Yu Hanjiang made a phone call to his colleagues in the criminal police team. His colleagues rushed to the scene and completely locked down the backstage area. Tonight’s concert had tens of thousands of spectators so it was better to avoid the news of Liang Ting’s death spreading out, causing panic and a serious stampede. Therefore, Yu Hanjiang decided to conduct a secret investigation in the backstage area while letting the concert continue.
Yun Lan came to the scene with Ye Qi. After seeing Liang Ting’s body, her face was extremely ugly. After all, Liang Ting was a guest she had invited personally who died at the concert. How would she explain it to Liang Ting’s family and fans?
Yu Hanjiang walked up to her and asked, “Miss Yun, what were you doing backstage while Ye Qi went on stage to sing? Did you see any suspicious characters?”
Yun Lan’s senses returned. She clenched her fists and her lips kept trembling. “I… when Teacher Liang was singing on stage, I was in the dressing room next door to decide the makeup and hair for the five members of the girl group. Teacher Liang’s song finished after they had changed clothes. I went to pick up Teacher Liang. At the time, there were many people around her asking for an autograph…”
Ye Qi nodded to prove this. “Yes, Teacher Liang returned to the backstage and there were indeed many staff members. I went up to her to ask for an autograph. She signed it for everyone and I wanted to get a copy. Then I went on stage to sing.”
Yu Hanjiang inquired, “Teacher Liang went directly back to her lounge and didn’t go anywhere else?”
“I don’t know. After Ye Qi came on stage, I have been standing at the corner on the east side…” Yun Lan pointed in a trembling manner to the corner at the end of the corridor where the big stage could be seen through the gap. “I wanted to hear Ye Qi sing his two songs. It is the first time he performed on such a big stage and I was afraid he would fail. Where did Teacher Liang go? I’m afraid you will have to ask Sister Chen.”
She looked back at Sister Chen. Sister Chen was Liang Ting’s agent and she immediately spoke. “I took Teacher Liang to the lounge and asked her if she wanted to change her clothes. She said that she had a headache and didn’t want to change. She wanted to be alone for a while and let me down my own work. I felt sick so I went to the bathroom. I came back and saw her… fallen on the ground.”
At this point, the agent’s face became uglier. Her eyes were red and she was about to cry. Her voice was clearly choked up. “Teacher Liang has been fine all day. Why suddenly…”
Yu Hanjiang interrupted her. “On the way to the bathroom and back, did you see anyone in the corridor?”
Sister Chen replied, “On the way there, I saw Zhao Yuxin, Ye Lan and Liu Xi in the bathroom and greeted them. Then when I came back, I saw Ye Qi and his agent.”
Yun Lan added, “Yes, just now, Ye Qi returned backstage after the performance and we met Sister Chen in the corridor.”
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Ye Qi and the latter immediately nodded to confirm it.
Yu Hanjiang raised his wrist to look at his watch and frowned slightly. “You went to the bathroom when Liang Ting returned backstage and only came out after Ye Qi stepped down. In other words, you stayed in the bathroom for 15 minutes?”
Sister Chen was embarrassed. “I’ve recently had some constipation.”
Yu Hanjiang, “…”
If it was constipation then it was normal to stay in the bathroom for over 10 minutes, provided that she wasn’t lying. The agent looked nervous and her body was trembling the entire time. He just didn’t know if she was scared or guilty. Her testimony had yet to be checked. After all, she only met people on the way to and from the bathroom. She never came out of the bathroom in the 15 minutes in between and no one could prove it for her.
Yu Hanjiang took a notebook out of his pocket and quickly wrote down the doubts in her testimony.
Next, Yu Hanjiang went to question the backstage staff and the assistants of the celebrities.
The backstage area was a ‘回’ structure. Since the staff’s lounge and Liang Ting’s makeup room were far apart, they had to take another path to go to the bathroom. Therefore, it was difficult for them to know what happened to Liang Ting. This also led to no witnesses when Liang Ting’s accident happened.
There were more than two dozen backstage staff as well as a dozen security guards.
Yu Hanjiang checked them one by one and questioned them. No one knew what happened in Liang Ting’s dressing room and no one saw any suspicious people appearing in the corridor. The staff members could confirm each other’s alibis.
During the time when the 505 female group were singing on stage, most of the staff were gossiping in the lounge and watching the performance from the corner. Then when Ye Qi came on stage, Ye Qi sang so well that a group of people crowded in the corner to listen to the song. They had never been to the corridor where Teacher Liang’s dressing room was located.
