Chapter 18: Julien Seventeen

TL: cici, Editor: Isalee

Synopsis: Fei Du looked at her through the glass window for a while, feeling that she was a snail without a shell.

 

First Published on Ainushi. 

 

“Wu… Wu Xuechun?” The receptionist’s smile suddenly froze.

Luo Wenzhou looked at her. The sharp gaze sliced out a seam from his fake ambiguity. He asked in a low tone: “What’s the matter?”

The receptionist seemed to be stunned by his gaze and could not help but move her eyes off him. Then she forced herself to calm down and she smiled at Luo Wenzhou sweetly: “No, this is how it is. Our waitresses here usually use English names. Since you suddenly said a real name, I was not able to map the person immediately… Wu Xuechun… Is Wu Xuechun ‘Linda’?”

Luo Wenzhou leaned back and did not answer. He stared at the reception lady for a while and asked coldly: “What? Do I need to show you my hukou (1) for ordering a waitress?”

The receptionist hurriedly apologized, arranged a private room for him, and led him in. Luo Wenzhou was not sure if it was his imagination or if there were more people secretly observing him.

After he walked away, the receptionist sighed heavily, took out a commercial walkie-talkie on the side, and whispered: “The person you said is here. He’s in the ‘Furong City’ room.”

The other side first responded with noisy conversation, then a man’s voice asked: “How many are there?” (2)

“Ju-just one.” The receptionist bit her lips. Her palms were sweating. She was almost unable to hold the big black thing. “Can you please, next time, don’t let me do this, I…”

She didn’t finish her words. A faint curse came from the other side. “Damn, it’s one person. He really thinks he’ll live a long life. If I had known that, I would have waited at the door, caught him with a sack, and killed him. What a waste of time!”

The other party disconnected the line while cursing.

At this time, a girl in a white dress was pushed in by two people. A badge with “Linda” written on it was hanging on her chest. That was Wu Xuechun.

Wu Xuechun passed the front desk and helplessly looked at the receptionist. The two women looked at each other briefly and quickly moved their eyes away.

A few minutes after Luo Wenzhou left, Fei Du did not bother to eat anymore, so he came out from the bureau’s canteen. When he came out, he saw that Mother He had already woken up. A police officer on duty was trying to persuade her to go out to stay in the hotel. Mother He kept her eyes wide open on her sallow face,  firmly grasped her clothes, and she did not speak or nod.

She did not understand anything outside her world, so she always suspected that others were lying to her. Therefore, she was always helpless.

People who lived in relatively secluded environments all the year round with no connections with the outside world often had such timidity and stupidity. For this woman who had been ill for many years, her son was the only one she could count on. He was also the only source of protection and connection with this bustling world.

Fei Du looked at her through the glass window for a while, feeling that she was a snail without a shell.

He did not disturb Mother He as he quickly left the bureau and went to Huashi West District.

“Furong City” was a private room in a corner. When Luo Wenzhou entered, he felt that something was not right in the room – it was not as dark as the other private rooms. He swept his eyes across the private room and found something worth noticing in a corner.

While walking around Blessing Grand View just now, Luo Wenzhou discovered that for some construction reason, several windows around the four corners of the building were not sealed. It seemed that there was one in this room.

The window of a KTV room should not be open, so a piece of blackout cloth was used to glue it with the wallpaper and it was sealed from the inside. It probably was glued a long time ago. Some places were broken, and some road lamp light leaked through the gap.

Luo Wenzhou glanced at it as if he took no notice of that and quickly averted his eyes. He turned on the music casually and looked at the ceiling pretending he was looking for a smoke alarm.

It seemed that he did not see anything abnormal, so Luo Wenzhou fished out his cigarettes and lit one for himself.

He held a lighter in one hand and naturally placed his other hand around the fire. Alongside this movement, he opened a piece of paper hidden in the palm of his hand.

When the girl at the front desk pushed the album to him for the second time, she used the photo album as cover and handed him a note.

There was a line of words written with a ballpoint pen in a hurry, saying: “Someone is waiting to corner you.”

Luo Wenzhou felt a bit out of place.

Of course, he knew that someone was waiting to corner him. Chen Zhen called him for help, so the other party must have expected him to come. Therefore, Luo Wenzhou deliberately mentioned “Wu Xuechun” at the door and simply came in. He behaved like he was very experienced but not so smart. He made himself look alert, but it was a confused alert.

Therefore, the people hidden behind the scenes would think that they would definitely win the game. They would not do something desperate to fight him, thinking that they themselves were very clever.

Luo Wenzhou intended to use himself to lure the enemy, and then played as an oriole from behind (3).

But he did not expect for a strange receptionist to actually secretly help him.

Considering this, it was obvious that his arrangement to the “Furong City” private room was also the girl’s trick – in case something happened, there was a window in the private room, and he had a channel to escape.

Luo Wenzhou stroked his chin with his hand and had an infinite amount of emotions in his heart.

He thought: “Being handsome does have its benefits.”

At this moment, the door of the private room was pushed open from outside. Luo Wenzhou quietly put down the lighter, held the note in his palm of his hand, and looked up.

A girl in a white dress stood at the door. Her dyed long hair looked a little dim, and her makeup was extraordinarily thick. The girl grinned at him and said with a delicately pretty voice: “Hello sir, I am Linda.”

Luo Wenzhou: “…”

This girl’s nose and eyes looked like they had been reorganized by cosmetics after being wiped out. He really could not tell if she was Wu Xuechun herself.

Several waiters followed her in and arranged the wine he had ordered.

Luo Wenzhou nodded at the girl: “Take a seat.”

Linda was full of service spirit. After entering the private room, she was not idle at all. While taking the initiative to talk with Luo Wenzhou, she put the wine on the table neatly and quickly. When Luo Wenzhou just wanted to get rid of the cigarette ashes, she was already standing in front of him holding the ashtray, waiting to pick up the ashes. And she asked him in a very lovely tone: “Handsome, you ordered so many drinks, there must be many guests. Would you like me to call a few more sisters?”

Her tone was very delicate, but she could not help but leak out a little nasal sound. When Luo Wenzhou got closer and looked at her, he could see that her eyes were bloodshot – it seemed that she had cried just now, and the thick makeup was probably used to cover up the red nose and eye bags.

Luo Wenzhou posed for a while, gently picked up her chin, and carefully looked at her from side to side. The movement was very similar to that of a satyricon, but his expression was very grim as if he wanted to find the little bit of similarity between her and the girl on the ID card. After a while, when he was about to retract his hand and talk about god-knows-what conclusion he had reached, Linda suddenly grabbed his wrist.

Luo Wenzhou blinked his eyes softly.

With his about-to-be-retracted hand, Linda made a false pushing action that looked genuine and chided: “Handsome, no! I’ve got ‘that’ today so I can only drink wine with you.”

As she was talking, her whole body fell backwards softly and weakly, just right to turn over a bottle of wine on the coffee table. The bottle was about to fall, and the girl’s thick and colorful face showed a flash of tension.

At that moment, Luo Wenzhou suddenly reached out behind her, caught the bottle, and put it into her hand without sprinkling it.

Linda was stunned.

Luo Wenzhou sighed silently. He had already figured out that there was a bug in the private room. It was either under the coffee table or at the base of the sofa – it now seemed like it was under the coffee table. The girl tried to pretend that there was an accident and used the spilled wine to destroy the bug. The action was too obvious.

Luo Wenzhou shot a glance at Linda and said with double meaning: “Girls should be careful when doing things, don’t be clumsy.”

Thinking that he did not understand what she meant, Linda’s artless face immediately showed an anxious expression. On the other hand, Luo Wenzhou leisurely put the bottle back in its place and said in the manner of chatting: “How long have you been here? Do you have a boyfriend?”

Linda looked at him blankly and answered subconsciously: “More than one year. No.”

Luo Wenzhou stared at her eyes: “Haven’t thought about it?”

Linda nodded.

“You will have to consider it some time.” Luo Wenzhou smiled. With his fingers gently knocked at the edge of the coffee table, he lowered his voice and asked, “Are there any boys who are close with you?”

He had a pair of slender hands. When they were knocking regularly, they were very attractive. Linda glanced at them instinctively and found that his fingers were not always knocking at the same place. They kept moving in different directions… it seemed like a character: “Chen”!

He knew that there were monitoring and eavesdropping devices in this room!

Linda – Wu Xuechun’s eyes were covered with a layer of water vapor. She resisted her emotions and carefully chose her words: “There is… there is one who used to be my neighbor. I was harassed after work so he helped me, and he has been taking care of me all this time… But what is the use? I belong here, and he must hate me in his heart.”

Luo Wenzhou: “Hate you?”

Wu Xuechun did not say “dislike”, but she used “hate.”

In this sentence, she expressed her relationship with Chen Zhen, and she said “belong here”, and actually knew some inside information “here”. That was probably was related to Chen Yuan’s death.

Luo Wenzhou paused and whispered, “Is the boy still in ‘local area’?”

Wu Xuechun nodded at him. “I don’t dare to face him. As long as he is still well, I am satisfied.”

Luo Wenzhou breathed with relief. It seemed that Chen Zhen was only locked up temporarily. This girl was more clever than he imagined.

He leaned back against the sofa and asked, “What is he doing now?”

Wu Xuechun always met and accompanied visitors in her life, so she was very good at observing people. When seeing his slightly relaxed body language, she understood that Luo Wenzhou had understood her hints. The next sentence seemed to be asking the purpose for Chen Zhen’s visit to Blessing Grand View.

Wu Xuechun forcibly restrained the desire to look in the direction of the surveillance camera, organized her language, and said softly: “I don’t know. He’s probably busy. I heard that there is a ‘kid’ in his family who left home a few days ago. I think he is looking for the kid all over the world. I heard that the ‘kid’ has been here after school and was hanging around with a dubious boyfriend. He came to ask me for that a few days ago.”

“Missing child.” Luo Wenzhou asked, “Why didn’t he call the police?”

“It’s useless. Nobody will take care of this case.” Hearing the word “police”, Wu Xuechun trembled and replied softly. Then she remembered something and added: “The kid wrote the name of a place on the homework workbook, and it is also a place that is nearby. He lives very far away and so he also asked me about it.”

Chen Zhen was here to inquire about the “Golden Triangle Area”!

The surveillance camera and the bug sent the chat between the two to someone.

On the second floor, a luxurious private room was filled with the smell of alcohol and something strange. A few men and women who were obviously unconscious from the drug began to have sex in various gestures in order to disperse as soon as possible.

Several men sat in a circle on the sofa, staring at Luo Wenzhou through the cameras and headphones. Their leader was the captain of the official Huashi District Criminal Investigation Team. They were quite calm. They did not follow the others in taking drugs. They just drank a little bit of wine and completely ignored the mess behind them.

One of them poked the screen and said, “This Luo has been chatting with the woman for over ten minutes already. Why hasn’t it been done?”

The captain said calmly: “Didn’t you see it? He is questioning the guy’s whereabouts. Now he knows that the guy is alive, and he dare not act rashly.”

“How do you know?”

“The kid must have told him nothing.” Captain Huang took up his tactical self. “If Luo knows what is going on here, he wouldn’t dare to break in here alone… By the way, this woman is really earning our money while leaking our secrets, let’s get rid of her later.”

“Captain Huang, how should we deal with this Luo person then? Will you report to Director Wang tomorrow?”

“Director Wang? Director Wang is old and he has become soft. If you tell him about this today, he might bring cash to the kid’s home and ask him to leave tomorrow – Even if this Luo is sensible and gets on the same ship with us, the present that we have to give him in the future will be indispensable. Things will never be over in that case. It’s better to solve the problem now.” The captain smiled ruthlessly. “But we can’t deal with him here. A murder just happened in the West District. It’s too sensitive now. We need to be quiet.”

“What do you mean by saying…”

“Keeping the boy named Chen. After the problems are solved, use the little bastard as bait to hook him out,” Captain Huang licked his lips. “If he meets a criminal he caught before on the way, it would be fun. After all, our job is dangerous, isn’t it? The premise is that the little bastard is obedient. Have we given him an injection?”

One person next to him stood up immediately: “Yes. I will have a look.”

Captain Huang looked up and avoided a drugged girl with a look of disgust. He slowly took a sip of his drink and thought, the so-called “elite” of the bureau only had this level of skill. He leaked everything about himself only to get this bit of information. He was under their supervision during the whole process. It seemed that all industries or professions were the same. Whether one could be successful only depended on one’s dad.

He took a sip of wine with his face in a haze and he looked at Luo Wenzhou who was still exchanging code words with the prostitute. A feeling of detesting the world and society that could not be described rose in his mind.

At the moment, the person who just went out suddenly slammed in: “Captain Huaaaaaaaaang… He… he… he…”

The captain looked up impatiently and saw his man’s pale face. The person was in fear as if he was hit by thunder and said incoherently: “Died…died!”

Captain Huang frowned: “You fucking silly thing. You can’t even speak. What died?”

“That… that…” The man pointed in the direction of the locked room with Chen Zhen inside it with his tongue tied in a knot.

Captain Huang suddenly understood the guy’s meaning, and he felt his scalp was blowing up. Standing up from the sofa immediately and smashing the person’s face with his own glass of wine, Captain Huang roared: “Died! Who told you to kill him?”

The man put on a long face with wine on it: “No… no one killed him, we gave him an injection, just a little bit, just a little bit! Captain Huang, if this gang of bastards here took it, they would feel nothing. Who would expect that he would die because of it? Is this fucking porcelain-clashing (4)?”

A one-time drug overdose could cause death, but how much was too much varied from person to person – There were people that died from allergic reactions because they ate a peanut or sipped some milk. Of course, there were people who died from a small amount of drugs, but those were one of the few extreme cases. No one expected that someone young like Chen Zhen would be so weak.

Captain Huang’s brain screamed. He suddenly turned his head around and stared at Luo Wenzhou in the screen. While speaking to himself he said: “Now this is going to be hard to solve — we have to keep him here.”

 

 

 

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(1) Hukou: A household registration record issued to a Chinese family.

(2) There is no singular/plural word form in the Chinese language. Therefore, the man was not able to figure out that it was only one person from the receptionist’s words.

(3) play as oriole behind: The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the sparrow behind. An old Chinese idiom. Play as an oriole behind means to attack people when they are busy with other narrow gains.

(4) porcelain-clashing: As explained in Chapter 4. This is a kind of fraud. Someone brings a piece of porcelain, hits someone else, then throws that piece onto the ground, making it break and claiming that it was the other guy who hit him first to ask for compensation. Now, this word refers to any kind of fraud that involves hurting oneself (or simply pretending to be hurt) and claiming that this was a result of someone else’s action.

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