I called Dali over to the station, but his reluctant reply was, "Business is busy. I don’t have the time!"
"Come down to the station now!” I urged. “Something’s happened!"
While waiting for Dali, I checked on the computer. Luo Youyou's family was from Yuzhou, and there was only one train going to her hometown at 1:00 am tomorrow. That is to say, she was probably still in Nanjiang City.
At this moment, Bingxin came running in, "Song Yang-gege, I’ve tested it. The substance left on the victim’s skin is deuterated water."
"Heavy water?" I muttered.
Heavy water was a colorless, tasteless chemical substance, which was much heavier than water, hence the name. Since human skin was permeable to water, the water in the cells would be squeezed out after absorbing heavy water that contained higher density. The large amount of heavy water that filled the cells created the illusion of drowning.
"I’ve never even heard of this!” exclaimed Xiaotao. “How could our unsub know this without being highly educated? And isn’t heavy water something you’d normally come into contact with?"
"Heavy water doesn’t evaporate easily,” explained Bingxin. “It’s a kind of condensing agent only used in nuclear reactors."
"But there isn’t a nuclear power plant in Nanjiang City," Xiaotao retorted.
"There’s no way nuclear power plants produce heavy water themselves. They should be supplied by chemical plants. The murderer may have stayed in a chemical plant or currently works there, which is how he knew skin would crumple when exposed to this liquid. Only then did he think of using heavy water to create the illusion of drowning, thus misleading everyone in the direction of the urban legend, the ghost bus..."
"Song Yang's analysis is reasonable,” laughed Xiaotao. “We’ve another important clue! I'll send officers to investigate at once!"
Right then, Dali arrived and noticed the three of us present. He brightened up and said, "What a coincidence! We’re all here. We haven't met up in a long time."
The sight of his cheerful grin made the anger boil up inside of me. "Why the hell are you still fooling around! Luo Youyou may be in danger right now!"
"Isn’t she on the train?" Dali asked, mouth agape.
"You’re her boyfriend-to-be. Don't you even know what time her train leaves?" I chided.
I summarized the situation, explaining my suspicions of the murderer’s target, that is, everyone who got on the bus last night. I originally hoped this was merely a false alarm but now Luo Youyou and Zhou Yang were both unreachable which seemed fishy.
"There were only a few of us on the bus last night,” Dali pointed out. “Could it be Zhou Yang?"
"Don’t forget that suspicious driver!" Bingxin chimed in.
I shook my head; both of them didn’t conform to the characteristics of the murderer. The driver was blatantly implausible with his disability. I highly doubted his ability to commit murders. Moreover, he didn’t take a single look at us from start to finish.
"So what you’re trying to say is the murderer knew through certain channels that you were on that bus,” surmised Xiaotao. “Let’s split up. You look for Luo Youyou and I'll investigate this bus!"
After Xiaotao left the room, Dali turned to me and said, “Dude, can we use your divination technique?"
"It's impossible to locate them without the motive,” I confessed. “Please think carefully. Where might Luo Youyou go?"
"Where can she go? She has no other acquaintances in Nanjiang City…” Dali slapped his forehead, “Wait a minute, one of her classmates is from here. Could she have gone looking for her?"
"That’s the only lead we have. Let’s just give it a try and contact her friend!"
Dali didn't have her contact number so he looked her up on QQ. A while after his message was delivered, the girl replied, "Youyou isn’t with me but we spoke earlier."
"What did you talk about?" asked Dali.
After a long time without an answer, I urged, "Call her on QQ!"
The girl soon picked up, "Sorry, I was just taking a shower."
"What's wrong with you girls?” muttered Dali. “Why do you girls always shower in the middle of a conversation?"
"Are you asking for my help? Excuse me, but we’re not familiar with each other. I heard Youyou say that you’re a bastard. You spend all day flirting with other girls. She’s furious. People like you should get hit by a car!"
"It’s urgent. Show me your chat records," Dali sullenly added.
"No, it's private. I'm hanging up, goodbye!"
I grabbed Dali’s cell phone, "Hello, I'm Song Yang, Wang Dali's roommate. We’re in a hurry to look for Luo Youyou. Please let us have a look at your chat records!"
The girl’s voice immediately went up an octave. "Wow, it’s you, Song Yang! I can’t believe you’re personally looking for me! Hey, can I have your QQ? How else can I send you the chat records?"
I had no choice but to leave her my QQ account, and we soon received their chat records.
Luo Youyou messaged her classmate in the afternoon, informing her of her resignation. When her classmate asked what was going on, Luo Youyou complained that Dali didn't care about her, though she was vague about the details. It seemed like girls didn't like elaborating about their troubles.
Dali sighed, "When we find her, I promise I’ll treat her right!"
"Don't worry, we’ll find her,” comforted Bingxin.
His words seemed like hogwash and empty promises so I quickly skipped the subject. During their conversation, Luo Youyou took five minutes to reply in the middle. Later on, she explained that she had received a phone call which coincided with the time of Zhou Yang's call.
Luo Youyou left the conversation after revealing she had matters to attend to.
"Fucking hell!” cursed Dali. “She actually went looking for Zhou Yang!"
With the current developments, Luo Youyou's danger coefficient rose again. I decided to give Lao Yao a call. After failing to graduate this year, Lao Yao bribed the administrator to allow him to stay in school during summer vacation. Two days ago, he showed off how free he was, boasting that there was no one else on campus. He even invited me over to have a look.
As soon as the call was connected, Lao Yao's seductive voice emerged from the other end like a slimy water snake gliding over my skin. "Xiao Song-song, you meanie! You haven't called me in forever!"
"I have a rather urgent matter at the moment. I'll give you 2,000 yuan for the information so help me locate an address!"
"What’s this about money? Would I ever refuse you?” he teased. “Tell me, how can I help you?"
I instructed him to locate Zhou Yang and Luo Youyou's last position via QQ. After a word of affirmation, Lao Yao hung up the call and soon sent the two addresses to my cell phone. The two locations were in the outskirts of the city and close to each other.
Dali frantically cried, "They went to some apartment in the suburbs for a date. I’m afraid to imagine what happened afterwards."
"Don't worry about that. If Luo Youyou wanted to cheat on you, they could’ve just checked into any hotel," I clarified.
"Oh please, the two of you haven’t confirmed your relationship so it’s not cheating!" argued Bingxin.
Upon hearing this, Dali grew even more agitated. "How can you be so heartless and make fun of me? My heart’s grown cold!"
Since Luo Youyou had to take the night train, she couldn’t possibly have gone to the outskirts of the city without a good reason. And wouldn’t she have a sense of vigilance as a girl? What worried me was the possibility of her getting kidnapped!Previous Chapter Next Chapter