Chapter 32: Something Strange
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Don’t joke!" After a brief moment of shock, Zhao Yu regained his rationality and said to Yang Hong, "You can’t lie to a police officer! The largest piano competition for high school students in Qinshan City, the tenth year? Are you kidding me?"
"Why?" Yang Hong was puzzled, "This is the only thing that I’m proud of in my entire life. How could I get it wrong? It was indeed the tenth year!"
"Let me ask you, where was the competition held?" Zhao Yu still did not believe her.
"Hmmm…" Yang Hong gave it a thought and quickly got the right answer, "Second Middle School! Yes! It was Second Middle School!"
"Oh?" Zhao Yu was surprised but he still did not believe her. Immediately, he blurted out, "The Tenth Grand Piano Competition was eighteen years ago. The participants were all eighteen and nineteen-year-old high school students, how old are you now? Thirty-six? Thirty-seven?"
"Well…" Yang Hong frowned, "I really can’t tell if you are complimenting me or insulting me." Yang Hong pushed Zhao Yu away and took out her identification from her bag.
Zhao Yu looked at it and was dumbfounded. The woman in front of him... was actually ten years older than himself. She was already thirty-seven!
"Holy sh*t!" Zhao Yu could not believe it. "You," he looked at Yang Hong in shock, "really know how to maintain your youth! I thought you were a pretty young thing!"
"Hehehe…" Yang Hong naturally felt good hearing such compliments, but she rebuked, "If you want a pretty young thing, I can play matchmaker. My housemate, Huahua, is only twenty. You interested?"
"No, no, no, that’s not what I meant!" By this point, Zhao Yu was not in the mood to flirt. His thoughts returned back to the Lost Hand Case. This time, he strongly felt that the situation in front of him was not a coincidence! He could obtain some valuable information from the woman in front of him, who had participated in the Tenth Grand Piano Competition!
"Hey! Other than praising my youthfulness, don’t you have anything else to say?" Yang Hong stretched out her fair arms and flirted with Zhao Yu again, "Are you gonna let me have a taste of you, handsome young man?"
On any other day, Zhao Yu would have pounced on his prey like a hungry tiger! But now, he had other things on his mind, and his male hormones were inactive. He held Yang Hong’s cellphone and asked impatiently, "Tell me quickly, do you know Gao Tian, Yuan Lili, and Luo Meina?"
Yang Hong did not know what Zhao Yu wanted. She shook her head in bewilderment.
"The three of them participated in the same competition as you, and their rankings were at the front, at the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Does that mean anything to you?" Zhao Yu asked hopefully.
"So they were finalists!" Yang Hong exclaimed, "Then of course I wouldn’t know them! I didn’t have such good fortune, I didn’t even get into the top twenty! I only remember that the male student who was the champion was quite good looking. I think he was accepted by the capital’s music college!"
"Oh...hmmm…" Zhao Yu was speechless. After thinking for a long while, he asked, "Then do you know any others? Fellow competitors, or even teachers or judges?"
"Hey?" Yang Hong was getting impatient. She put up a stern face and said, "Officer Zhao, so you’re here to investigate? Why are you asking me all of this irrelevant stuff? Do you also play the piano? Stop pretending? Don’t tell me I have to pay you three-thousand instead?"
"Hmmm…" Zhao Yu thought to himself, "To get this woman to cooperate with the investigation, I will need to use some acting!" With this thought, Zhao Yu spoke up, "Hey!" and mysteriously made a silencing gesture before lowering his voice. He said to Yang Hong, "Remember, don’t ever mention to anyone what I asked you today, understand? Once it’s out, you’ll have to go to court!"
This clearly worked on her. Yang Hong was stumped for a while and asked sheepishly, "Why? I don’t know the people you mentioned. Is that a crime?"
"Huh!" Zhao Yu bellowed and returned her iPhone 6s, "Have you heard of the Lost Hand Case!?"
"Ah?" Yang Hong was in shock and nodded repeatedly. Qinshan City’s Lost Hand Case had given rise to much discussion last year, and everyone knew about it. This year, it happened again, and had already caused an uproar with the media. However, the police had used anonymous names for the victims, so Yang Hong did not know their real names. "You mean? The Lost Hand Case is linked to piano? Oh my goodness…" Yang Hong was completely sucked in by Zhao Yu’s words.
Seeing that he had attained his goal, Zhao Yu brought his acting to another level, "I think you have to be careful. According to the data, those who had their hands chopped off had all participated in the Tenth Grand Piano Competition. They have all stopped playing the piano, and they are all women!"
"Ah?" Yang Hong was terrified and held on tightly to Zhao Yu’s arm, "Why am I so unlucky? The taser culprit targeted me, and now the chopping hand culprit also targets me. Do I really have such great charm?"
Seeing how anxious Yang Hong was, Zhao Yu wanted to laugh, but he could only control his laughter and carry on acting, "But the culprit has only targeted the finalists so far, it won’t be your turn for the time being!"
"That’s, that’s great!" Yang Hong said timidly, "Officer Zhao, you have to nab him fast! Having your hand chopped off for no reason is worse than…" Yang Hong meant that it was worse than being raped by the taser culprit, but it was not easy for her to say that.
"Ain’t I investigating now! Any details on the Tenth Grand Piano Competition that you can think of, tell me quick!" Zhao Yu went with the flow, "We can only solve the case this way!"
After all the acting and scares, Yang Hong dared not show her agitation anymore, and told Zhao Yu promptly, "Officer Zhao! Those people you mentioned, I really have no recollection of them at all! The piano competition was so tense, and I was still a child. How could I remember?" Yang Hong tapped her own forehead and tried hard to recall, "The data on the competition I participated in is long gone. I have not touched piano for more than ten years! I...ugh!"
Seeing Yang Hong’s anxious look, Zhao Yu could not help but feel disappointed. Her expression was identical to the pregnant woman who had gotten tenth place. After all, it had been a long time, and many things had already disappeared and turned into ash!
"It’s alright, don’t panic, " Zhao Yu urged. "if you think of anything, just let me know!" Looking at the beauty in front of him, Zhao Yu could not help but felt a little tempted to tease Yang Hong, as such chances were hard to come by.
But Yang Hong did not follow his cue. She had set her heart on the matter and was trying her best to recall. Just as Zhao Yu went to reach out his hand, she suddenly frowned and asked, "Officer Zhao, anyone and anything linked to the competition is relevant?"
"Of course! The key to cracking a case usually lies in those inconspicuous details!" Zhao Yu started to show off after just a few days of being a policeman, "Why, did you have hemorrhoids on the competition day?"
"No…" Yang Hong had no reaction to Zhao Yu’s joke. She seemed to have thought of something, and was giving it serious thought. After deliberating for a long time, she said to Zhao Yu with uncertainty, "Officer Zhao, I think I vaguely remember, during that competition, there was something strange!"