Chapter 499 – Who is the Real Murderer?
Chu Huaying returned to the inn after tracking Qin Feng. Downstairs, Gui Yuanzhang’s investigation also had results.
The girl crying in front of the Chen house this morning was called Qin Yuxia and she was the sister of the missing wife of Chen Yu, Qin Yuwei. Gui Yuanzhang used Lu Jiuchuan’s mask card to disguise himself as Qin Feng and directly went to find her for questioning.
He knocked on the door of the ‘Jia’ room on the second floor. Sure enough, when it opened he saw the girl standing in the doorway with red eyes. The moment she saw him, she choked up and asked, “Brother Qin, do you have any news about my sister and her family?”
Gui Yuanzhang was silent for a moment before shaking his head solemnly. “Miss Qin, I’m sorry. There is no clue about the whereabouts of your sister and brother-in-law. I am sending people to search for them. I came to see you so late to ask you how the two of them met. Have they ever offended anyone? You should tell me more details.”
Qin Yuxia didn’t doubt the identity of the ‘Qin Feng’ in front of her and invited him into the room. She said with a pale face, “My sister and I are from Qingzhou. The Chen family came to Qingzhou to do business more than 10 years ago. There was business with our family so my sister and brother-in-law have known each other since childhood. They grew up together and are considered childhood sweethearts. The two of them have a deep affection and are well-matched. Uncle Chen brought a wedding gift with him when my sister was 18 and my father agreed to their marriage.”
Gui Yuanzhang wondered, “Your family is also in business? Do you have any enemies?”
Qin Yuxia immediately shook her head. “Our Qin family opened the largest restaurant in Qingzhou. My parents are kind and my sister has a very gentle personality. We shouldn’t have offended anyone.”
“What about the Chen family?”
Qin Yuxia looked down and thought about it. “I don’t know. They came from another place more than 10 years ago. Uncle Chen was very business-minded and gained a foothold in Qingzhou in less than three years.”
“The Uncle Chen you are talking about is Chen Yu’s father? I heard that he has died. Do you know how he died?”
Qin Yuxia’s expression changed slightly, as if there was something indescribable. Gui Yuanzhang said gently, “This question is related to the reason for the disappearance of your sister and brother-in-law. You should tell me truthfully.”
Qin Yuxia gritted her teeth before making up her mind. “Uncle Chen once went out to drink with people four years ago. When he came back, he suddenly went crazy and the people of the Chen family said he might’ve been possessed by an evil spirit. After he went crazy, he bit people everywhere. Brother Chen helplessly had to tie him up. Finally, he slammed his head into the wall and died a miserable and bloody death.”
“……” He didn’t expect Chen Yu’s father to die so bizarrely.
“How did he deal with the aftermath?” Gui Yuanzhang asked.
“He found a cemetery in the local area and buried his father.” Qin Yuxia was silent for a moment. “Not long after, Aunt Chen also died and the method of death was exactly the same as Uncle Chen’s death. The fortune teller said the feng shui of their house wasn’t good and was probably cursed. My brother-in-law was greatly impacted by the deaths and didn’t want to stay in Qingzhou any longer. Therefore, he moved back to his hometown with my sister.”
During the questioning, Gui Yuanzhang had pressed the earpiece and conveyed the information to Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci.
Tang Ci heard this and analyzed it in a low voice, “The death of the Chen family is very strange. They bit people like crazy. It’s like some type of toxin has affected their mind. Could it be the same murderer as that of the powerful ghost incident?”
Lu Jiuchuan added, “Chen Yu’s parents died and the couple moved back to Qingfeng Town four years ago. Did Mrs Xue i.e. Han Ningshuang, get married and return to Qingfeng Town four years ago?”
Tang Ci checked the records in the drone. The roster clearly recorded the situation of each resident in the town. The time when the Chen family moved to Qingfeng Town was indeed exactly the same as when Han Ningshuang got married and came to Qingfeng Town.
Tang Ci nodded at Lu Jiuchuan’s words. “It was four years ago. Assuming that Han Ningshuang is the murderer, she first committed the crime in Qingzhou four years ago and killed Chen Yu’s parents. Immediately after that, Chen Yu’s family moved back to Qingfeng Town. She married Xue Zhao of Qingfeng and also returned to her hometown. Over the past four years, she carefully planned how to clean up all the enemies who murdered her grandmother in the famine. Perhaps the cause of her husband’s death also isn’t ordinary. Xue Zhao died shortly after she arrived in Qingfeng Town and she became a widow. How can there be such a coincidence? Perhaps Xue Zhao was also poisoned by her?”
After all, it was easy for someone sharing her bed to discover her secrets. So she simply poisoned her husband, did business in the town as a widow and pretended to be pitiful and weak, lowering people’s wariness of her.
The more Lu Jiuchuan thought about it, the more he felt that this speculation was very reasonable. Otherwise, how could so many coincidences be explained? He was silent for a moment before saying solemnly, “Han Ningshuang’s suspicion keeps getting bigger.”
Gui Yuanzhang also thought so. He looked at the girl in front of him and asked, “Miss Qin, there was a famine in Qingfeng Town over 10 years ago. Was Qingzhou also affected at the time?”
Qin Yuxia was stunned for a moment before looking puzzled. “Famine? Qingzhou is a land of fish and rice and there has never been a famine. However, I heard that there was a famine in some places over 10 years ago and many people died. I don’t know exactly which places.”
It seemed that after the Chen family left Qingfeng Town, they chose a rich place to start business. They shouldn’t have told the locals that they were from Qingfeng Town, which was affected by the famine, in order to avoid the locals doubting the origin of their money.
Judging from the descriptions of the locals in Qingfeng Town, the Chen family wasn’t rich before.
Meanwhile, Qin Yuxia said that Uncle Chen was very business-minded and soon gained a foothold in Qingzhou.
Where did he get the money?
Tang Ci concluded, “Chen Yu’s parents should’ve obtained a large amount of money using disgraceful means during the famine. They might’ve even participated in the Hounds organization, eating human flesh and drinking human blood. After the famine passed, they left Qingfeng Town and went to other places to do business. Since they had a lot of money in their hands, they soon gained a foothold in Qingzhou and attached themselves to the rich Qin family. Then the murderer somehow came to Qingzhou and killed Chen Yu’s parents.”
Lu Jiuchuan nodded in agreement. “Then the entire chain of logic makes sense. Han Ningshuang and Qin Feng were both survivors of that year. Han Ningshuang killed Chen Yu’s parents in Qingzhou and returned to Qingfeng Town. She transformed into the widowed Mrs Xue and continued to clean up the descendants of those sinners. Qin Feng knew that she had done it but he couldn’t bring himself to reveal her crime due to their past affection.”
The two of them fell silent. They lowered their heads and thought about it carefully. Such speculation could explain most of their current doubts but they always felt like something was missing.
Suddenly, Tang Ci thought of something and asked Gui Yuanzhang through the earpiece, “By the way, do you remember when you went to the academy in Qingfeng Town to investigate. The wife of Zhao Zeping, the eldest son of the Zhao family, is also from Qingzhou and her surname seems to be… Qin?”
Gui Yuanzhang also remembered this matter.
Three years later, someone in the Zhao family arranged a memorial hall for them, setting up memorial tablets and frequently lighting incense. Xiao Lou speculated that this person was probably the daughter-in-law of the Zhao family who hadn’t appeared on the memorial tablets.
The eldest daughter-in-law of the Zhao family had a mysterious origin and the people of the town only knew her by her surname, Qin. Her surname was the same as this Qin Yuxia and they were from the same place. It shouldn’t be a coincidence, right?
Gui Yuanzhang asked her, “Miss Qin, do you know if there are any other girls in Qingzhou with the surname Qin who got married and came to this place?”
“Yes, there is a distant relative of my family. I should call her ‘cousin’ according to the generations but our relationship isn’t very close. We rarely meet. Her name is Qin Yurou and her family is in the silk business. She is married to a man surnamed Zhao but I haven’t seen her for many years.”
Sure enough, it wasn’t a coincidence that the daughter-in-laws of the Zhao family and Chen families were both from Qingzhou.
The three girls of the Qin family were relevant figures in this case.
Qin Yurou married Zhao Zeping, the eldest son of the Zhao family. Now the entire Zhao family was missing and everyone’s tablets were placed in the memorial hall, but there weren’t any tablets with the names of her and her son. Was she the survivor who lit incense for the Zhao family?
Qin Yuwei married Chen Yu. After the mysterious death of Chen Yu’s parents, she came to Qingfeng Town with Chen Yu. On the night of the rainstorm, she gave birth to a child but immediately after that, the Chen family disappeared. Xiao Lou found the bodies of the Chen family at the mass burial site.
The youngest Qin Yuxia knew that her sister was about to give birth and came to Qingfeng Town for a visit. Then she found that the house was empty and no one was present. She cried and made a lot of noise to attract the crowd of onlookers. She even asked Qin Feng to investigate the matter.
Tang Ci sorted out the information of these three people and recorded them on paper.
The clues that Gui Yuanzhang gained from Qin Yuxia made Han Ningshuang’s suspicions grow but Lu Jiuchuan didn’t want to jump to conclusions too rashly. He said, “Our letter to Xiao Lou should objectively describe the information we have found. Don’t attach too much subjective reasoning. I have the feeling that we are missing something.”
Tang Ci also thought so. Xiao Lou and the others were three years in the future and couldn’t find out what happened in the year of the crime. Meanwhile, Xiao Lou’s group could find out how people behaved after the crime. The information had to be coordinated in order to determine the murderer.
Gui Yuanzhang returned to his room and spoke on the voice channel. “We have to add some clues to the letter to Xiao Lou. Should we go to the Zhao family to see?”
Lu Jiuchuan said, “I’ll go with Tang Ci. You write that letter first and we’ll finish it later.”
The two of them put on the invisibility cloaks and came to the Zhao house together.
As a result, they had just entered the door when they saw a woman dressed in black and a child around 12 years old sneaking into the Zhao house. She walked into the hall of the Zhao family, took out a large pile of wooden blocks from her carry-on package and wrote on it with a red pen while her face was expressionless.
Zhao Zeping’s memorial tablet.. Zhao Zean’s memorial tablet…
She wrote very quickly. In the blink of an eye, she wrote the names of the entire Zhao family and arranged them neatly in rows according to the order of oldest to youngest. Then she lit the incense burner in front. She held three incense sticks and knelt in front of the tablets in order to pray.
The child next to her was very pale. She took the child’s hand and whispered, “Kneel down and kowtow to your father, grandfather, uncle and aunts.”
The child knelt in front of the memorial tablets and was pressed by her to kowtow three times.
Then she said coldly, “Do you remember the person who killed the entire Zhao family?”
The child’s voice was choked up. “I remember.”
“Once you grow up, you must avenge your father and his family, you know?”
The child nodded vigorously. “I know, Mother.”
She stood up and took the child away.
Lu Jiuchuan stared blankly at this scene. “Is this person the daughter-in-law of the Zhao family, Qin Yurou and her child?”
Tang Ci said, “The Zhao family’s memorial tablets were indeed placed by her. It seems that in the next few years, she will light incense for the people of the Zhao family. Xiao Lou’s speculation is correct.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “Most of the results speculated by Hanjiang and Xiao Lou are correct. Of course, they occasionally make mistakes. We should first summarize the clues and leave it to them to analyze.”
At this moment, Tang Ci suddenly raised a question. “Brother Jiu, the method to pass this secret room might not be the same as what we think.”
Lu Jiuchuan looked at him doubtfully. “What do you mean?”
“We traveled three years in the past and we can’t return to the original world for the time being. Do we just wait for Xiao Lou to guess the correct murderer to pass the instance? Perhaps we… also need to find the right murderer or we will be trapped in this world the entire time and not meet Xiao Lou until three years later.”
Lu Jiuchuan’s heart turned cold and he didn’t know how to refute it.
The timeline was different. If Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang passed the instance, could they take everyone to pass it together?
If the timeline of the secret room followed normal logic, Lu Jiuchuan’s group would only be able to meet Xiao Lou’s group once three years had passed. In other words, if they wanted to wait for Xiao Lou to take them to pass the instance, they would have to wait for three years to be in the same world as Xiao Lou before passing together.
Lu Jiuchuan suddenly had a headache when thinking of this. “We either wait three years to analyze the case with Xiao Lou’s group or we also have to find the murderer at this point in time to clear the instance.”
Tang Ci found a branch and drew a line on the ground. He marked two points and carefully analyzed the situation. “We are located at time point A and Xiao Lou is located at time point B three years later. Everything we see now will take three years to pass to Xiao Lou. We must clear the instance at time point A while leaving clues to Xiao Lou at point B to help them clear the instance. I think this is probably the biggest difficulty of the K secret room.”
Lu Jiuchuan understood. “You mean, the transmission of clues across time?’
Tang Ci nodded. “Otherwise, why would the keepers send us back three years in time and let us witness so much information? Doesn’t this make reasoning less difficult?”
Lu Jiuchuan, “……”
Every reasoning relied on Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou. This time, they were teleported to different points in time and it was the most severe test for everyone. If they made a mistake in the reasoning or if the clues they passed were wrong, it was likely they would eventually get the murderer wrong. This would result in the end of the entire team.
They were three years in the past, not a parallel time and space synchronized with Xiao Lou.
Lu Jiuchuan’s expression gradually became ugly.
Tang Ci said calmly, “Now there are two choices. First, we hide our identities and wait three years to join Xiao Lou. Second, under the premise of being sure that the reasoning is correct, we will clear the instance first while leaving complete clues to Xiao Lou, assisting them in passing the instance three years later. Which one do you choose?”
Lu Jiuchuan pressed a hand against his pained temple. He didn’t have the patience to stay in this world for three years. The time flow rate of this world was calculated separately and if it was really three years…
Clear the level on their own?
He didn’t have that much confidence in himself but looking at the pale face of the handsome man standing in front of him, Lu Jiuchuan suddenly smiled slightly. He gently pressed a hand on Tang Ci’s shoulder and said, “I’ll choose the second one. I believe in your analytical ability. After all, the think tank of our team has always been you before we met Xiao Lou.”
This was probably also the reason why Tang Ci could get out of the Nightmare Room despite his legs being cut off. He never relied on physical strength but on his brain.
Tang Ci listened to the other person’s praise and said calmly, “Don’t think so highly of me just yet. By the way, I finally remembered what we have overlooked. I think that Han Ningshuang isn’t the murderer of this ghost incident but just an accomplice.”
Lu Jiuchuan was stunned. “Oh? Why do you think this?”
Tang Ci told him, “The sound of the rattle-drum.”
He paused and frowned slightly. “Do you remember that when we first came to this world, the sound of the rattle-drum came from the direction of the mass burial site? At that time, the Zhao family’s bridal procession had just left the town. Han Ningshuang was flying the kite in town to act as a ghost. How could the rattle-drum sound come from the mass burial site far away from the town?”
Lu Jiuchuan’s eyes lit up as he understood. “That’s right! Han Ningshuang confessed her guilt to Qin Feng so easily because she knows the identity of the murderer and is helping the murderer. The one who acted as the ghost was her but she wasn’t the one who led the Zhao and Chen families to the mass burial site. There is more than one murderer!”
Tang Ci said, “We have to find out how many children this grandmother has brought up.”
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten