Chapter 66 Macbeth Seven
TL: QuantumC, Editor: SilverandGold, QC: IsaLee
“I was on a business trip in Canada and got on the plane as soon as I heard about Mr. Zhou. Then, halfway through the flight I heard about Brother Huaijin…” Yang Bo couldn’t bear to finish the sentence. Elbows on his knees, he rubbed his face vigorously, took many deep breaths, then finally continued: “Pardon me…it all happened so fast and I was…I really don’t know what to do…”
The officer across the tea table studied him from head to toe. Then he opened a small notebook and took a straightforward approach: “Mr. Yang, let us go straight to the point — for the victims’ sake — there’s been talk that Mr. Zhou Sr. and you are actually father and son. What do you say to that?”
Yang Bo must have been quite used to meandered talk as he was completely caught off guard by such a hard, straight shot. He pulled a long face: “Listen to yourself!”
He quickly added: “That is complete nonsense. It is not only an insult to my professionalism, but also an outright ambush to my mother’s name and Mr. Zhou Sr.’s reputation. I do not know where you heard these rumors from. You…”
He glowered at the officer. He had to bite his tongue really hard to swallow the next sentence — “You have nothing better to do than gossip and listen to hearsay.”
On the other side of the room, Zhou Huaixin, who had finally quieted down a little, erupted again at those words. He used his diaphragm voice to deliver a powerful spit: “Bah!”
But before the spit landed, Luo Wenzhou had called in another officer and pointed at the bamboozled Zhou Huaixin: “Question these two separately. Zhou Huaijin was abducted in Yancheng. All relevant stakeholders are suspects, including the relatives.”
“What? I am a suspect? Are you out of your mind?? Or are you f**king blind?” As he spoke, Zhou Huaixin was helped up by two police officers. Outraged, he turned to Fei Du, who had “sorry to hear that but can’t do nothing” written all over his face, “Fei, what is wrong with these policemen? What is his name? I want to file a complaint! F**k you!! You are going to pay for this…You are going to regret it…I…Get your hands off of me!”
Meanwhile, Yang Bo expressed his own curbed fury: “My mother and Mr. Zhou Sr. were old friends, and I initially benefited from this relationship to work at the Zhou’s. That’s true, but I fought my own way from the bottom to where I am today. There wasn’t anything nasty like you imagined.”
Meanwhile, Zhou Huaixin completely threw away his grace: “You really have the face to say that?! You son of a dirty …”
Yang Bo could take it no more. He retorted: “How does a weed-soken, promiscuous drunkard like you get to judge what’s dirty, Mr. Zhou?”
As he saw the two young masters fight like dogs in front of a roomful of police, Hu Zhenyu thought his head was about to burst. He wished he could just bury both of them in the flower pots.
Meanwhile, Fei Du drank the tea on the bench with relish. But just when he reached for a refill, Luo Wenzhou knocked his hand out.
Fei Du: “……”
Luo Wenzhou said: “Are you just here for the tea? I suggest you put away your stinky old habits —the CIT isn’t your home. I don’t care whether you are an intern or an official employee. As long as you are here, you’ll follow our rules and my orders. The next time I catch you slacking off will be the last time that you’re here.”
By being an intern at the Bureau, Fei Du obviously had his own agenda. The shield of the internship granted him access to many places. However, he never really considered himself as part of the organization. So when greeted by the sudden ‘slap’ from the ‘captain’, he was dumbfounded at first.
In his not-so-long lifetime, Master Fei had never been ordered around like an underling by anyone before. Unsure of how to react, Master Fei froze there initially. After quite a long pause, he finally replied, baffled: “O~kay. What do I do?”
Then he was shoved into the tech team. Per Captain Luo Wenzhou’s order, he was to enlarge the abductor’s video and analyze it frame by frame, pixel by pixel, to look for anything worth noting.
Compared to Tao Ran or Lang Qiao’s jobs — blanket search of the Liusha river banks or going around town to get the paperwork approved — sitting there to analyze a video seemed like a breeze. But Fei Du got bored just a couple minutes in. It was still repetitive, physical work.
Fei Du swam the sea of sinful money for the whole night. Then, with only a couple minutes of rest, he galloped over to the Zhou house to catch the ‘big show’. Now the lost sleeptime finally got to him. Before long, his eyelids started to draw closer to fight with each other.
He tried a couple times, but he realized that he really wasn’t underling material. He got up to stretch, and strolled back and forth to keep awake. As he walked past Luo Wenzhou, he heard him telephone Chief Lu to ask whether to delete the video.
If the video was left there, they would grant the criminals the upper hand, and the video would continue to go viral, causing very bad publicity.
But if they deleted it, the bargaining chips they have gathered so far, which was close to nothing, would subject the hostage to grave danger.
Even Lu Youliang was hesitant and out of ideas.
Fei Du turned around to hide a yawn, then drawled to Luo Wenzhou: “If I were you, I’d delete it.”
