Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue were sitting in the car with the lights on to help provide illumination for Peng Sijue who was conducting an autopsy outside. In the silent night, the sound of wounds being probed was a bit eerie, but Chen Shi didn’t want to turn on the radio because he was thinking.
"Rice... Disappearance... Homicide..." Chen Shi muttered, "Is there any mystery in the rice?"
"We’ve both asked each other this many times." Lin Dongxue smiled bitterly.
"Yes, we can't figure it out ourselves, and it's impossible for the local police who went to the scene to know. I have re-examined everything, and I think the disappearance has nothing to do with rice."
"What does it have to do with then?"
"The rice collectors have been avoiding us, indicating that they don’t want to deal with the police. The policemen's disappearance may have been an accident and something they resorted to in order to minimize risk. In that case, think about what the local police did and what the local police could have done..."
"Interrogation, mediation, go to Old Jia Number Four's house for dinner? Ah! Checking their IDs!"
"Yes, checking their IDs. There’s a problem with the identities of these two people. I still remember the uncle we met in a village. I asked him if the rice collectors were Chu Wei and Luo Chuanlong and showed him the photos. His expression was a little bit unnatural. The photos he saw may have been different from the actual persons."
"Hiding in poor villages collecting rice, they may be fugitives from the law. So the rice might actually be okay. It's the people who are problematic?"
"No, I think both the rice and the people have issues. Let’s investigate the people first. The rice can’t escape anyway."
Chen Shi got out of the car and exchanged a few words with Peng Sijue. When he came back, Lin Dongxue asked, "What did Captain Peng say?"
"Death by a single slash. There are not a lot of dubious points. He plans to go back. Let's head back to the city as well."
"Old Zhang and the others are all sleeping in their cars. Let’s stay for the night too!"
"No, I plan to see a rice expert tomorrow."
"Going back to the city so late, will you still go home? Yueyue should have gone to bed!"
"We’ll stay overnight at the place we went to last time!" Chen Shi winked.
"Haha, snatching a moment of leisure."
Thus, the two followed Peng Sijue’s car. The village roads were very quiet. Lin Dongxue wanted to practice driving for a while, so Chen Shi let her sit in the driver's seat. He himself sat in the passenger seat, resting his chin on his hand and looking at the endless night. In this kind of circumstances, it was easy to think of the past, and the past always brought pain to him.
Song Lang was a person living in the past, and Chen Shi was a person facing the future. If he didn’t look towards the hopeful future, he wouldn’t be able to walk out of the deep trauma from back then.
Nobody said anything for the rest of the night.
Early next morning, the two arrived at a certain university. Xu Xiaodong had arrived early. He was waiting for them while standing at the entrance eating egg pancakes. The three went to visit an agronomy professor. The professor carefully observed the sample that Xu Xiaodong brought with a magnifying glass in the laboratory. He said, "This is a rice seed."
"We know that it’s rice, but is it different from ordinary rice?" Chen Shi said.
The sample only had a few leaves and stems. The professor said, "It seems that the leaves are a bit different. The direction of these leaf veins... No, this sample has already dried, so I can only tell this much. Do you have the whole plant?"
"We don't have the whole plant... Wait, maybe we do!" Chen Shi suddenly remembered.
"Are you talking about the one in your house?"
"It might be the same kind. Let’s try it. I'll get it!"
After half an hour, Chen Shi hurried back. The professor took the small tin can he had brought with him and studied the rice seedling inside for a long time. He said with certainty, "This rice seed has been improved by humans and is genetically modified."
"I always hear about genetic modification. What does it mean?" Lin Dongxue asked.
"To put it simply, it’s to combine the genes of the two kinds of crops so that they have complementary advantages. In fact, genetically modified crops are very common nowadays. Our laboratory has also done research on this."
"Are you familiar with the rice seeds on the market?"
"I know of some."
"Have you heard of Shennong No. 24?"
"Shennong No. 24? Which company produces it?"
"We only know the name at the moment."
"Okay, let me check!"
The professor checked on the Internet and frowned. "Are you not mistaken? The few domestic seed companies have never produced this kind of rice seeds. Why don’t you buy these rice seeds and let me have a look?"
The research couldn't go on, and the three of them were about to leave. Chen Shi suddenly remembered something and said to Lin Dongxue, "Remember that young girl, Chang Juan? Her parents were researching genetically modified crops. They were killed ten years ago!"
"Ah, right. It wouldn't be such a coincidence, right?"
"What was the name? What was the name again? Oh yes, Chang Guoqing. Professor, do you know someone by this name?"
The professor was surprised. "He was a former student of mine. I just heard what you said about the murder. I was wondering if it could be him and his wife. I didn't expect it to really be the case."
"Was the project he was researching about this Shennong No. 24?"
"Genetic modification was indeed the focus of his postgraduate studies. He was later hired to work in a private research institute. If he has participated in a project in this area, there should be some data retained there."
"There’s a copy of the data in the Public Security Bureau."
"Then you guys should bring that over. I'll find the time to have a look!"
"This matter is very urgent. Please do so as soon as possible."
The professor smiled bitterly, "Okay, I’ll do it as soon as possible! As soon as there is a result, I will notify you immediately."
Xu Xiaodong went back to the bureau to retrieve the data. Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue were going to return to the village to continue tracking down the rice collectors and the missing police officers. At that moment, they received a call from Old Zhang, asking them to hurry back quickly to Wangchenggang. Something serious had happened.
With uneasy hearts, the two rushed to Wangchenggang and saw a bunch of people surrounding a place from a distance, which happened to be the house Feng Xiaoqing's team had rented.
Chen Shi pushed through the crowd and entered the house. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness in the house, he saw the agent, videographer, assistant, etc. whom they had conversed with the previous day either sitting or lying down with their throats slashed open. What caught the eye the most was a big red “Happiness” character painted on the wall using blood. It was crooked and the blood had dripped down the wall, looking particularly horrifying.
Then there was a wedding dress on the ground, which was already very dirty and had bloody handprints on it.
"Where’s Feng Xiaoqing?" Lin Dongxue asked.
"She isn’t dead, but she has been sexually assaulted by one of the murderers. Someone passed by here early this morning and saw two people in the house. One of them was sexually assaulting Feng Xiaoqing who was wearing this wedding dress at the time. The witness yelled and alarmed the entire village. The two criminals rushed out in a panic and escaped in a car that had been parked at the entrance of the village... Oh yes, according to witnesses, the perpetrator of the sexual assault was even wearing a black suit."
"Rape and murder?" Lin Dongxue frowned. "Why did they pick them?"
"The murderers intended to stage these murders as a wedding." Chen Shi pointed to the four deceased who had corsages on their chests.
Looking closely, one could even discover some confetti on the ground.Previous Chapter Next Chapter