Chapter 64 Macbeth Five
TL: QuantumC, Editor: SilverandGold, QC: IsaLee
What, can the devil speak the truth? — Macbeth
“According to Dong Xiaoqing, Dong Qian often worked long-distance shifts. This one was not an exception. Because she lost her mother at a very young age, her father felt guilty about her abnormal childhood and wanted her to marry well. So he had always been working very hard to save up for her dowry. Then the customers who pay well usually are picky on punctuality, and stopping for restroom breaks means more time wasted on the road, not to mention that there may be gas-stealers at the rest areas. That’s why many long-distance truck drivers choose to push the hours. Driving for more than 10 hours non-stop is very common. As for why the crash happened there and then, I suspect that it was purely by accident. You see, Dong Qian was hospitalized for an allergy reaction earlier this year and somehow that had since left him with insomnia, aggravating the fatigue…Captain Luo, I also learnt that Dong Qian’s wife died from a car accident, and because of the mental trauma he couldn’t get back behind the wheel for a very long time. Would someone like him really hit another person intentionally?”
Luo Wenzhou listened to Xiao Haiyang’s report without interruption. He held back on his mentor instincts to avoid little Xiao who jumped at any trifling instructions and launched himself into the air again. Instead, he only replied with terse “yes”-es to show that he understood, and then suggested Little Glasses to not stay at work too late.
With this additional information, Luo Wenzhou judged Mr. Zhou Sr.’s death seemed less likely to be a cliche, heritage-battle-induced murder. For a celebrity family like the Zhous, however, anything could make the news headlines and fuel conspiracy theories. So it made sense that Zhou Huaixin wanted to involve the police early on to sway public opinion and clear himself out of the mess. Fei Du might have a point on this one.
Fei Du also said…Well, that asshole… Luo Wenzhou’s chest tightened as soon as he thought of him.
Heavy chested and empty stomached, he turned to the kitchen to microwave something to eat. Just as he washed his hands, Luo Yiguo waltzed over to him, fat hips swaying.
Lord Kitty must have just woken from its afternoon nap. Butt up and belly down, Kitty did a big, comfortable stretch and then “meow-ed” cheerfully and rubbed its body against Luo Wenzhou’s ankles.
Yiguo almost never fuzzed over Luo Wenzhou like a pet was supposed to, except when he begged for a treat. Flattered by its sudden, nice gesture, Luo Wenzhou bent down to pet it despite his freshly-cleaned hands.
Yiguo’s large round eyes were fixed on those reaching hands. Then suddenly, its fangs gleamed, and it pounced on them. But Luo Wenzhou was a seasoned ‘poop scooper’ too, so he had suspected that something fishy was about to happen as soon as the cat smooched. Familiar with the preludes to its attack, he successfully retracted his hands. The stinky booger missed. Then, his hand slapped back at Yiguo’s face and quickly quelled the ‘rebellion’ and squished it to the ground: “I knew it!”
Since the day the poop scooper’s autumn pants became too hard to bite through, Yiguo started to incorporate more hunting tactics like this — god knows where it had learnt them from — But the enemy was too cunning: he was never home on time and never respected my provocations. Yiguo thought while his stomach growled angrily. In the next moment, it was picked up again, as its rear feet dangled in the air.
“What the hell do y’all want from me? Hah?” Luo Wenzhou asked grumpily, “Daddy feeds you, Daddy warms you, Daddy’s patience from the next life is used up on you…and look what shitty things you do in return! Do you even have a heart? Hah? Unbelievable…”
Yiguo protested loudly.
Luo Wenzhou yelled back: “Shut up, you little brat!”
Yiguo quickly surrendered. Its tail dangled languorously. Its four limbs sheepishly held onto Luo Wenzhou’s forearm.
Luo Wenzhou glowered at it for a while, but still walked towards the pantry for wet food. The cat never held grudges as long as there was food. It jumped off and rolled onto its feet, then rubbed its head against his palm and committed to a one-sided truce.
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
He was so fed up with these frivolous folks.
Luo Wenzhou sat down on the floor. His right hand was still warm – the one that was harassed by Fei Du. When he closed his eyes he could still see that face with the skin-deep smile, a smile that messed up his heart rhythm. Then he felt cranky about that messed-up rhythm.
That bit of the crankiness peaked when he woke up before dawn from a messy, loaded dream and found that a part of him was, disharmoniously, wide awake.
It was not even 5 AM. Luo Wenzhou sat up, lazed in bed for a while, then finally gave up and got up to ‘unload himself’ in the bathroom. Afterwards, he splashed some cold water on his face and stood in front of the bathroom sink-table with his hands pressed on the sink. After a couple of deep breaths, he thought that if that shameless, spoiled brat Fei Du continued to mess with him like this, he would go ahead and get even. Son of a b**ch…why should upholding one’s moral standard be punished? What kind of world was this?
Suddenly, he heard a muffled “bump”, then saw Yiguo at the bathroom door.
Luo Wenzhou: “What do YOU want?”
