Chen Shi looked at Ai Ying and asked, "So the person who instructed Chang Juan to provide us with the details of the case is one of those shareholders? Did you discuss it together? You must know who that person is!"
Ai Ying looked as though he was put in a tough spot. "I can't talk about this. It involves other people's private business. We have an agreement between Chang Juan and us shareholders, and we can't just leak the secrets willy-nilly."
Lin Dongxue said, "You guys are really having fun ‘playing’."
"This is not for fun. Aiya, you won't understand it."
Chen Shi asked Chang Juan, "How did your parents die?"
"They were murdered. My mother was raped before she died..." When she told them of this incident, Chang Juan was extraordinarily calm. It was the kind of indifference after all the tears had run dry.
"Was it the same murderer as in this case? That's why you promised one of your shareholders to help solve the case?"
"I don't have the ability to agree or not..."
"Oh, I forgot about this!" Lin Dongxue smiled bitterly. Chang Juan couldn't decide her actions. She was a living puppet.
Ai Ying said, "Let Chang Juan go back first. I want to speak with you alone."
Without waiting for Chen Shi to speak, Chang Juan stood up and left. Ai Ying took out a cigarette and Lin Dongxue said sarcastically, "You’re conscious of your position."
"Am I a criminal?" Ai Ying asked in reply.
"Okay, what do you want to say? How did you become her shareholder?" Lin Dongxue asked.
"In fact, in the beginning when I heard about this matter, my reaction was the same as most people. I thought it was a disguised attempt at going viral or that sort of thing. Later, after some investigation, I found out that her parents had been murdered. From what I understood, it was a covert way of asking for donations and she would repay the donors in some way in the future. As there was no such precedent, her posts in the forum were also initiated in the form of donation appeals... I also had some spare money at the time, so I bought some of her 'life stocks'. Later, we were put into a shareholder group. At first, everyone thought it was a very fresh idea. We could decide what the other person would do at will. It was so interesting. Some people harbored bad ideas and asked Chang Juan to do a striptease in the chat room or asked her to find a man she didn’t know to do that kind of thing. I thought to myself that a young girl making this decision would only be ruined by these old men.”
"However, the subsequent development was unexpected. After decisions made by over 100 shareholders, there was nothing too improper that she had to do. We just decided what clothes Chang Juan would wear that day, what books she’d read, where she’d work and the like. It was all very ordinary. Maybe this is the so-called neutralization effect... Those 'shareholders' who snuck in trying to get her to do bad things found that they couldn't do what they wanted, so they gave up their stocks. Gradually, only a few decent people were left in the group. There are over ten people left!"
"Do these 'decent people' know each other?" Chen Shi asked.
"No, no, no, we’re all netizens. We don't know each other, but we understand a little about one another more or less after interacting for so long... Can I talk about this at my own pace? Can you not interrupt me?"
"Okay, go on."
Ai Ying took a drag on his cigarette, and then said, "At first, I felt like I was playing a game. I got up every morning and attended a meeting seriously to figure out what Chang Juan was going to do today. Sometimes I was too busy and just passed, letting the others decide. We observe Chang Juan’s life every day and participate in it. Gradually, many people’s attitude towards Chang Juan shifted and they treated her as if they were raising a daughter, including me. From the gaming mentality to sincerely hoping that she can be happy and blessed, the decisions we made became more and more rational. It was our decisions that allowed her to get over the trauma caused by the murder of her parents, enter a university, and transform from a pampered girl into a graduate student that takes charge. Sometimes I feel a special sense of accomplishment!" Ai Ying grinned.
"I'm skeptical of this ‘take charge’ opinion." Chen Shi said. "She just depends even more on others now, right?"
"This is her way of life, and also our way of life. As a result, she’s living very well now. She’s proactively forging ahead as well as working and resting on time. Her life is fully planned..."
Lin Dongxue wondered whether there was any joy in this kind of life, but this was Chang Juan's own choice. Maybe she herself took pleasure in it. Some people were born liking to obey and execute orders in life.
"Then what do you personally gain?" Chen Shi asked.
Ai Ying took a deep breath with dark eyes. "For a while, Chang Juan was my spiritual sustenance... At the time, the business I started failed and I went dejectedly to work for others. My mood plummeted. Thanks to Chang Juan, this girl was born with… How do I put it? A healing power. Being with her helped me slowly regain my confidence and the courage to live on."
"Wait, have you met her in private? Was this decided at the 'shareholders' meeting?" Chen Shi interrupted him.
Ai Ying giggled. "I only have 13% of the shares in my hands, and my decision-making power isn’t much. However, where Chang Juan goes and what she needs to do every day are public, and you could easily use this to find her. After learning that I was her shareholder, she was also willing to take time to accompany me."
"That’s despicable, sir. Taking advantage of a young girl who doesn't know how to refuse." Lin Dongxue said.
Ai Ying said with a bit of embarrassment, "I... I know. I admit that I had some improper thoughts about Chang Juan at that time. I even thought about using the 'shareholder meeting' to satisfy my own selfish desires, but in the end, I still gave up. I know that the mentality of wanting to make Chang Juan mine is wrong. We just decide what she does in life, but her life still belongs to her and she’s not anyone's private property. Since then, I’ve had a special feeling for Chang Juan. That’s why I’m here now. During the day, you used that kind of method to interrogate her. I couldn't stand it, so I came to "retaliate" against you guys. As a result, I got arrested!" Ai Ying helplessly spread out his hands.
"You're not the only one who thought about Chang Juan this way, right?" Lin Dongxue asked.
Ai Ying nodded, "Chang Juan’s life is determined by our discussions. Her connections, her knowledge, her personality, and everything from top to toe are chosen by us. This feeling is very miraculous. It’s like we’re raising a daughter who isn’t related to us by blood. Besides, Chang Juan is a gentle and cute girl. From the beginning with a mob of more than 100 shareholders, there were only more than ten people left after attrition like the sand that’s left after being lashed by big waves . Everyone is willing to stay only because they truly like Chang Juan... So I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who’s been tempted by her. As far as I know, a shareholder once called Chang Juan over to his house, but the other shareholders came forward to stop it before anything happened. It’s because there are always shareholders who want to see her privately that we later got this thing..." Ai Ying pointed at his own neck. "We monitor and eavesdrop on Chang Juan's life in real time to ensure her safety."
Chen Shi thought of Tao Yueyue. Raising and teaching Tao Yueyue really did give him an intimate sense of participation.
Imagining that everything about Chang Juan was selected and decided by this group of people, the huge sense of participation and living vicariously through someone would simply be incomparable. This was a dangerous game. It was a miracle that nothing bad had happened to her.
Chen Shi went back to the topic at hand. "Who was the person who first proposed to let her pretend to be possessed by Chunqin to assist the police in solving the case? I hope you can tell me something, or at least reveal some clues. After all, lives are at stake. We need to know the truth!"
Ai Ying was silent for a long time, then replied, "That person is called Brother 39!"
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