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Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: Addis

 

“According to the crew and Guo ZiZhen’s assistant and agent, Guo ZiZhen has indeed been doing well recently, and he liked to show it off. However, there are a lot of people like this in the industry, so it’s not enough to make someone angry enough to want to kill him.” Gu Xiang said, “As for how Guo ZiZhen was able to become so popular so quickly, his agent said that it was because the company was supporting him a lot.”

Ding Ding continued, “Actually, it was the president of a real estate company that was willing to pay to support him. As for any secret relationship the two of them might have had, it’s all hearsay.”

Guan Jin humphed. “That Min Yan sponsors a lot of people, as long as his lovers are being favored.”

Everyone looked at him in surprise.

“Guan Jin, is that just hearsay or the results of an investigation?” Zheng Fei asked what everyone was thinking.

Guan Jin shrugged. “It’s the truth.”

Wen JingHan faintly knew about his connection to Min Yan, so he smiled and said, “I’ve confirmed the source of Guan Jin’s information, it’s quite accurate.”

“Does he have a family?” asked Chen QiaoYu.

“No, he’s unmarried. I know that you might think that his spouse or partner is getting rid of the competition, but there’s no such problem.”

“The crew members verified his conversation with Yan Qing the other day, and they also verified Guo ZiZhen’s behavior on that day. After two, since he had said that he was going to get some sleep, no one disturbed him,” continued Gu Xiang.

“But in reality, someone did.” Wen JingHan drew a line between the two victims. “Since there were two murders within the same crew, the killer is most likely one of them. If it’s the same killer, Guo ZiZhen and the previous victim, Zhao Qi, must have had something in common or some other connection.”

“Well, the most direct connection would be Yan Qing. The first crime scene had his hair at it, and he was the person who discovered the second body. It seems practically too coincidental,” said Lin Bai as he flipped through his notes.

“He can’t be the killer, since the time of death of Guo ZiZhen was between three and four in the afternoon. At that time, everyone can confirm that Yan Qing was filming his scenes and never left. After Guo ZiZhen was strangled, he was tied to the door that was prepared in advance. This wasn’t an impulsive kill, it was premeditated. Moreover, this takes quite some time, and our estimate was that it took at least twenty minutes. There are eight people in total who left for over twenty minutes between three and four. These include Yu ManTing, Zhang Xin, Du Ping, Lin ShuYao, as well as four other people from the props and stage crew,” said Ding Ding.

“Not necessarily. The killer could have murdered Guo ZiZhen first and then waited until another time to tie him to the door,” Guan Jin pointed out.

“…That’s my oversight. In that case, wouldn’t anyone who had left for over ten minutes be considered a suspect?”

Wen JingHan added, “The killer’s motive and methodology are quite unique. The first victim was exsanguinated, and the second was tied to a door. Why? Is the killer’s goal to punish, put on a demonstration, a ritual, or something else? If it’s a serial killer, they would have a signature, or a common point between the victims, or their thoughts would be expressed through their murders.”

Everyone fell silent.

“Guan Jin, you’ve been partners with YuYang for a while, and I hope you’ve learned a thing or two from him. Go back and think over everything carefully.” Wen JingHan nodded at Guan Jin.

…How can you flaunt something as dishonest as stealing tactics?

Guan Jin returned to his computer and stared at the screen, lost in thought. What had he learned? He seemed to have become more quick-witted and talkative…

Suddenly, a scene flashed across his mind, and he quickly typed something into the search bar.

Not this, not this either, nor this! Could he have forgotten the name? Only then did Guan Jin realize what a valuable gift having photographic memory was.

“Hey, Lin Bai, I want to find a movie, but I forgot what it’s called. What should I do?”

Lin Bai blinked. “Do you remember which company it was produced by?”

“…If I can’t even remember the title how could I remember something like that!”

“Then ask the masses.”

“Huh?”

“Create a post with some details from the movie and ask for the name. Someone will definitely know it.”

Guan Jin registered with a forum website and posted the question. Less than half an hour later, someone replied:

[It’s called The Supernatural Darkroom, and it’s a suspense movie from about seven or eight years ago.]

Guan Jin immediately searched up the name, and sure enough, it was the one he was thinking of. He silently thanked the power of the internet.

*****

“Are you free tonight?”

“What’s gotten into you today? You’re taking the initiative to call me?” On the other end, Min Yan pretended to be shocked.

“I sent an email to you just now. It’s a movie from a long time ago, and it was filmed by your company before it merged. Help me check all of the news and inside information about it when it was being filmed, especially things that involve the people in this case and this movie,” Guan Jin said bluntly.

“So you want to use me, it appears that I got happy for nothing.” Min Yan’s tone was injured.

“It means that you’re still somewhat useful, so you should feel honored. Hurry up and look into it, I’ll see you at six.”

“I have an event this evening.”

“Cancel it.”

“…Officer, you do realize I would lose business if I don’t go, right?”

“Sacrificing a bit of business in exchange for meeting me? Your brain isn’t broken, is it?”

“…Okay, see you tonight.”

*****

“Well, this movie that made a decent profit was produced by a company that I merged with in the past. The lead actor already retired and left the country, but I found that Lin ShuYao played a minor role in it. At the time, this movie had a lot of new people, and I had people check the audition recordings. I actually found Yan Qing’s name, and he had gotten the role as the third male lead. However, since he received a better offer later, he refused this one.” Min Yan handed Guan Jin some files.

“Yan Qing already debuted at that time?”

“Mn, he was only eighteen when he debuted. Seven years ago, he was nineteen, though he wasn’t very well-known at the time. Anyway, how did you find this movie? Was it a coincidence?’ Min Yan had clearly already watched the movie.

“You must have heard that whole incident where Yan Qing was recently sent that flower. That, along with Guo ZiZhen’s death, are both scenes from movies. The first victim also died as scripted in another movie.”

“What does this mean?”

Guan Jin frowned. “I’m still not sure.”

“Ah… Where has Professor Lu been recently?”

“Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to.”

Min Yan shrugged. “Say, you didn’t ask me to come to a restaurant to starve me, did you?”

“…Waiter, I’d like to order.”

As the two of them ate, Guan Jin’s phone rang.

“Are you at home or at work?” Lu YunYang’s low yet gentle voice sounded from the phone.

“I’m at a restaurant.” Guan Jin sipped his soup.

“You’re eating dinner? With whom?” His tone was authoritative.

“President Min.”

“Min Yan? What does he want with you?” He didn’t sound too happy.

“I asked to meet him, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other,” Guan Jin said indifferently.

“You missed him?” He sounded extremely unhappy.

“It’s just a meal.”

“Order more of your favorites. I’ll call you again when you get home.”

Min Yan rubbed his chin. “Hey, you shouldn’t be so careless about this. What if Lu YunYang decides to hire someone to get rid of me?”

Guan Jin grinned. “Wouldn’t that alleviate your boredom?”

“How considerate, thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

“However, if Lu YunYang is too domineering and makes you uncomfortable, I can help you pry him off. I’ll always welcome you with open arms.” Min Yan’s gaze was intense.

“Thanks, I’ll let him know so you two can fight it out and defeat each other so this world can finally be at peace.”

“…So cynical.” 

“Hm?”

“I said, you should try this oyster, it’s very good.”

After they finished, Min Yan waved to the waiter to pay the bill.

The waiter came over and nodded. “Sir, this table has already been paid for.”

“By whom?” asked Guan Jin.

“Someone with the surname of Lu.”

Min Yan couldn’t help but chuckle. “This level of possessiveness is quite admirable.”

Guan Jin cursed inwardly, Idiot, I was going to use other people’s money to eat a feast, yet you just had to go and pay for them.

*****

“Is it really necessary for him to follow me?” Yan Qing looked behind him, but there was no one there.

Lu YunShen held his hand and pulled him towards the villa. “Haven’t you suffered enough yet? You keep getting nightmares! Relax, this is Lu YunYang’s most competent person, so he won’t show himself too often, nor will he disturb you.”

Yan Qing sighed. “Do you think I need to take a bath and burn some incense to ward off evil?”

Lu YunShen stopped and said to his personal assistant, “Prepare the private hot spring, I’m going to use it.”

“…No need, I was just kidding.”

“In the past, a fortune teller told me that I have a lot of qi.” Lu YunShen whispered in Yan Qing’s ear, “I’m very suitable to bathe you in order to exorcise evil.”

 

“…What kind of logic is that?!” Yan Qing’s lingering fear had now completely evaporated from his indignance.

 

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