Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 36: A Solo Investigation
‘Take her to the interrogation room,’ Commissioner Song instructs.
‘Let’s go,’ Chen Yong tells their surprise witness.
As the police lead the woman out of the room, Xu Youyi tells her lawyer, ‘Mr Shen, I’d like to see Yan Wei again.’
In the interrogation room, Jiang Bin leans across the table and looks at the woman. ‘Mrs Zhu, isn’t it? You actually saw Yan Wei stabbing Chu Huizi?’
‘Yes,’ Mrs Zhu replies. ‘I saw her do it with my own eyes.’
‘Then why didn’t you say so the last time we questioned you?’ Chen Yong barks at her.
Mrs Zhu looks visibly nervous. ‘I was scared! She was hiding right behind the door at the time, and she threatened to kill me if I said anything!’
‘You need to think very carefully about what you’re saying,’ Jiang Bin cautions her. ‘This is a murder case. If it turns out you’re lying, we’ll charge you with perjury, and you’ll be lucky to get a sentence any shorter than three to five years.’
‘Every word I’m saying is true,’ Mrs Zhu insists. ‘Every word.’ Jiang Bin looks at her skeptically.
Commissioner Song cuts in. ‘All right, just tell us exactly what happened that day.’
He leans down and gives Jiang Bin a meaningful look. ‘Jiang Bin, I want you to take down her statement very carefully. You don’t need me to teach you what to do, do you?’
Jiang Bin says nothing.
Meanwhile, Xu Youyi and Yan Wei find themselves looking at each other again through the bars of Yan Wei’s cell.
‘You shouldn’t keep running over here,’ says Yan Wei. ‘You’re pregnant, after all.’
‘The baby misses you,’ says Xu Youyi.
Yan Wei is stunned for a moment.
Then she looks down. ‘Oh.’
‘How have you been doing these last few days?’ asks Xu Youyi. ‘Does that shoulder wound still hurt?’
‘I’m doing all right,’ says Yan Wei. ‘And it doesn’t hurt.’
‘I’m so sorry, Weiwei,’ says Xu Youyi. ‘I was planning to take you home with me today, but out of nowhere, an attendant from the hotel came in and said she saw you stabbing Chu Huizi.’
‘I didn’t do it,’ says Yan Wei.
‘I know,’ says Xu Youyi. ‘Someone must have bribed her!’ Then she looks a little dejected. ‘But it’s going to take time to track down the real murderer, and I’m afraid the police are going to take advantage of this “new evidence” to charge you with the murder.’
‘It’s fine,’ says Yan Wei.
How can it be ‘fine’? wonders Xu Youyi. You’re injured because of me, you’re in jail because of me, and your future is so uncertain. Yet here you are, trying to comfort me in that clumsy way of yours, completely without hesitation…
Xu Youyi reaches out. ‘Yan Wei, hold out your hands.’
After a moment, Yan Wei reaches through the bars of her cell, and Xu Youyi takes Yan Wei’s hands in her own.
Xu Youyi, you need to pull yourself together! Xu Youyi tells herself. No matter how impossible it seems, you will get these handcuffs undone!
She wraps her hands around Yan Wei’s.
‘Weiwei, trust me,’ Xu Youyi begins. ‘I’m going to get you out of—’
‘I trust you,’ says Yan Wei without hesitation.
They look at each other for a very long moment.
Back at the lobby of the police station, Chen Yong is telling Mrs Zhu, ‘Go home and wait for further instructions.’
As Xu Youyi approaches, Commissioner Song and Jiang Bin walk towards her. ‘Apologies, Miss Xu,’ Commissioner Song tells her. ‘I’m afraid you’ve come all this way for nothing. Who could have known that the case would take such a turn?’
Looks like Commissioner Song is planning to use this as an excuse to wrap up the case, Xu Youyi thinks. If I want any hope of changing the outcome, I’m going to need Jiang Bin’s help.
She smiles at Commissioner Song. ‘It’s wonderful that such an important breakthrough has happened. I hope you’ll be able to find the real murderer quickly.’ She gives Jiang Bin a meaningful look as she says this.
‘Of course!’ Commissioner Song says heartily.
Xu Youyi turns to leave. ‘Let’s go, Mr Shen.’
As Xu Youyi drives off, she tells herself, Xu Youyi, you need to keep a cool head. Since Yan Wei absolutely did not kill Chu Huizi, then this accusation might actually be a good thing. If we manage to find Chu Huizi’s real murderer, we might be able to muddy the waters and cover up the fact that Yan Wei killed Zhang Wan.
She casts her mind back over the night of Chu Huizi’s death, and recalls Chen Shuangcheng catching hold of Chu Huizi’s arm and telling her, ‘Stop causing such a commotion. Everyone’s watching.’
Of everyone who was at the ball that night, Chen Shuangcheng was the most likely suspect, she reflects. But he died in that collision right after he was arrested. That can’t have been a coincidence. It must have been arranged by the real murderer, to silence him.
There was someone else at the ball, Xu Youyi recalls. She flashes back to herself telling Zhou Heng, ‘I said — I’m planning to tell everyone that we’re getting a divorce,’ and Zhou Heng saying, ‘Must you be so cruel, Youyi?’
He hired Agent Bai to make an attempt on my life, she muses. And then Agent Bai tried to kill Xie Yifan. She flashes back to the moment Xie Yifan was shot. He’s already shown that hiring an assassin is no big deal to him. As long as I can work out what his motive is—
Then Xu Youyi has a sudden realisation. She flashes back to the newspaper article about Chu Huizi’s secret rendezvous with a mystery man, and the photograph that accompanied it. Could that man be Zhou Heng, after all? Just because he was having an affair with Zhang Wan doesn’t mean he wasn’t having an affair with anyone else. She flashes back to her previous encounters with Chu Huizi. Chu Huizi was always so hostile towards me. I’m sure now that it wasn’t just because of the professional rivalry between us.
Xu Youyi begins to strategise. Chu Huizi has the same publisher as I do — Huaxia Press. Perhaps President Wang knows something.
Inside his office, President Wang pours Xu Youyi a cup of tea. ‘Youyi, why were you in such a hurry to speak to me?’
Xu Youyi hands him the newspaper article about Chu Huizi’s secret rendezvous.
‘President Wang, this is an important matter, so I’ll come straight to the point,’ she tells him, as he studies the article. ‘Do you know who the mystery man in the photograph is?’
President Wang hesitates. ‘Well…’
‘It’s Zhou Heng, isn’t it?’ asks Xu Youyi.
‘You know?’ asks President Wang. He looks embarrassed. ‘Youyi, I’ve wanted to tell you the truth for some time, but then the whole thing with Zhang Wan came to light, so I thought…’ He sighs. ‘Anyway, you’re divorced now, so please don’t dwell on these—’
Xu Youyi interrupts him. ‘Do you know who took the photograph?’
‘Youyi…’ sighs President Wang again.
‘It’s all right,’ Xu Youyi reassures him. ‘These things no longer have the power to make me sad. I’m only asking these questions on behalf of a friend. So please tell me everything you know.’
‘Here’s what happened,’ President Wang explains. ‘The photograph was taken by one of the reporters from Jing Bao. He even came here, hoping to get something out of us. And then Zhou Heng paid him a large sum of money…’
Xu Youyi listens to his explanation. Then she stands up to leave, and gives him a bow. ‘Thank you, President Wang. I understand everything now.’
She tells herself firmly, now all I need to do is to get proof of all this from Zhou Heng!
She marches out of the office, her head held high. Weiwei, wait for me.
Please view the original manhua here.