounge with her. On the way, the two of them happened to meet the 505 girl group who had changed their looks. Ye Qi carefully observed their faces and found that the five girls were talking and laughing. There was nothing unusual.
Yun Lan left Ye Qi and turned to tell them, “The second stage has a chorus followed by everyone’s solo performance. Once this song is over, Yuxin will stay on the stage and sing a solo. The others will immediately go backstage to change clothes, understood?”
The five people nodded together. “We know, Sister Yun.”
Yun Lan reached out a hand. “Sing well, jiayou.”
The five people placed their hands together and cheered. Then they headed for the stage.
Their clothes, makeup and hair were all changed. The stylist wasn’t bad this time. The styles designed for each girl were in line with their personality. Ye Qi watched their backs disappear and scratched his head with confusion. He thought, ‘It isn’t the girl group that will have an accident? They look normal.’
Yun Lan glanced back at him. “Okay, Xiao Ye. Your task for today has been completed. Go back and rest.”
Ye Qi nodded and headed to his lounge. In the long corridor, they saw a woman with curly hair turn the corner. Yun Lan introduced her. “This is Teacher Liang’s agent, Sister Chen. This is our company’s newcomer, Ye Qi.”
Sister Chen smiled. “Ye Qi, your singing just now was excellent. I listened to both songs and you have great potential!”
Ye Qi was happy about being praised and politely said, “Thank you Sister Chen.”
Yun Lan asked, “Where is Teacher Liang?”
Sister Chen explained, “She has a headache again and is resting in the lounge.”
The two people didn’t speak anymore. Ye Qi said goodbye and headed to the lounge while asking the agent, “Teacher Liang has a headache problem?”
The agent replied, “I hear it is a migraine. She isn’t in good health after giving birth.”
Ye Qi made an ‘oh’ and took out his phone after sitting on the sofa. Yu Hanjiang sent a message in the group: Xiao Ye, is there anything unusual?”
Ye Qi quickly replied: The five members of the girl group have just changed their looks and are preparing for the second round of performances. It should be fine based on their expressions.
Yu Hanjiang: Where is Liang Ting?
Ye Qi: I just saw her agent. She said that Teacher Liang has a headache and is resting next door.
Just after sending the message, he suddenly heard a scream from next door. “Ah!”
Just then, the five members of the girl group came on stage and there were deafening screams and applause.
The scream from next door overlapped with the screams from the fans at the concert, almost making Ye Qi think it was a hallucination. Even so, he immediately got up from the sofa and walked next door to check the situation.
He came to the door of the lounge next door. There was something wrong! The agent was standing at the door with wide eyes. Her mouth was covered and her face was full of horror. Ye Qi walked beside her, followed her gaze and couldn’t help freezing in place.
He saw Liang Ting wearing the black fishtail dress, her body bent in the shape of a shrimp. She was lying on her side and blood flowed down the corner of her mouth. She was reaching out to the door like she was calling for help. The woman’s body was stiff and she was not breathing.
Ye Qi perceived something had happened and immediately sent a message to Xiao Lou: Liang Ting had an accident!
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other and asked Shao Qingge to take them backstage quickly.
The concert officially started at 8 o’clock and the security guards cleared the backstage, blocking the exit and entrance to prevent paparazzi and black fans from getting in. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou weren’t familiar and didn’t have work badges. The security guards stopped them and refused to let them pass. Yu Hanjiang simply took out his police officer ID. “Police.”
The security guards were stunned and Shao Qingge raised his eyebrow. “Aren’t you letting us go?”
The several security guards immediately opened the door and let the three of them pass. Yu Hanjiang, Xiao Lou and Shao Qingge strode through the backstage area.
The stadium often held large-scale events and sometimes held cultural evenings. The rest area backstage was large enough to accommodate thousands of people. At this time, the entire passage was closed and only a few rooms were used for this concert.
Yu Hanjiang walked while observing the layout of the backstage area.
The backstage had a ‘回’ shaped layout. The corridor connecting to the big stage was empty and there were no traces of surveillance cameras. It should be out of fear of leaking the privacy of the artists.
The largest room on the left was the staff lounge. Then after passing the corner, there was the dressing room of the 505 girl group, diagonally opposite it was the small dressing room around 10 square metres in size that was reserved for Ye Qi. Teacher Liang Ting was here as a special guest and she had a separate large dressing room. This was the scene of the crime.
Ye Qi saw Group Leader Yu and the others and ran over nervously. “Teacher Liang had an accident…” He felt really sad. Liang Ting had sung really well and Ye Qi respected this senior in the music industry. He had just talked to her and asked for her signature. Then in the blink of an eye, she became a dead person?
Xiao Lou saw Ye Qi’s look and patted him on the shoulder in comfort.
The agent was standing in a dumbfounded manner at the door. She was apparently shocked by the scene in front of her. Then she heard footsteps behind her and finally recovered, taking out her phone in a trembling manner. “Report, call the police!”
Yu Hanjiang spoke softly, “No need, I am the police.”
He took out his police officer’s card and showed it to the agent. Xiao Lou also took out his forensic doctor card. The agent looked at them suspiciously. “This… Did anyone call the police? Why did you arrive so soon…”
Yu Hanjiang told them, “We happened to be nearby.”
He glanced at Xiao Lou and the two of them entered the scene together. They put on gloves and started working.
Xiao Lou laid the corpse flat on the ground and started a simple autopsy. He quickly concluded, “The death time is within 10 minutes and there are no other injuries on the body. The cause of death should be poisoning. The specific toxin must be determined. We need to bring her body back for testing.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded and frowned at the scene. He raised his head to look at the ceiling. For the privacy of the actors, there were no surveillance cameras installed in the dressing room. This was fatal and provided great convenience to the murderer.
Yu Hanjiang quickly searched the room for clues. There was a makeup table with lipstick, foundation, eyeliner etc. next to a large handbag. Yu Hanjiang asked the agent. “Do these belong to a makeup artist or did Liang Ting bring them?”
The agent replied with a pale face. “She is used to bringing her own cosmetics when she goes out.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. He put all the cosmetics into the makeup bag so it could be brought back later to be tested.
There was a black thermos cup on the dressing table. There was no water in it but there was a small trace of lipstick on the cup. Liang Ting should’ve drunk it. In addition, there was an opened bottle of mineral water that Yu Hanjiang also collected.
There were no leftover snacks in the room and no food packaging in the trash can. There were only two ways for the murderer to poison her. The poison was in the cosmetics or the drinking water.
Judging from the circumstances of the incident, it was more likely that the water was poisonous. It was because if the murderer poisoned her lipstick, she might’ve died on the big stage in the middle of the performance. The poison in the water would guarantee her death backstage. She would only drink water backstage.
Liang Ting took to the stage to sing at 9:00 and returned backstage at 9:05.
Immediately afterwards, Ye Qi came to the stage and sang two consecutive songs. Within 10 minutes of Ye Qi singing, Liang Ting was poisoned and died. It would be too late if the murderer wanted to kill her in 10 minutes. The backstage area was so messy that they were likely to be seen by someone. This was too risky. Therefore, the murderer must’ve planned it. They poisoned her water in advance and waited for her to drink the poison.
The things on the makeup table might be messy but the bottle and jars were all upright on the table. The dress on the deceased was neat and her hair and makeup weren’t messy. This proved that she didn’t have any physical conflicts with anyone before her death.
Yu Hanjiang took a few steps from the sofa to the position of the deceased, trying to reproduce the process of the crime.
After Liang Ting drank the poisonous water, she took three steps before falling to the ground. She wanted to call for help but the screams in the venue were deafening. Ye Qi’s singing had attracted the attention of most of the backstage staff and no one heard her call out.
Yu Hanjiang touched his chin and thought for a moment. Then he said sharply. “The murderer must still be at the scene! Block the area immediately. None of the people backstage are allowed to leave!”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality