Xie Yuan finished his transcript and saw Sister Chen waiting for him in the lobby. Sister Chen lowered her head in an ashamed manner. “I’m sorry, I should’ve been with Teacher Liang. If I hadn’t walked away, she wouldn’t have been killed…”
Xie Yuan wiped his eyes in an embarrassed manner and put on his scarf and hat. He interrupted her in a hoarse voice, “It is useless to say these things. I’ll go back first. The children are still waiting for me at home. In addition, Ting Ting’s matter shouldn’t be released to the public for the time being. Please take care of it at the studio and wait for the investigation results. I will hold Ting Ting’s funeral only after the matter is clear.”
The two people left while chatting. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou happened to see Xie Yuan’s back as they came out of the police station. Xiao Lou sighed lightly as he saw their backs disappear out the door. “No matter the murderer’s action, the poorest ones as a result of Liang Ting’s death are her two children.”
Yu Hanjiang whispered, “Xie Yuan should be hiding it from the children for the time being. I hope this matter won’t have too much of a negative impact on them.”
Xiao Lou nodded and headed to the car. He and Yu Hanjiang went home together. By the time he got home, it was 1:30 in the morning. Yu Hanjiang took a hot shower and returned to his bedroom to lie down.
He tossed and turned on the bed and couldn’t fall asleep. So he sat up with a frown, leaned against the bed, turned on the lamp, took out the transcript and read the testimonies of everyone today. The more Yu Hanjiang read, the more he felt that things were wrong.
He could confirm that Ye Lan wasn’t the murderer. She was in the bathroom the whole time and couldn’t have committed the crime.
The other two members of the girl group, Li Shengnan and Qin Huanhuan were applying makeup in the dressing room. Many people could confirm it. They never left the dressing room and naturally couldn’t go out to poison Liang Ting.
Only Zhao Yuxin and Liu Xi in the girl group hadn’t been ruled out.
Zhao Yuxin was the first to leave the bathroom. In addition, Liu Xi spent a long time looking for tissues and couldn’t provide a strong alibi. They both had time to go to Liang Ting’s lounge and poison her. Their lounge was also in the west corridor next to Liang Ting’s lounge. They didn’t need to worry about the staff noticing anything. It was very convenient to poison Liang Ting.
However, there must always be a motive for killing. Zhao Yuxin or Liu Xi, what was their motive to kill Liang Ting?
From a data point of view, Zhao Yuxin’s father was a famous pianist and her mother was a dancer. She had been influenced by her parents since she was a child and inherited the advantages of her parents. She was good at singing and dancing and was proficient in musical instruments. Zhao Yuxin won the championship of the show without question and signed with Starlight Entertainment. She was currently serving as the captain of the 505 girl group and was the most popular member.
Zhao Yuxin and Xie Yuan didn’t know each other. Liang Ting also praised her for her talents and appearance. She and Liang Ting should have no grievances. She was young and popular. Why would she risk killing someone and ruining her own future?
Liu Xi was also young and promising. She might’ve been born in an ordinary working class family and had a poor academic performance, but her voice was good. Her voice was the most similar to Liang Ting’s voice and she was also the most loved by Liang Ting.
This girl didn’t like to talk but she was very serious about music. It was said that every time she recorded a song, she would practice repeatedly in the recording studio until her recorded voice was flawless. Since her ethereal voice was highly recognizable, from a professional point of view, she would have no worries about her future even if the girl group disbanded in the future. Her voice belonged to the gods.
Liang Ting highly appreciated her and gave her the rating of a ‘soul singer.’ What motivation did she have to kill Liang Ting?
Zhao Yuxin and Liu Xi’s family environments meant they couldn’t have a grudge against Liang Ting due to this. Both of them went to music schools. In recent years, Liang Ting hadn’t gone to any music schools to participate in activities. The only intersection with Liang Ting was when they participated in the audition show and Liang Ting served as their mentor for a period of time.
Judging from the behind the scenes video of the audition show, Liang Ting was nominally a mentor but she actually showed up twice a week. She instructed the girls in the recording studio on their pronunciation, breathing and other details. In the videos, Liang Ting was strict but the five girls really respected her. After all, she was a senior in the music industry and it was an honor to have her teach five rookies.
