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MCAB - Chapter 121

Jun Zishu glanced at the call history and nodded, indicating for Liu Qianqian to take back her phone.

"Did Chen Yin's mother give you a call that evening?"

"Yes. Auntie asked me why Little Yin hadn't returned home. I found it very strange because I hadn't seen Little Yin that day. My calls weren't getting through, either. Auntie said that Little Yin told her that she had come out to play with me, but that wasn't the case," Liu Qianqian said, shaking her head with a confused expression.

"Where were you from eight to ten o'clock in the evening?"

"I was watching a movie together with Sun Chenxin and Li Xunyi."

"The three of you?"

"Yes, the three of us. I wanted to invite Little Yin, but I couldn't reach her. She didn't reply to my messages even on QQ and WeChat."

"Is this your handwriting?" Jun Zishu asked as she took out the bookmark and showed it to Liu Qianqian.

Liu Qianqian shook her head in response, a slightly surprised expression appearing on her face. Then, she subconsciously frowned when she looked at the book in Jun Zishu's hand.

"Thank you for your cooperation. May I ask if you know of any more related clues? You can say anything that you think is strange."

Liu Qianqian took a lot longer to recall her memories this time. She had even gripped and wrinkled her shirt out of frustration. After several minutes had gone by, she eventually shook her head.

"Feel free to contact us whenever you think of something. The more information we have, the greater our chances of solving the case," Jun Zishu said.

Liu Qianqian nodded before she got sent out of the police care.

Jun Zishu and Yang Tianxiao also got out of the car. Then, one of them went to the driver's seat, and the other went to the passenger's seat.

"Did you notice any problems?" Jun Zishu asked as she put the car into gear and spun the steering wheel.

"She is very suspicious," Yang Tianxiao answered.

"She is too suspicious," Jun Zishu said, snorting.

"Could she be an important suspect?"

"She is either the murderer or an insider. Have someone keep an eye on her once we get back."

"Roger!" Yang Tianxiao responded. Then, she smacked her lips and said, "I'm honestly having difficulty understanding the motive, though."

If this brutal murder was truly related to the girl named Liu Qianqian, the secrets surrounding the murder would indeed be intriguing.

"She was too nervous. She was so nervous that she wanted to show everything to us," Jun Zishu said, her expression darkening slightly.

Liu Qianqian had brought forth all of the evidence proving her innocence without hesitation, doing her best to create an alibi for herself.

Judging by Liu Qianqian's behavior, Jun Zishu guessed that the girl was either directly involved in the murder or she was trying to cover someone involved in the murder. As for who that "someone" was, it was naturally Sun Chenxin, the person Liu Qianqian repeatedly mentioned throughout their conversation.

Oftentimes, finding a murderer wasn't difficult. What was difficult was finding the evidence necessary to charge the murderer with.

Jun Zishu turned the steering wheel again and drove the car onto a busy road.

Liu Qianqian and Chen Yin were close friends for six years. In the opinions of Chen Yin's parents, the two of them were undoubtedly the best of friends. Chen Yin should've placed significant importance on Liu Qianqian as well. Otherwise, she wouldn't have pasted their group photo on her bedroom wall.

In that case, what caused Liu Qianqian to harbor murderous intent for Chen Yin? Why did Liu Qianqian refuse to speak even while knowing the truth?

There was no question that Liu Qianqian was related to this incident, so she must have known what clothes Chen Yin had worn that day.

Reasonably speaking, an average person wouldn't have dressed the same as the person they killed. Yet, Liu Qianqian had done so.

Although Jun Zishu didn't ask to check Liu Qianqian's ankle, she had a hunch that Liu Qianqian's ankle had a similar anklet.

Was the girl doing this out of guilt?

Was she trying to dress similarly to the victim to comfort the victim's parents?

However, Jun Zishu didn't feel any guilt coming from Liu Qianqian during their conversation. In fact, despite being a participant of the murder or an insider, Liu Qianqian did not grow uneasy or anxious even after realizing that the police had already discovered Liu Qianqian's body.

Jun Zishu felt that Liu Qianqian was very calm. Besides the somewhat ostentatious grieving, she couldn't see any sadness in the girl's eyes.

The original owner had a sharp eye for those kinds of things. After training herself through several worlds, Jun Zishu had also developed excellent acting skills and a good eye for people. So, she could quickly tell when a person was behaving sincerely or hypocritically.

There were times when a person's eyes revealed more than they thought. Without realizing it, Liu Qianqian had already expressed many of the emotions she had failed to conceal properly through her eyes.

"I will look her up when we get back. Her acting skills are quite good, though, seeing as she managed to conjure up tears on demand. Unfortunately, she is still a child. Her acting skills are still immature," Yang Tianxiao said with a cold smile on her face.

There was a saying that to go beyond was as wrong as to fall short.

Generally speaking, when a person learns of the death of their loved ones or someone very important to them, their brains wouldn't react so quickly to produce sad emotions. A normal reaction would be to blank out for two or three seconds.

"I hate smart-arses the most," Yang Tianxiao said as she scratched her short hair.

This case turned out much more straightforward than she initially thought. However, this was also good. Next, all they needed to do was do their best in tracing clues, collecting evidence, and piece together the truth to expose the murderer.

When Jun Zishu and Yang Tianxiao arrived at the police station, Wang Duoduo and Zhou Lan had already returned.

After everyone sorted out the collected information, they held a team meeting.

"The victim and Suspect No.1 are close to each other. They have been close friends for six years," Jun Zishu said as she drew a pointer on the evidence board. Meanwhile, Suspect No.1 was none other than Liu Qianqian. Afterward, Jun Zishu marked Sun Chenxin's and Li Xunyi's names with a double-pointer and continued, "We learned about Suspect No.2's information through Suspect No.1. Suspect No.1 has also made an alibi for herself with Suspect No.2 and Suspect No.3.

"Based on the victim's parents' account, we know that the victim was an outgoing and lively person. The furnishings in her room also show that she could sing and dance well. However, the victim's mother did not have a very clear understanding about the victim's interpersonal interactions."

Although the mother's subjective bias was strong, that was normal behavior.

"Duoduo, Zhou Lan, tell us what you found."

"We visited the victim's school and asked around. The impressions of the people around the victim were not too far from what you described, Captain Jun. We learned that the victim usually mingles with a fixed number of people at school—specifically, Suspect No.1, Liu Qianqian, and Suspect No.2, Sun Chenxin. According to the claims of the victim's roommates, Suspect No.2, Suspect No.3, and Suspect No.3's roommates, we can infer that the victim frequently interacts with Suspect No.3," Wang Duoduo read out the findings he had recorded on his notepad.

After hearing Wang Duoduo's recount, the others in the room quickly sketched out a relationship chart.

University was different from high school, after all. Many people would remain strangers to each other even after studying in the same class for several years, let alone getting along with people from other departments.

"Suspect No.1, Liu Qianqian, female, Han Chinese, 20 years old, single-parent family, her father is currently working outside the country. During the questioning, she acted very suspiciously. There is a great possibility that she took part in the crime," Yang Tianxiao briefly summarized the information she found on Liu Qianqian.

After Yang Tianxiao, Zhou Lan stood up and talked about Sun Chenxin, saying, "Suspect No.2, Sun Chenxin, male, Bai people. He is studying in Lanhai University's Clinical Department, and he is close friends with the victim."

Clinical Department.

Everyone simultaneously placed their sights on the images of the victim's corpse. Specifically, they looked at the three wounds on the body.

The one at the heart, in particular, was a fatal wound.

In reality, Jun Zishu was a little confused. Since the murderer had already stabbed the victim in the heart, why did the murderer stab the victim in the lower ribs and the lower abdomen as well?

Wasn't that a redundant action?

"Our initial inference is that this is a group offense. The perpetrators should number two or more," Jun Zishu said. "The killers are extremely likely to be No.1 and No.2. They may be separately responsible for the murder and dismemberment. For now, we suspect this to be a crime of passion."

When writing down the words "crime of passion" on the evidence board, Jun Zishu also wrote a question mark behind it.

Based on the information available, Chen Yin liked Sun Chenxin.

Liu Qianqian mentioned that Sun Chenxin liked Li Xunyi, but when Wang Duoduo and Zhoulan questioned Sun Chenxin, the other party only described his relationship with Li Xunyi as friends.

However, did denying his feelings mean that it didn't exist?

What about the relationship between Liu Qianqian and Sun Chenxin?

"Have we found the victim's other body parts yet?" Jun Zishu asked.

Everyone shook their heads. They had yet to receive any further clues on the victim's missing body parts right now.

"What about the victim's smartphone and other belongings?"

"Neither."

"Have we collected any more useful evidence on the mountain?"

"There might have been some before, but the heavy rain that took place the day before the body was found had probably washed them away. The informants have also left traces at the scene, so we couldn't collect any valid evidence."

"The mountain is just the disposal site for the corpse. Where is the first crime scene? The first crime scene is likely to be the site of dismemberment, but there is also a possibility that it may not be. How did the suspects transport the dismembered body parts to the mountain? What tools did they use to bury the body parts? What about the murder weapon? What is the motive for killing?"

They had no answers to any of these questions.

"Keep looking. I'm afraid everyone will have to work hard again for the following period. Meeting adjourned," Jun Zishu concluded.

While the others left the meeting room, Jun Zishu remained seated, her hand twirling a pen as she looked at the evidence. Then, she put aside her pen and started putting herself in the murderers' shoes.

There are no signs of struggling on the corpse, so the victim might not be in a conscious state when she was killed.

If I were Sun Chenxin and I wanted to kill someone unconscious, I would pick up my utility knife and stab her in the heart. Once she is dead, why would I stab her two more times?

If I were Liu Qianqian, I would have difficulty manipulating the saw when dismembering the body since my body lacks the necessary strength. So, the dismemberment wouldn't go smoothly, which explains the several incoherent cuts on the corpse. But why would I cut off the victim's head and arms?

After making several deductions, Jun Zishu managed to develop reasonable explanations for most of her questions. However, there was one point that she simply couldn't figure out.

What was the motive for killing Chen Yin?

If Jun Zishu assumed that Chen Yin liked Sun Chenxin, and Sun Chenxin liked Liu Qianqian, it would explain the conflict between Chen Yin and Liu Qianqian. But what exactly did Chen Yin do to cause Sun Chenxin and Liu Qianqian to join together and kill her?

Also, what did Li Xunyi have to do in this triangular relationship? What role did she play in this crime?

According to Wang Duoduo's inquiries, Chen Yin's other roommates claimed that Chen Yin and Liu Qianqian shared an excellent relationship. That remained true even up to the point of Chen Yin's disappearance.

However, it was a different story for Li Xunyi. Chen Yin's roommates had once heard Chen Yin wondering how she wasn't a match for Li Xunyi. If that were true, Chen Yin must've assumed that Sun Chenxi liked Li Xunyi. In that case, the conflict between Chen Yin and Liu Qianqian would become invalid.

Moreover, what kind of deep hatred would cause a person to kill and dismember another person's body?

A simple conflict definitely couldn't cause a person to commit such a heinous crime.

Jun Zishu had a gut feeling that she was already close to touching on a crucial point. However, she simply couldn't grasp this point no matter what.

At this time, Jun Zishu's eyes fell on the romance novel on the table, the beautiful English letters written on the back of the bookmark surfacing in her mind.

Chen Yin was most likely the person who wrote those words. This was because Liu Qianqian had a foreign look on her face when she saw the bookmark, looking like she didn't know such a thing existed.

Perhaps this was merely an ordinary novel and a bookmark with no deeper meaning. However, Jun Zishu had a feeling that neither of them was ordinary.

Intuition was always a subtle and magical thing.

TL Notes:

(20th-December-2021)

I made an edit to Chapter 118: chainsaw -> saw

Hellscythe's Notes:

MCAB's first patreon goal (150$) has been met! So, expect to see two chapters released on Sundays from now on!

If you would like to read ahead and help increase release rates for MCAB, please consider subscribing to my patreon!

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Other novels I translate on Hosted Novel:
Pantsu Hero Alice (PHA)
Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (Side Stories)
After Being Bent By Reader (ABBR)(GL)
Written by 小吾君 Xiao Wu Jun. Translated by Hellscythe.