Chapter 494 – Who is Lying?
The six people returned to the inn one after another. They each went to their rooms and locked the doors.
Yu Hanjiang pressed the Voice Headset to convene a meeting after making sure there was no one outside and said softly, “Today, we found a lot of clues about the powerful ghost murderer. Everyone, express your ideas and let’s brainstorm it.”
Such a scene reminded him of every time the criminal investigation police team held a meeting to discuss the murderer. His teammates might not be professional criminal investigators but they had gone through many secret rooms together. His teammates had made great progress, especially Xiao Lou. He wanted to hear Xiao Lou’s opinion.
Xiao Lou glanced at Yu Hanjiang and said, “The murderer’s method of committing the murder is to use a strange magic to attract people to the mass burial site in the middle of the night. This evil technique is probably related to the sound of the rattle-drum. After leading people to the mass burial site, the murderer won’t kill them directly. Instead, these people are tortured and forced to starve to death while panicking.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “The murderer’s psychology has been twisted. They aren’t impulsively committing the crime but killing people in a planned and cautious manner. The murderer arranged a retreat by pretending to be a female ghost in white, so that the residents in the small town believe in the legend of the murderous ghost.”
Xiao Lou continued, “We found a solitary grave without a name at the mass burial site. The location of the grave is excellent and someone has continued to offer incense there. The person buried there should be very close to the murderer. In addition, the investigation obtained clues about the famine period. The most reasonable speculation at present is that during the famine 20 years ago, a mysterious organization used ‘captive human animals’ to eat human flesh and drink human blood. The murderer’s relatives or perhaps the murderer was once held captive and mutilated by this organization. The murderer escaped and came back many years later to get revenge, killing all those who participated in the incident back then, even killing all their descendants.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou talked in harmony and tacitly summed up the logic of the current case.
This was the most reasonable motive that the two people had speculated and analyzed based on the clues they had investigated. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain the murderer’s actions with a simple ‘anti-social perverted murderer’.
Liu Qiao wondered, “The rattle-drum should be the key factor in this case. The rattle-drum patterns in the Zhao and Chen houses are both tigers while the investigation proved that the Zodiac signs of the children in the Zhao and Chen families aren’t tigers. Assuming the rattle-drum was left by the murderer, the murderer’s age might be 29 or 41 years old?”
Long Sen said, “The mayor of the town, Qin Feng should be around 29 years old. So far, he hasn’t got married and lives alone in a dark alley, which isn’t quite right. Today, a body was found in the lake but he didn’t continue to investigate. He might not be the murderer but this person is very strange.”
Xiao Lou said calmly, “Qin Feng probably witnessed something during the famine 20 years ago and deduced the logic of the murderer’s crime. Many people on his roster haven’t died yet. This shows he has found the trajectory and motive of the murderer’s crime. The people he recorded who weren’t given a red cross are probably the people the murderer is about to kill. As for today’s drowning case, he won’t let us investigate. This abnormal behavior shows that he might be related to the second case.”
Long Sen scratched his head. “Sure enough, I’m not good at using my brain. I always wondered about the names of those who haven’t died. I only realized it after Professor Xiao’s words!”
Qu Wanyue joked, “You are responsible for running errands and listening.”
Long Sen, “……”
Liu Qiao was very active in the discussion. “The letter left by Senior Gui is very important. On the day of the incident, five people said they saw the female ghost in white. The one who lied must have something to do with the murderer in the ghost murderer case.” She paused for a moment. “Then who is lying?”
Xiao Lou said, “Out of the five people, four said they heard thunder while only one said they didn’t hear it. The one who didn’t hear it must be telling the truth. In the ghost town, the thunder lasted for a very short time after the rainstorm. The five people lived far away from each other and it is impossible for the ghost to appear in five places at the same time when the thunder is heard.”
Yu Hanjiang quickly drew the residences of the five people on a blank piece of paper.
Uncle Liu and Mrs Xue lived close to each other in the southeast direction.
Zhang Chengyu and Lin Yueran were relatively close in the north direction.
The store owner Qin Ruolan lived in the center of the town.
The five people formed a ‘ring’ shape.
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou, pointed to Uncle Liu in the far east and analyzed it, “Uncle Liu was awakened by the thunder and saw a female ghost passing by his door. The witness died three years ago and his words should be credible, right?”
Qu Wanyue remembered the information she just heard. “We asked the neighbors nearby and Mrs Xue was also awakened by thunder. She remarried two years ago and moved to another place. She lived very close to Uncle Liu. If Uncle Liu was telling the truth then the testimony of Mrs Xue should be true as well. The thunder lasted a few seconds. If the female ghost used a shortcut, it would be possible for her to go from the east to southeast area. This way, Uncle Liu and Mrs Xue saw it one after the other?”
Liu Qiao said, “If Uncle Liu, Mrs Xue and the store owner told the truth then the remaining two people shouldn’t have heard the thunder.”
The size of the town was fairly large. If the ghost appeared in the east district, it was impossible for it to appear in the west district at the same time. It would take at least half an hour to move from the east to the west.
Were both people lying?
Xiao Lou looked at the map on the table again. “It is unlikely that these two lied at the same time. Moreover, the butcher Lin Yueran’s son came out to testify that he saw the female ghost during the thunder that night. There was still thunder when the female ghost appeared. It doesn’t seem like a child would lie.”
Liu Qiao was stunned. “So our reasoning is wrong?”
Yu Hanjiang said, “Among the five people, there is more than one liar but there must be only one murderer.”
The teammates were all stunned.
The five people were scattered around the town and the thunder lasted for only three to five seconds.
If the female ghost appeared in the east when the thunder struck, it meant the two people in the west were lying. If she appeared in the west, it meant that the two people in the east were lying.
If the murderer could split up and go to the west and east areas at the same time, why not go to the center instead? Therefore, the testimony of the female store owner was the most credible. If she was the murderer, she would go with the flow and say that she heard the thunder too.
Who was lying?
Everyone was racking their brains to think when Yu Hanjiang suddenly said, “I know who it is.”
Xiao Lou looked at him before pointing to the person’s name on the map he drew. “This one?”
The corners of Yu Hanjiang’s lips curled up. “It is the same as what I thought.”
Long Sen was still confused. “Who is it?”
Liu Qiao also reacted and calmly analyzed, “Our reasoning just now had a premise which is ‘the dead Uncle Liu didn’t lie, so the words of Mrs Xue are true’. Then what if Uncle Liu lied? If we compare an old person to a child, I am more willing to believe that the child isn’t lying.”
Xiao Lou praised her. “How can a dead person lie? Most people would think this way so they have a preconceived notion that Uncle Liu’s testimony can be used as a basis for reasoning. Then from the perspective of the murderer—if a person lies, isn’t there no proof after death?”
Uncle Liu was old and he was already a bit confused. Moreover, it was easy for old people to add exaggeration to their stories. In addition, the old man died three years ago and the cause of death was still a mystery.
Xiao Lou paused before continuing, “Mrs Xue remarried soon after the incident and seems to have nothing to do with this matter. However, isn’t this a means of getting rid of suspicion? She is one of the witnesses who saw the female ghost on the night of the murder and then left the town after getting remarried. Who would suspect her?”
Yu Hanjiang asked in a low voice, “Did you find out which family Mrs Xue remarried into?”
Qu Wanyue answered, “The neighbors don’t know. They just know that she packed her things, remarried and left town. She was a widow. Her husband died early and she usually didn’t like to interact with people.”
It seemed that the remarriage was her own words and there was no evidence.
Yu Hanjiang pondered on it. “What is the real name of Mrs Xue? Everyone calls her Mrs Xue because she married a local man called Xue. What is her real origin?”
Her true origin might be a vengeful murderer.
The three separate pairs exchanged glances among each other.
Xiao Lou was silent for a moment before speaking with worry, “By the way, the letter that Senior Gui left stated that he went to three years in the past with Brother Jiu, Mr Tang and Huaying. What about Chief Shao and Xiao Ye? Why can’t we contact them?”
Yu Hanjiang patted him on the shoulder and comforted him. “Don’t worry. Chief Shao has the two Tao Yuanming teleportation cards and they each have the Bug King card to transform into. Their names are still in the contract book so they must be safe at the moment. Perhaps they were also teleported to another time and space?”
Xiao Lou was stunned. “A time and space related to the case… could it be the world of the famine 20 years ago?”
At the same time, Shao Qingge and Ye Qi took the mother and child to the nearby forest with no one present and carefully asked about the famine situation in Qingfeng Town.
Shao Qingge asked in a low voice, “How long has the famine been taking place? Why didn’t you flee elsewhere?”
The woman’s face was pale and her voice was weak. “It is the same in other places! In March this year, less than 10% of last year’s crops were harvested due to the severe drought. It was easier for the wealthy families since they had food in storage. For ordinary people, the food in their homes is only enough for one or two months. Even if we only drank clear porridge every day, now we don’t have a single grain of rice left in the rice jar.”
The woman couldn’t help choking up when thinking of this. “Escape—where can I escape to? I can’t travel on the road without food. My poor baby was just born and he can’t even drink milk…”
The baby in her arms cried for a long time but now it seemed he didn’t have the strength to cry anymore.
The famine had obviously happened for quite some time. The food storage of ordinary people’s households was exhausted. The woman was pale and skinny. The child in her arms didn’t seem to weigh even five kilograms. He was very small and seemed pitiful.
Ye Qi’s heart was a bit bitter but he didn’t dare to help the other person with bread and milk that didn’t belong to this era. He could only say softly, “Sorry, we didn’t bring anything to eat.”
A hint of loss flashed in the woman’s eyes then she turned to look for bark in the forest.
Shao Qingge walked forward with Ye Qi and stopped at the town gate. He looked at the young man beside him and asked in a slightly distressed manner, “Didn’t you also eat leaves to survive when you were in the Nightmare Room?”
Ye Qi had a bitter expression. “Yes, so I can understand the feelings of these people. Extreme hunger will make people crazy and they have to eat leaves and grass to satisfy their hunger. There is no need to consider the taste. Even so, eating human flesh is absolutely impossible… by the way!” He suddenly thought of something and his eyes lit up. “We were teleported to 20 years in the past. Isn’t it to investigate the clues related to the famine?”
Shao Qingge nodded. “It should be. We can’t contact the others so it seems that only we were teleported to 20 years ago. Fortunately, we have the supply cards and some money with us. At the very least, we won’t starve to death.”
He furrowed his brow and looked at Qingfeng Town, which was full of chaos.
Not a single person could be seen on the desolate streets of the town. Every house was closed and there were signs of smashing and looting everywhere. Shao Qingge lowered his voice., “Since we are here, we have to find a way to blend in as soon as possible and investigate the matter of the people who are being held as captive livestock. We have to disguise ourselves first. It is too eye-catching to wear brand new clothing in the town.”
The two of them hid near the town and smeared mud on their clothes. Then they smeared weeds around their mouths to disguise themselves as having gone hungry for a few days. It wasn’t known where Ye Qi had found a broken bowl but it seemed like he was going to the town to beg for food.
Shao Qingge opened his mouth. “Let’s go.”
He saw Ye Qi’s youthful appearance and couldn’t help smiling at the sight of the messy ‘little beggar’. “This time, we are going to pretend to be brothers. Otherwise, the age gap isn’t large enough.”
Ye Qi nodded and followed behind him while complaining, “Yes, calling you Brother is better than calling you Father.”
Shao Qingge, “……”
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten