Upon returning to the store, the first thing we had to do was install alarms and cameras. Since it was already past 4:00 pm, the camera installation expert suggested he would drop by the next day. I managed to change his mind after offering to double his wage. Several experts soon arrived at the store and installed the cameras and alarms with practiced ease.
When I arrived at the station, the officers had already left work. Xiaotao and Bingxin played a movie in the conference room and ordered takeout.
"You girls sure know how to enjoy yourselves!" I remarked.
"We have to stay up late again tonight. How boring it is to just sit around," Xiaotao retorted.
I pecked at some of their food. Although the movie was interesting, my mind was distracted by the case. I was still unconvinced that the four victims died because they had been on the ghost bus. Where was the motive in that?
However, the murderer deliberately designed their cause of deaths to conform to drowning in order to create the illusion of a killer ghost bus. And how did he find out Dali’s name or locate us in one day?
After watching two movies back to back, Bingxin said, "My eyes are tired. Let's do something else!" With that, she ran out of the room.
Xiaotao yelled after her, "You can’t go out alone! There’s no one in the corridor right now!"
I smiled at their little exchange and phoned Dali to confirm his position.
"I just closed up the store,” he reported. “I’m about to take Youyou to get ice cream!"
"Just stay in the store and don't go elsewhere! Don't you know we’re on the murderer’s list?" I chided.
"Are we supposed to sleep here as well?" he retorted.
“Yes!” I yelled. “You can sleep on the floor!”
After further contemplation, I couldn’t rid myself of worry so I said, "Nevermind! Come down to the station… Actually, I'll pick you up!"
On my way out of the conference room, I bumped into Bingxin carrying a big bag of snacks.
"My God, this girl actually stores her snacks in the forensic laboratory’s refrigerator..." exclaimed Xiaotao.
"I'm going to pick up Dali and Luo Youyou from the store,” I explained. “I’m worried to leave them on their own."
"No!” Xiaotao disapproved. “It's too dangerous for you to go out alone. I’ll go with you!"
"Then what about Bingxin?" I asked.
"Let's all go to the store. No one should be alone," suggested Bingxin.
"What about tonight?" I pointed out.
"We’ll check into a hotel for the night,” said Xiaotao “I’ll make sure it has monitoring!"
These were special circumstances–we were all targets of the murderer so no one should be left alone.
We soon headed to the store. Luo Youyou was cute in her new dress and flushed cheeks.
Xiaotao turned to Dali, "Youyou is the beautiful flower stuck in a fresh heap of cow dung–that’s you. You should cherish her!"
Bingxin patted Luo Youyou's head and said, "You look so pretty! It must be the effect of falling in love!"
The couple seemed to share a tacit agreement; Luo Youyou colored with embarrassment while Dali shamefully protested, "What are you two doing here?"
Bingxin brought all of her snacks as well as Monopoly and chess which we all enjoyed. The next thing we knew, it was past 11:00 pm.
"Let's go and see this legendary ghost bus!" Xiaotao declared.
When we came to Redbud Road, Dali suddenly cried, "I just felt as if someone was staring at us." Luo Youyou shivered with fear while I rebuked, "Nonsense! How can your night vision compare to mine! Don’t jump at everything!"
We waited by the side of the road well past midnight but the ghost bus didn't appear. The long day had taken its toll on Bingxin who yawned sleepily. Xiaotao proposed we wait another hour but the bus never appeared.
"Are you sure you got it right?" Xiaotao expressed her doubts.
The three of them immediately burst into indignant argument, insisting it was all true.
"We can't just stand here till dawn,” I interjected. “Why don’t we rest for the night and come back tomorrow!"
"I’ll book us a room," Xiaotao grabbed her cell phone.
"There’s no need,” interrupted Bingxin. “My home is nearby. The three of us girls can sleep in my dad's bed. Song Yang-gege and Dali can share my small bed!"
"But what if your dad comes home?"
"He can sleep on the sofa!"
The five of us voted and agreed to spend the night at Bingxin's home.
Since Sun Tiger ended up working the night shift again, he didn't come back until morning. The big case he was investigating meant spending countless nights in the station with his team. The next morning, Dali and I were woken up by a loud din in the bathroom.
"Three women but one bathroom, and they’re already busy in the morning!" Dali commented.
Right then, Luo Youyou's voice sounded from the bathroom, "No... Jiejie, let me go..."
"You should hurry up and save your girlfriend from the other two!” I burst out laughing.
Lifting the blanket, Dali jumped out of bed, "I know they’re the police. But what about our human rights?"
Early in the morning, Bingxin and Xiaotao had their way with Luo Youyou, dressing her and putting on makeup. With her little loli figure, Youyou brought out the perverted motherly affection from Xiaotao and Bingxin.
Dali ran to the bathroom and knocked on the door, "What are you doing in there? Let her go!"
"Don't bother us,” Xiaotao shouted.
“We’re almost done!" Bingxin echoed.
Like a cat on hot bricks, Dali paced back and forth in the living room. A while later, the door to the bathroom finally opened, and out came Bingxin holding a shy Luo Youyou. "Voila! Do you recognize who this is?"
At the sight of Luo Youyou, Dali's eyes widened like saucers. The girls had permed Luo Youyou's hair into lovely curls and painted a little eye shadow on her eyelids, giving the illusion of bigger eyes. She also wore some light makeup on her face, though it wasn’t obvious.
Under Xiaotao and Bingxin’s combined efforts, Luo Youyou now resembled a lovely Barbie doll. Dali's stupefaction had Luo Youyou flushed like a ripe tomato. She lowered her head shyly but her lips were curled into a smile. Perhaps this was the pleasure experienced by women who took pride in their appearance.
"I’m not very good with makeup but I gave it a shot, and the results are pretty good, right? Doesn’t she look like a cute loli?" asked Xiaotao.
"Haha,” giggled Bingxin. “He’s overwhelmed by how cute she looks!"
Luo Youyou asked shyly, "Do you like it?"
"I really do!” Dali nodded like an excited puppy. “You look good in everything!"
At the end of this little episode, we headed out for breakfast. Xiaotao sighed, "If I weren't a police officer, it would be rather interesting for us to start a private detective agency. We’d spend our days having fun and sharing laughter."
"I don’t think it’s popular here in China,” I disagreed. “Most private detectives are hired to investigate mistresses."
"You’re right about that," Xiaotao nodded.
"By the way, Song Yang, when I was scrolling through Weibo last night, I found something!" added Luo Youyou.
Fiddling with her cell phone, she handed it to me. It turned out that Zhou Yang posted a microblog with a video he had secretly taken on the bus. Every one of us appeared in that video!
"The murderer must have seen his post!" I stated.
 A Chinese idiom alluding to a beautiful woman with an ugly man.