Chapter 14: Julien Thirteen
TL: cici, Editor: MochiMochi
Synopsis: Originally, Luo Wenzhou wanted to pack up these demons and threw them out, but when his eyes fell on the old gaming device, he suddenly relaxed his facial expression.
First Published on Ainushi.
It was May 24th and it had been four days since the death of He Zhongyi, a juvenile in the Huashi Western District.
With his gloves on, Luo Wenzhou was leafing through an old album–which he got from the illegitimate taxi driver, Chen Zhen.
Chen Zhen and his elder sister Chen Yuan were twins, who were brought up locally by their grandparents. After the old couple passed away in succession, Chen Yuan, the elder sister, was admitted to a university while Chen Zhen gave up on education earlier and went out to make money since his academic performance was not good enough.
The girl in the photos was very delicate. She was grinning and showing two small canine teeth that were not very symmetrical in every photo.
This was the only thing she had left behind. She died mysteriously. Due to the fact that she did not have a decent death, the police conducted several searches over her personal belongings on the ground that she was suspected to be involved in drug trafficking. Chen Zhen was not able to keep Chen Yuan’s second-hand computer and mobile phone.
Luo Wenzhou flipped through the album from beginning to end, and his eyes stayed on several photos that appeared to be taken during university club events. In these photos, there was a girl who was very intimate with Chen Yuan. On the back of one photo, a date and a line of note were written in pencil: “Joined Tea Arts Club with Little Cui. Thank you for being there with me.”
“Little Cui.” Luo Wenzhou opened the communication log he obtained — about half a month before her death, Chen Yuan had a call with a user named “Cui Ying”.
At that moment, Lang Qiao knocked on the door of his office and waved at him listlessly: “Boss, come out to take a look at a brain-damaged man. Ten yuan for a ticket. If he is not brain-damaged, you don’t have to pay.”
The Yancheng Bureau Criminal Investigation Team collectively experienced the extraordinary features of Young Master Zhang. Nine out of ten of his sentences were bullshit. The 48-hour detention in the Bureau dried up his brain and nobody knew what still remained in that empty shell. The level of verbal intelligence it produced was deeply touching (1).
“‘Feng Nian Ge’? Never heard of that. I don’t know anyone with the family name Feng. Is this a man or a woman? Or tell me about how this person looks like. Maybe I have slept with him or her but I don’t remember the name.”
“Do I know any person in the Chengguang Mansion on the evening of the 20th? I know all of them… what, who are they? Well, uncle policemen, master policemen! They made me take a pound of white spirit that night. And who knows how many cups of red wine I drunk. And they also gave me half a dozen Champagnes! That’s a Trinity! It was already excellent for me to still rememeber who I was. How could I remember who I met.”
“I haven’t had any conflicts with anyone recently. I’m very gentle. Ah? Even beating someone up counts? Oh, then that’s hard to count… I just beated someone up, what harm can that do? Do they dare to take revenge? Better go inquire about who I am first!”
“How many times have I repeated? That cell phone was really not given by me. I have never given any gifts to anybody other than my lovers. Besides, even if I wanted to give him something, I would not give him a cheap cell phone, right? That’s too disgraceful!”
In addition to spending money and sleeping around, Young Master Zhang’s daily life was full of chaos. All great events and minor matters were just fleeting clouds. None of them would leave any trace in his heart. The state of his mind was qualified to be called “outside the dust” (2).
Luo Wenzhou stood there, listened for a while, and then made an assertive comment on Zhang Donglai. He said: “This kid must have been thrown over and got hit on the head by his father when he was a child.”
Tao Ran had with him the patience of the whole world and tried to repeatedly ask questions from various aspects. However, he was still not able to fish out any useful information from Zhang Donglai’s memory that was constantly being formatted.
Once the 48 hours passed, the lawyer hired by Zhang Ting blocked the entrance of the Bureau and asked the criminal investigation team to release Zhang Donglai based on the laws.
“I really can’t do anything anymore.” Tao Ran breathed out twice and shrugged at Luo Wenzhou.
Luo Wenzhou thought for a moment and slightly lifted his chin: “There is no sufficient evidence, let him go.”
Lang Qiao grabbed Luo Wenzhou: “Boss, He Zhongyi’s mother wailed outside yesterday and was photographed by some busybodies. Many people are there waiting for the excitement and are prepared to act on hearsay now. If you release him, what will they say?”
“We can let Zhang Donglai go.” Tao Ran thought for a moment and suggested, “According to the time of death and the whereabouts of the deceased before death, his alibi is relatively clear…”
“No, don’t mention anything else first, just say that there is no sufficient evidence,” Luo Wenzhou cut, “Don’t announce the details of the investigation to the public and release him first.”
