Chapter 140: On Purpose or an Accident

After Lu Xiaoqiang left, Jiang Zhengkai sat there and calmed himself down again. Then he gave A-Jiao a call and told her to come to the bureau earlier today for the makeover. Jiang Zhengkai stayed in his office and mulled over the case as he waited for A-Jiao’s arrival. 

The case had entered a stagnant phase. Hence, Jiang Zhengkai needed to think of a new angle through which he could break through. He could not simply just wait for the crime to take place again without searching for new clues. If it turned out that suspecting A-Xiu was incorrect along with all their other assumptions, then there were still two main possibilities left. One, as A-Jiao had mapped out, was that the two unrelated murders could be related to A-Mei. The other was that Sui Zhongyi was their culprit. So far, he had shown an unconventionally high interest in the serial murder case and the death of his three men. 

“Honey, I’m here!” A-Jiao knocked on Jiang Zhengkai’s office door and merrily waltzed in. She was still her old self, as happy as can be as long she could be with Jiang Zhengkai.

“You’re here.” Jiang Zhengkai smiled at A-Jiao. “Have a seat! I gave Mingyuan a call earlier. He’s going on a business trip tomorrow and needs to head home early to prepare, which is why we moved up the makeover session. He’ll be here soon.”

“Okay!” A-Jiao nodded her head and sat down across the desk from Jiang Zhengkai. 

“Oh right, honey. You mentioned that A-Mei was mistreated by A-Li while she was alive.” Jiang Zhengkai waited for A-Jiao to sit down before he asked his question. “So if A-Mei were still alive, do you think that she would have killed A-Li?”

“Xiao Mei killing someone?” A-Jiao stared at Jiang Zhengkai as if he was telling a ridiculous joke. “How is that possible? Although Xiao Mei did not believe in Buddhism, in actuality, she could have been a vegetarian and devout follower of Buddha’s. She was very timid and indecisive. She definitely wouldn’t have the heart to kill anyone!” 

“Then let me ask you something else. Besides you, who else was A-Mei close to? Did she have any friends of the opposite sex?” Jiang Zhengkai continued to probe into A-Mei’s situation.

“Honestly, besides me, I don’t think that Xiao Mei was particularly close to anyone else at all.” A-Jiao shook her head in response to all of Jiang Zhengkai’s questions. “As for male friends, I only knew of Zhu Yuping! Other than him, I don’t think she talked to any other males.”

“But right now, I’m considering another possibility.” Jiang Zhengkai then sighed as he thought aloud, “What if A-Mei knew the murderer? What if her death was an accident or if the murderer accidentally killed her?  Would the murderer avenge A-Mei out of guilt or for some other reason?”

“If Xiao Mei was mistakenly killed?” A-Jiao was stunned. Right! The first male victim had originally been picked up by me. If A-Mei hadn’t made such a proactive request, then he wouldn’t have gone with her. Then wouldn’t I have been the one to die that night?

“Yes, honey!” Jiang Zhengkai nodded and reached out to wipe A-Jiao’s forehead when he noticed her peculiar expression. “Are you feeling unwell?” he asked with some concern.

“No, I’m not.” A-Jiao subconsciously dodged Jiang Zhengkai’s hand. It took her a while before she looked at Jiang Zhengkai again. “Honey, there is something I haven’t told you. Don’t be mad, ok?”

“What is it? Tell me.” Jiang Zhengkai impertuably looked at A-Jiao. Perhaps his facial expression differed from how he felt deep down.

“It is indeed possible that A-Mei was mistakenly killed. That night, the first male victim was originally interested in me. But Xiao Mei asked if she could take my client so I let her. Later on, after the crime occurred, I never brought this up because I was afraid of the repercussions.”

“I see.” Jiang Zhengkai nodded as he digested the new information. If it was as A-Jiao said, then A-Mei’s death indeed might have been an accident. Maybe A-Mei’s request drastically altered her and A-Mei’s destinies. Or perhaps, A-Mei knew that the client was in danger, so she took the initiative to replace A-Jiao. After all, based on the remarks from A-Jiao and Lu Xiaoqiang, Jiang Zhengkai could tell that A-Jiao probably was the only cherished friend A-Mei had in the whole city. Women were sensitive beings. Maybe A-Mei did this for their friendship. Or perhaps, A-Mei wanted to repay A-Jiao for her kindness. It is also possible that A-Mei may have been afraid that if A-Jiao were to die, no one would step out to protect her anymore. Hence, she willingly wanted to take A-Jiao’s place. 

By now, Jiang Zhengkai believed that these women in the alley were no different from normal people. They also possessed feelings and the same refined spirit. They were both willing to sacrifice everything for their close relatives and friends. In the past, Jiang Zhengkai would have never thought this was possible. 

“Honey, do you think that I was the murderer’s initial target?” A-Jiao softly asked as Jiang Zhengkai sank into contemplation, but then stammered out, “But why would he want to kill me? Is it because I knew Sister Xiu?” 

“Maybe!” Jiang Zhengkai vaguely replied, “It is also possible that the murderer was targeting Zhao Renchu! Regardless if it was you or A-Mei, you both could have been considered a sacrificial victim.”

“But… but I was close to Sister Xiu. In fact, our relationship was the closest! He had to have been originally targeting me, right?” A-Jiao disparagement of herself grew worse as she bemoaned, “His goal must have been to kill me and Zhao Renchu. It couldn’t have been A-Mei! But why does he want to kill me?” At this point, A-Jiao painfully pulled off a few strands of her hair in her anxiety. “Is it… is it because I saved Brother Tao, and so he wants to kill me?”

“Because you saved A-Tao?” Jiang Zhengkai repeated A-Jiao’s words. If the first murder was really after A-Jiao, then could this be the reason for A-Mei’s? If the murderer’s motive was to avenge A-Xiu, then this intention does seem plausible. After all, A-Xiu’s death was related to A-Tao. If A-Tao had not killed Sui Dequan, then A-Xiu would have collected her goods and wouldn’t have died. Since A-Jiao saved A-Tao, it was equivalent to saving A-Xiu’s enemy. Therefore, if the murderer was trying to avenge A-Xiu, then killing A-Jiao was well-justified based on his already demonstrable savage ways. 

“What are you two doing? Arguing?” Mu Mingyuan entered the room, carrying his makeup kit. “Hey! Why do you guys look so grave and serious? Are you planning to divorce already?”

“You’re the one planning to divorce!” Jiang Zhengkai stood up and coldly stared at him. “Old Mu, if you can’t spit out ivory from your mouth, that’s fine! But you can’t spit out dog teeth, alright?” 

“Haha! That shows that we are carnivores.” Mu Mingyuan wasn’t mad because he could tell something was off about Jiang Zhengkai. Instead, he continued to ridicule them, teasing, “Hey, If I had such a beautiful wife, I would not need to spit dog teeth. I would be fine with no teeth!”

“Fine! Then I should marry you and help you pull out all your teeth?” A-Jiao returned back to her usual naughty humor and winked at Mu Mingyuan. “How about it?” Let’s settle it!”

“Alright! Look at you both!” Mu Mingyuan spoke as he sat down beside A-Jiao. “You guys are definitely husband and wife. Indeed, a heavenly pair and a pair in the ground. If one of you was a raven, then the other would definitely be an old crow!” Mu Mingyuan shot a glance at Jiang Zhengkai. “Old crow! Help me bring that mirror over. I am going to give your raven a makeover!”

After A-Jiao’s makeover was finished, she stood up to examine herself left and right in the mirror. “Mu, have you seen such a beautiful raven before?” 

“Oh! You must be a new breed.” As Mu Mingyuan tidied up his tools, he casually conversed with Jiang Zhengkai. “Oh right, Old Jiang, I’ll be away on a two to three day business trip starting tomorrow. So you guys should take a break while I’m gone. I’ve already handed sister-in-law’s makeup duties over to Zhang Ping from our department. If you’re in a hurry, just let her know in advance.”

“Ok!” Jiang Zhengkai acknowledged as he nodded. 

“Ok, beautiful raven, turn your head around. I will take two pictures for you!” Mu Mingyuan took out a digital camera from his toolbox and waited. 

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