On the day I was discharged, Dali picked me up and drove downtown. "Aren’t we heading back to campus?" I asked.
"Dude, has staying in the hospital made you silly?” he laughed. “We’ve graduated, remember? I rented a place near the store. That’s where we’ll live from now on."
I looked out of the window at the city passing by, deeply aware that I had formally entered society!
When we arrived at our store, Dali informed me of the sales channels he had established with several major supermarkets in the past few days. This was all thanks to the quality of our product and how good Dali was with words. Word of mouth alone drove our sales. He even suggested signing me up for a credit card and assured me he would bank in this month’s salary.
"I'm really embarrassed,” I admitted. “It’s not like I’ve made any contributions and yet I’m sharing the fruits of victory."
"Oh, stop being so courteous with me, will you? I wouldn’t have gotten this far without your start-up money!” he chuckled. “But then again, sanitary napkins are really easy to sell. I don’t have to worry about sales at all. I’ve almost stopped running around trying to sell our product. Nowadays, I deal mostly with the logistics."
Dali couldn’t speak three sentences without mentioning the business. Every time he opened his mouth, it was sanitary napkin this, sanitary napkin that.
When we arrived at the place he rented, I found that all my belongings had been moved from our old dormitory. There was a small balcony overlooking the street below. Although the room was a little messy, littered with a few empty takeout boxes on the table, it was warm and comfortable. Luo Youyou was seated at the desk, playing video games. Upon seeing me enter the room, she stood up and bowed politely. "Hello, Song Yang!"
"Are you here to help out at the store?" I asked.
"I'm almost done with junior year,” she smiled. “So I decided to work for Dali-ge during my summer vacation!"
What they said was true–people who turned their fortunes around were like force majeure; nothing could stop them. Last month, Dali was a poor student who had to scrimp on food. Now, he had his own business and a cute girlfriend. Of course, they hadn't officially confirmed the relationship yet.
Dali took out a bloody graduation certificate from the drawer and handed it to me. "Dude, I picked this up for you."
I opened it and found the certificate stained with my own blood, blurring the writing. A dark, smudged crimson patch surrounded the name "Song Yang,” like an ominous metaphor.
I sighed. This certificate comes at a heavy price indeed!
Luo Youyou excitedly interrupted, "Song Yang, what happened last month is now being talked about by the whole school. Everyone’s talking about how handsome you were that day, fighting against a dangerous criminal to protect our campus! It's a pity I wasn't there."
Thinking back to the events during graduation, it all felt like a lifetime ago. "I deeply regret losing so many lives,” I sighed. “But now that a disaster magnet like me has left the university, there shouldn’t be any more similar incidents."
"By the way, due to your influence, several investigation clubs have sprung up in school,” Luo Youyou added. “That includes the Holmes Society and the Traditional Forensic Research Association. One of my classmates, the president of the Investigation Club, has mentioned he would like to invite you to give a seminar!"
"No thank you!” I waved my hands repeatedly. “School has left a bit of psychological trauma so I don't want to set foot on campus for the time being!"
Of course, this was purely an excuse but Luo Youyou was filled with concern. "Really? Do you want to see a psychologist?" she asked.
After that, we went out for lunch. Dali treated me like a patient recovering from a serious illness, avoiding any greasy or spicy food. Although the injury I suffered was quite frightening, it hadn’t left any sequelae, except for a scar the size of my little finger on my left chest.
After lunch, I decided to head down to the station. Due to my early discharge from the hospital, Xiaotao and the others were unaware I was already out or they might have insisted on coming to pick me up. I wanted to drop in and say hello.
Dali said he would drive me there but I refused. "Go back to the store. I'll walk over by myself!"
"No way,” he argued. “The car was originally yours. We agreed that I would be your driver."
"I’ve been lying in bed for more than half a month,” I explained. “I’d like to take a walk!"
It only took twenty minutes of walking, and when I stepped into the station, many young officers seemed surprised to see me. They gathered around me with concern, asking about my health. Even the older officers stood at attention and saluted me.
I smiled at their warm reception and greeted them one by one, though I couldn’t fight the unease I felt being the focus of attention. Then, a crisp, bell-like voice sounded from the corridor. A beautiful woman in a white lab coat came running towards me. "Song Yang-gege!"
I was surprised to find Bingxin a completely changed woman from head to toe. She was wearing a white blouse, a pencil skirt, stockings and red leather heels with her hair tied up, looking more mature than before.
From the nameplate on her chest, I figured Bingxin was working as an intern. There were strict dress codes in the police force. Black and white stockings and denim skirts weren’t allowed.
Sun Bingxin sprinted towards me, her heels making a click-clack sound on the floor. She reached out her hands and threw herself heavily into my arms, bumping against my flesh. "Thank God you’re alright," she sniffled.
I pretended to feel pain in my chest. "Ah, my heart!” I cried. “Bingxin-meimei, are you trying to knock me straight into the morgue?"
"I'm sorry!” she blurted, staring at my chest in horror. “I'm just so excited!"
"It's alright. You’re already a full-time coroner, so how can you behave like a child?" I chastised.
She spat her tongue, "I’m only like this with you. Does your heart still hurt?"
I told her I was fine but she persisted in sticking her ear to my chest. We stood there, her face against my chest until Xiaotao appeared and caught us in this position. Xiaotao stared wide-eyed, mouth agape.
Xiaotao walked up and smacked Bingxin on the head with the document in her hand. "We’re at work. Please pay attention to your behavior, alright?"
"Xiaotao-jiejie, Song Yang-gege is back!" Bingxin shouted, covering her head.
"I can see that,” Xiaotao laughed. "Can't stay a moment longer in the hospital huh?" she turned to me.
"Don’t even go there,” I grimaced. “All I did was eat and sleep all day long. I was so bored I was about to lose my mind. Look at me, don’t you think I’ve gained weight?"
Xiaotao caressed my cheek, "No, you haven’t changed at all. You’re just as handsome and adorable as you were before."
"We’re at work. Please pay attention to your behavior!" Bingxin waved her fist and protested.
"I’m just showing a normal amount of concern for my colleague," Xiaotao retorted.
Bingxin reached over and touched the other side of my face in a tit-for-tat manner. "If the boss can do it, then so can I!"
"No way!" Xiaotao shouted.
"Why not?" Bingxin pouted.
Xiaotao pointed to Bingxin's nameplate, “Intern Coroner, Sun Bingxin,” and said, "Because your father told me to watch over you."
With their palms still on my face, Xiaotao and Bingxin glared at each other, their eyes seeming to collide with red-hot sparks. "Um... Precious exhibit. Please do not touch."
The two laughed, signalling the end of their little fight. Bingxin said, "Song Yang-gege, I’ll be in the forensic laboratory. Come and visit me later."
"Alright!" I nodded.
As soon as she left, Xiaotao sighed. "What a willful young lady! Taking the bureau as her own home!"
I chuckled and asked her what she was up to lately. Xiaotao assured me she was doing well, just busy as usual!
"By the way, I dropped by to see Deng Chao and Kong Hui,” I explained. “Are they still being held here?"
Xiaotao shook her head, "The two have been transferred to prison due to the serious nature of their crimes and complicated backgrounds. They are being guarded by the commissioner sent by the Public Security Bureau. No one is allowed any contact with them before the trial but I can show you their interrogation files."Previous Chapter Next Chapter