SILENT READING: Chapter 23 – Julien Twenty-two
TL: cici, Editor: Isalee
Synopsis: After Luo Wenzhou put together and reviewed all the clues, Lang Qiao still had not brought in the lady. He looked up with his eyelids trembl involuntarily.
First Published on Ainushi.
At the time, Luo Wenzhou was pushing the door and entering the room. As he walked in with head bent and brooding, he heard Tao Ran’s query and looked up in surprise: “What happened?”
Tao Ran hardly cared to talk about the issue of the personal heroism cancer with “Captain China Luo”. Frowning, he said: “Zhang Donglai’s fingerprints are on the tie that Lawyer Liu sent. Per the initial assessment, this tie is consistent with the bruise on the neck of the deceased. There is a small amount of blood stains on it – He Zhongyi’s skin around his neck was broken when he was strangled. If they work overtime, the DNA test results could come out as early as tomorrow morning. The forensics team said that the possibility of this tie being the murder weapon is very high.”
Luo Wenzhou listened without speaking. After Tao Ran finished, he looked up at the clock. It was close to midnight.
“Go get him,” he said. “I reckon Fei Du hasn’t left yet. Even if he has, it should not be long – we can get him.”
Fei Du indeed had not left yet.
After they made notes on his testimony, he again sat next to Mother He as a companion for a while.
Perhaps it was the companion she had all the time, or the fact that the Bureau was brightly lit in the middle of the night, Mother He seemed to see the dim light of hope. Her mood was also stable. She was even able to chat with Fei Du: “Before you came, I seem to see the man who was here in the afternoon… what’s his name…”
She was referring to Mr. Liu, but for a moment she could not remember what he did for a living. After a moment of hum and haw, her mind was still in a mess, so she simply skipped that part and asked: “Have they found new evidence?”
The cozy chair for Mother He was not very suitable for President Fei. There was no room for his legs. The young master refused to curl himself up for the purpose of a good image, so he had no choice but to put his legs in an awkward position. As a result, it did not take long for his feet to get numb. he could not help but reach out and pat them: “Maybe… what are you going to do after the murderer is caught? Go home?”
Mother He lowered her eyelids, but she did not reply. She just glanced at his hand on the leg and said: “You’re not a policeman, are you? It’s very late, you should quickly go home.”
Apart from the leg numbness, Fei Du did not feel tired at all. For a young man of pleasure like him, it was just the beginning of the nightlife, and it was the time for him to be in the groove.
It was a pity that there was no beauty around today. He only had a wizened middle-aged lady as a companion. However, Fei Du treated ladies of all ages equally without discrimination. It might be a good thing for him to meet thousands of good-looking people in his life as he had cultivated the ability to not be dazzled by appearances.
“It’s okay. Let me stay with you for a while,” Fei Du said to her. “My mother left us when I was very young… Even when she was still above ground, she always had to take medications and was not able to go out for work. My dad was busy at work and he was never at home. I was in school. My school was far from home, so I lived near the school with the housekeeper. Once per week, I went home to meet her.”
Mother He looked at Fei Du timidly: “You are such a good-looking boy. Your mother must loved you so much that she must have been looking forward to seeing you at home every day. For mothers like us, who have no exceptional skills or achievements, the only thing left for us to look forward to each day are children like you.”
At these words, Fei Du beamed at her without turning a hair: “Hmm.”
As he looked up, he saw Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran coming over, both wearing overtime faces. Once they were a few steps away, Tao Ran waved at him.
Fei Du wandered over and grinned at Tao Ran: “Bro, how was the blind date?”
Fei Du had a very good sense of propriety. He said he would change his attitude, and now he changed both his vocal and body language when facing Tao Ran. As promised, he stopped stirring up more trouble. He became a very close but not too close brother.
“Drop it.” Tao Ran waved his hand with his face showing the complexity of the situation, looked at the eager Mother He, and indicated for Fei Du to follow them. “Come on, we need your confirmation for a few things.”
“What happened?” said Fei Du lazily, following them, “You finally realize that working as a policeman is such an unpromising career? I told you, even the guy who sells fried bread sticks downstairs at our company cafe earns more than your captain.”
The quiet Captain Luo got annoyed for no reason. It was so unjust that he felt hungry. He summoned an on-duty policeman crossly and gave him a handful of coins: “Get me some fried bread sticks from the 24-hour shop.”
Head sticking out, Mother He watched Fei Du and the policemen walk away. She was sitting in the corner, and her tears had dried up, forming a transparent film on her eyeballs, reflecting the cold city and the cold night.
Suddenly, her cell phone rang. That was an old phone which had been eliminated from the market by many smartphones, whose only function was to make and receive phone calls.
She doddered, picking it up in a panicked state: “Hello?”
There was a burst of rustling noise from the phone. Then, she heard a strange voice: “Have you seen the lawyer? He was paid to cover things up for the young masters, and came to report only because of conscience. Now the police clearly know who the murderer is. They must be very busy now, aren’t they? The evidence is conclusive. It will be hard for them to cover it up – are you willing to believe me now?”
Mother He’s scaly lips trembled, and she said in a barely-audible voice: “Who on earth are you?”
“I am here to help you,” said the strange voice. “The things on the outside are too complicated. You don’t understand them at all. They treat you so well only because they don’t want you blathering on this, because somebody is the murderer. They don’t dare to catch him.”
Mother He opened her eyes bit by bit.
The strange voice asked: “Are you ready?”
At that moment, Tao Ran ushered Fei Du into his own office, fished out a few photos, and without any preliminaries, he pointed at the silver-gray striped tie in the photos: “Have you seen this kind of tie?”
Fei Du glanced at it: “It’s generic. Everyone has one.”
Tao Ran: “Does Zhang Donglai have one?”
Fei Du was stunned, and the smile on his face suddenly faded almost completely: “What do you mean?”
Looking on, Luo Wenzhou found that this bloke had a sharp mind, it was a pity that he was not using it in the right place: “We mean exactly what you are thinking of.”
Hesitating for a moment, Fei Du stretched out his hand for the photo and carefully examined it for a while: “He does have one of from this brand. If my memory is accurate, it is a gift from Zhang Ting. Since this style does not suit Zhang Donglai at all, he usually only wears it when working at his father’s company. His friends once saw him wearing this, and it ended up being a joke for a long time. However, although Zhang was not a reliable guy, he still adored Zhang Ting. He complained about it on a daily basis, but he was not willing to toss it – What’s wrong with this tie?”
“This tie was found in the seat gap of Zhang Donglai’s car. His fingerprint is on it and it is suspected to be the murder weapon,” said Tao Ran, keeping his voice down, “Now, we need you to help us sort out a few things – on the evening of May 20th, in Cheng Guang Mansion, was Zhang Donglai wearing this tie?”
“No,” said Fei Du, “The video should have recorded that.”
Tao Ran then asked: “The 20th was a workday. Is it possible that he wore it during the day, but took it off and left it in the car or his pocket after work?”
“That I don’t know,” Fei Du frowned slightly. Then he seemed to think of something and asked, “Is there only Zhang Donglai’s fingerprint on the tie?”
Tao Ran’s expression only changed slightly, but Fei Du had already figured out the answer by watching his face.
He quietly stood there for a while. The smile that used to live on his eyebrows solidified. Then he slowly spoke: “Zhang Donglai can’t be the murderer. If the tie only has his fingerprints, it means that when the murderer stole or picked up this tie, he or she had already planned to frame someone.”
He talked slowly with his usual tone. Tao Ran, however, inexplicably felt his hidden anger.
Even since Tao Ran called him for Zhang Donglai’s alibi, Fei Du had always shown the indifference of an outsider. Although he had accompanied Zhang Ting to the Bureau twice, that was purely just accompanying her. He seemed like a complete downright “fair-weather friend”.
He never defended Zhang Donglai anxiously – he had not even taken initiative to ask them about their progress, or whether Zhang Donglai was still a suspect.
“I didn’t expect you to be angry for Zhang Donglai, I thought…” Feeling quite surprised, Tao Ran wrestled over his words for a moment, “I thought you weren’t that close to him? You didn’t seem to care about him.”
“I am not angry, I just feel that they went too far.” Fei Du turned his head and smiled at Tao Ran. That was a seemingly warm and calm smile, but then what he said let the cat out of the bag, “Give me a cup of coffee-flavored sesame oil.”
Tao Ran: “…”
The “not angry” Boss Fei looked perfectly calm, completely unaware of his mistake.
It was not until Fei Du drank a cup of instant coffee with frowned brow and sour face did he slowly breathe in relief: “When you released Zhang Donglai, you announced that there was insufficient evidence to prove him guilty. In fact, there was already sufficient evidence to prove him innocent at that time, right?”
Tao Ran was stunned.
Luo Wenzhou, however, nodded: “Yes. The DNA on the cigarettes that you sent was indeed He Zhongyi’s. We followed this clue and found that he left the Cheng Guang Mansion by bus to travel somewhere else, and was killed there. At that time, Zhang Donglai was still enjoying himself in the Cheng Guang Mansion. He has his alibi. We didn’t announce this when he was released because I had a hunch that the murderer must be watching this case closely. We released Zhang Donglai ambiguously, and he will definitely have the next move. As I expected, he sent us this tie.”
“Monitoring the case, and is able to put the murder weapon into Zhang Donglai’s car without being suspected. The murderer should be one of those who came to pick up Zhang Donglai from the ‘small black house’. Except for Zhang Ting and Lawyer Liu, we all happened to be in Cheng Guang Mansion that night.” Fei Du stretched his legs and leaned against Tao Ran’s desk. “Among us, I should be the one who knows the most about the case. So am I a suspect?”
“No,” Luo Wenzhou answered without thinking, “You just got lost in the small alleys in the West District. It’s way too difficult for you to dump a body there.”
Fei Du: “…”
Luo Wenzhou said: “Come on, Mr. Fei, we know that you have both fortune and virtue, and you can afford fried bread sticks. We are making your banner. Stop being moody and talk like a human.”
Tao Ran looked at Luo Wenzhou, then at Fei Du, feeling a little shocked. He had no idea what happened during the meal he was absent.
Fei Du stared at him blankly for a moment, probably slicing Luo Wenzhou into eight pieces in his heart which helped him barely maintain his demeanor. He said sternly: “Apart from me, Zhang Donglai’s lawyer should be the most knowledgeable about the case. The whole tie event may be his self-directed performance, but he has never met Zhang Donglai before and it should be difficult to get old Zhang’s tie before this murder case happened – Lawyer Liu directly reports to Zhang Ting. Moreover, Zhang Ting is more in line with the above conditions, and she must have had close contact with the deceased He Zhongyi. You need to investigate Zhang Ting’s alibi on the night of the murder.”
He paused before continued: “And the fourth person is Zhang Ting’s boyfriend, Zhao Haochang. he’s a famous legal advisor who specializes in mergers and acquisitions. Zhang Ting recommended Lawyer Liu to him. Today, he came here with Zhang Ting. On the night of the murder, he was in the Cheng Guang Mansion, and left after dinner…”
Luo Wenzhou: “Are you sure that he left after dinner?”
Fei Du pulled his mouth ambiguously: “What else could he have done? Would you have participated in the ‘midnight event’ in front of your future brother-in-law?”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
Fei Du: “Can you tell me roughly where He Zhongyi went after leaving Cheng Guang Mansion?”
Tao Ran first sought Luo Wenzhou’s opinion with his eyes, and only spoke after Luo Wenzhou nodded slightly: “He got off the bus near Wenchang Road, and then we lost him.”
Fei Du fished out a leather business card holder from his pocket, leafed through it, and took out a card——
Rongshun Law (Yancheng) Firm.
Zhao Haochang (Level Two Partner).
Address: 3rd Floor, Jinlong Center, 103 Wenchang Road, Anping District, Yancheng City.
Tao Ran jumped to his feet: “It must be him!”
Luo Wenzhou, however, gently rubbed his own chin. He had a hunch that this matter would not be solved as smoothly as he had imagined.
“No rush,” he said, “We don’t have sufficient evidence. There is no logical relation between He Zhongyi getting off at Wenchang Road and a lawyer working at Wenchang Road to be the murderer – is there any other clue?”
“When He Zhongyi first arrived in Yancheng, someone gave him one hundred thousand yuan,” said Fei Du. “If it was Zhao Haochang, they might’ve had some kind of connection before. It was He Zhongyi’s first time leaving home for work, so Zhao Haochang might have visited his hometown. Show his photo to He Zhongyi’s mother.”
Luo Wenzhou picked up his mobile phone and called Lang Qiao: “Big eyes, is He Zhongyi’s mother still waiting for the results? If she has not gone to rest yet, invite her to my office.”
Lang Qiao responded neatly.
Fifteen minutes later, after Luo Wenzhou put together and reviewed all the clues, Lang Qiao still had not brought in the lady. He looked up with his eyelids that trembled involuntarily.
At this moment, Lang Qiao burst into the room out of breath: “Boss, He Zhongyi’s mother is not in the Bureau. We don’t know where she is!”
Guys, good news to us! We have a new translator joining! She will be working with me on Silent Reading! In fact, she will post her translation for next chapter, let’s welcome her!