Chapter 17: Julien Sixteen
TL: cici, Editor: Isalee
Synopsis: The sharp and short cry for help from the earpiece pierced the quiet canteen and even Fei Du sitting on the opposite side heard it.
First Published on Ainushi.
The sharp and short cry for help from the earpiece pierced the quiet canteen and even Fei Du sitting on the opposite side heard it. Luo Wenzhou redialed the number, but he could not get through.
Although there was only one sound, Luo Wenzhou still figured that it was Chen Zhen, the illegitimate taxi driver.
Chen Zhen reported Wang Hongliang because he had overheard Chen Yuan’s phone call, and he had some speculations based on hearsay evidence. He was never able to produce real evidence.
Probably because Chen Yuan was afraid of pulling her family down so as to leave nothing useful after Wang Hongliang murdered her, he took all the evidence in the name of the “anti-drug”. In the end, the only evidence Luo Wenzhou got from Chen Zhen was an old photo album of his sister.
When they departed, Luo Wenzhou could obviously feel the young man’s dissatisfaction. He had to explicitly tell him, “Don’t tell the others we have no evidence now, and don’t attempt to look for the evidence by yourself. If you recall anything at any time, call me – Even if you take the risk and find some evidence, it may not be useful. We may consider it ineffective.”
Luo Wenzhou thought that this sentence had made everything clear, and it should have been good enough to steer Chen Zhen away from trouble. However, it was hardly one day after their conversation and he was already in trouble.
Immediately, Luo Wenzhou placed the shrimp plate in the front of Fei Du: “Enjoy yourself, and when you are done with the food, please take care of the plates. I have something to do and have to leave now.”
Fei Du did not answer yes or no. Instead, he slowly poked and opened a box of lemon black tea and took a sip. He found it to be very sour and bitter and concluded that it was not suitable for a human to drink it; thus, he threw it aside. After this, he thoughtfully stared at Luo Wenzhou’s back.
Luo Wenzhou had Chen Zhen’s contact info. However, the number he saw just now was completely unfamiliar to him. While driving toward the downtown area, he placed a call to Director Lu.
“Uncle Lu, it’s me. I am in a hurry so I am not able to apply for approval now. Could you think of a way to ask someone to locate two numbers for me?”
Director Lu received such a call after he went off without any reason, but surprisingly he was not startled: “What number? Where are you?”
Luo Wenzhou quickly told him the Chen Zhen’s phone number and the number that had called him just now.
Director Lu hurriedly noted them down and asked before he hanged up, “What is your situation now? Can you ensure your own safety?”
“My name is Safe.” Luo Wenzhou smiled slightly, then he fiercely turned the steering wheel. The car turned to the ramp from Nanping Avenue, heading straight to the West District.
It was sweltering hot without warning at that night, and summer was in the air. Occasionally, birds screamed through the sea of the cars with themselves almost sticking to the ground, suggesting that a heavy downpour was about to strike.
The evening rush hour on Friday usually lasted longer. Fortunately, it was the last day of the traffic restriction. The central business district was warming up for the weekends. The huge open-air “Heaven Canopy” was full of eye-catching LED scrolls. Those lights chased the passersby. They went through the wide street and passed through Luo Wenzhou’s. Only when he completely entered the complicated streets of the West District did they cease their activities.
Director Lu was very reliable and efficient. Not long after that, a technician called Luo Wenzhou. Chen Zhen’s mobile phone was located near West Vista Street in the West District. The location of the unknown phone should be very close to him. The number had been registered, and it belonged to a woman named “Wu Xuechun”.
“Wu Xuechun,” Luo Wenzhou was surprised. “It is actually registered?”
“Yes, it’s registered under this name,” the technician confirmed. “Captain Luo, I will send her ID card information to your mobile phone later.”
The navigation system showed that he had arrived near “West Vista Street”. Luo Wenzhou slowed down the car – The reason that he dared to come over in the middle of the night was because he was sure that Wang Hongliang did not dare to hurt him.
A jackass like Wang Hongliang was very used to dividing people into various statuses and treating them with very clearly different attitudes: he was good at pleasing the superiors but he loved bullying the subordinates. In his opinion, some people were ants that were not worth mentioning, and it was nothing if some of these people got crushed and died. Some other people, however, even if he hated them to death, he had to try hard to please them.
Though Luo Wenzhou himself was not somebody important, fortunately, his father had not retired yet.
If Chen Zhen encountered danger while calling him for help, the other party must have been aware of his existence already. The number had been registered and it was very easy to track. Wang Hongliang should have immediately realized that it was only a matter of time before Luo Wenzhou would arrive.
Based on common sense, Wang Hongliang would actively contact him, find out his intentions, and seek a private solution.
However, this had not happened until now.
Luo Wenzhou immediately realized that no matter what had happened tonight, Wang Hongliang probably had no knowledge of it. It could be his men making their own decisions.
This was dangerous, but it was definitely an opportunity.
Luo Wenzhou’s mobile phone rang, and Wu Xuechun’s ID card information was received. He parked the car at the entrance of West Vista Street.
West Vista Street was a “pedestrian zone” that had various functions as an open-air barbecue, a night market and “big health care” (1) – this place was only accessible by pedestrians because the road was fully occupied by illegal booths. Except for “a dog riding rabbit” (2), other motor vehicles were not able to get in at all.
The air was filled with the smell of smoked and sizzling barbecue. A shirtless man sizzled the escargots in the iron pan. The “special service staff” whose faces were heavily powdered were standing at the corner of the street, eating barbecue while waiting for business. The smell of the sewers travelled with the wind. Besides, there were a few people who were brazenly bragging for gutter oil.
Luo Wenzhou scanned around, and he was almost suffocated by the crowd. He pondered for a moment and walked towards an illegitimate taxi driver assembly point.
The illegitimate taxi drivers “went off” early and were gathering together to gamble. A middle-aged man with good luck that day slammed the poker cards onto the cover of the car and laughed out with the yellow teeth: “Fucks, how’s that? Satisfied? Give me the money!”
As he was talking, he reached out and asked his companion to give him a cigarette. However, before his companion gave him any stake, a hand suddenly reached out behind him, handed over a cigarette, and lit it up for him.
Several illegitimate taxi drivers turned back and saw a very seductive man with wide shoulders and long legs.
That was Luo Wenzhou.
“Buddy, I need some information.” Luo Wenzhou gave out a cigarette for each man in the circle as he smiled and said, “Yesterday, because of the traffic restriction, I rode a brother’s car. However, due to my lack of attention, I left the contract that was just signed in the car. The contract is just a few sheets of paper. For others, it is worthless, but if I can’t find it, I have to commit suicide for the sin – I won’t let you find it for me for nothing. Whoever saw it and tells me, I have a thank you present for you.”
Luo Wenzhou always did what he said. When he came to this, he did not rush to ask his questions. Instead, he opened his wallet first and handed a red bank note (3) to everyone: “Sorry to trouble you but please help me spread the news, I will be sure to pay you for this.”
He was a master at scamming – he gave a detailed description of the make, model, and shape of the illegitimate taxi, but he deliberately only ambiguously described the license plate number. He talked about the first two letters and the last number, went over it quickly, and then described the driver’s appearance.
The illegitimate taxi drivers had their own organizations and site divisions. This little bit of information was enough for them to come to the conclusion: “Is this Chen Zhen, the kid?”
Luo Wenzhou closed his mouth in a timely manner. He kept his eyes flat and hesitantly ran his eyes across several people to make himself look lost.
With the motivation of bounty, the illegitimate taxi drivers quickly stopped the game and sneaked into the narrow alleys in all directions. Luo Wenzhou lit himself a cigarette. Before he could finish it, the news he wanted had arrived – Someone said he saw Chen Zhen’s car parked on the side of the road. He gave him the exact location and Chen Zhen’s phone number.
