After the meal was finished, Ling Shu breathed a sigh of relief as if he had been reborn.
He thought he might as well stay in prison, at least his ears wouldn't suffer there.
Ling Yao couldn't take the smell coming off of him any longer and immediately sent him to take a bath after the meal was finished.
"Clean yourself up, it's embarrassing to go out for dinner with an old classmate looking like a vagrant!"
Ling Yao dragged him upstairs and whispered, "Tell me, what did you do last night? Why did you come back so dirty and smelly?"
Ling Shu looked innocent, "Nothing really, just chasing after a criminal and fell down."
Ling Yao gave him a look of disbelief, but since they had guests she only poked him on the forehead and didn't question further.
Ling Shu thought for a moment and grabbed her arm, "Big sister, did your husband mention anything to you recently, any difficulties at work or anyone he had offended?"
Ling Yao was first puzzled, then nervous.
"No, what's wrong? Is something happening to your brother-in-law?"
"Don't worry," Ling Shu casually said, "our boss had a fight with his peers recently and lost, so he was randomly accused and arrested. I was just concerned about your husband."
Ling Yao said, "Don't scare me. He was fine yesterday when he came home from work, he even bought me my favorite Napoleon cake from Lao Dachang."
Ling Shu replied, "Alright, alright, I'm going to take a bath now and bring this guy surnamed Yue back to our alma mater later."
Ling Yao grabbed him and said in a low voice, "Don't call him that! He's doing very well now and has a good family background. It's hard for him to come here and see you out of old friendship, so you need to be considerate and find this bond again. Who knows, you might even need him to help you find a wife in the future!"
Ling Shu: "Can he help? Help me dig a pit, and find you a crooked and cracked sister-in-law?”
Ling Yao made a move to hit him, Ling Shu quickly disappeared behind the bathroom door.
He deliberately dragged his heels, and stayed in the bathroom for almost an hour before coming out.
Yue Dingtang was still sitting in the same spot, and his posture hadn't changed much. His expression didn't show any impatience.
"Do you need a glass of water before going out? You slept out last night, if you're tired, you can rest for a while before leaving." He asked kindly and with concern.
If it weren't for the interrogation room, Ling Shu would have thought that the other party was an old classmate who was loyal and honest.
"If I rest I’ll end up sleeping for a few hours, how can I let you wait so long?"
"No problem, anyway when it's time I'll just stay for dinner at your place. Your sister definitely won't mind," he said.
Ling Yao hadn't noticed the hidden turmoil between them, and she agreed, asking him to come back for dinner later.
Only Ling Shu heard the implied threat in the other's words.
The two of them looked at each other, and both saw the insincerity and hypocrisy in the other's expression.
Nowadays, most people who die are left at home to wait for the funeral procession, while those with no family or home have to be taken to a charity mortuary.
Du Yunning's situation was a bit special.
She was murdered and her identity was not insignificant, so even though the Yuan family had no one to come and claim the body, it couldn't just be thrown away in the countryside. Thanks to Smith's coordination, the body was temporarily stored in an ice house next to a hospital not far from the police station.
After two days, the weather was cold and the corpse had not changed much, except for the overall dismal pale color, which no longer had the vitality of life.
The two of them stood on either side of the corpse, lowered their heads to take a look, and were speechless for a moment.
Yue Dingtang was the first to break the silence.
"The newspapers have started reporting about the Yuan family's affair now and Smith won't be able to keep it quiet for long."
"If the real murderer can't be found, under the pressure of public opinion, the police station will have to take the suspect they have evidence on to appease their superiors."
"It's hard to get you released, I have had to use a lot of connections for it."
"You don't have much time left."
In the presence of the deceased, Yue Dingtang tried to make his tone as humane as possible.
No matter how much enmity he had with Ling Shu in the past, at least the two of them now had a common goal.
Ling Shu walked around the corpse twice, his expression solemn. He looked carefully, as if he hadn't heard Yue Dingtang's words at all.
"She has changed a lot."
Yue Dingtang moved his lips, wanting to say that a person changes a lot after death.
But he soon realized he was mistaken.
The change that Ling Shu was talking about was not this physical change.
"She was very naive before, she always said she wanted to go out and see the world, but she didn't have the courage to do it."
"I still remember one time, when we found an abandoned nestling in the school backyard, Du Yunning held the nestling and said she would wait for its mother to come, and she waited until it was dark."
“Sometimes when she passed by and saw impoverished people begging, she would definitely take out some pocket money to give them a portion. Even when I said those people were possibly being manipulated by beggar gangs such as the Gaibang or Qingbang, she said, these people may be forced to beg against their will, but any money that goes into their own pockets, or to their children for clothing, food, and schooling, could possibly save a life.”
“When she studied, she would also write good poems, which were often recited in public by the Chinese teacher. Everyone said that she would definitely become a talented woman like Lu Bicheng.”
“But these things,”
Ling Shu raised his head and looked at Yue Dingtang.
“I did not see a trace of them on Du Yunning after our reunion after so many years.”
The deepest impression Ling Shu had of Du Yunning was when he came to propose to her, her father was sitting on the sofa with a lofty attitude, saying that the Du family had already made arrangements to marry the Yuan family.
And at that time, Du Yunning was hiding behind a pillar at the grape trellis in the outdoor garden, with tears in her eyes, unwillingly watching Ling Shu. Ling Shu was so moved that he brought out the enthusiasm of a young man and asked her if she was willing to go abroad with him to study, severing ties with her family, and living a modern life like many new young people nowadays, full of ideals.
He still remembers Du Yunning's answer to this day-
No, I can't. Ling Shu, this is my home, my parents, I can't do that.
“So, she had no courage to leave home with me before, and after enjoying so many years of wealth and glory in the Yuan family, she was even less likely to want to come with me.”
At this point, Ling Shu frowned.
“But, the corpse really is her. My guess that she was pretending to be dead to escape was wrong.”
Yue Dingtang: “Do you still remember, the list of properties she showed you, what was the handwriting like, can you copy it?”
Ling Shu shook his head: “If I can see it again, I should be able to recognize it.”
Yue Dingtang: “After you told me that day, I had already sent someone to ask. No one in the Yuan family had seen the whereabouts of Du Yunning's property. She had never dealt with any bank managers or pawnshop owners before her death. After she parted with you at the coffee shop that day, she returned to the Yuan Manor until she was found dead in the room.”
Ling Shu: “What about the Yuan family's property, is it less?”
Yue Dingtang sighed: “I don't know, there is no way to calculate. The Yuan family's property has been very chaotic these years. The old housekeeper's ledger does not match. They also don't know which ones were taken away and squandered by Yuan Bing and which ones were taken away by their subordinates. In this situation, it would be easy for Du Yunning as the mistress of the house to do something.”
Ling Shu: "That person could be someone from the Yuan family, or someone that Du Yunning met outside."
Yue Dingtang: "Let's go ask the people from the Yuan family first."
Ling Shu: "Is the Yuan Manor sealed off?"
Yue Dingtang: "The Yuan Manor has two buildings, the main building has been sealed for now, but the back building is still left for the Yuan family's servants, they are watched by the police, and cannot leave before the case is investigated."
Seeing Du Yunning's corpse again, the two of them were somewhat affected.
No one spoke on the way until the car stopped outside the Yuan Manor.
Outside there were a few people with cameras, clearly reporters.
Seeing Yue Dingtang and them walking in, they came up to try and interview them.
Yue Dingtang waved his hand without speaking, and the police immediately separated them and escorted them to the back building.
The Yuan family was wealthy, and had a two-story building for the servants, but other than the rooms being a bit cramped, there was not too much difference than the main building's luxury.
Since the death of Yuan Bingdao, Yuan Bing was not good at management, and the Yuan family was no longer like before, many of the rooms were now empty. Now, in the small building, including the housekeeper, there were only six servants, and Du Yunning's personal maid Ah Lan was the most special one.
"I remember you, one time Yunning met me and you were with her. According to what I know, she has long since lost contact with her family, you should be someone she trusts a lot." Ling Shu said when he saw her.
Ah Lan shyly smiled and shook her head, making a gesture.
The housekeeper understood sign language and served as the translator.
"Ah Lan said she does not deserve your praise."
Ling Shu: "What did she do after coming home from the cafe the day before she passed away?"
This question, the people in the police station must have already asked, Ah Lan did not have to think before answering, and the housekeeper answered quickly.
"She said Madam seemed to be in a bad mood, she did not eat much dinner and said she was tired and wanted to rest. She did not dare disturb her, and when she knocked on the door at night, asking if Madam wanted some midnight snack, Madam replied no, and it was only until noon the next day, which was Madam's usual waking time, that she went to wake her up, only to find out what had happened."
Ling Shu: "Did she have any close friends?"
The old housekeeper: "Madam often attended banquets, but rarely asked people out alone, I have never heard of her having any close female friends, but recently she mentioned a Mr. Ling twice."
Ling Shu: ...
Yue Dingtang: "What did she say?"
The old housekeeper: "She said she had met an old classmate from before, and said this Mr. Ling was still as handsome as before."
Yue Dingtang's chin lifted slightly, he gave Ling Shu a glance: "That's him, this Mr. Ling."
The old butler's gaze at Ling Shu immediately changed, as if a thousand words were spoken without saying a word.
Ling Shu: ...
He could neither explain or deny it, and simply acted like he hadn't seen.
"I want to take them to the scene of the crime to have a look."
Yue Dingtang nodded: "After the incident, they immediately sealed the scene, even the footprints on the windowsill have not been touched."
But he soon realized he had spoken out of turn.
It had just snowed the day before, and even without wind, the original footprints were already covered with a layer of unmelted thin snow.
Not only that, the wind blew away the false window, bringing in snow and dust particles, which could be seen even under the bed.
This was naturally dereliction of duty from the relevant patrol officers, but these days, such things were normal, Yue Dingtang knew that it was of no use to say it.
Everyone's gaze swept across every corner.
The room was in the style that Du Yunning liked, everywhere was soft and exquisite and luxurious.
Yuan Bing probably doesn't like it here, Ling Shu didn't find any male objects in the room, even the wardrobe was filled with Du Yunning's own clothes.
In other words, these two couples were sleeping in separate rooms.
No wonder Du Yunning was unaware when something happened.
"When the thief came and went through the window, did you not hear any movement at all?"
This time, Ling Shu asked the butler.
The old butler smiled bitterly: "When the old master was there, the house was originally guarded, but when our master was in charge, he said that this was a rented area and was safe enough, so he dismissed many people. Before the incident, the Yuan family had three male servants on duty in turns every night, sometimes there were shortages, and I would temporarily take over. That night, three people had a stomachache, Old De took leave and went home, so I temporarily took over, but I was too old to be of any use, and I dozed off in the middle of the night, and when I woke up, it was almost dawn, and I didn't take it seriously when I saw that there was no movement in the house. Who knew it would be such a big thing."
He was nearly seventy years old, his hair was all white, and his long robe couldn't support his slightly hunched waist.
Such an old man, let alone killing someone, couldn't even escape through the window.
According to the butler and the maid, Du Yunning usually went to the cafe for tea, went to the department store, and attended the salon parties of the nobles.
If it was revenge, at most it was a verbal dispute with the ladies. Women often get into silly arguments, but it was impossible to come to the point of murder.
"I heard from the first patrolman to arrive here--"
Yue Dingtang walked to the bedside and pulled open the drawer.
"They saw that the drawer was half open at the time."
Ling Shu subconsciously asked: "What's inside?"
Yue Dingtang: "There's no lack of it. Big Ocean, jewelry, gold watches, all in it."
Ling Shu: "That means the murderer was not purely here to make money and kill."
Yue Dingtang hummed: "In fact, the questions you just asked them, we have asked them before."
He didn't stop Ling Shu, but he wanted to see what new discoveries he could make.
The old steward and the maid stood at the door and waited for them to inspect the room before they followed the patrol down the stairs.
Ling Shu remembered the three letters from Du Yunning, and he was about to ask something when he heard a loud noise behind him.
He turned around and just saw the maid stepping on the air and sliding down the stairs.
The other party was leaning sideways, luckily the patrolman was quick-eyed and quick-handed, otherwise the old steward in front of her would have suffered.
"What's wrong, can't you go down the stairs?" The patrol scolded.
The maid Ah Lan seemed not to hear it, her face was full of fear and fear, and she turned fiercely, as if she saw something extremely fearful.
Ling Shu looked in the direction of her gaze, and found that the room that had been closed just now was open again without knowing when.
The wind blew the gauze curtain at the window, and the light and shadow changed from time to time, and the snow brought the cold from the open room to the stairs.
In a daze, there seemed to be a figure by the bed, but it was like an illusion, like a phantom created by the rise and fall of the gauze curtain.