Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 15: The Truth of the Matter
(cn: blood, death)
‘Ah! Help me!’
Xu Youyi turns at the sound of the scream. Was that someone calling for help?
She pushes open the door of the room where the call seems to have come from, and is shocked to see Chu Huizi lying half-sprawled across a chair, covered in blood. ‘Chu Huizi…’ she murmurs.
Xu Youyi rushes over, calling out Chu Huizi’s name again. She places a finger under Chu Huizi’s nose to check if she’s breathing…
…and then scrambles backwards in horror, exclaiming, ‘She’s dead?’
She rushes for the door, yelling for help, and then a hand grabs hold of her hair from behind and slams her forehead against the wall. Xu Youyi collapses onto the floor, unconscious.
We cut back to the police station, where Jiang Bin is interrogating Xu Youyi. ‘That’s what happened,’ she concludes.
‘Hm,’ says Jiang Bin. Then he leans forward. ‘What you’ve said is completely consistent, but all the evidence from tonight points to you as Chu Huizi’s murderer.’
‘But I really were the murderer, why would I faint at the scene of the crime, and let you find me?’ counters Xu Youyi.
‘There could have been a struggle between you and Chu Huizi,’ responds Jiang Bin. ‘And she could have shoved you with enough force to knock you out just as you stabbed her.’
‘If that’s the case,’ says Xu Youyi, ‘the blow should have been to the back of my head, and not my forehead…’
Jiang Bin doesn’t seem to have anything to say to that. He holds up the red braided bracelet recovered from the scene of the crime. ‘Do you recognise this?’ he asks.
Xu Youyi shakes her head. ‘I don’t.’
‘You don’t?’ asks Jiang Bin again. ‘Think carefully.’
Xu Youyi considers the question again. ‘Hm… I think I have seen it somewhere before…’
She flashes back to a book signing, where a girl apparently came up to her and presented her with the bracelet, saying, ‘I like you very much. This is for you, I hope you like it…’
‘I remember now,’ she tells Jiang Bin. ‘I think a little fan of mine must have given it to me, a long time ago…’
‘So that’s where it came from…’ muses Jiang Bin.
‘I’ve told you everything I can,’ says Xu Youyi. ‘Can you let me go now?’
‘I’m sorry, Miss Xu,’ Jiang Bin replies. ‘Since we still can’t be sure exactly what happened, we’ll have to ask you to put up with us for a little longer.’
‘Chen Yong,’ he tells his subordinate. ‘Take Miss Xu to the holding cells!’
‘Yes!’ says Chen Yong. Then he turn to Xu Youyi. ‘Let’s go, Miss Xu.’
As Chen Yong escorts her out of the room, Xu Youyi turns back. ‘Detective Jiang, I hope you’ll be able to identify the murderer soon. That will prove that I’m innocent.’
Jiang Bin stares at the little witchcraft doll from the crime scene. A talisman-like piece of paper is pinned to it, and Xu Youyi’s name is written on the paper. This witchcraft doll was found in Chu Huizi’s handbag, and it has Xu Youyi’s name on it, he muses. It’s clear that Chu Huizi was secretly trying to place a curse on Xu Youyi.
There’s a mark around the doll’s neck, Jiang Bin notes. Someone must have made that by wrapping the red braided string tightly around it.
He speculates on what might have happened. It’s very likely that Chu Huizi’s jealousy was aroused when she saw Xu Youyi receiving a gift from a fan. Xu Youyi could have inadvertently left it behind, and Chu Huizi could have picked it up. Then, at the ball, Xu Youyi must have discovered the witchcraft doll. She confronted Chu Huizi, and accidentally stabbed her during their altercation.
Jiang Bin imagines Xu Youyi, knife in hand, shouting, ‘Are you trying to kill me with your curse, Chu Huizi? I’ll kill you first!’
That can’t be right, he thinks. Xu Youyi doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would do something like that. But then again, all the evidence points to her. Was she really framed by the real murderer? But then, who would want to frame her? Or is this all an elaborate smokescreen orchestrated by her, in order to clear herself of suspicion?
He holds up the red braided bracelet left behind by Yan Wei on the night of Zhang Wan’s murder. And why is this red string exactly the same as the one left behind by that other murderer? Is there a connection between them?
Jiang Bin flings both of the items onto his desk. ‘What a mess!’ he grouses, and steps outside.
Outside the police station, Jiang Bin has just lit a cigarette when he notices a uniformed officer speaking to an elderly woman. ‘I’ve already told you, you’re not allowed to go in!’ he tells her.
Jiang Bin wanders over. ‘What’s going on?’
‘She’s one of the Zhou family’s servants,’ the officer explains. ‘She’s brought some warm clothes for Xu Youyi.’
Jiang Bin considers the matter for a moment. ‘The holding cells are quite dark and cold,’ he tells the officer. ‘Let her go ahead.’
‘Come with me, then,’ the officer tells the elderly woman. ‘But you’ll have to leave right after you hand over the clothes!’
The officer leads the elderly woman to the holding cells. ‘Here we are. Just leave the clothes here and go!’
‘Young Madam!’ calls the elderly woman, addressing her through the bars.
Xu Youyi looks up in some surprise. ‘This is…?’
‘Young Madam,’ says the elderly woman again. ‘How you must have suffered!’ She looks up.
Yan Wei? Xu Youyi exclaims mentally.
Please view the original manhua here.