Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ran Tao looked at the 11 Kills manuscript and took the lead in expressing his opinion, “I didn’t expect it to look so old! I thought it would look hip and cool, but it just looks like a child’s composition book!”
Zeng Ke took the manuscript, turned two of its pages, then said, “The paper looks even older than I am.”
Then, it was Zhao Yu’s turn to take the manuscript and look at it. He saw that the paper Han Kuan used was notepaper from the 1990s. The cover and the edges of the manuscript had yellowed and looked quite aged.
Cui Lizhu shook her head and said, “I can’t believe that such an ordinary thing made Xie Tongguo kill four people in a row! It’s unreal!”
“Well, sin is in one’s heart, regardless of outward things!” Zhao Yu read the manuscript, then said, “Different people react differently to the same things. Hence, the book is not the main factor, but Xie Tongguo’s unfortunate experience is. That’s why he identifies with the book, and even relied on it to kill people! He is really just a lonely, hurt person!”
After that, to the others’ surprise, Zhao Yu suddenly swore, “Shi*! When did I learn to conduct such deep analyses?”
“Well… I felt the same loneliness as Xie Tongguo in my own childhood!” Cui Lizhu said. “When I was a child, even though my father was around, I felt very lonely. I remember wishing that I could have just one friend at that time, even if it was an imaginary friend, or even a virtual friend. Maybe 11 Kills was like Xie Tongguo’s friend! That could be it, right?”
Upon hearing this, Miao Ying sighed, as she also had a deep understanding of loneliness.
“This book, 11 Kills, is not very long!” Zhao Yu exclaimed as he looked through the manuscript. He then said, “It seems that Han Kuan is right. This book is not up to the standards of publishing at all!”
“I agree,” Wu XIumin said. “The day before yesterday, when I was helping him organize the plot, he told me that he had sent his manuscript to several publishing houses, but never succeeded in convincing anyone to publish his work.”
She shook her head, then added, “He later learned that he should not use foreign names for characters, as it apparently doesn’t allow the reader to relate to them. Later, when he gained some popularity, he thought about revising this book, but he never had the time. Hence, he didn’t even know that the manuscript was missing!”
As he was looking through the manuscript, Zhao Yu saw many sketches. These were illustrations that Han Kuan had drawn with a black pen. Although they looked rough, they had a wicked charm about them, which was quite consistent with the topic of the novel.
“In the box, besides 11 Kills, there are many other manuscripts that Han Kuan wrote when he was young…” Miao Ying pointed to the box and said, “I had a look at them all before. Some he even wrote when he was in elementary school. But, it seems that besides 11 Kills, the others are not complete stories, but just his creative ideas and partial drafts.”
Miao Ying then added, “Oh, and there are also several notebooks, where he wrote down many famous quotes from detective stories, such as Holmes, Death on the Nile and so on. Um… He also kept notebooks that were filled with only artistic sketches.”
As he listened to Miao Ying, Zhao Yu put down the 11 Kills manuscript and checked out the other stuff in the box. The manuscripts in even had that familiar scent of old books and ink, which gave them an old-fashion aura.
After a while, Zhao Yu put down the manuscripts and said to the others, “We’ll keep these things here for the time being. I will check them more carefully later, when I have more time.”
“Now, our top priority is Han Kuan’s case…” Zhao Yu raised his head and said earnestly, “Based on Xie Tongguo’s and Han Kuan’s reactions in the prison, we can basically confirm that Han Kuan had nothing to do with Xie Tongguo’s case!”
Zhao Yu then said, “If Han Kuan is the murderer in his wife’s case, then his plan should not include us. According to his plan, two months after the crime, when the police saw the bank letter, he would be set free! What he didn’t expect was that the police wouldn’t find the bank letter!”
Zhao Yu then added, “Han Kuan certainly didn’t feel insecure, as he invited us to come and help solve the case! This reveals to me that he must not know who the murderer of the serial murder case is.”
Zhao Yu shook his head, then added, “In fact, he just used the case to get our help! There may be some coincidences between the two cases, but it is certain that Han Kuan did not give Xie Tongguo any guidance or help.”
Miao Ying shook her head and sighed. “Han Kuan almost hurt himself in this little game! After all, since the bank’s safe business is conducted online, if the letter had been lost or the police couldn’t find the safe, he would have been miserable!”
Wu Xiumin agreed, “Yes! He dared not tell that to the police directly! That would have been way too suspicious. So, he decided to invite our leader here.”
“Everyone knows that I’m a super detective, so there’s no need to talk about my impressive detective skills all the time!” Zhao Yu said with pride.
****He then turned to a whiteboard and said earnestly, “So… Let’s focus on our work. Our top priority now is to find out whether Han Kuan killed his wife, Zhang Jingru, or not. Since Zhang Jingru’s recording has been found, if we follow the standard procedures, Han Kuan will be acquitted within three days!”
He sighed, then said, “If we can’t find out the truth in these next three days, then we, the famous Special Investigation Group, will lose face to a mere novelist! Can you accept this? I sure can’t! Remember, we solved the famous Headless Female Corpses Case!”
Zhao Yu paused for a moment, then said, “We can’t lose to Han Kuan. So, no matter what method we use, we have to find out the truth! If Han Kuan has really been wrongfully accused, then all will be well and his name will be cleared, but if he’s really the culprit, I’ll absolutely make him regret the day he was born!”
At this time, Miao Ying stood up and said, “How about we just tell him what we think, then see how he reacts?”
“Hmm…” Zhao Yu thought about that for a moment, then said, “Okay! Although he definitely won’t tell us the truth, interrogating him will tire him out. Then, if we play our cards right, he may make some mistakes when he is talking.”
Zhao Yu narrowed his eyes at Miao Ying, then said, “Deputy Leader Miao, I think you are the best person to interrogate Han Kuan. We need a tough interrogator like you to knock him off guard!”
“I’ll take that as a compliment…” Miao Ying glanced at Zhao Yu as she replied with a smile.
Zhao Yu smiled back at her, then said earnestly, “Once you launch the first attack, our war of wits against this wicked fiction writer will officially begin! Within these next three days, we must find enough ammunition to break him down! Otherwise, we may lose to him miserably!”
Ran Tao was the first to stand up, clap his chest, and salute Zhao Yu. He then said with confidence, “We cracked the Headless Female Corpses Case, so nothing can stop us finding out the truth in this case! Just tell us what we should do!”
Zeng Ke followed suit and said, “Yes, I can practically see my annual bonus for solving this case waving at me now!”
Zhao Yu immediately said, “Well then, Miao Ying and Wu Xiumin, go interrogate Han Kuan! You must break him down!”
“Okay!” The two nodded enthusiastically in unison.
Zhao Yu then added, “Zeng Ke, you are responsible for figuring out the truth behind the recorded confession. Imagine that you are Han Kuan, then ask yourself what you could do to coerce Zhang Jingru to record it!”
“Okay!” Zeng Ke said.
Zhao Yu then turned to Ran Tao and said, “Ran Tao, you go collect any information related to Han Kuan and his wife from all of the people who knew them. Don’t miss a thing! If we want to find out the whole truth, we must find out the reason why Han Kuan killed his wife!”