Lang Qiao listened to his dictatorial practice and could not help but say: “Boss, have you gotten infected by Zhang Donglai’s disease? It can even spread through windows. This mental handicap must be a fulminating infectious disease.”
Luo Wenzhou knocked at her head once: “So loquacious, be careful with the nasolabial folds.”
Tao Ran, on the other hand, muttered to himself for a moment and thoughtfully said: “You want to…”
“Mm, from now on, no one is allowed to leak the investigation progress and any related details of the case. Just tell them that ‘There is insufficient evidence, therefore we have no comment. We are re-investigating the social relations of the deceased from childhood to now.’” Luo Wenzhou nodded at Tao Ran, then said plainly, “This is discipline, I will punish anyone who violates. Dismissed.”
A migrant laborer died bizarrely and the culprit was a nephew of the director of the Bureau. He would soon be released because of “no sufficient evidence” — this news travelled even faster than what the Lang Qiao gang had worried. The procedures for the release of Zhang Donglai had not been completed yet, but the entrance of the Bureau had already been blocked by various physical and online media.
As if the telephone number of the criminal investigation team had turned into a hotline, it rang again and again with one call after another. Even Director Lu, who was there in place of Director Zhang temporarily, was alarmed and called Luo Wenzhou to his office for enquiry.
From the other side of the window, Director Lu took a look at the people standing outside the reception and asked Luo Wenzhou with a rather dignified look on his face: “Are you sure you can handle this?”
Luo Wenzhou smiled at him unconcernedly: “You don’t even feel relieved when I am in charge?”
Director Lu stared at him: “Be careful when you want to go fishing with bait. Don’t put yourself in trouble — the leaders of the city will certainly give us pressure. I can handle them for you for at most two days. Carefully consider what to do.”
“Thank you, Uncle Lu.” Luo Wenzhou thought for a while and lowered his voice slightly. “Don’t worry about Wang Hongliang. He managed to keep all those things under wraps only because no one has investigated him for years. I don’t believe anyone can hide the truth from the masses.”
Director Lu smiled and looked at him with a severe countenance: “As long as we can verify that the situation reported is real, no matter how deep his roots are inside the system and who is protecting him behind, as long as Old Zhang and I am still here, we can handle him — But you still need to be careful. Do you understand?”
When Luo Wenzhou went downstairs, he met with Zhang Donglai’s “friends and family” accidentally.
In order to reduce social repercussion, Zhang Family didn’t send anyone other than Zhang Ting to pick him up. Obviously, they wanted to keep a low profile as far as they could.
Unexpectedly, things went athwart. The children were all debts. Zhang Donglai’s disreputable gang somehow heard of this and rushed to the Bureau as if they desired to see the world plunge into chaos. Several luxurious cars parked at the entrance of the Bureau and several gaudily dressed men and women rushed to the stage. Nobody could tell whether they came to show off or to lose face.
The lawyer rolled up his sleeves and went to get Zhang Donglai while Zhao Haochang followed Zhang Ting closely — among Zhang Donglai’s group of shameful friends, this couple appeared to be unusually fresh, pure, kind and simple.
Of course Fei Du was also there. This time however, he, the leader of all playboys, was there accompanying Zhang Ting with a low profile like a pure outsider. Luo Wenzhou saw him and found that he dressed formally, wore headphones and devoted himself to playing a very old “PSP”.
Originally, Luo Wenzhou wanted to pack up these demons and threw them out, but when his eyes fell on the old gaming device, he suddenly relaxed his facial expression. For the first time in forever he didn’t pick a quarrel and instead, quietly walked to Fei Du’s side. At the same time, he took a deep breath and mentally created a state of mind — he decided to keep his emotions stable even if he saw this kid playing a restricted bloody violence game.
Unexpectedly, after a long moment of building up his psyche, Luo Wenzhou leaned forward and saw a group of charmingly naive “big-eyed lamps” running on the screen of Fei Du’s old PSP — the overbearing chief was actually playing “Patapon” (3) enthusiastically.
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
When Fei Du was fighting all the way though, Zhang Donglai, who was yelling, finally came out. He walked with the wind and exclaimed loudly before actually stepping out of the Bureau: “Everybody who has come today is my brother. From now on, if anything happens, just tell me! Your brother, I, will help you even if I have to let knives stick into my ribs (4) — even if my ribs will turn into a knife holder!”
Fei Du’s big-eyed army had been advancing and retreating properly, but a mistake was made after he heard this bloody claim. Once a wrong move was made, they routed like a landslide.
Luo Wenzhou kept silent until he saw “game over”, and then spoke slowly: “I have been puzzled for a while. Why are you mingling with Zhang Donglai’s gang?”
Fei Du glanced at him and put his gaming device into his pocket unhurriedly: “Because I think he lives a particularly philosophical life.”
Luo Wenzhou was not able to figure out whether this comment was commendatory or derogatory.
Fei Du waved at Zhang Donglai who was running over to him, turned his head to give Luo Wenzhou a false smirk, and then went to talk with Tao Ran.
This group of young masters swaggered their way out of the Bureau. One could use his toenails to figure out (5) how excited the media outside were.
Lang Qiao seemed to see the hot topics appearing in future weeks. She could not help but cover her eyes and whispered to Tao Ran: “I don’t dare to look.”
Tao Ran: “Don’t look. Go work.”
Just when the young masters arrived at the entrance, a figure suddenly popped out of the way and rushed into Zhang Donglai’s gang.
The figure had thin body and withered hair, who was no other than He Zhongyi’s mother.
Several playboys leading in front inexplicably looked at each other with the funnily dressed woman for a moment, and one of them whispered: “Who is she?”
He Zhongyi’s mother’s blood-stained and dry eyes brushed over the faces of several people. Her lips had twitched a few times. The voice like that of a baby cat came out of her throat: “Who killed my son?”
She could not pronounce the words clearly and her accent was heavy, so she had to ask repeatedly for about three to four times before people could figure out what she said.
Zhang Donglai’s face darkened slightly. He said as though he had encountered something that brought him bad luck: “Who knows? Anyway it’s not me.”
After he finished saying these words, he lowered his head to avoid the woman’s eyes, took the lead to step out and walked past by rounding her. His friends and relatives followed him closely, scattered to both sides and avoided the woman as much as possible, as though they were eluding plague.
“Is this woman mentally abnormal?”
“Let’s keep our voice down a bit. She is also very pitiful.”
“Is it not pitiful to be arrested and locked up in a small dark house for no reason?”
“Let me tell you, I was wronged more severely than Dou E (6). I don’t even know her son…”
The woman stood still, stared blankly at those who walked past her sides indifferently: “Who killed my son? You…you can’t go…”
Seeing that the group of people was about to leave before her eyes, the woman was anxious. She aimlessly reached out in the air to catch something and accidentally got entangled with a girl’s long hair.
The girl immediately screamed as if she was a cat whose tail got stepped on, grabbed her hair, pressed it to her own chest, jumped to the side and hid behind a companion. The young man next to her instinctively reached out and stopped the old woman: “What are you doing, are you ill?”
The woman bumped into the young man’s hard arm, fell to the ground and happened to hit Fei Du, who came out at the end of the gang.
Fei Du was originally saying goodbye to Tao Ran. He was shocked by the person who came out of the blue, and stepped backward due to the accident.
Before he could react, the woman stretched out her chicken-claw-like hands, grabbed Fei Du’s valuable trousers desperately as if she was clutching a life-saving straw, and said incoherently: “You can’t go! You can’t go! You need to give me an explanation… You can’t go…”
Several policemen were going to pull her away. The young man who pushed the woman down also frowned and walked towards them: “Mr. Fei…”
Fei Du got shot even when he was laying down (7). He frowned at the woman on his body and patted her on the shoulder awkwardly: “Would you like to get up first?”
The woman suddenly raised her head and looked into his eyes for a short moment. She then cried with dropping tears. The image was indeed not very decent. Her deep sorrow had turned her into mud.
Fei Du was suddenly stunned as though he saw someone through her eyes.
He bent down, held the shoulder of the woman very softly, supported her to help her stand up, and then waved at Zhang Donglai’s gang: “You guys go first.”
(1) The level of verbal intelligence it produced was deeply touching: Sarcastic way to say someone is stupid.
(2) Outside the dust: A Taoist concept. The state of mind that is free from worries and all matters in the world.
(3) Patapon: A cute video game (as claimed by the author of this novel).
(4) Your brother, I, will help you even if I have to let knives stick into my ribs: A idiom about friendship, means “I will help you at the loss of my life”.
(5) One could use his toenails to figure out: Means something is very obvious.
(6) Dou E: The protagonist of the famous Yuan Dynasty Chinese Play The Injustice to Dou E. She was wronged and executed. This injustice touched the heaven and earth and in order to prove her innocence, a heavy snowfall happened in the midsummer.
(7) Got shot even when he was laying down: Means got into troubles / got blamed for no reason.