Translated by: TaffyGirl13
The next day.
“Where did you run off to last night?!”
After returning home in the morning to sleep, Jiu Shen stepped into the office at noon, only to face these words.
Ah Liu, who had arrived in the morning to finish a task, stood there with his arms crossed as he frowned at his friend. “When I went back yesterday, I saw that your car was still in the parking lot. I called your cellphone several times, but none of the calls connected. I thought something had happened to you, so I asked the patrolling officers to help keep an eye out while on the streets.”
“Huh? Cellphone?” Jiu Shen quickly fished out his phone. However, there wasn’t a single missed call on it. He had clearly kept it on the entire night, and had even exchanged numbers with that university student. “Ah Liu, you were searching for me last night?”
“Yeah, I called you tons of times.” Ah Liu pulled out his own phone which showed at least ten sent calls. Having been worried for most of the night, Ah Liu was somewhat unhappy, and his tone was upset too. “I nearly went and reported you to Boss. I even asked several hospitals I knew to see if they had received any emergency cases.”
“I just went to enjoy the night scenery with some new friends last night. Weird, why didn’t I get any calls…” Jiu Shen really did not have anything in his call records. He had no idea what the issue was, but he figured he would go get it checked later. Thus, after stowing his phone away, he apologetically said to his colleague, “After leaving yesterday, I ended up being brought to admire the nightscape with a friend, so I didn’t return home until very late…I took a bus here.”
Jiu Shen had later learned that the university student from yesterday was named Yuan Zhen Ting. Upon accepting the other’s invitation, Jiu Shen had been brought to admire Wanggaoliao’s evening view. After that, they had gone to some unknown mountain to watch the sunrise. There had been tons of people joining in along the way, whether prearranged or not. The grandiose bike troops had a shocking number of people. Most were cheerful and lively, with pretty good temperaments. Moreover, he had met quite a few people around his age. Some had even brought midnight snacks and tea over. Jiu Shen, who had been dragged all over the place, had gotten quite a bit of food as well. He had later helped cover the entire night’s worth of gas money, as well as breakfast money, for the university student that had driven him around. They had kindly brought him home before casually swapping phone numbers and saying that they would go out again tonight, so Jiu Shen could contact them if he wanted to join.
Jiu Shen had never attended activities with so many people before, and had found it quite a novel experience. In addition, all the people he had met were great. It was no wonder that Yu Yin had often gone running out at night in the past; it was quite interesting.
“Night excursion?” Ah Liu was somewhat puzzled.
“Ah, yeah, basically.” Actually, Jiu Shen had also considered calling tonight, since he had the slight urge to go. Yuan Zhen Ting had said that calling anytime before 1 AM would be fine, since he would be near Jiu Shen’s home and could pick him up along the way.
Ah Liu shook his head, finding it a bit bizarre. “Regardless of whether it’s interesting or not, just be careful you don’t end up getting sold.” Although this person looked like an adult on the outside and usually spoke quite maturely too, anyone that knew Jiu Shen long enough would know that his mind was empty and he was very gullible. Hopefully he won’t be swindled or ruined by schemers. Society nowadays is seriously unsafe.
“Sold for what?” Jiu Shen cocked his head to the side, not quite understanding. “They didn’t look like a scammer group though?” At first, he had thought they were a bike-racing gang. However, after following them for an entire night, that did not appear to be the case. They were simply a bunch of people that went around enjoying the night views; there was really nothing else to them.
Ah Liu was speechless. He could only give his colleague a pitying look and said, “In any case, it’s fine if you’re alright. Just be more careful by yourself so that you don’t end up getting sold by weight.”
“I won’t, there’s obviously no way that would happen!”
“Just be a bit more cautious.” Upon ending this subject, Ah Liu passed over a file. “Let me tell you the progress of these two cases. Did you see the email I sent you?”
“Yeah, I saw it.” He had seen the short and simple email upon waking up, so Jiu Shen knew that Yu Xia had transferred the abortion case over. He actually felt a bit moved; he hadn’t imagined that Yu Xia would so easily request for it. After all, it was Yu Xia that would be troubled by this. I can…I can only sincerely and earnestly thank him.
“We briefly interrogated the parents this morning when they arrived at the station. Aside from some typical trivial matters, the two had mentioned that the girl would always listen to a certain radio station. They only knew that the girl would sometimes hum songs, and that it had been broadcasting the day she had died as well. We requested for the radio station to send over the program records to do an analysis and have sent a copy to your computer. You can try listening when you have time.”
“Alright, thanks, Ah Liu.”
Then, they briefly discussed other progress. After signing for receipt of some articles, Jiu Shen began to organise his toolkit.
He had already talked with the family members and arranged to go over and search the scene for evidence, so he could not let them wait for too long.
“Did you get proper sleep this morning?” After watching him for a moment, Ah Liu clicked his tongue. “Your complexion still looks terrible.”
“I slept…though I had a nightmare.” Jiu Shen wasn’t sure if the gods were playing with him or what. Putting aside the refusal to give him a protective charm, he had even experienced that same dream from two days ago, of freezing underneath the dirt. However, last night had been somewhat better; at the very least, he could feel himself resist, striving hard to stretch a hand out from the earth. However, another pair of hands had grabbed it.
This was pretty much when he had awoken in fright.
Because those hands had honestly been way too chilly. The stiff fingers and the uneven fingernails had felt unusually real. Upon waking, he had even discovered barely discernible, strange marks on his wrists. However, they quickly vanished again, making him wonder if he had just imagined it in his fear.
Jiu Shen pressed a hand against his forehead and decided not to contemplate these things any further. It was best if he concentrated on work first.
“…If you’re really afraid of staying at home alone, just come sleep at my place.” Ah Liu could easily see the meaning behind his colleague’s emotional expressions. He could only somewhat sympathetically suggest, “If you’re afraid to be alone, you can always come spend the night with my godson. Kids are full of energy, and he’ll probably be noisy to the point where you can’t even sleep.”
“Ah Liu, you’re really a great person.” Jiu Shen had originally wanted to bring this up today too, and he was extremely touched. The fact that the other person had suggested it first made it seem less embarrassing. Otherwise, he might really end up becoming the joke of the station as someone that “fainted and ran into glass after being scared by corpses, then begged a coworker to sleep over after not daring to sleep alone”.
…It might actually end up progressing like that.
Jiu Shen somewhat helplessly asked the heavens.
I’m usually a good and proper person, aren’t I…?
“It’s nothing. Just go and do your work.”
He left the police station and arrived at the girl’s residence. His first impression of it was that it was very average.
Just like many others, her home sat in a reasonably-priced residential area that a typical, decently well-off household would be able to afford. The area was about twenty ping in size, and it was possible that the residents still had loans. There were other connected households around as well.
The girl’s name was Sun Hui Ying. Her parents appeared to be decent and content people. Upon opening the door, they quietly let him enter. The mother had even poured some tea for the other officers.
When Jiu Shen had first read through the data, he had discovered that the girl was the family’s only daughter. She had experienced a great upbringing since a young age. When her father opened the room for Jiu Shen, he got the same impression.
Inside the sealed room was a tidy space containing neatly arranged items. The inside of the room was off-white. The books and small ornaments were still properly fixed in place.
“Please go ahead.” The father that had led him into the second-floor room said, “Let us know if you have any issues.”
After expressing thanks, the father left and Jiu Shen immediately began to take photos. As he photographed the room, he began to initiate a new search.
Just as the family members had said, he discovered comparatively quickly that this room truly had not been touched this entire time. Aside from the traces left behind from the rescue personnel running everywhere and bumping into things, the room seemed to have been frozen since the incident had first occurred, without any sign of damage.
Jiu Shen had seen multiple family members stay in their children’s rooms after these types of incidents, either touching or tidying things, or perhaps crying inside. They would practically become a part of the room the corpse was in. However, this place showed no traces of such a thing.
The family members were indeed still waiting for the truth.
He noticed that the doormat was already heavily trampled over. They had simply stood at the doorway, restraining all their emotions, desperately waiting for the police to return again or bring some news.
They would wait until the day the truth arrived and bring everything to a conclusion. Only then would they enter [the room].
As Jiu Shen pondered these emotions, he couldn’t help but sigh.
After making the necessary preparations, he glanced around and spotted a radio on the short cabinet. It was probably the object being used to listen to the broadcast that Ah Liu had mentioned.
He reached out to switch it on, and a kind, pleasant female voice rang out—
“… 1:13 AM. That was a broadcast request from listener Little Sheep. DJ Sanchia also loves this song. How is everyone doing at the moment? Hopefully all of you are doing well.”
Perhaps due to some poor signal, there was the intermittent rush of static. Then music began to smoothly play.
It just happened to be music that he personally liked as well. After a moment of deliberation, Jiu Shen decided to leave the music playing partially out of laziness as he continued checking the objects around him.
The bloodstains from when the girl had died were still on the rug. A section of it had been cut off and collected as a sample. At the time, she had been sitting at the edge of her bed, her posture looking as though she had been listening to the radio broadcast coming from the short cabinet. When her father had found her, the girl’s eyes had been lifelessly open. The large amount of blood loss had long since taken away her life. By the time the first-aid personnel had arrived, her body had already turned cold. She had showed no signs of breathing nor a heartbeat, and had been declared as dead after being sent to the hospital.
At the time, she had been wearing a white dress, a necklace gripped in her hand. A pen and note had fallen next to her. These items had all been retrieved, though her clothes had later been stolen.
There was a framed family photo placed on the short cabinet. There were also ones on the desk and bookshelf. The girl in the photos had been dressed very similarly in all of them, mainly a dress and a sweater. She had a pure air around her that suited this type of get-up very well. In every photo, she was standing closely together with her parents, a smile on her face. It was obvious that this family had shared intimate relations with each other.
He quickly found two other photos on the desk that had another boy in them. The boy seemed to be a neat and tidy person as well. The two wore identical simple and pure smiles.
“…DJ Sanchia also loves this song. How is everyone doing at the moment?”
The broadcast replayed once again.
Seeing these photos, Jiu Shen felt that it was all quite a pity. The child that had clearly possessed a good youth and would have a great future. Why were there people that could never smoothly grow up and happily live the rest of their lives?
According to the testimonies from the girl’s parents, they had no idea that their daughter had been pregnant. Yu Xia had asked earlier, and the two had wearily stated that, had they known, they would not have pushed their daughter towards illegal abortion like this. They would have simply given her the proper scolding, then talked with her to let her choose the next action…although, it probably would have still been gotten rid of.
The children were still too young, after all. They were not at the age where they could bear these types of burdens.
But these kinds of mistakes shouldn’t be paid with a life.
The faint and familiar noise interrupted Jiu Shen from his work and his thoughts.
He was momentarily stunned. Then he immediately discovered that the radio was still playing the exact same music…He had been in this room for a very long time already and collected quite a few samples. Logically speaking, it should not have been broadcasting the same song.
“It is 1:13 AM. That was a broadcast request from listener Little Sheep. DJ Sanchia also loves this song—”
This time, he finally heard the broadcast properly.
However, Jiu Shen had already exploded, as he had suddenly caught a glimpse of the radio’s plug and noticed that it had been disconnected. The original photos from the report had noted that one of the first-aid members had accidentally knocked it over in passing, but it had been picked up and put back in place.
Then, his cellphone rang.
A nearly identical voice came from his cellphone—
“It is 1:13 AM. That was a broadcast request from listener Little Sheep—”
He leapt up. Right as he was about to charge out of the room, the open door shut in his face with a bang. If he had been just half a second faster, it would have undoubtedly smashed right into his face.
However, that did not give him any hint of comfort!
“Help!” Jiu Shen shouted in fear as he struck the door with all his strength.
The next second, he seemed to hear a series of knocking from the other end of the door, as well as a faint sound of a child crying.
Jiu Shen nearly forgot to breathe in his terror. He jumped back several steps, his vision starting to darken around the edges and his chest starting to feel as though it was suffocating. He forcefully took a few deep breaths, then glanced around, unsure where he should escape from.
Just then, the room suddenly went dark for a bit.
During that brief moment, he seemed to sense “something” sitting at the edge of the bed, its gaze pointed straight onto him.
His head was completely blank now. And today, he realised once more that in times of panic, there was no way he could remember those Vajra sutras or Great Compassion mantras…! Who the hell would remember them! I’ve even forgotten all of the periodic table!
Although he really did not want to look, he still eyed the very, very faint shadow on the bed out of professional instinct. It simple stayed there motionless, doing who knew what. However, its piercing line of sight remained firmly locked onto him. It made him stiffen as goosebumps rose all over his body.
“Let me out!”
Right as he was seriously considering jumping out from the window, the door suddenly swung open with a thud.
Without a second thought, Jiu Shen dashed straight out. He did not care or notice anything else, only running straight ahead. Then when his foot met air and he began to fall, he finally realised that he had stepped off a staircase. It was too late for him to grab something and stabilise himself, so he tumbled down.
Right as he began to think that he was likely completely screwed this time, something cold seemed to grab hold of him so that he did not end up smashing his head and bleeding everywhere like he had expected. He merely dropped down gently onto the bottom step of the staircase.
When Jiu Shen snapped out of his shock, he discovered that he was sprawled at the end of the staircase. He could also hear the family members and officers running over too. Several of them clumsily helped pull him up and frantically asked if he was injured anywhere.
Jiu Shen fearfully glanced up at the second level and did not respond to the concerned questions.
Although he really could not see anything and he had no idea what exactly it was, he could definitely sense that it was on the upper level.
Someone was currently watching them.
When Yu Yin picked up the call, it was around five in the evening.
He, Li Lin Yue, and the others were currently organising the materials that had been delivered yesterday. The person that had called him was Ah Liu, which was quite rare. Ah Liu-dàgē doesn’t call me very much…plus he asked to meet in a café rather than at the police station.
After giving his groupmates a heads-up, he left school early.
Once he parked his bike, he entered the shop to see Jiu Shen curled up in a corner seat at the shop, a blank expression on his face.
“What’s wrong, Jiu Shen-gē?” After ordering a snack and drink at the counter, Yu Yin headed directly over to the seat.
Only upon getting closer did he discover that there was a cellphone lying on the empty seat across from Jiu Shen. It was tightly secured by a bag with several loops of tape binding it.
“Huh? Huh? Ah Yin, why are you here?” Jiu Shen was stunned and somewhat puzzled as he stared at the university student that had mysteriously appeared. After his great fall had frightened everyone at the deceased’s home, he had returned to the station to discuss some things. Then, Ah Liu had chased him out, telling him to sit here first and calm down before deciding whether to go back to work or retire early for the day.
“Was passing by.” Seeing the other’s poor condition, Yu Yin could pretty much guess why Ah Liu had called him. He had recently received some gossipy texts from Yan Si as well, talking about how the friend in front of him had cried and gotten injured from his jumpiness again. “What is Jiu Shen-gē doing here?”
“I-I’m repenting and trying to figure out if I’ve done something bad…” Jiu Shen looked at the cellphone sitting across from him. He then rubbed his forehead as he contemplated whether basking in a place full of yang energy like this would help a bit.
“…Jiu Shen-gē, are you alright?” Yu Yin picked up the cellphone and plopped down into the seat. Seeing his action, his friend across him stared with widened eyes, as though the cellphone would bite people.
“I-I’m fine. It’s just that unscientific things are a bit scary…and you’re holding it right now.”
“This is an empty phone, isn’t it?” Yu Yin casually asked, not sensing any abnormality with the phone.
“Yes, I removed my SIM card and just bought a new phone nearby.” If he really needed to, Jiu Shen was prepared to get it burned so that it could ascend…though he had used this cellphone for a very long time and was somewhat reluctant to do so.
As Yu Yin listened to this incomprehensible speech, he earnestly scanned their surroundings. Naturally, he knew that Jiu Shen was terrified to death of ghosts. “If it comforts you, Jiu Shen-gē, there’s nothing here.” He thought that Jiu Shen really was pitiable, so he checked again and again, though he still did not see anything.
Jiu Shen rubbed his face, feeling it impossible to rest easy regardless. However, he still forced himself to cheer up. “…It’s-it’s ok, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.” Actually, the moment Yu Yin had appeared, he had more or less guessed that Ah Liu had called the boy out. After all, he had heard that the university student in front of him now had been diligently prepared for his graduation exhibition these days, which made it unlikely for him to just be passing by. Plus, Jiu Shen’s spot was quite far inside [the shop], so no one would’ve found him if they had not been purposely looking. “Anyways, how have you been recently?”
Yu Yin bitterly chuckled. “Just the same.”
“Hm…I’m sure that Tong has already talked to you, and considering my current state, it doesn’t seem like I’m in much of a position to say this but,” Jiu Shen scratched his neck and took a deep breath before seriously looking at the university student. “Sometimes, there are things that cannot be accomplished just by pushing yourself, nor does it have to be you that does it. Not everything is your responsibility.”
“Nor is it all Boss’s responsibility. Naturally, it isn’t Prosecutor Li’s, Yan Si’s, or mine either.” Jiu Shen took the plate that the waiter brought over as he said, “We don’t have to accept everything and then rush to be first. We should just do the parts that we can do, which is why we all have different duties.”
“Dad also said the same thing, and Xiao Yu’s intent should be similar. But I’ve just been getting more and more confused.” Yu Yin stared down at his hands, feeling a bit at a loss. “Recently, the feeling that I’m doing too little has just been getting stronger. I want to do much more…if I just try a bit harder, it’s possible that a lot of things would not have become the way they did…and the only one they can find is me. But the more I do, the more helpless I feel. It’s like I’m always missing something no matter what…”
As his encounters with these types of situations increased, he would spend every night in bed constantly thinking of the people he could not help.
That girl inside the car had ultimately already giving up on the channels of living people; Ye Yi was still lying in a bed, having yet to regain consciousness. These were all [due to] opportunities that he had not grasped in time. There were still many other incidents that had occurred in the past. Whenever he began to contemplate this, he would discover the deep sense of powerlessness inside him. He wanted to do more so that he would not feel so much regret. If possible, he wanted to grasp onto every kind of possibility to help them. He did not want to let himself make the wrong decision again.
Only he could see them.
Yet he could not fulfill their hopes and desires.
“The victim from my first case was only eight years old.”
Jiu Shen cut Yu Yin off from his thoughts with a sad smile as he recalled the memory from years ago. “When the report was received, the location where the corpse had been discarded was severely damaged for various reasons right in the beginning. It was as though a crowd had stampeded all over it. It was a pond outside an abandoned shed. The girl had gone missing after school had ended, and the entire village had searched for her together. By chance, they had found the body floating in the pond next to the shed a week later. The already half-decayed body was determined to have suffered from sexual assault after the autopsy. The cause of death was drowning, and judging from the condition of the corpse, she had been killed the day she had gone missing.
“The murderer was extremely prudent and cunning. There were basically no trails left at the scene. The body had been cleaned very well; the girl’s belongings were all gone, and the dumpster inside the village did not have any related items. Widening the search range did not bear any fruit either…not a single person had even seen how the girl had been abducted while on her usual way home after school had let out. The people from the countryside had never imagined such a thing would happen; they all believed everyone around them to be familiar faces. Whenever they met each other throughout the day, they would exchange greetings. Going to other people’s homes was a normal occurrence too, so they had no sense of caution at all.
“The elders strove to gather any possible clues, but there was nothing usable. At the time, the only possible tracks had already been damaged by the villages and the police. By the time we had arrived, it was a complete mess. Just trying to compare and eliminate every single shoeprint took a very long time. Every single person had sworn to solve this case.
“In the end, when we finally found a suspicious half-shoeprint, it could not be used to settle the case, and the person got away.
“To this day, I still remember when the suspect was released, that grin on his face. At the time, I had also felt very frustrated and powerless. That I should have done something a bit more, that it was definitely our fault.”
Yu Yin quietly listened, his eyes focused on Jiu Shen.
“Because of some later cases, I ended up working with Boss for the first time. When he discovered my condition at work, he gave me a huge scolding.” Jiu Shen looked up and said, “We are responsible for our work, so we must properly conduct our respective duties. That is natural. However, regardless of the whether the result is good or bad, the root causes of these incidents are not us, but the faults of those bad people. We have already tried our best. Although it may be upsetting, it isn’t right for us to compensate with ourselves. Do you understand?”
“Mmm…” Yu Yin nodded, taking these words to heart. “Was that criminal captured in the end?”
“No. In reality, the sole suspect was the village head’s son. He had previous convictions involving sexual assault of children. When we compared the half-shoeprint, it matched the shoes in his home too. Before the incident had occurred, the village head had used various means to suppress these types of disturbances, and some parents had changed their pretenses, not daring to offend the head.” Jiu Shen grabbed his glass that now had condensation around it. He sighed, “A week after being released, his body was found in the fish pond. The scene had already been destroyed by large crowds of onlookers, no one from the village was willing to speak as witnesses or provide information, and the village had even claimed that the surveillance cameras on the roads had been damaged. There was no footage that could be retrieved, and that case was eventually left unsettled.”
At the time, he had truly felt useless.
They could do nothing but let a normal person’s actions lead to such mistakes. Moreover, it was under the most disastrous circumstances of being unable to confirm any evidence; the one that had been killed might not have even been the offender. However, the rage had already made those people stop caring about such things. They had wanted to vent their feelings of being unable to receive justice onto a single target, ignoring whether it was right or wrong.
In the end, they had already tried their best, and they had to continue moving forwards.
To this day, this remained an unresolved case – both parts of it were.
“…I will try to adjust my mindset as soon as possible. Thank you, Jiu Shen-gē.” Originally, he had been called over to help, but Yu Yin now felt as though the one being helped was him. He hadn’t imagined that his own internal struggles would leave so many people worried, and he inwardly felt a bit embarrassed.
“It’s nothing. There are many things that you should properly chat about with Tong, Boss, and Xiao Yu. Even if they can’t see-see unscientific things…I’m sure it’s fine for you to talk about them as a way to vent. Just don’t tell them to me…leave the unscientific trouble as far from me as possible…” Although Jiu Shen was very happy to help, he would rather die than accept anything related to unscientific things.
“I know.” While saying this, Yu Yin glanced around again, and still did not spot any abnormalities. “Jiu Shen-gē, if you’re really scared, do you want to borrow my amulet for the time being? It should be pretty effective. I can just get another one from Teng-dàgē.”
“Ah, it’s fine, you keep it, Ah Yin. Your chances [of encounters] are higher than mine. Just take care of yourself…plus, the gods said that I couldn’t wear any.”
“Huh? Gods?” Yu Yin was completely caught off guard.
“Yeah…or else it’ll become a sin…” He still had no idea what exactly the gods wanted. They were seriously hard to understand!
“What do you mean by sin?” Yu Yin felt like they had gone off on a tangent now, and he was very lost.
“I’ll tell you when I figure it out…”
Yu Yin crossed his arms and thought to himself for a few seconds before deciding to ask about something that he had suspected for a very long time now. “Jiu Shen-gē, I’ve wanted to say this for a while but…you aren’t the type of person that’s very sensitive, are you?” Despite being unable to see, someone people could sense abnormalities. Ever since he had first come to know the person in front of him, he had thought their terrified reactions as unusual. It was honestly a bit strange.
“No! Absolutely not! Definitely not! I’m not—!!!” Jiu Shen wailed out.
“Calm down a bit; if you’re not, then you’re not. Jiu Shen-gē, don’t get so worked up.” Yu Yin hurriedly grabbed the person about to explode when he saw the waiter glaring at their table.
Jiu Shen forced himself to take a few deep breaths and slowly calmed down. Then he tightly gripped his friend’s wrist as he asked, “Ah Yin, I don’t have anything like ‘sensitivity to unscientific things’ written on my face, right?”
“…I don’t think that kind of thing can be seen.” Like how I don’t have “sporadic vision” written on my face. Yu Yin sometimes felt that it was hard to communicate with a certain investigator when they had frayed nerves.
However, if Jiu Shen really did have such a disposition, it would be too tragic.
“No, no, I’m definitely not. My fortune isn’t that weak either, so there must be some kind of mistake…it’s probably just my imagination. I’m sure it’s because of my abnormal work and rest schedule that I frequently hallucinate from exhaustion. The way to eradicate the issue is to arrange proper shifts and stop working overtime. I’ll make sure I sleep at least six hours every night and eat all three meals with only proper foods…”
Ah, he’s started trying to run away from reality.
Yu Yin could only smile along.
When they left the café, it was drizzling slightly.
“Jiu Shen-gē, you can use this. Xiao Yu stuffed this into my backpack when I left this morning.” Yu Yin handed over the umbrella since he had a raincoat in his motorcycle anyways. Then he glanced up at the dark sky. “If there really is something wrong, you can try staying at our place for a few days, and I can help look into where exactly your problem is coming from.”
“Alright, thanks. You be more careful too.”
Jiu Shen opened the umbrella with a sigh, then began to walk back.
Oh, I still have to go back to that room.
Although he had already apologised to the family, he had undoubtedly given them a bad fright. I should probably buy some fruit or something as a compensation gift the next time I visit…but bringing fruit to work seems a bit weird, and doing it privately would be odd too.
However, there were some parts about the photos in the room that had bothered him quite a bit. No matter what, he had to drop by again, as well as request for the family members to preserve some of the items…
While pondering this, Jiu Shen hurriedly took out his cellphone to try calling the family. However, he discovered that Yuan Zheng Ting had actually called him, as there was a missed call indicated on his phone. I probably didn’t hear it when my mind went blank earlier.
Fortunately, the call had not been too long ago. He quickly dialed back, and the other person soon picked up.
“Jiu Shen, I received your text. I’ll be at your door at one tonight.”
The first thing Jiu Shen heard when the line connected was this straightforward sentence. He was completely lost. “Te-text?”
“Yeah, didn’t you just send a text saying that you wanted to go together tonight? I’ll head straight to your home after I finish my part-time job. Oh right, today is a bit special, so remember to buy a flower for the place we’ll be going to. I’ll be there at 1 AM on the dot.”
“Ah, oh, ok.” After dazedly hanging up the call, Jiu Shen realised suddenly that he had not sent a text, nor had he arranged a meeting time with the other person. He was still considering it!
But why exactly do I need to buy a flower…?
He had no idea what was going on, but since the other person had said so, it was best to prepare. It was rude to miss an appointment.
As Jiu Shen thought this, he called the family. “Hello, I’m the one from this morning…yes, yes, yes, the one that accidentally fell. I apologise…”
After some discussion, it turned out that the family was not as shocked as he had imagined, which made him feel a lot better.
He mentioned his suspicions and received an answer of confirmation. Thus, he immediately stirred himself up and asked, “Then could you not touch it and help me preserve it? Yes, I’ll head over and grab it. It might be very important…would now work?”
Upon receiving their agreement, Jiu Shen quickly contacted the person that had gone together with him in the morning. Then he crossed the road to grab a taxi, heading directly to the family’s home.
Since the girl had been wearing a sweater in most of her photos, and she had been wearing that same dress in the photo of her body at the scene, it was very likely that she had been wearing that sweater when going out that day too. After asking the parents, the mother had also stated that she had seen the sweater in the wardrobe. Since she had not known if they would need it or not, she had never touched it. The police had previously never asked about the matter, and since the parents had been in mourning, they had forgotten.
Now that the clothes had been stolen, that sweater could be the only evidence that could provide something. There were also the shoes she had worn that day; those sandals were stored in the shoe cabinet and had not been moved. The family had preserved every possible trail.
Great, there’s hope.
On the way, Jiu Shen had called the boy, but it had been his parent that had answered. In the end, he had gotten ranted at, claiming that the girl’s death had nothing to do with their Yun Yun and warning the police not to disturb their child anymore.
Looks like it’s best if Boss and the others handle that part.
When he arrived at the front door of the family’s home, his colleague had not yet arrived. However, the girl’s parents were already outside waiting for him.
“Please come in and have some tea,” the mother said when they saw that it was still drizzling. She smiled as she invited him inside.
Since he was still waiting for his toolkit and camera, Jiu Shen could not rashly retrieve the items. Thus, he quietly sat with the parents together in the living room.
The girl’s mother really did prepare some warm fruit tea and bring it over. She then took a seat across from him, and they were all silent for a while.
Finally, it was the father that spoke up first, breaking the silence. It seemed as though he had aged significantly in that short amount of time. “I’m very embarrassed to ask Mr. Officer this…but did you see something when you were in my daughter’s room this morning?”
“You can just call me Jiu Shen…um…if you’re talking about samples, they’re still awaiting analysis…”
“We’re not asking about that.” The somewhat aged woman exchanged a look with her husband before cutting Jiu Shen off. “When you ran out, was it because you had seen my daughter? Is my daughter still here?!”
Jiu Shen immediately felt goosebumps form all over his body. While his instinct was to shout not to talk with him about unscientific things, he forcefully swallowed these words down. “No…um…I can’t see those things, so I didn’t see anything…If you want to know about such things, you should ask a more specialised…” Ah, damn it! I can’t tell the family members to search for someone that can communicate with spirits! If Boss found out, he would definitely beat me to death!
The woman sighed and did not try forcing any more questions on Jiu Shen. She only said, “Actually, after the incident, we often heard a radio broadcast…if Hui Ying offended you in any way, please forgive her. She definitely doesn’t have any ill intent…”
“No, it’s fine, don’t worry about it. It’s really nothing big.” Just ask her not to appear again, please! Showing up once nearly scared him to death. Jiu Shen only hoped for the other to let him properly do his job instead of coming out to frighten him again. His heart seriously could not take such unscientific circumstances.
Please, it doesn’t matter if it’s the buried or the living. Just let me do my job in peace.
“Oh right, how much do you two know about Student Sun’s boyfriend?” Since he was already here, Jiu Shen decided to take the chance to ask some more about related matters.
“Ah, Officer Yu asked about that too. The boy that Hui Ying liked was called Zhang Yun Xiang. We don’t know his parents, but Yun Xiang came over to our home several times. He’s a very polite child, and it seems as though his household is quite strict. He and Hui Ying would often be ranked first and second. The two were very close…ah, we weren’t opposed to them dating. In this day and age, children mature earlier. Trying to stop them wouldn’t work anyways, so why not let things happen naturally and teach them along the way? It was fine as long as they didn’t overstep their boundaries, and the children wouldn’t end up opposing their parents because of this as well.” The woman wiped her eyes and lowered her head. “Why did something like this happen…we don’t understand…”
“After the incident, Yun Xiang’s mother called once. However, her attitude was terrible, and she warned us not to drag their child into our matters, telling us to ask the police not to disturb them as well. She said it would affect her child’s future, and the neighbours constantly pointing them out would make it hard for them to go on with their lives too.” The father shook his head and tightly gripped his wife’s hand in helplessness.
As Jiu Shen listened to their words, he thought back to the first batch of evidence that had been brought back. What exactly had the girl tried to say in her last moments? There hadn’t been any words on the notebook. Although she had died from blood loss, she had definitely had plenty of time to leave behind final words. Yet she had not.
Had she wanted to apologise to her parents, or perhaps write something to the boy?
She was no longer here; there was no way for her ice-cold lips to voice the things she had desired.
“We heard that you were the one that requested to investigate this case.”
Interrupted from his thoughts, Jiu Shen raised his head to see a pair of eyes filled with both gratitude and heartbroken despair. The grieving mother sincerely said from the bottom of her heart, “Thank you. Really, thank you so much. No matter what happens in the end, we are very grateful.”
They had long since crossed the blurred lines of the dilemma. However, it was always in times like these that they still wanted to do something more. Rather than their duties or their jobs, it was these types of moments that still pushed them forwards.
There was no resistance nor harm, which was enough for them to continue moving on. In this day and age, they could continue advancing together with the companions by their side, rather than getting entangled and lost.
He really hoped that Ah Yin could come to understand this.
“Boss, quick, come here!”
Ah Liu opened the glass door and waved at the person walking out of the elevator.
Yu Xia quickened his pace. He had run over after receiving a call from the colleague that had stayed behind to work overtime. “Any discoveries?”
“I took apart that thing that had been in the dried-up guy’s throat.”
“…His name is Lin Yu Ji.” Yu Xia decided that he’d have to punch Yan Si later for constantly coming up with random nicknames for the deceased.
“Anyways, it was a medicine packet, the type we often have to analyse…clinics used to have these too. However, it wasn’t medicine inside, but this thing instead.” Ah Liu took out the result of his long battle to let the other person get a clear look. It was a tiny memory card. “I tested it, but it’s already damaged. Hopefully we can retrieve the data.”
“That’s it?” If the data hasn’t been retrieved yet, why call me over? Yu Xia narrowed his eyes.
“Of course not. Because it’s a medicine packet, I ran some comparison tests with other medicine packet papers and found the manufacturer. They supplied our middleman with information using ways that I can’t tell you. In any case, through some accelerated means, I asked about places still procuring medicine packet paper and eliminated the normal clinics and local hospitals that had no abnormalities. Then I discovered that there are a few places where their purchased amounts don’t match their reports. Moreover, there were frequent reports of bike-racing gangs frequently passing through.” Ah Liu pulled out a list and smiled. “Should we go?”
Yu Xia grabbed the list and swiftly made a few calls, preparing to investigate these locations. “Where’s Jiu Shen?”
“Oh, he just called and said that he found a second batch of evidence from that family’s home that could possibly replace the stolen clothes…though they might not serve as official [proof]. He’ll drop by again later. But for some reason, he said he had something today so he would leave early and not work overtime today.” Under normal circumstances, that guy would be seen staying up to handle cases again. Ah Liu found it somewhat unexpected for Jiu Shen to leave earlier; even if he was leaving work as usual, he thought that guy would come back to ask for a spare key to his home. Yet that had not happened either. “He’s pretty committed to that case.”
“It’s good if he’s made some discoveries.” There was no difference in weight between Lin Yu Ji’s case and Sun Hui Ying’s case. Once accepted, it was best to clarify things if possible. Yu Xia mentally noted to drop by the boy’s place to add some pressure. After all, if the deceased’s family knew nothing about certain matters, the boy was definitely a critical point. A simple and pure girl would absolutely not find that kind of place for an abortion by herself. She must have had a companion – someone that she was close with.
“Yes, banging your head up is always a good thing.” Might as well just bang it a few more times, and we can start making funeral arrangements. Ah Liu did not think his friend’s head was that durable. He would eventually kill himself from the collisions.
Right as Yu Xia was going to curse, he heard the sound of footsteps running in their direction.
“Ah, you really are here.” Xiao Wu, who had been tossed out, now hurriedly appeared again. “Boss, I finished calling the abortion victim’s classmates and online friends. There weren’t any useful clues. Student Sun’s closer friends did not know about her condition either. The boy’s friends didn’t have a clue, and even her internet friends said they hadn’t noticed any abnormalities.”
“Then what did you run over for? If you have nothing to do, go back to Lin Yu Ji’s case.” Since Xiao Wu was too annoying, Yu Xia had directly dumped the pending matters on his hands at the other person. If Xiao Wu was busy enough, then he would be unable to constantly hover behind Yu Xia. He’s like a tail…just looking at him makes me feel annoyed.
“Ah…I’m about to head over.” Xiao Wu had run around all day, and was honestly tired so he wanted to go home. However, Yu Xia still looked more energetic than him despite having gone to more places and even argued with a senior officer. Thus, Xiao Wu didn’t have the guts to say he was tired. “Oh yeah, a boy from the class next to Sun Hui Ying’s class seems to have run away from home. I found out while chatting with her teacher. It seems like he’s a good kid too…but someone mentioned seeing him hanging out with bike-racing gangs. The teacher hoped that if we found this student while investigating the case, that we could quickly bring him back.”
“Name?” Yu Xia asked while holding back his temper.
“Huang Xu Guang, same year as Sun Hui Ying.”