Chapter 6: Julien Five
TL: cici, Editor: Puissansa, QC: Lady Blue
Synopsis: “Fei Du? I told you before, it’s better not to involve him in this kind of stuff.”
First Published on Ainushi.
Early the next morning, Luo Wenzhou first returned to the Bureau, spoke to Director Zhang for a bit, then headed towards Huashi District Sub Bureau with Tao Ran. Lang Qiao, who arrived earlier, came out to welcome them as soon as they parked their car.
Lang Qiao passed them two cups of coffee and said in a low voice: “Why are you so late? They arrested Ma Xiaowei and accused him of committing murder. He was stuffed into the police car early this morning and was driven here directly. Cars of online press followed them all the way here, and were scattered just now.”
Tao Ran was immediately anxious: “What?”
Luo Wenzhou stretched out a hand and pressed his shoulder: “Did they follow the right procedures?”
Lang Qiao sighed, and said with a voice that was nearly too soft to be heard: “Captain Luo, Wang Hongliang, that old thing, was monitoring. They will not have made this kind of mistake.”
Luo Wenzhou asked in a low tone: “What is their evidence?”
“It’s a cellphone,” said Lang Qiao swiftly. “This is extremely fishy. The cell phone of the deceased, He Zhongyi, was with his roommate Ma Xiaowei. The official story is that the police who were in charge of this case in the Sub Bureau received a report last night saying Ma Xiaowei was seen holding a new cell phone, which seems very similar to the one He Zhongyi lost. The Sub Bureau then summoned him for interrogation immediately, and not only found the cell phone, but also found fingerprints of both Ma Xiaowei and the deceased on it.”
Luo Wenzhou frowned.
Tao Ran continued to ask as if he was planning to pursue the root of the issue: “Who reported it? How did the person who reported this figure out that the cell phone Ma Xiaowei carried was He Zhongyi’s?”
“It was said that that cellphone is a new model, and the brand is quite expensive. Not many people in this area use it. It seems like this one was given to He Zhongyi by some relative. Everybody here saw it when he just brought it back, so they have a very deep impression of it.”
“Who reported it, or why he reported it, is not important. Even if Wang Hongliang and his fellows broke into the room and searched it out by force, they can still make up a non-existent case reporter.” Luo Wenzhou waved his hand. “The crux of the matter is that cellphone. Ma Xiaowei being in possession of the victim’s cell phone doesn’t mean that Ma Xiaowei is the murderer. Using this as evidence is not watertight. Did Ma Xiaowei say anything else that he should not have said? Did anybody extort a confession by torture?”
“You’ve guessed it,” Lang Qiao glanced around like a thief After verifying that there was nobody around, she said: “I think they didn’t torture him, but that kid lied about his age in order to start working earlier. I asked somebody to investigate him last night. His ID card has been modified. He just reached 16 recently. I think he confessed when he got frightened. They asked him how he came to possess the cellphone; he hesitated for a while and then said that he picked it up.”
“And he picked it up at the crime scene,” Luo Wenzhou shook his head. “Then they asked him when did he pick it up? Did he say that he picked it up sometime around quarter past nine, after he heard noises and went downstairs to have a look?”
Lang Qiao threw up her hands.
In the situation where other witnesses have already given collateral evidence of the time and place, he said that he picked up a cellphone at the crime scene at the time.
Who is the murderer?
I didn’t see him.
Luo Wenzhou was speechless. He forcefully rubbed his chin: “It has been years since the last time I saw such an honest ‘murderer’.”
Before Lang Qiao managed to respond, she saw Wang Hongliang striding towards them triumphantly: “Yesterday, I held an area security meeting, so I was absent for just a short while. You know what? As soon as I got back, they told me that the suspect was caught already! The little leaders from the Bureau are really devoted to their work! Look at the efficiency!”
Luo Wenzhou’s darkened face warmed up forcibly. He responded with a perfect smile: “Big Bro Wang is pretending to be courteous, you are probably secretly scolding us for robbing all the credit.”
Wang Hongliang smiled so widely that his eyes were invisible while he exposed his teeth. His two front teeth towered out of his lips: “All of us are serving the People, there’s no credit to talk about.”
However, just before he could claim credit for himself, Lang Qiao chipped in out of the blue: “Director Wang, the chain of evidence is not complete, is it? The murder weapon is missing and Ma Xiaowei has not admitted that it was him. There are still a lot of points for suspicion. Do you need our help for the following work?”
Lang Qiao was a genuine “big eye lamp”. Zeng Guangling, an expert of the Bureau Legal Medical Department, had appraised this in person. He claimed that her eyes were even bigger than the eyes of “Xiaoyanzi” (1) in the TV drama. Normally, in order to prevent wrinkles around her eyes, Lang Qiao was reluctant to smile. However, under special circumstances when a smile is necessary, she would keep the corner of her eyes rigid and only move her mouth. Over time, she had developed the art of the skin-deep smile. Although she was an idiot in nature, she somehow still looked extremely noble and cold.
She could easily fill certain evil roles, such as the interrogator of criminals or the bad cop, without acting overmuch.
Lang Qiao was saying “help”, but her voice sounded more like she was cursing him. At the same time, her somewhat terrifying eyes focused on Wang Hongliang and stared until Director Wang, who is “serving the People” retreated his front teeth back into his mouth, like the head and legs of a turtle returning to its shell.
Wang Hongliang changed his facial expression: “What does that mean, Little Lang?”
“Ai, Little Qiao, how could you say things like that?” Luo Wenzhou stretched out his hand and restricted her, placing her behind him, and scolded her with a sentence that sounded neither heavy nor light. Then he looked down onto Wang Hongliang from his higher vantage point where he stood taller than him, and passed him a falsehearted smile. “Director Wang, we have not been able to help in the work previously. If in any case, you would use us for any following work, please feel free to ask us.”
Wang Hongliang had misgivings about him and didn’t dare to offend him openly. Instead, he pretended not to understand those agreeable words, and responded with a simple “hm”, turned around and left.
Lang Qiao glanced at Wang Hongliang’s back with her hands on her hips, “I’ve heard that letters reporting complaints against that old thing has already accumulated enough to fill up a shoe box. How can he still be that arrogant.”
Luo Wenzhou held a cigarette in his mouth and glanced at her: “What if we are not able to drag him down this time? Are you not afraid that he will climb up to be your boss in the future and make your life difficult?”
“Ha!” Lang Qiao rolled her eyes. “In the worst case scenario, I will just quit and sell my beauty for a living after that.”
“You are a lady, don’t be so shameless.” The almost imperceptible smile on Luo Wenzhou’s face appeared and disappeared swiftly. He then said: “That Ma Xiaowei is either the murderer or dimwitted. I personally tend to believe the latter because if it was me who killed somebody, I would definitely think up stories that make sense after it. Even if he’d said that he “stayed at home watching TV and didn’t hear anything”, that would be better than telling a ridiculous story to the police. Up until now, not a tiny trace of the murderer was found out at the scene. This person is bold, careful, cool-headed, cruel and has a very obvious sense of anti-reconnaissance. I don’t believe that he can be so stupid.”
“I also don’t think so.” Tao Ran then summarized and related to them what Fei Du had said last night in the car. “Based on all these, I think we should start our investigation from He Zhongyi’s private relationships. For instance, we can start from finding out who gave that cellphone to him. And I think we perhaps could ask about the man who lent him the shoes.”
Listening to what he said, Luo Wenzhou responded with an “em” and said hesitantly: “You say his shoes were borrowed? This opinion is very…”
Tao Ran said, “This is not my opinion.”
Luo Wenzhou was puzzled at first, then, as if his thoughts were connected to Tao Ran, he instantly identified the source of those words. His brows frowned swiftly: “Fei Du? I told you before, it’s better not to involve him in this kind of stuff.”
“I know. It was an accident yesterday,” Tao Ran cut this topic short, switched the topic and asked: “What do you think of this train of thought?”