One of the female assistants of the 505 girl group said, “The place where we listened to the song is far away from Teacher Liang’s dressing room and it is separated by several walls. Besides, the screams of the fans at the concert are too noisy. We really don’t know what happened to Teacher Liang!”
Everyone was nervous when questioned and they started discussing it.
”What happened to Teacher Liang?”
”She was fine when she stepped down and signed for us…”
”Why is the police asking about Teacher Liang’s situation.”
Yu Hanjiang didn’t tell them about Liang Ting’s death. He just reminded everyone that if they remembered seeing anyone enter Teacher Liang’s dressing room today, they had to tell him.
An enthusiastic security guard told him, “Teacher Liang is such a big name that we didn’t dare bother her. The only people who can enter her dressing room should be her makeup artist, stylist, assistant and agent!”
A girl next to him added, “There are also the 505 female group members, Ye Qi and their agent. The stars are all in the west corridor to make it easy to chat with each other. We can’t go there.”
Yu Hanjiang certainly knew this. Liang Ting’s status was high and the ordinary staff members of the concert didn’t dare rush to disturb her. The number of people who could enter her dressing room was limited and the most suspicious ones were among those people.
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Sister Chen. “Where are Teacher Liang’s makeup artist and stylist?”
“I don’t see them either.” Sister Chen turned her head in confusion. “Does anyone know where Xiao Su and Ah Kim are?”
“The two of them said that they were too hungry and wanted to order takeout. It is estimated that they are eating takeout in the lounge over there.” Teacher Tony, the one who did Ye Qi’s hair, replied with a smile.
Yu Hanjiang walked around the corner and came to the lounge in the north. This was the place for makeup artists and stylists to rest. He opened the door and saw a man and a woman sitting on the sofa and eating the two lunchboxes in front of them.
Seeing Yu Hanjiang walking in with Xiao Lou, Shao Qingge and Ye Qi, the yellow-haired stylist’s chicken leg fell to the ground. He hurriedly reached out to pick it up and asked with a puzzled look on his face, “What’s going on? So many people?”
Yu Hanjiang showed his police officer’s ID card to the two of them and asked in a low voice, “I am a policeman and I hope you will cooperate in the investigation of a case. Where were you during the period when Liang Ting was on stage?”
The two of them glanced at each other. Yu Hanjiang frowned at the two. “Do you want me to repeat the question?”
The female makeup artist, Xiao Su shivered under his cold gaze and immediately replied. “Officer! Both of us were too busy to eat today! When Teacher Liang came down from the stage, the takeout we ordered was delivered. I asked Teacher Liang if she wanted to change her appearance after the performance. She said no and let us go eat first. Therefore, we came to this lounge to eat.”
The blond stylist Ah Kim immediately nodded. “Yes, we have been eating and chatting here. What’s the matter? Why did the police come to the concert suddenly?” He looked at Tony, who was also a stylist. Tony walked over with a pale face and whispered, “Something seems to have happened to Teacher Liang. I just heard a scream…”
Yu Hanjiang asked the makeup artist, “The cosmetics used on Liang Ting today are her own?”
The makeup artist nodded. “Yes, she has a habit of cleanliness. She is used to bringing her own cosmetics and she doesn’t use my things.”
“Are you her main makeup artist and stylist?”
Sister Chen spoke from the side. “Xiao Su often puts makeup on for Teacher Liang while Ah Kim is temporary. It is his teacher who usually does the styling for Teacher Liang. This time, his teacher went abroad for something and asked him to come work. After trying the styling, Teacher Liang felt very satisfied and let him.”
Ah Kim shyly tucked his hair behind one ear. “I have done styling for many celebrities before but this is the first time I’ve collaborated with Teacher Liang. Teacher Liang is super easy to talk to.”
Xiao Lou, “…”
There were some stylists in the entertainment industry who had that type of ‘effeminate’ air. When they talked, they almost always placed their index finger and thumb together while extending the rest of their fingers. Today, these two Tony and Ah Kim were pretty good at it.
Yu Hanjiang was accustomed to seeing all types of people and continued to question them calmly. “Was Liang Ting’s mood wrong during the styling process?”
The makeup artist replied, “No, she was joking with us and looked like she was in a good mood.”
Yu Hanjiang asked again, “Did she receive any messages from others or calls?”
The makeup artist glanced at Sister Chen. “It wasn’t convenient for her to bring her mobile phone when changing clothes. It seems that Sister Chen kept her mobile phone?”
Sister Chen hurriedly took out the phone, entered the password to unlock it and handed it to Yu Hanjiang. “Xie Yuan called when the concert started at 8 o’clock tonight. At that time, Teacher Liang was changing clothes and it wasn’t convenient to answer. I picked up the call. Xie Yuan asked me to tell Teacher Liang to go home directly after the concert. He cooked supper and is waiting for Teacher Liang to eat with their children.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “How is Xie Yuan’s relationship with Liang Ting?”
Sister Chen replied, “They are a model couple. They have been married for 10 years and are still very affectionate.”
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes swept over everyone present and finally fell on the agent Yun Lan. “Once the 505 girl group returns backstage, let them continue to sing. If you tell them about Teacher Liang, it is too easy to cause mass panic among the audience of the concert.”
Yun Lan nodded with a pale face. “I understand… the concert will proceed as usual.”
Yu Hanjiang added, “I will continue to investigate here. Once the concert is over, let the five girls come to me to give their statements.” He glanced at the security guard captain next to me. “The entire backstage area has been surrounded by my colleagues and no one is allowed to leave. If someone asks why, tell them that there is a criminal case that needs to be investigated. I hope everyone will cooperate.”
The security guard captain nodded. “Yes, Group Leader Yu. We will cooperate.”
Yu Hanjiang took Xiao Lou, Shao Qingge and Ye Qi to an empty lounge.
Ye Qi asked nervously. “Group Leader Yu, is there a conclusion?”
Yu Hanjiang took out a pen and paper. Then he drew a plan of the entire backstage area while marking the direction.
West B ———– E East.
The distribution of the backstage area was roughly shown. Among them, there were three rooms in the west corridor. Room A in the northwest corner was a large suite and it was the dressing room and lounge of the 505 girl group. Room B was around five metres along the corridor and it was a VIP room. Teacher Liang’s dressing room and lounge were here. Room C in the southwest corner was Ye Qi’s lounge.
All the stars’ rooms were in the corridor on the west side.
There was a bathroom in the north and south and a tea room nearby. Just now, the makeup artist and stylist were eating takeout in the tea room in the north.
In the east corridor, D and E were the restrooms for the staff and security guards.
The F area in the southeast corner was the passageway from backstage to the concert stage. It was where they could watch the situation on the big stage. During Liang Ting and Ye Qi’s performance, many staff members crowded here to watch.
Yu Hanjiang pointed to the distribution of the lounges. “Liang Ting’s VIP room is in position B and the staff’s lounge is in position E. There is no connection between the corridors on the east and west side and there are two corners in between. It is really hard to hear the movements on the other side. In addition, it isn’t convenient for the staff to directly enter and exit Liang Ting’s dressing room. So it is unlikely that these staff members committed the crime.”
Yu Hanjiang stopped his pen on the west corridor. “The murderer should be here in this area. Excluding Xiao Ye, those who had easy access to Liang Ting’s dressing room include the five members of the 505 girl group, the agents Yun Lan and Sister Chen and Liang Ting’s makeup artist and stylist. Since Yun Lan has an alibi, the current suspects are the rest. It is the five members of the female group as well as Liang Ting’s makeup artist and stylist.
Ye Qi was surprised. “Group Leader Yu, do you mean to say that the murderer is among these seven people?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Pay attention to a few details. The makeup artist said that Teacher Liang has a habit of cleanliness and is used to bringing her own cosmetics. Therefore, it is difficult to put poison in the cosmetics. The more likely scenario is that the water is poisoned. We found a thermos and an unopened mineral water bottle at the scene. The water has been drunk. Right now it is winter. If Liang Ting is thirsty, what would she choose between warm water and cold water?”
Xiao Lou took out the sealed plastic bag with the thermos and said, “She will drink warm water. The poison should be in Liang Ting’s thermos.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes, we can take it back for testing to confirm that the murderer poisoned it after arriving today.”
Shao Qingge wondered, “Why not poison her ahead of time?”
Yu Hanjiang answered, “If poisoned in advance, it will be hard to control when Liang Ting drinks the water. What if she drinks it on the road and dies in the car? There will be very few suspects in contact with Liang Ting and it would be easy to locate the murderer. Therefore, the murderer chose the chaotic concert scene that can create a better alibi for them.”
He put down his pen and spoke simply. “Wait for the female group to finish singing and then we will question them.”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality