Although there were witnesses, the murderers from last night had their faces covered up so they didn't know what they looked like. Old Zhang had already called the bureau and was waiting for Peng Sijue to come over and investigate.
Feng Xiaoqing, who had escaped death, stayed in the minivan and refused to see anyone. Lin Dongxue knocked on the minivan’s window and talked with her for a long time before Feng Xiaoqing agreed to let her enter the minivan. The others waited outside.
Half an hour later, Lin Dongxue got out of the minivan and said, "Poor girl. She’s terrified. I’ve been comforting her the whole time. She asked us not to make this matter public, or her career would be ruined."
"Listening to what you said, it seems that there weren’t any clues!" Chen Shi asked.
"I asked, and she said she couldn't think of anyone she had offended."
Chen Shi walked towards the fields. They heard that the filming was no longer going ahead. The farmers who were anxious to harvest had started harvesting after driving over the harvesting machine and tractor early in the morning. He vaguely felt that this case had happened too suddenly, and it seemed that the murderer was diverting the attention of the police force.
However, if the murders were committed involving a fairly well-known singer, the murderer should know how much impact this would have, and how much energy the police would put in. Was the thing that the murderer was distracting them from really worth such a great price?
In the morning, Lin Qiupu and Peng Sijue arrived to investigate. The footprints and fingerprints of the murderers were found at the scene. The murderers were thought to be two men. According to various clues, it was speculated that one was about 40 years old, slightly plump, and about 175cm in height. The other person was around twenty years old, fairly thin, with a height of around 165cm.
They had applied glue on their hands, so it was impossible to match their fingerprints’ distinctive features with the fingerprint database.
The four deceased persons showed signs of having been drugged and given anesthetics. The cause of death was due to their throats having been slashed. The method was very similar to the murder case in Xu Village yesterday.
While the police were investigating, Chen Shi approached Old Jia from the village committee and asked, "Right, there is one thing I forgot to ask: Where do the rice collectors stay during their sojourn here?"
"The village committee has an empty room available. They would spend the night here. Sometimes they also stayed at Old Jia Number Four’s house."
Chen Shi took out his mobile phone and retrieved the two’s ID photos. He asked Old Jia to confirm their identities. Old Jia looked at them for a long time before saying, "It's definitely not them."
Sure enough, they fraudulently used other people’s ID cards.
"Do you know their heights and body types?"
"Chu Wei is a bit fat. The other is of medium build. I don't know how tall he is. I only remember that the other one is shorter than me."
Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue secretly exchanged glances. This slightly matched the height and body shapes of the murderers. Chen Shi slyly asked, "How tall is Old Jia Number Four and how much does he weigh?"
"Uh, he's also quite thin. A little taller than me?" Old Jia didn’t have a strong impression of it.
"Doesn't this coincide with the characteristics of the murderer from last night?" Chen Shi pretended to be surprised. "Old Jia, we have to go to Old Jia Number Four’s house to search!"
"That’s impossible, right? How could Old Jia Number Four kill someone? Didn't he go to Xi'an?"
"His ID card usage records show that he’s actually still in the outskirts of Long'an."
Thus, Old Jia agreed to let them search Old Jia Number Four’s house.
Chen Shi easily pried open the lock on Old Jia Number Four’s house and walked in with Lin Dongxue. The door opened to a courtyard with some piles of firewood. There was nothing to see in the living room. There was a bedroom on the side. Chen Shi discovered a small, crude table inside with unwashed dishes, wine bottles, and an ashtray full of cigarette butts.
The plates had all held ready-made pot-stewed dishes that were packed in plastic bags. Chen Shi examined the ashtray for a moment and noted, "There are two kinds of cigarettes. Two people have stayed here."
"It couldn’t have been the two rice collectors, right?"
Chen Shi swished open the curtains. From here, he could see the place Feng Xiaoqing had rented. He said, "If they were really the murderers, they must have been here last night. They may have hidden here temporarily and waited until late at night to commit the crime. "
"Why did the rice collectors target Feng Xiaoqing? To divert our attention? This diversion method is too crude, isn’t it? We’re starting to suspect them now."
Looking out the window, Chen Shi answered, "They just want to draw our attention away from the rice."
"It doesn't matter even if they get drawn in themselves?"
"Probably!" Chen Shi nodded. "The strangest part of the case last night was that the scene was staged as a wedding. Rape and murder are very common, but it’s rare that the rape victim was made to dress as a bride and then assaulted."
"Maybe he has a crush on Feng Xiaoqing."
"Can you call it a crush when it’s directed towards a star? Call it admiration!"
"It's the same thing. It feels as though they were turning the murders into a wedding, as if making a long-cherished wish come true."
"This shows that the murderers know what these murders mean. They know the price they will pay for them, and they used the murders to satisfy their heart's desires. They had to achieve their goal no matter what!" Chen Shi paced back and looked at the mess on the table. "But why didn’t they escape? Isn’t it easier to flee? They couldn’t flee. They had a mission that must be accomplished, and there’s a group behind them. In a sense, these two people have been thrown out by the group as cannon fodder!"
"Do you think they’ll continue to commit crimes?"
"You think so?"
"This spacious land is sparsely populated, and transportation isn’t very convenient. They collect rice here year round and are very familiar with the environment here. If they commit crimes one after another and cause the police to be overwhelmed, we really won't have the energy to investigate the rice."
Chen Shi muttered to himself, considering this terrible possibility. Lin Dongxue said, "Of course, it’s just our speculation that the murderers are the rice collectors... This consideration is a bit too premature."
"It can be proved!" Chen Shi pointed to the cups and plates on the table. "If they had been here last night, these are the evidence! Tell Old Peng to come over and search!"
After calling Peng Sijue, Lin Dongxue said, "No matter what, we need to find out about the rice. What is the mystery of the rice? I had a headache thinking about it last night."
"We’re thinking the same thing. I also think that the rice is the key to solving all these mysteries."
Lin Dongxue pointed upstairs, "Do you think you can find the rice seeds here? Didn't Old Jia Number Four market these in the town?"
"Let’s take a look!"
Old Jia Number Four usually spent his time on the second floor. As a bachelor, his bedroom was very messy. He slept on a spring mattress thrown onto the floor. The bedsheets and mattress were sweaty and sour-smelling.
Chen Shi lifted the mattress up for inspection. Only a few smelly socks were underneath it.
Lin Dongxue found a gun in a drawer by the table. Her first reaction was that it was the gun of one of the missing police officers. After examining it with Chen Shi, she found that it was just a fake gun.
There was a small notebook under the gun and Chen Shi opened it. It seemed to be a ledger with the year and some numbers written in it.
Chen Shi counted from top to bottom. "There is a grid with twelve squares on each page, with a + sign behind the first number of each square. Is this his income?"
Lin Dongxue said, "After some calculation, the monthly income of five or six thousand is consistent with his average monthly income... Strange. Why was there suddenly a large amount of income at the end of the year?"
"It’s the same every year! Ever since 2010..." Chen Shi's eyes narrowed. "I remember he started planting this kind of rice in 2010!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter