Chapter 543 – Suspects
Where was a safe place?
Liu Qiao frowned when she heard Tang Ci’s words and she told him softly, “Professor Xiao has no grievances against anyone yet he was inexplicably framed. It must’ve been done by hunters. Maybe the hunters will also target us. Mr Tang, where should we go?”
She didn’t dare go back to the school.
Liu Qiao had been hiding to the side and witnessed the scene where Xiao Lou was taken into the police car. Due to this, she sensed that something was wrong and immediately ran away. At this time, the school must have many plainclothes officers set up in ambush. She would just be throwing herself into the net if she returned to the school.
It was just that Liu Qiao wasn’t familiar with Jiangzhou. She didn’t know a safe place beside the school.
Tang Ci drove the car out of the underground parking lot. “Go to my laboratory. My company’s surveillance system is very complete. At this time, there is no one in the laboratory and the corridors are full of cameras. I can immediately find out as soon as there is an outsider approaching.”
Liu Qiao didn’t know exactly what Tang Ci was studying. She only knew it was related to intelligent robots. She heard this and nodded. “Okay, let’s go to the laboratory.”
Tang Ci’s car drove all the way to his company’s underground garage. Then he took Liu Qiao to the laboratory with a special elevator.
Before entering the elevator, Liu Qiao took advantage of his lack of attention to place a Little Red Riding Hood in the corner.
This fairy tale card allowed her to swap places with Little Red Riding Hood at any time. Tang Ci in front of her might look trustworthy but what if he was a hunter in disguise? Liu Qiao had to leave a back road for herself, so she could escape in time if an accident occurred.
The elevator stopped and Tang Ci took Liu Qiao through the long corridor to the metal door at the end and his pupils were scanned.
The metal door slowly opened and Liu Qiao curiously followed him inside.
There were many silver-white precision machines in the closed laboratory. There was also a complete intelligent robot. After seeing Tang Ci, the robot moved along the ground and opened its mouth. “Master, welcome home.”
The robot looked cute and clumsy. Liu Qiao took a look and found that its eyes were flashing with a blue light.
Tang Ci reached out and gently touched its head. “Shut down.”
The robot’s eyes immediately darkened.
Liu Qiao felt it was very novel. “Mr Tang, did you develop this robot?”
“Yes, my major is artificial intelligence.” Tang Ci walked to the office desk. “In the future, AI will become more and more common. My company is responsible for the research and development of intelligent robots. This is only a first generation product and it isn’t perfect.”
No wonder Tang Ci was able to hack into the information base of the Card World and obtain so much information. He even used data cards to make mechanical cards for himself. The presence of Mr Tang meant there was no need for Liu Qiao to worry about checking the information. Her mood relaxed a lot and she asked Tang Ci, “Professor Xiao mentioned a number. What is going on?”
Tang Ci opened the laptop. “You sit down first. I’ll check it out. According to Yu Hanjiang, Xiao Lou once changed his phone number. I suspect that the hunters are using his phone number to blame him, forging phone calls or chat records to show he had close contact with the deceased.”
Liu Qiao felt it made sense so he sat quietly and waited.
Tang Ci’s slender fingers quickly tapped the keyboard and a large number of web pages popped up on the screen as well as a large number of garbled codes. Liu Qiao couldn’t understand it so she didn’t bother the other person.
Five minutes passed before Tang Ci said, “I found it.”
Liu Qiao immediately came to see.
Tang Ci pointed to the two numbers on the screen. “This 136258965XX phone number was purchased by Xiao Lou with his real name when he was still in school. Then he changed his number when he started working. The number that starts with 158 is what he uses now. Yet strangely enough, the 136 number has never been canceled and there is no record of outstanding charges.”
Liu Qiao was stunned and quickly reacted. “In other words, someone stole this number and has been paying the phone bills while also pretending to be Professor Xiao and keeping in touch with people with this number?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Xiao Lou isn’t a careless person when throwing things away. I think someone deliberately stole this number when he wasn’t paying attention. The biggest suspect is a person around him who is very familiar with him.” He paused and looked back at Liu Qiao. “If you lose an old number card and buy a new number, will you bother to find the old one?”
Liu Qiao shook her head. “Of course not. You have changed your number. Why bother looking for the previous old number?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Indeed. The business hall will automatically cancel when the number has many overdue bills. Xiao Lou might’ve thought the same thing at the time. The remaining charges of the old number were small and it would be canceled anyway. He didn’t pay attention to it. Unexpectedly, someone stole this phone number and paid the bills to continue to use the number.”
Liu Qiao pondered on it. “It seems that the hunters have been planning for a long time?”
“The world we are in has the same basic background as Jiangzhou a year ago. The hunters won’t appear out of thin air but will replace the identities of some people in this world. They will then use those identities to plan some things to achieve the purpose of killing us. The previous secret rooms were like this. The Two Jokers secret room won’t change this basic rule.”
“In other words, the hunters entered this world earlier than us?” Liu Qiao analyzed it along this line of thought. “They replaced the identity of someone close to Professor Xiao and stole Professor Xiao’s phone card. After coming here, they created a murder case and framed us for it.”
“It is more reasonable to explain it this way.” Tang Ci continued to tap on the keyboard. He looked at the information that appeared on the page and frowned slightly. “The signal of the number starting with 136 has disappeared. I can’t lock onto the location of this number.”
Liu Qiao touched his chin. “This person is very smart. Once the framing is complete, they destroyed the phone number so there is no proof. Then it will be difficult for Professor Xiao to clear his name.” She paused before asking, “However, in the year that they used this number, they must’ve used WeChat, Alipay or bank card to recharge right? Wouldn’t there be clues?”
“This is also the hunter’s genius. They never recharged online and always used cash to recharge. No bank card or WeChat records can be found.” Tang Ci was helpless. “We can’t find the suspect using the clue of the mobile phone number left to us by Professor Xiao. If you think about it again, was there anything suspicious at the time of the crime?”
“Um…” Liu Qiao thought carefully about her experience that night. “The time isn’t quite right.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Last night at 7 o’clock, Professor Xiao and I went to the conservatory of music. The finals started at 7:30. At 8:50, Ye Qi finished singing on stage. We waited for him to finish singing and went backstage to find him. We took a photo with him…”
Liu Qiao took out the photo that Xiao Lou sent to her and looked at the time. “After the group photo at 8:55, I walked out of the gymnasium with Professor Xiao. We heard a scream in the distance and found the corpse in the lake.”
Tang Ci was writing down the key points on the computer while listening to Liu Qiao.
He heard this and couldn’t help wondering about something. “The timing is very clever. Before 8:55, no matter whether you are watching the finals or going backstage to find Ye Qi, there will be someone to prove that you aren’t at the scene of the crime. Then after 8:55, there was a time period of around 10 minutes between you leaving the backstage and finding the corpse. You and Xiao Lou were the only ones who could prove where you were. There was no third person to witness your location.”
Liu Qiao nodded. “That’s right. Ning Xue also died during this time.”
The more the two of them thought about it, the more they felt a chill in their hearts.
Who had been keeping track of their movements?
Liu Qiao carefully recalled it before suddenly saying, “By the way, that Xu Mingyue was the first person to find Ning Xue’s body. At that time, Ning Xue should’ve just been thrown into the lake. Wasn’t the timing of her passing by the lake too coincidental? What if she had been hiding in the darkness and watching us find Ye Qi? Then she calculated the time, pushed Ning Xue into the lake and deliberately screamed after we came out to catch our attention… it makes sense.”
Tang Ci asked, “What is the relationship between this person and the deceased?”
Liu Qiao answered, “She is the roommate of the deceased. Moreover, she called the deceased one time last night. Maybe she was the one who met Ning Xue by the lake?”
