Xu Xiaodong said, "Brother Chen, Zheng Zhifei's home is in a small mountain village hundreds of kilometers away. Do we really have to go and arrest him there? Moreover, we still can’t apply for an arrest warrant."
Chen Shi mumbled, "Since the third team is unwilling to help, we can only make our own way there."
At this time, Peng Sijue walked in. "You're in the limelight again. Is it so interesting to offend people?"
"I must throw this mess to Captain. If it wasn't for the fact that he gave the case initiative to the third team in the beginning, we wouldn't be investigating so passively right now... Old Peng, can you take someone to check Zheng Zhifei's truck? I'm certain traces can be found on it. Xu Xiaodong and I will leave for the village now. When you’ve applied for an arrest warrant, send it to us immediately."
"Helping is not a problem, but what if your speculation is wrong? Wouldn't you just go there for nothing?"
"It was originally already an all-in gamble. We’ll just be a bit capricious this time as the long night will bring about a lot of dreams." Chen Shi smiled.
Lin Dongxue said, "I believe in Old Chen's judgment. It’s no coincidence that Zheng Zhifei appeared here and then left Long’an after the case happened. I’ll go with you guys."
Chen Shi said, "Don't come with us. It's more convenient for Xiaodong and I to go to desolate places like that. You should cooperate with Captain Peng with all your might!"
Peng Sijue reminded him, "Let me state in advance that our forensics squad is not assigned to serve the second team. If you cannot find evidence and we use police resources to investigate without authorization, you and I must both bear the responsibility."
Chen Shi blinked at him. "You think I don’t know who your favorite is by now? Let’s go and buy a train ticket."
Xu Xiaodong picked up a gun from the armory and they booked train tickets with their mobile phones. Then, they bought a large bag of food and got on the train in the afternoon. Xu Xiaodong, who hadn’t been on a business trip for a very long time, was particularly excited and had a great chat with the aunt across from him. Chen Shi closed his eyes to rest and said, "Remember to charge up your energy. You’ll have a long road of suffering when we get to the mountain village."
In the evening, Chen Shi received a text message from Lin Dongxue. "We found blood on the truck that Zheng Zhifei drove. In addition, the paint on the truck was the same as the composition of the green paint on the victim's hair."
Chen Shi replied, "Good job. Apply for an arrest warrant early tomorrow morning."
It was already late at night when the train arrived. The two had a big meal before they found a place to rest. They received a faxed arrest warrant in a print shop the next morning.
The truly difficult journey had only just started. In the morning, they took a bus that drove over a bumpy road. At noon, they arrived at the mountain village where Zheng Zhifei lived. The police station here had four police officers. On a hot day, they were mediating a small dispute over a villager’s cow eating their neighbor’s crops. Xu Xiaodong showed his badge to them and the station director enthusiastically said, "Oh, comrades from the city. What rare visitors. Let’s go and have a meal in the station!"
Along the way, Chen Shi asked the director, "Do you know Zheng Zhifei?"
"Zheng Zhifei? Zheng's son? I watched him grow up when he was a kid. He’s a tiger head and brain. I haven't seen that child for two years now. I heard that he went to work in the city."
"What's the situation with his family?"
"His family is a poor household in the village. His father had been sick for many years and relied on the few acres of land in front of them to survive. His mother ran away when he was three years old. I heard that he had participated in a TV program when he was ten years old. It was big news among the villagers at the time. When he was twelve years old, his father died after drinking pesticide. We found a suicide note under Zheng's pillow, so we determined it to be suicide. The child lived in his aunt's house for a year and then I heard that he went to work in the city."
"Where does he live?"
The director pointed at the hill in front of him. "You have to go over this hill. Then, you’ll see a broken tower. His house is just east of the tower."
Xu Xiaodong was startled and asked, "How far would we have to go?"
"People in our village have to walk for about three hours. Those who are unfamiliar with mountain roads can take over a day. I suggest you two stay in the house until 3:00 in the afternoon and follow the children after school so as not to get lost."
"You don't have transportation methods at the station then?"
"We have a jeep, but it can’t go up the hills."
Chen Shi glanced at Xu Xiaodong with a forced smile and went inside. The director fetched some water to wash their faces and said that he would prepare a big meal for them. Chen Shi said that they didn’t need to, but the director pushed back saying that they should.
It turned out that this "big meal" was the precious noodles that the officers didn’t have the heart to eat. It was made with wild vegetable and dough soup. The meal was held on a stone mill in the courtyard. Chen Shi contributed several garlic sausages, which turned out to be the only meat on the table.
After eating, Xu Xiaodong really didn't want to move anymore. Chen Shi said, "The mountain road will take three hours. If we go now, we’ll be able to arrest the person by nightfall."
Xu Xiaodong then set off lazily. The director sent a policeman named Little Wang to show them the way. He took special care of reminding them that they couldn’t smoke on the mountains as bushfires were no joke.
The three climbed up the hill slowly. When they were one-fifth of the way, the two were so tired that they were about to collapse. Chen Shi and Xu Xiaodong usually exercised, but walking on the mountains, they found that their usual exercise wasn’t enough on this long mountain road.
Chen Shi laughed while holding a tree branch. Xu Xiaodong panted and asked, "Brother Chen, what are you laughing about?"
"I was thinking that if Old Peng had come here, he would have been sacrificed halfway."
Xu Xiaodong laughed and asked Little Wang, "Brother Wang, are we close now?"
Little Wang, who was far ahead of them, replied, "There’s still ways to go. There’s still a quarter left to go."
When they saw the tower, it was already 5:00 in the afternoon. Both of them overestimated their physical capabilities. After walking up the mountain all afternoon, they were so tired that they were sweating and panting.
Little Wang took them to knock on the door of Zheng Zhifei's house. A dark-skinned boy opened the door halfway vigilantly and asked, "Who's are you looking for?"
"You can’t even remember me anymore? I belong to the police station. These two are police comrades from Long’an City. They have something to ask you." Little Wang informed.
Noting Zheng Zhifei's alert expression, Xu Xiaodong secretly made a move to take out his gun.
Chen Shi asked, "About 10:00 on the evening of June 9th, where were you?"
Zheng Zhifei furrowed his brows. "After I finished driving, I returned to the dorm."
"What was the approximate time?"
Chen Shi smiled and shook his head. "That's not what your roommate said. I'll ask you again. Why did you suddenly leave Long'an? Was there anything urgent at home?"
"What does it matter to you?"
"It’s a matter of human life. You’re asking us why it matters?"
Xu Xiaodong took out the arrest warrant. "Zheng Zhifei, we suspect that you have something to do with the murder of the case we’re investigating. Come back with u-"
Before he could finish talking, Zheng Zhifei suddenly slammed the door. There was the sound of him trying to lock the door. Fortunately, Chen Shi used his body to hold a gap in the door before he could do so. Seeing that the bolt couldn’t be reached, Zheng Zhifei stepped on an old storage dolly near the wall of the courtyard to prepare his escape. Xu Xiaodong rushed up and dragged him down before cuffing him.
Chen Shi said, "Young man, you ran well. If you didn’t run, we wouldn’t have suspected you this much."
Zheng Zhifei gritted his teeth and glared at them. "I’m the one who murdered her. Go ahead and arrest or kill me!"
"Okay. You need to come back with us!"
3. The dough is just randomly shaped by the people making it and is used as a carb replacement for noodles, etc. It used to be made by poor people, but nowadays, it’s a dish you can order in restaurants