"This case is too strange," Ling Shu handed the fourth letter he received to Yue Dingtang.
"The killer seems to want to take the life of He You'an, but also seems like they only want to scare her."
"I even suspect that these threatening letters may not be from the same group of people."
"Why do you say that?" Yue Dingtang flipped the photo over and saw the mismatched poem.
"Do you remember the poem in the third letter? It was made up of newspaper clippings to deliberately make it difficult for us to compare handwriting, but this time it was handwritten."
"Perhaps the other party just wanted to make it impossible for you to compare," Yue Dingtang suggested.
The handwriting was neat and tidy, making it impossible to determine whether it leaned more towards masculine or feminine traits.
Ling Shu sighed, "If even my intelligence cannot uncover the truth of this case, then perhaps no one in the world can."
Yue Dingtang remained silent, choosing to ignore the statement.
"You should take this letter to He You'an and see how she reacts. Also, have her try to obtain anything written by those around her, whether it be letters or notes."
Ling Shu asked, "What are you thinking?"
Yue Dingtang replied, "Even if a person intentionally changes their handwriting, there are certain writing habits that are difficult to change. We have an expert in epigraphy in our school's history department who is skilled in handwriting analysis. I will take it to him to have a look. These recent cases have shown that the culprit knows He You'an very well, even her every move."
Ling Shu said, "I didn't notify anyone before coming here today, but as soon as I went downstairs, I received a letter from the other party, prepared to be handed over to He You'an through my hands."
"Good point," said Yue Dingtang. "So the other party must be someone around He You'an. At least, the culprit must have an informant around He You'an."
This was a breakthrough.
He You'an didn't expect Ling Shu to return quickly with the fourth letter in his hand.
After hearing the intentions of the two, she thought for a moment and said, "Apart from my maid Qian Shi, there is also Master Shen and two people sent by Boss Teng to protect me, who contact me daily and know my whereabouts."
Ling Shu said, "You missed one person."
"Who?" asked He You'an.
Ling Shu asked, "When I got off earlier, I saw your car parked on the side of the road. Isn't your driver supposed to be with you all day?"
"Yes, he's Master Shen's man. His name is Chen Wendong and he's responsible for taking me around," replied He You'an.
Ling Shu asked, "Do you know anything about his background?"
He You'an pondered for a moment and said, "I'm not sure. I only know he's from the northeast. But if Master Shen sent him, he must trust him. Master Shen isn't always with me, but with Chen Wendong around, he always knows where I am and what I'm doing."
In other words, he's the one responsible for monitoring He You'an.
Ling Shu asked, "Have you ever had any disputes or unpleasant experiences with Chen Wendong?"
He You'an replied, "No, he was sent by Master Shen, and being a young man, I rarely speak to him unless necessary. He is also very quiet and seldom speaks."
Ling Shu asked, "How long has he been with you, and what are his hobbies? How many people are in his family?"
He You'an answered, "He has been my driver since I met Master Shen and got a car. I haven't asked about his family or whether he is married, but he has a bit of a gambling addiction."
Ling Shu raised an eyebrow and asked, "Gambling addiction?"
He You'an sighed and said, "Yes, when it comes to gambling addiction, I think of Liang Zhou. Several times, I saw Chen Wendong coming out of the casino. Sometimes, when he drove me to the set, if there was a gambling stall nearby, he would always go and play a few rounds."
Ten bets, nine losses. The more you lose, the more you want to win. The more you want to win, the more addicted you become. It's a vicious cycle that never ends, ultimately turning you into a puppet controlled by money.
If someone takes advantage of your vulnerability and buys you off, it's not impossible.
With that said, Chen Wendong's suspicion grew even greater.
Ling Shu asked, "On the day Qian Shi had an accident, did everyone around you know she was going to the department store to buy things?"
He You'an replied, "No, she was hesitant at first, afraid of wasting money. It was me who encouraged her, saying that after so many years, it's finally a chance to go home and buy some good things. I offered to pay for her, and she finally agreed. Oh, if only I hadn't suggested it... Wait a minute! Now that you mention it, she was in the car with me at the time, and I was the one who said those words to her. Chen Wendong was also in the car and heard everything."
"This is not something to dwell on, the more you think about it, the more terrifying it becomes.
If it really is Chen Wendong, then every move that He You'an has made in the past few days has been under his watchful eye. His eyes are constantly observing her, but she remains completely unaware of his intentions.
"Should we tell Young Master Shen?" He You'an asked fearfully.
Yue Dingtang replied, "Right now, it's just our speculation. What if it's not Chen Wendong? Knowing Shen Shiqi's character, Chen Wendong's fate will not be a good one."
He made a valid point. He You'an knew all too well that despite her seemingly glamorous life, she was like a rootless duckweed. Only by being kind to others at every turn could she leave herself a way out.
So, not to mention Chen Wendong, even if she passed by a beggar, she would give them some spare change.
"Thank you for reminding me, Mr. Yue. Let's not tell Master Shen about this for now. We'll investigate and find out the truth first."
Yue Dingtang replied, "There's no need to startle the snake before catching it. Keep an eye on Chen Wendong's daily interactions and who he associates with. If there's anything suspicious, let us know."
Ling Shu added, "Don't overlook the contents of the fourth letter. Be careful when filming and if there are any scenes involving suicide, it's best to communicate with the director and change it to something else."
Apologetically, He You'an said, "It's all because of me that you've gone through so much trouble. Thank you both. If there's any progress, I'll definitely inform you."
Despite her makeup, the faint dark circles under her beautiful eyes were hard to conceal.
In just a short period of time, He You'an had become noticeably haggard.
No one could be happy in a situation like this. Day after day, they lived in fear, never knowing what danger they might encounter next.
Only in the face of the unknown did their hearts hang suspended in mid-air.
If it were anyone else but He You'an, they would have lost their appetite and their sleep by now.
Perhaps Ling Shu's sympathy was too obvious, for He You'an turned around and comforted him instead.
"Don't worry about me. I won't fall until the killer is caught."
What a pity for such a beauty. For the 101st time, Ling Shu thought this to himself.
Such thoughts were bound to leak out when he left.
Yue Dingtang gave him a glance, as if he could see through all his thoughts.
Ling Shu saw it.
"Old Yue, you're not cherishing this beauty. You're not worthy of being a man!"
Yue Dingtang sneered, "I can see that you're so compassionate that you'd even sacrifice yourself. Give me some of that compassion, and I'll have it too."
Ling Shu asked, "Is that why you erased the pencil writing on the back of the photo?"
When they showed the photo to He You'an earlier, Yue Dingtang had already erased the nonsensical poem on the back.
"You think you're so clever, but you didn't even guess this?" Yue Dingtang said.
"How could I not? I naturally guessed your intentions. You suspected He You'an," Ling Shu replied.
"I wanted to see her reaction after she saw the photo," Yue Dingtang said.
Ling Shu couldn't help but feel a little smug, "Unfortunately, her reaction was normal. Captain Yue miscalculated."
Yue Dingtang seemed to have not noticed his tone: "He You'an is right. The only people who know her whereabouts every day are the ones she mentioned. But He You'an missed one person, herself. She said that only the driver Chen Wendong heard the words she spoke to the maid, but this is only her side of the story. No one knows the truth."
Ling Shu said, "But Chen Wendong does have suspicion. We can't just go and ask him directly."
Yue Dingtang replied, "This provides the conditions for her to lie. We don't know the answer, so she can make up anything she wants."
Ling Shu asked, "Then what was her reason for doing this? To design a series of events just to kill herself? Your hypothesis doesn't make sense from the beginning."
"I don't know what her purpose is, but in these three incidents, the dead cat was irrelevant, the stabbing didn't harm a hair, and the only victim was the maid, Ms. Qian. A widowed and weak woman who managed to turn her life around and become a movie star, gaining fame and fortune.
“Although Shen Shiqi treated her as a plaything, he always supported her. Her lifestyle was that of a wealthy young lady, and despite her success, she remained humble and kind to others. That's why so many fans adore her, and even wealthy young men pursue her. Even if she loses Shen Shiqi in the future, there will be a bunch of men courting her. As a beauty at her level, her past and humble origins are no longer significant."
Yue Dingtang stared directly at Ling Shu and slowly asked his question. "Do you think a woman like her would be a simple, weak, and helpless person?"
Objectively speaking, Yue Dingtang's speculation had some merit.
But Ling Shu disagreed with his habit of thinking about human nature in a negative way. He had a good impression of He You'an, and even though he knew she might not be as pure and flawless as a blank piece of paper, her actions could still be understood.
If she were a heartless person, she wouldn't bother with Liang Ye's life or death – the latter had hands and feet, and even if he couldn't read, he could still work to support himself.
Yue Dingtang said, "I'll find someone to investigate Chen Wendong's background. You keep an eye on He You'an. The first three letters have all come true. No matter who the culprit is, this case won't be over until the fourth letter comes true. Looking at it from another angle, if the matter is related to He You'an, she will still be safe this time."
But what if Yue Dingtang's guess is wrong?
Ling Shu didn't ask any more questions. Even though they were being pushed forward step by step while in the game, they couldn't help but want to break free from the hand behind them, turn around, and use their own strength to stir up the chessboard.
So far, all they could see when they looked back was a vast sea of fog.
Ling Shu's expression was solemn, as if he had something to say but was holding back.
Yue Dingtang thought he still had something left unsaid and softened his heart. "This is just my speculation. You have your own judgment, so don't let me influence you. Everyone should express their own opinions when investigating a case."
Ling Shu said, "I was thinking..."
Yue Dingtang asked, "Hmm?"
Ling Shu continued, "Should we have dinner at your place or at De Daxi restaurant?"
Yue Dingtang remained silent.
Ling Shu asked, "What do you think?"
Yue Dingtang replied, "Whichever!"
The author has something to say:
Upper line: Yue Dingtang's heart softened.
Lower line: Ling Shu is reckless.
Horizontal scroll: Love and hate.