“What did you see?”
Ah Lan couldn't answer, only making a vague groan.
But her face was obviously full of fear to the extreme, all the emotion that could not be expressed in words was written in her expression, so that she was shaking like a sieve.
She held the corner of her clothes, fumbled from her pocket to take out a handkerchief to wipe her sweat, but because she was too nervous, she also took out the keys and sundries, and all of them rolled down the stairs.
She gestured wildly, trying to explain clearly to everyone, but only the old steward could understand.
"What are you talking about!" The old steward also changed his face.
"What's going on?" asked Yue Dingtang.
The old steward hesitated: "She, she lost her mind, you don't need to take care of her ..."
Yue Dingtang's face sank: "Say!"
The old steward helplessly: "She said she just saw the lady, how can this be! The lady died already, and in broad daylight!"
He said it, but he couldn't help but show a fearful expression.
The patrolman was still hesitating, and Ling Shu stepped back and walked up the stairs to the room.
Of course, there was no one in the room.
They had not closed the windows before, so it was re-blown by the wind.
Curtains flew with soft and graceful beauty, perhaps this was the reason for the female maid's false impression.
"There's nothing here, you're mistaken," Ling Shu said.
But Ah Lan hid behind the housekeeper and dared not come in again.
"Is this yours?" Yue Dingtang came up and handed him something.
The keys, handkerchief, and lipstick.
Ah Lan hurriedly received it, but her grip was weak, and the lipstick dropped to the floor, rolling into the bottom of the bed.
Lingxiao bent down to help her pick it up.
When he straightened up, in addition to the lipstick in his hand, there was also a black pile of debris.
It was not pure black, but there was a little gray and yellow mixed in it, which looked like coal ash, but it was definitely not.
Yue Dingtang: "Gongban soil?"
Ling Shu looked at the old housekeeper and Ah Lan: "Did the lady smoke big cigarettes before?"
The old housekeeper was unconsciously shocked, but Ah Lan was a little flustered, and he quickly waved and gesticulated.
"Ah Lan said that the lady was very disgusted with the old man's smoking before, but a few days ago suddenly asked her to buy some big cigarettes to let her try. Ah Lan couldn't refuse her, so she had to buy it. She didn't see the lady often smoking, just occasionally when she was in a bad mood, so she didn't dare to tell anyone else."
Opium also has different varieties, and Gongban soil is a superior product.
At present, those who are knowledgeable are disgusted by opium, but the world is in chaos and despite the laws, it cannot be stopped, rendering the law a mere formality.
Those who have empty pockets and become addicted, rush to the tobacco pipe after work, while the wealthy families naturally smoke in their homes.
Ling Shu: "When was it that she started smoking?"
Old housekeeper: "Ah Lan said it was about a month ago."
A month, not enough time to get addicted yet, naturally she did not smoke often, but this was already the first step into the abyss.
Looking at Yuan Bing's current virtue, you can see how cigarettes can turn a person into a beast.
Who would have thought that Du Yunning, who was able to sing and dance well in school and was loved by many progressive students, would end up like this?
The happy laughter and youthful spirit seem to be things of a past life.
Ling Shu: "Is this lipstick yours?"
Ah Lan gestured.
Old housekeeper: "She said that it was not used by the lady before, and she gave it to her."
Ah Lan nodded and pointed to the drawer of the dressing table.
Ling Shu stepped forward, pulling open a box filled with all sorts of lipsticks; there were foreign brands imported from abroad, as well as new domestic ones.
The wealthy women of this day and age are keenly interested in chasing after fashionable name brands. Ever since the Chinese market opened its doors to foreign goods, such items as clothing and cosmetics from brands like EL and LV have become commonplace, and they often compete with each other in comparison. In comparison to the poor state of the Yuans now, this half box of lipsticks was not exactly luxurious, but it was still rather ironic.
The old steward said, "The mistress is very generous; sometimes when she returns from her travels, she would bring us some snacks from outside. There was an old servant who had worked in the Yuans' for decades, A’Feng; not only did the mistress pay her several months of wages, she even bought her several sets of new clothes."
He and Yue Dingtang then went to the back house to inquire more from the Yuans' staff, but they couldn't get any useful information.
After the Yuans' fall, the wages Yuan Bing gave them were often delayed. Other than the old steward, the rest of them naturally had their minds wandering, and some had even privately taken on other jobs, just waiting for the final straw to break the camel's back and scatter.
But when it came to having an ulterior motive, none of them had the courage to conspire with outsiders to kill their mistress.
These days, with the winds of rumors, the Yuans' staff were forbidden to go outside. Everyone was so frightened that the patrolling officers had asked all the relevant questions they could.
Ling Shu asked, "What did Yuan Bing say?"
Yue Dingtang shook his head, knowing what he was asking, "We've asked everything we could. He and Du Yunning had been living in separate rooms for a long time and rarely even saw each other during the day. On the day of the incident, Yuan Bing went to Jin Fen Lou to see one of the women there and stayed there overnight, never coming back. Someone witnessed it. Also, when we interrogated him, he was suffering from nicotine cravings and could hardly answer any questions."
A person having nicotine cravings was out of his mind and couldn't distinguish between friend and foe, let alone communicate properly.
Ling Shu asked, "Did Yuan Bing mention if Du Yunning had a close relationship with anyone?"
Yue Dingtang replied, "Yes."
Ling Shu asked, "Who?"
Yue Dingtang answered, "You."
Ling Shu was silent.
Yue Dingtang continued, "A warlord’s daughter-in-law dying mysteriously, and his son accusing her suspected lover of being the murderer—I don't have to think to know what the newspapers will write. This will definitely be explosive news. Even some newspapers, in order to gain attention, won't even add the words 'suspected' to it."
Ling Shu was anxious, "For the sake of my precious life, I want to solve the case as soon as possible."
Yue Dingtang patted him on the shoulder, "It's a long and difficult journey."
Ling Shu: "Where are Yuan Bing's relatives? I remember that the Yuan family is a big family. Although the property was left to Yuan Bing after Yuan Bingdao died, Yuan Bing still had several aunts. At that time, there were not a few lawsuits, and these people also had the motive to kill."
Yue Dingtang: "Yuan Bingdao had three sisters. The eldest was married to the United States, the second was in Hong Kong, and the third was the one who had a lawsuit with Yuan Bing at the time. Last year, she was ill and passed away without any children or grandchildren, so she is not under suspicion."
In the middle of the conversation, the two of them went downstairs and out of the door, preparing to get into the car.
Yue Dingtang looked up and looked back at the balcony on the second floor.
That was where they had just been to Du Yunning's room.
There were cars and horses in front of the door, and people came and went. How many days and nights did Du Yunning look out from here to the bustling world?
Her soul was already locked in this gorgeous cage.
She was both thirsty for the outside world and had no courage to escape, both envied the wings of freedom and did not want to give up the luxury and joy of habit.
Her ending was almost doomed when she obediently married into the Yuan family in that year.
But at the moment when he looked up, a flash of lightning.
Yue Dingtang's expression changed drastically!
Ling Shu was just about to tell Yue Dingtang that he wanted to go back to bed when suddenly a strong force came from Yue Dingtang's direction, pushing and knocking him to the ground heavily.
Without even reacting, his shoulder hit the ground and he was directly stunned.
Before the words were finished, there was a loud bang!
Just where they stood, there was an extra flowerpot.
The pottery basin shattered into several pieces, and the soil and branches scattered all over the ground, broken and fragmented.
The delicate roses were no longer sheltered by the soil, and died on the spot, refusing to close their eyes.
"Mr. Yue! Are you okay!"
The patrol officer was shocked.
If Yue Dingtang hadn't looked back in the blink of an eye, if his reaction was slower for a half second, the consequences of the flowerpot falling would be unimaginable.
Yue Dingtang patted the dust on his coat and gracefully stood up.
Ling Shu held his shoulder and opened his mouth, and the words he wanted to scold were suddenly swallowed back, not to mention how uncomfortable.
A hand reached out, and Yue Dingtang raised his eyebrows at him.
Ling Shu grabbed it without hesitation, and he stood up with his help.
"The debt of life should be returned in kind." Yue Dingtang deliberately pressed a few times in the painful place, almost pushing Ling Shu down again.
"I'll go up and have a look!"
Before Yue Dingtang could speak, the patrol officer had already run back to the Yuan family.
Yue Dingtang: "There was no wind just now."
Ling Shu: "There was no one in the room either."
They had just gone to check it out, with five people including themselves, the old butler Alan, and the patrol officers, with ten pairs of eyes in total. Unless someone could turn invisible, they couldn't have possibly missed a living person.
Soon, the patrolman panting and out of breath ran back.
"There's nobody in the room! There's nobody in the main hall either!"
Of course there was nobody, they had locked the door when they left, and the key was in the hands of the patrolman, so how could there be anyone.
But in broad daylight, no wind and no rain, a flowerpot was placed neatly on the balcony, how could it suddenly fall?
The patrolman obviously also noticed the strangeness, his face couldn't help but show a hint of fear.
Moreover, Ah Lan Fei said he saw the figure of his wife, it was hard not to let people associate.
"Give me the key, I'll talk to your leader later." Yue Dingtang stretched out his hand.
The patrolman didn't hesitate and handed over the key.
He felt a chill even thinking about having to be on duty here tonight.
Unknowingly, they had been staying at the Yuan Manor for almost an afternoon.
The rosy clouds paint the sky with a beautiful display of red and orange, forming crescent moons reminiscent of the graceful antlers of a deer.
But Yue Dingtang and Ling Shu felt like two flies that had been thrown into a net, headless and bumping around.
And the person holding the net was invisible to them.
The other party might be the murderer of Du Yunning.
The fire at Xiaoji Noodles might not have been an accident either.
In this case, Ling Shu would become the target of public censure.
Once public opinion fermented...
"Breaking news! Breaking news! The famous lady of Shanghai, Du Yunning, died a violent death!"
"Breaking news! Who is the real murderer of the famous lady Du Yunning!"
"Selling newspapers! Freshly printed two hours ago, shocking content, limited quantity, first come first served!"
The newspaper boy shouted as he ran past them.
Yue Dingtang was fast, he grabbed one.
"How much money, I want two copies!"
The newspaper boy smiled, took two newspapers out of his arm and handed them to Yue Dingtang.
"Are these newspapers selling well?" Yue Dingtang asked as he handed over the money.
"Yes, very well. Look, only a short while, there's only a few left, if you two were a bit later, there wouldn't be any!"
There were many small newspapers on the Shanghai Bund, unlike the famous Shen Bao and Da Gong Bao, they had to find another way, relying on the rumors and bizarre stories of the streets to make sales.
Take the Huangpu News in front of them, Yue Dingtang had never heard of it before.
He took the newspaper and saw a big headline -
Famous Lady of Shanghai, Du Yunning, died a violent death!
Below are two subheadings -
From patriotic woman to noble lady, why did the famous lady die?
From childhood sweetheart to the son of the warlord, who was the culprit behind the ten thousand people's puzzle?
Full of headlines, instantly eye-catching.
Author had something to say: A small stage unrelated to the main plot
Ling Shu: A debt of life...
Yue Dingtang raised an eyebrow: You figure it out.
The next day, Ling Shu released a vicious dog to bite Yue Dingtang and chased him down three streets. Then, with a meat bone, he lured the dog away, saving Yue Dingtang.
Ling Shu raised an eyebrow: A debt of life, I'm returning it.