Sixteen months ago.
At night, the night sky was deep blue, and the moon shone brightly.
In the Huadu Anhua Music Center, amidst thunderous applause from the audience, a music event was approaching its end.
Everyone was still immersed in the performance just now. The crowd at the front desk was bustling with people leaving, and the backstage was also chaotic.
Zhuang Xueyi performed a violin solo tonight, and she was the focus of the entire audience. Her performance was a great success, and many actors came over to congratulate her.
Zhuang Xueyi smiled one by one, she is in her forties this year, in middle age, her figure and appearance are well maintained, making it impossible to see her actual age. She wore a silver dress tonight, which would appear shiny like fish scales under the lights, and her eyes were also decorated with some fish scales, making her look like a beautiful mermaid.
The clothing and makeup were very intricate, and it took a lot of time to remove the makeup, especially those scales, which were very difficult to remove.
After removing all the scales, Zhuang Xueyi looked at herself in the mirror, but she couldn’t be happy. Time always passes, and one day she will step down from this stage.
There is no one to succeed her, this is the failure of her life, the greatest sorrow.
Her husband died early, and she raised her daughter alone through hardships. She had hoped to appear on this stage with her daughter, and she thought she would fall in love with this stage too, but she messed everything up.
After that incident, the relationship between mother and daughter plummeted to zero.
It has been more than a month since she had heard from Liu Mengying.
At eleven o’clock in the evening, the backstage was empty, quiet to the extreme. When Zhuang Xueyi changed her clothes and came out, a young man suddenly walked up to her with a bouquet of flowers.
He asked a bit nervously, “Teacher Zhuang, I really like your performance. Could you sign my autograph?”
Zhuang Xueyi, who had been playing the violin for years, also had her own fans.
“Have you been waiting here all the time?” Zhuang Xueyi asked.
“En, I was hoping to see you.” The man spoke, his voice gentle and pleasant.
Zhuang Xueyi felt a bit sorry, “Then you must have been waiting for a long time?” She took the pen and photo from his hand, signed her name, and then took the bouquet of flowers.
“It’s worth waiting no matter how long.” The man took the photo, put it in his pocket, and said thank you. Then he talked about Zhuang Xueyi’s performance tonight and how perfect the last piece was.
Zhuang Xueyi replied casually, but she was very happy in her heart.
The man and Zhuang Xueyi walked down the backstage stairs together when he casually brought up, “I heard from someone that your daughter was also once in this orchestra.”
The topic suddenly shifted to her daughter, and Zhuang Xueyi paused in her steps, her expression changing. She turned back to him with some displeasure and said, “Don’t mention that unfilial daughter to me. I have nothing to do with her.”
The man was taken aback for a moment, “Ms. Zhuang…”
“She’s a selfish and self-serving child. Do you know what she has done? She ruined her own career and destroyed my dreams! I can’t hold my head up high here anymore.”
Thinking back to the moment when Liu Mengying cut her own finger on stage, Zhuang Xueyi was so angry that her whole body was trembling.
Yes, she didn’t feel sorry for her daughter, but rather angry.
The man stopped in his tracks…
Zhuang Xueyi’s gaze instantly turned cold, and she stood at the stairs of the emergency exit, looking at him warily. The man in front of her didn’t seem like an ordinary fan. “Is it that little bastard who sent you here?” she cursed maliciously.
The man frowned and tried to defend his patient, “Liu Mengying…she’s not like that.”
“Hmph, so it is related to Liu Mengying. Has she run out of money?” Zhuang Xueyi’s face fell, and she had no good feelings towards the man in front of her. She cursed with malice, “I won’t give her a penny anymore. I hope she dies outside!”
How could there be such a mother?
She left scars on her daughter’s body and mind with her own actions and so-called dreams, forcing her daughter to the brink of insanity, yet she still spoke these hurtful words.
In that moment, the man felt a flame rising in his heart, a raging fire that covered his eyes. He took a deep breath and reached out his hand.
When he came to his senses, he saw Zhuang Xueyi lying at the bottom of the staircase.
In that instant, it was as if the clock had been paused. The surroundings were quiet, and only the two of them existed in this dim corner.
Zhuang Xueyi’s eyes were still half-open, and bright red blood silently spread from under her head, gradually staining the white carnations beneath her.
The man looked around and, seeing no one, quickly left the emergency exit and disappeared into the crowd.
The noise finally returned.
The man lowered his head, organizing his thoughts. This was the backstage area, a secure passage with no surveillance, and it was late enough now…
She might only be injured, perhaps not dead.
She fell on her own, he didn’t touch her…
But did she really fall on her own?
He lowered his head, looking at his own hands, his fingers trembling uncontrollably.
Memories gradually emerged, he pushed her down… He could recall his hand touching the woman’s back, feeling her body temperature, and then he applied a bit of force…
He couldn’t call for help, everyone would know he did it.
His chest felt tight, nervous, his heart felt like it was about to jump out of his throat. Remembering the woman in the stairwell, the blood under her, the tension made him feel like vomiting…
That woman deserved to die… she deserved to die…
He kept repeating to himself, repeatedly stretching his fingers.
But the feeling of killing someone was not really pleasant, he didn’t want to try it again…
Killing was too easy.
The distance between life and death was really only twenty-two steps.
No, it wasn’t murder, he was saving someone.
If this woman didn’t die, Liu Mengying was doomed.
If she knew everything, she would forgive him.
The man prepared to hail a taxi, but suddenly remembered something, the pen he had just used to sign…
It seemed that Zhuang Xueyi didn’t give it back to him…
Sixteen months later, in the Huadu City Police Bureau.
An ambulance quickly arrived downstairs, and Qin Zhihua was hastily taken away by medical staff. Because he had been poisoned for some time, he was still in critical condition and it was uncertain whether he could be saved. Zheng Bai followed to the hospital.
Su Hui washed his hands, calmed down, and returned to the Major Crimes Unit.
He couldn’t let his guard down, everything was like a chain reaction of dominoes, and he didn’t know what kind of reaction would come next.
Qu Ming looked at the computer and reported, “Consultant Su, the flower shop we were investigating before has provided the information. The purchase of the carnations sixteen months ago was made using Alipay. The store owner provided the account, and I immediately applied for permission to check the real name.”
Every flower sold in the flower shop would have a record. It was a small flower shop, and on that day, only this bouquet of carnations was sold.
Su Hui looked at the email address written on the Alipay account, a combination of English and numbers.
Before they could even retrieve the real name, Xia Mingxi suddenly turned around and said, “Consultant Su, something’s happened. The team that was tracking Liu Mengying has found her. She’s now on the top floor of a commercial building in the city center, and the fire department and police are rushing over.”
Right now, Lu Junchi is not here, and Su Hui has clearly become the highest-ranking person here. Everyone is nervous, waiting for his decision.
Su Hui frowned and asked, “How far is it from here?”
Qu Ming looked at the map and said, “Not too far, about six or seven minutes by car.”
Su Hui quickly made a decision, “Qu Ming, take me there. Xia Mingxi, notify Lu’s team as soon as possible.”
He and Qu Ming hurriedly went downstairs. Just as Su Hui was about to get in the car with his cane, Lu Junchi’s phone call came in and he quickly answered it.
Lu Junchi urgently said, “Su Hui, I’ve heard about the situation. I’m a bit further away and it will take about twenty minutes for me to get to Liu Mengying’s side.”
Su Hui coughed a few times and said, “I know. I’m rushing over. She’s still on the top floor, which means we have a chance. I’ll do my best to hold her back.”
“Please be careful!” Lu Junchi felt a tightness in his chest when he heard this.
“I’m going to save people, not jump off a building. Qu Ming is with me.” Su Hui spoke quickly, but his tone and expression remained very calm.
Lu Junchi said, “I didn’t expect things to develop to this point. They did all of this to silence their accomplices…”
Su Hui recalled the feeling of despair when Qin Zhihua held his hand earlier. In his heart, all the truth gradually became clear, “Their current behavior is to protect the people behind them. I think they may have been misled by false information, bewitched, or even hypnotized, to kill their exposed accomplices…”
Lu Junchi drove the car and frowned, “Can hypnosis achieve this effect?”
He had discussed hypnosis with Su Hui before, and as far as he understood it, hypnosis could make people subconsciously do certain things, but it couldn’t completely reverse a person’s will. Overall, the effect was limited.
Su Hui said, “The effect of hypnosis is closely related to the state of the person being hypnotized. For ordinary, mentally healthy people with strong willpower, this kind of hypnosis or psychological induction may have very little effect. But those patients were all previously suffering from depression. The perpetrator established a relationship with them at their most vulnerable and helpless moments, giving them redemption. He implanted his thoughts step by step into their minds, making them agree with his ideas. Those patients loved him, worshiped him, respected him, and willingly followed him, willing to do anything for him, including killing their own colleagues.”
He spoke until here, lowered his eyelashes for a moment, and then raised his gaze, looking firmly at the blurred traffic outside: “After everything is exposed, the subconscious mind that remains in the brain will make those people abandon everything, even if it means using their own lives to protect him. And after brainwashing, they will mistake these thoughts as their own.”
It is precisely because of this that the killers who were forced into a corner began to turn on each other.
This is an invasion, an induction, and even a brainwashing.
This is not redemption, it is a poisonous substance coated in honey. Once an agreement is reached with that devil, you will completely lose yourself.
When someone kills, their life will veer off course. It’s like being pushed into a pure white hell, unable to be reincarnated forever.
Su Hui tried to explain to Lu Junchi, “But I estimate that many of the patients are no longer in a state of depression. The manipulative power of those people has weakened, and the ones who are acting may be some of his crazy followers.”
Lu Junchi never expected that the case would lead to this point, like opening Pandora’s box, causing a series of follow-up events and putting the police on the defensive. “Do you have any more specific insights about the killer?” he asked.
Su Huai calmed down and said, “He is a man, aged between 28 and 35, and his profession could be a doctor, a teacher, or a psychotherapist. He appears very gentle and harmless on the surface, he may be very handsome and give people a sense of trust, but inside, he is an extremist. His redemption is not for those patients, but for his own satisfaction. Therefore, when it is close to being exposed, those who he saved became sacrificial pawns to cover up the truth and protect others…”
As Su Huai spoke, the figure in his mind became clearer. He remembered the Alipay account… the first letter seemed to be AYC. Su Huai paused and said, “Right, check on An Yuci. I’m almost there, we’ll talk later.”
Liu Junchi wanted to ask more, but his phone was hung up.
Earlier, the profession of psychotherapist was mentioned, and Lu Junchi had a vague premonition in his heart. Now, Su Huai had directly locked onto An Yuci.
Qiao Ze sat in the car and quickly opened his laptop, asking, “Captain Lu, who do we need to check?”
“Yang Yuqing Clinic, a psychotherapist named An Yuci. Check his medical records from the First Hospital to see if he is related to these suspects…” Lu Junchi said.
Qiao Ze quickly typed on the keyboard. After a while, he took a deep breath and said incredulously, “Several relevant people have seen this doctor before…”
Lu Junchi continued, “Immediately retrieve his fingerprints and compare them with the fingerprints found at the scene of Zhuang Xueyi’s death!”
The previous fingerprint information was incomplete, as only the fingertips were preserved, so the identity of the person could not be determined. But if there were complete fingerprint information, they could be compared and the identity of the person could be determined.
Qiao Ze poured both sets of fingerprints into the system and a “beep” sound was heard. He exclaimed excitedly, “Fingerprint match!”
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