The police swept the scene and counted a total of twenty-seven deaths. The murderer could only be described as insane to kill so many people at once!
When Director-General Cheng had regained composure, I asked, "The murderer committed the crime with a clear purpose so there must be some connection between Officer Niu, Officer Ouyang and Officer Cui. Do you know anything?"
Weariness was written all over Director-General Cheng’s gaunt face, as if he had aged ten years overnight. "I didn't want to venture down this line of thought because I didn’t believe he was such a person,” he started. “But now, all signs point to him."
After a heavy sigh, Director-General Cheng said, "We once sent an officer to prison!"
As soon as the words left his lips, the room fell into shocked silence. Director-General Cheng explained that there was once an outspoken and hot-tempered police officer named Long Bangguo.
In the crackdown on crime of ‘97, Long Bangguo and several other officers were ordered to quash a gang that dealt with the illegal trading of women. However, these criminals were so arrogant they decided to take personal revenge on the officers involved in the case and kidnapped a girl Long Bangguo was pursuing! Later on, they found her body under a bridge, black and blue all over, her vagina mutilated from sexual torture, breasts cruelly bitten off and face covered in deep slashes. Lab tests revealed at least seven or eight different samples of sperm in her body. And to add insult to injury, the murderers actually placed a police cap on the body in provocation of the police.
Long Bangguo's emotions exploded like a volcanic eruption that made him lose all rationality. He wandered in the streets, looking for anyone who remotely resembled a gangster. After beating them into a pulp, he forced them to reveal the whereabouts of that gang leader. At the time, the head of the task force–Officer Ouyang–ordered him to rest at home and pull himself together. As a result of his actions, he was temporarily taken off the case.
If he had listened to Officer Ouyang back then, nothing would’ve happened and the situation wouldn’t have developed in this direction.
Long Bangguo desperately begged Officer Ouyang for a second chance and even put his reputation on the line, swearing he would never be impulsive again. Several colleagues helped intercede for him, eventually overturning Officer Ouyang’s prior decision to take him off the case.
But on the day the net closed, Long Bangguo actually shot the suspect during the chaos. So the handcuffs that were meant for the criminals were fastened around his wrists instead. The case was quickly transferred to the judicial proceedings with Director-General Cheng as the prosecutor at the time.
Long Bangguo insisted he had acted in self defense when the suspect whipped out his gun, which would deem his actions justifiable. But his colleagues’ testimonies proved he was lying. In the end, he was sentenced for intentional homicide, deprived of all political rights, and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Director-General Cheng still clearly recalled Long Bangguo’s enraged roars as he was escorted away from court. "Not a single one of you stood on my side! Just you wait. Sooner or later I’ll make you pay for your betrayal!" Upon hearing his words, his colleagues all stood up, anguish written all over their faces.
From Long Bangguo’s point of view, it was his colleagues, not the court’s judgment, that disappointed him the most. They were his brothers, not by anything so accidental as blood but forged by the long struggle of fighting side by side, day in, day out. Yet at this crucial juncture, it was their statements that sent him to prison.
What he failed to understand was the law had no compassion, and the police stood by their own unshakeable principles. It didn’t matter who the criminal was—no one was above the law!
"This was the case that changed me,” Director-General Cheng’s eyes dimmed. “I felt that the world needed more honest police officers so I resigned from my position as a prosecutor and became an ordinary policeman."
"What sort of distorted logic is this?!” blurted Xiaotao. “Why should anyone be punished for telling the truth? This man is simply deranged!"
"Who were the other officers involved in the case?" I asked.
"If I remember correctly, there are three other officers–Officer Xun from the city bureau, Officer Zhang from the SWAT team and Officer Luo in the Jiangxing Precinct,” he recounted.
The case caught us by surprise and everything happened so quickly that the bureau hadn’t yet set up a task force. At the moment, Director-General Cheng was recognized as the team leader. He worked with all possible haste, assigning tasks to the officers. Wang Yuanchao was dispatched to search for Long Bangguo with a SWAT team. If necessary, the officers were allowed to request for the armed police force to blockade traffic. In the event of a critical situation, they were ordered to kill the murderer on the spot. The rest of the officers, led by Xiaotao, were to protect the three officers in question.
"I won't allow another murder of an officer!" Xiaotao saluted.
"I believe in your abilities!" nodded Director-General Cheng. Then, he said to me, "Song Yang, you're a coroner so there’s no need for you to participate in this operation!"
"I have a proposal,” I added. “I’d like to ask the Yin object dealer for help!"
"No way!” Director-General Cheng vetoed my proposal. “Right now, every minute counts. We don't have the time and manpower to do this. Besides, I’m a staunch atheist. I don't believe in the existence of Yin objects in this world. All talk about ghosts and gods is purely a preposterous belief in something as flimsy as fate. That man is clearly a charlatan."
Director-General Cheng sounded like his usual mild self, but his unquestionable attitude rendered any further attempts of discussing the matter futile. When the police finished cleaning up the scene, I turned to Xiaotao and said, "It's getting late, I should go now."
"Hey, you’re acting a little weird,” remarked Xiaotao. “Is there something you’re hiding from me?"
"No, I’m just tired,” I refuted. “Look after yourself!"
With that, I walked away. At a nearby lamp post, Song Xingchen stood with a cup of bubble tea he had purchased from the stall at the street intersection. He leaned against the lamp post, languidly sipping while he waited for me. Several passers-by stared at him in surprise and gushed, "He looks just like Zhang Yixing!"
"No, he’s more handsome than Zhang Yixing!" came another reply.
"Why is he dressed like this? Could he be filming a TV series?" asked another.
Song Xingchen remained completely indifferent to the attention he was receiving. I walked up to him and said, "Let's discuss something."
"You’re going to ask me to protect that lady officer, aren’t you?"
I froze for a moment before looking him up and down. How did he guess what I was thinking?
"Don't forget that I too have Cave Vision,” he reminded. “Observing and reading the situation is a basic skill required of every member of the Song family."
I had to admit the man not only had eyes as sharp as a hawk but also the brains to make discerning judgements. Director-General Cheng’s order for Xiaotao to protect the three officers was a cause for great worry. With his mysterious methods, the murderer could kill in an instant and he didn't care if the innocent were implicated. But how could I, a consultant with no real power, request for Xiaotao to withdraw from the operation in front of so many officers, especially Director-General Cheng? Additionally, I knew she wouldn’t back down with that tenacious character of hers.
But I couldn’t face a reality where Xiaotao was killed in the line of duty. Even if I had to pull a fast one on her, I had to get her removed from the case. "Go to her place after this and lie in ambush somewhere nearby. Don't go overboard! I just want her injured enough to be hospitalized. Don't go in this outfit and don't you dare use your sword. You might as well cover your face too."
"Why don’t I chop off her leg?" Song Xingchen smiled maliciously.
"You wouldn’t!" I shouted.
"My task is to protect you by all means. If necessary, I can use extreme measures, such as breaking your leg to prevent you from involving yourself in a dangerous case,” he explained. “So let’s put aside your girlfriend's business first. I must know your next move and decide whether I should break your leg as well!"
His voice was solemn with a hard edge, a clear demonstration of how serious he was. I calmly answered, "I’m going to look for the Yin object dealer to ask for his opinion."
Song Xingchen nodded. "Have you heard everything? You can come out now," he said.
He looked past me, as if speaking to someone else. I turned around and saw Xiaotao jump out from behind the lamp post. "Song Yang!” she yelled. “How dare you think of breaking my leg? Who gave you the right to make decisions for me?!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter