In the morning, Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou were busy as they drove all over the place. They had lunch and then drove to Qiao Xuening’s hometown.
During the four hour drive, Yu Hanjiang told Xiao Lou to sleep for a while but Xiao Lou wasn’t sleepy. He reorganized the clues for the entire case in the car and recorded all the current doubts in his memo book.
It wasn’t until 5 o’clock that they smoothly arrived at Qiao Xuening’s hometown.
Qiao Xuening mentioned in her interview that her hometown was famous for its picturesque snow scenery. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou came when it snowed yesterday. At first glance, the buildings were covered with snow while there were snow-capped mountains around the town. The edge couldn’t be seen and it was like a beautiful scroll slowly spreading out before their eyes.
The snow scenery here was famous. Due to the snow, the cold air seemed much fresher than in the big city. The snow on the road made it slippery. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou had to be careful when walking. They parked the car and inquired with the locals for the location of the ‘Whale Internet Cafe’.
This Internet cafe had a history of over 10 years in the small town. It should’ve been renovated and expanded in the past two years. The former small Internet cafe had been transformed into a large one that occupied two floors. The French windows were spacious and bright and the snow-capped mountains in the distance could be viewed without obstruction through the windows.
Due to the incredible view, it attracted many tourists. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou took a look around after entering and found that the second floor was almost completely full of people. They went to the front desk of the Internet cafe and a sweet-looking girl asked, “Do the two of you want to drink coffee or surf the Internet?”
Yu Hanjiang took out his police officer’s card and showed it to her. “Is your boss Xu Kai here?”
The girl was startled. “Boss? He rarely comes here. I haven’t seen him in over a month.”
“Do you know where he has been lately?”
“I don’t know. Our Internet cafe is managed by Manager Zhang. He is here today. Wait a minute and I’ll call him over.”
The manager of the Internet cafe quickly came to the front desk. “Police? What do you want with my cousin?”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “Don’t worry, we aren’t here to arrest him. We are just investigating something that he might have knowledge of.”
The other person was obviously relieved when he heard this. “He should be sleeping late at home. There was a drinking party last night and he was drunk. He might not be awake yet.”
Yu Hanjiang found Xu Kai according to the address provided by his cousin.
His residence was very stylish and was in the best villa area in the town. There were two luxury cars parked in front of the door. According to Yu Hanjiang’s investigation, he was still unmarried but had constant girlfriends. His private life was chaotic.
Hearing the doorbell ringing non-stop, Xu Kai rubbed his sleepy eyes, his expression terrible. “Who is it?”
Yu Hanjiang spoke calmly. “Police. Mr Xu, please open the door.”
Xu Kai raised an eyebrow and suspiciously came over to open the door. “Why are the police looking for me? I have been drinking for the past few days… could it be that someone drank to death?”
Yu Hanjiang asked directly, “Do you remember Qiao Xuening?”
Xu Kai’s face was slightly stiff and he opened the door for the two of them to enter the house.
He poured a glass of water for the two of them and sat on the sofa with crossed legs. “What’s wrong with Qiao Xuening? Wasn’t the case between me and her closed long ago? The police actually came to my door. Does she want to sue me again?”
“Four years ago, why did you suddenly expose her photos?”
Xu Kai smiled jokingly. “It is just a revenge mentality. She pretended to be a lady in front of the fans and innocent during interviews. I wanted her fans to see her true face.”
Yu Hanjiang’s voice was cold. “Did you know that it is illegal to infringe on people’s privacy when you exposed the photos?”
Xu Kai shrugged indifferently. “At the time, I didn’t think much. When we were together, she called me husband every day and said she loved me so much she couldn’t live without me. Then she went to university and saw all the rich and handsome men around her. She started to dislike me for being ignorant and from a bad background. She wanted to get rid of me and used the cheap f*king excuse that a long distance relationship is painful.”
He paused before continuing, “Therefore, I posted her photos on the Internet. She dared to dump me. I didn’t want her to have a good result.”
“You lost a lot of money in the lawsuit. Have you ever regretted your impulsive actions?”
Xu Kai was casual. “Regret it? It is just money. I can make more money if I lose it.”
This man was a complete rogue.
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “Did someone instruct you to do this?”
Xu Kai laughed. “Who would dare to instruct me. Growing up, I didn’t even listen to my father’s words. I just thought this woman was too hypocritical so I posted a few photos of her on the Internet for everyone to appreciate. There is no other reason.”
Xiao Lou, “…”
Xu Kai put on an attitude of ‘I am a hooligan and you can’t do anything to me.’ It would obviously be very difficult to pry open his mouth. Xiao Lou had a headache when he saw such a person.
Yu Hanjiang stared coldly at him. “Where did the money for the hot pot restaurant come from?”
“I earned it myself.”
Yu Hanjiang threw the tax records from the tax bureau in front of him. “You opened two hot pot restaurants. The decoration fee must be no less than one million, right? However, the annual income of your Internet cafe was only 150,000 after taxes. You could only afford to open a hot pot restaurant after saving for 10 years. In addition, you just lost a lawsuit and had to compensate Qiao Xuening one million in damages.”
Xu Kai, “……”
The man’s face gradually became difficult to look at. He apparently hadn’t expected the policeman to come prepared and even have records of his Internet cafe’s income. He scratched his head and spoke in a perfunctory manner. “I have other income?”
“Are you saying you committed tax evasion?”
Xu Kai, “……”
This was difficult to answer. If he said he didn’t do tax evasion then his income wouldn’t allow him to afford two hot pot restaurants. If he said he had other income, it meant he was only taxed on the income of 150,000 yuan and he committed tax evasion. Tax evasion would lead to jail!
Xu Kai’s face was a bit stiff. He was about to speak when Yu Hanjiang interrupted him. “Don’t say it is a loan from a bank. Bank loans have records. We went to the bank to check. You don’t have a loan under your name.”
Xu Kai muttered, “I looked for a friend to borrow it…”
“If you found someone to borrow it privately then please provide an IOU, the borrower’s identity and the information about the repayment. Otherwise, the source of so much money is unknown and we can ask a colleague from the Economic Investigation Division to look into your financial issues.”
Xu Kai was completely blocked and had nothing to say. His face was as dark as the bottom of a pot.
Yu Hanjiang folded his arms and stared at this person. “Lin Yiyan gave it to you.”
Xu Kai’s back suddenly stiffened and he refused to speak.
Yu Hanjiang continued, “Furthermore, she didn’t dare leave a clear record of a bank transfer. So instead of transferring money to you, she sold a house and asked the buyer to pay her in cash. She gave you the three million in cash directly, right?”
Xu Kai’s mouth twitched and he spoke in a trembling voice, “Officer, this… Lin Yiyan took the initiative to come to me and asked me to expose Qiao Xuening’s scandal. The sum of money was so large that I would never have to worry about food and clothing in this life. I was tempted! It might be illegal but she was the mastermind! I am just an accomplice… What is the big deal? I will pay the money to Qiao Xuening. In any case, business for my hot pot restaurants have been getting better in the past few years and a few million isn’t a big deal. Can’t I just pay her all of it? It has been so long. Does she still need to report a case and ask you to come investigate me?”
This person was repeatedly questioned by Yu Hanjiang and was finally caught.
Yu Hanjiang had his own methods to deal with this type of hooligan. The man had no principles if he posted private photos of his ex-girlfriend for money. He could see Qiao Xuening for money so he could naturally sell Lin Yiyan, his employer, for self-protection.
Yu Hanjiang spoke lightly, “It wasn’t Qiao Xuening who asked us to check you.”
Xu Kai was startled. “Then… four years ago, the court already made a ruling. I lost money and apologized publicly. Why come to me now?’
“Lin Yiyan was killed.”
Xu Kai was stunned. He realized the meaning of this sentence and he paled. His hands clenched and he trembled. “You, do you suspect that Qiao Xuening killed her in order to get revenge?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “It is possible. So you better cooperate with us and tell us the truth.”
This scumbag was afraid and nodded frantically. “I must say it! Qiao Xuening hasn’t contacted me. She deleted my contact information a long time ago and I changed my mobile number in the past few years. I thought all the things that happened back then were over. Didn’t she make a comeback and is doing well?”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Does Qiao Xuening have a twin sister or someone who looks like her?”
Xu Kai shook his head. “No, she is an only child. Their family lives not far from my home. I often saw her playing alone in the square as a child. I’ve never heard of her having sisters.”
“Does she like ice?”
Xu Kai was stunned by this question and spoke after a moment of silence, “Ice? She is most afraid of ice. She was born with a cold body. Even if the heating is on in winter, she must turn on an electric blanket in advance when sleeping. She needs to go to sleep in a warm bed or she can’t sleep. It often snows here. Others will play outside in the snow but she doesn’t dare touch the snow. She always walks with her hands stuffed in her pocket.”
Xiao Lou heard this and couldn’t help being curious. What did the ice cubes in Lin Yiyan’s bathtub mean? Was it related to being afraid of the cold?
Next, Yu Hanjiang asked a lot about Qiao Xuening including her habits and hobbies. However, Xu Kai was in a relationship with her over 10 years ago. She had just graduated from high school and was a lot different.
Xu Kai’s knowledge of her was limited and he could only provide so many clues.
Yu Hanjiang warned him, “If Qiao Xuening is really Lin Yiyan’s murderer then you will also be in danger. Be careful of her revenge. She is filming these days but the show will soon be over. You can try to bring someone to accompany you when going out. In addition, don’t be at home alone.”
A chill went down Xu Kai’s spine and he got goosebumps. “I-I know. I will be careful!”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou left Xu Kai’s house. Then they visited Qiao Xuening’s school and the neighborhood where she lived as a child. The neighbours and school teachers said that Qiao Xuening had no twin sisters and they had never seen a girl who looked like her.
She grew up here. Her parents couldn’t have had two daughters and hid one of them. In addition, the hospital in the town had her mother’s birth record. If another daughter was born then it was impossible for the doctor to miss it, right?
Therefore, the doubt about Qiao Xuening having a twin sister could be completely ruled out. Where did the person who looked like her come from?
This town was a four hours drive from Binzhou. Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou checked the clues until 9 o’clock at night. They went to the hot pot restaurant opened by Xu Kai for a meal and found their business was indeed good. It was so late yet the seats were full.
The two of them decided to stay here for one night.
Yu Hanjiang booked a room at a local hotel. After dinner, he and Xiao Lou returned to the hotel together. They had a shower and started to discuss what they gained today. Yu Hanjiang spoke first. “The biggest problem right now is to find the stand-in.”
Xiao Lou wondered, “If it isn’t twins then how can there be such a person?”
Yu Hanjiang thought about it carefully before replying, “Plastic surgery.”
Xiao Lou was slightly startled before reacting. “Yes, current plastic surgery technology is so advanced. It can indeed make you look similar to another person’s face.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Qiao Xuening is 168 cm tall and she weighs 50 kg. This is relatively well-balanced and it isn’t difficult to find a girl who is the same height and weight as her. As long as the other person has a familiar face shape, she can ask this person to perform plastic surgery based on Qiao Xuening’s features. After makeup is worn, the person who had surgery will be ‘manufactured’ to look exactly like Qiao Xuening.”
Xiao Lou got the chills when he heard this. “It was said that Qiao Xuening was hit hard and was depressed for two years. In fact, she wasn’t depressed, almost committed suicide and hid in her home to adjust her mood. She was actually… creating a stand-in for her own use?”
“It is possible. In those two years, she disappeared from public view and terminated her contract with her previous agent. She didn’t even want to see her parents. Perhaps she knew it was Lin Yiyan who instructed her ex-boyfriend to expose her photos, causing her nude photos to be spread all over the Internet and privately collected by countless people. She had a grudge and wanted to kill Lin Yiyan.”
Xiao Lou continued the topic. “However, she was worried that she would be convicted of murder. She thought about it and decided to secretly create a stand-in. When necessary, she can use her stand-in as an alibi so she can remain innocent and the police’s investigation will reach a deadlock.”
“The perpetrator of Lin Yiyan’s case is very clever. After freezing Lin Yiyan in the bathtub, they used Lin Yiyan’s phone to send WeChat messages to relatives and friends, confusing Lin Yiyan’s time of death. If it wasn’t for the neighbour’s cat suddenly entering through the window and becoming bloody, perhaps her next plan would be to log into Lin Yiyan’s Weibo account and announce her withdrawal from the entertainment industry.”
The more Xiao Lou thought about it, the more terrible it became.
She silently killed Lin Yiyan and then forged Lin Yiyan’s messages to make Lin Yiyan disappear completely from the entertainment world. After a while, she would come back to deal with the corpse and no one would be able to find Lin Yiyan. Letting a person completely disappear from the world while ensuring she was free of suspicion. This meticulous scheming was truly frightening.
The two of them were deep in discussion when Yu Hanjiang’s phone rang. The nervous voice of the police intern Xiao Wu was heard. “Group Leader Yu, it isn’t good! A murder has occurred in the villa area of Bingxue Town. A man named Xu Kai was killed! It is said that his cousin went to look for him tonight and found Xu Kai dead in the bathtub. He called the police and the local police officers have already gone to the scene…”
Yu Hanjiang’s expression changed. He immediately put on his coat and went with Xiao Lou to the scene. As he strode out, he called Qu Wanyue. “Teacher Qu, where is Qiao Xuening?”
“She just finished dancing with me and went back to the hotel to sleep.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang exchanged looks.
Qiao Xuening was still filming in the crew and Qu Wanyue was always staring at her. At night, Shao Qingge arranged for Liu Qiao to live in the room above hers to pay attention to her movements. She couldn’t run for four hours to kill Xu Kai in a small town.
Xu Kai was suddenly killed. Who was the killer? Was it Qiao Xuening or her stand-in? Was the person in the crew really Qiao Xuening?
Proofreader: Fictional Reality