Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 17: Imprisonment

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(cn: blood, stabbing, death; drugging; kidnapping)

Jiang Bin mulls over the photograph of Chu Huizi and Chen Shuangcheng. If Chu Huizi and Chen Shuangcheng were in that kind of relationship, but were keeping it out of the public eye, he muses, then it’s likely that Chen Shuangcheng was the one who wanted to keep it secret.

He imagines what might have happened on that fatal night. Perhaps Chu Huizi saw Chen Shuangcheng chatting up Xu Youyi in the corridor. She could have picked a fight with Chen Shuangcheng, maybe even threatened him, and Chen Shuangcheng could have killed her in a fit of rage…

If what Xu Youyi said is true, Jiang Bin realises, then Chen Shuangcheng is the most likely suspect!

‘Update!’ shouts Chen Yong, rushing into Jiang Bin’s office. He’s holding a sheaf of photographs, all of them showing Chu Huizi and Chen Shuangcheng together. ‘We found these at Chu Huizi’s home!’

Jiang Bin takes the photographs. ‘What about Chen Shuangcheng?’

‘Chen Shuangcheng has… disappeared,’ says Chen Yong gravely.

‘Disappeared?’ says Jiang Bin. ‘He’s absconding from justice! Get an arrest warrant out immediately! Chen Shuangcheng is a wanted man!’

‘Yes!’ says Chen Yong.

‘Detective Jiang?’ calls a voice from outside.

‘Mr Zhou?’ Jiang Bin replies.

Zhou Heng steps into Jiang Bin’s office. ‘It looks like you’ve found the real murderer,’ he says. ‘I’m sure you can let my wife go now.’

‘You’re very well-informed, Mr Zhou,’ says Jiang Bin.

‘Let’s stop beating around the bush,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘I was already doing you a favour by letting you take her away yesterday.’

‘While she’s a less likely suspect now,’ says Jiang Bin. ‘We still can’t rule her out completely.’

‘Detective Jiang, let me give you a word of advice,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘Unless you want to fall out completely with the Zhou family…’

‘…you should understand where your best interests lie.’

Jiang Bin pauses for a moment. ‘I can order her release,’ he says finally. ‘But you have to guarantee that, until our investigations are complete, we’ll be able to reach her at any time.’

‘You can rest easy about that,’ Zhou Heng tells him.

A police officer unlocks Xu Youyi’s cell. ‘Xu Youyi, there’s someone here to take you home,’ he tells her. ‘You’re free to go.’

Yan Wei found enough evidence to clear me! Xu Youyi thinks, smiling. Is she here to meet me?

But when she steps outside, it’s Zhou Heng she sees. ‘Youyi!’ he calls. ‘I’m here to take you home…’

‘You? How could it be?’ Xu Youyi demands.

‘Besides me, who else in the world could have saved you?’ Zhou Heng asks.

‘I don’t need this,’ says Xu Youyi, walking away. ‘You should go.’

Zhou Heng catches hold of her wrist. ‘Youyi, whatever is it, we can talk about it after you come home with me, all right?’

Xu Youyi pulls her arm away. ‘Sorry, I have something else to do!’ she tells him, and continues walking away.

Zhou Heng’s expression is dark as he watches her walk away.

Xu Youyi walks down another street. Was it really Zhou Heng who saved me? she wonders. If it is, what happened to Yan Wei?

A shadowy figure steps out behind her…

…and slaps a (no doubt chloroformed) handkerchief over her face.

Xu Youyi rapidly loses consciousness, her eyes drifting shut.

Meanwhile, Yan Wei is also on her way to the police station. The police should be releasing Xu Youyi today, now that they’ve got their hands on that evidence.

Then she sees Xu Youyi being bundled into a car.

Xu Youyi? she exclaims internally.

She races after the departing car…

…but it soon leaves her behind.

Yan Wei stumbles to a stop, panting for breath.

That isn’t Zhou Heng’s car, she notes, and it isn’t headed towards the Zhou mansion. Who could it be?

Xu Youyi wakes up in a strange bed in a strange room. A man in a suit is watching over her. ‘Miss Xu, you’re awake?’ he asks.

Xu Youyi sits up. ‘You are…?’

‘Han Jinwei, Director Zhou’s secretary,’ the man replies.

My father-in-law’s secretary? wonders Xu Youyi. Out loud, she asks, ‘What is this place?’

‘It’s a secret room at the Transport Department,’ says Han Jinwei.

‘Secret room?’ Xu Youyi exclaims. Then she flashes back to her kidnapping. ‘What is the meaning of this?’ she demands.

‘The director knows what an ordeal you’ve just been through,’ says Han Jinwei. ‘He has arranged for you to rest quietly here for the next few days.’

‘There’s no need for that,’ says Xu Youyi, as she puts her shoes on. ‘I’m feeling perfectly fine now. There’s no need for you to worry about me.’

She heads towards the door, but Han Jinwei blocks her path. ‘I’m sorry, Miss Xu. You’re not allowed to leave here unless the director authorises it.’

‘What do you want?’ asks Xu Youyi.

‘Please set your mind at ease, Miss Xu,’ Han Jinwei tells her. ‘As long as you do exactly what the director tells you to, no harm will come to you.’

It seems as if the Zhou family is putting me under house arrest, Xu Youyi thinks.


Please view the original manhua here.

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