The agent asked haughtily, "Who are you?"
"We met last night."
He dragged a long "Oh" and scoffed, "So it’s Officer Song. Sorry, we’re recording a program now. If you want to see me, schedule an appointment!"
"I have three requirements,” I calmly continued. “First, you and Yi Xi must meet me at the Taoyuan District Police Station within half an hour. Second, make a public apology on Weibo to clarify the truth of the so-called police beating. Make sure you sound completely sincere and I don’t want to see any tricks such as pushing the blame on a temporary worker or playing word games. Lastly..." I turned to Xiaotao, "Last night, you weren’t very nice to Officer Huang. I want you to apologize to her and buy her a cake."
At the end of my speech, Yi Xi’s agent froze for a few seconds before he suddenly laughed. "Officer Song, are you out of your mind? Here’s my response–why the hell should I listen to you?!"
"I’ll let you in on a little secret,” I sneered. “And I promise you’ll do as I ask."
“I’m all ears!"
I covered my mouth and enunciated each word into the phone. Xiaotao leaned in to eavesdrop but failed to catch anything, staring unwillingly at me. Just as I expected, the man’s tone immediately turned around. "H-how do you... No... What exactly do you want?" he stammered.
"If you don't meet my requirements, I'll tell the entire world what I know,” I threatened. “And if you think hard evidence and facts produced by the police can't compete with your water army, then go ahead and bet on Yi Xi and your company's future! Anyway, our reputations have been smeared by you so it’s not like we have anything left to lose."
The agent gulped. "About your second condition..."
"There’s no room for discussion. Your rumors have caused us great trouble,” I said. “There’s a large number of fans outside the station right now."
"It's not my call though," came his pleading voice.
"Then you can go to the person who has the final say and tell me your decision,” I replied. “In short, you have half an hour."
"Half an hour is too..."
Before he could finish, I hung up the call. Xiaotao stared wide-eyed at me and exclaimed, "Song Yang, you were so domineering! What spell have you cast on the man? His attitude did a complete 180!"
I smiled, intending to keep my little discovery under wraps but failed to hold back under Xiaotao’s relentless pressuring. "I told him... that the dead man is Yi Xi!"
"Yi Xi?" Xiaotao seemed doubtful. "But... Wait... Could it be..." Her eyes lit up, "I see! That’s what it is! We were going about it in the wrong direction."
Twenty-five minutes later, Yi Xi posted an update on his Weibo account, publicly apologizing to Officers Huang and Song of the Nanjiang Bureau, stating that the previous allegations were completely angry rants that had no factual basis. He admitted that his actions were unconscionable and apologized to the police.
The microblog triggered an instant chain reaction and an officer soon ran in, shouting at the top of his lungs, "The fans have retreated!"
"I know," I laughed.
Xiaotao glanced at her watch. "Prepare the conference room,” she said. “We’re expecting a couple of distinguished guests!"
Five minutes later, Yi Xi and his agent arrived holding a piece of cream cake in his hand as he bowed deeply to Xiaotao. "Officer Huang, I have committed a great sin. I hereby solemnly apologize to you. I’ve learned my lesson."
Xiaotao looked at me, the corners of her lips rising in a smile.
"Please sit down!" I said.
There were only four of us in the conference room. Although many officers wanted to listen to our conversation, I knew the matter was confidential. In order to pay attention to their privacy, I didn’t allow a single person apart from the four of us into the room.
"First of all,” I started. “Let me make one thing clear. I’m not Officer Song, I’m just a consultant. I’m really just an undergraduate at the moment."
Despite the sunglasses Yi Xi was wearing, I could still read the surprise on his face. His agent praised, "That’s amazing. Young and talented!"
"All right,” I waved him off. “Let's get straight to the point!"
In fact, the biggest mystery of the entire case was Yi Xi and Mike Zhou’s relationship–they were identical twins. The person sitting before me was Mike Zhou and the one lying on the morgue slab was the real Yi Xi!
However, judging from Mike Zhou's behavior, he had received professional training privately and even deliberately imitated Yi Xi. Additionally, the two belonged to the same company which suggested that a part of Yi Xi's tour and film work had been completed by Mike Zhou. The two brothers existed as one.
On the day of the crime, an obsessed fan dissatisfied with Yi Xi's public love affair went to look for him, stabbing him sixteen times in the chest and even left teeth marks after biting off his penis. After successfully murdering the victim, the fan left.
It was the agent company that covered up the truth. They destroyed the video and burned the body, and they also prevented us from obtaining the dental records. Their purpose wasn’t to protect the murderer but to protect the identity of the deceased.
From their standpoint, the outside world couldn’t be allowed to discover Yi Xi’s death, no matter the price.
This incident hit Mike Zhou the hardest which could explain his reckless actions on the second day of the crime. Upset by his loss, he had an argument with the reporters. Then, he went missing and planned on burying Yi Xi secretly with his agent, Wu Xiucai. However, he never expected to bump into reporters on the road that eventually led to the accident where they plunged into the river.
If my guess was correct, what Wu Xiucai swallowed before he died was a contract that officially made Mike Zhou, the substitute, into Yi Xi!
When I finally finished articulating my conclusion, the room fell into dead silence. Mike Zhou's lips trembled, two streams of tears trickling down from under his dark glasses like hot wax on a candle. His agent was the first to break the silence, "The descendant of the great Magistrate Song Ci, the number coroner back in the ancient times, is really worthy of your reputation! We did everything we could to prevent the case from falling into your hands, just because we were afraid of exposing the truth to the public. But it looks like it was all for nothing."
"You could have come clean from the start..."
The agent interrupted, "No, this is the top secret in the company. We weren’t allowed to speak a word of it!"
"Even if Yi Xi bears accusations of a murder?"
"Yes,” he nodded. “Even those accusations can be refuted, but if Yi Xi no longer exists, our entire company will be ruined!
"So after all that’s said and done, it’s all for profit!" Xiaotao laughed sarcastically.
The agent stood up and suddenly fell to his knees, banging his head harshly against the ground. I immediately urged him to get up but he sobbed, "Please, I’m begging you. This matter mustn’t be known to anyone else. I know that your word matters."
I exchanged a meaningful glance with Xiaotao who conceded, "Since Yi Xi didn't kill anyone, we can't wrong a good man. We’ll come up with an appropriate explanation to exonerate him."
"Thank you so much! Your kindness won’t be forgotten!" the agent kowtowed gratefully.
Up until the two left, Mike Zhou hadn’t uttered a single word from the beginning. He was probably still grieving, having lost his own brother but powerless to do or say anything, forced to pretend as if nothing had happened. I thought further questioning would only be cruel.
After they left, I sighed, "It’s like they say, too much cunning in plotting and scheming is the cause of our own undoing."
"Why are you talking like Director-General Cheng?" laughed Xiaotao.
I chuckled and wondered out loud, "What exactly should we tell them?"
Xiaotao opened the cake box and took a bite out of the cream cake. "It's up to you! By the way, this victory cake tastes really sweet."
There was a bit of cream on Xiaotao’s upper lip which I wiped away with my finger and tasted, "It's sweet indeed!"
Xiaotao spooned some cake and hovered it near my lips. "Have a bite, my big hero!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter