Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 30: Chasing Agent Bai
The telephone rings, and Yan Wei answers. ‘Hello, Baihua Photography Studio.’
It’s President Wang at the other end. ‘Please let Youyi know that we have a lead on Agent Bai’s whereabouts. He was spotted at Dongsun Guesthouse, near Kangxinli.’
‘Yes, got it,’ says Yan Wei.
‘What is it?’ asks Xu Youyi from the breakfast table, as Yan Wei hangs up.
‘Just a customer asking for their photographs to be delivered,’ Yan Wei replies.
‘You should go,’ Xu Youyi tells her. ‘I’ll look after the studio for you.’
‘Don’t leave the studio while I’m out,’ says Yan Wei. ‘If there’s any trouble, go and hide in the basement. It’s safer there.’
‘Don’t worry,’ Xu Youyi reassures her. ‘I’ll take good care of myself.’
Yan Wei descends into the darkroom and slides an innocuous-looking framed picture aside with a whoosh…
…to reveal a selection of firearms.
She picks out one, tucks it into her pocket, and heads back upstairs.
Yan Wei pauses at the door. ‘You should lock the door behind me,’ she tells Xu Youyi.
‘Look at you,’ says Xu Youyi indulgently. ‘All right, all right, I’ll do exactly as you say.’
Yan Wei hops into the car Xu Youyi just bought her.
‘Be careful!’ Xu Youyi calls.
‘Don’t worry,’ Yan Wei tells her. ‘Wait for me.’ She speeds off.
At Dongsun Guesthouse, Yan Wei tells the woman at the front desk, ‘Hello. I’m looking for Mr Bai.’
The woman is clearly under the impression that Yan Wei has come for a different purpose entirely. ‘Are all the girls in your line of work making house calls these days? I’m not one to give my opinion where it’s not wanted, but… you really should have put on some make-up before coming here.’
Yan Wei slams her hand down on the desk. ‘Cut the crap. Where is he?’
‘Room… Room 304!’ the woman stammers.
Agent Bai happens to be heading down the stairs at that very moment, and is startled to see Yan Wei.
Oh no, he groans inwardly, turns, and rushes back up the stairs again.
Yan Wei catches sight of him, and starts running up the stairs herself.
Agent Bai reaches his room, slams the door shut behind him, locks it and barricades it with a chest of drawers. Then he jumps out of the window.
Yan Wei reaches the top of the stairs, and shoots the lock off the door of Agent Bai’s room. She bursts into the room…
…and finds it empty. From the window, however, she spots Agent Bai on the ground below.
She fires another bullet after him, and leaps out of the window herself, landing gracefully on her feet.
Agent Bai takes to his heels, and Yan Wei chases after him.
After pursuing Agent Bai through a series of streets, Yan Wei turns a corner, and sees no sign of him. I chased him all that way, but now he’s vanished?
She turns and sees a familiar-looking house. The Zhou mansion? Is he hiding there?
Or should I be asking, did Zhou Heng hire him to kill Youyi? she wonders.
Back at the studio, Xu Youyi is startled to hear someone calling her from right outside the door. ‘Youyi? Youyi, are you there?’
It is, of course, Zhou Heng. ‘Zhou Heng, didn’t I make myself clear enough yesterday?’ Xu Youyi asks through the glass of the door.
‘Youyi, please don’t get the wrong idea,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘I didn’t come here to pester you again today. I spent all night thinking about what you said, and I think you’re right. I’ve already signed our divorce papers.’
Xu Youyi is startled into silence for a moment. Then she opens the door. ‘You’d better come in.’
A few moments later, we see Xu Youyi perusing the divorce papers. ‘It all looks fine,’ she says.
She signs her name right under Zhou Heng’s own signature.
She hands the papers back to him. ‘Zhou Heng, thank you for all the happiness you’ve brought me. We’re done now.’
Zhou Heng stares gloomily at the papers. Then he hands Xu Youyi an envelope. ‘Youyi, I want to give the house to you and the baby.’
‘I know I’ve let you down,’ he adds, ‘and I know you never want to see me again. I’ll move out of the house, and I won’t trouble you again. It just makes me uneasy to see you and the baby living under an outsider’s roof. Please accept this, for the baby’s sake.’
Xu Youyi stares at him as he places the envelope on the table before them. ‘I’ll leave this here. I’m going back home to pack.’
We cut to the police station, where Jiang Bin is looking decidedly unhappy. ‘What is it, boss?’ asks Chen Yong. ‘Did Commissioner Song yell at you again?’
‘Commissioner Song wants me to close both cases immediately,’ says Jiang Bin. ‘He wants me to declare that it was Chen Shuangcheng who committed both murders.’
‘That makes sense,’ says Chen Yong. ‘Both of these murders involve important figures in Shanghai high society. The commissioner must be under a lot of pressure.’
‘And is he allowed to act with complete disregard for the truth just because he happens to be under pressure?’ Jiang Bin demands. ‘That collision didn’t seem like an accident at all — Chen Shuangcheng was murdered to stop him from telling us what he knew!’
‘Besides,’ he continues. ‘If you take a step back and think about it, even if Chen Shuangcheng did kill Chu Huizi, he couldn’t possibly be the one who killed Zhang Wan. Chen Shuangcheng was tall and broad, and his movements were clumsy. Zhang Wan’s murderer, meanwhile, was slender and agile, and almost certainly a woman…’
‘Detective Jiang!’ a voice calls out.
Jiang Bin looks up. ‘Mr Zhou?’
‘I came to tell you something that I think may be useful to your investigation,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘The day the police station caught fire, Youyi did smuggle someone away from the building in all the confusion…’
I’m sorry, Youyi, Zhou Heng thinks later, as he drives away from the police station. But I need to cut off all your escape routes, so you’ll have no choice but to come back to me…
Please view the original manhua here.