This was a long and sad chapter…
Translated by: TaffyGirl13
When Yu Xia received the call early in the morning, he did not even know how to express his anger.
Last night, he had finally managed to return home and sleep for once. But soon after going to bed, he had immediately received this report. There had been no chance to sleep properly at all.
When he arrived at the scene, it was evident that they had been rendered powerless already…”they” meaning the bike-racing gang.
The ground was littered with traces of damage and extinguished petrol bombs. The small home and the shopfront were both destroyed, and the station where the noodles were cooked had been deformed from the bombs. The most shocking part wasn’t this, but the fact that multiple youths were now hanging upside down from the second-floor balcony. They had all turned into pigheads already. There were even a few people with dyed hair and strange clothes standing below to take photos of the line of pigheads.
The modified bikes were more or less wrecked, collapsed on the side of the road. In addition, there were some unconscious bodies lying there…likely injured victims waiting for the ambulance.
“Yo, Mr. Cop #2!” Xiao Hai raised her hand in high spirits to greet him. She had headed over immediately after work with a bunch of her lackeys in tow to stop the bunch of brats.
“…Tell your subordinates to enter the house, immediately.” The media had already started to appear. Yu Xia commanded for his supporting comrades to first seal off the area and block the media outlets fighting to capture things with their cameras.
Xiao Hai shrugged. With an order, ten lackeys wearing black clothes entered the house in an orderly fashion. They were very well-trained, to the point where it was kind of abnormal.
Upon entering the house, Yu Xia saw the homeowner sitting on the side with a boy holding up a towel to the injury on his head.
Then he turned to look at the other side, only to spot Jiu Shen and two of his nephew’s schoolmates sitting together…For some reason, Yu Xia felt a surge of murderous intent rise inside him. He really wanted to slaughter his bastard colleague that had magically appeared here first thing in the morning after getting involved in a gang brawl.
“Mor-morning.” Jiu Shen shuddered, then hurriedly back up.
Ahhhhhh, Boss looks super furious. He’s not hiding his murderous intent at all!
“Why are you all here?” Yu Xia suppressed his anger, restraining the urge to kill. He glanced over at Xiao Hai.
“One of my guys said Bro was in a pickle, and I couldn’t just stand by idly. Anyone that dares to touch my family will be ended without negotiation.” Xiao Hai used her thumb to slit her throat, clearly expressing her stand. “The cops arrived too quickly, or else I would’ve hung them out there until they dried up to make sure they wouldn’t contaminate anything later.”
“They were the ones that acted first. We didn’t have any other option,” Ah Fang meekly stated. Actually, he was still a bit lost on the situation.
“Hm…I don’t know, it just happened that way.” Yi Tai’s response made Yu Xia’s rage immediately shoot up twentyfold.
“I-I-I-I-I…I think I was originally out on a night excursion with friends.” Jiu Shen’s answer then doubled Yu Xia’s fury.
“Sorry, Jiu Shen was out with me. It has nothing to do with him.” Yuan Zhen Ting hurriedly walked over with one hand pressed against an arm wound. “You two know each other?”
Yi Tai stood to stand in front of Jiu Shen and Ah Fang. With a smile, he replied, “We’ve met this officer several times, so you could say that we’re somewhat acquainted.”
Yu Xia narrowed his eyes at the students in front of them. Then he shot a glare at Jiu Shen standing in the back, before reshifting his focus. “You people shouldn’t be constantly getting into trouble all day. Now that things have gotten so out of hand, you lot must return to the station with me and give a clear explanation.”
“Before then, those brats’ leader and a few others ran away. Can I go after them first before I report in?” The blonde had immediately fled as though he had seen a ghost when he had spotted Xiao Hai’s lackeys. Xiao Hai had already notified some friends to help block them. Anyone that dared to fight her older brother would be vaporised.
“No.” Yu Xia directly cut off Xiao Hai’s ruthless plans and said more strongly, “We need those people. Even if they turn into rubber shavings, you’ll need to spit them back out.”
“Tch.” Xiao Hai could only send another text to let her friends know not to turn those idiots into rubber shavings.
Yu Xia grabbed the other officers and ordered them to prepare cars for escorting the lackeys and bike-racing gang away. The related people had to be transferred away before the media squeezed their way through. “You guys are returning with me to the station now. Immediately. That includes the kids and the owner of this home.”
Huang Xu Guang glanced at Da Wen and Xiao Wen, then obediently began walking towards the police cars.
Jiu Shen, who was still holding an ice pack, shakily entered Yu Xia’s car under the latter’s aura of death.
“Is your hand alright?” Yu Xia asked as he waited for the other to enter the car. He shot a look at the ice pack.
“Ah, it’s just a minor burn, nothing serious.” Jiu Shen shrank back. Right when he was about to secure his seatbelt, he suddenly felt a certain gaze on him. It wasn’t from within the car, but from outside. He had no idea where it was coming from, but it was locked straight onto him. It made him tremble a bit, but since Yu Xia was also in the car, he wasn’t scared enough to run.
What exactly does it want to do…?
As Jiu Shen pondered this, two knocks suddenly came from outside the car window. Jiu Shen jumped up in his seat, hitting his head on the roof before curling over to clutch his hurting head. Yu Xia, who had just been about to start the car, clicked his tongue and opened the window.
“Sorry, I forgot to give you guys this earlier.” Yi Tai stood outside. With a smile, he passed over a piece of paper. “I don’t know why, but I feel like you will likely need this. Also, Jiu Shen-gē, you should get your injury treated quickly, or else you’ll feel terrible later.”
“Ah? What?” Upon being suddenly called out, Jiu Shen stared dumbly at the university student that chuckled and left, reporting to the police car behind them.
Yu Xia studied the words on the paper for a second, his eyes narrowing. The address just happened to be within the area perimeters that Ah Liu had given him. Despite not knowing if it was just a coincidence or something else, he stowed it away first. If he was going to have to make a trip anyways, there was nothing wrong with starting from there. He then turned to look at his colleague. “Open your hand for me to look at.”
Jiu Shen had no idea what was going on, but opened his hand. Yu Xia put on a pair of gloves and then suddenly ripped something from Jiu Shen’s hand. Immediately, blood and skin and something else unknown was torn off, the pain causing tears to burst from his eyes.
“Are you trying to die? Getting plastic stuck on when the coating is melted off.” Yu Xia shoved the item into a small bottle and tossed it onto the dashboard. Then he started the car and turned it in a different direction from the other police cars. “Get it treated at the hospital, then scram back home. I’ve already told Ah Liu you’re taking time off.”
“Huh? Huh? I can still work.” Jiu Shen was somewhat confused, but he soon realised why. Aside from already being dragged into the mess, he could no longer work without being conscious of subjectiveness. It was extremely difficult to not keep a predisposed stand after everything that had occurred. This was completely different from the private game that he played with Ah Liu.
“You’re no longer an observer anymore.” Yu Xia snorted as he glanced at the person that had suddenly gone silent next to him. “Go home. We’ll handle Huang Xu Guang’s matter. You don’t need to touch either of these two cases again. Someone else will take over.”
“Oh….” Jiu Shen blinked blankly. He really wanted to say something, but did not have the courage to voice it.
“Is there something else?” Yu Xia shot the person in the front seat a look out of the corner of his eye.
“Could I not go home…”
So terrifying. However, Jiu Shen was greatly concerned for his own safety, so he tossed all caution to the wind. “Boss, I-I don’t have anyone else in my homeeeeeee—” I don’t want to go home to an empty house! I’m really scared right now!
Yu Xia once again felt the strong urge to kill.
He’s too scared, he can’t do it.
Yu Yin half awoke to hear a faint voice.
He rolled over and saw darkness all around him. It was not the first time such a situation had occurred. Thus, he rubbed his face and somewhat familiarly waited for the other to provide more information.
A girl stood in a dark corner, her indistinct figure standing near him as usual.
For some reason, he was a bit dizzy. He shook his head to clear his head a bit.
Back then…it was given to him…
He’s been ignoring the whole time…
The girl’s voice began to cut in and out, making some parts hard to hear.
Yu Yin furrowed his brows. “What…”
Before he finished speaking, several large thuds shattered the black space. In the blink of an eye, everything vanished.
Now he was in his own bedroom.
Yu Yin pulled off his covers and stood up. It was morning now. He had not set an alarm since he had arranged to meet with others in a vacant classroom later in the afternoon…What is that sound?
Yu usually knew that Yu Yin slept later and would not make much noise. He would even watch the TV on silent. Yu Yin had asked about this before, and Yu’s reply had been that he was reading lips. It was really enough to shock any normal person to death.
Yu Yin somewhat suspiciously walked downstairs to see a certain back crouched in the kitchen to pick up a pot. “…Jiu Shen-gē?”
“Ah? Did I wake you up? Sorry, I didn’t think it’s be so hard to grab something like this.” Jiu Shen raised his right hand that was bandaged like a pig’s trotter. He severely suspected that Ah Si’s whatever senior had purposely screwed him over. He was sure that sticking a plaster would’ve been sufficient, but they had threatened him, saying that not bandaging it would result in this and that. Now it wasn’t any different from a dumpling, and his fingertips looked like sausages too.
Yu Yin leapt down from the last step to help pick up the fallen pot. He glanced around and did not see Yu, who would usually be watching TV or reading a book at this time.
“Xiao Yu just went out. He said he was going to the library and would wait until you were done with school before coming back together with you.” When Jiu Shen had been kicked through the front door, he had just happened to bump into Yu leaving. The other had passed him a spare key and a paper with his plans on it.
“Oh, got it.” Yu Yin scratched his bedhead. He returned the fallen pot into its place before glancing at the things ono the table that needed to be cooked. Then he casually grabbed them to open and heat up. “Jiu Shen-gē, do you want to get some sleep after you eat? I won’t go out until noon.” The other’s complexion was seriously as terrible as a ghost’s. It was pretty obvious that he had not slept. Perhaps it was because they had chatted in the café the other day that he had appeared in the house…I wonder if it was Dad or Uncle that tossed him here.
“Um…” Although Boss’s home looked neat and tidy and very sleepable, Jiu Shen did not forget that recently, a lot of unscientific matters had occurred around the boy in front of him, including at his home.
“Why don’t you sleep in my room? I’m going to sketch some design plans later and I’ll be next to you.” Seeing the other person’s hesitation, Yu Yin could only add, “Even if there really is something, there will at least be a person around too.”
“Thank-thank you.” Because Jiu Shen really was terrified, he sincerely expressed his gratitude. At this point, he really was not thinking about how shameful it was or not. At least Yu Yin would never laugh at him about such matters, nor beat him; moreover, he truly was exhausted after all that drama last night. Aside from being somewhat out of it and his entire body being in pain, he had bought the wrong breakfast earlier. His cup of hot soy milk had become a bottle of cold soy milk instead! Noooooo!
“Hurry up and eat your fill so you can go rest.” Yu Yin passed over hot soy milk after pouring himself a glass too.
Jiu Shen scarfed down his food and borrowed some clothes to change into after taking a quick shower. Then he burrowed himself into the other’s bed and quickly fell asleep.
Yu Yin actually wasn’t sketching design plans; he had only said that to give the other a peace of mind. He looked around and decided that playing computer games in the bedroom right now would be pretty rude, so he strode out to text Li Lin Yue and the others that he would head over later and that they could start without him. Then he went down to grab a sketchbook before walking back.
When he got close to the bedroom, he heard a faint noise.
It was extremely difficult to describe. It was a bit like a child playing around, but also not at the same time; the sound did not seem quite like a child’s, but more like something else. Yu Yin cautiously moved over, but did not see anything. It was just like the lab from back then; there was nothing present. However, this time, he could definitely sense some type of presence.
The person curled up in bed was sleeping very deeply and seemed the same as usual. The only abnormal part was the blanket on his body—originally, it had been smooth and flat, but now the corners were sticking up at strange angles. It was as though something was currently tugging the covers off.
Yu Yi squinted and held his breath. He still could not see what was inside the bedroom, but the blanket on Jiu Shen was pulled off completely to pile on the ground. There was undoubtedly something there…this situation was too bizarre. After the recent events, his vision had become much clearer than before. Logically, there shouldn’t be anything that he could not see.
Could it be that it’s intentionally not letting me see?
“Hey! What are you doing!” Right as the “thing” was about to try pulling Jiu Shen off the bed, Yu Yin immediately pushed open the door to stop it. The instant he shouted, he heard that strange noise echo around the room again, and it seemed to disperse in confusion before all activity instantly vanished.
Yu Yin picked up the blanket and placed it back where it belonged. After some thought, he still couldn’t make heads nor tails of the situation. However, waking up the exhausted guest on the bed also seemed a bit immoral, so he could only wait for the other to wake before asking for more details.
I seriously don’t understand at all…
Jiu Shen woke up from noise at noon.
His cellphone that had at some point been set to silent was vibrating on the short dresser. He blurrily felt around and grabbed it only to find that the caller had hung up. Instead, there was now a single text.
When he opened it, he found that it was a question from Yuan Zhen Ting. It was mostly saying that because he, Da Wen, and Xiao Wen had just left the station and had not seen Jiu Shen, they hoped he was fine. There was also an additional question at the end: “If you’re free tonight, do you want to come out again?”
Jiu Shen pondered this for a moment and decided to open his other messages first. One was full of curses from Ah Liu, whose workload had increased. One was from Yu Xia, which stated that Huang Xu Guang refused to cooperate with the police, unwilling to utter a single word. His parents had already been notified.
…Ugh, I can’t touch any of these cases.
After burying his head in the pillow to sulk over this for a few seconds, he crawled up. He first replied to Ah Liu with a ton of apologies, then began to consider whether he should go out with Yuan Zhen Ting tonight. Quite a few things had bothered him last night. Even if I can’t touch the cases, simply going out shouldn’t warrant Boss beating the daylights out of me, right?
As expected, getting proper sleep had cleared his mind significantly. His physical condition had also improved slightly. He wasn’t sure if it was really because someone had been with him that he had been more at ease or what, but he had not suffered from any nightmares this time, and had dreamlessly slept up until now. He stretched and eyed the large sketchbook placed on the desk. There was a ballpoint pen and coloured pencil placed next to it. He heard some sounds come from downstairs as well; it appeared as though Yu Yin really had kept to his word and sketched his design plans here…I am really unworthy.
Jiu Shen began to feel deeply ashamed of himself. He was already this old, yet he could only sleep well with some else in the room. No matter how he thought about it, it was very depressing!
Right as he was self-reflecting, a cold wind blew in and flipped the page of the large sketchbook. The next page had many colourful circles that looked different from the detailed design sketches on the previous page. It looked very random, like meaningless graffiti, and it felt a bit familiar to Jiu Shen.
He was on the verge of recalling something when the deep thinking made his head start to ache.
“Jiu Shen-gē, you’re awake?”
In a flash, his train of through was derailed. Jiu Shen whipped his head around to see Yu Yin standing at the doorway. “Ah, I’m awake…You drew this?”
Yu Yin strode over the desk and shook his head. “Nope, was it like that when you flipped it open?” He had only drawn the sketch on the previous page.
“…” Jiu Shen stiffened for three seconds and belatedly realised that the window was not open.
“Jiu Shen-gē, inhale, exhale. Deep breaths~” Yu Yin placed his hands on the other’s shoulders and spun him around before pushing him out of the room. The moment they entered the hallway, he saw his guest flee down the stairs without warning.
That works too. He had just finished heating up lunch and was just about to ask if Jiu Shen wanted to eat.
Yu Yin froze in his tracks and tilted his head towards what seemed to be the sound of dripping water.
Then he saw that the sketchbook on his desk had been flipped several more pages. The spiralled notebook was completely spread open, and the piece of paper covered in colourful circles was blown onto the floor by the wind.
He could not see it, but it was still there.
Yu Yin reached out and caught the paper when it was blown up and sent flying towards him. It appeared to be very ordinary circles with no special characteristics. It was very similar to a child’s drawing, with no law or order.
“The one following Jiu Shen-gē is a child?” Yu Yin turned his head to see the girl sitting on top of the wardrobe. “Has it been following him for long?”
The girl smiled and nodded.
“Why is it following Jiu Shen-gē?”
The girl tilted her head and raised a finger to point in a certain direction.
I have to go in order to find out?
Although Yu Yin thought this, he was a bit worried about having to deal with these types of matters again. If I fail just like before…
“Ah Yin, Ah Yin.”
His thoughts were interrupted, and the indistinct figure instantly disappeared. Yu Yin turned his head to see that Jiu Shen had returned and was cautiously standing next to the door. Then Jiu Shen reached over to pull Yu Yin out. “It’s dangerous, don’t stay there for too long.”
Yu Yin stared at his friend and suddenly thought of something. However, he personally did not understand this field much, so he would have to call and ask Yu or Dong Feng to confirm.
“Jiu Shen-gē, when you did you start becoming scared of ghosts?” Yu Yin casually asked this as he walked down the stairs while sending a text to the two younger ones.
“Is that kind of thing supposed to have a start date?” Jiu Shen stared blankly for a moment, then thought about it for a few seconds. “I honestly don’t have any impression…probably since my cousins scared me often. They loved to pretend to be ghosts to prank me…but if my memory is correct, I seem to have been scared from even before that.” And then his terrible relatives had struck him while he was down, deepening his fear.
Ah, speaking of which, my mom mentioned before that I would always run around randomly before. I only lost my guts after.
But how is that related to anything?
“Jiu Shen-gē, if an unscientific thing wanted you to go somewhere, would you go?” Seeing the other person instantly freeze in shock, Yu Yin could only revise his question. “Maybe it’s related to that divine message of yours?”
“Th-that-that’s…” That’s too much of a burden! Jiu Shen was completely torn. However, the gods wouldn’t even let him take a protective charm; there had to be a reason for that! If he complained again, who knew what the gods would toss at him next time!
“You can slowly consider it. We can eat lunch first.” As expected, such a thing was still very difficult to accept. This was like asking someone terrified of cockroaches to go dig up a cockroach nest.
“I’ll go!” Jiu Shen decided it was better to get over the pain quickly to avoid worse suffering.
Didn’t you come to terms with it a bit too fast?! Yu Yin was somewhat taken aback. He hadn’t imagined that the divine message would be so useful! He had just been considering that if the other couldn’t do it, he would just run a trip by himself.
“Then…then let’s go after eating.”
Once they had eaten their lunch, Yu Yin pulled out his motorcycle.
Before heading out, he sent a text to Li Lin Yue with a brief explanation. She had accepted it and then told him that after he was done, he would have to buy food for them on his way back. They would start working first.
Finally, under the girl’s lead, they arrived at a place that could not be more familiar.
“It’s here?” I won’t be beaten to death by Boss, right? Jiu Shen scratched his face, not at all understanding the divine message.
“It should be…”
Upon entering the building, Jiu Shen greeted the patrols and some other acquaintances.
“Heh? Isn’t this the grounded Jiu Shen-xiǎodì and spirit master?” From a distance away, Yan Si had spotted the two people that should’ve been confined at home appearing in his workplace. He put down the canned drink in his hands and went over to welcome them. “What? Have you two joined hands to wander the other realm now? Were there some more EM waves recently?”
“Don’t know.” Yu Yin sent out a text message and then shoved Yan Si aside in annoyance. He did not know why the girl had led them here, but since they had already arrived, they could only ask around. After all, the issue was related to a certain inspector next to him. “Could there have been abnormal deceased victims recently?”
“Wouldn’t all the murdered ones count as abnormal? Is there some other miscarriage of justice that needs to be brought to light this time?” Yan Si stared at the extreme pair combination in front of him. He found it all very intriguing; he hadn’t imagined Jiu Shen would run around with Yu Yin. He isn’t running a fever, is he?
“Ah Si, what are you touching my forehead for?” Jiu Shen asked in confusion as he brushed away the hand on his head.
“I wanted to see if there was any kind of different mysterious air around you.” Yan Si grinned, then shot a look at the other’s pig trotter. “I’ll help you rebandage that later.” His senior had too ill of a taste. Even if it was to prevent the other person from moving recklessly, bandaging it like that was too much.
Before he finished speaking, a sudden sound interrupted their conversation.
Jiu Shen jumped in fright and instantly shrank back behind Yu Yin.
“Weird, there shouldn’t be anyone inside.” Yan Si glanced at the other two before directly turning the corner to enter the deep freezer that stored the bodies. The large space that had no living humans contained unusually cold air. One of the drawers was pulled out, revealing the body bag inside.
If I remember correctly, this is the corpse from before…
“That-That’s…” Jiu Shen also recognised it, and he frantically clutched the university student’s clothes in front of him.
While the three of them stared at the body bag, a faint sound abruptly came from the silent object. Then the body bag was slowly unzipped, revealing the corpse that had been frozen for a long time.
“Ah.” Yu Yin struck his fist against his palm as he also instantly recognised it. This was one of the three drawers that the girl had opened last time. Back then, one had the bag of fingers, one was the beverage supplier’s body, and the final one was this body. It was an old gentleman’s corpse.
At the time, Jiu Shen had mentioned that this was not their case. The old man’s corpse had been found in a walk-in freezer.
Wait, then this was for the person standing behind me?
Upon closer thought, he remembered that after the drawers had been opened back then, Jiu Shen had indeed stepped into the room.
“This has been here for a long time. They recently decided to move it away.” Yan Si completely ignored the unnatural circumstances and strode over in high spirits. “Who is this?”
“If I ever end up in the netherworld and find out, I’ll let you know.” I wish I knew who it was! Yu Yin clicked his tongue and dragged aside the person hiding behind him. “Jiu Shen-gē, do you have any clues?”
“No!” Jiu Shen instantly shook his head. However, he took a deep breath and then turned to look at Yan Si. “I just know that this was the one found in the walk-in freezer…”
“Wu Tong’s case. It was found in a market warehouse. By the time they arrived, the body had been dead for a long time; the inspection confirmed that it roughly a week had already passed. The peddlers confessed that since those few days were spring break, they had not noticed the corpse until after the market re-opened.” Yan Si opened the bag further to reveal the torso, then pointed at its hands for the other two to look at. The fingers and palms were severely injured. “It was frozen alive inside. When the peddlers opened the freezer that day and saw that it was a complete mess inside, he knew something was wrong and immediately notified the police. They found the curled-up body in a box at the corner next to the door.”
“What does that have to do with Jiu Shen-gē…Jiu Shen-gē?” Yu Yin turned his head to spot the frightened person now focused on the corpse.
“Weird, why does it look a bit familiar…” Jiu Shen tilted his head in thought, carefully scrutinising the old man’s corpse. He hadn’t felt anything previously, but now that he was studying it again, he suddenly thought he had seen it somewhere before. It was a familiar face. As he was struggling to dig through his memories, something suddenly pressed down on his head, nearly causing him to crash into the body. “Ahhhh—”
“Yan-dàgē, don’t fool around!” Yu Yin hurriedly shoved aside the prankster.
“You’ll remember more clearly if you get a bit closer~” Yan Si shrugged as he went to stand on the opposite side.
“I forgot it…I forgot it completely…” Jiu Shen held back tears as he hatefully glared at the bastard across from him.
“Fish oil is on a limited-time 20% discount right now,” Yan Si responded to the aggrieved look with a thumbs-up.
“Stop fooling around…” Yu Yin felt all the energy drain from him.
“Since you’ve already taken a look, let me help you redress your wound first. Then you can go back to my office and take your time thinking.” Yan Si dragged the friend that still wanted to protest, then shut the drawer and exited the place.
Right as Yu Yin was about to follow, he suddenly heard a knocking sound come from within the drawer.
As though someone was knocking repeatedly with a fist.
However, no matter how much it begged and pleaded, it would never be able to leave again.
“Student that was ganged up on?”
Through the glass, they watched the boy sitting in the room alone.
“Da Wen and Xiao Wen went back?” Yi Tai had stayed behind at the police station. He grabbed a cup as he asked this and looked at the officer next to him.
“They all left after recording testimonies.” After spending the entire morning on this, Yu Xia had finally dealt with the group of brats. In reality, the most conflicting part were the ones from the bike-racing gang. Xiao Hai’s lackeys had been extremely cooperative after she had simply told them, “Don’t cause trouble, say whatever you are asked to.” As a result, they had quickly finished their testimonies and paid the bails they needed to. In the end, a lawyer had come from their shop as well, allowing Xiao Hai herself to escape safely.
“Will anything happen to Huang Xu Guang?” Compared to his friend’s relaxed attitude, Ah Fang was not as laid-back.
Honestly speaking, he still wasn’t quite sure what was going on. He had only just found out the past two days that Yi Tai did not know this group’s leader at all, yet they had already run around with this group for several months. Now there had been people coming over to smash up a shop and grab people too. It was really a bit too hard for him to digest.
Ah Fang was not very closely acquainted with Huang Xu Guang either. However, after hanging around the group for a while, he, Da Wen, and Yuan Zhen Ting all somewhat knew each other. Aside from the original leader, Lin Yu Ji, and Song Ou who had left to study overseas, the ones in the group that were popular and had higher status were Da Wen and Yuan Zhen Ting. Those two basically knew all the frequent attendees of the group and would often be hanging around in the background to prevent things like attacks from bike-racing gangs.
“How much do you know about him?” Yu Xia did not answer Ah Fang’s question. “I’ve asked before. The people from that bike-racing gang said that Huang Xu Guang is the person their leader wants to capture.”
“I really cannot say anything for certain.” Yi Tai placed down his cup and crossed his arms. “I haven’t ever met him in person; this is the first time I’ve seen him face-to-face. Da Wen mentioned that Huang Xu Guang is Xiao Wen’s friend. For some reason, Huang Xu Guang contacted Xiao Wen a while back saying that he was in trouble and that there were people who wanted him dead. They were also threatening to harm his parents, so Da Wen hid him in their home. A few days ago, when the bike-racing gang’s attacks got fiercer, Da Wen came looking for me to discuss this matter and wished for me to hide Huang Xu Guang in a safer place.”
“I originally asked Xiao Hai to ask around and find a more appropriate location, but then all this happened,” Ah Fang added.
“Hm. His parents are outside and brought a lawyer with them. However, he will not speak and refused to cooperate with his parents and the lawyer. It’s obvious that he’s very uneasy. If what you’re saying is true…” Yu Xia clicked his tongue, finding the matter a bit troublesome as he pondered how to get the boy to speak.
“If you don’t mind, I can help with that.” Yi Tai smiled, resting his chin on his hand as he narrowed his eyes slightly. “But that’s under the condition that you cannot film or record. Only the two of us can be inside the room. Officer Yu can watch from the next room. Don’t do anything else, or I probably will not be able to get answers.”
“…That’s fine.” Yu Xia nodded; it would be best if they could at least get a starting point.
“In that case, while I’m chatting, could you do me a favour and go somewhere for me, Ah Fang?” Yi Tai turned to grin at his stunned friend as he said, “I asked Xiao Hai to wait nearby. You can probably run into her if you head over now. She should be around the corner.”
With Yu Xia’s permission. Ah Fang straightforwardly left without even asking about where he was going.
“When did you talk with Xiao Hai?” When they had been boarding the police cars, Yu Xia had specifically ordered for these people to be kept separate to prevent anything happening. It had been the same when they had been brought into the station. There should not have been any opportunity for Yi Tai to have come into contact with Xiao Hai.
“Hm…around when we were surrounded.” Yi Tai maintained his usual smile as he informed the officer, “I had a bad premonition when we headed out that evening, so I called Xiao Hai and told her to tell her lackeys to help keep an eye out for anything off. Moreover, since I felt like the situation would not end so quickly, I specifically told her to stay close to Ah Fang until they reconvened.”
“…You’re not joking, are you?” For some reason, Yu Xia suddenly felt a slight chill run down his back.
“I am very serious. Speaking of which, Xiao Hai’s channels are convenient, aren’t they?” They had arrived even sooner than he had anticipated. With this, Yi Tai pushed open the door. “I’ll be heading in then.”
Yu Xia somewhat wordlessly turned into the room next door. After having everyone turn off the various equipment and leave, he stayed behind as the only person.
On the other side, Yi Tai stepped into the room. Instantly, the very anxious boy seemed to relax significantly.
“Did Da Wen or Xiao Wen mention me before?”
Yi Tai asked this as he slowly took a seat across from the boy.
Huang Xu Guang quickly nodded.
“In that case, you don’t need to worry anymore.”
The university student stared at the boy opposite him and continued, “The person threatening your family is already being handled by someone. You can relax and tell me everything. My personal doctrine is that behaviour must be properly reciprocated. Since the bike group has been left under my care, anyone that touches the people there will receive thorough thanks from me.”
“…They are…very scary.” Huang Xu Guang fearfully said, “Very, very scary.”
Yi Tai smirked and narrowed his eyes—
“In that case, for the sake of protecting you all, I will be even scarier than them.”
“Jiu Shen-xiǎodì, stop being so difficult. Didn’t I already order cake as compensation?”
After redressing Jiu Shen’s hand, Yan Si packed the medical kit away while glancing in amusement at his friend that had curled up int a corner. The latter was very similar to a frightened puppy or other small animal that had found a hole to squeeze into.
Though, as a grown adult man, squeezing into a space like that was honestly unsightly.
As Yan Si scanned the other person, he clicked his tongue. While the other’s stature was not exactly robust, he was not a stick either. Jiu Shen-xiǎodì’s body matured pretty well. Even with his random eating and lifestyle, he didn’t end up looking weird.
“Ah Si, what are you scheming now?” Seeing the other person seemingly measure him randomly with his hands made Jiu Shen’s internal alarms go off. Although he was very grateful for the other person’s rebandaging of his injury, and he was happy about the cake on the table as well, the scheming face on the person across from him made it impossible for him to lower his guard!
“Rather than scheming, why don’t we eat cake?” Yan Si opened the fragrant, freshly baked traditional-style cake. He smoothly pulled out a plastic knife that had been attached inside.
“I want.” Jiu Shen raced over to get a plate.
Yu Yin watched the two childish adults as he silently drank his tea. Then he brought up the main topic again. “So Jiu Shen-gē, you really can’t recall where you’ve seen that face before?”
“Yeah, though I feel like I have.” However, thinking back would always cause sharp pain to shoot through his head. Jiu Shen had no idea what the reason for that was either. “It’s really weird…”
“I’ll lend you this. I just got a copy from Wu Tong.” Yan Si took out the data folder he had prepared and passed it over. “The old man’s autopsy report.”
Jiu Shen opened the folder while thinking to himself how the corpse’s silhouette looked familiar still. The cause of death recorded inside was pretty much the same as they had discussed earlier. The detailed analysis had not discovered any form of resistance or traces of self-defense. It looked exactly as though the deceased had strode into the walk-in freezer and then locked himself inside. There was a hypothesis written on the bottom that he might have gone in to steal items while everyone was away for spring break, and was unfortunate enough to end up locked in.
“Based on other traits, we believe that the deceased engaged in hard labour while alive. His callouses, joints, bones, and muscles all have old injuries that prove he did extensive labour for many years. He had a bad waist and knee problems too, as well as many injuries related to poor posture. It looks like he probably did something like moving items or digging up the ground.” Yan Si bit down on his fork while explaining, “His teeth were bad as well, with a few that had decayed. He consumed large quantities of betel nuts, tobacco, and alcohol; my guess is that he did rough labour and temporary jobs. There were likely issues with his circumstances.”
“Digging up the ground…” Jiu Shen pressed a hand against his forehead with the feeling that he was on the verge of recalling something.
All that was visible was darkness.
“Jiu Shen-gē, are you alright?”
Seeing Jiu Shen’s complexion suddenly pale, his body tensing, Yu Yin immediately put down his cup and went over to grab the report from Jiu Shen’s grip. The other person’s hands had turned ice-cold and were tightly clenched into fists.
“Jiu Shen-xiǎodì, let go.”
Oh no, I can’t hear what they’re saying.
Sharp pain shot through his head. His body had turned numb and unfeeling.
I can’t remember, I really can’t remember…or I’m unable to.
When did that happen?
He had no impression, no memory.
In that instant, he found himself under the dirt.
The moist smell and the inability to move any of his limbs. He could not utter any sound; all he felt was the earth swallowing him whole, bit by bit.
“You aren’t there. Look at me.”
A calm voice rang out next to him as his head was forcefully turned to look at a face he could not discern at all. The other person was currently speaking to him. “Slowly take deep breaths. Loosen your grip and listen to this music. Then return here.”
There was indeed some kind of music playing in the background.
He unconsciously calmed down, then began to realise who it was in front of him. The beautiful, dark eyes on that thin, small, and very pale face were focused intently on him.
He relaxed, and it felt as though all the strength left his body.
Then Jiu Shen collapsed.
“…If you guys don’t pull him off me, I’ll be crushed to death.”
Dong Feng, who had rushed over on short notice, let out a sound of disgust as he tried to push off the weight pressing down on him.
Yu Yin and Yan Si picked Jiu Shen up and laid him down on the sofa. Yu Yin finally heaved a sigh of relief as he said, “You arrived just in time.”
Dong Feng shot a cold glare at the person that turned off the music, then got up from the ground. “Since you sent that kind of text, I figured there was a need to take a look…although I had previously suspected it as well.”
“Jiu Shen-xiǎodì can’t be that, right?” Yan Si studied his colleague on the sofa with his chin propped on his hand. He found this to be somewhat unexpected. They had always assumed this guy was merely cowardly and afraid of ghosts. He had never shown any warning signs in their day-to-day life, so they had overlooked other possible causes.
“Yeah, it’s pretty confirmed.”
Dong Feng sighed and clicked his tongue. “Memory impairment due to trauma.”
“Boss, can you talk right now?”
Yu Xia raised his head. He was just about to go out when he spotted Xiao Wu, who he had sent off this morning to investigate elsewhere. “What for?”
“Boss wanted me to go to the broadcast station, so I went and talked with the host, Sanchia.” Upon receiving the recording from the day that the deceased had died, Xiao Wu had contacted the station’s host. The other party had happily cooperated, and he had met up with her directly today. “She really is a beauty, though obviously Xiao Niao is cuter.”
