The next morning, we arrived at the precinct early in the morning and held a brief discussion. At present, there was still no substantial progress in the case and all we could do was wait for Xiao Zhou's results. We sat anxiously until eight when Xiao Zhou’s call finally came in.
"Is it a match?" I asked, unable to hide the excitement in my voice.
"Song-ge, you’re mistaken,” said Xiao Zhou. “The teeth marks of the murderer and Yi Xi do not match."
I felt as if I had been hit head-on by a truck and the whole world seemed to be spinning, my ears ringing so I almost missed the rest of Xiao Zhou’s words. "Are you sure?" I gulped.
"I'm certain,” he replied. “You can tell the difference with the naked eye. Why don’t I send you the comparison data?"
"It’s alright. Thanks anyway!"
Judging by my expression, Xiaotao already knew the results. "Song Yang, don't give up,” she comforted. “Even if this clue doesn’t help us, there are other roads we could take."
I silently reflected on the information at hand. If the teeth marks didn’t match, then the murderer was obviously not Yi Xi unless he killed the victim but someone else bit off the victim’s penis. But this was a ridiculous conjecture!
There must be some mistake! I must have missed something!
I tried to rearrange the jigsaw puzzle that had formed in my mind with Xiaotao patiently sitting beside me.
"Is there any possibility that our sample was wrong?" she asked.
"Do you mean to say that I might have mistakenly grabbed a cantaloupe bitten by someone else?" I smiled bitterly.
"That's exactly what I’m trying to say.”
I clearly remembered that the trash can was almost empty at the time but the fact wasn’t known to Xiaotao so she still held a glimmer of hope.
She went onto Weibo and said, "Didn't Lao Yao say that Yi Xi was detained for taking drugs when he was younger? There must have been fingerprints and DNA left behind. We can contact the public security bureau to find out more."
She went on her way, leaving me all alone in the empty room, staring blankly at the ceiling. An indescribable feeling of loss and confusion overwhelmed my being.
A while later, Xiaotao returned from her task, and I said, "Even if we have his fingerprints and DNA, there’s nothing left on the body."
"Then we’ll keep looking until we find the murder weapon so we can convict him," Xiaotao persisted, undaunted by the obstacles in our way.
"But he’s so careful,” I sighed, shaking my head. “I'm afraid the murder weapon has been disposed of..."
"Song Yang, don't be so depressed!” she consoled, sinking into the seat beside mine. “I'm starting to get a little worried about you! Let's go through every detail again. The body was found in Yi Xi's car. He had no alibi when the murder occurred, and his agent tampered with the evidence and manipulated the situation to try to cover up the truth."
I followed her train of thought and asked, "So what are we missing now?"
"Direct evidence to convict the suspect and the identity of the victim,” surmised Xiaotao. “But that’s not important. As long as we’re able to prove Yi Xi's crime, the victim’s identity will naturally surface."
"The victim’s identity…” I murmured. “The victim’s identity..."
A vague idea took root in my head but I still couldn't see the entire picture. "Give me all the clues we have!” I burst out. “I want to re-examine them!"
Xiaotao patted me on the shoulder, lips curling into a smile. "That’s the right attitude!” she laughed. “Let's get started."
Xiaotao brought over all the information regarding the case so we could go through them one by one. Gung ho, I examined the clues all the way until lunchtime though I wasn’t hungry for food but knowledge. Unfortunately, our endeavor didn’t yield any new insights into the case.
At 2 pm, an officer sent in a document faxed by the Beicang City Public Security Bureau containing the information filled in by Yi Xi when he was detained for drug abuse. The name in the document was Mike Zhou and the time was dated July 2011.
I stared at the piece of paper in a daze but Xiaotao soon interrupted my thoughts. "I can't believe this guy really took drugs!" she exclaimed.
"How many days would a person be detained for taking drugs?" I asked, wide-eyed and perplexed as I looked at the document.
After a moment’s contemplation, Xiaotao said, "Taking drugs isn’t against the law but it takes at least one month to get rid of a drug addiction."
I quickly checked on the internet and found that in July 2011, when Yi Xi was just starting out, he was still an unknown newbie to the industry. However, his fans had collected his schedules dating back to his debut, and according to that, Yi Xi wasn’t absent from work that month. How could he be at two places at one time?
I went over the posts on Lao Yao's Weibo account. When Yi Xi was in high school, he did very poorly in his studies, got into gang fights and smoked, yet his company claimed he used to be an intelligent, talented and outstanding youth.
Additionally, Lao Yao had revealed that Yi Xi once got a girl pregnant but his sexual orientation had always remained a mystery, and most people were inclined to think he was gay.
Why would such a huge contradiction appear in one man?
It seemed I was left with one answer and it wasn’t difficult to verify it. I immediately called Xiao Zhou and asked, "Do you still have the dental model?"
"Yes,” he replied. “Have you found another sample to compare it with?"
"Let’s switch things around. Compare the dental model with the burned corpse!"
"Song-ge, are you sure you want to do this?” he asked, confused. “Can you tell me what's the point in comparing the suspect's dental model with the victim's teeth?"
"Just do it!" I urged.
Xiaotao stared at me intently, waiting for me to end the call before she asked, “Song Yang, have you got it all mixed up? They’re clearly two different people."
"We have all the cards in our hands,” I said. “But we just don't realize that it can be arranged another way!"
"Well, the more I listen, the more confused I am,” Xiaotao scratched her head. “Just tell me you mean.”
Just as I was going to speak, a loud clamor sounded from outside. An officer walked in and informed us that a large crowd of Yi Xi’s fans had once again gathered, demanding to see Xiaotao and me. It seemed that they had authenticated our identities or perhaps Yi Xi’s agent had surreptitiously led them to us.
The fans caused such a commotion Xiaotao was tempted to contact the SWAT team but I quickly stopped her. "Don't worry. Just wait for Xiao Zhou's call!"
The officer looked at Xiaotao for confirmation, to which she waved him off, having decided to trust in my judgement. "Go out and buy us some time by pacifying the fans."
"You must find a way to leave the building!" said the officer.
"No, it’s fine. We’ll just wait here,” I smiled meaningfully. “As long as my deductions are correct, I have a way of getting them to voluntarily leave."
"Great Detective Song, I’ve never questioned your actions but these online mobs are completely irrational,” the officer spoke up uneasily. “In case the situation spins out of control, our precinct may not be able to hold them back with our manpower alone, so it’s better to avoid them altogether."
I glanced at the clock on the wall and reassured him, "Don't worry. All our problems will be solved before dark!"
The officer cast a troubled gaze on me and then Xiaotao, and finally left apprehensively. "Song Yang, you must have the answers now that you’re so confident,” said Xiaotao. “Well don’t keep it to yourself!"
"Spoilers are no fun,” I chuckled. “I'll tell you everything when Xiao Zhou gets back to me."
Xiaotao pouted, "Hmph, how dare you leave me hanging! See how I deal with you tonight!"
Five minutes later, Xiao Zhou returned the call, his voice somewhat incoherent with excitement. "Song-ge, what the hell is going on here?” he blurted. “It’s more than a 90% match!"
"Thank you very much for the results! I'll treat you to dinner next time," I grinned.
"No way! I don’t care about dinner. You have to tell me what this is all about!” insisted Xiao Zhou. “How did the suspect become the victim? Consider my mind blown!"
"Why don’t you join us at the precinct? I'm going to invite the big star and have a good talk with him later." After a brief pause, I confidently added, "And he’ll definitely show up!"
Everything made sense now! I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately called Yi Xi's agent, “I think we should talk!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter