"Poor servant girl, living only to die for you."
"This is the content of the third letter."
"I remember. At the time, you were worried about implicating the servants around you, so you gave her permission to take leave and visit her family in the countryside."
"But she still got into trouble."
He You'an gave a bitter smile.
When Ling Shu and the others heard the content of the third letter, they guessed that the culprit's target might be someone around He You'an.
He You'an herself was even more direct, thinking of the maid who had been by her side all along. This maid had been with He You'an the longest and was the most compatible with her.
She knew her daily routine and even her quirks and preferences like the back of her hand.
To He You'an, this maid was like a half-relative, and their relationship couldn't be measured by the simple terms of employer and employee.
After receiving a threatening letter, He You'an did something unprecedented: she gave the maid a three-month long vacation to visit her family in the countryside. She also gave her a considerable amount of money to go shopping at the department store, so she could return home in style.
Although the maid had seen a lot since she started working for He You'an, her family had not. She knew that even buying a few things in Shanghai would be enough to impress her relatives in the countryside.
Due to her frequent visits to Xinxin Department Store, the maid had also become familiar with it. Carrying the money given to her by her employer, she bought a lot of things inside. However, when she came out, something unexpected happened.
The maid was carrying too many things in her hands and didn't pay attention when she stepped down the stairs. She stepped on air and fell heavily, hitting the back of her head on the steps. Blood flowed all over the place.
"Miss Qian already in a serious coma on the way to the hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after being admitted. We are very sorry. This incident did not occur within the department store, so technically we should not be responsible. However, in the spirit of humanity, we will still do our best to help with her funeral arrangements. Please accept our condolences, Miss He."
The speaker was the manager of the department store, and for him, it was a very stressful day.
The news of a woman falling to her death outside the department store had made it to the newspapers. The bloodstains on the ground were enough to scare off many customers coming in and out.
Ultimately, it was hard to say that this incident had no impact on the department store. If competitors like Yong'an Department Store or Parkson Department Store took advantage of this and spread rumors that there were feng shui problems with Xinxin Department Store, then business would definitely suffer in the future.
If it weren't for the fact that the deceased woman's employer was the well-known He You'an, the department store manager would never have personally made this trip to apologize and offer compensation.
Ling Shu said, "It snowed a few days ago. If the steps were too slippery and the victim fell, then the department store would definitely be at fault."
Upon hearing this, the department store manager's face turned black and he had to explain himself.
"Mr. Ling, you're accusing us wrongly! Yes, it's snowing, but with so many customers coming in and out of the department store every day, we have to have someone clear the snow at the entrance every two hours. Even if the weather is cold and the road is slippery, we haven't heard of any other customers besides Ms. Qian who suffered such a tragic accident."
In other words, it was just bad luck for the maid Qian, who had a stroke of misfortune and lost her life after slipping and falling.
He You'an sighed and said, "Although Qian and I are master and servant, we are like family. I feel very sad about this incident. I won't call on you for now. You can discuss the compensation with Boss Teng later. I don't want a single penny. I will make sure that all the money goes to Qian's family."
The manager of the department store couldn't wait to leave. Upon hearing this, he immediately said, "Miss He, you are very kind. We will publicly publish an obituary for Miss Qian, explaining the reason, and ask our customers to be more careful in the future. We will also praise Miss He for her kindness to her maid."
Miss He shook her head and said, "Don't mention me. You can publish it, but don't deliberately smear Miss Qian's name. The deceased has passed away, so please let her rest in peace."
"Of course! Of course!" The department store manager said repeatedly.
The third letter had come true.
So far, the first two accidents could be considered unsuccessful. If the dead cat was just a prank, now someone had really died.
With the third incident, will there be a fourth or fifth?
What is the purpose of the other party?
Perhaps he didn't want to let He You'an die so easily, so he kept targeting the people around her, like a cat playing with a mouse it caught but not eating it.
Maybe in the last movie theater assassination, the other party didn't actually intend to take her life.
He You'an's face looked very bad.
Not only was she depressed and sad, but also mixed with frustration.
This time she thought she had detected it in time and took precautions, but who could have expected to still not avoid it.
If you don't believe that the maid was killed, there are so many witnesses in broad daylight.
If you believe that her death was accidental, then what about the clearly prophetic letter?
Ling Shu felt that it was not quite appropriate to mention Liang Ye again in this situation, but he still had some doubts in his heart.
"Miss He, may I ask, do you know Liang Ye?"
He You'an looked up. "Did you find him?"
Ling Shu nodded. "I shouldn't bring this up now, but in order to solve the case as soon as possible, I have to ask."
He You'an replied calmly, "Go ahead and ask."
Ling Shu asked, "Is Liang Ye really your younger brother-in-law?"
He You'an confirmed, "Yes, he is."
Ling Shu questioned, "Since you paid for his tuition, why did you keep it a secret?"
He You'an explained, "You've met him, haven't you? You know how he treats me. He treats me worse than a stranger. To him, I am indirectly responsible for his brother's death and the destruction of his family. No matter what I do, he doesn't want to see me. If he knew that I paid for his tuition, he would probably reject it even more."
Ling Shu said, "That's not necessarily true. I think he's very self-aware, but he just doesn't want to admit it. He takes advantage of you while looking down on you. Is he really worth your support?"
"I only showed him kindness to fulfill my promise to Liang Zhou," replied He You'an. "When I was in my most difficult time, Liang Zhou reached out to help me, even if it meant using marriage as a condition. I don't dislike him, and I also wanted a peaceful life, but unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Shortly after we got married, he became addicted to smoking and lost all our family's wealth. Even if I worked day and night, I couldn't repay our debts. I have nothing left except for this face."
She touched her smooth cheek with a hint of sadness and asked Ling Shu.
"Mr. Ling, in times of chaos, how can a woman survive? If I had the family background of Miss Zhen, I might be happily studying abroad in the West, returning as a new era woman. Unfortunately, I don't have that. I only have this face. I hate it, but I can't destroy it."
Mr. Ling was at a loss for words, unable to come up with a suitable answer to Miss He's question.
Fortunately, Miss He didn't need his answer.
"My marriage is not a secret, but Mr. Teng didn't want too many people to know because it would affect the success of the movie. Mr. Ling, do you suspect Liang Ye? From what I know, although he hates me, he shouldn't be capable of such a thing. He wouldn't even dare to kill a chicken, let alone a person. Even if I died, he would have no source of income for his tuition and living expenses. Since he guessed that the money was sent by me, he should know that it's not in his best interest to harm me."
He You'an made a convincing argument, and Ling Shu had already ruled out Liang Ye as a suspect.
"Be careful of your actions lately. If a fourth letter arrives or you notice any suspicious people around you, please inform me immediately," he could only advise He You'an.
Little did he know that the fourth letter would arrive so soon. Just as Ling Shu left He You'an's residence and walked to the street corner, a newsboy came towards him.
"Selling newspapers! Sir, buy a newspaper. The latest edition with headlines about the League of Nations not recognizing the state Manzhouguo and Germany electing a new chancellor!"
"No thanks..." Ling Shu was completely focused on He You'an's case and had no interest in reading the news. But before he could finish his sentence, the newsboy had already shoved a newspaper into his arms without a word.
Surprisingly, the newsboy didn't even ask for payment and was about to run away after handing over the paper. Ling Shu couldn't let him go and quickly caught up to him.
"You're giving away newspapers for free?"
"I don't need payment. Someone else already bought this paper and asked me to give it to you!"
The newsboy couldn't break free from Ling Shu's grip and had to confess.
"Who gave this to you?" Ling Shu asked.
The newsboy pointed casually.
Ling Shu followed his gaze and looked up.
People were bustling about on the street, and there was no one standing still waiting for them to identify.
"Why did he buy me a newspaper?"
"I don't know. He seemed to have put a letter in the newspaper and asked me to deliver it to you along with the newspaper. I don't know anything else!"
Ling Shu weighed the newspaper and indeed felt something was inside.
"What does he look like?"
"I, I don't remember."
"If you don't tell me, we'll go to the police station."
"I really don't remember. He wore a hat, a scarf covered half of his face, and he was wrapped up tightly in a black coat. He was quite thin, but he should be a man!"
Ling Shu saw that he didn't seem to be lying, so he reached out and pulled out the letter from the newspaper. The envelope was thin, with only a photo inside.
In the photo, a woman was hanging from a white cloth, having committed suicide.
At first glance, Ling Shu recognized the woman in the photo as He You'an.
This was a classic scene from one of He You'an's movies, where the desperate female lead ultimately hangs herself. The still had been published in newspapers and magazines and was widely known.
Flipping over the photo, there was a small line of pencil-written words:
"A beauty by the pond, fragrant bones behind the bridge, a desolate tomb in the town. Winter is near, spring is coming, tears inside and out."
It was a strange sentence, not even qualifying as a poem, but it exuded a creepy atmosphere.
Ling Shu understood that this was probably the fourth letter targeting He You'an.
But why was it sent to him?
The culprit had been secretly watching his every move, and knew that he would definitely hand the letter to He You'an.
Ling Shu furrowed his brows, feeling like he was caught in someone else's trap. The more he struggled, the stronger the trap's backlash became.
The weavers of the trap were hiding in the shadows, laughing at their success, yet they hadn't even noticed the culprit's presence.
Did this photo signify that something even more dangerous was about to happen to He You'an?
Suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder. Ling Shu turned around abruptly, only to see Yue Dingtang.
The other person was puzzled by his overreaction and asked, "What happened?"
Ling Shu inexplicably breathed a sigh of relief.
He didn't even know why he felt more relaxed upon seeing Yue Dingtang.
The author has something to say:
A small theater that has nothing to do with the main story:
Yue Dingtang: Why do you breathe a sigh of relief when you see me?
Ling Shu: Maybe it's because I, such a handsome man, am often afraid of being flirted with by beautiful women.
He thought Yue Dingtang would scold him for being shameless, but instead Yue Dingtang raised his eyebrows playfully.
Yue Dingtang: Then how do you know that men are always safe? What if I also want to flirt with you?
Ling Shu: ??