SILENT READING: Chapter 21 – Julien Twenty

TL: cici, Editor: Isalee

Synopsis: Then, Fei Du kept his mouth shut. Until they arrived at the Yancheng Bureau, he did not even speak a punctuation.

 

First Published on Ainushi. 

 

“Officer Tao, if the test result proves that I’m the one who’s overreacting, could you please keep this a secret?” This was the third call that Lawyer Liu had made to Tao Ran. The main idea was still along the lines of, “I wish I could travel back in time to half an hour ago and cut off the hand that I used to call you”.

Tao Ran sighed helplessly, feeling that this Lawyer Liu was really neurasthenic.

“Otherwise,” babbled Lawyer Liu, “I won’t be able to continue my business. What did I do? Please don’t tell anyone, my life is in your hands.”

Tao Ran had to make the same promise for the third time. He had almost sworn to the god or signed a document. The hesitating lawyer on the other side finally reluctantly agreed to send the tie to the Bureau for testing immediately.

After dealing with this guy, Tao Ran turned around to the back of the car and flashed an apologetic smile: “I’m sorry.”

He was tragically interrupted by Lawyer Liu in the middle of a movie. The main character and his lover in the movie started turning against each other — making the girl leave the theater with him during the tearful complaints was an ominous start for the blind date.

The girl did not say anything. She was probably cursing in her heart, but she held herself back. She was even considerate enough to say, “If you are busy, you don’t need to send me home – Sir, please stop in front of that metro station entrance for me, then send him to work.”

Tao Ran blushed – only because of embarrassment: “This… is not very…”

“It’s okay. We get caught by the boss on weekends too,” the girl said, “Besides, we only work overtime for the boss, and you are working for public safety — I also saw that rich second-generation murder case on the Internet. You need to quickly solve the case.”

Tao Ran stuttered: “Not, not confirmed to be the rich second-generation, we didn’t… didn’t… identify the murderer.”

During the conversation, the taxi had arrived at the metro station entrance. The driver stopped with a smile, waiting for the girl to say goodbye to Tao Ran.

Before she left, she remembered something and turned to him: “It was nice to meet a former classmate after leaving my hometown, only the way we met was a bit awkward.”

If there were cracks in the ground, Tao Ran must have jumped into one without looking back.

What was the probability of being in a city away from home and meeting a high school classmate during a blind date? What was the probability for that high school classmate to be the girl he secretly had a crush on during his school days?

Of course, this was nothing to be congratulated about. Even if he met Audrey Hepburn on a blind date, he would still have to leave the girl and go back to work.

It was not until he watched the girl walk into the metro station that his severely disturbed intelligence level returned to normal values. With a deep breath, Vice Captain Tao shook the porridge in his head, trying to turn it back into normal brain matter and refocus on the case.

The taxi driver observed and concluded, “I think you have a chance, young man.”

Tao Ran forced a smile: “Sir, make a U-turn there and go to the Bureau.”

The driver, a middle-aged man, was interested in love affairs and a “rich second-generation murder case”. He wanted to have a discussion with Tao Ran about it. At the time, Tao Ran finally started to regret refusing the offer to rent a car from his two bastard friends. To mute the talkative guy, he pretended to be sleepy, put on his headphones, and opened an audio app to plug his ears.

The audiobook streamed into his ears from the headphones with the laid-back background music: ” …’And what shall I have left,’ replied Julien coldly, ‘if I despite myself?’… “

This was not a very popular audiobook platform – there were very few bestsellers in it. Most of the audiobooks were old classics. Most of the time, only random hypnotic prose could be played. Only users who submitted their manuscripts and became “lead readers” were allowed to select the audiobooks they wanted to listen to.

The “lead reader” had to submit a large number of appreciations for masterpieces. Only when one of the appreciations was selected by the editor, the platform would play the audiobook he or she selected and would share the submitted appreciation with other listeners thereafter.

Tao Ran did not pay much attention to the content. He just used the music to isolate the noise so that he could sort out his train of thought.

Soon, the taxi took the subsidiary road and was about to arrive at the Bureau. As Tao Ran prepared to close the audiobook, he heard the closing words: “Now, this is the end of the part selected in The Red and the Black by the famous French writer, Stendhal. Let me share with you the appreciation article from the lead reader, whose ID is ‘the reciter’.”

The ID struck Tao Ran like a thunderbolt.

Friday night was supposed to be nice and relaxing, and the city was full of people who were welcoming the weekend. People working in the Bureau, nevertheless, were either still working or on the way to work.

After getting the two phone calls from Tao Ran and Lang Qiao, Luo Wenzhou could not stand to sit still in the hospital. His idea of leaving the hospital got Fei Du’s consent – President Fei did not have much work to do, and he just disliked the poor conditions of the public hospital.

The two men came to a rare agreement, and their power of action doubled. Fei Du immediately called his assistant and asked for a car. Luo Wenzhou shamelessly rode the car.

It was nearly ten o ‘clock. Lang Qiao sent Luo Wenzhou a WeChat message reporting the latest updates. After reading, he did not speak for a long time.

After a long while, he abruptly said, “The legal medical expert made a preliminary assessment that Chen Zhen died from a one-time drug overdose.”

While listening to Luo Wenzhou’s one-sided “chat” in the hospital, Fei Du got a rough idea about how his beloved car was damaged, and he now knew who Chen Zhen was.

There was no smell of blood on the side, and the temperature in the car was comfortable. Fei Du just took the night snacks that his assistant had brought. He steadily stopped the car behind the pedestrian crossing to wait for the traffic signal, and he took the advantage of the red signal to drink a few sips of banana milk. Banana milk made him calm, and he replied: “Sounds a little strange – doesn’t sound very civilized.”

Hearing the word “civilized”, Luo Wenzhou could not help but briefly look at him: “I don’t even dare to have such high expectations of criminals.”

Fei Du said: “Even a very bad man is not always willing to take risks. For example, those men who wanted to kill you and ended up using guns on the street — they did that because they were exposed to you. If you ran away, they would definitely be caught – they fear the results, so they become anxious. There is a causal connection, and it cannot be reversed casually. It is very difficult for a real lunatic to live in society for a long time.”

Luo Wenzhou agreed with him about this matter because Wu Xuechun had confirmed that Chen Zhen was “safe”. If the girl did not lie at that time, she at least witnessed the fact that the division martial and his gang from the Sub Bureau did not want to kill him. In addition, if they planned to kill Chen Zhen and him in the beginning, they would not have allowed him to talk to Wu Xuechun for such a long time.

But for Chen Zhen to have died from a one-time drug overdose — this didn’t sound like an accident.

“They may be the ones who injected the drug, but it’s hard to understand how a person who deals with drugs all year long actually did not manage to get a proper dose and killed someone by accident,” said Fei Du leisurely. “If I were involved in covering up for drug gangs and a stranger barged in with sensitive questions, I would not kill him rashly.”

Hearing him use the same tone as if he were discussing the weather, Luo Wenzhou’s scalp felt numb. However, as he felt so, he still asked, “And?”

“The first step is to get the man under control, do a thorough background check on him, find out how deep he dug into the truth, and see if there is anyone behind him. Then use drugs, violence, intimidation, threats, or any other means to undermine him. When I know that the deceased was just starting to come into contact with you, that he was not really your informant, that he did not dare to trust you completely, and that his background was simple with no relatives, then I will take the second step.” With the smell of banana milk, Fei Du said, “The second step is to use some drugs to get him addicted, and in his trance, repeatedly tell him that you betrayed him, brainwashed him, and convinced him that you were one of them. It would be easy for him to fall into despair thinking that there is no such thing as ‘justice’ in this world, and that for a man like him, the only way to survive is to compromise.”

Luo Wenzhou kept looking at him for a while and commented, “It is really wicked.”

Fei Du did not care about his comment and continued: “The third step is that after he is addicted, start to give him small benefits – let him know that we are not that bad, and that we still exhibit humanistic care. That’s it. I will have achieved dual control over one mentally and physically, and the man will be at my disposal. While you use all means to take him out, I only need to tell him that we have some conflicts due to dividing the spoils, and that we are fighting against each other. He will become a nail that breaks into your gang, carrying all his hatred toward you.”

Perhaps the tension between the two of them had just softened a bit, or perhaps the banana milk smell in the car was too good for a man to be serious, but his strange remarks did not make Luo Wenzhou stomp with fury for the first time. He was silent for a while and said, “If you break the law one day, we might really be in trouble.”

Fei Du made no comment. The next moment, he heard Luo Wenzhou say, “But you’re just talking about it. Additionally, you are only talking about it to me. Neither did you put it into practice, nor did you set up a ‘no-trace murder training’. This gives us a chance to occasionally take a short vacation or go on date with someone, so I still want to express our gratitude on behalf of the organization to you.”

Fei Du: “…”

Why was his reaction different than usual?

Luo Wenzhou nodded to himself again and said kindly, “We should send you an extra silk banner. Is there anything else? Please tell us for reference.”

Then, Fei Du kept his mouth shut. Until they arrived at the Yancheng Bureau, he did not even speak a punctuation.

At the entrance of the Bureau, just after Luo Wenzhou got out of the car, a police car rushed towards him and stopped beside him. Before the car was fully stopped, Lang Qiao had already jumped out from it: “Boss, Ma Xiaowei is missing!”

“Don’t shout.” The wound on Luo Wenzhou’s back was just sutured and he was still a bit paralyzed. He fished out a box of cigarettes with one hand, took out one cigarette with his mouth, and calmly said, “It is good for him to be missing.”

Lang Qiao widened her large eyes even more and opened her mouth. But before she could say anything, her eyes focused on something behind Luo Wenzhou, not far away from him: “That, that is… “

Hearing her voice, Luo Wenzhou turned around and saw a small and timid figure on the opposite side of the street. His head was popped out towards the direction of the Bureau. Another man came and led him across the road.

Lang Qiao: “Ma Xiaowei and that crooked-leg small glasses!”

Xiao Haiyang finally replaced his broken glasses with a new pair. The somewhat prim square frames made him look a few years older. He led Ma Xiaowei all the way to Luo Wenzhou: “Captain Luo.”

Luo Wenzhou saw him, but he apparently was not surprised. He nodded gently: “You are here? Go in.”

There was no sign of the weekend in the Bureau. There were people who were examining the bodies, people who were examining the necktie, people who were enquiring the witness, and people who were enquiring the prisoner — the criminal investigation team and the forensics department were in a mess. Mother He, who temporarily stayed in the watch-house, was inevitably alerted, and she had to take an eager look whenever something was happening.

When they came in with Ma Xiaowei, they saw Mother He walking in the corridor. After she saw Luo Wenzhou, she moved her suspicious gaze to Ma Xiaowei.

Luo Wenzhou said to Ma Xiaowei, “That’s He Zhongyi’s mother.”

Ma Xiaowei’s originally listless footstep suddenly stopped, and he looked at her with fear on his face.

The emaciated woman and the haggard teenager looked at each other. After a while, probably because the appearance of the boy reminded her of her son, Mother He called out to him: “Did you… you know my son?”

Ma Xiaowei stepped back.

“My Zhongyi was a good boy. You knew him, didn’t you?” She shuddered and took a step forward, looking at Ma Xiaowei. Staring at him for a while, her tears fell down. She straightened up her neck and drew a long breath, “Who killed him? Ah? Boy, please tell your aunt, who on earth killed him?”

Ma Xiaowei’s eyes were red, and then without warning, he dropped to his knees.

“Me, it’s me!” He burst into tears. “I hurt brother Zhongyi, I hurt you. I’m sorry… “

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