Yiguo turned its head towards the bedroom and wiggled its tail. He could faintly hear “Anthem of the Five Rings” playing in the background. Luo Wenzhou was confused at first, then was finally fully awake — it was his ring tone. His blanket-buried cell phone was ringing.
“Zhou Huaijin’s flight landed on time, at around 2 AM. He texted his family right away, told them not to pick him up, and that he’ll just take a taxi. At that hour of the day, the roads were practically empty, so it shouldn’t take him more than half an hour to get home. However, the Zhous waited for a full 2 hours. When they tried to reach him again, his cell phone was powered off!”
Luo Wenzhou strode across a pool of police cars towards the Zhou family home — for the second time in 24 hours. He murmured to himself: “Isn’t Zhou Huaijin supposed to be some rich heir to a business empire? Why would he take a taxi cab from the airport in the middle of the night… Where’s his chauffeur? His bodyguards?”
Then he heard the annoying voice as it interjected, indolently: “This is him. Zhou Huaijin likes to keep a low profile. He is very polite and considerate, and doesn’t like to inconvenience others. He’s got a reputation among his folks — although some say that he is a bit too soft. Landing at this hour and not wanting to disturb his men — That’s very much like him.”
Luo Wenzhou looked ahead and saw Fei Du fully dressed as he stood at the entrance of the Zhou residence. He nodded to Luo Wenzhou and greeted: “Captain Luo.”
Both the nod and greeting seemed very at ease. It was as if the one that parted with Luo Wenzhou on bad terms last night was someone else entirely.
Zhou Huaixin had already started to wail himself. Like a pile of mud, he splashed himself on the sofa and couldn’t manage to get up at all. Before Luo Wenzhou even approached, he could hear him as he whined: “What did I say! I told you…that my dad died of a murder…but no one listened. Now my brother is missing too! Are you going to wait until every one of us perishes? Where are the police now? Well…what use do they have…the police are just a bunch of good-for-nothings….”
Luo Wenzhou knitted his brows together.
Then Zhou Huaixin saw that the one who stood next to him was Fei Du, so he added to the moans: “Fei, I didn’t mean to offend you...My brother…what would I do if I lose him? Those wolves are going to swallow me alive…Oh God…No…I can’t…I can’t take it anymore…my heart aches…My medicine…”
The maid hurried over and handed him a bottle covered with foreign labels — it was some vitamin pills from god knows which country. Fei Du took the bottle and helped him with the pills so that Mr. Zhou Jr.’s brittle heart could be pampered.
Luo Wenzhou took a glimpse at them, then realized that Fei Du had already changed out of his pretentious ‘good-student’ outfit. He now wore a semi-formal shirt and glasses. His shirt was a little wrinkled, so obviously Fei Du had been up for some time now.
At that time, the push notifications for news on people’s phones went crazy. It looked like every stock that could be remotely tied to the Zhou’s plummeted. The foreign stock markets became a feast for the big short. Fei Du’s attire hinted at where he had been after he left the bureau last night. This guy reeked of invested interests, yet here he was, consoling Zhou Huaixin’s lost soul with utter sincerity like a nobleman.
“Have we located the cell phone? Hurry! Tape off the scene, don’t allow irrelevant parties into the Zhou family’s house because now isn’t the time to disclose the information to the public yet. Has Tao Ran arrived at the airport? Let him collect the camera footage of the shuttle and taxi station at the airport.” Luo Wenzhou walked to the vitamin-drugged Zhou Huaixin and asked, “Mr. Zhou Jr., do you know when your brother decided on his itinerary? Does anyone else know his flight number?”
Zhou Huaixin pressed on his chest with both hands like the beauty Xi-Zi who frowned with heartache (1): “Yesterday, after Dad’s accident, I called him…Who else would know his flight? Everyone could know…I…I don’t know. His plane tickets were usually booked by his secretary I think.”
Right then, a neatly-dressed, middle-aged man broke into the room as he shouted: “Huaixin! Huaixin! I got on the road as soon as I heard. What happened? Why are there so many police officers here?”
After he heard this voice, Zhou Huaixin tossed his vitamin bottle and struggled to get up from Fei Du’s arms: “Brother Hu, my brother went missing!”
Fei Du composed himself as he fixed his shirt collar and nodded to that worried man. Then he turned to Luo Wenzhou at his side and introduced in a low voice: “This is Hu Zhenyu, the man in charge of the Zhous’ mainland businesses. He is Zhou Huaijin’s college friend, clearly an ally of the ‘Princeling’.”
Luo Wenzhou’s eyes couldn’t help but notice Fei Du’s hand that fixed his collar. They wandered along his neck and landed on his collarbones. Then he forced those eyes away, nodded perfunctorily, and turned to Xiao Haiyang: “Now that we have two related cases on the two generations of the Zhous, they are less likely to be accidents any more. I want you to dig deeper into Zhou Junmao’s car crash. Don’t take the girl’s words at face value.”
Xiao Haiyang accepted the order and dashed off.
At that time, morning sunlight had already colored the skyline. The quiet city was about to wake up and delve into a new day of hustle-and-bustle.
Tao Ran’s call came through: “The taxi’s been found. The plate number is YBXXXX. The driver was knocked unconscious and left at the side of the road. When he woke up he managed to get to the hospital, and five minutes ago he reported to the local police station with the help of the hospital. We’ve just located the car, it’s at…”
A staff on the technology team raised his head and said, “Captain Luo, we’ve located Zhou Huaijin’s cell phone!”
Luo Wenzhou looked up. The voices in and out of the cell phone mingled together:
“On the bank of the Baisha River—”
“Near the Baisha water banks!”
Zhou Huaixin almost fainted at the news. Hu Zhenyu managed to catch him before he fell. With help from many others, he carried him to the sofa. When Zhou Huaixin finally regained consciousness, he broke into loud tears again: “Brother Hu, my brother…will they drown him into the river? I will kill that bastard Yang Bo! Where the hell did Zheng Kaifeng go? Why isn’t he back yet after Dad’s accident?”
Hu Zhenyu’s face paled. He tried to signal Zhou Huaixin to shut up, but it was impossible to control this eccentric psycho. As sweat ran down his cheeks, he still managed to squeeze out a polite smile at the officers: “Huaixin is too young. With this sudden calamity, his mental state is a bit unstable. Please don’t mind his nonsense.”
As he heard this, the red-eyed Zhou Huaixin suddenly sat up straight like a resurrected zombie: “But it wasn’t nonsense! He is a bastard. Don’t think that you guys can keep me in the dark on this! That son of a b**ch has had his eyes on us for a long time. Now that he’s schemed to take out my dad and my brother, he must think he can have his way with me now right? Cuz’ I am a know-nothing outsider? Even Uncle Zheng is on his side!”
Hu Zhenyu suddenly raised his voice: “Huaixin!”
“Send a team to Baisha River.” Luo Wenzhou ordered quietly, then turned to Hu Zhenyu and asked, “Mr. Hu, because of the abduction and the suspected murder, this has turned to a homicide case. Your family business is no longer a private matter. There could be important evidence in the details, and there are grave consequences for hiding them. I hope that you are aware of the seriousness of the situation here.”
Hu Zhenyu was an experienced crisis handler. Even under the pressure of a serious Luo Wenzhou, he didn’t falter much besides wiping away some sweat on his forehead. He replied, “Yes, yes, of course. I completely understand. Many of you here might have already heard of Mr. Zheng. He has been the hand of our President Zhou Sr. since they were both young. Now despite his age, he is still the pillar of the Zhou Enterprise.”
“As for Mr. Yang…Mr. Yang Bo, he is Mr. Zhou Sr.’s secretary – a bright, capable young man. He has achieved a lot, and maybe that has attracted him some unfriendly rumors. Some of the rumors that Huaixin heard, well…you know…Mr. Yang is the kind of young man who’s ‘the kid next door’ — like how you young people put it — who does everything better than you in your parents’ eyes. So the late Mr. Zhou Sr. often scolded Huaixin in comparison to Yang Bo. It’s not surprising that the two didn’t quite see eye to eye. But if you accuse him of harming Mr. Zhou Sr. and Mr. Zhou Huaijin, I’ll be the first one to disagree.” As Hu Zhenyu explained, he gingerly assessed Zhou Huaixin’s expression, worried that he would run amok again. Hu continued, “Plus, those two are both abroad. I contacted them as soon as yesterday’s incident. Now they should be on the flight back. Let me give their flight number to you. Please, may I trouble the officers at the airport to offer them special protection? We cannot afford to have a third victim!”
Yang Bo, a bright rising star who was only Zhou Huaixin’s age but had already occupied an important managerial position in the Zhou empire…As one looked at this, he did indeed sound like a stereotypical ‘bastard son’.
Luo Wenzhou peeked at Fei Du and saw him nodding back in agreement of his silent hypothesis.
At that time, Lang Qiao rushed into the room as he called out: “Oh no oh no…Boss, it’s going down!”
Luo Wenzhou noticed all the Zhous’ ears had stood to attention, so he gestured at Lang Qiao and took her outside, then asked: “What’s wrong?”
“Look.” Lang Qiao took out her phone.
The “Zhou Huaijin, successor of the Zhou Empire, Kidnapped” news headline took over the internet in no time. There was a hyperlink underneath, but was deactivated.
“I asked the Net Surveillance team to delete the linked video.” Lang Qiao said, “It’s this one.”
Luo Wenzhou followed her finger points and saw a video popping up on the screen. The shaky camera faced an unconscious man tied to a chair. The camera closed in on his face, then slowly panned around it, as it showed his face from all different angles. The well-groomed man looked like he was in his thirties. Even under such extreme circumstances, one could still easily tell that he was good-looking and gentlemanlike.
“It’s Zhou Huaijin.” Fei Du recognized him in one glance.
Luo Wenzhou’s scalp almost went numb.
The abductor did not ask for money or for his life. Nor did he contact the victim’s family. Instead, he uploaded the video online. What the heck did he want?
Did he watch too many British crime shows or what?!?
- Xi-Zi: a famous Chinese beauty in history. She is known for her frailness, and one famous posture of her was frowning because of heartache.