The teacher and students got along well. The girls were very polite to Liang Ting and always called her ‘Teacher Liang’. After the instructions, everyone would have a meal together. Judging from the videos, the atmosphere of the meal was pleasant. The five girls turned to Liang Ting and toasted her to thank her for her professional guidance.
After that, the five girls smoothly made their debut. They were busy rehearsing, recording songs and doing various jobs. They never had any other intersection with Liang Ting. In the past three years since their debut, Liang Ting rarely made public appearances.
Only extreme hatred would lead to killing someone. The total time that the five girls had been in contact with Liang Ting was no more than a week. Yu Hanjiang frowned and thought about it. There was no reason for Zhao Yuxin or Liu Xi to want to poison Liang Ting.
Could it be that all five members of the girl group weren’t the murderers? They were just interference objects?
Yu Hanjiang once again read the information of the five girls and carefully analyzed every line. After reading it, he squeezed his pained head and finally put the pile of materials onto the bedside table next to him. Perhaps his judgment was correct and these five young girls had no motive to kill Liang Ting.
If his inference that the ‘five girls aren’t murderers’ was true, there was one possibility left. Ye Lan wasn’t deliberately lying. She accidentally said the wrong thing when she was nervous. The ‘footsteps in the bathroom’ she mentioned was a distraction. The murderer might have never been to the bathroom.
After all, Ye Lan, Liu Xi, Zhao Yuxin and Sister Chen all had no motives to kill. He had been so focused on the bathroom that perhaps he entered the wrong mindset. In reasoning, if one line didn’t work out then he could try to find ideas in another line. What if the killer hadn’t been in the bathroom? Then who was the killer?
At that time, most of the staff members were gathered at the southeast corner to listen to Ye Qi’s singing while the makeup artists and stylists were resting in the west corridor. Two of them were eating takeout in the tea room. These people could easily enter Liang Ting’s lounge.
The makeup artists and stylists of the girl group could be eliminated first. They were working together to help the girl group with their makeup and changing clothes. All the makeup artists and stylists never left during this period. Yu Hanjiang had specifically asked this last night and it had been confirmed by many people.
The makeup and styling team was invited by the agent Yun Lan and had been working with the girl group for a long time. They didn’t know that Liang Ting was invited as a guest for the concert. Naturally, it was impossible to prepare potassium cyanide in advance to poison Liang Ting backstage.
In the same way, Ye Qi’s stylist Tony was invited by Yun Lan. Even Ye Qi didn’t know that Liang Ting was a special guest. Naturally, his stylist couldn’t know in advance. All that was left were the makeup artist and stylist Liang Ting had brought in.
Yu Hanjiang frowned as he recalled the testimonies of these two people.
The makeup artist Xiao Su said that when Teacher Liang came down, the takeout she ordered happened to be delivered. She asked if Teacher Liang wanted to change her appearance. Teacher Liang told her to eat first so she went to get the takeout.
The stylist Ah Kim said the two of them were eating together in the lounge and chatting…
Yu Hanjiang’s eyes narrowed slightly. There were obvious loopholes in the testimonies of these two people! Two people obviously weren’t necessary to get a few takeout boxes. Just one person was enough.
The fact that the two of them had been in the lounge when eating was an alibi for each other. Then what about when receiving the takeout? The two of them must’ve been separated.
It didn’t matter if the makeup artist Xiao Su sneaked into Teacher Liang’s dressing room to poison her or if the stylist Ah Kim took advantage of his companion getting the takeout to poison Liang Ting. The thing was that the two of them couldn’t prove each other’s whereabouts for a few minutes.
Yu Hanjiang seized on this and continued to analyze it.
The makeup artist Xiao Su had been working with Liang Ting for a long time. She knew Liang Ting’s preferences and mentioned that Teacher Liang had a serious cleanliness habit so Liang Ting always brought her own cosmetics. If she was the murderer, she could easily enter and exit Liang Ting’s lounge as the makeup artist, putting the potassium cyanide in the thermos Liang Ting usually drank from. Then she just had to grab the takeout and go back casually.
The stylist Ah Kim was a man with dyed blond hair, white skin and a bit of a girlish manner of talking. Yu Hanjiang remembered he said that it was his first time working with Teacher Liang. If he and Teacher Liang had any grudges then he might take this opportunity to get close to Liang Ting. After all, the makeup and styling were determined a week in advance and he had plenty of time to prepare.
Yu Hanjiang thought up to here and his mind suddenly brightened. It was already past three o’clock in the morning. He turned off the lights and fell asleep. He only slept for three hours before getting up to pick up Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou saw the obvious dark circles under his eyes and couldn’t help asking, “You didn’t sleep last night?”
Yu Hanjiang pinched his brow, his voice a bit dry. “I couldn’t sleep until three o’clock.”
Xiao Lou handed breakfast over to him. “Were you thinking of the case?”
Yu Hanjiang said in a helpless tone, “It is an occupational disease. I can’t sleep well if I don’t clear out the clues. After going back last night, I sorted out everyone’s confessions and found some doubts.”
He showed Xiao Lou the key parts of the transcripts.
Xiao Lou looked down at the transcript. “The makeup artist went to grab the takeout… is there a problem with this?” His eyes lit up and he quickly figured it out. “The makeup artist went to get the takeout but the hair stylist didn’t go. The two of them were separated for a few minutes, right?!”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes, we have been paying attention to the girl group and agent in the bathroom but they have no motive for the crime. Now it seems that these two passersby we overlooked in the beginning might be the murderer hidden behind the scenes.”
Xiao Lou’s back was cold as he thought about the makeup artist and hair stylist he saw yesterday.
The makeup artist was a woman in her 30s with beautiful nail polish and delicate makeup on her face. She wore a camel-coloured cashmere coat, a plaid scarf and high heels. She was very fashionable.
Xiao Lou had a strong impression of the hair stylist Ah Kim. After all, he was a bit effeminate when he spoke. Although he was a man, he was thin, fair-skinned and only 1.7 metres tall. He seemed to be the typical stereotype in the gay circles.
Xiao Lou respected everyone’s personality but he had an uncomfortable feeling when Ah Kim spoke yesterday. He always thought that something was wrong?
Xiao Lou touched his chin thoughtfully but couldn’t think of the reason. By the time his senses returned, Yu Hanjiang had finished the breakfast. Yu Hanjiang started the car and said, “Once back at the police station, I will focus on questioning these people. You can accompany me.”
Xiao Lou also wanted to hear what these people said and nodded. “Okay, I’ll help you record their words.”
On the road, Yu Hanjiang called these people and asked them to go to the police station. It didn’t take long for him to arrive at the station before the three people came. Ye Lan came the fastest. She happened to be staying at a nearby hotel. She was a celebrity and it wasn’t easy for her to appear in public. Her agent Yun Lan was also by her side. Ye Lan had wrapped her head in a scarf and covered her face tightly with sunglasses and a mask.
Yu Hanjiang called her in first and asked her why she lied. “Yesterday, you said that you heard someone enter the bathroom. However, I asked other people present. During that time, no one other than the four of you went to the bathroom… why did you lie?”
Ye Lan was startled. Her fingers tangled together and she was obviously a bit nervous. She trembled as she answered, “I-I might’ve remembered wrong. I was suddenly called for questioning by you and my agent said that Teacher Liang had an accident. I was very nervous and didn’t remember clearly if there were footsteps in the bathroom. In any case, my mind was quite confused at the time.”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Why were you nervous? Is it a guilty conscience?”
Ye Lan’s lips lightly shook. She gritted her teeth and refused to speak.
Yu Hanjiang requested, “Please tell the truth about your knowledge of Xie Yuan, Liang Ting and your senior school sister Lin Yiyan.”
Ye Lan’s face stiffened the moment she heard Lin Yiyan’s name. She looked up and forcibly maintained her calm. “Lin Yiyan? I know that she graduated from the Seventeenth Central School but I’m not very familiar with her…”
Yu Hanjiang directly interrupted her. “Then why did you appear at the door of Lin Yiyan’s villa? You were passing there by chance?”
Ye Lan, “……”
Xiao Lou looked at her and spoke softly, “Miss Ye, you have a good family and a bright future. You don’t want to leave the stain of perjury on your body right? It is better to tell the truth. We can find out when we check it.”
Ye Lan heard Xiao Lou’s gentle words and gritted her teeth. She was silent for a moment before making up her mind and whispering, “I-I went to her house to grab a few things. I saw Xie Yuan coming out of her house in disheveled clothes. They should’ve had an affair… Teacher Liang also knows about it.”
Yu Hanjiang raised his eyebrow. “How did Liang Ting know about it?”
