Chapter 141: Return to the Past

Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao returned home late in the evening. They weren’t in high spirits; if they accepted A-Jiao’s conjecture, then it meant that the target of the first murder shouldn’t have been A-Mei but rather A-Jiao. Neither conjecture was something for them to rejoice about. 

“Honey, why do you think the murderer wanted to kill me?” As A-Jiao laid in bed, she couldn’t help but still be bothered by this matter. “Could Xiaomei have known the murderer? But she was so young and timid. She couldn’t have!”

“Haha! Stop stressing about it.” Jiang Zhengkai took A-Jiao into his arms. “This is all a guess. Perhaps his initial target was Zhao Renchu, and you and A-Mei are both bystanders. Don’t you remember? Zhao Renchu did not object when his female partner changed.”

“Really?” Squinting, A-Jiao thought about it as she leaned against Jiang Zhengkai’s chest. “But that can’t be right, can it? If the murderer did not know A-Mei, then why would he help her kill A-Li and Zhu Yuping? None of this makes any sense!”

“Mm, fine. Let’s say that you were supposed to be the first victim. What then would his motive be for killing you?” Since Jiang Zhengkai could not ease A-Jiao’s anxieties with warm words, he could only use cold logic to wipe them away. “If he wanted you dead, shouldn’t he still be targeting us?”

“But didn’t I get a makeover?” A-Jiao lifted her head from Jiang Zhengkai’s chest, then gazed straight into Jiang Zhengkai’s eyes. “Perhaps Mu Mingyuan’s makeup skills are so good that the murderer could not recognize me?”

“From what you’re saying, it is indeed possible,” Jiang Zhengkai agreed as he nodded his head. “Perhaps this murderer knew me and didn’t act because he thought that I was baiting him. At the same time, he failed to recognize you. Thus, he didn’t act because he was afraid of falling into a trap.”

“Yeah! Yeah!” A-Jiap nodded along. “That must be it!!”’

“If that’s our model, then why don’t we change our strategy for the next two days?” Jiang Zhengkai proposed, then murmured to himself, “What if I get a makeover instead of you? We could try that?” When Jiang Zhengkai reached this point in his thought process, he firmly shook his head. “No! It’d be too dangerous. If someone recognized you, then you’d immediately land in danger. And if it means putting your life in danger, then I’d rather not solve this case.”

“Honey, what did you say?” A-Jiao affectionately asked, somewhat shocked. “You would rather not solve the case for my sake?”

“Yes!” Jiang Zhengkai nodded decisively. He guided A-Jiao’s head back onto his chest. “If you don’t get a makeover, the women in the alley will easily recognize you. I won’t take this risk!”

“Are you an idiot?” A-Jiao giggled. “Am I the same as I was in the past? Back then, I had long hair. And now I have short hair and my fashion style is also completely different! Didn’t it also take you a while to recognize me after I changed my looks?”

“I’m still against the idea!” Jiang Zhengkai was still opposed.

“Honey!” A-Jiao rocked against Jiang Zhengkai coquettishly and pleaded, “Let’s just try it! We can try it for just two days…”

The very next morning, Jiang Zhengkai arrived late at the office, at around 9 o’clock. His tardiness had nothing to do with the bureau or the crime scene. Instead, he was late because A-Jiao had spent the entire night pleading with him before he finally agreed to her idea. It was only then that A-Jiao allowed him to sleep peacefully.

“Xiaoqiang, come in here for a moment.” Jiang Zhengkai called Lu Xiaoqiang, who was equally sleep deprived, into his office when he walked past his desk. Lu Xiaoqiang pulled himself together robotically and followed behind Jiang Zhengkai into his small office. 

Conversely, A-Jiao slept till noon before she woke up naturally. After doing some exercises on the balcony, she cooked herself some food to eat. A-Jiao then ran back to the bedroom to dig out some old clothes that she had worn while she had been working in the alley. As she dressed herself up in her old style, she stood in front of the mirror to check her appearance.

“So this is what I used to look like?” As A-Jiao stared at her reflection, she murmured discontentedly, “Why don’t I look like a good person?” A-Jiao had forgotten that her perspective had changed drastically since her old days; from her current perspective, she was indeed definitely a bad person back then.

Suddenly, a phone call from Cui Jing came at a timely moment. Her lively voice shouted out, “Heya, bitch! What have you been busy with? Are you interested in going window-shopping with me?”

“Okay!” A-Jiao happily replied as she continued to check herself out in the mirror. She realized that she needed her classic long hair in order to fully transform back to her old self. I’ll have to get a wig. 

“Alright! Then let’s meet up at our usual place at 1 o’clock.” Cui Jing said quickly before hanging up. 

“Hey! Ugh! This person is getting more and more stingy.” A-Jiao stared at the dead phone while her mouth twitched in annoyance. “Humph! Let’s see if you can recognize me this afternoon then.” As she mumbled disgruntledly, she checked her phone and noticed that the time was 11:40 am. Fortunately I still have an hour to prepare. 

A-Jiao stuffed the rest of her clothes back into her closet. Then, she admired herself in the mirror with her current outfit one last time before changing into an appropriate pair of shoes and leaving the house for the shopping mall. 

At 1 o’clock, Cui Jing promptly appeared at their usual spot.  All close female friends had a usual spot or two they’d generally meet. Women are different from men. They prefer meeting at a predetermined place before going shopping together whereas men typically prefer meeting at an undetermined place before heading out. 

Cui Jing waited at their usual spot till 1:10, but still did not see A-Jiao. Next to her was an ostentatious, long-haired woman who had arrived at the same time as her. The woman kept walking in front of her, sashaying back and forth, and repeatedly blocking her line of sight. Cui Jing hated this type of woman. She didn’t want to be associated with her. Although Cui Jing had been frivolous at one point in time, she was nowhere close to this woman’s level. 

“This damned Ren Ziyuan! Why isn’t she here yet?” Cui Jing looked at her phone. By now, it was already 1:15 pm. Did she forget the time they were meeting? Or, could she… Cui Jing did not dare to continue her thoughts. Women who had been hurt by the opposite sex were often afraid of thinking this possibility. 

For lack of a better option, Cui Jing decided to call A-Jiao. She could hear A-Jiao’s phone ringing nearby but when Cui Jing looked left and right, she did not see A-Jiao anywhere. So, she yelled into her phone, “Damned girl! Where are you?”

“Hey! No need to be so loud! My ears are going to go deaf.” Cui Jing heard A-Jiao’s voice both over the phone and next to her at the same time.

“It’s you?” Cui Jing incredulously shouted out as she turned her head and saw that the ostentatious women next to her was holding a phone. She carefully observed the woman's face, and realized that it did vaguely look like A-Jiao. “Are you crazy! Why are you dressed like this? Isn’t your uncle policeman against prostitution? So he likes this type?” Cui Jing exploded in a quick succession of castigations. 

“Why are you shouting? Why are you shouting? This makes me happy. You got a problem with that?” A-Jiao had her hands stubbornly on her waist while she squinted at Cui Jing. “What’s wrong? Why can’t I dress more trendily?”

Okay, okay! Miss Ren, you’re really ruthless!” Cui Jing helplessly shook his head. She then looped her arm into the crook of A-Jiao’s. “Let’s go! Where do you want to shop? Two days ago, I saw a piece…” They walked towards the mall and chatted. In the eyes of women, they would give their girl friends all sorts of criticisms, but best friends were best friends as long as that didn’t affect their own interests. Whatever they choose to do or wear wasn’t all that important. 

In the meantime, Jiang Zhengkai and Lu Xiaoqiang went to see Zhang Nan and interrogated A-Shun and A-Sha again. However, this time the questions were related to A-Mei. Unfortunately, they were disappointed since A-Shun and A-Sha were unable to provide any new clues. In their eyes, A-Mei was only a weak woman and nothing else.

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