Chen Zhen definitely could not be reached at that number. Luo Wenzhou quickly paid with cash and followed the man to the place where Chen Zhen had parked – It was an open-air parking lot outside West Vista Street. The parking space was planned, but no one took care of it. Chen Zhen’s second-hand car was parked on the side of the road alone. There were many people near that area, but the owner did not appear.
There was only one surveillance camera in the parking lot. Half of it was broken by some kid. Obviously, it was dead.
The person who provided the clue probably felt that his money was too easy to make and felt a bit apologetic. So he volunteered to go around and asked for the whereabouts of the car owner, Chen Zhen.
Luo Wenzhou ran around Chen Zhen’s car alone and found some cigarette butts outside the door near the driver’s seat. The person who stood there was upset and left a footprint when he stepped on the ash.
Luo Wenzhou stood near the footprints. He leaned against the door and looked around.
Chen Zhen ignored his warnings and acted privately. He was most likely in an irrational state. Then what was he doing standing here alone and smoking a few cigarettes? Was it a sudden doubt in what he was doing?
Or… Was he waiting for someone?
At the time, the person who was just paid rushed back and whispered to Luo Wenzhou: “I think you might want to put a note on his car and let him contact you when he sees it. I just heard from the woman selling clothes there that she remembered Chen Zhen. He was strangely standing here for a long time, and then he went into ‘Blessing Grand View’.”
Luo Wenzhou: “Blessing Grand View?”
“It’s over there!” The guy raised his hand and pointed forward. There was a brightly lit entertainment center with a big sign that said “billiards, chess, massage, KTV” at the door just opposite of Chen Zhen’s parking lot. A series of cars were parked at the entrance.
Luo Wenzhou quietly sent the message, “Blessing Building, East Entrance of Vista Street, Huashi West District, requesting support” to Director Lu. He got rid of the guy with a few words and walked around the Blessing building. After he was familiar with the surrounding environment, he scratched his hair and swaggered into it.
The hall was covered with heavy marble. Some of the light bulbs in the large European chandelier were broken. It was a little dim. A few young people doodling around appeared to be hooligans. They patrolled and smoked in the hall. When someone came, they sized up the comer with their eyes.
Luo Wenzhou pretended as he had not seen them. He went straight to the front desk and knocked on the table: “One private room. A friend will come over later.”
After that, he picked up the wine menu next to him and quickly swept over the list that consisted of 50% more expensive than market price wines. It appeared that he was not aware of the fact and ordered a lot of them.
The reception did not expect such a big and stupid customer to fall from the sky and he hurriedly noted down the list: “Sir, please talk slowly…”
Luo Wenzhou suddenly closed his mouth.
The receptionist looked up in confusion and saw the “guest” looking at her with deep meaning in his eyes. He whispered: “What is the minimum spend threshold to order the ‘waiter’ here?”
The reception paused for a while and smiled as if she “totally understood”. She lowered her voiced as well as she gently took out an album from under the table and pushed it over: “You can look at the photos first.”
There were a lot of “artistic photos” in the album. They were very unartistic, and each of them was taken for a face with heavy makeup, like the sexy photos of areas in between the urban and rural areas.
Luo Wenzhou scanned through the album twice from beginning to end and he deliberately showed a little impatience: “These photos were all photoshopped to a point that even their mothers cannot recognize them. Do you have anything normal?”
The receptionist was about to answer when Luo Wenzhou leaned slightly forward. Apparently, he was unable to act anymore. He was impatient to reveal his real intention and asked: “Is there someone called Wu Xuechun?”
(1) Big health care: prostitution.
(2) A dog riding rabbit: Tianjin slang. Tricycle. In the winter, a person wearing earflaps looks like a dog, and the tricycles look like rabbits.
(3) Red bank note: In China, the only the red bank note is the 100 Yuan.
(4) Fall from the sky: Appeared out of blue.