It feels like this volume has taken forever to finish, but now it is finally done. What a melancholic ending…with many more melancholic endings to come.
Translated by: TaffyGirl13
After Yuan Zhen Ting left as well, Jiu Shen took a deep breath to pull himself together.
The ropes were tied more tightly than before, but he could still remove them. He would often compete against Ah Liu to see who could undo knots more quickly since they would often find random junk tied together at crime scenes. He was now trained to the point where he could untangle them with his eyes closed, so the fact that the ropes were tied behind his back was not a problem either.
After undoing the nylon rope, he pressed his slightly aching wrists. No one else in the building noticed anything. Through holes in the wall, he could see the blonde agitatedly smoking all the way outside. Lin Zi Lei and Yuan Zhen Ting were in a different room and it would take a while for them to run over here.
He carefully crouched down and slinked out to slowly retreat into some undergrowth nearby.
The sky was starting to darken. If he moved well and found hiding places, there was a high chance of being able to shake off those two.
While this was the plan, Jiu Shen sensed a certain gaze come from behind him that nearly made him burst into tears. Should I look behind me or not…He felt like if he had to run into the arms of many unscientific things, he’d rather just stay bound here! At least the bad people are living humans!
His heart quaked as the gaze felt more distinct. Moreover, it began to shift towards him.
Jiu Shen covered his mouth to keep himself from wailing out and trembled as he scanned his surroundings. Spotting a large, discarded metal box that had been dumped outside the factory, he slowly and shakily began to head towards it so that he could hide there.
I can’t run very far in this situation, so I’ll just hide first.
To his horror, the eyes on him followed behind. Fortunately, it did not enter the metal box together with him, only circling outside it.
Jiu Shen frantically began to recite the mostly forgotten Great Compassion Mantra and the periodic table with his eyes closed. He curled his body up and prayed to Buddha for the unscientific things to quickly let him go.
He did not know how much time passed…perhaps it was very brief. In the darkness, he heard the sound of motorcycles and scooters revving up their engines…Wait a minute, if the vehicles can drive in, that means there might be a road nearby that passes through?
Before he could finish pondering the direction that the scooters were moving towards, he heard Lin Zi Lei’s scream.
“Where is he?! Hurry up and find him!”
Through the cracks of the metal box, he saw the completely black night and the three flashlight beams shining from within the factory. Two ran out, with the one closest being Yuan Zhen Ting. The further one was likely the blonde.
Jiu Shen held his breath and heard the faint sound of running that abruptly appeared. The next instant, it tunnelled into the thickets in the opposite direction, drawing the blonde’s attention. “Chase after him!”
He was absolutely certain that there had been no one else around him just now, but Jiu Shen had no clue what had been running…It’s probably some kind of animal from the mountain! There are plenty of wild dogs in mountains!
As he thought this, a series of rustling noises moved through the forest, with some closer and some further, though they were all a decent distance away from him. The two people that had come running out clearly did not understand what was going on, and he saw the two lights split up to go deeper into the forest.
After the two males left, the scooter nearest finally stopped before the factory. The bright headlights pointed into the factory, making it so that Jiu Shen could properly see the situation inside as well.
There was a red modified scooter and a silver motorcycle.
…He felt that they looked very familiar.
“Flaming-Flaming Tiger…” Lin Zi Lei’s voice was trembling, obviously terrified of the two riders that got off their vehicles. “I can explain. That police officer just ran off, but he can’t have gone far…”
The white rider lifted their left hand.
Before Lin Zi Lei could plead for mercy, she fell with a single gunshot.
The red rider glanced at the crimson blood slowly spreading outwards, then raised a hand at their companion. The latter stowed the gun away and strode out of the factory. After glancing around, they began to move near Jiu Shen’s location.
At the same time, the red rider began to search from a different direction using very rough movements, casually picking up a metal rod to pummel at possible hiding places.
Jiu Shen once again felt the fear from his previous confinement and he unconsciously began to shiver.
My arm and stomach really hurt…
Before he could think about anything else, the door to the metal box was abruptly ripped open, and light poured in.
In that moment, he spotted the eyes behind the white helmet’s visor widen. He was so frightened that he did not dare to move at all, and he could not recall dying words or anything either.
After a brief two seconds of shock, the door was violently slammed shut in front of his face.
The rider turned around, and their red companion quickly walked over too. The two met each other in front of the factory. The white rider shook their head at their companion, and the two returned to their vehicles together. After starting their engines that had not yet cooled down, they raced out of the factory area with a roar.
Once he confirmed that the riders had gone far away, Jiu Shen completely collapsed, simply shaking for a very long time. Finally, he opened the metal door so that he could move out.
In any case, he had to take this chance to quickly flee.
That gaze followed him the entire time.
Stumbling, Jiu Shen ran forwards with all his strength, yet he was unable to repress the panic in his heart. The instant he stopped, he would sense the unscientific thing chasing after him from behind, forcing him to continue advancing nonstop.
He probed around in the darkness according to his memory of the direction the sound of the motors had vanished in. His body was covered in bruises from crashing into things, and he had no idea how long he walked for before he collapsed on his knees and fell onto a paved road.
This was a passable street that was not the one they had come from. After a few more steps forward, an asphalt street appeared. As expected, his guess had been correct; he just didn’t know if following it would connect to a major street or where it would connect to. Moreover, his sprained foot was starting to hurt again, sending stabs of pain as he ran.
He collapsed on the ground to catch his breath. Just then, an ice-cold touch that felt extremely similar to fingers suddenly came into contact with his sprain.
Jiu Shen screamed and even rolled and crawled in order to shoot off as far as possible. There was absolutely nothing on that dark road, and he was now too terrified to rest…Even if I need to crawl, I need to get awayyyyyyyy!
He took a few deep breaths and then continued probing around the path.
Actually, he could tell that this place had people going in and out during the day. The asphalt road had traces of being used, so there was a chance he could bump into people If he kept walking…people…
Then he really did bump into a person.
While he was completely unprepared, a figure leapt out from the dark shrubbery next to the street, then heavily knocked him down with a furious ferocity. Before he could even defend himself, a foot stepped onto his stomach. Being kicked with the bottom of a shoe really was a beyond ordinary pain, especially when the other party was seriously stepping down on him with plenty of strength.
Before the second stomp, Jiu Shen turned aside and hurriedly scrambled to stand.
A flashlight beam landed on his face, and he spotted the blonde’s face twisted in rage, half-concealed in the darkness. Actually, it wasn’t much better looking than those unscientific things. Moreover, Jiu Shen’s head was starting to throb in pain as certain very unpleasant memories vaguely began to reappear. However, he still could not recall anything.
In that moment of losing focus, the other thrusted a blade towards him. Jiu Shen just barely dodged in time and got a good look at it to see that it was a butterfly blade. However, it was very new, with no signs of wear. It appeared that the one that had damaged the corpse had been tossed somewhere unknown.
“Why did you kill Lin Yu Ji?” Jiu Shen slowly adjusted his own breathing as he asked, “In such a method too. He didn’t incur any huge grudge with you, did he?!”
The cut on the back might have been the blonde wanting Yuan Zhen Ting to prove himself, while slicing open the stomach might have been to search for that memory card. However, the reason Lin Yu Ji had died at the very beginning was due to excessive violence.
“…He didn’t.” The youth flashed an merciless, mocking smirk before chuckling. “Because it’s hilarious. That guy thought he was so amazing because he had a bike group, but he cried out miserably when kicked, vomiting disgustingly while shaking. But his blood-spitting and pants-pissing was super hilarious, even more than video games. You have no idea how satisfying it was to hear the sound of his bones breaking.”
“Satisfying? Lin Yu Ji was a living person just like you!” Jiu Shen was in disbelief at hearing that it was actually because of such a reason.
“So what? Living people can’t be killed? I hadn’t thought that killing a real person would be even more satisfying than doing it in video games. I didn’t feel much when I saw the blood splashing all over the monitor, but killing real people is more exciting, and people will pay for it too.” The youth fiddled around with the butterfly blade in his hands while shining the flashlight on Jiu Shen. “But Lin Yu Ji died too quickly. At the time, I was thinking that if he could be killed slowly, it would definitely be even more satisfying.”
“I don’t think I could be killed by someone like you.” Jiu Shen instantly felt calm wash over him as he narrowed his eyes. “You’re nothing but a child.”
The youth instantly exploded in rage and brandished his knife at the other.
Jiu Shen grasped the timing of the attack and knocked the blade aside with the back of his hand. Then he used his positioned right hand to push the youth’s chin upwards and borrowed the momentum to restrain the boy down against the ground.
“After all, I’ve undergone training before.”
He used the ropes from earlier to properly secure the other’s hands and then directly sat down on top of his body.
“You should be grateful I’m not Boss, or else you’d already be buried in the asphalt road.” Jiu Shen ignored the youth’s filthy words as he pragmatically bent over to start taking off the boy’s shoes.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
“Collecting evidence.” Jiu Shen restrained the kicking feet and just barely managed to rip off the left shoe. As expected, the shoe markings were identical to the ones they had collected…Wait… “Don’t tell me that it wasn’t actually him back then?”
While he was momentarily lost in his thoughts, the youth underneath him suddenly exerted force and tackled him.
“I’m going to fucking—”
Right as he was about to lift his foot and kick Jiu Shen’s head, several lights swiftly approached from the distance.
Jiu Shen crawled up from the ground just in time to spot the boy dive behind the shrubbery and immediately vanish with a trace. Logically speaking, he should not have been allowed to flee like that, but Jiu Shen had absolutely no intentions of following after him.
After jumping back on his feat, the first light sharply braked in front of him.
“Jiu Shen-gē, are you alright?”
Jiu Shen stared blankly at the familiar person that he hadn’t ever imagined to appear right now. “Ah Yin? How did you…”
“Don’t ask, you don’t want to know.” Yu Yin shot a look at the giggling little girl that ran off, then parked the motorcycle once Yu got off.
“Sorry, I won’t ask.” When Jiu Shen saw the other’s eyes sweep over to the side, he immediately felt goosebumps crawl all over.
Yu circled around Jiu Shen to inspect him for half a beat, then walked over to support his other side and help him over so that he was sitting with his back against the bike.
“Jiu Shen-gē, rest here for a moment. Uncle and the rest are looking for you everywhere too and should be heading here now.” After confirming the location, Yu Yin had sent a text to everyone while he had rushed over as soon as possible. “The shoe on the ground is…?” He eyed the strangely fancy shoe abandoned there, then at Jiu Shen’s feet in slight confusion.
“It’s evidence, help me watch it. The criminal still seems to be nearby, so you guys have to be careful.” He had verified that the blonde did not carry a gun, which had given him some relief. However, Jiu Shen was still a bit worried about those weird people turning back. Seeing as they had killed Lin Zi Lei without any hesitation, they were absolutely not any good…However, the girl had let him go….
Yu fished out some flexible bandages from his backpack and carefully helped Jiu Shen secure his sprain before inspecting the other injuries.
Right as Yu Yin was about to say something, he suddenly froze.
He spotted a pair of feet appear at the end where the motorcycle’s headlights shone. At first the feet just stood there, then a girl’s deathly pale face slowly materialized in the air. It was the girl that both he and Dong Feng had seen before: the female university student that had gone missing in Kang Zhe Chang’s case was glaring venomously at them in the darkness.
The girl slowly opened her mouth and said something unknown, before slowly fading away in the night.
“Is-is there something unscientific there…” Jiu Shen sensed a certain gaze, his hairs rising on end as he also looked in the direction of the headlights.
“Nothing.” Yu Yin peered at Jiu Shen for a few seconds with the feeling that he really did have a somewhat sensitive disposition, then patted his shoulder. “Relax, relax.”
Yu pushed Yu Yin and looked further back at the two lights nearing them.
Jiu Shen squinted to identify the people arriving. He quickly recognised one of them as Da Wen, though he did not know the other one. However, the person appeared to be a university student as well. The two bikes raced over one behind the other, directly braking on either side of Yu Yin to surround them.
“Jiu Shen, are you alright? Who’s that guy?!” Da Wen reached out to grab him, then warily studied the other two. The university student on the other side wore an unfriendly expression as well.
“Ah, that’s my friend, we’re very close. How did you guys…?” Jiu Shen staggered from the pull and then hurriedly introduced Yu Yin and Yu while feeling bewildered that Da Wen had somehow appeared in this kind of place.
“Xiao Yuan wanted us to come pick you up. This is Song Ou, Lin Yu Ji’s bro.” Da Wen glanced at Yu Yin with lingering suspicion and then nodded before turning back to face Jiu Shen. “Will you go down with us? Your friend only has one bike so he can’t bring you, right?”
“Someone will come pick us up in a bit.” There will be a ton of police cars… Jiu Shen shuddered as he suddenly realised he had no idea how he would explain this to Yu Xia later. He felt as though he would be beaten to death, but being beaten seemed to be better than being chased after that unscientific and other various people, so he was truly a bit conflicted…
“OK, then I’ll contact you later.” Da Wen patted Jiu Shen’s head with a somewhat complicated expression. “How could someone like you be a police officer…” With a sigh, he and Song Ou turned and left.
Jiu Shen stared blankly at the taillights disappearing off into the distance before it dawned on him that Da Wen had just sighed at him…Ahhhhhhh!!!!
“Jiu Shen-gē, be good and don’t cry.” Yu Yin took pity on his dumbstruck friend.
“I’m not crying!” Who’s crying?!
“When Uncle arrives, you probably will be crying.” Yu Yin stared off at the multiple car lights that were starting to appear, and he patted Jiu Shen’s shoulder while giving him a moment of silence.
He really did want to cry.
Afterwards, the police discovered Lin Zi Lei’s corpse in front of the factory in the mountain area.
With a shot through the heart, the girl’s eyes were frozen wide to fixate onto the final scene as her life had gradually faded.
But what caught everyone by surprise was that, on the second day of searching the large mountain, they found the blonde youth’s body on the other side in a ravine. He had also been shot, but it was closer to his face. Moreover, his stomach had been sliced open, and the wild dogs had dragged out his intestines and innards to litter the ground.
“Lin Yu Ji’s blood was tested positive from the shoe that Jiu Shen removed. Same with the shoes on that corpse. Plus, there were samples collected from the scooters. The butterfly blade used to commit the crime was later located in his home as well. The perpetrator for killing Lin Yu Ji is pretty much completely confirmed.”
Ah Liu closed his report and looked at his friend across from him. “You should feel more at rest now. Aside from people tracking down the organization, someone will go notify Lin Yu Ji’s family this afternoon. Do you want to go along?”
“Yeah, I agreed to meet Da Wen and the others over at Lin Yu Ji’s home. I’m heading over now.” Jiu Shen grabbed the crutch next to him and pulled himself up from his seat. “Thank you, Ah Liu.”
“You don’t need me to bring you?” Ah Liu was still a bit worried when he saw the other’s foot in a cast.
“Xiao Wu said he’d bring me, so it’s fine.” Jiu Shen glanced down too, inwardly wanting to cry tears of blood.
Actually, his foot injury had originally not been so severe.
It was because when Yu Xia had led officers over that night, he had tossed a kick at Jiu Shen without allowing the latter to give an explanation. In the end, the kick just happened to land on his injured foot…the rest was an even greater tragedy: he needed an entire month to fully recover. Then a certain evil forensic investigator had invited a bunch of people to sign and scribble all over his cast, causing the nurse changing his cast to laugh the entire time.
However, he had seen Yu Xia’s rare look of guilt for once, and Jiu Shen felt as though it was a bit…worth the price.
“We’re going to search Yuan Zhen Ting’s home in the afternoon. Don’t forget that everyone is being watched, so be careful when you go out.” Ah Liu let out a sigh when he saw the other nod furiously. He really had no idea if saying these things was any use or not. Then he recalled another matter, “The director told you to rest, so why did you suddenly flip through old cases?”
If he had not been mistaken, a few days after returning from the mountain, Jiu Shen had fished out old cases instead of obediently recuperating, then began researching them out of nowhere.
“Because I realised that shoes can be worn by others.” Jiu Shen chuckled, then bid farewell to his friend to meet with Xiao Wu.
“Worn by others?”
Forget it, whatever makes him happy.
When the arranged time in the afternoon arrived, Jiu Shen meekly sat and waited outside the door while Xiao Wu went inside to find Lin Yu Ji’s family.
He soon spotted Song Ou riding his own bike. Two minutes later, Da Wen showed up as well.
“Talk outside.” After eyeing Lin Yu Ji’s home, Song Ou raised his chin [to point somewhere], and they strode out to a shaded area on the opposite street.
Upon arriving, Jiu Shen studied the two bike group members with faint concern. “Is Yuan Zhen Ting alright?” Since that incident, he had not heard anything about the youth. Every time he had called the other’s phone, it had been switched off; the police had secretly sealed off Yuan Zhen Ting’s residence but the youth had never returned. He really had not left any traces.
Jiu Shen felt anxious whenever he thought of Lin Zi Lei’s fate.
“He’s fine, I called him at midnight yesterday. He’s doing very well right now, he’s just feeling apologetic towards you.” Song Ou crossed his arms and delivered his friend’s message. “Then he said he really had regarded you as a friend. The reason he had treated you so well during those night outings wasn’t because you were the target, but because he truly saw you as a friend.”
“I really don’t mind, and I regard him as a friend too.” Jiu Shen hurriedly replied, “Regardless of whether he had an objective or not.”
“Then that’s fine. We don’t really trust police, but Da Wen and I both trust you. Yuan Zhen Ting wanted me to explain everything to you as well. Can you swear that you won’t tell anyone else, including your police colleagues?” Song Ou narrowed his eyes. “Although Xiao Yuan said I could tell you, Da Wen and I still have to protect him. If you cannot keep your lips sealed, then we absolutely will not speak, and you shouldn’t appear again on our side, for everyone’s sakes.”
“…Alright, I won’t tell anyone.” But if the others become aware of it by themselves, it doesn’t count. Jiu Shen silently added these words in his mind.
“Ok, then there are two matters: the first is Xiao Yuan’s dad. We absolutely will not show up to retrieve that guy, so you can deal with him however your system lets you.” After a pause, Song Ou continued, “Xiao Yuan already told you the situation, so don’t continue looking into it. Investigating further won’t do anyone good.”
“The second matter is that Xiao Yuan had apparently been pursuing that bike gang to find his relative. Afterwards, Lin Yu Ji helped him gather information and discovered that there was some kind of people controlling the gang behind the scenes to quite a large scale. Once Huang Xu Guang appeared, Lin Yu Ji ended up finding that there was an issue with the clinic. As a result, Lin Yu Ji did not tell us and broke into the clinic to download a bunch of data and gave a copy to Yuan Zhen Ting. Since you guys have sealed off his home, you should be able to find it…if it wasn’t tampered with.
“Based on what Xiao Yuan said yesterday, Lin Yu Ji suddenly lost contact after sending the copy to his home. Xiao Yuan sensed that something was wrong and quickly began searching for him. When he finally did trace his way to the bike gang, Lin Yu Ji was dead, and he was caught as well. Under those circumstances, he immediately expressed that he wanted to join the organisation behind the bike gang and requested an introduction because he was fed up with the gang. Then all the other events followed.”
At this point, Jiu Shen had a general understanding of this incident. The telephone report [of the incident] might have been Yuan Zhen Ting himself.
He had to admit that if he were Yuan Zhen Ting, he would have considered the same factors and chosen the same actions. However, it was honestly too dangerous…it was possible that Lin Yu Ji would not have wished for him to step into this risk either.
Ah, could that be why that unscientific thing kept appearing? Maybe it wanted me to stop Yuan Zhen Ting? Or wanted to keep me from doing something bad to Yuan Zhen Ting?
Because Jiu Shen did not dare to deal with these types of matters, he could not understand much. He silently promised in his heart that if he ever had the chance to meet Yuan Zhen Ting again, he would properly protect the other person.
“If it were me, I would’ve done the same. Otherwise, everything they had done before would’ve been in vain.” Da Wen, who had similarly just put together the entire situation, confirmed, “Xiao Wen and I don’t blame him for selling us out.”
Song Ou nodded. “Finally, aside from following those people’s orders to get closer to you and drop your guard, Xiao Yuan had bumped into you because he had hoped you would intervene and indirectly lead the police to pursue those people.”
“Yeah, I understand.” While Yuan Zhen Ting had not told him this, the chain of events that had occurred, including the encounter with Huang Xu Guang, had likely been the result of him intentionally wanting Jiu Shen to find out. No matter how much the gods wanted to prank him, Jiu Shen did not believe there could really be that many coincidences. Sometimes, it was orchestrated by humans.
Seeing that Jiu Shen really did not blame Yuan Zhen Ting, Song Ou brought the topic to an end, having passed on the messages. “Then we’ll be going in to discuss with Lin Yu Ji’s parents about how we can help with funeral arrangements.”
“Wait a minute,” Jiu Shen called out to stop the people from leaving. “When the blonde was found, he was dead. Upon examination, it was found that he was shot by a left-handed gun. Who do you think fired it?”
Yuan Zhen Ting was left-handed.
The silver girl was also left-handed.
“…Do you know why Lin Yu Ji is so protective of the bike group?” Song Ou asked this instead of answering Jiu Shen.
Jiu Shen shook his head.
“He wanted a home, as well as wanted to return to his original home.”
Following Song Ou’s words, various engines rang out from all directions from the streets and alleys. Various bikes appeared, with male and female riders, as well as adults and children. They gathered in front of the Lin family home, each of them holding white flowers that swayed gently atop their bikes.
It was just like that night in the courtyard in front of the abandoned temple; every person had brought flowers.
“So is it really that important who opened fire?”
It was just another piece of scum dead.
The sky was an intense azure.
After Yu Yin received his uncle’s text, he used the location to find the mourning family.
From the distance, he spotted a certain inspector struggling to carry consolation gifts instead of resting as he should’ve been, relying on a crutch to hop around in the direction of the mourning family’s place. Yu Yin parked his bike and immediately ran over to help hold things.
“Jiu Shen-gē, do you need help with anything?” For his uncle to send that text and ask him to go over and take a look was honestly a bit unexpected.
He recalled that this mourning family seemed to be related to the deceased from that abortion case. After the truth of the incident had been publicized, it had attracted tons of media reports. The Zhang family that had brought the girl to get the abortion had been attacked like crazy online. The media had tried to visit several times to find that the door was locked and the family had hung up on all calls, completely cutting all contact with the outside world.
While the main target was the Zhang family, there were quite a few remarks about the girl as well. Some maliciously pointed at the young girl for not being cautious herself, fooling around with others at such a young age…While Yu Yin did not know if the mourning family had seen or heard these things and whether it had inflicted second-degree harm, he felt that these “outsiders” honestly had no right to criticize others before understanding all of the truth.
Even if they had made mistakes, they had already paid a painful price.
The future will just be the family members slowly healing from the pain. The people that just read the simplified, one-sided words compiled together should just stop running their mouths.
“Oh…I don’t know.” Upon seeing Yu Yin’s appearance, Jiu Shen figured out the reason for Yu Xia’s summons. However, this purpose made him shiver, and if possible, he really hoped it would not come to needing it.
Once they lit incense, Mr. and Mrs. Sun invited them in to take a seat.
“While it is somewhat embarrassing to say this because it feels like tattling, Yuan Xiang’s mom kept coming here to cause a commotion these past two days.” The wife brought over tea and said, “She kept fussing about how Hui Ying was causing trouble in her home, and that she would find a Buddhist master to collect her.”
“Could you let me take a look at the room?” Yu Yin faced the parents to helplessly say, “It seems a bit abrupt, but I can somewhat see things.”
“Ah, we’ve already cleaned up the room. There aren’t bloody garments for mediums or whatever…”
“It’s fine, it’s fine, I don’t use methods like that…”
Yu Yin followed the parents into the deceased’s room. Jiu Shen took a deep breath and then shakily entered behind Yu Yin.
The instant Yu Yin stepped inside, he spotted a light silhouette standing next to the bed with hands clasped behind the back. Her skirt and legs were still stained with crimson blood, and the room had a faint smell of death.
Seemingly sensing their entrance, the girl slowly turned around. There was an eerie smile on her pale face.
No matter who it is, they cannot avoid punishment.
Isn’t that so?
Right as he was about to say something to the other, shrill screams suddenly came from downstairs outside the room. Then there was a bang of something being knocked down.
“Yuan Xiang’s mother is back again.”
Somewhat exasperated, the wife could only retreat the room first to go down.
Actually, since entering the room, Jiu Shen had sensed that terrifying gaze. When he saw the family member leave, Jiu Shen immediately dragged Yu Yin out to escape and check on the situation at the same time.
Upon reaching the first floor, they immediately spotted Zhang Yuan Xiang’s mother blocked by Mr. Sun at the front entrance. However, unlike when they had seen her before, the Mrs. Zhang now sported a large amount of blood on her face. It seemed to cover the entire left side of her face, and there were multiple wisps of blood showing on the surface. It looked extremely horrifying.
“I’ll definitely send your daughter to hell—”
Mrs. Zhang’s horrible face twisted even further as she screamed at Mrs. Sun, ignoring the others present while screaming, “To the eighteenth level of Hell—”
Yu Yin rubbed his eyes when he actually saw the figure from earlier materialize in front of Mrs. Zhang and raise its right hand to slap the other’s scarlet cheek over and over. Mrs. Zhang continued shouting, seemingly not sensing anything. As the girl’s strikes grew fiercer, the wisps of blood turned darker red and gradually began to spread to the right side of the face.
After finally managing to shove the other party outside, Mr. Sun shut the door for the other person to continue wildly yelling as she pleased outside. He shook his head and called the management to have them deal with the situation.
Yu Yin confirmed that the figure had vanished, then he grabbed Jiu Shen and immediately ran towards the bedroom.
As expected, when they ran into the room, he spotted the slim silhouette standing in its original position.
Refuse to reconcile.
I will not reconcile.
“Are you still going to continue on like this?”
With slight hesitation, Yu Yin quietly asked, “Are you going to continue troubling your parents like this?”
She tricked me.
If we have to receive punishment from the adults for making mistakes,
then the adults should also receive punishment when they deceive us.
She made it so that I could never return again!
The room shook, and the small accessories placed on the table clicked as they collided into each other.
Jiu Shen was frightened by the abnormal tremor and nearly ran headfirst into the wall. He hurriedly grabbed Yu Yin and stared in fear at the direction where the gaze was coming from. “Is it still there?!”
“It’s still there.” Yu Yin nodded, and the grip on him tightened. “Jiu Shen-gē, it hurts.” Maybe this is how a fish in an octopus’s clutches feels like.
“Oh…” Jiu Shen loosened his hold a bit, though he was still beyond terrified. However, he had to do what ought to be done. Thus, he lowered his head and threw all caution to the wind. “Student S-Sun…you have to look at your mom and dad, they…”
“Is Hui Ying there?”
Jiu Shen was cut off by Sun Hui Ying’s parents, who had unknowingly arrived at the doorway and was now following their lines of sight to gaze at where their daughter stood.
The furious girl blinked her large eyes and instead stared fixedly at her family by the door.
“You have to leave at peace.” The wife wiped her tears while holding her husband’s hands. “We know you’re still not reconciled to things, but you must leave at peace. Don’t go looking for the Zhang family anymore. That’s the only way your dad and I can be at ease and let you go.”
I don’t want to reconcile!
While letting out this plaintive wail, the girl fell to her knees in front of the bed.
She really refused to resign like this.
She hadn’t even become an adult yet. She had been dreaming of spending her lifetime with the boy she liked, dreaming of his mother to implement her promise.
She hadn’t even yet left her parents’ wings.
She hadn’t even received the chance to feel regret.
She really wanted to return to the past that she had felt unsatisfied with before, that ordinary life she could no longer go back to.
“Just put your mind at rest and go back. Dad and Mom will one day go back too. Just as before, you can open the door for us with your smile.” The tears began to fall one after another, and the wife’s words were no longer connected. “In the next life…we will continue…continue…”
Continue being a family.
The girl stared deeply at her now aged parents. Then she turned her head towards Yu Yin and Jiu Shen before her figure turned faint and vanished in midair.
After passing on those final words to her family, Yu Yin fell into silence.
The parents covered their faces and wept. Once they forcibly gathered themselves, they bowed slightly to Jiu Shen and Yu Yin.
In that atmosphere of anguish, Jiu Shen and Yu Yin returned the gesture.
Three days after the incident had passed, Zhang Yuan Xiang ran away from home.
His parents once again came over and stirred up a huge commotion before being driven away by the police, who warned them that they were prohibited from disturbing the mourning family again.
A few students said they had spotted Zhang Yuan Xiang joining a certain bike group in a different county and leaving with some strange people.
Like this, he completely disappeared.
Once the incident died down, Jiu Shen went on a trip down south.
Due to Yu Xia’s insistence, Xiao Wu and Yu Yin accompanied him.
Jiu Shen was not certain if it was because he had subconsciously wanted to never touch this place again but since that case, Jiu Shen had not returned to this area again. In just a few short years, the surroundings had changed significantly. The sheds from back then had been torn down, and the fishpond had been filled. The town path had been widened into a large street, no longer the appearance from his memories.
He visited his police friend that had undertaken the case back then. The other had provided him an address, then had him hitchhike to find the village head from that year.
After multiple years, the man’s looks had changed slightly. Aside from being older and having some hip problems, he had a bag fastened to him, and there was some strange lump on his back.
The village head was clearly astonished to see Jiu Shen visiting, but he did not seem too shocked either, and he had the person next to him prepare tea for them.
This so-called village head…was actually not village head anymore. Jiu Shen scanned the surroundings and spotted some old-fashioned election campaign items. It looked like they had not chosen anyone else after that case.
“After so many years, what brings you here again?” The middle-aged man calmly sat on an expensive sofa and coldly mocked, “That incident forced my son to die, yet you’re still not satisfied?”
“The reason your son was classified as a criminal suspect that year was because of shoeprints, and because he could not provide evidence of him being absent from the crime scene that night. You had stated that after arguing with him that afternoon, he had run out. The reason he had been freed from prison was because a testimony had later appeared claiming that he had been dead drunk on a remote path and had knocked out next to the graves in the middle of the night. The eyewitness had remembered it clearly because it had been so bizarre, so the court had concluded such a ruling.” Jiu Shen paused and narrowed his eyes. “I recently asked a friend that knew more about this field and he told me with great certainty that a novice sexual harasser would not instantly evolve into an outstanding rapist and murderer. Your son hadn’t yet reached a transformation period. Logically speaking, it would not be very likely for such an assault to have occurred.”
“So you came to report that you arrested the wrong person that year?”
“No, that year, you told us that you were at home during the time of the incident while your son was out. In hindsight, you were the only one that did not have proof of being truly at home.” Jiu Shen stared at the middle-aged man across from him and stated, “Your son was not wearing that pair of shoes when he went out that day. As we had discovered back then, ‘following inspection of the shoes placed in the house, there is suspicion of being involved with the case’. But shoes can be worn by anyone, and your shoe size seems to be the same as your son’s.”
The middle-aged man shot up onto his feet, and Xiao Wu immediately moved to block him.
“What are you implying right now?” The middle-aged man narrowed his eyes as he coldly declared with an extremely unfriendly look at the visitors, “Get lost!”
“I later checked the information again and found that it had been nearly morning when the eyewitness said they had seen your son sleeping next to the graves. He still did not have any alibi during the critical death window of the afternoon that the deceased had gone missing to before midnight. In addition, from a certain angle, your criminal records were mostly settled or dropped with people coming out and claiming them as misunderstandings. However, you also had plenty of violence-related and sexual harassment disputes.”
Jiu Shen stood and grabbed his crutch. “I will not give up.”
His job was an investigator. He would continue searching until the day he found the correct match.
“Take a hike!”
Before they were blasted out, Yu Yin spotted the little girl giggling as she stood on the middle-aged man’s back and waved at them.
Behind that person were multiple black shadows waiting for their justice.
On the train ride back, Jiu Shen stared out the window in a daze.
Then Xiao Wu began wolfing down a lunchbox from the seat on the other aisle.
“Jiu Shen-gē, I understand what you guys do and what you meant now.” From the adjacent seat, Yu Yin stared down at the lunchbox next to his hands. “I’m really very sorry for all the troubles I’ve caused you guys recently.”
“Huh? There’s no need to apologise.” Jiu Shen returned to his senses and smiled as he opened his lunchbox, which was a fragrant pork chop meal. “Every person will go through that: me, Xiao Wu…and honestly speaking, I seem to have caused more trouble…” He still could not accept unscientific things, and had ended up bringing a whole grapevine of troubles to Yu Xia.
Yu Yin’s lips curved upwards as he nodded. “I think I know how I should walk now.”
He had simply been unable to relieve himself from many matters, and then continued to turn that pressure into burdens he should not have had to bear. But at the very beginning, he hadn’t done those things because he had wanted to become like this.
He wanted to do more and more. But it was impossible for a human to do everything.
That was why he had so many people by his side.
Perhaps he would still be unable to change much of his bad habits. However, he knew what his path was.
“I know too. I will work hard to figure out what happened in the past. But before that…” Jiu Shen turned his head to earnestly look at the university student. “Ah Yin, could you teach me how to close my third eye?” If he wanted to eradicate his own tragic encounters, he had to first start from the unscientific source of acceptance. I just have to ask someone with experience!
“…Sorry, there’s no way.” Yu Yin decided to eat his train lunchbox.
“Afterwards, Jiu Shen-xiǎodì even helped deal with Yuan Zhen Ting’s father.”
Yan Si leaned against the outside of the door as he opened the can of tea in his hands. As he drank, he commented, “I don’t know if it’s more appropriate to say that person received retribution or if he’s pitiful. He didn’t have a single relative or friend that came out to handle things. I really wonder how much of a failure he was while alive. In the end, Jiu Shen-xiǎodì contacted a few of the labour workers, and some of the oldies compiled money to help complete cheap funeral arrangements. My child is really such a good kid.”
“Don’t just take advantage of others as you please.”
“Ahh, as if I have. Jiu Shen-xiǎodì is just super well-behaved.” Yan Si felt that he had really underestimated Jiu Shen’s tolerance levels after seeing how he had just charged in despite being so terrified. If Yan Si had known earlier, he wouldn’t have held back when teasing Jiu Shen.
“…The case he asked me about.” He set down his clay project and tilted his head slightly. “When the little girl disappeared that year, there had been no traces of resistance, so it had been surmised that she had been brought away by an acquaintance or someone she trusted. The son’s methods were too shallow and therefore unlikely to be the schemer. This should have been within the court’s scope of consideration as well. But if another person was added, then these things could easily be achieved.” That person is already a seasoned schemer.
Because he was seasoned, he had known that upon finishing all the procedures, he had to chase a suspect out after midnight, then have him get dead drunk or something similar late at night to leave a stronger impression when a passerby just happened to find him sleeping in a particularly strange place. That way, even if there was a hint of a clue accidentally overlooked, it would not hold water.
The only error was that the criminal suspect had died mysteriously a week later.
“You are so loving towards Jiu Shen-xiǎodì.” Helping him to this extent? I’m so jealous~
“…If you just came to spout nonsense, then hurry up and scram.”
“Of course not, I came to feed you. The instant the master chef heard your mom went back, he immediately wanted us to bring you things.” Yang De Cheng had sported huge complaints at first, but now he was deeply committed to researching various liquid-type foods. Moreover, Jiu Shen’s mom had brought a cookbook for similar foods, resulting in that guy focusing completely on taking the challenge and working more seriously than anyone else.
“My junior, can’t you even say a word of thanks?” Yan Si placed the paper bag behind the door and eyed the child sitting in front of the table, typing on his phone with his back facing Yan Si.
“I’m not your junior!” Dong Feng automatically yelled back after sending a thank-you text to Yang De Cheng.
“Oh right, speaking of which, I heard the student that was ganged up on and his classmates are planning to go out and have fun during a break. Does my junior have any place he wants to go? My old roommate and I should be able to allocate some vacation.” Seeing everyone go out to play made him really want to play as well.
“Somewhere without you guys.” So damn annoying.
“How about talking a walk around the school? I mean, your old school…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Yan Si had the door slammed in front of his face. Fortunately, he had been leaning closer to the wall, or else he would have been directly whacked by the somewhat heavy metal door. “Don’t be so violent. My old roommate already received approval and he’ll be going to visit in two days. Don’t you want to go back and take a look?”
There was no sound from the inside of the room.
“My junior, I’m taking this very seriously, this isn’t just me joking around with you. So you don’t need to worry about our safety, I can promise to you that we will be as careful as possible….”
The door swung open.
“Being careful isn’t enough. You still don’t know what kind of people you’re trying to find,” Dong Feng coldly stated as he threw a bag of containers at Yan Si’s face.
“I saw the autopsy report from that year. Their method really was abnormally cruel…Where did Yang De Cheng get so many insulating containers for you to use?” He stared at the bag that was filled with insulating containers identical to the ones he had brought with him. That guy is really using plenty of his money to raise a child. I’ll have to properly pay him back later and treat him to eat some high-quality goods.
“Who cares if you die, just don’t drag my senior down with you.” He was not the least bit concerned about how the bastard in front of him would die; in fact, Dong Feng was sure he would be ecstatic to watch this guy get killed.
“You can rest easy, I greatly cherish life…Wait a minute, did you not eat the container of radish? Why is it washed particularly clean? Did you feel guilty?” Yan Si had curiously turned the containers around to study the labels stuck onto them and noticed this abnormality. “Are you a kid? Only kids dislike radishes…”
With a bang, the door was slammed in front of Yan Si’s face a second time.
“Child, I’m going to tell my old roommate that you’re picky about radishes~” It’s blackmail! Great blackmail! If I don’t take it with me, I’ll be letting myself down!
“Senior Jiu Shen, you don’t need me to go up with you?”
It was evening when Xiao Wu dropped Jiu Shen off and asked this.
“That’s right, does Senior Jiu Shen not need [help]?” Hua Niao, who was with them as well, blinked her large eyes with an expression that matched Xiao Wu’s.
“There’s no need, I’ve already troubled you guys enough by bringing me out to eat. My apartment has an elevator, I can just head up by myself. You two should just go continue on your date.” After this period of rest, his foot injury was significantly better. Jiu Shen actually felt quite embarrassed with how many people he had troubled because of this; recently, everyone had kindly taken turns to bring him around.
“Boss said you need to be careful these days,” Xiao Wu earnestly replied.
“It’s fine, I’m already at home. I’ll be going in first then, good night.”
Jiu Shen waved good-bye at Xiao Wu and Hua Niao and entered the apartment. The moment the elevator doors opened, he directly went into his residence. Tossing aside the crutch and stretching his muscles and bones, he hopped over to grab some clothes and shower.
As he passed by the coffee table, he switched on the answering machine. There were a few messages, with some being his cousins questioning and teasing him, while some being from his mom. Actually, they had just called before he had eaten dinner, but since he had recently gotten injured again, his family naturally was anxious, and his mom had called to leave a message for his apartment.
“Xiao Jiu, you have to take care of your sprain. The tuina specialist said that if you don’t watch it properly, it won’t heal completely and you’ll feel frequent pains later. I forgot to ask you just now, but did you boil and eat the medicines I sent over on time…”
“I ate them, I ate them.” Although this was a voice message and not a conversation, Jiu Shen still replied while taking out some clothes, “I ate the fruit too.”
As he prepared to hop towards the bathroom, he suddenly froze as he clearly sensed a gaze – belonging to a real person this time.
A person pounced out from a dark corner. Before he could even react, they grabbed him by the collar and turned him around. Then, with a sharp pain in his back, he was knocked down onto the floor.
He saw stars from the impact. Then a photo with his likeness was tossed onto his chest, and a black gun pressed against it, the mouth of the gun pushing down on his chest.
“So you were one of them too.”
Jiu Shen shook his head to finally get a clear look at the person holding him down; it was the girl with the silver motorcycle. Her expression was unfriendly and carried a faint murderous intent. “You police want to use cannon fodder to oppose us?”
“Can-cannon fodder?” Jiu Shen was dumbfounded.
“Because you don’t want to die yourselves, you choose some idiots to take your place?” The girl arched a brow when she saw that the other party still did not understand the situation, simply staring at her dumbly. A burst of anger suddenly surged through her. “In any case, it’s just not wanting to personally smell fishy, so it’s easy to understand your senior officials’ thoughts.”
“Huh?” Jiu Shen was still a bit lost, though he had an inkling of some parts. “No one wants to die, and no one wants to be cannon fodder.”
“If you don’t want to die, then don’t come barging in. If it hadn’t been me that night, you would’ve died.”
“Ah, right, I still need to express my gratitude to you. Thank you.” Jiu Shen was very sincerely grateful that she had let him off that night.
“Who wants your thanks!” The girl smacked his head with the holster of her gun. She felt like she was catching his stupidity too. With a few curses, she stowed her gun away and stood, then coldly glared at the adult cradling his head. “Whatever, just hurry up and back out so you can live for a bit longer.”
Jiu Shen pressed down on the throbbing area where he had been hit, with no idea why he had been beaten and feeling somewhat wronged. He sat up and, after some thought, seriously asked, “Why did you kill Lin Zi Lei? Murder is illegal. You’re still young, in the future…”
“She failed many times and the police were pursuing her, so there was an order to kill her. I specifically deal with these types of people; this is my job.” The girl shrugged and fished out a cigarette from her pocket. She struck a match and lit the end of the cigarette. “A cleaner.”
“…What about the other one?”
“Also a cleaner, but I obey his commands. That is a rule.” The girl blew out a puff of pale smoke and emotionlessly stated, “Plus he’s more vicious than I am. If he cannot get what he wants immediately, he will get rid of them. He works in a simple and quick manner. So you’d best stay further away from these cases. You can die however you want, but don’t end up dragging in others in the end.”
Jiu Shen turned off the still speaking answering machine and fell silent.
“Usually, we only target involved parties. But some do not follow the rules; as a police officer, you should know their methods too. If you want to protect your family, you should retreat quickly and ensure you keep your own life.” The girl snuffed out her cigarette and shot Jiu Shen a look before striding towards the door. “That’s all for now.”
“I still want to thank you.”
While Jiu Shen was not as sharp as Yu Xia and the others, he knew that the reason the girl had appeared here tonight was specifically to warn him. She probably could have done as she had with Lin Zi Lei without saying a single word, yet she had instead gone through the tremendous effort of circumventing the patrols to sneak in and tell him these words. “A girl like you has to be careful in that kind of place. Make sure to properly protect yourself.”
Ah, why does it feel wrong somehow to be telling this to a killer?
Jiu Shen silently contemplated whether to apprehend her. However, she had a gun, and he might actually end up eating a bullet. It was better not to act rashly.
The girl unpleasantly insulted him and shot Jiu Shen a glare before pulling out the shoes she had hidden out at the front entrance. “The next time we meet, it won’t be like this. You’d better think it through; living a few more years is better than living a few less years.”
From his seat on the ground, Jiu Shen heard the sound of the door being forcefully swung closed. She even helped him lock it.
Then, after some time, he suddenly wanted to make a call.
Soon after he dialled the number, it quickly connected. The person on the opposite end was in high spirits, seemingly watching a TV show. Theatrical effects from a variety show could be heard in the background.
“Nothing, I just heard your voice message…”
“Mhm, I ate them, I ate everything…”
“You and Dad don’t need to worry. I’ll take good care of myself and be more careful…Yeah, I promise you.”
“I promise you.”