“What did you ask?” Yu Xia ignored the irrelevant words and put on his jacket as he walked out towards the parking lot.
“Sanchia said that the Little Sheep that had been called out that day was a loyal listener that would often send a letter or call to add songs and share their feelings after the episode. The address on the letters were undoubtedly the deceased’s home, so Sanchia and the broadcast station helped provide the related letters for me to bring back.” Xiao Wu pulled out the packet and said, “That beautiful host was very shocked to hear about the death. She said that Little Sheep had called in with a request that night as usual. However, she noticed that the other’s voice did seem to be lacking in energy. Since she had figured they were in low spirits, she had intentionally said some encouraging words that night.”
“After you look through the letters, let me know if you see any issues.”
“Boss, where are you going?” Xiao Wu hurriedly asked while chasing after Yu Xia, who appeared to be in a rush.
“Huang Xu Guang, Xiao Hai, and Ah Liu all provided the same address. I’m going to investigate that clinic.” Yi Tai had finished asking Huang Xu Guang about the matter earlier. In the end, Huang Xu Guang had also provided the address. If it weren’t for the mess from this morning, Yu Xia would’ve gone over ages ago.
After Yi Tai had spoken, Huang Xu Guang had provided the reason he had fled home.
“Because I saw it.”
The youth curled up in the seat said, “Sun Hui Ying and I were elementary school classmates, and we learned abacus together too. Whenever we finished school or abacus lessons, her mom would bring me home together to eat sweets. Although we weren’t as close in junior high, we would still greet each other since we were schoolmates. The day she died, she called me and said there was no one home. She asked me to save her.”
Huang Xu Guang had known a general idea of Sun Hui Ying’s situation. He had heard that she was dating a boy in her class. He was the same, also dating a girl from a different class that was pure and pretty. However, he hadn’t imagined that Sun Hui Ying would be pregnant. The screams over the phone had been terrifying, and before he had gotten to ask her any more questions, the call had cut. He had felt that something was wrong, so he had skipped class and run over to Sun Hui Ying’s home, just in time to spot her getting onto a black car while wiping her tears.
Having been to the Sun home many times, Huang Xu Guang had known where their spare key had been. Thus, he had stolen their motorcycle and chased after…He and his online friends had snuck out several times, so his family did not know that he had learned how to ride a motorcycle long ago.
In the end, they had arrived a strange building that had a clinic sign in front.
Huang Xu Guang had quickly noticed strange people going in and out of the building. He had circled around several times, but could not find a way to enter. As a result, he could only hide nearby to watch the situation while calling his online friends in attempt to find out what kind of place this was.
“Then Xiao Wen said he would ask his dad to help, and that they would go look for Lin Yu Ji first.”
He had waited there. Before he had received a response, he had seen two or three girls drag Sun Hui Ying out and push her back into the car. At the time, Sun Hui Ying’s complexion had looked terrible. Like this, she had been brought home. After the black car had escorted her away, he had left immediately.
But no matter how much he called her, Huang Xu Guang never got a reply.
Soon afterwards, he had heard that Sun Hui Ying had died. Moreover, it was because the child had been taken away that had caused her to suddenly die.
He had been very panicked, completely at a loss on what to do. In the end, he had still contacted Xiao Wen and Da Wen. Da Wen had originally planned on reporting to the police, but they had no evidence or place to intervene. In addition, that place was seriously strange. As a result, they had waited for Lin Yu Ji to arrive before telling him everything.
Then Lin Yu Ji had said he would handle it.
It had not taken long for Huang Xu Guang to discover that there were people targeting him. Regardless of whether he was attending school, leaving school, or even in school, someone was always watching him. Then, his mom had been lightly hit by a motorcycle while outside, and his dad had been randomly dragged into a brawl among youths. Someone had thrown a brick at his dad, resulting in forty stitches.
One night, Huang Xu Guang had received a text message:
If you dare say anything, your entire family will die.
They had known that he had seen them.
The next day, Xiao Wen had called him to say that Lin Yu Ji had vanished.
He had immediately gathered his belongings and run away from home without telling anyone else out of fear. Then he had been taken into hiding by Da Wen.
Since that day onwards, the bike-racing gang had frequently come looking to stir trouble with the bike group.
“If you’re going to head to that clinic, make sure to be particularly careful.”
After Yi Tai had finished speaking with Huang Xu Guang, he had told this to Yu Xia outside in the hallway. “I have a bad feeling. Although it’s just my personal instinct, being more on guard wouldn’t hurt.”
What strange senses.
Yu Xia clicked his tongue.
“Boss, should I go with you then?” Xiao Wu grew slightly worried after hearing this description. They already said there’s strange people all around the place. Would Boss be alright alone?
“Get lost.” Yu Xia curtly sent him away without holding back. “Don’t follow me around everywhere, it’s annoying as hell. If you have nothing to do, go investigate the deceased’s boyfriend and force them to cooperate.”
“Boss, for better or worse, we’re currently still partn—”
Yu Xia simply flashed a fist.
“Sorry, I’ll go work immediately.”