Luo Wenzhou glanced at him, then rushed to end the call with Chief Lu.
“Take a look here.” Fei Du waved him over to the screens, and fast forwarded the video to the part where Zhou Huaijin’s blood was taken to write the message on his chest. His head resting on his propped arm as if he had no bones, Fei Du casually continued, “The abductor made a cut, then took out a brush to write with the blood. Don’t you think that’s a little…considerate? If I were him, I’d directly cut out the words on his chest.”
Luo Wenzhou stood beside him with one hand on the back of his chair and the other propped on the desk. When he Heard Fei Du’s deduction, he looked down at his face, expressionless.
Fei Du basically used Luo Wenzhou as a mint to keep himself awake at that point. He looked right back at him with mischievous eyes: “Usually when a beauty stares at me like this, I’d assume that he’s asking for a kiss.”
Luo Wenzhou let it slide. Instead, he calmly asked: “Alright, the abductor’s action was a bit redundant. So?”
“So, I think the abductor didn’t really want to hurt Zhou Huaijin. He was only using the hostage in exchange for something else, and wouldn’t fancy the trouble of becoming a wanted murderer. Also, from how he treasured the hostage, he was probably his only bargaining chip. Even if you deleted the video, he probably wouldn’t kill him. So why not go all in and let him show his cards?”
“Oh, ‘probably’,” Luo Wenzhou stared at him and answered with a whisper, “When I file the case report I’ll just say, ‘According to my hypothesis, the abductor pro—obably did not plan to hurt the hostage, so I decided to take a chance, delete the video, and see whether Zhou Huaijin would be killed or not. Master Fei, did I understand you correctly?”
Fei Du didn’t get the chance to reply because Luo Wenzhou’s hand was now pressed against the back of his neck. Luo Wenzhou pushed Fei’s head down and lowered his own head to whisper by his ears: “Kid, we don’t do this job based on guessing and brain teasers. Everything that we do follows ‘logic, evidence, rules, and the law’. Now, which one of those four words do you not understand? Feel free to come and ask your upperclassman. I asked you to gather information from the video and locate the abductor, not play poker with him online!”
A boneless Fei Du was caught off guard by the thrust and almost bumped his jaw on the desk.
Commander Luo Wenzhou took back his hand, and continued with a skin-deep smile: “Also, you were mistaken. That look wasn’t for kissing. It was for a beating. So, the next time you see it, make sure to hide away.” Before Fei Du could protest against his barbaric actions, they were interrupted by another uproar.
“Boss, another video!”
Luo Wenzhou let go of Fei Du and put on an earphone. Everyone in the room — including the suspects — held their breaths for the new message.
In this video, Zhou Huaijin had woken up. He was far more battered than in the last one: his well-groomed hair was now like a bird nest; his face was colored with bruises; his shirt was inked by the blood from his cut; and the ropes were tighter than before. As his chest heaved up and down like a seesaw, he seemed to have just fought back but got squelched.
A morphed voice instructed: “Read.”
Zhou Huaijin’s eyes landed on the note, the veins bulging on his neck as he exclaimed: “You…”
Before he managed to say a second word, his chair was kicked and fell back which brought him onto the ground too. Then, the camera shook violently as the cameraman beat and trampled on the victim. Not much of an image could be rendered, but the sound of the beating and the cry of the victim were clearly heard. Then, the screen went dark.
The air surrounding the tech team was stagnant and somber: they still had nothing.
Zhou Huaixin’s legs turned to jelly. He had no time to trash Yang Bo anymore. Instead, he grabbed an officer’s sleeve and begged, “I’ll pay…can we get more hackers on this please? I’ll pay for them, no matter how much. My brother…my brother…”
The video was taped and had been edited. After a short blackscreen, Zhou Huaijin appeared again. He was still on the ground. The morphed, hoarse voice said: “Read.”
Zhou Huaijin’s lips trembled. The man had lived a comfortable life and it didn’t take many hits for him to succumb. He struggled to focus on the note that was posted outside the camera frame somewhere, and stammered to read the message: “I will ask you some questions. You must answer within …ten … ten minutes. You must post the answer to the main page of the Zhou Enterprise’s official website. I already know the a…answers, so if…if you lie, I will … “
Zhou Huaijin breathed heavily, and sobbed: “I will c…cut off a part from Mr. Zhou. Let’s take off the painted s…skin of somebody and take a closer look.”
“First question. Is Zhou…Zhou Junmao a hypocrite…who hid his bastard by his side and secretly raised him as his heir? This…is this paternity test real…You stole my…Ahh!” Zhou Huaijin suddenly realized what they meant and became unrested. The abductor kicked his head to shut him up. He moaned, twitched, then stopped moving. It seemed like he had passed out.
A crumpled piece of paper appeared briefly in front of the screen. It was the paternity report.
The hoarse voice spoke again: “10 minutes.”
Immediately, the screen went dark again, and a 10-minute timer appeared.
For a second, the whole room was dead silent. Everyone stared at the monstrous timer as it counted down from 10:00. At the same time, in the optical-fiber-constructed virtual world, a bomb had just exploded and blown out across mountains and seas.
“Zhou Junmao’s bastard son!”
“The heir of the Zhous abducted!”
“A real-world Dynasty Behind the Lavish Gates!”
Within minutes, the cell-phones of Luo Wenzhou and others in the room started to ring non-stop. The whole house turned into a live call-center as the nosey world tried to grab its hands onto more details of this breaking news.
For Luo Wenzhou, his was a call that he could not ignore: a call from Chief Lu. He picked up. But before he even managed to say a “Hello”, Chief Lu berated: “What the heck, have you still no news on the hostage’s whereabouts? No lead at all? Get more men from the sub-bureaus if you need more hands on the field! Dig up three feet of the ground if that’s what it takes. Heavens…My office phone is about to explode!”
Luo Wenzhou was just about to brief Chief Lu on the progress. Meanwhile, Zhou Huaixin had already jumped up and grabbed Hu Zhenyu’s shirt collar: “Reply, reply to him! Brother Hu, reply at once! Yes, yes, the paternity report is real. That Yang is the bastard!”
Yang Bo’s face paled. He froze, as if just struck by lightning.
Hu Zhenyu said: “Huaixin, calm down.”
“The paternity test was ordered by my brother secretly. He mentioned it to me a while ago. That must be the one! They must have found it in my brother’s briefcase. It is hard evidence. There is no way we can get away with lying, Brother Hu! Didn’t you hear what they say? They knew the answer already! My dad has already passed, and a dead man wouldn’t mind losing a bit of his reputation. Screw the face-saving ploys, there’s no time for that… My brother’s safety is paramount!”
Luo Wenzhou’s left ear was filled with Zhou Huaixin’s screaming while his right ear received Chief Lu’s stern orders: “Take this under control at once. Or I’ll wait for your self-criticizing paper.”
Zhou Huaixin pushed an officer away and reached for his laptop on the desk: “If you won’t do it, I will!”
“Mr. Zhou, think twice!”
Out of all the people on site, only Fei Du had neither stakes in Zhou Huaijin’s safety nor performance pressure from some higher-ups. He was free from strains or sensibility. With eerie calmness, he looked up and spoke to Zhou Huaixin: “Brother Zhou, I suggest that you do not answer as asked. Otherwise, what’s waiting for you might not be such an easy question any more. Do you believe me?”
Zhou Huaixin was completely helpless: “Then…then what do I do?”
Fei Du didn’t answer him. Rather, he turned to the tech crew beside him and asked: “Could you separate the audio tracks from when Zhou Huaijin was kicked? I think judging by the sound, the ‘floor’ might be hollow.”
Luo Wenzhou heard his words too, and those words dropped a lightning bolt in his head. He hung up on Chief Lu without an explanation, then strode toward the screen: “Play it from the beginning, double the speed.”
Every frame flashed across the screen again.
Fei Du commented: “Except for the complete blackout part, the camera has stayed very close to the victim. Not even one full-body shot was made. It might be because the space was too crammed and they didn’t want to reveal the rest of the room because that may point to some location information…Hmm, the horizontal panning of the camera is quite limited.”
Luo Wenzhou tapped to stop the video right where Zhou Huaijin was kicked. Even the way that Zhou Huaijin fell was to the back rather than sideways!
Luo Wenzhou pressed on the shoulder of a tech guy: “Could you estimate the width of the space based on the camera movement?”
“Around 1.5 meters…1.8 meters at most.”
“Captain, listen to this part!”
When Zhou Huaijin and his chair fell onto the ground, the sound of the “boom!” was quite bizarre. It seemed very hollow and was accompanied with some sort of an echo.
The ground was empty, and the width of it was only 1.5 meters…
Fei Du asked: “Could it be the back of a van truck?”
In the next moment, Luo Wenzhou had already reached Tao Ran: “The abductor could be hiding in a moving van truck. Screen the traffic cams around the Baisha river banks and barricade the roads. Stop and search every van truck.”
Then he immediately called Lang Qiao: “Any news?”
Lang Qiao hastily reported: “We’ve narrowed it down to the Heng Da Corp. Their market is very similar to the Zhou’s and they used to be a local big shot. Ever since Zhou Junmao stepped in the mainland market, the two companies were in fierce competition. The only time that the two attempted a cooperation, Zhou Junmao turned his coat and kicked them out midway. Heng Da runs a fund that started shorting the Zhou’s stocks in foreign markets early this morning. But last night they didn’t move, as if they didn’t realize what was going on then…”
Suddenly Hu Zhenyu yelled: “What are you doing!”
Luo Wenzhou turned around. He saw that Zhou Huaixin had snatched Hu Zhenyu’s cell phone when he wasn’t paying attention and had already logged into the Zhou’s official website.
When he was taken down again, a “Yes” had already been sent out.