“Possible. Let’s try investigating starting from those shoes,” Luo Wenzhou had the final say. “Tao Ran, continue to investigate this case. Lang Qiao, keep your eyes on the special group examining Ma Xiaowei. There are still a number of doubtful points about Ma Xiaowei; see what else he knows. Also, beware of little tricks from Wang Hongliang’s subordinates. I will repress Fatty Wang for you. When necessary, at any time, contact each other by phone. Now let’s go, ladies and gentlemen. Today we will work extra hours, without the extra pay.”
Lang Qiao had piled up her curiosity to the height of a mountain in her heart. As soon as Luo Wenzhou left, she ran quickly to catch up with Tao Ran: “Vice Captain Tao, who on earth was that handsome boy yesterday? Why did Big Boss Luo say not to get him involved?”
Tao Ran: “Of course it isn’t appropriate for him to come into contact with the case, he’s not even a policeman.”
Lang Qiao didn’t stop there: “Then why did big boss immediately agree with you when he heard that it was his opinion? Is that boy Conan (2)?”
Tao Ran sighed and turned back to look at her. Lang Qiao forcibly opened her already-very-obvious eyes wider. Those flashing eyes focused completely on him.
Tao Ran: “Your stare has produced wrinkles.”
Lang Qiao hurriedly stretched out her fingers to support the corners of her eyes and her forehead.
Tao Ran stayed silent for a while, then said briefly: “Fei Du is the… person who reported a case that Wenzhou and I solved together. It was seven years ago.”
Both Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran were one of those newly graduated youngsters who didn’t have hair around their mouths and who couldn’t do their jobs properly.
These characteristics were especially obvious in Luo Wenzhou. He was the son of a cadre, therefore very arrogant and willful when he was young. He refused to comply or obey others, since he thought himself full of talent and the cleverest person in the world–the second cleverest was that English guy Holmes.
He was always under the illusion that he was not going out to work, but to save the galaxy, therefore he couldn’t do his job with proper common sense. During the first days of his internship in the base units, if someone had randomly asked him to mediate a conflict among the community, he would definitely turn the conflict into a fight.
At nightfall of that day, the police in various units united to catch a gang of wandering robbers. People in the Bureau and the Sub Bureaus of all districts went out on the raid. Only Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran–the two young men who “did not have sufficient successes but more than enough failures”–were on duty.
“A guy who answered the emergency number 110 (3) called in and told us that a child in the area under our jurisdiction reported a case. The boy went back home after school in the weekend, and found the body of his mother at home. That child was Fei Du, a middle school student.”
Lang Qiao’s mind was empty for a while.
“We then found out that his mother committed suicide. Wenzhou told him personally, but he didn’t believe him… they haven’t liked each other ever since then.” During the course of the conversation, Tao Ran reached the entrance of the Sub Bureau. “You should have already figured out that Fei Du’s family is relatively rich. His father is a workaholic who was always away on business trips. Even when that event happened in the family, he did not come back for days. Fei Du was a bit isolated as a child. His father had hired and switched out several housemaids to take care of him, but he couldn’t get along with them, so he stayed alone in that house where a death had occurred. This was the first official case that we took care of, so it had special meaning to us. We both constantly think about it. That kid was so pitiful, there wasn’t anyone there to take care of him, so I brought him to my home for a few days and during festivals sometimes. In that period of time, we got in touch with him frequently. As time passed, we found that this kid had a very special talent.”
Lang Qiao: “For?”
After a while, Tao Ran answered lightly: “Crime.”
Lang Qiao immediately noticed that he used the word “crime”, instead of words like “reasoning” or “investigation”. However, before she could ask further questions, Tao Ran had stopped talking. He waved at her and walked away with hurried steps.
(1) Xiaoyanzi: The protagonist of both the novel and TV drama series My Fair Princess. Her actor Zhao Wei has a pair of big eyes.
(2) Conan: The protagonist of manga and anime series Case Closed. He is a very smart young detective.
(3) 110: The police emergency number of China.