The police's discovery was similar to Chen Ge's previous speculation-the statue had been used as a transport mechanism. After getting Lee Zheng's reply, Chen Ge's mind cleared. "After the suspect killed the victims, he hid them inside the statue and then had someone move the statue into the underground storeroom. When no one was looking, he sneaked back into the storeroom to deal with the dead body. Then the body was dragged into the underground morgue, and the crime was completed without a trace."
Jiujiang Medical University was special because the area underneath the western part of the school was a morgue. Without wasting much energy and effort, one could take care of a dead body easily. "There shouldn't be anyone who would consider going to look for missing people inside the underground morgue, so reality proved that the culprit is a really smart person."
Chen Ge stated everything Lee Zheng had on his mind. Lee Zheng, on the other end of the phone, was silent for a while. "It is still unclear who the owner of the statue is, but the suspect pool is narrowing. After our detailed investigation, we can confirm that the statue does not belong to Jiujiang Medical University but appeared one day inside the Arts Society without warning."
"We managed to find the man who was the chairperson at the time. He could remember how he felt when he entered the activity room and found a new statue. At the time, most of the members thought that it was a new purchase by the school, so they did not think much of it. Since the school campus was also moving soon, in the end, the thing was moved by several male students into the underground storeroom."
"This means that the killer was not a part of the moving process." Chen Ge thought about it. "The killer probably knew about the imminent campus movement and that those unusable items would be sent to the underground storage. In fact, he might even have been present then to silently insinuate things to his liking."
"I was thinking the same. The killer can move in and out of the campus freely late at night and knew about all this information with regards to the university. So, chances are high that he is a student, a teacher, or some other staff at the university." Someone was talking to Lee Zheng, so he replied the man before turning back to inform Chen Ge. "After our investigation, we have narrowed down our pool to four suspects.
"The first one is the male counselor that you told me about yesterday. His name is Liu Zhe, and he's a popular figure at the school. He's a sharp dresser and quite handsome, so you can imagine his popularity with the female students. However, as our investigation deepened, we found that the man is really not as he appears. He has not been to a reputable school, and the university was unable to provide a clear answer to how he managed to become a counselor. The only thing we found out is that the reason is related to his brother-in-law.
"The second suspect is the night security guard at the old campus-Zhang Li. The man is thirty-five years old this year, and he is a private person. The complete opposite from Liu Zhe, the students shy away from him, and for some reason, he is weirdly hated.
"The third suspect is an original member of the Arts Society and the only female of the four suspects. Her name is Zhang Sihan. She is Zhang Li's little sister and had a tense relationship with Ma Yin's sister. Before the sister's disappearance, many people remember her having many ugly confrontations and arguments with Ma Yin's sister."
Lee Zheng stopped at this point, and Chen Ge was deeply intrigued. "The security guard, Zhang Li, has the ability and means to be the killer while Zhang Sihan has the motive and timing; however, neither of their lifestyles have any connection to a western sculpture. I still think the first suspect is the most likely killer. By the way, didn't you say there are four suspects?"
"Actually, according to our investigation, the chance of the fourth suspect being the killer is the highest." Lee Zheng sounded weird on the phone like he did not want to reveal the name of the fourth suspect. "You are familiar with this fourth person; it's Doctor Gao."
"Doctor Gao?" This answer was quite surprising to Chen Ge.
"Just as you said earlier, be it Zhang Li or Zhang Sihan, their lives have nothing to do with the statue. However, it is different for Doctor Gao." Lee Zheng lowered his voice. "I first met Doctor Gao about five years ago. I was asked to go on a psychological assessment after using my gun to kill a criminal. During the two weeks of conversations, we became friends." Chen Ge listened closely; he was surprised that Lee Zheng had known Doctor Gao for five years.
"To be honest, Doctor Gao can be considered the perfect man. In my eyes, he has no weaknesses. In fact, I can list the good points about him, and it would take all night." Lee Zheng's voice sounded depressed, and Chen Ge understood why the man had chosen this time to make this call. "I admired the man, but this does not mean that I won't do my job. During my therapy sessions, I found out many things about him. This includes his hobby of collecting artwork-for instance, he likes to collect paintings by Van Gogh."
"Being an art lover doesn't make him a killer, or have you seen that statue before at Doctor Gao's place?" Using the statue to hide and move the body looked like a brilliant plan, but when it was put into action, there were many loopholes. If Doctor Gao was the real killer, Chen Ge believed that he would have utilized a more perfect method to conduct the crime.
"I have not been to Doctor Gao's home, but I do know that he appreciates artwork that has conflicting contrast, those that have stunning visual impact. I also know that the few nights before Ma Yin's sister disappeared, Doctor Gao's car was caught on camera around Jiujiang Medical University." Lee Zheng sounded tired on the phone. "He knows the school inside out and managed to avoid all the surveillance. It was not until we broadened the scope of the search that we noticed his car showing up in the area around the school. We compared all the footage from the nearby cameras, and the final conclusion was, in that twenty-seven minutes where he disappeared from screen, he was actually inside the school."
"Wait a minute, could there be someone who was driving his car? Using his car to conduct these crimes?"
"That is what I was about to say." Lee Zheng's tone slowly turned serious. "There might be two killers to this case."
"Whether Doctor Gao is the killer or not, it is an undisputed truth that his car was inside the campus during that sensitive period of time, and there were only two people who could drive his car into the campus-one was Doctor Gao himself, and the other person was Liu Zhe."
Lee Zheng's words made Chen Ge's eyes widen. "Wait, you're telling me Liu Zhe's brother-in-law is Doctor Gao‽"
"Indeed! This was a crime committed by two people. The person who killed Ma Yin's sister and wanted to move the dead body through the statue was Liu Zhe, and he should be the one who did all the dirty work.
"However, the man was dumb and exposed too many clues. If he committed the crime alone, it would have surfaced in a matter of days. However, weirdly enough, when we looked through the files on the case, all the clues that the police could come up with were silenced. It felt like an invisible hand was snuffing out these trails before the police could get their hands on them." Lee Zheng sighed. "Liu Zhe would not be able to do something like that. I've been a police officer for almost a decade already, and in my mind, there is only one person who is capable of doing something like that-Doctor Gao."
"But why would Doctor Gao do all these things to protect Liu Zhe, to help him cover up the crime?" Chen Ge voiced the biggest question that he had.
"Liu Zhe is the little brother of Doctor Gao's wife and the only family she had that is still alive." Lee Zheng seemed to know what Chen Ge was about to say, so he pointed it out first. "Doctor Gao's wife died in a car accident about seven years ago. Asking him to take care of her family was her dying wish."
Chen Ge was not Doctor Gao, and he did not understand that feeling, so he chose to be silent.
"Chen Ge, I know you are close to Doctor Gao, but I hope you will be rational at a time like this. I made this call because this is an order from Captain Yan. We suspect that Doctor Gao is involved in this somehow, but all the clues and trails have been cleaned up, and everything that we currently have is just a suspicion."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Gao Ru Xue is Doctor Gao's only daughter and the person he loves the most in the world. If we contact Gao Ru Xue without any warning and evidence, it would only tip off Doctor Gao. Only you can do that." Lee Zheng stated the real intention of his call in a roundabout way. "Gao Ru Xue is an opening; you have saved her life once, so she will not be cautious around you. Therefore, we need you to approach Gao Ru Xue to find out more about her father."
"Why me?" Chen Ge had always 'volunteered' to help the police. This time, he was requested by the law enforcement to help in a case, and that made him rather uncomfortable.
"Because you are the only available candidate." Lee Zheng chatted some more with Chen Ge, but he did not force Chen Ge; he merely suggested it. After hanging up, Chen Ge sat in the dark truck, and his expression was complicated. If Liu Zhe's brother-in-law was Doctor Gao, then the real owner of Room 3004 at Fang Hwa Apartments was Doctor Gao.
The laptop that contained all the information on his Haunted House was Doctor Gao's, and the person who stole the video footage from his visitors was Doctor Gao. Chen Ge did not have the brain power to consider helping Lee Zheng because there was a bigger question occupying his mind. Is Doctor Gao really the chairperson of the ghost stories society?
His body moved along with the car; the road condition was not so great. Chen Ge took out his phone to check back the information that Doctor Gao had sent to him when he first went to the Third Sick Hall. At the time, he had known nothing of the Third Sick Hall and asked Doctor Gao for a list of patient records. Now that he thought about it, the records were definitely suspicious. The records were not accessible to anyone, but Doctor Gao produced them in minimal time.
Why would he help me back then? Chen Ge looked at the records and could not figure out Doctor Gao's mind. Did he just think it was exciting, or did he want to use the Third Sick Hall as a test for me?
After Zhang Ya made short work of the Third Sick Hall, the communication between Doctor Gao and Chen Ge had drastically decreased. Before this, be it Men Nan or the Pen Spirit's friend, it was Doctor Gao who had acted as the bridge.
This is what I know about No. 10: he has seen my Doctor Skull-cracker's mask, is familiar with the movement of the police, has long fingers, is close to me, knows Jiujiang Medical University very well, and calls the dead body on his back his wife. Chen Ge realized that Doctor Gao fitted all the characteristics of No. 10 perfectly. He was not sure whether it was positive reinforcement or not, but when he thought about it, Chen Ge realized that No. 10 sounded a bit like Doctor Gao. The height and body shape of No. 10 in the black robe slowly overlapped with Doctor Gao.
Could it really be him? Chen Ge's fingers were intertwined together. He thought back on the visit he made with Doctor Gao to the home of Pen Spirit's friend. The friend had suffered from serious depression, and after Chen Ge brought the Pen Spirit over to help ease the guilt in her friend, Doctor Gao had thanked Chen Ge on the patient's behalf. The thank you came from his sincere heart, and even now, Chen Ge could still remember the words that Doctor Gao said. He really could not believe someone like that could be the chairperson of the ghost stories society.
Patients, doctors... However, as he thought about it, the basis for the founding of the ghost stories society was to help those special patients relieve their pain. They used extreme methods to heal themselves to seek salvation, to try to be normal people. However, the final result was that they sunk deeper and deeper into the depths of hell until they could not be called normal human beings anymore.
Was this all Doctor Gao's plan from the beginning? Chen Ge had heard from one of the members that they had once tried to save a person who was afraid of water by making her face the source of her fear. They had made her overcome it by personally drowning her father. The treatment method was inhumane and could never be accepted by the society, so it could only be carried out in the shadows of the city. Holding the phone, Chen Ge felt conflicted for the first time.
He could whack any of the patients from the Third Sick Hall with the hammer without hesitation, but he was not sure that he could do that to Doctor Gao. Whether it was when he was treating Men Nan or his other patients, Doctor Gao was flawless. If he was acting, he was a very good actor. However, it did not feel like he was. Chen Ge could sense that he really did want to help those people.
Human beings sure are complicated. Chen Ge leaned against the wall of the truck. Hugging the white cat in his embrace, he glanced out through the gap in the wall. It's almost dawn.
The truck drove for another hour, but it did not enter the city. The driver drove Chen Ge to the edge of town when he said that he had something urgent to attend to and had to go somewhere else. Chen Ge's mind was muddled by the phone call from Lee Zheng, so he did not think much of it. He thanked the man and got out of the truck.
As he watched the moving company's truck drive away, the cold breeze touched his face, and Chen Ge felt his mind brighten and clear. Something is wrong with this truck driver.
When he first got into the car, the truck had been shaking violently. This proved that the driver had not been using the flattened main road. In fact, it felt like he was driving them further away from civilization, using the small roads.
The change happened when he received the call from Lee Zheng. The truck driver probably heard the phone call between Chen Ge and the police, so he changed the direction and drove the truck back to the main road.
Was he trying to silence me? Did he change his mind after hearing my phone call with the police?
When Chen Ge was trying to figure out this issue, a taxi came from the road that the moving company's truck had disappeared down earlier.
Chen Ge waved his hand to stop the taxi. He climbed in. "Boss, drive me to Western Jiujiang's New Century Park please."
"Is the theme park open so early in the morning?"
"I'm one of the workers there." Chen Ge smiled. He pointed at the road that the taxi had come from. "When you came from that road, did you see the truck of a moving company? That driver..."
"Truck? There was no such thing. I was the only car on the road." The taxi driver was even more confused than Chen Ge.
"No truck‽" Chen Ge touched the white cat's head. "Then who gave me the lift? But the white cat did not warn me."