Chapter 688: Chunli

Lin Dongxue said, "Do you remember how Chunqin has a younger sister named Chunli? We met her before at the Public Security Bureau."

Chen Shi had almost forgotten the existence of the girl, so he suggested that they pay her a visit.

When he arrived at Chunli's residence and saw her, Chen Shi lowered his head and glanced at her feet, which seemed to be size 37. This made him secretly excited as they seemed to have found the right person.

Chun Li asked timidly, "Why are you looking for me? Is there any progress for my sister and brother-in-law’s case?"

"Sorry, we came to look for you today regarding another matter." Lin Dongxue's eyes fell on the shoe rack by the door. "Where were you on the night of the 11th?"

"I... I was home alone."

"Doing what?"

"I wasn’t doing anything. I was sleeping."

"Sleeping the whole night?"

Chunli's eyes already revealed panic. She asked, "Why... why are you asking me this? Is there anything special about the 11th? Did a case happen again?"

Lin Dongxue asked Chen Shi to retrieve the photo of the shoe print on his phone and said, "Can we check your shoes?"

Chunli's eyes widened. "What's this about a footprint...?"

"I found it at a place in the outskirts of the town on the night of the 11th." Lin Dongxue said.

Chunli went silent. When Lin Dongxue asked again if she could check her shoes, she said with cold sweat beading on her forehead, "Don't... don't bother checking. I admit that I was there that day and I heard it!"

"What did you hear?"

"A man was swearing as if someone had attacked him, and the other person didn’t speak. I heard the footsteps of the two people going back and forth, just above me." Chunli's memories were very fragmented, but these sorts of expressions were often the truth because reality is often fragmented.

"Where were you?" Lin Dongxue asked.

"The first floor of that villa."

Chen Shi said, "When we rushed over, you escaped from the window?"

"I don't know. The surroundings were too dark and I didn't notice anyone outside when I ran out."

"Was the man upstairs still alive when you escaped?"

"The voice was getting weaker and weaker..."

Chen Shi thought suddenly that if Chunli's words were true, she would have actually left the scene earlier, because Ma Xiang had died of a liver rupture and it would have taken him a while to die completely.

What was the reflection they saw from the window at that time? Was it another person? "Reattached Finger" who had appeared there?

No, there was no trace of a fourth person at the scene. Chen Shi had judged previously that "Reattached Finger" might not have turned up at all.

Chunli was actually an eyewitness in this case. This involved a key question. Lin Dongxue asked, "Then, why were you there?"

Chunli's eyes widened, and stammered, "For a walk..."

"It's half a kilometer from the town, and it's in the wilderness. This kind of reason is too far-fetched. Please tell us the truth." Lin Dongxue said sternly.

"Someone told me the facts of the case, saying that the person who killed my sister would show up there..."

"Did you go there to take revenge?" Chen Shi asked.

"No, no, no, I don't have the guts to. I just wanted to know who that person was and if he was someone I knew. If I saw his face, I could tell the police and get him arrested." Chunli's eyes shifted around.

Chen Shi said, "Young lady, the fact that the murderer would appear there was only known within a small circle at the time. They weren’t police officers and didn’t have any connection with you. Besides them, only the two of us knew. Who told you that?"

Chunli knew that she couldn't hide it anymore, so she took out her mobile phone to show Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue a group chat. There were only a few people in the group. Chunli said with trembling lips, "These people are the same as me. They’ve all had their relatives humiliated and killed by that beast. It was them who found me. We licked each other's wounds and shared information in hopes of catching him soon... Maybe this approach is meaningless in your opinion, but these are the only things we can do. I think about my sister getting killed every day. I hope I can do something, instead of just waiting around!"

Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue were very surprised, but it wasn’t uncommon for the families of the victims of serial killers to form a mutual aid group.

Having uncovered the old scars, Chunli shed tears. Lin Dongxue gently patted her shoulder to comfort her. Chen Shi said, "Even within this small circle, there’s only one person who can give you that information."

"Yes, I know Chang Juan and she’s in the group too."

"Then did you know about the general meeting of shareholders?"

"Shareholders’ meeting? What is that?" Chun Li looked confused.

Lin Dongxue briefly summarized the information. "You mean that on the night of the 11th, Chang Juan told you the information that the murderer might appear somewhere, and then you ran to the scene to lie in wait? Why didn't you call the police?"

"Because Chang Juan wasn’t sure if the murderer would come. I was just worried about her safety and was afraid that something would happen to her... Actually, I had met Chang Juan when I was studying in the city. It was after my sister was killed. I was very depressed. She comforted and counseled me. I was surprised to see her here afterwards, but she was with the police and I never had a chance to speak to her."

Chen Shi never expected that Chang Juan would have friends of her own.

Feeling that nothing was amiss, Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue bid their goodbyes. Lin Dongxue said, "Don't leave the town in the short term. We may look for you at any time."

After leaving, Chen Shi kept frowning and thinking. He suddenly said, "No, Chunli’s reason for not calling the police is a bit far-fetched. I think her purpose isn’t to protect Chang Juan, but to get revenge! When we arrived at the scene, Chang Juan was constantly stabbing the corpse. We were stunned when we saw that scene. Chang Juan achieved her goal - to confuse our perceptions. Who was she protecting? That person is Chunli!"

"But Ma Xiang isn’t the murderer!"

"Chunli made a mistake. Ma Xiang has the same characteristic as the murderer- the transplanted thumb. The murderer's nickname is 'Reattached Finger'. Amidst the darkness, Chunli saw this feature and thought Ma Xiang was that person. She was overly impulsive and killed Ma Xiang with a single stab. Chang Juan knew that things couldn’t be turned around, so she chose to sacrifice herself to protect her... Let's go back again!"

Chen Shi needed to find Chunli again to confirm some details. When the two hurried back, nobody answered no matter how much they knocked on the door. Lin Dongxue was about to call Chunli on her phone when Chen Shi said, "No need!"

He was staring outside, looking out from upstairs, only to see Chunli carrying a bulging backpack and leaving quickly. She was heading towards the town's bus station.

Chunli looked back in panic as she ran. Lin Dongxue looked surprised before quickly rushing downstairs with Chen Shi.

There weren’t many people on the street. When she found her "pursuers" behind her, Chunli quickened her pace. Her bag might have been too full. It burst open and the clothes inside fell all over the ground.

Just after being questioned, Chunli had hurried back to pack up her things and escape. This action convinced Chen Shi that she was probably the one who killed Ma Xiang. He shouted, "Stay where you are!"

 

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