Chapter 65 Macbeth Six
TL: QuantumC, Editor: SilverandGold, QC: IsaLee
The video maker was very careful not to show anything unnecessary. Only Zhou Huaijin and a wobbly old chair that he was tied to were in the shot. The background was completely dark and didn’t reveal anything valuable to the viewer. The video was less than one minute long and from start to finish, it filmed Zhou Huaijin’s closeup in all possible angles, in case one would not recognize him.
The abductor did not speak a single word.
“The uploader used a ton of proxy servers. Tracking the origin is gonna take a while.” Lang Qiao said, “Boss, I’ve never met such a ‘creative’ abductor. What does he want? What do we do?”
Luo Wenzhou stared at the phone and didn’t respond.
Though Lang Qiao reacted quickly to take down the video, the news still got out and took flight. The net surveillance team set up multiple keyword blockages, but the headlines and hashtags about Zhou Huaijin’s abduction stubbornly occupied the trending list.
Luo Wenzhou asked: “When was the video uploaded?”
Six sharp – the time that the city wakes up.
Besides alarm clocks, what could have been more refreshing and exciting than gossip that unfolded in real time with multiple twists and turns?
Fei Du, who stood next to him, sighed: “Captain Luo, should I step away now and wait to be questioned?”
Lang Qiao was completely lost and slipped a one-word question: “Hah?”
“‘Hah’ what? He is a suspect too.” Luo Wenzhou tossed the phone to Lang Qiao and turned to Fei Du, asking with entitlement, “I need to know who could’ve been involved in this — which group could be behind the publicity stunt. Give me a list.”
After all, Zhou Huaijin was very private and seldom engaged with the press. True, the public may know about actors or singers, but who would know what a rich second-gen who lived abroad looked like? There weren’t even many clear photos of him online.
Then why would the short video clip attract so much attention in such a short time? Who was the driver behind this?
Zhou Junmao’s car crash and the abduction of Zhou Huaijin seemed closely related at first glance. First the old man, then the crown prince… It was tempting to conclude that someone must have been after the Zhou family. There were also the mysterious, tropey tales about the bastard and the war on inheritance which made the whole scheme against the Zhous sound legit. But upon a closer look, the details didn’t quite check out.
Suppose Zhou Junmao’s car crash was not an accident. Then the organizer undoubtedly wanted him dead and wanted the death to be quiet — since the truck driver was killed on site, as long as the police did not obtain any robust murder evidence, the case would be processed as an ordinary car accident.
However, Zhou Huaijin’s abduction was too showy, with a clear intention to flaunt and to gather public attention. The two cases had completely opposite goals.
It didn’t make any sense.
So what good would the publicity do other than to make the police and the public suspicious? Who would benefit from this abduction? Only those capitalists, those who profited from sucking the blood of the Zhous.
Such as Fei Du.
If the Bureau were for sale, he probably earned enough over last night to pocket two of it.
“I can give you some names that I know.” Fei Du casually sent an email on his phone, then said, “But beware: we live in an opportunistic world and everyone is searching for the opportunity to speculate. There must be countless institutional investors involved, not to mention individual investors. I am not going to know all of them because, after all, I’m not omniscient.”
“To be able to take someone away so easily, it must be someone local.” Luo Wenzhou’s eyes fell on him like knives, “There’s no one that you don’t know on this one point three acres (1), no? Director Fei?”
“Well then, this active-duty suspect in front of you will give you one piece of advice. Only for reference. I could be totally wrong.” Fei Du deduced, “I guess the abductor and the pusher might have been in contact, but are not in the same camp. The pusher might not be the mind behind the crimes at all. Although Das Kapital wrote that ‘100 percent profit will make it ready to trample on all human laws’, in my opinion, this is a very biased and unfriendly evaluation. In reality, as we all know, even if the profit is 1,000 percent, one has to be alive to take it. Captain Luo, although we eat menblood-drenched mantou, we do not eat men.”
These words were cold-blooded and impudent as f*ck. Luo Wenzhou’s eyes shot him like cold daggers. In no time, the two seemed to have returned to the day that Fei Du gave an alibi for Zhang Donglai and delivered his impertinent speech at the Bureau.
“Well, if I were to be more exact,” Fei Du shrugged, and added oil to the fire with his indolent smile, “at least we do not eat men under broad daylight.”
Lang Qiao was chilled to the bones by the stiff and sullen atmosphere between the two. She thought they were going to start a war in the next second. Their eyes crossed fire like light sabers in sci-fi movies. She stood on the sidelines in fear. Though she wanted to ease the tension between them, she absolutely did not understand why they fought nor did she have the words to soothe the crackle between them. How she wished to teleport to the Liusha river banks and switch places with Tao Ran.
But right at that moment, Luo Wenzhou looked away first and withdrew from this silent clash round.
Instead, he calmly asked: “The video only took half an hour to go viral. The pusher seems to be experienced and it’s probably not their first time pulling a stunt like this. They could also be rivals with the Zhous in various fields. Adding these two criteria, how long will it take for you to get me a list?”
Right when Luo Wenzhou finished the question, Fei Du’s cell phone buzzed. It was the notification alert for an email.
Fei Du threw the phone to Luo Wenzhou without a glance, as if he knew the contents: “That’ll narrow it down to only two or three. Here is the list that my assistant sent. You can go ahead and arrange the questioning now.”
Then he didn’t look at Luo Wenzhou any longer. One hand in his pocket, he walked back into the grandiose house of the Zhous, took a cup of black tea from the maid along the way, and went to talk to the sobbing Zhou Huaixin.
Luo Wenzhou skimmed the email. The one who ran errands for Fei Du was very capable. With such short notice, she not only listed the potential pushers’ names, but also included their contact information and the previous similar cases that they were involved in. It read like a short and neat report.
Luo Wenzhou forwarded the email to Lang Qiao and said: “Here, take care of the paperwork first. This time, we’ll not only summon their heads for questioning, but also search their work email, call history, and financial status. There’re also a couple permits you’ll need to obtain first and will probably need help from brothers in the Economics Crime Investigation Team too.”
The instructions were only a couple lines, but for Lang Qiao, it meant mountains of miscellaneous work. It was quite a headache already, but then Luo Wenzhou added: “If Fei Du’s hypothesis about ‘pusher not controlling the abductor’ is correct, then God knows what’ll happen next. The psycho might do outrageous things to the victim to get attention, then Zhou Huaijin will be in real danger. Hurry! We’ve no time to lose!”
Lang Qiao gasped at the 2.5 tons of pressure placed on her shoulder and had to put aside the sour note between her outdated superior and the fresh meat for now. Off she went.
Fei Du’s phone auto-locked due to a long period of idleness. He had the default lock screen background. The metal backside burned from Luo Wenzhou’s tight clench. He looked up and his eyes followed Fei Du’s back. The latter spoke to Hu Zhenyu and Zhou Huaixin like an old friend and might be briefing them on Zhou Huaixin’s updates. Luo Wenzhou didn’t worry — certainly Fei Du wouldn’t tell them inappropriate things.
Long ago, Luo Wenzhou thought Fei Du was a dangerous man, a risk factor—
Although human-beings’ nobility and depicability both knew no limit, the normal folks who grew up under the rule of law still had quite predictable mindsets — except under absolutely extreme circumstances perhaps — like if one heard someone was about the commit a crime, a normal person’s reaction would either be to “take a secret peek out of curiosity”, “report to the authorities”, or “walk away without a care”, etc. Occasionally, there would be the bad bloods who’d be tempted to join the criminals.
But thoughts like, “Kill someone else and leave the body in the criminal activity area so as to lead the police there,” was quite out of the ordinary.
During peacetime, even the diabolical murderers knew deep down that killing someone wasn’t a mundane business like eating or drinking. The societal norms had the red lines of the law woven within it, and after years and years of socialization, the moral taboos such as murder had already been stamped in people’s subconscious.
However, Luo Wenzhou could clearly sense that Fei Du was an oddball. In his mind, the taboos were only rules of the game. Murder was no different from things like “tax evasion” or “securing an illegal cash flow from abroad”. He didn’t do them only because he didn’t want to run into trouble with the law, but when it became necessary, he’d do them without even blinking an eye. He enjoyed fantasising about ‘ways to play’, in case one day they became handy.
Yet, when Fei Du accompanied He Zhongyi’s mother – Wang Xiujuan – on that cold bench, paid hundreds of thousands to give a speech on the sky screen for her, or saved Chen Chen from Su Luozhan’s slaughter despite his broken arm, Luo Wenzhou felt that he perhaps only pretended to be callous.
It was only until just now, in a split second, that Luo Wenzhou suddenly sensed something new from his invincible fake smile.
Luo Wenzhou thought of the words Fei Du said yesterday evening in his car, and realized that they weren’t casual, vague remarks about humanity. He talked specifically about himself. Fei Du was someone that grew up in another dimension. His nobility was genuine, and so was his despicability. The rules in that dimension were different from their world and Fei Du knew it. He knew very well how he was a misfit, so he carefully put on other people’s skins and limited himself in a comfort zone. He copied Tao Ran, copied Zhang Donglai, copied everyone around him all the time…except when he faced Luo Wenzhou — the pontifical hothead who loved to tear off people’s masks. Fei Du basically gave up on a pretense in front of him and let his human skin dishevel, revealing his eerie fangs.
For some reason, as soon as Luo Wenzhou realized it, he didn’t hold grudges against him any longer. The strange behavior and fickle temper of Fei Du in the last 12 hours made sense now. Having sensed his cunning, tout, and reticent layer of self-protection, Luo Wenzhou’s heart softened. A thousand emotions drowned him.
A phone call from Tao Ran suddenly interrupted Luo Wenzhou’s thoughts and staring.
“We found that taxi.” Tao Ran breathed heavily, “It was abandoned by the river. There’s a strong smell of ether inside. No obvious sign of struggle, except for a footprint on the back of the driver’s seat. There were probably more than one abductor — otherwise, how can one control a grown man while driving? Oh, and, Zhou Huaijin’s briefcase is still in the car. His ID, cell-phone, and wallet are all intact…Shhhhi!”
Tao Ran paused, then inhaled with anger. Luo Wenzhou could tell that he cut off a curse word. He asked: “What happened?”
“Someone’s taking pictures,” Tao Ran answered quickly, “perhaps they followed us from the airport. I’ll go deal with it.”
Luo Wenzhou hung up and rubbed his forehead. God knows how this news has already fermented online. He really didn’t have the heart to get online to check. He gave out several orders: “The taxi that the victim took has been located. Now, Zhou Huaijin is above 1.8 meters, not some child who could be taken by one hand. So they had to have had another car to transfer him. Search the cameras within a three-mile radius and look for suspicious vehicles. Also, give a word to the press: if they keep fueling the feud like this, I won’t be so polite anymore. Ask for backing from the net surveillance team…”
Before Luo Wenzhou finished, a tech staff member suddenly raised his head: “Captain Luo, the same source uploaded another video!”
Luo Wenzhou’s heart sank.
It was the same passed-out Zhou Huaijin in the same pitch dark background, except this time a gloved hand appeared in the foreground. It held a shiny dagger against Zhou Huaijin’s neck, then suddenly pressed down. Amidst exclamations and gasps of the watchers, a cut appeared on a very dangerous spot on Zhou Huaijin’s neck. The unconscious man twitched involuntarily as blood rushed out.
Then the camera panned down. The gloved hands tore Zhou Huaijin’s shirt open, took a small brush and wrote on his chest with his blood: “One cut for one deletion.”
The net surveillance team who was ready to delete the video was covered in cold sweat. Their call immediately came in: “Captain Luo, what do we do? Delete it, or not?”
A brand new day dawned. The morning rush had just begun.
With only a split second of hesitation, the video already spread across the internet at the speed of light.
Zhou Huaixin obviously saw it too. He screamed his head off and the sound almost shattered the roof. Fei Du had to put his arms around his waist and snatch the cell phone away. To the clueless maid, he said: “Take him upstairs to rest.”
Amidst the chaos, a car pulled into the driveway and in came a young man in his twenties who rushed inside. When stopped by the police by the entrance, he scrambled to take out his ID: “Pardon me, this is my ID and name card. I am Mr. Zhou’s…”
Zhou Huaixin turned around and saw him. Immediately he started to fight to get to him: “I won’t! Take that bastard down! He is the murderer!! You shameless asshole. How dare you set foot here! How DARE YOU!!”
Even though Zhou Huaixin was practically a walking skeleton, when he ran amok, he was still a force to be reckoned with. Both Fei Du and Hu Zhenyu, who never toiled their four limbs, weren’t able to hold him down. Zhou Huaixin’s arms waved frantically like a weapon and almost knocked off Fei Du’s glasses.
Suddenly, a hand appeared from nowhere and strained Zhou Huaixin’s two ‘waving wooden clubs’. Luo Wenzhou grabbed him like a chicklin and shoved him back onto the sofa. He towered over him and asked: “Should I give you a shot of tranquilizer or the rabies vaccine?”
Zhou Huaixin was extinguished. The young man by the door smiled bitterly and finally finished his self-introduction: “I am Mr. Zhou Sr.’s assistant and the secretary of the board. My name is Yang Bo.”
His words drew everyone’s eyes — THE Yang Bo, the rumored bastard of the family, the suspect, the one who’d benefit the most by taking out Zhou Junmao and Zhou Huaijin…
He joined the game quite early.
- ‘One point three acres’: this is a Chinese saying. It means a very small piece of land that you own and are very familiar with.