Ye Lan explained, “Teacher Liang has a serious obsession with cleanliness. Xie Yuan came home and she smelled another woman’s perfume. She remembered the smell of that perfume. Our group was invited to this year’s film festival awards ceremony for a performance. Teacher Liang was a judge for the Best Music Award and Lin Yiyan attended the awards ceremony. The perfume she used was a limited edition and the scent was very special.”
Ye Lan paused, her face pale and seemed truthful. “Teacher Liang’s nose is too keen and she could instantly smell it on Lin Yiyan’s body. After the film festival, she asked Lin Yiyan to go to the lounge. I happened to pass by and saw Liang Ting slap Lin Yiyan several times. Afterwards, I asked Sister Lin Yiyan about what happened and she said that Liang Ting smelled the perfume on her body.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang, “…….”
Liang Ting had a great talent for being a detective. It seemed that she and Lin Yiyan had a violent conflict.
Ye Lan lowered her head. “The moment I heard that Teacher Liang had an accident, my first reaction was that… Lin Yiyan did something. I know my senior sister and she grew up spoiled by her parents. She was slapped without being able to do anything and she must hate Teacher Liang very much. Her love for Xie Yuan has also lasted so many years and is almost like a heart disease.”
Lin Yiyan died early yet Ye Lan suspected Lin Yiyan as the murderer? Yu Hanjiang noticed that something was wrong and asked in a low voice. “You suspect that Lin Yiyan is the murderer but she didn’t come to the concert. How could she kill Teacher Liang?”
Ye Lan was stunned and exclaimed, “She did come!”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou looked at each other. “What do you mean?”
Ye Lan unlocked her phone in a trembling manner, found her chat history with Lin Yiyan and showed it to Yu Hanjiang. “Group Leader Yu, look. She sent me a message yesterday saying it is my first concert and she will definitely come.”
Yu Hanjiang took the phone and read it. It was indeed a WeChat message sent by Lin Yiyan. The time was 3:30 yesterday afternoon and the content was consistent with Ye Lan’s words.
He immediately called his colleague and asked him to check the ticket sales records on the official website for the concert. Xiao Wu quickly replied, “The ticket for seat 701 in area C of the VIP area was indeed bought by a person with the ID of Lin Yiyan.”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Did this person enter the concert venue during the ticket check last night?”
“The ticket check records show that the person in seat 701 of Area C didn’t come last night.”
This was natural. Lin Yiyan was already dead and the murderer wouldn’t dare run to the concert with her ID card. It would be miserable if they were caught by the police. The murderer just sent a message to Ye Lan to confuse her and create the illusion that Lin Yiyan was still alive. It was precisely because of this that Ye Lan suspected that Lin Yiyan had killed Liang Ting.
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Ye Lan. “How long have you known Lin Yiyan? What else do you know?”
Ye Lan replied softly, “We met at school. At that time, we were both fans of Xie Yuan. We had a common language and could talk to each other. Later, she was admitted to the movie school and we lost contact for a few years. I participated in the audition show and won a prize. She took the initiative to contact me. She said it isn’t easy to find people who can talk to each other in a complicated place like the entertainment industry. We should look after each other in the future.”
Ye Lan took a deep breath and continued. “She added me as a friend and acted very well. However, I am more introverted and didn’t talk much. Most of the time, she treats me as an object of confession and I’m at ease being a listener. If she is unhappy, she will tell me about it. This includes Liang Ting smelling her perfume, slapping her and her one night stand with Xie Yuan. I am the only one who knows.”
Yu Hanjiang read through the chat history of the two people.
A month ago, Lin Yiyan sent a message to Ye Lan: Congratulations junior sister. I heard that your 505 girl group will hold a concert in November? I also want to go. I have already bought a VIP ticket to support your first concert.
Ye Lan sent a flattered expression: Thank you, senior sister. You are so busy. In fact, there is no need to come to the concert. I am very moved by your intentions.
Lin Yiyan sent a smile: Then I’ll take a look. I won’t come if I’m too busy. I’ll come if I have time.”
In the months that followed, the two people had no contact.
Ye Lan said, “I thought she was just being polite but she actually came.”
Yu Hanjiang was silent for a moment before saying, “She didn’t come yesterday.”
Ye Lan looked confused. “She sent me a message saying she was coming.”
Yu Hanjiang told her, “Lin Yiyan is dead.”
Ye Lan, “……”
Proofreader: Fictional Reality