After learning that Xiaotao had been "suspended," members of the task force were outraged. Some even wanted to march directly to Director-General Cheng’s office to voice their objections. It took us quite some time to calm everyone down.
Because this was a secret operation, I couldn’t reveal anything to Dali this time. I told him to go back first since I doubted we would conduct any more autopsies. In the end, I temporarily moved to Xiaotao's place in an attempt to stay out of the heat.
"Ah, what irony! I can’t stand how ugly society really is!” lamented Dali. “And how dark the human heart is! As soon as something happens, everyone is busy shirking responsibility. Just relax at Xiaotao-jiejie’s place and remember to take contraceptive measures."
"Fuck off!" I chided.
Meanwhile, the task force would be temporarily taken over by another officer appointed by Director-General Cheng. Xiaotao and I left the station "despondently" and went to the Taoyuan District Branch. On the way there, I remarked, "Director-General Cheng has a real sense of justice, a bit like Hou Liangping in the movie, ‘In The Name Of The People.’ I think he makes a good leader."
"He was the top student in the political science and law department and worked as a prosecutor before he was transferred to the public security bureau,” said Xiaotao. “He’s the object of many female officers’ secret crush."
"Including you?" I asked.
"Why? Are you jealous?!" teased Xiaotao.
My cheeks turned crimson but I persistently stuck to my denial. Xiaotao added, "Although I don't have a crush on him, I might be interested if he started pursuing me."
I knew her words were intentional but I couldn’t fight the seed of jealousy that had sprung up within my heart. So I courageously grabbed her hand, feeling her gentle warmth in my palm.
"Stop it,” Xiaotao laughed. “I’m driving. Don’t distract me or we might have an accident!"
When we arrived at the precinct, we found a crowd of fans already waiting for us outside, shouting, "Where are the officers who hit Yi Xi? We demand they show themselves!"
We were shocked at how well informed his fans were to have discovered the place before we even arrived. Then, an officer exited the building and yelled, "You’re barking up the wrong tree. There isn’t an officer named Song here. If you cause any more trouble, we will detain all of you."
"Are you Officer Huang and Consultant Song?" the man turned to us.
Xiaotao mumbled a word of acknowledgement, to which the officer nodded. "Director-General Cheng has already instructed me and I’ve selected a group of officers to follow your command."
He led us into the station. Since this was our first time here, many officers came out to join in the bustle. "Is this the legendary Detective Song?" they whispered. "Captain Huang is so beautiful!"
"Are they a couple?"
My cheeks colored with embarrassment but Xiaotao turned around and shouted, "I think you should all switch professions and become paparazzi instead!"
The officers quickly dispersed and returned to their posts. The man leading the way gave Xiaotao a thumbs-up and praised, "Captain Huang is indeed a hero among women. Your reputation truly precedes you."
The officer brought us to the conference room and introduced the members of the task force one by one. I couldn't remember their names all at once but they were very excited to hear that they were working with the city bureau on the case, especially with the two of us.
Due to our sensitive status, we weren’t able to show up in person but what we could do was to command them from here. Xiaotao immediately assigned them a task. When they left, I said, "We can't just sit here. Should we also do something?"
"What can we do?" chuckled Xiaotao. "What sort of activity are you thinking?"
"Excuse me missy, do you have to be so bold?!” I quipped. “I mean what clues we can investigate."
"That's what I meant as well,” Xiaotao calmly denied. “What were you thinking? Sigh, boys are always full of dirty thoughts!"
It was certainly a case of the guilty speaking first!
As we were now "suspended,” we couldn’t contact the city bureau and could only start our investigation from scratch. The waiting process was boring, so we went on Weibo to personally witness how the power of the Internet turned us into villains.
Xiaotao’s identity as a certain corporation president’s daughter had already been uncovered. The netizens suspected that she climbed up the ladder virtue of relationships with the top rungs and of course, her beauty. Some people even swore that all the senior officers above the city bureau level had slept with Xiaotao. Additionally, they claimed she was Sun Tiger's second wife.
As for me, I wasn’t sure which bastard randomly disclosed my supposed deep background and accused me of being acquitted of a murder, alluding to the incident involving Professor Li. On top of that, my personal life was reportedly chaotic. Apparently, I was a pretty face kept by a rich woman and lorded over everyone at school with Baldy at my beck and call to teach those I didn’t like a lesson.
However, the odd thing was how composed we were reading the condemnation against us. Despite ourselves, we wanted to laugh and couldn’t resist competing to see whose reputation was worse!
On Lao Yao's end, the counterattack had already started, and all sorts of exposé revealing Yi Xi’s sordid history had sprung up all over the internet. There were articles exposing his numerous sexual partners, abortions, drug abuse and police detention. Lao Yao had even managed to dig up rumors about Yi Xi from his high school days and disclosed his poor grades, the smoking, fighting and even bullying of his fellow classmates, which was quite a contrast from the perfect image his public relations team had created.
Unfortunately, Lao Yao's exposé did little to turn the situation around. His microblog was flooded by brain-dead fans who drowned him with insults and personal attacks. Although it attracted some positive attention, it was merely a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the public’s opinion and was of no help with where things were heading.
"It looks like we’ll have to wear sunglasses when we go out and have bodyguards by our side at all times," I commented.
"After this incident, I’ve just realized that some of the rumors on the Internet might be completely fake!” replied Xiaotao. “And all to serve the interests of a small number of people!"
"You’re right,” I lamented. “I’ll have to think twice the next time I read about something online.”
In the afternoon, the officers returned, having found several clues. Wu Xiucai, the man who drowned, belonged to the same company as Yi Xi. He was in charge of a singer named Mike Zhou, but none of us had ever heard of him and there was no trace of his existence online.
However, the strange thing was Mike Zhou had his own bank account, social security card, private car, and real estate. His assets added up to a considerable fortune which one could only afford on a top celebrity’s income. Was the man famous abroad?
Wu Xiucai had also purchased a cemetery lot on the night of the crime. The information he filled in claimed he was moving his father’s grave, but Wu Xiucai obviously wasn’t originally from around here. I didn't think it was necessary to specifically investigate whether his father was from Nanjiang.
Another witness the officers found near the hotel, the owner of a cafe, said he saw someone looking through a telescope from the window of the opposite hotel on the night before the crime. Because it was too dark at the time and the person was dressed in black, he hadn’t noticed what the person looked like.
However, the cafe owner was almost certain that it was a woman because of her slender, fair hands.
They had also checked up on another important lead: Yi Xi's dental records! This time, the people behind Yi Xi were a step ahead again, having bribed the dentist and transferred the records before the police arrived. Because this was the dentist’s first time, the transfer wasn’t done professionally and the police discovered a flaw. However, Yi Xi's dental records had indeed been destroyed.
Upon hearing this, I mused, "For them to actually destroy his dental records means there’s definitely a problem! I’m almost 100% sure Yi Xi left the teeth marks."
"Can’t we ask him for a dental impression?" suggested one of the officers.
"That might be a bit difficult,” answered Xiaotao. “Their vigilance tells me there’s no way Yi Xi would voluntarily do that."
We all heaved heavy sighs, frustrated that the trail had grown cold.
Seeing that it was getting late, Xiaotao told the others to go home and leave the investigation till tomorrow. Out of habit, I got ready to go back to school when Xiaotao prompted, "Where are you going? If you go back now, you’ll be beaten by Yi Xi’s fans!"
I stared blankly before the realization dawned upon me. "Oh no, I left my bag of toiletries and underwear in the city bureau."
Xiaotao glanced at the time and said, “Working hours have ended. Let's go back and get your stuff. I don’t think we’ll be seen."
We drove back to the city bureau and grabbed my backpack. Right before we left the station, we were stopped by Xiao Zhou. "I’ve already worked on the recording Song-ge gave me yesterday."
"Don't you know that I’ve been suspended?" asked Xiaotao.
“I do,” nodded Xiao Zhou. “Everyone was talking about it angrily today. Would you like to listen to the recording now? I think it’s an important clue."
I didn't mind listening to it so we followed Xiao Zhou to the technical department. Xiao Zhou had already enhanced Yi Xi's whisper to his lawyer yesterday, and his words were: "Don't let the police know that I am Mike Zhou!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter