The interrogation room was dimly lit, with only one lamp shining toward Xiang Wan’s eyes.
The novel’s content about the criminal case completely muddled Xiang Wan’s brain. She was deeply perplexed, her mouth and lips were dry, and she had no idea what was going on.
“The police suspects that… I murdered Mr. Zhao?”
Bai Muchuan did not reply. The two detectives looked at each other with complicated expressions.
“Where were you between ten to eleven o’clock yesterday night?”
“I was… at my rented apartment.”
“Is there anyone who can prove that?”
“I live alone.”
“You are from Jin City?”
“Why did you rent an apartment outside when you can live with your mother?”
“I’m an author. I write novels… I need, need peace and quiet.”
The questions by the detectives were tricky and repetitive. Some questions were totally similar to asking Xiang Wan to prove that her mom was really her mom; she was unable to answer such questions. Moreover, at the time of Zhao Jiahang’s death, she was indeed alone in her rented apartment. She couldn’t provide an alibi. Furthermore, the old and shabby neighborhood she lived in had no surveillance cameras at all. There was nothing that could prove she was indeed inside her apartment during that period.
The atmosphere was tense and oppressive.
The air conditioning seemed to have gotten colder.
Xiang Wan’s brain seemed to be buzzing, and her consciousness started to get chaotic. She felt as if she was being dragged into a deep mire for no reason. She could see dark clouds looming over her head as well as the surrounding silt that she could not get out of. She couldn’t escape, and there was nothing for her to hold onto.
When she found her voice again, she noticed that her voice was dry and hoarse, and she felt extremely thirsty.
“I really don’t know Mr. Zhao. The police can’t convict me just because I wrote a similar story, right? I don’t even have a motive to kill…”
“You do,” said Bai Muchuan as he looked at her coldly.
“?” Xiang Wan’s eyes turned red as she looked at the man who was approaching her slowly.
Bai Muchuan stood in front of her and stared into her eyes. “You want to be famous!”
“?!” His words were like a sharp blade that tore up her wounds. Xiang Wan got so agitated that she almost couldn’t breathe. “Are you implying that I want to be famous so I will kill someone for that? In other words, if we have a grudge, you’ll be accusing me of something I didn’t do, so as to grab the opportunity to have me killed?”
When she said that, she suddenly thought of something.
Did she have a “grudge” with this Detective Bai?
There really might be something that could be counted as a “grudge”.
The still visible bruise on the back of Detective Bai’s hand and her miserable, tragic scream of “rape”—if those weren’t grudges, what would they be?
Now that she was unable to prove that she was unrelated to the case, and had seemingly offended someone of authority, he might just really use his position to get even with her.
Xiang Wan was unable to open her eyes due to the blinding light. She lowered her head in silence.
When she stayed quiet, she looked rather lovely and obedient. The long years of living like a female otaku have brought about her fair, delicate complexion, which was now a shade of faint pink due to holding back her anger.
The interrogation room was cold, but the hair which clung to the sides of her forehead was wet.
It was evident that she was nervous and was trying to keep herself composed.
The tall detective who brought her back was called Huang He. He was the most easy-going person in the entire Criminal Investigation Unit.
He could not bear seeing a girl like Xiang Wan, who was full of elegance and grace, looking all pitiful as if she had been wronged. According to his detective instinct honed for many years, Xiang Wan was nothing like the meticulous murderers who would go to great lengths to commit their crimes.
He gave a light cough. “Ahem, boss, do you think…”
Bai Muchuan swept a glance at him. “She’s not the murderer!”
The sudden reversal made Xiang Wan raise her head abruptly and stare at Detective Bai as if she had not heard clearly what he had just said.
“A murderer will not have the habit of dialing 110 with enthusiasm,” said Bai Muchuan slowly.
Xiang Wan then realized that when she trapped his hand and called the police, it was not that he lacked the ability to retaliate, but he used that as an opportunity to observe her instead.
Which murderer out there would take the initiative to put their head in the noose?
Never had she felt so rejoiced over calling the police. She finally eased up and realized that even her underwear were drenched in perspiration.
“Of course.” Bai Muchuan’s eyes had a gloomy glint. “She can’t be cleared of suspicion!”
Xiang Wan leaned back on the chair weakly, famished and dazed. She had an illusion that she had sunk into some unknown abyss.
“I, why can’t I be cleared of suspicion?”
Bai Muchuan beckoned Huang He to get up so he could sit opposite Xiang Wan. He took a look at the statement then threw it back on the table. A glittering light from Bai Muchuan’s wrist flickered across Xiang Wan’s eyes.
Say what? Xiang Wan’s attention was on his cuff. Even though the watch he was wearing was of an understated design, her years of experience dealing with romance fiction told her that the watch had a seven-digit figure of worth. Generally, it was a “feature” that most male leads in romance fictions enjoyed.
What kind of detective is this Bai Muchuan?
Xiang Wan was pressured to the extreme by his menacing eyes as well as the stress brought about by the luxury watch. A man of authority coupled with wealth could get a lot of things done easily. Her brain seemed to short circuit for a moment.
“Detectives, I’ve said all that I can. I really don’t know what else I can say.”
Bai Muchuan’s cold eyes narrowed into a squint. “Would the plot in your mind just run off by itself without any reason to kill someone?”
He was right! Although the plot could not run away by itself, but Xiang Wan could have told someone about it!
With his reminder, Xiang Wan’s intelligence had finally been freed from tension. “Why didn’t I think of this earlier?”
Bai Muchuan raised his eyebrows slightly. “This is why you’re being labeled as a hopeless author.”
Xiang Wan had an animated look of confusion that looked funny.
She felt a chilly puff of wind, unsure which direction it had come from.
Xiang Wan shivered and began to recall the days where she was completely engrossed in writing her novel.
Cough! Huang He waited for her to look up and continued the interrogation, “How many people have you told about the details of the case?”
Xiang Wan slowly raised a finger. “Not a lot.”
Huang He asked, “Hm, just one?”
Xiang Wan shook her head. “No, it’s a group.”
Huang He: “…”
With that, the case seemed much simpler now.
Xiang Wan recalled that she had once sent a screenshot of the detailed outline of the murder case to her group of readers.
Although her works were unpopular, she still had some 200 readers inside her reader chat group, where they chat, clown around, and crack jokes.
How much time would they take if they were to check each and every one of them?
Xiang Wan spent the whole day in the interrogation room.
After she had given her statement, the police told her that she might be “summoned any time for questioning”. When she left the Criminal Investigation Unit, the sky was already dark.
She walked down the stairs and looked at the row of street lights outside the building of the Criminal Investigation Unit, feeling slightly lost over losing track of time.
A day spent inside the interrogation room made her feel like she had been cut off from the outside world.
Beep! It was a message from WeChat.
It was from her editor, as well as her cousin—”Madam” Fang Yuanyuan.
Fang Yuanyuan: “Sis, where are you? Why didn’t you reply to my messages? The number of new subscriptions of ‘Murder The Dream Guy’ seems pretty good today. But there are some strange comments, you better settle them quick.”
Fang Yuanyuan’s style was always to talk about work first, followed by life.
Fang Yuanyuan: “And, don’t forget that our youngest aunt has arranged a blind date for you. I heard that the guy’s a good catch. He came back after studying abroad. This time, you better treat it seriously. Go get into a relationship and write me a sizzling novel that will rocket through the charts…”
Xiang Wan: “Okay.”
It was rare that Xiang Wan did not even attempt to make any retort.
After replying with just one word, she switched her mobile phone to silent mode.
She opted not to take a taxi, and instead walked back to her neighborhood slowly in the warm night winds.
Her rented apartment was not far from the police station. About half an hour later, she was around the vicinity of the neighborhood.
She stopped by the supermarket to get some groceries, exiting with several plastic bags of food. She was about to enter the alley from the bus stop outside her neighborhood when a car suddenly headed directly toward her.
She stayed in an old neighborhood where the alley was dark and the lights were dim.
Screeech! The harsh sound of the brakes startled her, and the bags of groceries she was holding fell to the ground. Meoowww! It also shocked a stray cat that jumped in fright as it almost got killed under the wheels of the car.
She felt the gust of wind that the car brought about—she was just several centimeters away from the car!
Xiang Wan was drenched in cold sweat from fear. That driver sounded nervous as well, “I’m sorry!”
The driver’s a woman? When Xiang Wan wanted to take a clearer look at her, the driver had sped off as fast as she could, as if she might get into trouble if she stayed any longer.
Xiang Wan was dubious about the woman as she caught a glimpse of her side profile. She suddenly felt an uncanny sense of familiarity…
Why did she have the feeling that the woman seemed familiar?