Tang Ci didn’t rush to a conclusion. He thought about it and said, “We still have to see Xiao Lou again. At present, the information obtained from him is too little and it isn’t conducive for us to find out the truth.”
Liu Qiao thought the same thing. However, she had already aroused Yu Hanjiang’s suspicions when she pretended to be Officer Xiao Wu to deliver food to Xiao Lou. She could no longer pretend to be Xiao Wu.
Fortunately, Tang Ci came up with an idea. “Isn’t Xiao Lou detained by the police? I can arrange a lawyer for him. A lawyer can talk to his client and Yu Hanjiang has no right to refuse.”
Liu Qiao’s eyes lit up. “Good idea! Mr Tang, will you personally play the lawyer?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Yes, I will borrow your Twin card and go find Xiao Lou in the afternoon.”
In the afternoon of the same day, Tang Ci disguised himself as a lawyer with the Twin card and calmly came to the police station with a briefcase. He asked to see Xiao Lou by name. “Hello Group Leader Yu, I am Xiao Lou’s lawyer. I want to talk to my client about some things.”
Yu Hanjiang’s expression darkened slightly. “I don’t remember Xiao Lou hiring a lawyer.”
Tang Ci told him, “I am a defense lawyer hired by Professor Xiao’s friend, Mr Tang Ci. He has already paid the fee so I have a responsibility to give my client the legal aid he deserves when he doesn’t understand the law.”
Yu Hanjiang, “……”
In the morning, Xiao Lou had asked him to find Tang Ci for questioning. Then in the blink of an eye, Tang Ci helped Xiao Lou find a lawyer? Yu Hanjiang’s displeasure was written all over his face and he almost said the words ‘you joined forces to play me’ out loud.
However, a lawyer wanting to see his client was in line with the law. Yu Hanjiang couldn’t stop it.
He ordered for Xiao Lou to be brought to a room with a calm face. He invited the lawyer in and turned to close the door.
According to regulations, the content of the conversation between the lawyer and client couldn’t be monitored by the police. Yu Hanjiang had to wait outside in the corridor and frowned.
Inside the room, Xiao Lou’s hands were handcuffed. Tang Ci sat across from him at the wide table, pretending to be serious with a stack of documents. He said softly, “Hello Professor Xiao. I am a lawyer invited by Mr Tang.”
Xiao Lou met his eyes and was relieved.
Of course, Tang Ci wouldn’t be idle enough to ask a ‘lawyer’ who might not be reliable to help investigate the case. This was obviously Tang Ci himself in disguise. The two people knew it but didn’t say it.
Tang Ci spoke openly. “As your lawyer, I will definitely help you clear your name. If you have any questions about this case or have anything to say, you can tell me truthfully.”
The acting was quite good.
Xiao Lou smiled gently. “The number that called Ning Xue at the critical moment wasn’t used by me. Last night, Liu Qiao and I were really outside and didn’t go home. I can’t provide an alibi. However, the people who dissected Zhang Hengyu in the laboratory building definitely weren’t us. Our hairs appeared at the scene of the dismemberment. Someone must’ve deliberately taken it and placed it there.”
Tang Ci quickly took notes.
Xiao Lou paused before wondering thoughtfully, “Which person had the opportunity to get hair samples from both of us at the same time?”
Tang Ci looked up at him. “Does Professor Xiao have any doubts?”
Xiao Lou suddenly said, “Zhang Hengyu.”
Tang Ci was stunned. “Zhang Hengyu who was dismembered?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “That afternoon, Liu Qiao came to my class and happened to be sitting next to Zhang Hengyu. He could easily get Liu Qiao’s hair. He is the class leader of the forensic department. He used to ask me questions in his spare time and could easily collect samples of my hair.”
Xiao Lou seemed to become enlightened and he said firmly. “The person who got our hair is most likely Zhang Hengyu.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality